Remus stared hard at the text, trying to decipher just how to pronounce
the name in front of him. He creased his brows in concentration,
glancing every moment or so to his parents, knowing full well they
would be able to read it to him in an instant, saving him all this
trouble. What kind of baby was he if he had to ask his parents to read
it for him? All the same, he still had a burning desire to know. His
stare at the text quickly became a hard-set glare at his predicament.
'Do you need any help, Remus?' his mother asked from across the room.
he grumbled moodily. He relentlessly glowered at the page for a good
minute before his contemplations over just how to say that word were
interrupted by the sound of the hallway clock's chiming.
seven thirty. Time for bed,' said his father, slowly pushing himself up
from the leather chair with a loud creak. Remus reluctantly put down
the book before his two parents began to escort him to his room. He had
just started up the stairs when he had the sudden urge to turn around
and somehow gain back some of his pride.
'Um...you don't need to take me up. I'm not a baby. I can do it myself,' Remus stated unsurely.
'What?' his mother asked, giving a strange sidelong look to her husband.
six now. I- I want to go to bed by myself. I'm not a baby,' Remus said
again, a sick feeling of guilt niggling at him as he glanced at his
mother's less than happy expression.
'Well, if that's what you want...' his mother said hesitantly.
'It is,' Remus affirmed in as brave a fashion he could manage.
that's what the independent lad asks for, that is what he shall
receive. Goodnight, Master Remus,' his father said in an almost
absurdly formal way before ruffling Remus' sandy locks and giving him a
His mother gave him an unreadable look before kissing him on the forehead.
'Don't try to grow up too soon, though,' she smiled before returning to her talk with his father.
bit his lip to keep from crying out something foolish. He knew he had
this one moment that he could say 'I've changed my mind,' but for some
reason, he refrained.
'Goodnight, then,' he said pitifully
before trudging up the stairs in self-inflicted misery. He nervously
eyed the eerie hallway and gave an audible gulp. It had never seemed
this frightening before. Of course, it didn't help that it was pitch
black but for the moonlight shining in through a window at the end of
Taking a moment to steady his nerves, with his small
hand travelling along the wall, he tentatively stepped forward. He
could still hear his parents talking, their distant voices carrying up
the stairwell. He strained to hear what they were talking about, but
couldn't distinguish a word. Giving up on his fruitless attempts to
hear them, he took another step forward, finding he knew the hallway
much better than he had anticipated. It only took a few more paces
before he was feeling confident enough to go at a full-blown walk.
each step, a feeling of sound liberation began to blossom in him.
Perhaps he should try to be independent more often. After all, at six
years of age, it was a time to be self-sufficient. He had made it
halfway down the hallway without incident: a daring accomplishment for
a boy of his years.
The one problem with travelling at
anything other than a shuffle in the dark is the fact that instead of
slowly discovering objects with your sliding foot, you suddenly find
them by stumbling over them and coming very close to physical harm,
making a number of children's playthings very dangerous. Remus found
just how perilous a collection of wooden blocks could be and, after
nearly falling headlong into a collection of his mothers potted plants,
decided his previous shuffle would get him to his room just as well as
Finally reaching his bedroom, Remus let out a long
breath before he changed into his pyjamas and jumped onto his bed. He
clambered across his bed to the window and placed his forehead against
the cool glass to stare down at his horse. It looked like it was
asleep, though it was hard to tell from all the way up here.
his eyes, he could just picture himself riding it, jumping over hedges
and creeks and galloping through scorching deserts quite gallantly. He
was imagining himself a suit of armour when, with a horrified start,
Remus remembered he had yet to find a name for his horse. As hurriedly
as he dared in the dark, he made his way towards his bookshelf and
grabbed a slate coloured book, before swiftly returning to his bed.
book was one of his more treasured belongings. It was a book of classic
myths his mother had put together, complete with her own water-coloured
illustrations. Though the pages weren't as smooth as his other books,
and the drawings weren't quite as professional looking, he never grew
tired of staring at his mother's paintings and loopy writing. If any
book would have a good name, this would be it.
the pages, just as his mother had taught him, he found a lovely picture
of the moon goddess Diana. She held a bow under the light of a full
moon that was a mirror image of the one shining brightly outside. The
painting had intricate designs running around it and a deliciously gory
picture of a deer being eaten by dogs painted, a bit too small for
Remus' tastes, in the corner. It was one of his favourite pages in the
books because of that inset.
Turning through the pages, he
found the inspiration he'd been looking for. In cheerful colours was a
team of horses drawing the sun chariot, with a god called Helios at the
reigns. His mother had just been reading about him the other day. He
tried to remember the story she had told him. Something about a boy
trying to do the job of driving the chariot and dying came to mind, but
he couldn't remember how. Staring at the horses and then at the god, he
decide that Helios would be a most excellent name for his horse.
Helios: and he'd thought of it all by himself.
As being so
terribly clever could make one very thirsty, Remus blindly reached
towards his bedside table to grab his glass of water. His mouth frowned
a bit as he realised it wasn't there. His mum always put it there for
him, but after so much thinking and cleverness, Remus found he was too
tired to care.
He quickly raised his quilt and cocooned
himself inside. He tried to get comfortable, but found he couldn't. The
sheets were all tucked firmly into the mattress, making him feel almost
entrapped by them. He'd never had this problem when his mother tucked
him in. He was beginning to miss her bedtime stories as well. Her night
time kiss on his forehead was much nicer when he had been tucked in and
read to. And he was starting to get awfully thirsty.
sudden burst of motion, Remus threw the covers off of him and padded
down the hallway to the stairs. His parents were still talking, of all
the silly things to do when their son was braving death and
dehydration. Standing expectantly on the bottom stair, but still not
gaining any attention, he cleared his throat and declared rather loudly:
'I've got a name for Horse.'
Both his parents were startled out of their conversation and turned to him.
'Oh?' his father asked, sharing a slightly amused look with his wife.
'It's Helios, after that god who drove the sun wagon. The one you were telling me about the other day, Mum.'
'Well that sounds like a lovely name,' his mother smiled benignly.
Well, goodnight,' Remus said, not moving an inch. 'Mum? You can
continue to tuck me in and give me a glass of water, if you want. It
wouldn't bother me.'
'Would you like me to do that now?' she asked in a would-be nonchalant manner.
'Yes!' he said, looking startled at his own outburst. 'That is, if you want to.'
be more than happy to,' she placated, a wide smile gracing her lips as
she rose from her seat. Remus gently placed his hand in hers as they
walked down the wooden hallway. For some reason, it didn't seem as
intimidating as it had earlier.