The Diary of Megan Penn, an early excerpt
My first real memory is a dream. Before that, it’s just hazy impressions, mostly warm and happy. This dream also gave me my first word. Most of the dream is also composed of hazy impressions, but there are a few images that are very vivid to me. In the dream, I was in the living room of our old family home, being watched by the babysitter. She had taken me out of the play-pen, and I was playing with a colored ball covered in a bright fractal pattern which kept shifting and changing like a kaleidoscope as I rolled it around. Then, I looked up and the sitter was gone. I left the ball and began to crawl away, trying to find her, and I crawled out of the room and down the hallway. But the hallway became a wood, branches growing through the walls and roots through the floor until they gave way entirely. Then, there, in the middle of the path, was a rough and mossy rock, about as big as me. There was a little hole in one side, and I crawled up to it and looked inside. It was a doorway, a tiny passageway leading into the stone. I shrunk down to the size of a fly and went inside. Within was a huge and convoluted maze of tunnels, some made of stone, some of plastic, some seemingly of flesh or fur, some of stuff stranger still. I can’t remember how long I crawled around inside it, but after a while, I began to get the feeling that there was someone or something else in there with me. I kept crawling and looking, and I knew I was getting closer, and then patterns like those that had been on the colored ball started to crawl along the walls of the maze, except they were all in black and white and grey. They looked like words, though of course I couldn’t read them. Then the maze started to break apart, fracturing along the lines of the designs. The walls and floors and I all fell into a shining void, and I awoke.
And I still remember, though it is the slipperiest of memories, how on the edge of that dream, in the place between sleeping and waking, something spoke to me. I saw it, I remember seeing it, but I cannot describe what it looked like. Partially because I can barely remember and partially because it was so strange I don’t think words could ever capture it. But what stuck with me was the word. It was not the first word I’d ever heard, but it was the first I ever spoke. It was on my lips when I awoke. The word was Magic.