More non-kaiju nightmares from the enigmatic Eavesdropper. I'll thank Poppyland for reminding me, sometime's there IS something wrong with our minds...

THE MAGIC PANEL

My life, like that of many others, has been very, very strange. Filled with visions and quasi-mystical experiences. Memories that haunt me, things that I can never forget. I've been thinking about it lately, about when I was a child. I've begun to write it all down, thinking; 'There's a story in there somewhere'. Maybe so, but I don't want to fictionalize any of it. I don't have to. Right now, I just want to hold those memories. I want to find them, feel them, turn them over in the light, and search for the meanings I may never really know.

Many years have passed since then, and I've lost touch with so much of the magic and insight that child possessed. Now I've found I want some back. So I journey back, back to those mystic flashes when strange forces were gathered all around me, and would sometimes deign to appear...

It was just another molded panel in the wall. The apartments in Brooklyn were full of them, that's how they were made back then. But my parents told me it was where the Easter Bunny lived, right behind that single seamless square! It must have been their way of dealing with my questions about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the like. I guess they felt I was too young to be doubting those things, and wanted me to 'just believe' for a little while longer. I wish they could've seen, they weren't doing me any favors.

To me, beings like Santa or the Easter Bunny were magical avatars, possessing strange powers which allowed them to race around the globe, materializing toys and gifts and goodies. And most impressive, to render themselves invisible to any curious children hoping to catch a glimpse! They were things we were not allowed to see, questions parents would never fully answer, but my curiosity would not let me 'just believe or 'just accept' anything. I had to know, and I would have to find out for myself.

How many times did I sit and examine that panel, looking for the magic seam that would reveal to me the truth? My fingers traced the edges over and over, searching. I remember the spot where a bit of paint had chipped away, offering a peek, a tease, a place to dig my fingernail. All I ever found there were more layers of paint, and I could only imagine what REALLY lay beyond them.

Sometimes I'd imagine a cartoon-candy kind of world. A place where everything was painted too bright. The grass too green, the sky too blue, too intense to hold a sun. I imagined a sun might melt that world, melt it into chocolate. But these were only thoughts, possibilities I conjured as I picked at the chipping paint, peering through the tiny dent I had made, trying to find the truth.

Other times, when I realized my eyes could not help me and no spontaneous surge of X-Ray vision would manifest to reveal that which I sought, I would press my ear against the wall and listen. I sometimes wonder how my Mom must have felt, seeing me there on the floor. Not moving, not speaking, eyes open but unfocused, my mind intent on catching a sound. A twigsnap, a footstep, a giggle or a sniff. Anything! Anything to show me just a piece of the magic I was told that wall contained! I was intrigued by the mystery of it, almost addicted. I wanted to step through into that unknown realm. I had to know if it was real! I've heard it said you should be careful what you wish for. It was a lesson I was about to find out for myself...

Another day had come, a day like so many others; I ate and I played, I read and I sketched. Then at some point in between my usual activities, my thoughts drifted once more to the Magic Panel. Maybe today, I thought, it would open for me. Maybe today I would find the truth! Slowly, I rose from my seat and approached the wall. Again I traced the edge with my fingertips, peeked into the tiny crack. There was nothing. So I stared at the wall, trying to see through the layers of plaster and paint. I stared until my eyes ached, and I had to give up. Then I pressed my ear against the square and listened, and suddenly, it was there!

A gnarling, grinding growl, like a cry pushed through a chewing muzzle, rising quickly to become a high-pitched jabbering screech! I sat frozen by the sound, stuck fast to the spot by my probing, reddened ear. Very fast, a matter of seconds as the bloodcurdling, almost indescribable noise peaked, then stopped. At that moment, something struck the wall, an impact from the other side! I wrenched myself free at the sensation, falling back onto my butt. I could feel my skin crawling tight across my bones. The heat leaving my body as my blood went cold. I tried to speak, to call out, but no sound would come. My lungs refused to fill with air, and the terror I had found gripped me tight by the throat!

Finally, I forced a sound from my gasping, trembling mouth. In the kitchen, my Mom heard my fearful bleat and called my name. Her voice broke through the dread that held me, and I ran crying to her side. I remember burying my face in her apron, sobbing, not daring to look up or leave her presence. That sound, whatever it was, had scared the living piss out of me, and I had no wish to ever, EVER hear such a thing again!

I still don't know what it was I heard that day. Something that could not be explained away as a mouse inside the wall, or my Mom or Dad somehow trying to dissuade my curiosity. To me it was a warning. A warning not to pry too deeply into the realms of magic. Realms full of questions, where the answers you may find could be as sharp-edged and dangerous as any held by 'reality'.

The End