The Emergence of Magic

I'm riding a bus through a familiar, but un-named countryside. The grass is green, and the sun is pleasantly warm. I notice the woman sitting in front of me - dark brown hair, round face - looks very familiar and I start talking to her. I soon learn that she is Anna Brown, the younger sister of a childhood friend, Katy Brown. The last time I saw Anna, she was thirteen years old - she's in her early twenties now- and I'm curious to learn more about her.

Anna is very calm, soft-spoken, almost lethargic, as she tells me what has happened to her in the last ten years. It's nothing particularly exciting, but I sense that she's not very close to Katy, these days, so I don't ask about her.

The scene shifts slightly, so I am in a car with her and two others, rather than on a bus, and we're driving to her home, which overlooks an un-named, pleasant looking town. We arrive at the small brick house, and Anna and her friends disembark, telling me that I am welcome to drive their car over to my place - rather than take the bus - and they'll just pick it up tommorow. They re-enter the house before I can tell them that I can't drive, leaving me sitting in the passenger seat and feeling a bit foolish.

I get out, intending to walk to the bus stop, when I notice three men approaching. Two of them are non-descript - late-middle aged with grey hair and portly disposition. The third is most definately my Grandpa who died more than ten years ago. Naturally, I'm a little perturbed by this - 'gasping panic' is more accurate - and all three of them quickly assure me that everything is alright, that I'm safe and not to panic.

The two strangers are actually alive, and that's somewhat reasurring. Bertie - my Grandpa - tells me that he and his two friends will drive me into town, as they have something they need to show me. Not one to argue with a ghost and his companions, I nervously climb into the front seat.

The car takes off at tremendous speed, but without any inertia and, apparently, the best suspension system ever made. Although we are careening down a country hillside road at about ninety miles an hour, I don't feel a single bump, nor do I go slewing out of my seat when we take a turn. One of the companions mentions in passing that there are certain advantages to being a ghost - apparently Bertie is doing this.

As we approach the town, Bertie and his companions tell me that this town is to be the starting point for a return to magic. Apparently we humans are ready for it again, and they want me to witness it. Still disbelieving, I ask them what on earth are they talking about. As an answer they tell me to look up at a newly formed rainbow that spans the sky overhead. While I'm watching, the rainbow - which seems to be unnaturally bright - changes and curves into a full circle - like a rainbow seen from the air - and starts turning and flipping like a tossed coin. Bertie and company tell me that a young boy, who I'm about to meet is changing the rainbow. Finally, I start believing that there may be something in this magic thing.

We arrive at small, run down house. It has peeling yellow paint, and is built up on stilts above an untended back yard which is little more than bare dirt. In the back yard is a little boy with blond hair who is staring up at the sky and laughing fit to burst.

Without preamble, we all go inside the house, to talk with the boy's father. The father knows that his boy is playing with the rainbow, and is worried not about the boy's abilities, but that the boy will not be understood by other adults and risks censure - or worse. Bertie's two friends sit the father down and try to explain that his son is just the first of many.

Meanwhile, I'm looking out of the back door that leads on to a shabby porch and a set of stairs that go down to the yard. The door is glazed not with plain glass, but with something akin to a one-way mirror, with the reflection facing inwards. The silvering is thin and, if I press my face up to it, I can see into the yard, where the boy is still playing. Bertie is next to me and he tells me that I can perform magic, too, if I want. Heeding some unspoken impulse, I lay my right hand on the back-door window, feeling how cool and smooth it is, and start pushing.

Bertie smiles encouragingly as my hand slowly slides through the glass, and I can feel the cooler air of the outside around my fingers. "That's it," Bertie says, "Through the looking glass.". I am pleased and amazed by my little trick - and by performing it so spontaneously, I have managed to reassure the boy's father that he has been told the truth about magic returning.

We all leave the house, to go out amongst the town and watch what is happening as people discover what they can do. At the local park, it is all joyful chaos as people are laughing and running about, performing a vast variety of harmless magics. I encounter my friend, Jennifer, who is accompanied by two men who look like they've just walked out of a fantasy novel. One of her newfound companions is a grey-haired king - ermine, crown and all - and the other is his handsome and courtly son, who wears a more modest crown with his fine doublet and hose. I tease Jennifer about re-creating favorite characters from a book, but she assures me she had nothing to do with it - although she's grinning like a cat and perfectly happy to accompany the pair around town.

I feel very happy as I walk about with Bertie and his two friends, watching the return of magic and simple pleasures unfolding all around me.