The Door to The Isle
The Isle of Nod sat between the islands of Nix and Io, in the middle of the Emerald Sea, where the waters glistened a shade of blue so magnificent it seemed to inhabit it’s own spectrum, separated from the rest of those meagre shades that could merely be seen. This was a colour, like all the colours on Nod, which could be heard and felt and smelled and tasted and known.
Nod was the home of many wondrous things, and even more wondrous people. Dragons lived on the island, and pixies, and ghosts. It was the home of women with whiskers and tails like cats and men with lolling tongues like lizards and two or five or seven heads. Somewhere beneath its oceans there was even rumoured to live a creature so awful that merely to set eyes on it was to be stricken dumb and blind. On the highest peak of its highest mountain lived a hermit so wise she could answer any question that could ever be asked by any one with the courage and fortitude to seek her out.
There have been many stories told about the Isle of Nod, about its wonders and its dangers, its heroes and its tyrants. They have been stories of adventure and romance, victory and heroism and tragedy and death. Some of these stories are so epic in nature they can only be recited by a trained troupe of actors, in instalments, over a period of several weeks. Other stories can be whispered in your ear in the last few seconds before you fall asleep. And each one of these stories is, in its own way, all about the exact same event. That event is, of course, the day Isle of Nod ceased to be.
But you don’t want to hear that story.
The story you want to hear does not take place on that enchanted isle, or any other. The story you want to hear is most definitely not about a little girl named Jennifer Hurley, who was the only girl in all the world lucky enough to find the door to that wonderful Isle and walk through it and experience all of its enchantment for herself.
Jennifer Hurley lived with her mother and two older brothers in a cramped, cube shaped house in Pasadena. Because she was the only girl she got her own room and her brothers punished her for this mercilessly, sometimes merely by pulling her hair and calling her names, other times by making her watch as they pulled the legs off spiders, one by one. To save them, Jenny pretended to hate them. Sometimes it worked, and Taylor and Braden let the spiders live to be rescued and taken outside to the garden shed where webs like civilizations dripped from the leaky ceiling and coated the walls so thickly they looked like white cotton. Jenny’s brothers were afraid to go in the garden shed; that’s why she spent so much time there that summer, reading by herself, playing with her dolls or making the spiders talk to each other in the different voices she invented for each of them. It was in the garden shed, also, that Jenny began to dream.
She thought of it in flashes at first, without even realizing it. It came to her in disjointed images, snippets of dialogue, faces and names. Then the place began to take a more solid shape.
A dream is a powerful thing, a child’s especially, and Jenny Hurley’s dream in particular. It was such a powerful thing, in fact, that the stuff of which our universe is made began to buckle and warp and blister beneath the heat of its desire to be born. Shock waves went out, upwards and down and back and forth and through all four dimensions, for what are the laws of time and space compared to the power of a dream?
The spiders were roused and, sensing danger, deserted the garden shed. When Jenny next came to visit them she found nothing but forlorn, abandoned webs and a door.
The door was just Jenny’s size, and it glowed that miraculous shade of blue that seemed to sing and smell and pulse. It was flat against the farthest wall of the shed and through it could be heard faint voices, and the most beguiling, infectious, joyous laughter Jenny had ever heard.
It was inevitable that she would walk through it. Wouldn’t you?