I still remember the day when a hungry caterpillar inched its way across the top of my Creation Book.
It was late summer. My sister Poppy and I were sitting in the shade along the banks of a lazy flowing stream in the Wanderlore Grove—our typical summer haunt. Damselflies darted about, doing their dark hunting among the vegetation.
This was our secret spot. The place we went when we didn’t want our mom to know what we were doing.
In the cool, deep shadows, we were dreaming. Like the roots of a majestic tree, our imaginations ran deep and wide.
In the two years since discovering the Magic that allowed us to create little creatures, we manipulated this power as if it was play putty, bestowing life upon creatures born of our imaginations like overly eager scientists.
Little did we know at the time, but we were upsetting a galactic apple cart, the effects of which would be felt far beyond the Icon Realm where we both lived.
Each little creation added to the building tide. The caterpillar, created by my sister, was yet another drop of water in a building tsunami.
The caterpillar circled the glowing pages as I sketched. It was drawn to the magic* that emanated from the tattered tome. I didn’t know then how often I would think of this caterpillar throughout the years.
I created a branch for the caterpillar to crawl on. Here, it would molt, revealing what would become the outer layer of its chrysalis. The metamorphosis into a butterfly would follow.
“Why a caterpillar?” I asked, wondering why she hadn’t created a butterfly outright.
“Butterflies, don’t become butterflies, without a struggle,” she said. After some moments, she added, “Emerging from the chrysalis gives them strength. They would die without it.”
I didn’t say anything. Poppy, being younger—yet wiser—than me was always offering such esoteric tidbits. I pondered her words. Would butterflies really die without the struggle to emerge?
“We may not die, but we wouldn’t become,” Poppy replied, having read my thoughts again in her usual nosy manner.
“Are you saying we’re caterpillars and not butterflies?” I asked. Poppy’s profound thoughts always made me a bit nervous like I was conversing with an ancient soul inhabiting the body of a tangled-hair, feral girl.
“Maybe. We wouldn’t be kids if we weren’t.” She blew the seeds of a dandelion my way. “The Magic believes in us.”
“It believes we’ll transform?” I asked as the dandelion wisps danced around me.
“It believes we’ll succeed.” Poppy said, grabbing a single wisp in her fist. After some moments, she opened her hand, revealing the shimmering image of a butterfly—a vision of summers to come.
I watched as the butterfly took flight, dancing on the erratic wind—an act of faith and becoming.
At once, I understood.
Early on, I assumed it was who I was that allowed me to create creatures. I didn’t appreciate that it was my willingness to become that truly allowed me my abilities.
My parents taught me to believe in my dreams, but they never allowed me to believe that I could soar without first achieving my wings.
That late summer day, I was just starting to sense how scary the alchemy from awkward caterpillar to graceful butterfly would be. I had yet to experience the frustrations (and heartbreak) my metamorphosis would bring.
Even now, my metamorphosis is still ongoing. Maybe, it will never end. Maybe, for my future self to truly become, I’ll have to accept that I am always a butterfly just on the cusp of being born.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures
*The caterpillar was drawn to the ritual magic of my Creation Book. However, once it transformed into a butterfly, it would be drawn to another magic—the ascending magic of the Phantoms.