She was there.
No matter how slowly her feet had taken her at the end, they had taken her there.
Directly ahead of her was the circular building, its walls glowing with violet flame, its silvery roof pulsing with a light that seemed to Meg to be insane. Again she could feel the light, neither warm nor cold, but reaching out to touch her, pulling her toward IT.
There was a sudden sucking, and she was within.
It was as though the breath had been knocked out of her. She gasped for breath, for breath in her own rhythm, not the permeating pulsing of IT. She could feel the inexorable beat within her body, controlling her heart, her lungs.
But not herself. Not Meg. It did not quite have her.
She blinked her eyes rapidly and against the rhythm until the redness before them cleared and she could see. There was the brain, there was IT, lying pulsing and quivering on the dais, soft and exposed and nauseating. Charles Wallace was crouching beside IT, his eyes still slowly twirling, his jaw still slack, as she had seen him before, with a tic in his forehead reiterating the revolting rhythm of IT.
As she saw him it was again as though she had been punched in the stomach, for she had to realize afresh that she was seeing Charles, and yet it was not Charles at all. Where was Charles Wallace, her own beloved Charles Wallace?
What is it I have that IT hasn't got?
"You have nothing that IT hasn't got," Charles Wallace said coldly. "How nice to have you back, dear sister. We have been waiting for you. We knew that Mrs. Whatsit would send you. She is our friend, you know."
For an appalling moment Meg believed, and in that moment she felt her brain being gathered up into IT. "No!" She screamed at the top of her lungs. "No! You lie!" For a moment she was free from its clutches again.
As long as I stay angry enough IT can't get me.
Is that what I have that IT doesn't have?
"Nonsense," Charles Wallace said. "You have nothing that IT doesn't have." "You're lying," she replied., and she felt only anger toward this boy who was not Charles Wallace at all. No, it was not anger, it was loathing; it was hatred, sheer and unadulterated, and as she became lost in hatred she also began to be lost in IT. The red miasma swam before her eyes; her stomach churned in ITs rhythm. Her body trembled with the strength of her hatred and the strength of IT.
With the last vestige of consciousness she jerked her mind and body. Hate was nothing that IT didn't have. IT knew all about hate.
"You are lying about that, and you were lying about Mrs. Whatsit!" She screamed.
"Mrs. Whatsit hates you," Charles Wallace said.
And that was where IT made ITs final mistake, for as Meg said, automatically, "Mrs. Whatsit loves me; that's what she told me, that she loves me," suddenly she knew.
That was what she had that IT did not have.
She has Mrs. Whatsit's love and her father's, and her mother's, and the real Charles Wallace's love. And she had love for them. But how could she use it? What was she meant to do? If she could give love to IT perhaps it would shrivel up and die, for she was sure that IT could not withstand love. But she, in all her weakness and foolishness and baseness and nothingness, was incapable of loving IT. Perhaps it was not too much to ask of her, but she could not do it.
But she could love Charles Wallace.
She could stand there and love Charles Wallace.
Her own Charles Wallace, the real Charles Wallace, the child for whom she had come back to Camazotz, to IT, the baby who was so much more than she was, and who was yet so utterly vulnerable.
She could love Charles Wallace.
Charles. Charles, I love you. My baby brother who always takes care of me. Come back to me Charles Wallace, come away from IT, come back, come home. I love you, Charles. Oh, Charles Wallace, I love you.
Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but she was unaware of them.
Now she was able to look at him, at this animated thing that was not her own Charles Wallace at all. She was able to look and love. I love you, you are my darling and my dear and the light of my life and the treasure of my heart. I love you. I love you.
Slowly his mouth closed. Slowly his eyes stopped their twirling. The tic in his forehead ceased its revolting twitch. Slowly he advanced towards her.
"I love you!" she cried. "I love you, Charles! I love you!"
Then suddenly he was running, pelting, he was in her arms, he was shrieking with sobs. "Meg! Meg! Meg!"
And then she felt the earth beneath her, of something in her arms, and she was rolling over on the sweet smelling autumn earth, and Charles Wallace was crying out, "Meg, you saved me! You saved me!" he said over and over.
-A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L' Engle
posted at 9:55 AM