Crunella Strikes Back

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
A humorous tale of witchcraft most foul, in which Rick Shaw becomes the subject of revenge for a murder he did not commit 400 years ago.

Submitted: July 08, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 08, 2019



1. The Ghost

2. The Bus

3. The Forest

4. The Cage

5. The Tunnel

6. The Rest of the Story


1. The Ghost

Rick Shaw shivered as he waited for his bus. It was a cold night and he was anxious to get home. A woman boarding one of the buses caught his attention. She reminded him of his wife, but he knew it couldn’t be her. Shelly Shaw had been dead for nearly two weeks now.

Shelly and Rick had been soulmates. The psychic connection between them had been so strong that they were always aware of each other, even when they were apart. When the connection broke, Rick knew that Shelly must have died. But he didn’t know where or how this had happened. As far as the police were concerned, she was just a missing person.

The woman who looked a bit like Shelly paid her fare and found an empty seat on the bus. She was just a blurred image now, barely visible through the misted windows. Her seat was not far from where Rick was standing. She cleared a patch of mist from the window with a gloved hand, caught Rick’s eye and smiled at him. Rick’s jaw dropped. That was no stranger. It really was Shelly!

Recognition galvanised Rick into action. He dashed for the bus and leapt aboard just as it was about to pull away. He paid his fare and pushed past the few standing passengers to get to Shelly’s seat. He recognised it from the clear patch that she had rubbed in the misted window. But Shelly was no longer there.

Rick searched the bus twice; pushing outraged passengers aside and ignoring their protests. No Shelly! He was baffled. Shelly couldn’t have left the bus without passing him, yet somehow she had.

The bus was already passing the first stop on the route. Rick glanced through the foggy window and saw the shape of a woman seated in the shelter. She looked up and waved as if to attract his attention. It was Shelly! How the devil did she get out there?

Rick forced his way to the front of the bus and addressed the driver. ‘I say, driver, stop the bus! I need to get off.’

‘Can’t,’ grunted the driver. He had the expression of a man who had just bitten into a rancid pie.

‘It’s an emergency,’ said Rick.

‘Reggerlations!’ declared the driver. ‘Can’t stop till we get ter the next proper bus-stop.’

‘Now look here, old chap ...’

‘Oy! Can’t yer read that sign?’

‘What sign?’

‘The one wot sez don’t talk ter the driver while the bus is in commotion.’

‘Commotion? Oh, you mean in motion’.

‘That’s wot I said.’

‘No, sir, I think you said ...’

‘Look ‘ere, ya dozy prat. If yer don’t stop flappin’ yer tongue at me, I’ll ‘ave ter chuck yer orf the bus right now.’

‘But that’s exactly what I wan...’

‘That does it!’ snarled the driver. He slammed on the brakes, sending passengers tumbling toward the front of the bus in an unseemly tangle of arms and legs.

‘Orf! Right now!’ the driver commanded. The door swung open and Rick leaped to the pavement.

‘Thank you so much,’ he said to the cloud of noxious fumes that took up the space where the bus had been a moment ago.


Rick was not a fit man. He hoped that the bus hadn’t carried him too far past the shelter where he had seen Shelly. He began to run, but he didn’t get far before he got the stitch. Panting painfully, he decided that a brisk walk would suffice. Except it didn’t. By the time he reached the shelter, Shelly had disappeared – again.

Rick collapsed onto a bench in the bus shelter and held his head in his hands. What was going on? He was seeing Shelly, yet it couldn’t be Shelly because he felt no connection with her. He must be hallucinating. I ought to see a doctor, he thought. One who helps people who think they are going potty.

‘Oh, you don’t need to do that,’ said Shelly. ‘You’re a bit of a wally sometimes, but definitely not potty.’

‘What?’ Rick snapped his head erect. He could have sworn that he was in the bus shelter alone, yet here she was, large as life and sitting right next to him.

‘Shelly! Is that really you?’ He flung his arms around her in a passionate embrace and encountered nothing but empty air. ‘What the ...?’

‘Careful, Rick. You nearly threw yourself off the seat then.’ Shelly was now sitting on his other side.

‘How did you do that? I say ... are you a – a – ghost?’

‘Of course I’m a ghost. Don’t look so surprised. You knew jolly well that I was dead.’

‘You don’t look like a ghost.’

‘Have you seen many ghosts?’

‘I’ve ... I’ve seen pictures.’

Shelly rolled her eyes.

‘Look, I’ve never met any ghosts before,’ said Rick, ‘but aren’t they meant to look all pale and sort of transparent? You look just like ... well ... just like you always do ... or did.’

‘Exactly. What you see is just your memory of me. I’m just a disembodied spirit now. My real body is ... ah ... not very nice after being dead for a couple of weeks. It started to bloat when ...’

‘Stop! Too much information. Please, just let me see you as you were.’


‘So, what was all that business with the bus? If you wanted to talk to me, why didn’t you stay put?’

‘Sorry about that,’ said Shelly, ‘but I’m new at this sort of thing. You made it harder for me by not really believing what you were seeing.’

‘But physically, you don’t exist?’

‘That’s right. That’s why I need your help.’

‘What kind of help?’

‘I want you to kill someone.’

‘Eh? You can’t be serious.’

‘Never more so.’

‘You know I can’t kill anything bigger than a cockroach.’

‘Let this be the exception to prove the rule. She’ll be after you next if you don’t.’

‘She? You want me to kill a woman?’

‘A witch.’

‘There’s no such thing as a ...’

‘Don’t say it. Until a few minutes ago, you wouldn’t have believed there were any such things as ghosts, either.’

‘The police ...’

‘Don’t be silly. The police don’t even know I’m dead. They won’t do a thing without evidence.’

‘OK, so what makes you think the witch will be after me?’

‘It’s because you are Hansel’s direct descendent.’


‘Hansel. You know. He had a sister called Gretel.’

‘Oh yes. Of course. They’re characters in a Grimm brothers fairy tale. They weren’t real people.’

‘They were you know. A lot of fairy tales are based on folk lore, and folk lore is often based on real people and events. Hansel and Gretel were real alright – and they did kill a witch.’

‘And you think I am Hansel’s descendant?’

‘I know it. There are thirteen generations between the two of you.’

‘So Hansel must have lived about ...’

‘Four hundred years ago.’

‘Hang on a minute. Are you saying the witch that Hansel and Gretel killed has come back from the dead to take revenge on me?’

‘No, no, they didn’t kill the witch. They killed her sister Cassandra. The witch who’s coming after you was never dead in the first place.’

‘So she’s four hundred years old?’

‘Oh, lots older than that. Witches never die of old age. And they can keep illness at bay indefinitely with powerful potions. But they can be killed. Most of them were hung or burned at the stake more than 300 years ago – but not all of them.’

‘Does this witch of yours have a name?’

‘She’s not my witch, and her name is Crunella. They used to call her Crunella the Cruel.’

‘And she wants to kill me?’

‘She has something worse than that in mind.’

‘Charming!’ Rick looked into Shelly’s face. ‘You seem to be enjoying this,’ he said.

‘Don’t be stupid. Of course I’m not. I just want you to understand that this is serious.’

‘OK. Let’s do it then. Let’s go kill crazy Crunella.’ Rick leapt to his feet and strode off down the path. He stopped as a thought occurred to him. ‘Er...where do we find her?’

‘We catch a bus,’ said Shelly.

2. The Bus

They boarded the next bus that came along. Rick secured the last two seats. A lady of generous proportions began to sit down next to him.

‘Sorry, lady. You can’t sit there. That’s my wife’s seat.’

‘She doesn’t know I’m here,’ said Shelly inside Rick’s head.

The lady of generous proportions glared at Rick and eyed the empty seat. ‘Well, she isn’t here now, and my feet are aching’. She dropped her bulk into the seat. Rick thought he heard a fart as she landed, but it might have been the air escaping from the tortured upholstery.

‘Jeeze. I hope she gets off soon,’ he muttered.

‘Why?’ enquired the lady of generous proportions. ‘Are you trying to get rid of your wife?’

‘I wasn’t talking to ... oh, never mind.’

‘Don’t worry,’ said Shelly inside Rick’s head. ‘We’ll be on our own quite soon now.’

Rick tried to ignore the lady of generous proportions by staring through the misted window glass. He couldn’t see much. Just the glow of lights as they sped by. Then the lights disappeared as the bus entered a tunnel. That’s odd. I didn’t know there was a tunnel on this route.

It was as dark inside the bus as it was outside – except for the glow of headlights on the road ahead. But something was missing. He ought to have seen the silhouettes of passengers against the glow, but he saw nothing. Even the lady of generous proportions had somehow vanished from her seat without him noticing.

‘Shelly! What’s happening? Where has everyone gone?’

‘It’s OK,’ said Shelly. ‘We’ll be through in a minute.’

‘Through? Through what?’

Before Shelly could answer, the bus emerged from the tunnel into brilliant daylight. ‘This is impossible,’ exclaimed Rick. ‘Daylight in the middle of the night? For goodness sake, Shelly, where are we?’

‘We’ve just passed into another dimension. I’m sorry. I should have warned you.’

‘Another dimension? Good grief, old girl, what else haven’t you warned me about?’

‘Nothing much, I promise. But I didn’t think you would believe me if I told you about this place. You had to see it for yourself.’

‘I see it, but I don’t believe it.’

The bus ground to a rattling halt and was at once shrouded in a cloud of its own exhaust smoke.

‘We get off here,’ said Shelly. There was nobody else on board. Even the driver had gone. Rick rose to his feet, went to the door, and looked out through the thinning smoke. He saw a forest that reminded him of a scene from Snow White. He wouldn’t have been surprised to see the seven dwarves hi-hoeing their way through the trees.

‘You have to get off. Now!’ insisted Shelly, ‘Quickly, before the exhaust smoke clears.’

‘What ... why ...?’ She gave him an impatient shove and sent him tumbling onto the grass. She jumped down after him. Rick climbed to his feet and looked around. ‘I say, old thing, was that really ... oh! Where’s the bus?’

‘It’s gone. It didn’t belong in this world. I had to shove you off while you were gawping at the scenery or you would be gone too.’

‘Well, that’s just great. Stranded in a strange land that doesn’t exist – and no way back.’ Shelly was unperturbed. She hadn’t given Rick the whole story yet.

3. The Forest

Shelly led the way into the forest. ‘Come on, slowcoach,’ she said. ‘Take my hand.’

He did so, and then said, ‘Wait!’


‘Your hand. I can feel it.’

‘Of course you can. I can feel yours too.’

‘But you are just a spirit. How can I feel your hand if you don’t have one?’

The question seemed to rattle Shelly for a moment, but then she smiled and said, ‘My body is real in this dimension. Come on.’

‘You seem to know an awful lot about this world.’

‘I’m a quick learner. I haven’t had much else to do since Crunella brought me here.’

‘I thought she killed you.’

‘Well, she did, of course, but ... Look, its all rather complicated. There’ll be plenty of time to talk about it later. Right now, we have to concentrate on finding our way to Crunella’s place.’

‘A gingerbread cottage, I suppose.’

‘Not a bit. That part of the story was a fairytale, but she used witchcraft to make her place look attractive to kids.’

‘She liked kids?’

‘Oh, yes. She still does, especially the fat ones. Slow roasted is best, with gravy and potatoes.’


‘Just yanking your chain, my dear. My, but you’re touchy today.’

Rick said nothing. Shelly seemed so relaxed, so sure of herself. He, on the other hand, was fast becoming a nervous wreck. He wondered which he would lose first: his life or his sanity.


They continued deeper into the forest.

‘This is the place,’ said Shelly at last.

‘Thank goodness for that,’ said Rick. ‘We must have been walking for hours.’

‘Time has no meaning in this world.’

‘Tell that to my aching legs.’

They had reached a grassy clearing at the centre of which stood a stone structure about the size of a basketball court. Its crenulated walls suggested that it had at some stage been a fort. There were no windows. They could see just one door, and that looked capable of withstanding a battering ram.

‘I’ve never seen anything less like a gingerbread cottage,’ said Rick. ‘What are we supposed to do now?’

‘We go inside, of course.’

‘Are you nuts? What happens when Crunella opens the door? I haven’t even got a weapon.’

‘She isn’t home.’

‘How do you know that?’

‘I just do.’

‘The door will be locked.’

‘It isn’t!’

‘How do...’

‘For goodness sake just shut up and do it.’ Shelly’s voice had taken on a harsh tone that Rick didn’t like, but it was a tone that commanded obedience. He reached for the door handle and turned it. The door wasn’t locked. He pushed it open a short way and paused. Silence. He opened the door wider and stepped inside. He paused to let his eyes become adjusted to the gloom. The only light came from oil lamps hanging from brackets around the walls.

The entire building seemed to be made up of just one room. Stone steps presumably led to the roof and battlements above. There wasn’t much furniture. Just a table, a few straight backed chairs, and a wooden rocking chair that stood next to an empty fireplace.

As his vision cleared, Rick could see a cage in a far corner of the room. It had vertical bars like those of a lion’s cage. Someone – or something – moved behind the bars.

Shelly cried out in alarm. ‘It’s a trap,’ she yelled. ‘Run, Rick. Run for your life!’

But her voice hadn’t come from behind him. It came from the other side of the room. From the cage!

Rick froze, bewildered. ‘But you’re...’

‘That’s not me behind you, it’s...’

Rick whipped around and stared at the creature who now stood in the doorframe behind him. ‘Cr-Cr-Crunella? How...?’

‘She’s a shape shifter,’ called the real Shelly from across the room. ‘She lured you here by pretending to be me!’

The crone who stood barring Rick’s escape no longer looked anything like Shelly. She was old – incredibly old. Her fiercely furrowed face would make a desiccated prune look smooth as a baby’s bottom. Her clothes were medieval in style; unwashed, fetid and stained with something that Rick would rather not think about. Festering sores fought for space on such of her skin as Rick could see. Her eyes were backlit red as if her brain were afire. Something alive infested her scraggy grey hair. She favoured Rick with a toothless grin that sent a chill down his spine.

‘Y-you?’ said Rick. ‘It’s been you with me all the time? The one I’m supposed to kill?’

‘You’re not going to be killing anyone, you stupid little man,’ replied Crunella in a voice reminiscent of a partially blocked drain.

‘Why did you bring me to this place?’

‘Because I want my sister back. You are going to give Cassandra the life that your ancestors took from her.’

‘Why me? I didn’t kill your sister.’

‘Because you are Hansel’s thirteenth direct descendent. Thirteen is the mystic number. The potion wouldn’t have worked with any descendent older than you.’

‘What potion? You’re not making any sense. What have you done to Shelly?’

‘Enough! It’s time to put you ...’

‘No! It’s not! In a reckless fit of rage, Rick launched himself at Crunella. Together, they crashed to the floor with Rick on top. He grabbed Crunella by the hair. In that moment, he could have smashed her head into the stone floor and killed her, but her bug-infested hair slipped through his fingers – and the moment was lost.

Crunella muttered something in a strange tongue. An incantation of some kind. Wham! Rick flew back as if struck by a huge fist. He heard Shelly call out in alarm, ‘Ricky!’ Then he struck the wall and sank into darkness.

4. The Cage

When Rick regained consciousness, he found himself lying on the straw-strewn floor of the cage. His head rested on someone’s lap – Shelly’s lap! Memory came back in a rush. He sat bolt upright. His head exploded with pain.

‘Ooh! Jeeze! What happened?’

‘Hey,’ said Shelly. ‘Take it easy. You took a nasty smack on the head. How many fingers have I got?’


‘How many fingers have I got?’

‘What the dickens are you on about?’

‘I’m trying to find out if you have double vision.’

‘Oh! I thought you were making a rude gesture. My vision’s OK. But I can’t see Crunella. Where did she go?’

‘She left. She’s been gone for half an hour.’

‘Do you know why she wants to keep us alive?’

‘Not us, just you. She kept me alive to study me and my mannerisms so she could fool you into thinking that she was me. She’ll want to kill me now. I’ve served my purpose.’

‘And what purpose was that?’

‘Crunella couldn’t return to our world except as a spirit. Her spirit could never have brought you here, so she pretended to be my ghost and lure you here that way.’

‘What does Crunella want with me?’

‘She has a potion that can bring slain people back from the dead. But the recipe is not an easy one to fill. Among other things, she needs the living entrails of the killer...’

‘I don’t think I’ve got the stomach for that.’

‘This isn’t a joke, Rick.’

‘Perhaps not, but why should I worry? I didn’t kill anyone.’

‘You didn’t let me finish. I was about to say, “... or the killer’s thirteenth direct descendent.” That’s you.’

‘I see. Well, that does make a difference. How do you know about this potion anyway?’

‘Crunella told me all about it.’

‘You don’t seem all that concerned, Shelly. Do you know something I don’t?’

‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Go over there to that corner of our cell. Then brush the straw aside.’

Rick did as he was told. He was surprised to find what looked like a trapdoor concealed under the straw. ‘Is this what I think it is?’

‘Yes, it leads to a tunnel. Someone must have built it as a way of escape if this place came under siege. Crunella has no idea that the tunnel is there. The trapdoor was covered in a thick layer of dust when I found it.’

‘You could have escaped then. Why didn’t you?’

‘I was waiting for you. We couldn’t use the tunnel more than once without revealing it to Crunella.’

‘We should go then. Now!’

‘No. Crunella could come back at any minute. She might see the open trapdoor before we have time to get clear.’

‘What do you suggest?’

‘It’s getting late. I think we should wait until Crunella comes back. She won’t do anything to us before tomorrow. We’ll have a better chance of getting away if we know where she is. We just need to wait until she falls asleep.’

5. The Tunnel

Shelly slept while they waited. Rick lay awake but feigned sleep. He heard Crunella come back. He heard her come over to the cage to check on them, and he heard her go and slump into the rocking chair where she slept.

The oil lamps were still burning. Rick watched Crunella and waited for her to fall asleep, but he didn’t need light to know when that happened. Her snores were loud enough to shake dust from the rafters. Satisfied that movement wouldn’t disturb her; Rick woke Shelly and pulled the trapdoor open. It’s hinges groaned, but Crunella still snored on. He jumped down into the tunnel and then helped Shelly down after him. She couldn’t reach the trapdoor to pull it closed. That didn’t matter. They hoped to be long gone before Crunella discovered their escape.

Rick flashed his cell phone to inspect the tunnel. It didn’t look safe. Its wooden supports had rotted away a long time ago. It wouldn’t take much for the unsupported earth to fall in on them.

‘How far does this tunnel go?’ Rick asked.

‘I don’t know,’ replied Shelly. ‘I never dared to come down to check it out. Crunella might have come back at any time and noticed me missing.’

‘OK, let’s go then. Be careful not to bump the walls or roof.’

‘Are you accusing me of having a big bum?’

‘I said bump, not bum, but if the cap fits...’

‘I never tried wearing a cap on my bum.’

‘Don’t be smart. Just be careful, that’s all.’

‘OK, Grumpy!’

‘Better to be Grumpy than Dopey.’

‘Who are you calling dopy?’ She gave him a poke in the posterior.

‘Hey, watch it. You nearly made me drop my cell phone.’

‘We don’t need that for light now. Haven’t you noticed? Nature is showing us the way’. She was referring to an eerie green light that came from the damp walls of the tunnel. Masses of glow-worms, perhaps, or some kind of fluorescent fungus.

‘Yeah, I can see it now. I hope that’s not radioactive,’ said Rick.

‘Radioactive glow-worms?’ said Shelly. ‘Hardly.’ But they moved along a little faster anyway.

They soon emerged in a roomy space lined with tree roots. Ahead, they could see moonlight filtering through foliage. This was their way out. They clambered through the tangle of roots and shrubbery that concealed the tunnel from the outside. They were free!

‘Eew, I’m all muddy now,’ said Shelly.

‘Oh, for goodness sake,’ said Rick. ‘This is no time to worry about a bit of mud on your jeans. Truth be known, they are probably cleaner than you are after two weeks in that cage without a shower.’

Shelly sniffed at her armpits and screwed up her face. ‘So, what do we do now that we are out?’

‘We go back in’

‘Don’t be silly. We’ll just end up back in the cage.’

‘No we won’t. Not if we go back in through the door.’

‘Wouldn’t it be better to put some distance between us and this place before Crunella finds us gone?’

‘No. We can’t leave without popping her or she’ll keep after us until we are both dead.’

‘That’s tough talk for a guy who never killed anything bigger than a cockroach.’

‘Things are different now. Besides, it won’t be like killing a person. Crunella is a...a...’


‘I wish.’

‘It would be easier if she were a cockroach. What if the door’s locked?’

‘It won’t be. Nobody in their right mind would burgle a witch’s lair. Present company excepted, of course.’

‘OK, let’s do it then.’

6. The Rest of the Story

The door wasn’t locked. Rick cautiously opened it a little way.

‘You’d better wait out here,’ he said.


‘Because this is a job for a man.’


‘Seriously, I don’t need your help. If this turns to custard, you’ll be safer out here.

‘So, are you planning to smother her with a bowl of custard?’

‘I have a better idea than that. I’m going in now, so you be a good girl and wait here.’

‘Rick, I should really come...’


‘I’m not a dog.’

‘I’m glad to hear it,’ Rick smiled. ‘Otherwise you’d be a bitch.’

‘You have yet to find out how much of a bitch I can be. But I’ll keep out of your way. Go and do your hero thing. Just don’t get yourself killed.’

Rick stepped through the door and waited for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. Crunella’s snores confirmed that she was still asleep. He crept over to the cage and pulled out as much of the straw as he could reach. He carried this over to Crunella and piled it under and around her rocking chair. Then he went and fetched one of the oil lamps. Crunella, you ugly old hag, you are about to become a real hot chick! He swung the lamp over his head ready to smash it down into the pyre that he had built.

But just then, Crunella woke up. Her eyes blazed with malevolence. ‘How did you escape?’ she screeched. Rick froze like a schoolboy caught in the act of writing something rude on the blackboard. Crunella muttered a hasty incantation. Wham! Rick felt himself thrown to the floor. He staggered to his feet and attempted to swing the lamp, but Crunella threw another whammy, and Rick couldn’t move.

‘You stupid little man,’ snarled Crunella. ‘I should kill you right now, but I need you alive for tomorrow. How did you get out of the cage?’

‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ said a voice from behind her. Crunella swung round to see Shelly standing right behind her. Shelly was smiling, and it wasn’t a friendly smile. The witch opened her mouth to voice another incantation, but received instead a face full of lighting oil. Shelly had found the can where Crunella kept the supply for her lamps. Crunella gagged and spluttered. Shelly threw the rest of the oil down the front of Crunella’s dress. Distracted as she was by Shelly’s attack, the witch lost her hold over Rick.

‘Shelly,’ he cried, ‘didn’t I tell you to stay ...’

‘Not now, Rick. Your bitch has come to save you, but I need your help. Quickly – throw the lamp.’

Rick looked down at the lamp he was still holding, and then threw it at Crunella. Its metal base struck her on the forehead, briefly stunning her. But the lamp didn’t break. It bounced from Crunella’s head onto the stone floor and then broke. The flame went out. Its contents escaped harmlessly onto the floor, well clear of the straw.

‘For goodness sake,’ said Shelly. ‘Do I have to do everything myself?’ She ran to fetch another lamp.

Crunella quickly recovered from the blow to her head. She had started to recite another incantation by the time Shelly got hold of a fresh lamp. ‘Crunella!’ Shelly shouted, and lobbed the lamp from where she stood. Crunella turned to face this new threat – just in time for the lamp to smash into her chest. The oil-soaked fabric of her dress exploded in flame. Crunella shrieked with pain and rage, and then started to mutter. At once, the flames began to die down. 

‘She’s reciting something that’s killing the fire,’ cried Shelly. ‘Stop her, Rick, quickly.’

Rick looked around. The only object within reach was the rocking chair. He grasped this by its back and swung it over his head. The flames were almost out when he brought the chair down on the back of Crunella’s head, cutting her off in mid incantation. He winced as he heard her skull crack. The fire flared.

Using the chair in the manner of a lion tamer, Rick shoved Crunella forward into the pyre of straw. It burst into flames, adding to the fire that was already consuming the witch’s clothing and charring her festering flesh.

Shelly ran to Rick and flung her arms around him. They clung to each other and watched in horror as Crunella’s body began to smoke, but instead of burning, it began to melt and bubble like grilled cheese before vaporising into a foul green fog. Soon, there was nothing to see but the smouldering remains of the straw and rocking chair.

‘I don’t think she will be coming back from that,’ said Rick.

‘That’s good,’ said Shelly, ‘but now we have another problem. How do we get back home?’

‘Maybe,’ said Rick, ‘we could emulate Dorothy’s method of getting home from Oz. As I recall, she just repeated, “There’s no place like home” while clicking her heels together, and bingo, there she was.’

‘Won’t work.’

‘Why not?’

‘She had magic shoes. Red ones. But that was in the movie. In the book, she wore black ...’

‘OK, OK. I wasn’t serious about that. How did Crunella bring you here?’

‘I don’t know. I fell asleep on a bus and woke up in that cage.’

‘A bus! That must be it. We’ll go back to where that bus let me off and ...’

Before Rick could finish, the floor beneath them began to shake and rumble.

‘Ricky!’ Shelly cried. ‘Something’s happening. Something bad.’

The rumble grew into a roar like that of a jet engine on full power. The room began to rotate around them. Faster and faster it spun. Light faded into blackness, laced with flashes of lightning. They were soon swept up in the vortex of a violent tornado.

‘It’s OK ... I think ...’ gasped Rick.

‘I can’t hear you,’ screamed Shelly. ‘The noise ...’

‘I think it’s OK,’ shouted Rick in Shelly’s ear. ‘The witch is dead. The force that she used to hold us in this dimension is trying to eject us back into our world.’

‘Oh Rick, I am so scared.’

‘Me too.’

The couple clung together as they had never clung before.

They lost consciousness.


‘Hey, you two. Get a room why dontcha?’

Rick and Shelly came round to find themselves locked in an embrace. They were seated in the bus shelter where Rick’s adventure had begun.

‘Sorry old chap,’ said Rick to the unshaven gent who had addressed them. ‘My wife and I are not usually given to public displays of intimacy, but we’ve just melted this dreadful witch, you see, and...’

But the unshaven gent was already retreating. ‘Nutters!’ he muttered.


The End


© Copyright 2020 Joe Stuart. All rights reserved.

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