Okay, I confess. This is another flash I previously posted, however in its original form it was only around 350 words and this version is more than double that.
They were hers by right of salvage but she was never meant to keep them. It’s not as though she was one of us, she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I just thought it was safer to let her wear them while the rest of us voted on who was to inherit them.
You have to understand something about the ruby slippers. They were never meant for mere mortals. The only ones who can safely wear them for any length of time are we witches. The chaos that child has created in her world is nothing compared to the chaos she left behind when she took those slippers home with her. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It takes the power of six witches to keep Oz going. It can be done with four, but only if one of the four is wearing the ruby slippers. And it has to be the strongest witch wearing them. Here’s the secret of the ruby slippers – they’re sentient. They have a will of their own and it takes a great deal of power to control them, to bend them to our will.
We were already down to five witches (and one incompetent wizard) when the house landed. It served her right really, if Eastwitch hadn’t been teasing those pesky munchkins, she wouldn’t have been standing there in the first place. And the munchkins! How could they think they deserved the ruby slippers? It’s not as though they’d fit any of them. And between the lot of them they couldn’t raise enough power to swat a fly, there was no way they could have controlled them.
So I pretended the slippers couldn’t leave the child’s feet and then sent her to that fool wizard, who should never have been put in charge of the Emerald City in the first place, thinking he’d keep her out of trouble while we figured out who the new owner was to be. It took us a while to get through the tests and trials, but finally it was decided that the Westwitch was the most powerful witch left and she should have the slippers. The rest of us were a little low on energy, so it seemed easiest to just have the wizard send the girl West.
I don’t know when, exactly, the girl picked up her entourage, but they were pretty unimpressive – a ratty old scarecrow, a rusty tin man, and a mangy lion. The three of them had been a pain in the wizard’s ass for years, which is probably why he sent them along with the girl. That’s where it really all started to fall apart. Instead of telling her to deliver the ruby slippers to their rightful owner, the old coot turned it into some kind of mythic quest. I think he was just upset he’d been left out of the selection process.
The sense of direction of the girl and her friends was abysmal. They seemed to travel every which way but West. And it was like they were magnets for trouble. Didn’t they see the signs for the field of poppies?
Of course Westwitch got impatient, which she usually does, and tried to retrieve the slippers herself, just making matters worse. I tried to intervene but I was too late. The water had already been thrown and the girl was back in the Emerald City. That rumour that I was the one who told her about the power of the slippers? Lies, all lies.
We knew, of course, the moment the slippers left our dimension. The temperature must have dropped about ten degrees. A series earthquakes took care of Westwitch’s castle, which is a shame really, it would have come in handy as a summer getaway.
Since technically it was my fault we lost not one, but two witches – and the ruby slippers – I was the logical choice to retrieve them. Me, who doesn’t have an adventurous bone in her body. I was outfitted with suitable clothing and a tracking device, and here I am.
Now, can anyone tell me the way to Kansas?