Your feet are killing you. In those blood-red, spangly things, two sizes too small. Sheer magic, was how you’d got them on. Now she wants them off.

Greedy bitch. How she’d grabbed your whole life, your man, wasn’t enough. She wants them shoes. Bad.

Face to face, you are, in that tower room. Hers, green and pointy, with a too-red mouth, slit-eyes like Renee Z. That “little black dress” she’s too sexy for is tight as those shoes.

In your frumpy blue gingham, you feel big as a house. Underneath is a scarlet G-string. But only he would know that.

Around her, winged monkeys check you out, curiously. Hop around like retards. Dancing. That’s the rule. In her world, no matter what, keep dancing.

That’s how he fell. Into her world.

This picture window, you’re at, above her forest. Sneering trees, bug-eyed owls, you see them all. That Munchkin gimp, who’d just hung himself. Neck broke, mouth zipped shut, he’s still better off than him. . . .

‘Cos the gimp got away.

In the distance, Emerald City taunts you, like a postcard from a tropical paradise you’ve got no bucks to visit. With a Wizard that’s MIA. Bummer.

Your toes feel pinched. She smirks, ‘cos you can’t flex them. But there’s more to life than flexing toes. Or dancing around like a fool, you think.

And where’s Toto? you wonder.

She points behind you.

In the monkey’s hands Toto is clutched, teeth bared. Growling. Toto can take care of himself. You stop worrying.

But not about him . . .

Smirking, she points the other way.

No! you say, about that crystal ball. I won’t look in it! A giant snow globe, it looks like, but it’s a trick. You know it’s a trick.

So why didn’t he? you feel like screaming.

You don’t want to, but you can’t look away.

Her smirk widens, so she looks like the Grinch. Her chimp entourage moves in closer.

So do you.

Inside the globe, the snow stops. Everything goes black.

Next, swirly shapes, and colors. Ugly, mismatched colors. Mustard yellow, snot-green, an almost-red . . .

Then . . . You suck in your breath. Him!

On the edge of the bed, he’s huddled, trembling. Face hidden. Veins protrude from his hands, as he clutches his face, his curly black hair. Like he would tear his hair out.

Oh, Carlos, you whisper. She snickers.

Walls the color of dried blood. Yellow sheets all rumpled, like somebody was just fucked. No, raped.

This sense of grief, like a smell, hovers over him. Never have you seen anyone this sad. Never felt so sad, yourself. It’s like seeing him dead.

Carlos . . . You paw the globe. I’m here in Oz, in the Witch’s castle. But I’m not beat, yet. Tears burn your eyes, but you don’t wipe them. Carlos . . . Don’t you give up, either!

Monkey hoots over the Witch’s cackles.

Wearily, he releases his face, lays down. Eyes wild, he searches the ceiling for . . . something. His lips move, but you can’t hear him. “Dor-o-thy” comes out silent, and tortured.

On the wall behind him, “SURRENDER, DOROTHY!” appears in glossy white.

Never! you tell this bitch. I’ll win him back!

Ya think?

You can’t keep him. Your teeth are clenched. He’ll die first.

Ya think? Now she’s yawning.

Are you seeing things, or did that scene just change?

Same room, same guy, but something is different. That . . . look. He’s out of bed, grabbing for something, on the cluttered dresser.

Next to her photo, in the tacky frame, he finds it. A simple carpet knife. No fancy weapon. Couple of bucks at the hardware store.

Your heart races. Carlos . . .

Back on the bed, with her picture in his lap, he smiles, bitterly. Flicks the blade open. Eyes on her green pointy face, he drags the blade across his wrist. . . .

No! you scream, as their laughter surrounds you.

Blood drips on her photo. Bright red, and shimmery. Down that crystal ball, blood pours. His face is magnified: wild, mouth open in a silent scream, drenched with his own blood!

She laughs loudest. That witchy cackle has hoarsened, from laughing so hard. Slapping her knee, she backs up, closer and closer, to that window.

Those shoes are killing you. But without them, you’re fucked.

Her howling gets to you. In that green face, her teeth chomp your nerves raw.

Still laughing, she backs up, right to the sill. For a moment, she totters. Wild-eyed, she looks around for help, but the chimps won’t stop dancing.

It’s worth it, you realize. Now you’re the one laughing...

Loudly . . . maniacally . . .

As you kick off those shoes . . .

And lunge.

"Meanwhile, At the Witch's Castle"

Copyright: © 2011 Cindy Rosmus


Cindy Rosmus is a New York textbook editor by day, a hardboiled Jersey female by night. Her fiction has appeared in Black Petals, The Beat, The Cynic, Red Fez, Zygote in My Coffee, Hardboiled, NVF, MediaVirus, The Monsters Next Door, Out of the Gutter, Devil Blossoms, 13th Warrior Review, Mysterical-E, A Twist of Noir, and Beat to a Pulp. She has four collections of stories out: Angel of Manslaughter, Gutter Balls, Calpurnia’s Window, and No Place Like Home. She is the editor of the e-zine, Yellow Mama. She is also a thrill seeker, a Gemini, and a Christian.
This story has been collected in Of Shadow and Substance. Published by Word Weavers , Copyright 2008. Originally appeared in of Zygote in My Coffee, Issue # 104, March 2008.


  1. Dammit Cindy. There's laughter and coffee spit all over my keyboard. Teach me to read you when I'm drinking my morning java. I dig the reverb on this jazzy variation. (no, that doesn't make sense. so what?)Just proves my rule: See Rosmus on anything, read it. Period.

  2. Cindy, I'm a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz, well the whole Oz series really, and I think you did an excellent job on this, Frank Baum would be proud.

  3. DAMN. There's no horror like Cindy's! There's no horror like Cindy's! There's no horror like Cindy's! (If I click my heels will it take me to her world?) I love your nightmares, girl!

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