I'm sort of in the process of just working on what is speaking to me at a particular moment. That's very common for me right now. --Bruce Springsteen, January 9th, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"The Wicked Witch"

Blogging Friends.... While writing fictional books, it often feels as though I am watching a movie play out within my own crazy, never shuts down head!! Odd, I know!! But while writing fictional books, I can "see" every character who I've created. Certain things that they do. Trees. Bushes. {Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!!} And while writing fictional books, it always feels as though I am the actor who plays every single character--girl or boy--as they leap to life out of my head!! Odd, I know!! But while writing fictional books, I literally get into my characters' heads!! Every. Freakin'. Time!! And as so many films are based on true stories? This fictional children's book is not exempt!! For it's {loosely} based on a true childhood story!! {See. When I was growing up, some oddball friends did, actually, tell me that my next door neighbor, Miss Chang, was a witch who lived in a haunted house. And, being as gullible as I am? I believed this story!! Then--several years later!!--I was blessed to know Miss Chang as a nice elderly Chinese/American lady!!} Now. As filmmakers always create changes to their based-on-a-true-story movies, I definitely did with mine. I added characters. I built a plot. I infused humor.... Love you later.

"Creating beautiful mosaic artwork" with the broken, shattered pieces of my lifelong dream to be an author....

For my dear Blogging Friends who have children. You may print this story off and read it to them!! I am alright with that!! Enjoy!!

"The Wicked Witch"

Autumn arrived, as Summer's seemingly long days with hot temperatures were at last over. Yes, the October air outside felt much more brisk than it had just months before!! Tree's leaves were changing colors everywhere from red, yellow, orange and brown. Soon, they will all fall off leaving nothing but bare branches!! Pumpkins had been harvested and were now a bright orange. Soon they will be gutted, carved and lit up on Halloween night!! Juicy sweet-tasting apples were once again ripe. Soon they will be peeled, cut up and baked into pies with cinnamon-sugar on top!! Yes, Autumn had definitely arrived!!

A short, silver-haired, old lady named Charlotte lives all alone in her little white-painted house. An enormous-sized green bush frames over half of Charlotte's small backyard. {It makes a natural "fence" which provides privacy!!} And in the very middle of Charlotte's backyard is an enormous-sized apple tree with thick branches. During Autumn, it's covered with ripe, juicy, sweet-tasting fruit!! Underneath the tree, there are often several rotting, wormy apples that have dropped. Among Charlotte's next door neighbors is a brown-haired, hazel-eyed ten-year old girl named Autumn.

Children, as everyone very well knows, can have active, crazy, wild, and somewhat weird imaginations. Stories that they tell other kids, friends, or classmates are usually passed on from person to person. Like an untrue rumor. This is exactly what a group of three ten-year old neighbors named Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley did. Their active, crazy, wild, weird imaginations created an insane ghost story. And it all began with Sarah....

"Hey, Dimetri, Stanley," she said in a mysterious voice one clear blue sky day, "You know the old lady who lives next door to Autumn? I heard that she is a wicked witch!!"

"Oh. My. Gosh!!" exclaimed Stanley, a shocked tone in his voice, "Oh.... My.... Gosh!! A wicked witch?!"

"Well, that explains why her skin is so wrinkly," said Dimetri in a matter of fact way, "Huh. A wicked witch?! Wow.... She probably has a huge wart on her big nose, too!! Just like the wicked witch character in Snow White!!"

"Yes, it does explain why her skin is so wrinkly!! Good point, Dimetri!!" Sarah continued, "And I heard that the wicked witch does, in fact, have a huge wart on her big nose!!"

"That house is probably haunted, too!!" said Stanley.

"Oh, of course!!" Sarah continued, "I heard that the wicked witch's house is haunted by ghosts and spirits!!"

"Whoa, creepy!!" said Dimetri, "Her dead husband is probably the one who haunts that house!! Am I right, Sarah? Or dead pets that the wicked witch owned haunts her house!!"

"Maybe...." Sarah continued, "I heard that the ghosts and spirits who haunt this wicked witch's house are, in fact, more than one!! Not just her dead husband. Or deceased pets, even. I heard that these ghosts and spirits are anyone who has ever lived in her little old white house!! They date all the way back to its very first homeowners!!"

"Wow!!" exclaimed Stanley, "That haunted house looks really old!! It was probably built and bought well over one-hundred years ago!!"

Sarah nodded in agreement.

"Good sense of observation, Stanley!!" she said, "I heard that the haunted house was built and bought in 1904!! If my math is correct, that was well over one-hundred years ago!!"

"Wow. Just.... Wow!!" said Dimetri, "Over one-hundred years ago?! Really?! Just imagine how many people would have lived in her haunted house throughout the course of that many years!!"

"I know, right?" exclaimed Sarah, "Isn't it exciting?! To think that the wicked witch's old haunted house has over one-hundred years-worth of homeowners!!"

Suddenly, Dimetri gasped.

"I just thought of something!!" he said, wide-eyed, "What if anybody ever died inside the wicked witch's haunted house?!"

"Good question, Dimetri!!" Sarah continued, "I heard that lots of people have died in that haunted house over the years!!"

Then Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley all stood speechless for several minutes. Lots of people have died in that little, old, white-painted house?! Suddenly they were all feeling quite haunted by this ghost story!!

Finally, Stanley broke the silence.
   
"Autumn lives next door to a wicked witch?!" he said, "Does she know about all of this?"

"I have not told her yet," replied Sarah.

A sorry expression was written on her face.

"She needs to know!!" said Dimetri, "I mean, come on. Autumn lives next door to a haunted house!!"

So Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley found their neighbor friend. She was at home. They explained everything to her. Autumn listened, with absolutely no interruptions.

Finally, she spoke.

"Wait, what?!" said Autumn, "My next door neighbor is a.... a.... a.... Wicked witch?! How can that be?"

"It is true," Sarah mysteriously said, "And nobody can make eye contact with this wicked witch!! Nobody. Because I heard that if your eyes meet her's, she will cast a spell on you!!"

"My next door neighbor is a wicked witch...." repeat Autumn.

She, too, believed it.

"I have an idea!!" announced Sarah, "Let's all play a game of 'Dare'!! I will go first. I dare.... Autumn!! She will walk into the wicked witch's backyard.... Alone!!"

"I do not think that is such a good idea!!" protested Stanley, "Nobody should walk into the wicked witch's backyard!!"

"I can't but agree," said Dimetri, "Especially not Autumn!! Because she lives next door to the wicked witch!!"

"I will do it," said Autumn.

She was somehow feeling very, very, very brave.

Autumn swallowed hard. She inhaled some deep, deep, deep breaths. Then, as Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley nervously watched her every move, Autumn walked down a city sidewalk. She passed the enormous-sized green bush. Autumn turned a corner. She tiptoed up the wicked witch's steep driveway. And then Autumn disappeared into her next door neighbor's backyard.

This is it, she thought, There's no turning back. And I made it in before the wicked witch could even see me!! Yes!!

Meanwhile, Dimetri and Stanley started feeling very guilty about sending Autumn into the wicked witch's backyard all alone. {Even though it was Sarah's idea!!}

"I.... I.... I.... I think we should go in after her," Stanley bravely suggested, "Come on!!"

"Go in after her?!" said Sarah, shocked, "What are you, insane?! The wicked witch will make eye contact with us and cast one of her spells!! No. I am not going in there!!"

"Well.... We are," declared Dimetri, "You can stay here and be a chicken all you want, Sarah. But.... We are going in after Autumn!!"

So they did. Dimetri and Stanley swallowed hard. They inhaled some deep, deep, deep breaths. Then, as Sarah nervously watched their every move, Dimetri and Stanley bravely walked down a city sidewalk. They passed the enormous-sized green bush. Dimetri and Stanley turned a corner. They tiptoed up the wicked witch's steep driveway. Then Dimetri and Stanley disappeared into her backyard.

Sarah followed closely behind.

Once they joined Autumn, everybody looked around the wicked witch's backyard. It was dark. For with the enormous-sized green bush and huge apple tree? It was quite shady!! Autumn could even see her home above a rusty wire fence!! But the wicked witch's house was hidden behind that enormous-sized green bush. Therefore. As long as she did not step foot into her own backyard, Sarah, Dimetri, Stanley and Autumn were safe from making any eye contact with the wicked witch!! For this way? She could not cast a spell on them!! Dimetri and Stanley started to climb the apple tree's thick branches. Sarah picked a ripe juicy sweet-tasting fruit. She started to eat it.

But Autumn stopped her.

"Wait!!" she screamed, "If my next door neighbor is truly just like the wicked witch character in Snow White, then these apples are probably poisonous!! Do not eat them!!"

Sarah immediately threw her apple onto the ground.

"Oh my goodness!!" she said, "Why didn't I think of that?! This could very well be true!!"

Soon it was time for Sarah, Dimetri, Stanley and Autumn to bravely step outside of the wicked witch's backyard. Because they could not stay trapped in there forever!! Sarah, Dimetri, Stanley and Autumn needed to go home.

They each swallowed hard. Sarah, Dimetri, Stanley and Autumn inhaled some deep, deep, deep breaths. Then they bravely started to tiptoe back down the wicked witch's steep driveway. However. Before they could, the wicked witch looked out a window. And Autumn saw her. She quickly looked away, completely terrified of making eye contact with the wicked witch. Then Autumn ran as fast as her legs could carry her, screaming loudly.

"The wicked witch saw me!!" she yelled, "The wicked witch saw me!! The wicked witch saw me!!"

"Oh no!!" exclaimed Sarah, "You did not make eye contact with her, right?!"

"No!!" answered Autumn, "But the wicked witch saw me!!"

Then, one late October day, out of curiosity, Autumn secretly did something that neither Sarah, Dimetri, or Stanley would have ever been brave enough to do. Because it was crazy. Reckless. And foolish. {All at once, really!!} Autumn walked up the wicked witch's front porch steps and rang her doorbell. Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. Autumn could feel her heart pounding hard.

This is it, she thought, There's no turning back....

The wicked witch opened her old wooden door. Autumn just stood there, completely motionless. She could not breathe or speak. And Autumn wouldn't even dare make eye contact with the wicked witch!! Because she felt terrified by Sarah, Dimetri, and Stanley's ghost story!!

"Hi there, child," said the wicked witch, "How are you doing on this beautiful Autumn day?"

There was a soft gentle grandmotherly tone in the wicked witch's voice. This took Autumn by surprise, as she definitely did not expect it!! For her next door neighbor's voice wasn't sounding raspy like the wicked witch character's in Snow White at all!! And now Autumn felt very, very, very confused. Was--or was she not--a wicked witch?!

"Did you hear me, child?" asked the wicked witch in a concerned tone of voice.

"Uh.... I.... Yeah...." began Autumn.

"Well, speak up!!" said the wicked witch in a patient tone of voice, "Don't you have something to say?"

Then--without making any eye contact with the wicked witch--speak up Autumn did.

"My friends, Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley said that you are a.... a.... a...."

"What?" asked Autumn's next door neighbor.

"A wicked witch!!" she blurt out.

Then, Autumn's next door neighbor laughed. Hard. But it was not at all a cackle sound like the wicked witch character had in Snow White!!

"Fascinating," said Autumn's next door neighbor, "A wicked witch? What else have your friends said about me?"

The wicked witch is quite amused by Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley's ghost story so far!! thought Autumn.

"They said...." continued Autumn, "Your wrinkles are proof that you are a wicked witch!!"

"Ha!!" laughed Autumn's next door neighbor, "They are called 'laugh lines'!! And when you're eighty-years old like me, you'll have them, as well!! For laugh lines are simply something that comes with age!! They cannot be avoided. What else have your friends said about me?"

Wow, the wicked witch's feelings are not even hurt by Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley's ghost story!!   

"They said...." continued Autumn, "That your house is haunted by every ghost and spirit who has ever lived there!!"

"Interesting," said the wicked witch, "But tell me. How can a little old white house be haunted? I mean. Aren't huge dark abandoned mansions usually the haunted houses? What else have your friends said about me?"

Hey, the wicked witch has a good point!! thought Autumn, Haunted houses usually are huge dark abandoned mansions!!

"Now you wait right here, child!!" the wicked witch enthusiastically said, "I will return in a minute!! Just wait right here!!"

Autumn watched as the wicked witch disappeared into her "haunted house". She was gone!! Now would be a very good time to escape!! But Autumn did not run away. For she no longer felt terrified of her next door neighbor!! Just curious. Nonetheless, Autumn was still acting cautious. For she absolutely refused to made any eye contact with the wicked witch. So Autumn waited. Soon, the wicked witch returned, as promised. In her hands she was carrying a large tray. On it were cookies and two mugs!!

"I have always believed in serving my guests yummy-tasting food," said the wicked witch, "It is a good thing that I just baked these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!! Here, try some homemade apple cider, as well!!"

"Wow!!" exclaimed Autumn, "Homemade apple cider?! We always buy ours from the store!!"

"Well, I have a huge apple tree growing in my backyard that produces tons of fruit!!" smiled the wicked witch, "Now please continue, child. What else have your friends said about me?"

The wicked witch wants to hear more of Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley's ghost story!!
   
"They said...." continued Autumn as she ate a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, "That your house was built and bought over one-hundred years ago, in 1904!! Which means. Lots of people have lived in it over the years!!"

"Your friends were very close!!" said the wicked witch, "It was built and bought in 1911. Lots of people have lived in this home. {Who I've known personally, anyway!!} My husband. He died before me. Our five children. The family Golden Retriever/Basset Hound mix. See, I've lived in this home ever since I was in my early twenties, when I married my husband. Now. As for how many people lived in this house before us? I do not know!! What else have your friends said about me?"

Wow.... thought Autumn, The wicked witch is still curious about Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley's ghost story!!   

"They said...." continued Autumn, "That lots of people died in your house over the years!!"

"Well...." said Autumn's next door neighbor, "As for those unknown homeowners who lived here before me? Yes, I do suppose that 'lots' of people could have died in this house. But, honestly? I haven't a clue!! Because I've never even thought about it!! Now, as for my husband? He died in a hospital with doctors, nurses, our kids, close family and myself by his side. What else have your friends said about me?"

Oh my goodness!! thought Autumn. The wicked witch just shared some very personal details of her Life with me, and she still wants to hear more?!

"They said...." continued Autumn, "That you have a huge wart on your big nose!! Like the wicked witch character in Snow White!!"

"A huge wart?" she said, "On my nose? I had a big ugly mole!! Which I did have removed!!"

Then the wicked witch looked closely at Autumn. She had observed that her guest was constantly looking down. Or away. For Autumn was not looking directly at her.

"What is wrong, child?" the wicked witch gently asked, "Why aren't you looking at me?"

"Because.... Because.... Because...." Autumn started to say, "My friends Sarah, Dimetri and Stanley said.... That if I make eye contact with you.... You'll cast a spell on me!!"

"Oh, nonsense!!" said the wicked witch, "You can make eye contact with me!! And I promise I will not cast any spells!! Go on!! Look into my eyes!! It will be all right!!"

Slowly, Autumn looked up. Now there truly was no turning back. Slowly, Autumn's eyes met her next door neighbor's!! They were a very pretty grey color!! Not at all enormously-sized like the wicked witch's in Snow White!!

"By the way? My name is Charlotte," said Autumn's next door neighbor, "You and your friends can stop thinking of me as 'a wicked witch'. What is your name, child?"

"Autumn," she answered, while drinking her apple cider.

"Like the beautiful season that we are in!!" smiled Charlotte, "I love it!! Nice to have finally met you, Autumn!!"

"Same here.... Charlotte," smiled Autumn.

And then a friendship was born!!  

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