Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Wizard of Oz
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Weekend Challenge:
Warning(s): Future Fic, Character Death
Word Count: 1,257
Date Written: 8 March 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Baum, not the author, and are used without permission.
She had felt this storm in her very bones for weeks before its arrival today. The wind was even now picking up as she walked through the tiny farmhouse she’d inherited years ago from her aunt and uncle. It still seemed so weird at times, like now, that she should still be here when they were long gone, their cold, dead bodies long ago lowered into the earth. She had never wanted to go out like that. She had never wanted to end her life here for here was not where she belonged, even if it was where she had grown up.
It had taken her so long to pretend to let go of the other place, but in fact, she had never had. She had simply learned to lie well and to cover the truth. If not, she would have been in that ground long before Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. As it was, she’d buried nearly everybody else.
“Come on, Toto,” she coaxed the young dog who, in so many ways, reminded her of her first best friend. Like the first dog who had gone with her over the rainbow and with whom she had shared many, many secrets, he was loyal and brave and could still be a real stinker when he wanted to be.
“We’re being called,” she murmured. She knew it was true. Nobody else, if there had been anybody else living here with them, would have heard the voices in the wind, but Dorothy did. She always did. She always heard the voices and saw the faces that others did not. She had learned not to respond to them when other people were around, but there was no one else around now. There was noone there to hear the voices in the wind or to see the tears in her eyes or the quickness to her step as she hurried to answer the call.
She sat on the rocking chair on the porch, and Toto jumped into her lap. She held the little terrier close and stroked his gray fur. The wind was getting higher now, pitching up and still calling her name. There were other voices with it, voices she hadn’t heard in so very long. “I’m here,” she whispered, wanting to cry with both joy and relief. “I’m here!”
She remembered the first twister she had experienced, the magical one that had carried her to Oz, the kingdom that had always been meant to be her real home. She remembered the strong, pungent smell of hot air swirling grass, wheat, and vegetables around in its hungry, roaring mouth. Such a smell was on the rising air now, but Dorothy had smelled that scent since her days in Oz. She had smelled with every twister that had come along to her little farm here in Kansas, but only one had ever taken her home.
“This one’s going to do it!” she whispered excitedly to Toto. “This one’s going to take us home!” The dog yipped, but she didn’t wonder if he understood what she was saying. He couldn’t. After all, despite his namesake, he wasn’t the original Toto. He didn’t know Oz. He didn’t know everything the magical kingdom stood for, even despite the many stories she had whispered to him in the wee hours of the morning and late hours of night when all the other human beings for miles and miles around were sound asleep. He didn’t know, couldn’t remember, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, but she did.
She remembered the Munchkins as well and heard their excited, high-pitched voices now crying her name out, shouting it like a jubilee. Her bare feet popped excitedly against the old, wooden floorboards of the porch, and her hands clapped together over the little dog’s head in glee. “Oh, Toto! We’re going home at last! You’re going to love it too just as much as your ancestor did! Just don’t chase any cats!”
The dog yipped, turned a circle in Dorothy’s lap, and braced his small paws on her thin breasts, the whole time wagging his stub tail. She could hear the beginning roar now, but it was still a ways off. She looked in that direction and could just barely making out a swirling, dark gray mass above the fields. She’d tried to run from the first twister, but she waited for this one with eager anticipation.
She watched as it sucked up broken wheels, wagons, fence posts, everything in its path. She watched the trees as they bent in ways most people would never understand or believe. They almost looked like they were bending in some strange, ritualistic dance. A few snapped off and were sucked away, but the cyclone seemed to be on a straight path that went pass many of the trees. It was coming straight at Dorothy, and she simply sat on her porch, smiled, and waited.
Toto started yipping more fiercely. The tiny, gray dog trembled in her lap. She stroked his fur and made shushing noises. “It’s okay, Toto. It’s just here to take us home.” The dog leapt from her lap but didn’t leave her. He cowered underneath her rocking chair instead until the twister reached the porch and began to methodically suck up one piece of the porch after another.
Toto cried out in canine language, but when his mistress only laughed, he shrieked and ran back indoors. Dorothy watched the twister come and knew, in her heart, that this was the same magical beast that had first taken her to Oz and would take her there again any moment now. She thought of all the lies she’d had to tell to live among people for whom she’d never cared and about all the people, animals, and other beings back in Oz for whom she had cared and with whom she’d soon be reunited.
There were all kinds of tales out in this world about her. She’d put some of them out herself, penning stories of her true adventures in Oz underneath a man’s name for a woman never stood a chance of getting published. Her company had wanted to meet her, but she had always refused, stating that she preferred to leave her readers with an air of mystery. She laughed, and the sound was sucked up by the vacuum of the hungry, roaring twister. She was certainly going to leave them with plenty of mysteries now!
But she herself was finally going to go home! She was finally going to get to be with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion again! She was finally going home!! With that thought making her heart soar, Dorothy jumped to her feet -- and straight into the twister.
Just as she had known, the next day began shooting mysteries across the world. It started with the news of her disappearance barreling through her small town, but it wasn’t just her disappearance. A twister had come through that afternoon, but the only thing it had taken had been Dorothy, her home, and her dog. Many still speculate about whatever truly did happen to Dorothy Gale, but those who were alive in that town at the time will still tell any passerby: It looked just like the twister had lifted Dorothy’s home straight out of the land surrounding it. Indeed it had, and it had taken it far, far away right to where Dorothy had always belonged since she was a little girl and always would. It had taken her home.