Chapter 2 : The Red Shoes
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Ginny sighed, hearing the storm rage around her, and squinted her eyes shut. It’d been ages since she’d fallen asleep, she knew, but even though she was likely late for just about every class there was in Hogwarts, she could not bring herself to open her eyes and get up. Specifically because she’d have to face her ex-ex-ex-ex boyfriend, Michael Corner, as he was Head Boy and shared the Heads dorm with her. He was the sort that had gone a bit bookish after she broke it off with him. As the wind howled against the windows and she felt her bed rocking her, lulling her to sleep. Shifting a bit on her bed and deeper into her clean-smelling pillow, she sighed, a sound lost in the racket outside.
Just as she realized her bed should not be rocking her to sleep, she felt something very cold and very wet press against her mouth. She shot out of bed like a rocket.
Ark ark ark ark arkk!
“What the bloody hell-?!”
Ginny looked around wildly. There was a scruffy dog barking at her madly at her feet. It was sort of a salt-and-pepper coloring. Her floors had turned to wood, her bed had ceased being a four-poster, and her walls were no longer covered in Quidditch posters and exam scores she was proud of. She was suddenly standing in a tiny little cabin, which was pitching as if her on a churning sea, and there was a huge hole in the direct middle, with a door flapping out of it madly.
“Where the hell am I? ” Ginny cried in freight.
The dog ark arked at her a bit more as she rushed to the window. Outside was a mass of swirling gray colors, and she thought she saw a cow fly by, a bit off. Stumbling back to the bed, she ignored the dog as it jumped up onto the bed next to her, curling in her lap and tail wagging a bit. Ginny slapped her forehead a bit, as if trying to wake up or remember something very important, but nothing really stood out to her.
Just as she was about to go back to bed and wake up in her dorm- hopefully- there was a sudden silence. You know, the sort of silence you have in a mad ball game and suddenly everyone in the stands is just shocked into immediate and collective silence. Because something like someone on the field has had their head torn off by, say, a one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater. The little dog even stopped barking and looked up at her with an expression in it’s black eyes that she could only place as fear.
And suddenly, everything around her started plummeting to the ground. Ginny was screaming madly, flying all about the room, things falling everywhere, a howling dog leaving long scratch marks on the previously un-scuffed floor as he was thrown about. And as suddenly as all the stomach wrenching falling had started, Ginny landed hard on the bed, and it all became silent once more, but in a more pleasant way. Shaking, she looked up and brushed her hair from her eyes, looking around fearfully.
Wherever the cyclone had dropped the odd little house, it was very sunny, for the windows were streaming with light. The dog was still played on the floor, trembling so hard that his unseen collar was jingling on the ground.
“There there,” she said, standing. “It’s alright.”
He stood and followed her to the door as she went to look out. Flinging it wide, knowing from a hard jab in her side that her wand was still in her pocket, Ginny saw a very beautiful place. It had luscious green grass, a clear stream somewhere close at hand, brilliantly tall trees, birds of all colors singing, flowers letting off the most magnificent smells. She quickly got lost in the beauty of the utopia around her, so that when the dog started barking, she looked up and was startled to see a group of small people walking towards her. They were dressed in blue for who she assumed were men, and white for the lady. As she watched them come closer, she recognized first one, then another.
The two she had called stopped, a bit confused, and looked up. “Missus Wheezy?” asked Dobby, his pencil nose a bit sucked in as he thought.
“Yes! My goodness, how do you know where we are?”
“We is in Munchkinland, Missus,” Winky said mournfully, twisting her hands in her white dress.
“That is not the point, Winky!” Dobby shot back, as the other House Elfs were watching silently. “We is come to thank the missus.”
“Thank me?” Ginny asked, confused. “Thank me for what?”
Dobby bowed so low that the blue pointed hat he was wearing slammed into the ground. “You is welcome, most noble Sorceress, to Munchkinland. We is so grateful to you for killing the Wicked Witch of the East, and for freeing us from bondage.”
For a moment she had a flash of imagination before her eyes that she could have done without; instead of green fields and flowers and midgets she briefly ended up imagining all of them dressed in leather and chains, whipping each other in a red velvet bedroom with many other sexual contraptions. Shaking her head, she realized their words, and Ginny’s mouth gaped open as all of them bowed low for a ridiculously long time, then stood and watched her stupidly. “But- I never killed anyone! I don’t even know how I bloody got here!”
Winky nodded. “Yes well your house lands on her, Missus, and makes her go squish.”
She gave a grand clap, and then pointed at a corner of the log cabin, and as Ginny looked, she was faint to see a pair of legs sticking out, with red, sparkly shoes on them. They were stocking less, and very, very white. They were also a bit hairy for girl legs, as if they hadn’t bothered to shave in a while. Ginny, determined to help nonetheless, reached in her pocket for her wand. Whirling it out, she muttered,
The log cabin flew up, and all of the munchkins gasped and drew back as one, before once again falling and bowing. Ginny just gave them a look, before she looked back at the house to see who it was. However, she saw the cabin sitting there as before, and her wand was suddenly missing.
“My wand!” she cried, starting in shock. “Where did it go?!”
“You missus are a great witchress to do magic with your hands like the Good Witch!” gasped a munchkin.
“With my hands?! No, it was my-”
“Arf arf arf arf arf arf arf!” the little dog started barking, jumping at her feet excitedly.
“Would you just shut up?” Ginny snapped at the dog, scared and angry. “I’ve just killed some woman!”
“Oh, but she was evil, missus!” one of the still bowing people spoke, likely Dobby. “We hates her! But you frees us from her! Us Munchkins no has to serve her no more!”
“Munchkins? Dobby, you’re a house elf-”
“Munchkins is their people, Missus,” Winky said, the only one that had not bowed. “They serves the evil witch for years and years, always slaves.”
“I am the Witch of the North, you see?” Winky said, straightening a wrinkle from her white dress. “I helps the Munchkins.”
Ginny just stared at Winky, then at Dobby, who was still prostrate on the ground. Talk about a role-reversal, she was used to Winky crying on the ground and Dobby trying to liberate all Elf kind. “Ummm...”
“Yes, she was the Wicked Witch of the West, you see?” Winky said. “Poor thing, everyone hated her... The witch of the South should be here sometime soon missus, she will talk with us.”
“And the witch of the East?” Ginny asked dryly, raising an eyebrow.
All the munchkins squealed on the ground, and Winky clapped her hands over her floppy ears, which were sticking out of a white, pointed hat. “Speak not of the Witch of the East!”
“Ummm.... o...kay... Say, is there any great witch or Wizard that could he-”
“The great Oz!” squealed Winky. Then she looked around and lowered her voice. “He is a great, great wizard, yes missus! He lives in the Emerald City!”
Winky nodded so hard her ears flapped again. “He-”
“Witch!” gasped a munchkin. “Look!”
Both Ginny and Winky turned, seeing that the white, hairy legs had vanished, and the red, sparkly shoes still lay there. Winky laughed and then said,
“These is for you, because you killed her, yes!”
She lunged over and grabbed them, shoving them at Ginny so roughly she thought she felt a rib crack. “Ow! Damn you all, I want to go back to Hogwarts! I’ve got a test today, and I-”
“But you cannot go,” said Dobby, looking up. “There is a great desert to the west-”
Another said, “And the east-”
The last nodded, “The south, too!”
Winky sighed. “The north is my home and there, too, is a great desert.”
“I’m stuck in a tropical paradise in the middle of a freaking desert?!” Ginny shouted. “WITHOUT MY WAND?!”
“Well.... Perhaps the Great Oz can help you!”
Ginny just stared hatefully at Winky. “Where, exactly, is Oz?”
Winky took Ginny and turned her, pointing towards the side of the house and beyond. “In the very, very middle of our country is the Emerald City. He lives there, and you will have to go there to get his help missus.”
“He better help me,” Ginny growled, still holding the sparkly shoes. “I need that test grade, I-”
Winky interrupted her, “Now, the trip is long missus, and there will be dangerous bits in it. I will protect you with my magic.”
“Here, let me kiss you,” she said.
“No one will hurt anyone kissed by the Witch of the North, of course!” Winky said, pulling her arm down. “Come now, let me kiss you.”
There was a scuffle, before Ginny ended up with a big, wet, unpleasant kiss on her forehead, and she made a gagging face, as Winky’s breath smelled vaguely of butterbeer left out too long. Glaring hatefully at all of them as the dog came over and tried to jump up and lick her, barking, she almost didn’t hear them when they said,
“Follow the yellow brick road!”
Then, out of nowhere, Winky disappeared with a resounding Crack! and Ginny was left to stare at all the munchkins, who were standing in front of her and just watching. Birds twittered in the background, and she felt a gentle sweat on her forehead from the hot sunshine. There was a long pause, before she said,
“What the hell are you all staring at, then?”
“We is to see you off, missus!” one of Dobby’s comrades said. “We is seeing you out!”
She glared at them, and turned again, looking at the way Winky had pointed. Now, a large, yellow brick road had appeared, and she blinked at it. Looking round again, she saw that not only was she barefooted from having been asleep when this whole catastrophe started, but she couldn’t find her and anywhere. Sighing, she pulled on the stupid red slippers, which clashed badly with her black Hogwarts skirt and white, button-up shirt. Shaking her head, she went into the little log cabin to see what she could take with her.
Inside, she saw some bread and butter in a cupboard, which had fallen open, and ate some, giving the little dog some, too. As they ate, she saw a name tag on his collar, and read it.
“Dodo? Are you serious?” she muttered. “Dodo the dog?”
He barked at his name, panting and sniffing the bread. Ginny shook her head, going back outside. There was a bucket on the side of the house, and she took it down to the river, and watched a few bright gold fish swim by before she dipped it in, drinking. Dodo drank from the stream, until they were satisfied. When she rounded the corner of the cabin, she saw the munchkins had left, and felt slightly alone.
“Dumbledore is so reducing your pay,” Ginny grumbled, thinking of Dobby.
Going inside the cabin again, she was very pleased indeed to see some of her clothes now on the bed, and also her wand. Rushing to it, she hugged close to her the wand that had become a part of her for the past seven years, and then looked at the clothes. There was a sun dress that her mother had sent her for Christmas, which she’d yet to wear, and then a pair of jeans with a Hogwarts shirt. She glanced behind her, self-consciously, and quickly stripped out of her uniform, pulling on the comfy jeans and shirt. Then, glaring at the fact that she didn’t have any shoes, she put back on the sparkly shoes. At least they matched the shirt, now.
Upon searching the cabin a bit more, she found her school bag tucked under the bed, and also the Muggle book that her dad had given her, Wizard of Oz. She stuffed her clothes into her bag, and then threw the book in. Maybe she’d need reading on the way there.
Turning, she looked at Dodo, who was sitting on the floor, tail wagging, watching her. “Are you ready?”
He barked, and she nodded, petting him, before leaving the cabin, wand safely in pocket. The little dog trotted along with her, panting happily and watching the birds. Her heels clicked on the yellow bricks as she walked, knowing they’d be uncomfortable to walk in, but what else was she to do? After a while, she enjoyed the sunshine, tying her hair up with her hair-tie, and decided to enjoy the country around her while she walked. After all, how bad could it get?
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