Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Detour to Oz--A Short Story

The windshield wipers were having trouble keeping up with the rain, which spilled down in sheets. Gabby didn’t want to take her eyes off the road but snuck glances at the digital clock on the dash. Her anger escalated. There was no way she was going to make it. The storm halted her shot at making it to the job interview. She was already an hour late and there was no phone service. 

“Damn it! This shit always happens to me,” she yelled. 

She pulled the car over to collect her thoughts. Gabby decided to keep going in hopes of passing a coffee shop with WiFi and some decent phone service.

The wipers kept catching on something on the driver’s side causing them to pause. Gabby’s focus was on the outside of the window trying to pinpoint the problem.

I don’t need this right now. I’m in the middle of nowhere, she thought.

Her eyes darted back to the deteriorating blade on the window when her car plowed into a detour sign. She slammed on her brakes causing the car to spin until it finally came to a complete stop.


Her anxiety was mounting. Once her breathing was under control Gabby continued on the detour route. 

She must have driven about fifty miles without realizing it. Her focus was on the wipers when the blades stuck for the last time. 

The rain hadn’t let up at all and Gabby was blinded. She guided the car off the road and turned it off. She searched everywhere for an umbrella she knew didn’t exist.

Gabby wiped the driver’s side window with her palm trying to figure out her next step. She couldn’t see very well but she could make out the form of a red mailbox through the rainfall. She stripped off the button down cashmere sweater she was wearing and placed it over head. Grabbing for the handle, she forced the door open and the heavy rain instantly soaked her beloved sweater right through.

Naturally, she thought. 

With one stiletto healed foot on the ground, Gabby shimmied her pencil skirt clad body into the storm, heading toward the red mailbox. 

The cottage before her replicated an adult sized gingerbread house direct from a fairy tale. She ran for the shelter hanging over the front door and knocked. The door opened and a woman with a beaming smile urged her inside. 

“Thank you so much. My car…the windshield wipers…the rain…,” she couldn’t complete her sentence. 

Gabby was too busy taking in the scene before her. 

Under her breath she spoke, “Right out Wizard of fucking Oz…” 

The woman, wearing a fluffy pink dress and sparkling tiara said, “Yes, my home has that effect on people.” Her voice was gentle and kind.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Gabby replied. 

She hadn’t meant to say it out loud.

The two stood in the foyer of the cottage. The walls replicated Munchkin Land. Gabby’s stare went to her feet where a puddle was forming right on the yellow brick road flooring.

This is typical horror movie shit right here.

“I’m Gabby. The windshield wipers on my car are stuck. Would you mind if I waited here until the rain lets up?”

“Of course, dear. I’m Glenda. There are fresh towels in the powder room right over there. I’ll go make us some tea,” said Glenda.

Gabby was reluctant, but followed the yellow brick road toward the bathroom anyway.

I should really leave. This woman is sick in the head.

She opened the door and turned on the light. Gabby was blinded with glittering wall to wall shelves of ruby red slippers. She closed and locked the door behind her. 

“I’ll dry myself off, excuse myself and get my ass back to the car. I’ll push it a few miles up the road if I have to,” she whispered to her image in the mirror. 

Gabby's anxiety was at the edge of hyperventilation. When she finished drying off she made a break for the front door, but she was cut off. 

“In here, dear. Come have a cup of hot tea,” Glenda called out.

One cup. One cup and I’m out of here. 

Gabby walked past munchkin figures made from wax, each holding a lollipop in its grasp. 

The theme continued into the sitting area where Glenda was perched, waiting. Gabby sat beside her. On the couch opposite of them sat the figures of the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion, each with their own tea cups before them. She took a sip of tea without noticing that Glenda served it up in the most exquisite play tea set she had ever seen. Then she downed the tea like it was a shot of whiskey and urgently attempted to excuse herself.

She peered out the window, “It looks like the rain is letting up. Thank you so much for the towel and the tea but I have a job interview to get to,” Gabby spoke. 

“Don’t be silly dear, the rain is falling just as hard as before,” Glenda replied. 

Gabby began to walk toward the front door but her legs buckled and she felt unsteady. She collapsed to the ground and blacked out. 

Several hours later Gabby’s eyes fluttered open. 

“Hello, dear. Are you feeling better?” Glenda asked.

Gabby tried to speak but she couldn’t. She was pinned to the floor by something heavy. She began to panic. An over-sized plastic playhouse lay over her body, the heaviness puncturing her chest. Gabby stole a glance toward her legs and could see black and white stripes surrounding her legs. While she couldn’t see far, she felt different shoes on her feet. Gabby was paralyzed. She could only move her head slightly and dart her eyes around the room.

“How dare you rob me of my ruby red slippers, witch! I want them back,” Glenda hollered as she waved a long silver wand with a glittered star tip. 

Gabby’s eyes welled with tears when she noticed the tip of the wand was a knife. 

A barefooted Glenda grasped the homemade wand in both hands and stood at Gabby’s head. Gabby looked from side to side. She wanted to scream back at Glenda to just take the damn shoes back but she knew there was a plan in place. She was part of this insane woman’s zany skit. 

Gabby brought her head to center, tears spilling from both eyes. Glenda raised the wand above her head, the knife pointing down. She plunged it into Gabby’s chest repeatedly, blood spattering from her open wounds.

With the taste of copper flooding her taste buds, Gabby let out one final breath and closed her eyes. 

Glenda rushed to the ruby red slippers and tore them from Gabby’s lifeless body. 

“Thank you, dear,” she whispered. 

Glenda returned the shoes to the shelf in her powder room.

© 2013 Pamela Gold

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