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Dotty    Kathy    Lvblair    Mary Ellen    Ophelia    KAM    Ronnee    Kathy 'n Mary Ellen 

 

 

 

Illusion

 

By: Ronnee

 

Challenge response: Write a story to the lyrics of the song "Wendy the Good Witch"


"Come on, Kitty-man, the bad men are coming," the little girl tugged on the tall manís arm. When he finally stirred, she released him and began waiting impatiently.

After several attempts, he managed to pull himself to his feet. His blue eyes were dazed, his short brown hair coated with dried blood. Each of his movements was a struggle against pain and stiffness. His clothes were torn and stained, except for his jacket, which he held cradled in his left arm, tied in place like a sling.

"Mister?" The jet-black hair whirled as the little girl danced around him impatiently. She wore a long white nightgown that had seen better days. There was far less dirt and grime on her though, and her bright eyes were confident she was safe with the big man. "You said we had to hurry and your kitty is growling again."

Wordlessly, he offered her his hand and she took it as they headed away from the city.


"What do you mean heís not here?" Blair Sandburg stated at the group of detectives in dismay. "If Jim said heíd be here, heís got to be here! You must have missed him."

"Sandburg," Joel Taggartís eyes were sad as he grabbed the younger manís shoulders. His grip was gentle, but firm and unyielding. "He called in to say he had a lead. He said heíd be late."

"But that was hours ago," Blair protested, trying to break away without really fighting Joel.

"We found the truck," Henri Brown looked away uneasily, "it was riddled with bullet holes."

"Heís not dead!" Blair growled, pulling away from the detectives. "Iíd know if he was!"

"Weíre not saying he is." Joel interrupted before Blair could begin a rant. "We know him too well. He said he found a leadÖ he probably found the perps and went in on his own. You know your partner."

"Yeah, I know him." The bright blue eyes became thoughtful. "Itís dark and heís in trouble. We have to find him."

"Too dark for search and rescue." Rafe replied. "Between the cloud cover and the trees where the truck was foundÖ we have to wait for dawn."

"That might be too late," Blairís protest was sincere but he knew the results would be few. It was too dark. There were too many trees in the forest for effective searching in the dark. The search and rescue people could not get set up in time. "Let me go in, Simon."

"At dawn, Sandburg. We all go in at dawn."


"Are you awake, kitty-man?" The soft whisper was enough to send blue eyes open.

"Yes," the man replied, letting his eyes scan the darkness. A rumbling purr told him she was relatively safe. Unconsciously, his hand rubbed a small back, settling the girl against a tree limb. Gently he placed his jacket next to her, grimacing at the pain.

"Do you remember your name?"

"No." He breathed in deeply, categorizing the scents around him. Forest. Dirt. Blood, his. Steel. Gun oil. Blood, theirs. Whiskey. "Do you remember yours?"

"Iím Wendy." The girlís voice was patient and suddenly it occurred to him that she had already told him her name, several times. "Are you going away?"

"Iíll be right back. Stay here."

"Will the kitty stay?" Fear and near panic filled the soft whisper.

He glanced around and saw the big cat. As he watched, it leapt up into the tree above the girl. "Heís up there, watching you."

"Okay." Relief filled her tone.

The tall man strode away into the trees, hunting those who hunted. The fact that he had no weapons did not matter. They were hunting him. They were hunting the child. They were huntingÖ He smiled grimly, they would hunt no farther.


Dawn found the majority of the Cascade PD filtering into the search area. Jim Ellisonís truck still rested on the rims of two shot-out tires beside the road. A broken fence bearing the placard ĎNo Trespassingí gleamed wetly in the dim light. A light fog misted the area, dropping visibility.

"Sandburg, you stay with H and Rafe." Simon Banks handed out assignments. He frowned at the pale young man. "Did you get any sleep?"

"Had some weird dreams," Blair admitted, his haunted eyes gazing into the woods. "Jimís hurt."

"How badly?" No one in the group laughed. They had watched over the years and they remembered the seemingly odd things that occurred around Sandburg and Ellison. If Blair said Jim was hurt, the taller man was hurt.

"Enough to slow him down," Blair replied grimly. "And they know where he is, we donít."

"Damn." Banks growled. "Bad enough weíve got a man whoís been missing since last night, heís wounded and lost in this old estate?"

"Whatís wrong?" Megan Connor looked around the group of men. Her Australian accent singled her out. So did her outfit Ė it was something most Americans would only recognize if they had watched a lot of nature shows. She smoothed her hands down her vest, mentally double-checking the supplies in the many pockets.

"This place is haunted, no one goes there for a reason." Joel replied.

The Australian looked around again, surprised. This she had not expected, at least, not from these men.


"Whatís your name?" Soft brown eyes focused on him and the man found himself lost in them. They blinked, "Kitty, better wake him up."

The rough, wet tongue startled him from his odd half-sleep, dragging him from her drowning eyes. He sat up, remembering the question. "Iím Jim."

"You remember!" The girl smiled happily. She tossed tangled black hair over her shoulder and he smiled back. "Do you remember my name?" When he shook his head she frowned. "Iím Wendy. I like your kitty. Is he part of your costume?"

Jim frowned in confusion. His head was pounding. The girl was familiar, but he could not get the memory to come forward. A low rumbling purr made him look up. The panther was resting next to him, one paw on his leg. He let his hand drop onto its shoulders, surprised when his fingers met warm fur. Somehow that should not be possible. But it stabilized his world, sending some of the gray fog in his mind away. "No, I donít think heís part of my costume."

"Iím going to be a witch for Halloween. A good witch." Wendy stood and peeked out of the tiny cave. "If heís not part of your costume, what are you dressing up as? I wish the rain would stop. Canít go trick or treating if it rains. Will we get home in time to trick-or-treat?"

Jim rose to a crouch and moved to look outside. A fine drizzle was coating everything, erasing tracks, muting sounds, and clearing the air. He studied the forest in the dim light that filtered down through the trees. "Itís time to go."

Wendy nodded and took his hand. Jim paused to scoop up his jacket and readjust the sling.

"Iíll get you home as fast as I can."

The little girl smiled.


"Sir?" The head of the search and rescue team came up to Simon, looking unhappy. "The dogs wonít cross the stream. Weíve tried everything. They refuse."

Simon nodded and signaled his men. One by one, the Major Crimes unit crossed the unseen line demarcating the actual boundary of the estateís interior. Technically only the grounds were haunted. The S&R dogs all whined as the people went past. Their handlers looked unhappy at the situation, but they would not leave their dogs.


"Here," Jim helped Wendy up the slick hillside. They were following the panther, moving farther into the forest. His senses were sporadic, unreliable at the moment. And the pain in his head kept blurring his vision.

"I want it to stop raining." Wendy tugged on her wet, bedraggled gown. "We canít go trick-or-treating in the rain." She paused and looked up at Jim, "I want to go home."

"The rain might stop soon." Jim listened to the sounds on the wind. He could tell the air pressure was changingÖ hopefully the rain would stop soon. But he was afraid it was only getting worse. "Iíll get you back to your parents as soon as I can."

Wendy waved a peeled white stick around, her eyes lighting up. "I want the rain to stop! I want the bad men to go away! I want to go home."

Jim found himself fighting a smile at the little girlís wishes. "Thank you, Wendy."

"I told you Iím a good witch." She grinned impishly and darted up the hill after the panther.

"I believe you." Jim murmured as he followed her.


"Sandburg?" Rafeís voice brought the search party to a halt. The young detective knelt in the mud, ignoring the damage the thick muck did to his designer jeans. He gently traced a track on the edge of a large depression.

"Oh my God," Blair whispered as he saw the huge paw prints that surrounded the depression.

"Is that thing chasing Ellison?" Simon asked.

"I might be wrong," Rafe replied hesitantly, pointing to where the tracks mingled with human footprints, "but it looks like theyíre walking together."

Blair looked at the others and shook his head. No, he did not understand it and he could not explain it.

"Anyway," the South African detective point to a cluster of boot prints, "Iím more worried about these. Theyíre ahead of us."


"It canít be real," Jimís mind told him that even as his sense disagreed. The rich, heavy scent coated the wet air. Spices and sugar and vanilla were carried by the cool breeze and assaulted his nose. He had not smelled anything quite so good since he moved out of his fatherís house. In fact, he would bet this was Sallyís recipe. Jimís stomach growled unhappily reminding him it had been a long time since he had foraged their breakfast. "You canít build a house of gingerbread."

"Are you hungry?" Wendy piped up from beside him. She held out a thick, reddish-brown slab of the sweetbread.

Taking the gingerbread, he led the girl to the porch of the odd looking building. He carefully placed the jacket down and then sat next to it. Wendy climbed into his lap. He broke the bread into four pieces. One he gave to Wendy, one he gave to the panther resting beside them, one he kept for himself, and one he tore into tiny pieces before placing in his jacket.

"The rain stopped." Wendy announced smugly as she finished her gingerbread.

Jim nodded, closing his eyes and letting his head lean on the wall. Maybe with the food, his headache would go away. Dimly, he felt the warm the girl as she snuggled against his side.


"The rain stopped," Henri looked up, his eyes wondering as the clouds scattered, letting the late afternoon sunlight filter through the trees. "Thought it wasnít supposed to stop until tomorrow."

"Well, that means the kids can go trick-or-treating," Blair began only to be interrupted.

"Sandburg!" Simonís bass growl caught everyone in the groupís attention.

Blairís heart sped up as he weaved his way through the crowd of policemen and searchers. When he reached Simon, he paused for a moment, staring down at the bodies. All six men were dead, there was no doubt of that. But what had killed them?

"We found Jimís tie and his shirt over by the tree." Joelís voice was concerned. "He got away from whatever did this."

"Do you thinkÖ" Blair did not finish the question.

"No. Even Jim canít take on six armed men in the dark and the rain and leave this." Simon replied. "It looks like they were alive when he left them. Probably around noon."

Blair nodded, swallowing grimly.


Wendy sat in the sunlit yard, happily picking flowers. She braided them together and then draped them over the sleeping man. His pet only blinked at her, before calmly closing its eyes. She laughed with delight and began braiding flowers for it too.


"Sir?" Rafe called softly. The unusual warmth of the afternoon sunlight made him look more ragged than the rest of the group had ever seen him.

"What theÖ" Simon stared as his gaze followed Rafeís gesture.

A battered house stood in the clearing. From this distance, the dark brown siding and white trim looked like old-fashioned gingerbread, while the multicolored tile shingles glistened liked gumdrops. The rusting, red, twisted, wrought iron fence looked like licorice.

"No way, man," Blair breathed. Behind him several officers added their agreement. They could not be seeing this.

As one, the group stepped out of the forest and headed up the hill, half disbelieving what they saw.


"Simon?" Henri kept his voice down as the EMTís loaded Ellison and his precious jacket into the medivac helicopter. "HowÖ how could Ellison do this? I mean, that baby was clean and well-fed. But he looked like hell."

Simon shrugged, watching as Sandburg climbed into the chopper with his sentinel.

"What I want to know is, who is this Wendy he kept asking for." Simon replied.

"Sir," Rafe held up a handkerchief, "I think this belongs to Ellison."

Simon stared at the handkerchief and Rafeís blank expression. He took it and carefully unwrapped the contents. Inside lay two pieces of gingerbread, thick and redolent of spices; a handful of candied flowers, all bright colors and completely out of season; and a broken flower chain. He folded the cloth around the treats and carefully set it on the porch. "I think it needs to stay here."

"ButÖ it could be evidence," Henri protested, confused by his captainís behavior.

"I donít think it had anything to do with the kidnapping or the men who chased Jim out here. I think it belongs right here." Simon said firmly. "Letís get back to Cascade."

Simon could have sworn he heard a little girlís laughter as he walked towards the forest. He knew it wasnít possible. They had searched for Jimís mythical Wendy and found no trace of her. He did not say anything when Henri pulled a few pieces of candy from his pocket and surreptitiously dropped them next to the handkerchief.

The End

 

Wendy the Nice Witch

Sung to the tune of "Frosty The Snowman"

By Daniel. W. S.

Wendy the nice witch

Lived in the woods where no one goes.

She had a gingerbread house with a gumdrop roof

And candy flowers in cute rows.

Wendy the nice witch,

Is a witch tale so they say.

But the children know how this story goes.

How she saved the town one day.

There must have been some magic

In that wand she carried around.

Cause when she waved it over her head

She saved our little town. Oh

Wendy the nice witch

Was very nice the towns folk found

And the children say how she saved the day

When she waved her wand around.

There almost was no trick-or-treating,

It really would have been a shame.

The parents had told the children "stay inside,

Because of all the rain."

Wendy the nice witch,

Is a witch tale so they say.

But the children know how this story goes,

How she saved the town one day.

She waved her wand and pointed at the sky,

The rain clouds began to stop.

This made the children all happy

And they all began to hop. Oh!

Wendy walked with the kids along the roads,

They got plenty of candy I'm told.

Wendy, we'd like to invite you back next year,

If we might be that bold. Oh

Thumpity, thump, thump,

Thumpity, thump, thump,

Look at Wendy go.

Thumpity, thump, thump,

Thumpity, thump, thump,

Wendy's a fun witch that's for sure!