Authors Note: The following story is a "what if?" type of story based on the film 'Return To Oz'. The premise is 'what if the witch had won?' and takes place shortly after the events of the film.
The Day The Witch Won
A brisk wind blew the hair from Mombi's face as she stared coldly out over the high towers' balcony at the desolation below. The gentle storm, if there was such a thing, rumbled somewhere, always at a distance. The ever present clouds of black and grey trundled ever on over the entire land of Oz. She felt a brief drop of rain on her cheek and closed her eyes breathing in the scene. When she opened them again she surveyed the crumbled ruins of long abandoned and neglected town houses. The blackened soil where life refused to take route. The withered trees on the sidewalk without leaf or bloom. The buckled, broken, un-walkable remains of what was once the 'Yellow Brick Road'.
A sly smirk crept across her face. It gave her a sick kind of pleasure to see what she had achieved, sometimes, her moods changed so often these days. Icy cold. Satisfaction. Dead inside. Rage. Boredom. Loneliness.
It had been from this very balcony Dorothy and her half-wit entourage of a pumpkin man, a talking chicken named Bilina and a wind up army-of-one-clockwork-man named Tik Tok had constructed a flying sofa with a talking gump head and escaped her clutches.
In the process they'd wasted all of her precious 'powder of life' which brought the gump to life in the first place, and destroying the balcony rail as they went.
She stood nearer the edge and looked over at the ground far below. She often thought about jumping off, killing herself, but fear of a potentially uncomfortable, unknown afterlife and general cowardice stopped her. It would be nice to say hope was a factor that had stopped her, but that was something she no longer possessed. For you see, hope is a thing attached to our ambitions and dreams, and when you have completed these things, it leaves you with a bit of a problem, especially when you find they are not all you thought they would be.
And this is all because today is the day the witch finally won. A feat very rarely achieved by creatures of her kind, and this put Mombi in an almost surreal state of mind.
Dorothy, with the help of her half-wits, had initially defeated the Nome King, taken back the Ruby Slippers, restored Oz to its former glory, released Ozma from the enchanted mirror and removed all of Mombi's wicked magic. Not to mention taking away all of Mombi's lovely dancing girl heads she kept locked in glass cabinets and returning them to their rightful owners.
Yes, a witch without her magic is a miserable creature indeed. After parading Mombi around in an iron cage for all the people of Oz to see, they put her cage on public display in Button-Bright Square to remind people of her wickedness and show others what may happen if they behave in such a wicked manner.
The only upshot was the brat known as Dorothy Gale had returned to her homeland of Kansas hopefully never to be seen again.
The Wheelers, a strange band of creatures whose arms were as long as their legs, moving on all fours with wheels where their hands and feet should be, were ordered to bring food and drink to the witch every day as a kind of penance for their evil acts. They were free from Mombi's evil magic now and had been happy to join the parade against her.
However, even a witch without any magic still had a few tricks up her sleeve. Mombi refused to drink, telling the head Wheeler that she'd die if she drunk mere water. At first the Wheeler was suspicious but then she reminded him of the unfortunate and untimely death of The Wicked Witch of The West, and the manner in which she had died. It occurred to him to point out to her that her cage was open to the elements and water had not harmed her. She simply said the magic works differently for different witches and the Wheeler found this to have a ring of truth in the strange land of Oz. He insisted on telling Ozma so she could give Mombi an alternate to water. Mombi mocked him and said how Ozma would think he could not even perform a simply task of looking after a caged witch. She suggested he bring her the purple elixir bottle she had left in the palace. He was dubious, but did not want the witch to die as this would displease Ozma.
It was the Elixir of persuasion, giving Mombi the power to convince people to her will. She persuaded The Wheeler to make it their little secret.
She possessed no such magical item that would best the ruby slippers on Ozma's feet, but it wasn't what you had that mattered, it was what you did with it.
Mombi demanded to see Ozma about a fair trial and convinced The Wheelers and all around her that this was a good idea. After all, everybody deserved a fair trial did they not?
Mombi convinced Ozma to release her from her cage, after all, she was a witch without magic and had learnt from her wicked ways.
She was no threat at all, well, other than realising the only real way to fully possess the magic of the ruby slippers was to murder Ozma.
Ozma stood at the balcony of the tall tower and looked down. Mombi persuaded her life was not worth living and that she should jump off. Mombi watched on with wide-eyed glee as Ozma hurled through the air, green dress billowing around her as she fell, and glimpses of red ruby glinting in the sunshine. Later, Mombi would like to replay in her head, in slow motion, the betrayed look on the dopey girls face as she twisted mid-air, blonde hair flailing as she tumbled.
Sat on the back of the fastest Wheeler Mombi rushed to the bottom of the tower to reach the scene first. It was a grizzly sight, the ruby slippers were not the only bright red thing there that day, concerned citizens arrived too late to stop Mombi as she kicked off her own shoes and wrestled the ruby slippers from Ozma's lifeless feet. She stood there barefoot for a second, maniacal triumph on her face, bloodied ruby slipper in each hand.
She hurriedly put on the ruby slippers as the guards raced forward, and she could feel the power running through her body.
"Stone!" she exclaimed raising her hand towards the guards and clicking her heels together three times. They stopped in their tracks and became stone.
It was exhilarating, slowly destroying the people and Emerald City as the fancy and revenge took her. She had Tik Tok and The Tinman melted down into coins and thrown into the deadly desert so nobody could retrieve them. Taking the throne was easy, Ozma was dead and the scarecrow simply ran away, leaving her and her lovely slippers unopposed.
Mombi took pleasure in torturing the people of Oz, making it rain all the time, hurting them in various ways, starving them, punishing them.
One thing Mombi particularly enjoyed was gathering together the dancing girls who had rudely been given there bodies back and restored to life. She would do this dirty work herself, she had them chained together in Button-Bright Square, took a ceremonial sword and laughed as the crowd screamed whilst she savoured the moment of chopping off their heads, one by one, for effect and delight.
"Oh," she declared almost sensually as she threw the sword to the ground and picked up a bloodied head and looked into her eyes, "you, you were always the prettiest, my favoured lamb. Tell me, they say you can still see, still know what is going on after your head is chopped off, is it true?"
The horrific expression on the girl's face changed and the light left her eyes.
Mombi smirked, and whispered, "no worry, my dear, I will resurrect you to my service and my image shortly."
And indeed, the heads were restored to their life of twisted eternity and placed in their glass cases. Mombi took to wearing a different head each night and dancing in the dark as interchangeable servant boys watched, cowering in the corner in the half light.
It did not take long for a resistance to brew against the witch. The scarecrow had sought the help of Glinda and together they brought back Dorothy Gale to the land of Oz.
Dorothy and all her sappy friends called Mombi to come down and face them in Button-Bright Square.
Mombi gladly came and almost laughed when she spotted Dorothy wearing the Magic Belt, an object of great power which granted one wish a day and gave protection to its wearer.
However, Mombi was aware the ruby slippers had never really been used much for evil or in combat and was almost confident their power was greater, she had nothing to loose from trying.
"Mombi," Dorothy said loudly and confidently in front of the gathered crowd, "you have proven yourself again to be evil and untrustworthy. Me and my friends will rid you once and for all from the marvellous land of Oz!"
"Blah blah blah," sneered Mombi and lifted the pelt of her dress, "do you like my ruby slippers?"
"No, they're 'my' Ruby Slippers," Dorothy replied.
"You know," said Mombi, "you become more like the witches you kill more every day."
"I wish," Dorothy said ignoring the comment and touching the magic belt, "that all of your evil is undone, that your magic is removed and the people and buildings of Oz are restored!"
Mombi looked around cautiously, there was stunned silence, nothing happened.
"Looks like there is a greater power at work," Mombi rejoiced and looked down at her Ruby Slippers, "but haven't you forgotten something?"
"What have I forgotten Mombi?"
"Your original mode of transportation to Oz," spat Mombi and clicked her heals together three times.
"I've travelled in many ways to and from Oz, what of it?"
"You forgot," she sneered, "the house you fell to Oz in! The one that killed my sister in evil!"
Dorothy was suddenly aware of a loud whooshing noise above her, she only had time to look up when it happened.
The crowd gasped and children screamed as their parents pulled their faces from the scene and covered their eyes.
"Make them watch," Mombi barked at the parents in the crowd, her teeth bared like a possessed animal, "make them watch!"
The crowd obeyed.
Mombi had wished the original house that Dorothy crushed The Wicked Witch Of The East with to fly through the air and crush Dorothy and her friends.
The house had spiralled down and killed them all instantly. The corner of the house catching Dorothy in much the same way it had killed the witch before her, even down to her legs, socks and shoes hanging out from under the house. A pool of blood formed around the little girls feet.
The witches 'own' magic had been restored, she waved a hand and the house flew up into the storm clouds and away.
"Better safe than sorry," said Mombi and made her way to the scarecrow, whom being made of straw and cloth survived the impact.
Screamed the witch, "how about a little fire scarecrow?" She launched a fireball from her palm and engulfed the scarecrow. Most of the crowd had run away now on hearing the screams of the scarecrow as he painfully burnt to death.
The witch walked over to the survey the scene and admired The Cowardly Lion's mane and coat. "You," she said to the dead lion, "will make a good throw rug."
Mombi robbed the corpses for various magical items, the magic belt from Dorothy which she put on straight away, and Glinda's wand which she secured in her new belt. Mombi summonsed the Flying Monkies and clicked her heels together three times. They tried to explain only the magic cap should be able to do this, Mombi explained her power was now greater than any magical object in the land of Oz combined and all would bow before her.
The head monkey asked, "what would you have us do?"
"Kill them," sighed Mombi, "kill them all." The monkeys flew off screaming swooping down attacking citizens of Oz. She instructed The Wheelers to burn the bodies of her enemies.
"What a shame," lamented Mombi to herself, "that Toto isn't here. He would have made a good pin cushion."
Eventually Mombi tired of slaughter, but this was only after killing everyone in Oz. She ordered most of her victims to march into the deadly desert or face death by fire, they stepped out in the thousands turning to dust. The flying monkeys killed the rest, then they killed The Wheelers. Finally Mombi burnt the flying monkeys and she was alone.
Today was the day the witch won and the bodies of the flying monkeys lay at the bottom of the tall tower.
Over the months the magic left the items she had stolen. The Ruby Slippers nothing more than dull red shoes. Even the heads she kept in their glass cases turned to rotting bloated corpses, without animation. She tried once more to dance in the dark, putrid drool and puss dripping from the orifices of her selected cadaver heads, her favourite serving boy stuffed and mounted in the corner, but it wasn't the same.
She moped around too dead inside to cry one day, sobbing the next, uncontrollable rage outbursts after that.
She stood at the edge of the balcony on the tall tower and looked out, and then down.
Yes, today was the day the witch had finally won.