Dorothy closes her eyes tightly, a rustic smell perforates the thick air, she leans the upper half of her body backwards, too afraid to speak.
“Well, you don’t look like a witch, but you wear the shoes of one. Any good reasons for me not to kill you then?”
She hears an axe scrape, making a cringe worthy sound “Please don’t! My name is Dorothy, I was sent to kill the wicked witch!”
Laughing he lets the axe slide back in place “Is that so huh?” He grabs her hand helping her out of the mud.
“If what you speak is truth, I’ll help you. And I’ll assume it’s true, cause no one in these parts is fool enough to joke like that. Name’s Tin Man.”
His hand extended towards her, she didn’t know how to react right away, but guessed shaking his hand would be a good start.
“Names Dorothy.” she replies, while his cold fingers wrap around her hand.
Letting go, he turns to walk “Tell me Dorothy, what are you doing in the woods? Even the munchkins know better than to, wait, I’m gonna assume no one told you through dangerous right?”
She looks up at a nearby tree and whispers “Y-yes no one told me. Excuse me mister, but what were you doing out here if it’s dangerous?”
“Blood my dear. See my body is rusted over and tends to get stiff, oil doesn’t cut it anymore, what I need is fresh blood to oil my joints, and these bastards are full of it!”
Dorothy stares at his body, just reckless welding barely holding mix matched pieces together. His right leg had barb wire wrapped around, his left had exposed wiring sticking out, his arms looked human but with broken pallets of steel drilled into the bone, creating a permanent fix.
His face was what had to be the hardest not to stare at, or want to turn away from simultaneously. Where a nose should be, instead was the tip of a broken power drill. His jaw shook kind of loose as he talked with a southern accent, his eye was probably the most haunting feature, all the screws driven into his socket spiraling to the back. What has this man went through?
“It’s okay to stare, had I been in your shoes, I might want to gaze upon the freak show too. I’ll tell you this though, wasn’t always this pretty. I used to be normal, well for the most part.”
They come across a clearing and see the road just a few yards away, he veers over towards Dorothy and whispers “The witch turned me into what I am. Before this I was a regular joe, see this world is twisted, but it used to inhabit humans. The two wicked witches came in and changed all that. It was then that the hildren began to go missing, all that was found was partially eaten remains usually left on the doorstep of worried parents.”
Some tight branches snag against Dorothy’s dress as she pushes through the brush. Stepping out into a clearer view, her lungs thank her for the somewhat fresher air she begins to inhale. The road extends farther away than she thought, up over a large hill is where her view cuts off, but not before cutting through a corn field, or what was left of one. Most of the field was burnt down and exposed, leaving burnt cob pieces and broken stalks.
“Through there is where we must go” he points a crooked finger at the black field.
Dorothy begins to walk, her stomach twisting with regret and worry “I’m sorry Mr. Tin Man, but I must ask, why are you willing to help me kill this witch?”
Tin Man halts for a second, looking up towards the sky his eyes gaze at the dark clouds flowing ahead, he puts his head down and starts “She took my heart from me, he was only six years old. See when I told you she left partially eaten parts on parents doorsteps, I was talking from personal experience. I went mad, I had been searching day and night for him. I heard the tales, we all did, of how a witch came to town, but no one believed it. It just didn’t seem like something that would happen in real life, but she did, and my reason for living was taken from me in one night. I owned a junkyard at the time, so I went to grab anything I could find to fight her, but she appeared. With a simple flick of her wrist, a vortex of metal and rust swirled around me, quickly colliding into me we merged into this monstrosity that I am.”
Wide eyed, Dorothy looks to him with curiosity. Before she can ask he answers “Yes, it hurt tremendously, and still does. Every ounce of movement rattles my nerves, after a while I got used to some, but not all of it. I tried to just stay still, maybe starve myself to death, but I don’t get hungry after she cursed me. Staying still just locked my body up and kept me in a world of hurt, it was even worse to try to move with locked parts, so I began to oil myself. You know, I had given up on purpose until we met, for such a young lady to have the courage to go up against her? Why it gave me what I needed, I will help you kill her. She took my child, my heart, so now I want hers.”
He cuts the conversation short when they reach the edge of the field, a musky odor lingers and wraps their senses drawing their attention.
Smoke dances towards the sky, coming from the center of a crowded patch of stalks remaining.
“Let’s say we peek in and see what’s cooking?” Tin Man smiles and makes his way through the corn field, Dorothy follows closely behind. Coming into a vast empty space, they see roasting over a fire, the charred remains of a woman with a metal bar driven through the crotch and out her mouth.
Sniffing the air, a figure wearing tattered remains turns their direction, his eyes masked with a black piece of fabric.