Dorothy yells without thinking “Glinda sent me to kill the wicked witch!”
“Lies!” the lion roars. It menaces snarling its blood soaked lips back over cracked fangs.
“No I swear it! She gave me these shoes to assist on my journey!”
The lion looks down and catches a glance of the sparkling red shoes, his eyes suddenly change almost childlike. He steps back and takes a closer look at them before asking in a calmer tone “How do you have these? These belong to my master.”
Tin Man shakes his head and climbs to his feet, he picks up his axes but sees the lion has backed away and assumes it’s safe for now. Scarecrow pulls his face out of the intestines of a cow, his glove wipes off residue and jelly stuck to his mask.
Dorothy sits up and gets a good look at the lion, he was larger than any normal lion she’s ever seen, his mane was missing patches as if they were ripped out, his face covered in scars with some embedded deeply, he reeked horribly of a combination of mixed smells, mainly the smell of death. He had burn marks and brands scattered across his sides.
“I killed the wicked witch of the east on accident, my home had fallen on her. These shoes were given to me.”
The lion looks around confused and begins to tear up while forcing the words “I’m finally free.”
Tin Man walks over and helps Scarecrow up before joining Dorothy.
“You, you have freed my eternal suffering.” The lion drops down to bow “My freedom has been released by your actions, I am in debt to you.”
Dorothy stands up with the help of Tin Man and Scarecrow, she looks down with mixed thoughts and fear forcing its way up her conscience.
“Your freedom?” She finally manages to ask after what felt like many minutes of silence.
“Yes, I was a slave to the witch. Forced to stay in the fields hunting innocents and other animals like a guard dog, a spell was bound upon me. With her death, you have broken my chains, for it I am forever grateful. Please, forgive my previous actions, it was instinct to attack, but you stood out from others and was assumed you had been a spy or assassin. My apologies to you and your fellow men.”
The lion stayed down to the floor, refusing to move without Dorothy’s approval.
“Well I’m happy to have helped you, but there’s no need to bow down to me. May I ask your name?” Dorothy asks.
“Lion ma’am.” He replies.
“Could you stand up so we could talk properly Mr Lion?” She asks.
Lion regains his stance and attains eye contact with her, his body heavy with swollen muscle. He looks over to Tin Man and Scarecrow “I apologize, it was a reflex.”
“I’ve had worse, it’s fine friend. Name’s Tin Man.”
“And I’m Scarecrow, you got a hell of a swing. Can’t see you but I’m assuming you’re an animal, with the voice being inhuman and the impact I felt across my stomach, surely something large.”
“Lion is what I’m called, at least it’s what she called me. I was a zoo trainer’s pet until the curse took over the land. All the animals grew with rage, able to think rationally and attack in unison. I couldn’t do it, my trainer was killed by these hybrid animals, the monkeys turned into beasts. They grew wings and fangs, ripped people apart. I tried to protect my trainer, he had raised me since I was a cub, but they got to him. I fought hard but wasn’t enough, all I got was scars and punishment for it. The witch took me in as a slave and forced me to watch the fields, destroying anything that came into view. I’m not a killer, but she forced my hand, if not I was punished severely. I was once brave, but lost that with the excessive non required killing. My courage was replaced with what I fear is called PTSD. Hot brands were forced into my sides if I even imagined back talking, I was starved and hurt emotionally and physically, but she’s gone now. I’m free, and I choose to devote my life towards you. Please, tell me your name?”
“Mr. Lion that isn’t necessary, my name is Dorothy.”
“Dorothy I am in your debt, tell me what brings you this way?”
“Well, we were headed to kill the wicked witch of the west actually. Or to try at least.”
“I shall not question your motives, please, let me help you. I am finally free, justice is what I crave. Have it be the other sister, I shall be pleased, maybe my courage shall retain once more. I beg of you, let me follow.”
With minimal discussion, all four begin to walk down the yellow brick road, each with a different agenda. Coming across a barren field, they see a palace of emerald in the distance.
“Heard stories whispered from time by weary travelers of this land, they spoke of a man who could see visions of past, present and future. Said he could do the works of a sorcerer, maybe we can find him?” Tin Man says.
Dorothy glares at the monument “Do you really think someone could help us?”
Scarecrow replies “What could hurt? Let’s give it a shot.”
In a room surrounded by the black of night, a voice hisses “So, you’ve located the dark wizard, come, do your best.”
A withered hand with decaying flesh attached to weathered bones hovers over a glowing orb, in it reflects the four walking through the empty field. It flicks its wrist and spins slightly in circles.
Dorothy is halted by a dead weed quickly wrapping around her leg. It rotates around her thigh and makes its way up to her mouth forcing its way down her throat. Tin Man tries to help but is pulled down, along with Lion and Scarecrow. Like a forced oral penetration from a pervert, they all succumb to the overbearing weeds protruding from the ground forcing them to the bottom.
Each one begin to go into a deep slumber, a coma like trance with hellish nightmares invading their already torn thoughts.