The Red Brick Road | Teen Ink

The Red Brick Road

September 20, 2015
By Scriba SILVER, East Brunswick, New Jersey
Scriba SILVER, East Brunswick, New Jersey
6 articles 2 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A reader lives a thousand lives."

“Follow the yellow brick road.”

The phrase that began a classic story, as surely as “Once upon a time.” The phrase uttered by the helpful Munchkins as they sent Dorothy on her way to the Emerald City. But Dorothy had helped them, no matter how unintentionally. She had killed the Wicked Witch of the East with her own house, freeing the Munchkins from her reign of terror. For that, they rewarded her – “Follow the yellow brick road.”

Dorothy was not the only one to land in Oz, though. Twisters are not as rare as they seem. Hundreds of people have wound up in Oz, some before Dorothy, some after. What became of them, of the ones who landed on unfortunate Munchkins or pets or houses or flower beds?

“Follow the red brick road.”

Certainly the more popular of the two phrases in Oz, although it is seldom used in the normal world. Why? Because those who follow the red brick road do not come back. Encouraged by the cheery chants of the Munchkins, they follow the path of red bricks. Munchkinland fades away as they walk on, assured of whatever destination they believe is at the end – usually their homes. But as the path winds on, doubts begin to creep in. Some reason that their homes are just far away. Others become impatient and veer off the path. What becomes of them, we do not know. The others continue on until they come to the forest. It appears abruptly, neatly dividing the brightness of the day from the deep shadows within. Densely populated with towering, gnarly trees, the forest stops most in their tracks. Oddly, though, all continue through.

The fate of the travelers once they enter the forest can be one of three things.

They could encounter Oz’s animals. Out from the shadows of the trees creep the animals of Oz. Some, the travelers will recognize – dragons, rattlesnakes, spiders, tigers. Although terrifying, they are still something known to the travelers. But when the others emerge – the choggenmuggers, dragon-eaters; the kalidahs, part tiger and part bear; the orks, part ostrich and part parrot; and the raks, terrible beasts larger than a hundred men – that is when some lose their minds. The animals needn’t touch them. The sight of these terrible creatures in the forest is enough to make the travelers run screaming through the forest. The trees swallow them whole, and they never return.

For some, the sight of the animals sends strength. Some travelers are foolish enough to take on the beasts, whether with fists or sticks or anything else they have on them. They never stand a chance against the teeth, the claws, the sheer hunger of these creatures. They are gone quickly, their blood adding a new shade of red to the bricks below.

And then, perhaps the cruelest of all endings for the travelers: nothing. The animals remain in hiding, and the traveler walks on and on and on, until they can go no farther. Some simply walk until they die on their own two feet. Some surrender and lie down for their death. Either way, they never find the end of the road. There may not be one. No one who knows enough about the road to wonder would ever consider attempting to walk it.

I know, of course. It is my road.

It is by my order that the Munchkins send people along it. Once, a wizard appeared in Oz, as if by magic. Before I could stop him, he had gained a great influence over my people. So I accepted him graciously, granted him permission to use magic. But he overshadowed me. “The Wizard of Oz,” indeed. He and Glinda have become the forefront wizard and witch of my land. No one remembers me, although I am always here. I, Ozma, the true ruler of Oz. And so I send all newcomers down this road. It is enchanted to suppress all magic and prevent anyone else from upstaging me. As for the innocents who walk the red brick road – well, better safe than sorry. And anyway, I am never at a loss.

The animals always save the heads for my collection.

The author's comments:

This is based on Frank L. Baum's series about the land of Oz - in particular Ozma of Oz.

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