A Really Long Round Robin With Pictures
by All of Us

 

It was a dark and stormy night. Marissa Lynn lay on her bed, lost in thought and listening to the rain pellet her window. A flash of lightning and a bolt of thunder. She jumped. Then, the dreaded knock at the door. The knob turned, and slowly, the door began to open....

---

A figure wrapped in shawls entered the room and glided toward the bed. Marissa Lynn shrank in terror against her pillows.

"Do not be afraid," said the figure in a soft voice. "I am your dear sweet Granny come to help you." She held out a thin and withered hand. "Come, we will go to my cottage where I have brewed a potion, ah, I mean a special brew to heal your aching stomach. Do not deny that you have eaten more than your share of Easter candy. I can see Peeps peeping out from under your pillow."

"I cannot go with you," gasped Marissa Lynn.

"Do not be afraid," repeated the old lady. "This is how your granny always looks at night after she puts her teeth in a glass beside her bed, hangs her hair on the wig stand, and oh, do not keeping looking at the lump on my nose. It is not a wart but a zit from eating too many Cadbury eggs."

Marissa Lynn swallowed hard trying to ease your dry throat. Her stomach which was fine before the knock on her door was beginning to ache.

"You do not understand Granny," she whispered. "I know that when you put your teeth back into your mouth and your wig back on your head and your zit from eating too many Cadbury eggs heals, you will once again look like my dear sweet Granny, but I can't go to your cottage in this rain storm."

She twisted a shiny curl around a trembling finger and said, "I can't get rain water on my hair!"

---

"If you won't come of your own free will..." Grandmother grabbed Marissa's hand, "Then I'll FORCE you to come!"

The old lady yanked Marissa out of the room and into the long, brightly lit--no, make that dark, it's nighttime--hallway. She rushed her down the hall that led to the door to outside so fast Marissa's long, golden, shiny curls flew out behind her. Suddenly, as they rushed past the many doors, some open, revealing dusty, long-abandoned rooms, and some closed, Marissa's non-slip-proof bunny slipper slipped, no pun intended, and she fell face down on the thick, embroidered rug. Grandmother was just harshly snatching her hand and yanking her to her feet when a low, sweet voice called out from one of the closed rooms,

"Marissa?"

The old lady gasped and wrenched her hand away. "No! Not HER!" She ran down the hall and pushed a pinkish-purple spot on one of the murals. It slid aside noiselessly, and she slipped into the crack. As soon as she was gone, it rolled back so you would have thought it had been there forever.

Marissa stood alone in the hall, unsure of what to do. She was about to go back to her bedroom when the the voice came again. She turned to face the door on her right, from whence it had come, as the sweet tones said, "She is gone now, Marissa. You are safe."

Marissa took a step toward the door, then paused, not wanting to be impolite.

"Yes," said the gentle voice. "You may come in, my child."

Marissa slowly reached for the brass doorknob, sparkling in the light from the crystal chandelier...

---

The brass doorknob felt cold against Marissa's sweaty palm. Very cold. Like ice. She turned the knob and noticed the door swung outward into the hall, rather than inward.

What a strange house this is, Marissa thought. She looked over her shoulder at the crystal chandelier. And what an odd thing that is! Why, all its light is concentrated on this door! The rest of the corridor is so dark, I can hardly see!

"Marissa?" came the gentle voice again from the room beyond the door.

Okay, thought Marissa. This is it.

She pulled the door outward...and shivered. The room beyond the door wasn't a room at all, but an icy, cold, wintery wonderland. "Brrr..." said Marissa.

"Come in, Child. I have a warm cloak for you."

Marissa put a hand in front of her face to shield her eyes from the brilliant sunshine and flurry of snowflakes. It's a snowy sun-shower, thought Marissa. And look! Over those trees: A snow-bow!

Through the snow, she could see the figure who had called her. What a lovely lady she was! Dressed in white fur from head to foot, the beautiful young woman looked nothing like what Marissa imagined her to be. She was holding a furry white cloak out toward Marissa. Marissa ran to her and snuggled into the cloak as the woman wrapped it around her.

"Is that better, Marissa?"

"Much better. Thank you. But..." She turned to look into the deep, deep blue eyes of the beautiful woman, "Who are you?!"

---

"Who am I?" said the woman. "I am...

"...The Nice Evil Lady of Beauty! Ha ha ha!"

No sooner then she said this that the thunder storm (forgot it, did you?) launched a lightning bolt. Because there were no trees around, the bolt struck the tallest thing in its range: The Nice Evil Lady of Beauty.

The woman cried out when the lightning struck her. Smoke rose from the ground, concealing the woman from Marissa's view. When the smoke vanished, the Nice Evil Lady of beauty was nowhere to be seen.

Where has she gone? thought Marissa. And will she return?

---

Marissa Lynn stared in amazement. The lightning bolt had melted all the beautiful snow and the pouring rain was turning the ground to mud completely ruining her bunny slippers. Cold rainwater was soaking her shiny straight hair.

"What can I do?" thought Marissa Lynn. "My mother will be very angry with me. She told me NEVER to let rain water touch these sparkling straight golden locks. I have to get back to my safe dry bedroom. I can't perish in this horrid place. I don't have life insurance."

Just then the wind blew the rain aside for a moment and Marissa saw in the distance a cozy cottage. "At last," thought the grateful doll, "a warm place where I can dry my beautiful hair and be safe once again."

Marissa began to hurry to the cottage. A figure appeared at the window and seemed to be beckoning to her.

---

She ran to the door and knocked gently, but hurriedly. When no one came immediately, she cried, "Oh, PLEASE let me in! This rain water is ruining my hair, and I'm cold and wet and hungry!"

The door slowly opened. Marissa noticed it did it quietly, as though the hinges were brand new. She shivered in the soaked, muddy cloak, which now protected her from the wind about as well as the average window screen. The door opened completely. Marissa threw her head back to look the figure full in the face. "Someone out there just got struck by lightning! Would you please--" She stopped short and took a step back. "But...you just got fried!"

The lovely lady from before smiled at her. "No, I didn't, dear. That was my evil twin sister. Thanks to you, she is now defeated. Come on, helpers!"

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a large group of little men appeared. They grabbed hands, spun around and sang loudly, "The evil twin is dead! The evil twin is dead!"

"Can...I mean, may I please have something to eat?" Marissa asked politely.

One little man popped up in front of her. "Go to the yellow brick bowl."

Another jumped forward. "Go to the yellow brick bowl."

They all stood up and sang, "Go to the yellow brick bowl! Go to the yellow brick bowl! Go to, go to, go to, go to, go to the yellow brick bowl..."

Marissa turned and saw that a round, yellow bowl, which appeared to be made of bricks, (no, I don't know how they made the bricks round either) was sitting next to her. It was filled with tantalizing fruits and candies of every imaginable sort.

She looked back up at the lovely lady and said suspiciously, "How do I know you didn't just come back and now you're trying to get me again? How do I know you're not a ghost? How do I know you don't have life insurance?"

"She didn't, isn't, didn't--"

Marissa looked back and yelled, "And would you stop singing that stupid theme?! Now it's going through my head!"

The pretty lady said kindly to her little helpers, "Go, please. She has been under a lot of stress, and she thinks she is dreaming."

The men vanished.

The lady looked back at Marissa. "If you don't believe I'm real, Marissa, hug me." Noticing that Marissa was still wary, she added, "Don't worry, it's safe. I have life insurance."

Marissa reached for the lady, but suddenly someone behind her called, "No, she's not real! I'M real!"

Marissa spun around and saw the same lovely lady behind her. She rubbed her eyes, not believing what her eyes were telling her.

"No, evil twin. Go," said the one in the cottage.

"Ha, you're tricky, aren't you?" countered the other. "I'm real, and you are the one who got fries! I mean fried!"

"Hug me," said the lady nearest Marissa, the one by the house. "She's trying to trick you, dear.

"Hug ME!" yelled the one on the snow bank. (Oh, forgot to mention it.) "Don't trust her!"

Marissa stood between them, puzzled. Which one should she hug? If she hugged the wrong one, she would be carried away. (Oh, did I mention the lady in the cottage said that? Oops.)

"Hug me!"

"Hug me!"

---

"I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!" cried poor Marissa Lynn. "Oh, if only my dear, sweet, warty-but-trustworthy, old Granny were here to protect me!"

"But she's not!" cackled the wicked black bird! "You must decide for yourself!"

The evil blackbird swooped round and round Marissa's head, trying to hurry her decision. With a cry, Marissa covered her head with her hands and sank to the ground.

"Somebody help me!"

Suddenly there appeared among the group a figure to strike terror into the heart of every evil doer. AN ANGRY MOTHER!!!

---

Marissa Lynn's mother scowled at the scene before her. "And exactly who," she demanded of the twins, "do you two think you are, bringing my little dolly out here in the cold and wet...and ruining her beautiful shiny, curly-straight hair! I have a good mind to..."

She didn't need to say anything else. The twin evil ladies shrank back, turned and ran! "AAAAAAHHH!!!" She grabbed Marissa's hand. "And YOU, young lady!"

Marissa quivered in the thin cloak, her teeth chattering so hard she couldn't speak.

"This will teach you to go around in the middle of the night, snooping through rooms you have no business in. Didn't Granny tell you? Stick to the murals and you won't get into trouble. Come along!"

She marched toward the door and swept Marissa down the hall. "Now, get your pajamas while I run your bath." Marissa Lynn's mother opened the door to the adjoining bathroom. While she ran a warm, soothing bubble bath, Marissa undressed.

"Mommy, may Teddy watch my bath? And can I have my rubber ducky?"

"Sure!" said Mommy.

After Marissa Lynn's bath, her mother tucked her into her bed and gave her a cup of hot herbal tea.

"Mommy, where did Granny go?"

"Go? Why to get her teeth, of course. You know how hard it is to understand Granny when she doesn't have her teeth in. Now, not another word." She took Marissa's empty cup, kissed Marissa, and turned off the light. "Nighty-night, sweetie."

Marissa lay awake in the dark for several minutes, thinking about her adventures. Maybe tomorrow, she'd try another door...

...And then again, maybe not.


THE END

 

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