Image © Mara Eastern (Used with permission)
Tricia had decided that as a witch chaser first class she would go all out to find Doomsberry Park. After all, it couldn’t be all that hard to find a park that was written about so much.
On top of that, she really wanted to meet up with Maunchy Munchinson the head witch of Doomsberry Park. Maunchy was a legend in witch chaser circles, and a meeting with her would put Tricia up into the higher echelons of witch chasing.
Tricia had read and re-read the reports about the park. Between the southern and northern gates of the Doomsberry Estate was a doorway that led into it.
The Doomsberry Estate was the largest parcel of land within the town and easy to find. The difficulty arose in determining the southern and northern ends.
But undeterred she set off. She had a compass which she reasoned had to give her the right directions at least. She had also read every Harry Potter novel several times over and so knew all about things that changed for no explicable reason.
Her friend Lorraine had spent the day before going over with her the plans for the day. Lorraine was a stickler for organisation and didn’t want her friend Trica getting side tracked and going off course. Lorraine had maintained that the doorway to the park was behind the giant mulberry tree in the southern corner of the Doomsberry Estate.
Tricia knowing, she needed luck as well as guidance noted all of Lorraine’s suggestions as anything to get her into the park was a step she didn’t want to ignore.
The southern end of the Doomsberry Estate stretched from one end of Happy Doomsberry to the other end of Unhappy Doomsberry, and Trica knew she didn’t want to go there.
There was a mulberry tree, thick with mulberries and Trica couldn’t help but sample a few or was it three?
But look as she did there was no doorway anywhere to be seen.
She gave up on the mulberry tree theory and headed north, she hoped, at least her compass suggested as much, in search of another entrance. A little way along she heard a voice.
“Hey, you there, you the one looking for a way into the park?”
“Yes,” mumbled Trica looking about for the source of the voice.
“It’s up the hill a bit more. Look for the snail wearing a fez, and you’re almost there. But don’t tell him you heard that from me. Ok?”
“Ok. But who are you? I can’t see you.” answered a bewildered Trica.
“Best you can’t,” said the voice, “you wouldn’t believe me if you saw me.”
All Trica could see was the Estate wall stretching out into the north.
“Get going, don’t dilly dally girlie,” warned the voice with a touch of irritation now added to its voice.
With that Trica hurried on looking for the improbable sight of a snail wearing a fez.
A few minutes later on the side of the wall was a snail wearing a fez. To make it more puzzling, the snail was sipping on a coffee while reading a newspaper. She stopped to look closely as the snail muttered: “Damn terrible state of affairs if you ask me. The world going to pot is what I say. Look at this will you, climate change deniers are all over the place, and soon my home here on the ledge will be gone, be too hot to sit and I’ll die from exhaustion if not a good old frying in the sun.”
“Excuse me,” asked Trica, “but do you know where the doorway into the Doomsberry Park is?”
“Look for the gargoyle with the bent nose,” said the snail not looking up, “but I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.”
“Why not?” asked a curious Trica.
“Witches. The place is lousy with witches. Nasty creatures pop you in a cauldron quick as look at you.”
“But I want to meet Maunchy Munchinson.”
The snail looked up, “Then you must be crazy. She’s the worst of the lot. Crazy woman is what I say.”
Trica was slightly disturbed by the snail’s advice but determined to press on. “Thank you, Mr Snail, but I want to find her.”
“You’ll only live, if you do, to regret it,” he said going back to his newspaper and muttering things about the modern youth having no regard for the wisdom of their elders.
Trica found the gargoyle with the bent nose, at least she surmised it was the right one as they all seemed to have bent noses and the one she chose had the more bent nose than all the others.
Beside the gargoyle was a door handle. It was a shiny door handle, one Trica assumed was well used.
Turning it, she looked through into the garden.