Image: © Mara Eastern (Used with Permission)
Trica entered through the doorway and stood mesmerized by what she saw. There was Doomsberry Park just as she’d been told and as she’d imagined. It stretched out in front of her, a conglomeration of vegetation of every kind and a criss-cross of paths leading in directions she knew not.
Her first task was to find the centre of the park as from there she knew she would be able to locate the witches and in particular Maunchy Munchinson whom she had come all this way to find.
First, she took out her compass but to her surprise it did not want to cooperate. The directional dial spun from clockwise to anti-clockwise and eventually settled with the pointer showing her north.
As she took a first step the dial spun again and for every step it pointed in a different direction. Feeling exasperated she put the compass in her pocket and decided to follow the path thinking it had to lead somewhere which at the moment was better than nowhere.
The walk through the park was nothing short of exhilarating. The vegetation was lush and green and she noticed the exotic alongside the not exotic. Occasionally she saw small piles of weeds on the side of the path evidence she took as someone must be here.
Around a sharp corner, she came upon the centre of the park. There were groups of people huddled over tables playing chess, checkers and at one end a group working together on a jig-saw puzzle the like of which she had never seen before. It must have been at least six feet square and around it were groups of old men arguing with each other over which bit went where and why.
Trica stood and watched as around her activity occurred and she looked to ask one person sitting on her own as to how to find the witches group.
“Excuse me,” she began, “but can you tell me how I might find the witches group?”
The woman she addressed looked up at her and then looked her up and down. “And who might you be?” she asked.
“I’m Trica,” she replied, “I’ve just found my way here and now I’m keen to find Maunchy Munchinson.”
“What on earth for?” asked the woman incredulously.
“I’m a witch chaser and I’m chasing an interview with Maunchy Munchinson.”
The woman looked back down at her book and continued to read. Trica waited a few minutes before thinking there was going to be no information gleaned from this woman and began to look for another source of information. As she moved away the woman said: “It’s down the path and left at the hag’s cottage. You can’t miss it, though you might wish later you did.”
“Thank you,” answered Trica and began to step towards the direction the woman had given her.
“The witches meet at the end of the path, a bit like at the end of the world. Remember the way my dear, it can be a long way back. They aren’t there for no reason you know.”
Trica listened to the woman’s words and headed off thinking; ‘In a garden like this what could there be that might bring you harm?’