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“What will we do now?” asked Dorothy after the Scarecrow’s little tirade subsided.

“There is only one thing to do,” answered the Lion, greatly relieved that the Head hadn’t heard the Scarecrow’s contumelious yammering, “and that is to go to the Land of the Winkies, where the Wicked Witch lives, and destroy her. I’m too much of a coward to kill a Witch myself, but I’ll go with you.”

Convinced that the Wizard’s decision was irrevocable, the Scarecrow added, “I’m too stupid to know how to kill a Witch, but I’ll go, too.”

The Tin Woodman also thought there was no chance that the Wizard would rescind his decision. “I don’t have the heart to kill even a Wicked Witch,” he said with a sigh, “but I’ll go, too.”

“Then we’re anonymous,” proclaimed the Scarecrow proudly.

“Unanimous,” corrected Dorothy automatically, shooting him a look of gentle reproof. She hoped she didn’t come across like a captious old pedagogue, but at the same time she couldn’t help laughing inwardly at the risible malapropism, and this, thankfully, dissipated her tension a bit.

That night, they all went to bed early. Dorothy, having had very little sleep the night before, dozed off right away, but her sweet dreams of Apollonian futures were immediately transmogrified into grotesque nightmares of a green-tinged Sodom, whose unearthly luminance was surrounded by an inscrutable Stygian darkness.

The poor Scarecrow, standing awake all night, was seized by an incipient paranoia that eventually swirled uncontrollably through his straw-filled head. Now that he had had his first glimpse of urbane society, he felt more than ever like a creature apart, an empty-headed pariah sure to be maligned and derided by all.

Chapter 14 “The Search for the Wicked Witch”

The next morning, the soldier in the green uniform led our group back through the streets of the City toward the Guardian of the Gates. Dorothy, her spirit nearly broken, gazed blindly in front of her, an amalgam of fear and frustration in her vapid eyes. She tried her best to quash her doubts, but it was no use. How was she, a helpless, little girl, supposed to kill a powerful Wicked Witch?

“Which road leads to the Wicked Witch of the West?” Dorothy asked the Guardian of the Gates apathetically when they at last arrived at the edge of the City.

“There is no road,” he answered, “because no one ever wishes to go that way.”

The idea that she now had the onus of somehow divining the correct path was almost more than Dorothy could endure. She felt tears welling up behind her smarting eyes, but she forced herself to suppress them. “How are we supposed to find her then?” she asked, her voice shaking.

“Now, now,” said the Tin Woodman soothingly, patting Dorothy’s back. “We’ll find her.”

“Her appellation indicates that she lives in the West,” said the Guardian of the Gates, “so I suggest you walk toward where the sun sets.”

Having now ascertained the correct route, our curious coterie walked west across fields of soft grass dotted here and there with

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