Someone has painted the ground yellow! There are swirly yellow ribbons painted all over the city square. The are kids all over the place too, with their heads down as they follow their own footsteps. Some are avoiding the cracks in the pavement. Some are stepping ONLY on the cracks in the pavement. Little people are running around everywhere and there’s laughter in the air.
It’s a veritable “yellow brick road!”
Oops, there’s been a collision. The yellow ribbon is only one lane, with traffic moving in two directions. Everyone turns to see the source of the wailing. It’s okay, the two victims will be alright. But, where’s my daughter?
“Dora! Dora!” I shout.
My thoughts turn to a worst case scenario. I’m scanning the crowd at waist level for her glittery, red shoes. That’s where her feet would be dangling if someone snatched her.
A gust of wind blows the leaves from the trees and the people in the square clear out. Barely two minutes have passed. “Dora! Help!” I howl at the sky. There’s no one around anymore. The wind blew them all away.
My feet are stuck. My mind wants to search one way and my legs want to go another. We can’t split up so I will myself to pick a direction and run. I look down every alleyway. My eyes dart into every shop. My breath is short and shallow. My senses are all pin-sharp.
No luck that way. I circle back and begin to cry. “Do-ra!” My voice is breaking with desperation. I reach the square and there she is – right in the middle of the yellow painted ribbon. She’s covered in soot, and mud, and her dress is torn. Her hair is scruffy like it hasn’t been combed for a week.
“Where were you?” I smother her with my embrace. She pulls her face out of my shoulder, draws breath and begins to explain, “I followed the yellow brick road. There was a man with black and white stripes…” I interrupt her, “did he touch you?”
“No, he was so shy. He couldn’t even talk. He was helping the man with the leather clothes and chains. He carried a knife,” I nearly scream. She clarifies, “but he only used it to scare off the witch.
“Then there was a man wearing an orange blanket and he was bold.”
“Bold?” I ask.
“Yeah, he had no hair: bold. He prayed to his god and told me that if I wanted to go home I just had to tap my shoes together.”
“So a shy mime and a biker defended you from a witch, before a bald monk told you to tap your shoes together to go home?”
“Well, that explains everything.”