This was originally supposed to be a fantasy novel I was writing, because I was going through a Wizard of Oz phase back in the early 2000s. However, I didn't get around to trying to finish it until recently; when a special friend of mine inspired me to join in on the fun here on .
The story here is a post-modern version of the 1939 film, with my own flair thrown in ;) Have fun reading, and let me know what you think.
"This is gonna be some party!" 'Brina said excitedly. Dena smiled as she wiped the last of the tables. The boss had gone home for the day, leaving the two of them to clean up and close the diner down early.
"So when do you want me over?" Dena asked as they locked the front doors and went into the back.
"It starts at seven, 'kay?" 'Brina told her dark-haired friend as they entered the kitchen. The girls were only too happy to go home early, especially with the evening activities to look forward to.
Dena went around to the back of the kitchen and leashed up Tahoe, her beloved German Shepherd puppy. He'd been a recent gift from her great-aunt Edna, a sort of "anniversary" gift for the first year since Dena had come to live with her in Nebraska.
He was a delightful little pup. After being cooped up in the kitchen he was only too happy to see his owner again. He barked and gave Dena a kiss with his little pink tongue as she got him ready. The girl laughed and let 'Brina pet him while the two of them strapped on their roller-skates.
The Cosmic Diner was now closed up, and the girls were free to go home.
"Thank God it's summer," Dena said to her blond friend as they skated down the hot, dusty highway. Dry grass and rolling hills covered in acres of wheat, corn, and soybeans billowing into the horizon were enough to give anyone highway hypnosis, often causing travelers to become confused as to whether they'd traveled a hundred miles, or just one. Lucky for Dena and 'Brina, their slow travel by skates made it easier to endure the incredibly boring landscape. The two of them were dressed in the identical uniforms of their profession: pink, sleeveless shirts that had aprons with pockets low in front and the blue logo of the diner; long, dark blue pants, and matching skates they'd bought together when they first found out they'd be working in the same restaurant. They carried their shoes in drawstring bags on their backs. Tahoe trotted alongside them, happy to stretch his little puppy legs and be out in the sun. The late afternoon sun was on the girls' backs, but their spirits were too high to notice how hot they were getting. They were too excited about the party 'Brina was holding at her home later that evening.
When they reached the T-section, the girls said goodbye to one another and parted. As Dena skated down the long, asphalt road to her house, she whistled and little Tahoe trotted along, panting in the cute way his owner liked. She remembered why she'd named him that. Her family used to live near Lake Tahoe, on the California side. The country out there had been much more exotic compared to these dull farm fields and flat, endless horizon. At least in California, there'd been mountains that were never the same shape and broke up the horizon to create incredible vistas.
After Dena's parents died, she was sent (according to the will), to the only relative her parents had favored; Great-Aunt Edna. Dena remembered hating Nebraska back when she'd first moved there over a year ago. The town was too small and scattered, the landscape was too flat, and the weather wasn't worth dying for. Blazing hot summers, stormy springs, and freezing cold winters were just about all she could handle.
She ended up calling Edna her Nana, since the whole Great-Aunt thing was too long to say, and calling her "aunt Edna" didn't sound right either. Edna hadn't really approved at first, but she got used to it when she soon realized that her great-niece couldn't be swayed to call her anything else.
Dena did like the animals when she first settled on the farm, but she later learned just how much work went into caring for them, (including getting up at ridiculous hours of the morning), and she also learned just how disgusting some of the animals could be, such as the pigs, the chickens, or the horses. It seemed as if the baby animals were the only thing she could tolerate after a while.
But then again, the baby animals weren't the only cute thing on the farm. So were the hired hands that came once a week and stayed all the time during certain holidays. They ranged from high school age to college-age. They stayed in the guest house on holidays, such as the summer one going on. Dena showed interest in the three of them when she first met them last year, but later on she found out just how silly and annoying they could be.
First there was Ryan, the big-shot. He was a big muscled kinda guy. He loved to show off and do stupid, crazy things around the more dangerous animals on the farm. Dena often wondered how he got out alive from some of his more dangerous escapades. However, she came to learn that although he put on a big show of being the big bad boss over the farm animals, in truth it was all talk. Ryan was a huge coward if his little stunts went too far.
Next there was Skyler, the quiet one. He was rather on the thin, bony side, and yet the guy still amazed Dena at some of the heavy loads he volunteered to carry around the farm. He was surprisingly modest, and often blushed like crazy whenever he was complemented on doing something major, saying it was no big deal. After spending some time with him, Dena had learned that he'd been in a relationship in the past, and was still plagued by the memory of it. The girl could almost see the little black cloud that hung over Skyler's head from an earlier love who had once broken his heart. This caused him to be quiet most of the time.
And then there was Jake. Dena wasn't sure how to describe him. He was the youngest of the farm hands, only a year older than her at seventeen. Dena had considered him the cutest of the three, until he'd opened his mouth. Honestly, the girl felt he could keep his mouth shut every now and then. It seemed as if every time he was to say anything that would have been appropriate, Jake would blurt out something stupid or badly chosen for the moment. Dena knew he meant well, but somehow, there were just too many things he'd said to her that made her feel stupid or angry.
Either way, Dena had reluctantly adapted to life in Nebraska. Now she had friends, a home, a puppy, and a new life. She felt like a completely different person now. And with the excitement of having no school and 'Brina's party, nothing could ruin her summer at the moment.
If only she'd noticed the familiar picket fence growing up out of the grass on the side of the road. It wasn't until the last minute that Dena heard a meow and saw the ugly, hairless cat on the fence before Tahoe suddenly barked and bolted off after it. He did it so suddenly that Dena felt a painful jerk in her arm and was instantly lying on the ground, facedown. She looked up and saw Tahoe squeeze under the fence and continue to run after the cat. The nasty thing yowled like a sick banshee and flew over the grass like a gray streak of lightning.
"Tahoe!" Dena yelled angrily after the puppy. She jumped to her feet and skated fiercely along the fence, trying to find a way in before she considered climbing over it. She knew the house this fence surrounded all too well, and dread immediately reminded her just who the owner was. Before the sickening feeling had a chance to grow in her stomach, a loud, aggravating voice came out the front door yelling,
"Who's out there? Hey you! Get outta my yard, you mutt!" Out came Mrs. Wecktola, (or the "Weck" as some people called her), the bane of Dena's existence. She had been a long-time hated resident of the town, namely due to the fact that she owned half the property out there and didn't let anyone forget it.
Dena hated going past Mrs. Wecktola's house because the same thing always happened: Tahoe would see Squall, (the Weck's hideous hairless cat), and chase after him, trampling her gardens in the process. This was exactly what the pup was doing at this very moment. The cat was leading Tahoe through the vegetable and flower gardens as Dena tore off her skates and vaulted over the fence. When Mrs. Wecktola saw the girl, she immediately let out an angry sound and growled,
"Calm down woman, I'm on my way to get him now!" Dena snapped at the hag, trying to run as fast as she could after Tahoe in her stocking feet. They hurt at every rock and tree root that stuck up from the ground as she chased the puppy, though the idea of getting her feet cut was the last thing on Dena's mind.
"If you don't get that dastardly little monster out of my yard I'll call Animal Control!" Mrs. W snarled as she watched Dena stumble and fall through the gardens over and over again.
"I can't really talk right now, Weck, in case you hadn't noticed," Dena yelled over her shoulder as she chased Tahoe in circles around the yard.
"I don't care!" the Weck yelled, her twisted, leathery face contorted with fury, "I want that nasty thing out of my garden this minute! And you better watch your mouth little missy, or you'll end up in a cage yourself!" Dena wasn't too impressed by the Weck's artillery of words, nor was she willing to put up with it any more today.
"Put a sock in it, Weck!" she snapped.
The cat finally got wise and dashed up onto the roof of Mrs. W's house. Tahoe skidded to a stop by the wall and barked in outrage as the hairless beast yowled tauntingly from the eaves.
"Gotcha!" Dena said as she pounced on the puppy. Tahoe didn't stop barking and struggled to get out of her arms. Dena held him tightly, fighting to get him away from Squall.
Suddenly, Dena heard a bang from nearby, like a gunshot. Tahoe yelped in alarm. His owner flicked her head in the direction of the bang and saw a large scrape on the nearby downspout. Bang! Another hole appeared in the ground near her feet. Dena looked up in shock to see Mrs. Wecktola with a long hunting rifle. She was shooting at the girl and her dog!
"I'll get you for your mouth you little wretch!" the old crone screamed as she fired off more shots. Tahoe shut up immediately as his owner ran for their lives. Dena just barely managed to leap over the fence and snag her skates before Mrs. Wecktola sheered off one of the fence posts.
Her heart racing along with her legs, Dena ran down the gravelly road, dodging two cars in the process. She kept on going until she was out of sight of the Weck's house and the range of her gun. She plopped Tahoe on the ground and sat next to him, breathing heavily from their wild escape.
"I can't believe what just happened," she said breathlessly. Tahoe pressed himself against Dena, whining in fear.
"It's okay buddy," Dena comforted the puppy, stroking his fur, "she won't get away with this. Nobody does for shooting around here do they?" Tahoe only lay down on the hot pavement and panted.
"Well I'm not gonna put up with this," Dena declared, "Come on Tahoe, we've got a call to make."
Dena pulled on her skates and was off in a moment. She whistled to Tahoe, and the little guy was on his feet and galloping beside her immediately. Dena didn't even bother with the leash now. The two of them went whizzing past dozens of hills, farm fields, and signs until they finally reached Nana's farm.
What? You expected Dena to go to Oz in the first chapter? Lol, think again. Dorothy didn't exactly go to Oz in the first 5 minutes of the film either. I promise, there is an "Oz," just be patient and keep on reading :)
Here's some Oz Trivia for you ;) Judy Garland was 16 years old when they made Wizard of Oz. Calculating her birth year with 1939 would have made her 17, but MGM made the movie before her birthday. Dorothy was supposed to be 12, but the movie producers wanted Judy regardless of her age. However, they had to modify her appearance to look younger. At first it was done with a poofy dress, a blond wig, and "dolly" makeup, but the producer changed his mind and just wanted Judy to look more natural. Judy Garland had to wear a special corset under her costume that made her waist and chest look smaller so she'd resemble a pre-teen. (As you've noticed, Dena is 16 in this story, just like Judy :)
There was a studio legend saying that the people who made Wizard of Oz originally wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy, but if you look into it, the guys who made the film had always wanted to cast Judy Garland, end of story.
I'd like to thank x-xMasqueradeAngelx-x for getting me started on this fanfic. She is an awesome writer, and if you're interested, go check out her homepage, it's got some really cool fanfics on it.