AN: At long last, my pretties, here it is! I would've had this up sooner, but I had to send it to Bremela/Bree for beta reading (big shout out to her for that, i really appreciate it!) and I also wanted to draw things out a bit, torture you with the suspense, lmao! Anyway, here it is, Part Two of WRH, The Last Midnight! Oh, points if you tell me where I got the name from. And, as a bonus, if you can give me an accurate quote directly from where I got the title, you also get a cookie. Cookie type of your choice, here's what I have in stock: chocolate chip, gingersnap, gingerBREAD in the shape of your choice, and chocolate oatmeal rasin. And if you're not in a cookie mood, I also have giant cinnamon pretzels like they sell at the mall.

So, anyway, this is the prologue and Dorothy will make her choice in Chapter One, which is coming soon. Actually, on second thought, I think I'll wait a little while before I post the first chapter, just to keep you in suspense a bit longer. I'll go ahead and start on it, definitely, and I'll send it to Bree for beta reading, but I might wait for a bit to post it. *shrugs nonchantly* Dunno, guess we'll just have to see.

Love ya!

-Maggie the Mad Majesty of Muchness


PROLOGUE

Kumbricia studied the girl laid out before her on the stone altar. She was a pretty young thing, really, with soft features and long auburn hair that fell down her back in delicate waves, splayed out wildly around her head.

She sighed and shook her head. Kumbricia had been watching the girl for quite some time now, and took pity after seeing her tragic death. Now, looking at her up close for the first time, she knew the girl was definitely worth something.

Yes, the witch decided, this one was most certainly a keeper.

But first, she had important business to tend to. Kumbricia went to a nearby spice cabinet and browsed through the various bottles. (As she did this, she couldn't help but think that the old cabinet really was in horrible condition, what with the mold and dry rot all over the decomposing wood, making it sag pathetically on its nail.)

She took two glass bottles from the cabinet-one purple, one red. They both had tall necks and corks were shoved into the openings, pieces of twine wrapped around them. The other end of the twine on each was around the mouths of the bottles, and the worn labels on the front were too faded to read.

She stood over the girl, bottles in hand, and smiled to herself. Uncorking the red one, she poured some of the faintly shimmering powder into the palm of her hand, releasing it into the air over the girl's face.

Kumbricia set the red bottle down and opened the purple one, moving her hand as if to catch the pale blue tendrils of smoke coming from the opening. She let her hand hover in the air just above the girl's slightly parted lips. She uncurled her fingers just barely and let the smoke go into the girl's mouth.

She recorked each bottle, then set them aside and waited. Slowly but surely, color returned to the girl's pale cheeks. Her lips, blue with the cold grip of death, gradually became a soft shell pink. Kumbricia grinned in satisfaction as she watched from a high-backed chair several feet away.

Nessarose Thropp's eyes flew open.