Coraline Jones, Witch Slayer and the Heir of Morpheus
A Coraline/Nightmare Before Christmas Story with nods to Stardust and the Sandman Saga
Written by: FossilQueen1984
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Suggested Soundtrack: Tempus Vernum-Enya, End Credits/Mechanical Lullaby- Coraline soundtrack
Chapter 3: Haunted Homecoming
Lock, Shock and Barrel continued to run into the woods as fast as they could while Coraline, Wybie and Cat followed in pursuit. As they sprinted into the deep woods, Shock started to complain about whose brilliant idea it was to even steal beets to begin with. As usual, Lock and Barrel began their sister and each other. Collapsing to the ground in exhaustion, they began bickering amongst themselves.
"Okay, whose brilliant idea was it to steal beets again?"
"It was mine, you blithering idiots."
"So it was your idea to get caught?"
"No, it was your fault!"
"Wasn't me, never is. It's all Barrel's fault."
"Shut your hole, bratling."
By the time the sibling's shouting match had devolved into a bare knuckle brawl, Coraline, Wybie, and Cat were trekking through the overgrown forest floor towards the vegetable bandits. Halting suddenly, Coraline whispered; "Hold on you guys, hear that? It's those gargoyles, I think we've caught them red handed." Wybie eagerly agreed and wondered what they should do with them.
Making their way into the clearing, Coraline and Wybie tackled the miscreant trio and bound them with ivy. Struggling, all three voices clamored loudly, "Please let us go, we promise to be good." Wybie and Coraline frowned, the kids sounded like they were lying, but with nothing else to do with them, the two older kids let them go. Meowing and hissing, Cat set his gaze on them and gave chase. Fleeing with shrieks of glee, Lock, Shock, and Barrel disappeared into a dense thicket, with Cat hot on their trail.
"Cat, come back here, Cat," Wybie hollered after Cat as Coraline kicked at some dry mud. Now what were they going to do? Coraline frowned, this part of the property seemed eerily familiar but she just could not place it. Wybie informed her they should probably keep looking for Cat, who knew what those punks would do to him?
Happily agreeing, the friends headed off in the direction they saw Lock, Shock, Barrel and Cat run off in. The trees grew thinner and their bark became grayer, as though they were turning into stone. Out of breath by this point, Coraline and Wybie collapsed and caught their breaths. As they rested, Wybie felt his jaw go slack and Coraline blinked in surprise: what was this place they had stumbled upon?
In the middle of where there should have been more trees were gigantic conifers with carved doors, each bearing of different holidays; Easter, Ramadan, Hannukah, Christmas, Thanksgiving/Harvest Time… and Halloween! As their eyes surveyed the Halloween Tree, the flash of a familiar tail renewed the chase. "Hang on Cat, we're coming," Coraline shouted as she and Wybie barged down the door. Closing behind them, they fell down, down, down into the overwhelming darkness.
Coraline was the first to wake up after the tumble. A sudden chilling breeze brought her to her senses as she began to poke Wybie in order to wake him up. Rubbing his head, he groaned, "Aw man, what a trip. Hey Jonesey, Do you know where we are?"
Both pre-teens walked along a jagged, steep path interspersed with gaunt trees and saplings, their fingerlike branches flailing in the breeze. The sky was a dull, overcast color and the sun had a dull, brownish-red aura to it. The surrounding hills were swirled in black and white, and the high peaks were curled. As they continued, Wybie began to feel frightened. Sure. He liked hunting banana slugs and the occult, but being here was unnerving. On top of that, he felt like someone was following him. Running, he raced to catch up to Coraline.
As they made their downa well-used road, Coraline's dark eyes were lit with excitement; it was like she had been here before. Wybie voiced his concerns, but added he was glad she was familiar with the place. Coraline shrugged as Wybie commented, "Hey Coraline, check it out- a graveyard!"
Sure enough, ahead of them was an expansive graveyard, complete with a few mausoleums and an ancient tree covered in nooses. Enthralled with the scenery, Coraline breathed, "It's just like a Tim Burton film." Wybie nodded in agreement and wondered where Cat had gotten off to as they entered via the back gate.
At this point, Coraline wandered off from Wybie, who was nervously slinking around before finding Cat. Scooping up the animal, he let out a huge sigh of relief, "Cat, I found you! Coraline, there you are. I finally found Cat. Are you certain this place is familiar?"
Cat chuckled mischievously and replied, "Well, it should be familiar to Coraline, as she has been here, many times." Wybie stared at Cat, had the feral feline just spoken? Staring at Coraline, then back at Cat, Whyborn Lovatt screamed bloody murder and ran off before Coraline could explain the situation. Running faster, he caught sight of Jack Skellington and Zero, who were out for a stroll. Greeting him with a friendly hello, Wybie let out another shriek and fainted. Zero floated over to the fainting victim and whimpered. Jack hoisted the boy onto his shoulders as they continued their stroll.
Meanwhile, Coraline had found Cat and they were walking around the graveyard. Seemingly in a trance, Coraline had to stop when Cat addressed her; "Coraline, I think its time I told you why you remember this place." Coraline hushed him as she knitted her brow in thought, "In a minute, Cat. I'm trying to remember something. Why would Mom lie about this place? Wait…" Hushing the feline, Coraline looked around before she darted off into some shrubs. Cat watched when he heard laughter.
Dashing to where he heard the noise, he saw Coraline lying on the ground, laughing uproariously as a ghost dog barked excitedly while licking her. Pulling herself up, Coraline explained to Cat the ghost dog was called Zero and he was friendly. Cat nodded in agreement when a skeleton in a pinstripe suit happened upon the scene.
Calling out for his dog, Zero barked happily when he spied his master. Barking in excitement, he made his way towards the skeleton holding onto the dead weight of Wybie. Slowly standing up, Coraline ran up to inquire about her friend. Seeing her, Jack closed his eye sockets and rubbed them. Kneeling to see better, he inquired, "Coraline, is that really you?" Coraline nodded and tackled Jack. "It's good to see you too, Jack."
Meowing, Cat had Coraline explain that Jack Skellington and Zero while familiar were hazy at best. Jack greeted Cat, and they explained they knew each other and this is when Wybie woke up. Rubbing his eyes, he let out a small squeak of surprise as the group made their way back towards Halloween Town. Coraline explained that they were familiar and not that frightening. "After defeating an evil spider-woman who wants to sew buttons over your eyes, monsters and demons don't seem very frightening anymore," Coraline explained. Jack's eyes had widened when Coraline said this, but by now they were walking through town.
The locals weren't surprised to see Jack and Zero, but the two children were strangers and they were about to ask who they were when they saw Coraline's pendant and the tow figures walking slowly behind the boy, a tale white skinned man with wild, black hair and a leather jacket, the other was a girl bearing an Ankh. Why were Morpheus and Death here? Who were these children?
The Endless were a common enough sight, but it appeared that they were escorts for the group. As they made their way towards Jack and Sally's house, the crowd became larger and numerous questions were being asked. Coraline got separated, and it was at this moment Sally opened the door. "Hello Jack! Your home, and how lovely- you brought guests. Where did they go to?...Coraline?"
Turning around, Coraline was greeted by the sad, soft voice that had comforted her so much as a small one. Memories flooding back, Coraline let out a joyful cry and embraced the rag doll as though she had finally come home.