I'm so sorry that this took so long. Really I am. Life hit, and hit hard, and I lost my muse for a bit. I think it's back now, thank goodness. (Had some help from a couple of friends. Sara, Robyn, here's looking at you two) So I hope you guys enjoy this, and can forgive me for the delay.
"Come on, kids, you didn't think it was really going to be that easy, right?" Their kidnapper materialized next to the doorway out right as Dune reached to turn the handle. The kids jumped, startled, but Dune had the presence of mind to throw a ball of sand towards the woman's face. She smirked slightly as she blocked the sand with a gesture and a word. "Sorry kid, I've had too much caffeine today for that."
"You waited here for us?" Meissa asked, raising an eyebrow as she carefully switched Zoe to her other arm.
"For three hours. Took you kids longer to get moving then I expected." The woman shrugged, waving her hand and transforming the room. It now seemed less like a waiting room and more like a cozy den. There was even a large fireplace on one side of the room now. The only thing that seemed out of place was a cauldron hanging above the fire.
"You need a hobby." Dune blurted out, knowing his sister was thinking the same thing. Then he winced, regretting his choice – maybe insulting his kidnapper wasn't a wise move. Their eyes widened in surprise, though, when the woman started chuckling good naturedly. She looked over them with her eyes twinkling and waved them to a couch. "Ever played video games?" She questioned as they sat down. "I have to say they might just be one of my favorite modern inventions, but my assistants are a little too scared of me to play. They think I'd kill them if I lose."
"Would you?" Meissa asked, worried, yet glad for a chance to set the still sleeping Zoe down.
"Probably. I've never lost to find out." The woman shrugged and held out a hand to the twins, a twisted smile on her face. "Anyways, I've not introduced myself yet, have I? My name is Sangria, and I'm a witch."
"Seriously?" Dune asked while dubiously shaking her hand.
"Really. Your friend North is a wizard, so a witch shouldn't surprise you." She smiled at them with a surprising hint of warmth. "I've told you my name, so you should tell me yours now. It's polite."
Dune opened his mouth to respond when Meissa looked at him significantly, causing him to shut it. She cocked her head, regarding the witch carefully. "Sorry, but in stories, sometimes when the witches know your name they can control you."
"Don't worry about that. Controlling you isn't my intent – if your parents found you, they'd be able to break you from any such spell easily." Sangria assured them, seemingly amused. "My purposes for you are slightly more grim, I'm afraid."
The pair exchanged worried glances at looked back at her. "Meaning…?"
She steeled herself, before whispering, as if ashamed. "I'm going to be killing you, eventually."
"Why?" Meissa demanded, putting a hand on Zoe's back protectively, causing the bunny girl to mumble in her sleep.
"Because I, unlike your kind, am not immortal…" She stared at the children almost hungrily now, "But, with the right sacrifices I may finally be able to be."
"That's terrible!" Dune moved in front of the girls as if that would protect them, but his lip trembled a little at the thought of being sacrificed.
"Well, it's not as if you are human." She grumbled, as if that made it better. "Don't make me out to be some kind of monster. I'd never kill my OWN kind. I have no qualms killing other kinds, though."
"Well, we kind of are." Meissa parried, hoping to get the woman to see reason. "Our mommy was human once, a long time ago. And Z-" She caught herself, collected her thoughts again, and pointed at the sleeping toddler, "Her mother's human right now."
"Her mom may be human, but that doesn't mean she is. And you two certainly aren't, no matter what your mom was at some point. So, instead of arguing this point, we are going to have snacks and play video games." Sangria suddenly became cheerful again and pointed for them to sit. "No buts, I need to shoot things."
Dune couldn't help it, he had to continue arguing, "But if we are to be killed, why are you playing with us?"
The witch narrowed her eyes at him, but decided to answer even as she turned on the game console she had set up. "Because the moon isn't right. I can't possibly get away with killing you three when the Man in the Moon is watching. You guys have at least a week, so don't worry." She put the game in and pointed to some snacks nearby. "Help yourself."
"… Great, we get kidnapped and are going to be killed, and the person is playing with us? She's like a cat playing with a mouse." Meissa grumbled quietly to her brother even as she reached curiously for a bag of chips, never having had any before.
"Don't complain, the longer she waits the greater our chances of rescue." He whispered, a hopeful look on his face. With lighter hearts at that thought, they willingly started playing against the witch.
North was annoyed, stomping through the room and riffling through books and objects, "No, no, no! Why is there no finding of new address?"
Annamore patted his shoulder, glad he was helping them out, "Maybe we aren't look at this right?" She stepped back and looked at the room. There were so many books throughout it, a lot of them looking to be ancient, handwritten, spell books. From how old North said Sangria was, she didn't doubt that Sangria had probably personally written some of them.
Maybe the information they needed would be on something smaller. She obviously didn't garden for food, since all the plants had seemed to be traps. And she was technically human, able to be seen and interact with people. Maybe she went shopping? Annamore glanced around and noticed a few receipts scattered on the floor and started walking around, grabbing them up. The books and the neat objects would be more permanent fixtures of the witch's, she felt. It was the little things, the mundane, the things that were to be thrown away when she got around to cleaning. That would show what her day to day life was like, and so, possibly the areas she frequented.
Sara was the first to catch on to what she was doing as she noticed Annamore start lining the small papers up on a table, as the others were still nose deep in various books. Without a word she moved to the opposite side of the room and started gathering the same, bringing them back when she was done combing that area. They stood back and started reading them.
"Groceries… Davenport, Iowa?" Annamore muttered, setting that receipt to the side. "That's a long ways from here. What are Cheetos?"
"This one is from Gamestop. Odd, I don't see any electrical outlets in here. Same town." Sara added, holding up another receipt. Jack, who had decided their idea was more interesting than a book could be, plucked the receipt from her hand, "Oh. Nice. She likes her games bloody."
Seeing both mothers narrow their eyes at him he raised his hands defensively, "Maybe she bought them for her boyfriend?"
"Bah." North tossed a heavy book over his shoulder, breaking a glass statue as he did, "Sangria would not have mortal boyfriend." He looked at them and grinned slightly, almost looking embarrassed. He tapped his fist against his chest, "Once, she fancied me. But I not like crazy witch woman. Wanted me to let her kill elves. They is annoying, yes, but kill? No."
Annamore raised her eyebrows at him, wondering if there was a chance Sangria was doing this to get his attention, "Well, you know what they say about a woman scorned…" She reached down and picked up a business card from the table. "Now this is interesting." She said, ignoring North as he looked around asking what was said about scorned women.
The others moved in closer and looked at the card over her shoulder. "Chimeric Pharmaceutical? What would a witch possibly need that for?" Toothiana asked thoughtfully, "And that name…" She turned and started conversing with the few mini fairies that had followed her in. Seconds later they were gone, leaving behind only a slight breeze stirred up by their wings as they buzzed away.
Noting the others looking at her quizzically, she explained, "I have a feeling I've heard that name before. I'm having the girls go take a message to a friend of mine. She'll meet us there."