Extract: The Door Between Worlds

They turned a corner and found themselves in a street full of stalls of every kind and colour, stretching as far as they could see. There was a black stall with yellow stripes to their right, selling honey and beeswax candles, and to their left was one which was deep purple, selling various creams and powders. One of them was called ‘Anti-Wart Cream’ and was advertised as being perfect for witches who wanted to avoid looking evil.

As he read the label, a woman with a greenish tinge to her skin and six extremely large warts on her chin came up to the stall and looked at the powders and creams with interest. The vendor, a tall, stout woman, smiled at her.

‘Ah, Baltinda! It’s good to see you again. How’s the anti-evil cream coming along?’ she asked.

‘Well, as you can see, my skin is gradually fading back to its natural colour now. I can’t believe I was involved with that coven for so long that my skin turned green! I only went there for a laugh, I never thought I’d start becoming a wicked witch like the rest of them,’ the green-tinged woman replied.

‘Ah, you can’t help things like that. Wicked witches are very clever at deceiving good witches. I think Wilhelmina is the only good witch I’ve ever known not to be lured by their charms.’

‘Oh, don’t talk to me about Wilhelmina. She’s so full of good spirits that it makes me sick,’ the woman spat in disgust. Ramble noticed that her green skin darkened slightly as she spoke.

‘Now there’s no need to upset yourself, Baltinda. Here, have some more anti-evil cream,’ the vendor said, handing her a large jar of it.

‘Thank you,’ the witch said, taking it quickly and spreading some on her cheeks. The green diluted within seconds. ‘I know I shouldn’t carry on, but have you heard that she’s made friends with Ramble now that he’s come back?’

‘No, I haven’t. What’s she up to then, I wonder? I knew that she’d met him several times before, but they were never very—’

The vendor stopped as she caught sight of Ramble looking over the witch’s shoulder. Seeing her stare, the witch turned around. She let out a small cry and stepped back, knocking several packets off the stall. Ramble bent down and picked them up, handing her one of them.

‘Here,’ he said. ‘I believe you need this one.’

The witch looked down at the packet he’d given her. It was the Anti-Wart cream. ‘I—’ she began, but before she could say anymore, he gave a curt wave and turned away to merge with the crowd.

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