All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan

A Bit of Fantasy

“Present the pass key,” said the wraith, weaving through the torch smoke in the passageway.

Alice hesitated, realizing her bluff was called. Lew shifted uneasily, willing her to think of something clever.

“H-haven’t got one,” stuttered Alice.

Lew poked her in the ribs. “Don’t tell him that,” he hissed, “make something up.”

“Present the pass key!” the wraith cried insistently, blowing the torch flames sideways.

“C-can’t we just come in?” asked Alice.


The children dived into one of the alcoves lining the tunnel as the angry wraith stormed back and forth in front of the wrought iron door.

“What does the book say?” whispered Lew.

“It just says ‘here lies the door of shadows, where enter only the brave.’ Nothing about a key.”

“Then what are we going to do?”

“I don’t know, you think of something.”

“We could go back.”

“And face the ogre? He’ll be awake by now. And the three witches have probably figured out we’re not really their children. Not to mention the fire sprite. Who knows how long he’ll be fooled by that empty watering can.”

“Okay, okay, are you sure the book doesn’t say anything else?”

“That’s it.”

“The Door of Shadows. Wait a minute…”

“Oh watch out! He’s coming this way!”

The wraith was now darting down the tunnel toward their hiding place, drawing the torch smoke into his dark form and grinning maniacally.

“I’ve got it!” cried Lew, “hold my hand.”

With a look of desperate courage on his face, Lew grabbed Alice’s hand and charged out of the alcove, straight at the angry wraith. They closed their eyes at the last minute, but when they opened them they found they had passed right through unharmed.

The door was still in front of them however. Again Lew screwed his mouth into a tight grimace and together they ran straight at it.

With a scream they were through the door.

“It was just an illusion,” gasped Alice.

“A shadow.” Lew had a smug look on his face.

“Good thinking.”


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