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The boy was doing his homework. His parents had taken his little brother to see Return to Oz at the movie theater. He had seen it when it first came out and, although he enjoyed it at the time, he felt he was getting too old for that sort of stuff. Besides, he had too much work to do. It seemed to him that each teacher allocated enough work to practically take up a fellow's entire evening—as if their class was the only one. So Graham, for that was his name, knew he would have to work for several more hours if he was to complete all the assignments.

Graham began to work on his math problems, but he could not concentrate. His mind drifted off to the original L. Frank Baum story: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He was thinking about the characters in it and what a terrific imagination Mr. Baum must have had, when suddenly, out of the stillness of the house, came a weird screeching sound. The sound was like nothing he had ever heard before. It seemed to have come from behind him; from the vicinity of the fireplace. Graham shivered. He did not believe in ghosts, and at twelve years old (almost thirteen) he should not be afraid to be home alone. But he was scared right now—no question about it. However, when no other sound was forthcoming, he began to rationalize that it had all been his imagination, perhaps just the wind whistling down the chimney. Then it happened! The awful sound of breaking glass. "Oh no," he thought. "Someone is breaking in!" He looked over to the window—then to the French doors. Nothing! Yet the sound had seemed very close. He glanced at the mirror above the fireplace only to see that all the glass had gone, leaving an empty frame. Now he was really frightened. He wondered what had caused the glass to shatter. Then, to his amazement, all the pieces of slivered glass suddenly flew up from the fireplace and reconstructed themselves in the frame.

"I must be going crazy!" thought the poor lad. "All this school work is getting to be too much for me. I must have cracked completely!" Then all the lights in the house went out, leaving him in pitch blackness. At that moment there was a strange crackling sound, and the mirror became illuminated with a purple glow. A grotesquely human face began to form into the image of an evil Witch. A loud, screechy cackle emanated from her throat. It was the same sound he had heard earlier. By now Graham was absolutely frozen with fear.

The Witch's evil eyes glared at him as she screamed, "So, my little man. We meet at last. You have hated me ever since you first read about me, haven't you? HAVEN'T YOU?" she shouted. "ANSWER ME, YOU LITTLE BRAT!" She reached her arms out of the mirror, grabbed him, and shook him hard. She shook and shook until he thought he was going to be sick. Then she lifted him right up off the floor and into the mirror. By now Graham was absolutely terrified. He kicked and screamed and tried to escape, but to no avail. The Witch was much too strong for him. He found himself dragged to the other side of the mirror and out into a room in the Witch's castle, whereupon the Witch immediately released her grip, for she knew that the boy had nowhere to run.

- Hỗ trợ Dân tộc King -

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