top of page
  • Writer's pictureCharles Zitta

Season of Shadows (Chapter 21 - Twist of Fate)

Charlie sat quietly, comforted by the feel of the invisible Lion Crest Ring upon his finger. Only when used in WONDER would it reveal itself. A proud fact that he, and he alone, knew amongst his family.

His parents and brother were busy fetching breakfast, while Charlie held their seats near Sleepy Hollow—thinking about what the day would bring, as he stared out towards the castle.

“Here we are, Charlie, waffles for everyone,” said Dad.

“Smells delicious,” the boy replied.

“Hey Charlie, what do ya wanna do today?” His brother asked.

“Here’s the drinks and napkins,” Mom added, as she approached the table.

Everyone grabbed a drink and dug in.

“I don’t know, Michael. I was kind of thinking we could make it a mountain day. You know, hit all the mountains, like Splash, Big Thunder and Space, then see where it goes from there.”

“OK by me,” Charlie’s dad replied.

“Splash? You want to ride Splash Mountain after what happened last year?” Michael said

“Shhhh. Be quiet,” his brother replied.

“What? What was that you said, boys?”

“Uh…it was nothing Dad,” said Charlie.

“Oh, he’s probably just upset cause he got soaked last year,” Mom added.

Charlie gave his brother an elbow.

“Ow! Yeah. Right. That’s it. I really don’t feel like getting soaked again,” said Michael.

“Anyway, I was hoping we could ride Peter Pan’s Flight before the line gets too long?” Mom said.

“You do love that ride, don’t you, Mom?” Said Michael.

“She’s not the only one,” Dad replied with a smirk.

“So when we’re done eating we can head over to Fantasyland, fly to Neverland, then hit the mountains?” asked Charlie.

“Of course,” his mom replied.

“What about me?” said Michael.

“Your dad and Charlie can ride Splash Mountain. I’ll stay back with you and we can do something else until they’re done. Sound good?” Michael’s mom asked.

“Oh yeah,” the boy replied.


Taking their time, Charlie and his family meandered through the castle to have a look around on their way to Fantasyland.

“Good idea, cutting through the castle, Dad,” said Charlie. “I mean, I really think these mosaics are cool.”

“Me too,” his dad replied. “Just imagine how much time it took the Imagineers to build them.”

“Yeah, that’s about all I can do is imagine,” Charlie jokingly replied.

As they exited through the north side archway of Cinderella’s Castle, everything changed.


CRACK! A bolt of lightning struck the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel—instantly turning the popular attraction to ruins. Everything suddenly turned gray. An enormous rock formation erupted from underneath the castle—pushing it skyward, as giant thorns punched through the ground and wrapped around it, leaving the queen’s eerie estate atop a jagged mountain.

Reality was now far behind.

A transparent figure cloaked in white, crashed down from above the castle’s rear balcony—blocking the entry into Fantasyland.

Charlie and family stopped in their tracks.

It was a female figure. Her identity, masked by long, white hair and a flowing cape. Raising her dragon-head staff, she took aim at the chosen outsider, and began to spin a spell.

“Wings of a crow, tongue of a snake—”

A brisk, swirling breeze suddenly grabbed hold of the boys and their parents—interrupting the white witches spell. Magically, they were whisked away to another dimension of WONDER.

When the swirling breeze stopped, the boys and their parents found themselves standing in a cramped, tower room of the castle amongst Frank and his faithful crew.

Instantly, their parents were greeted by the wise Patron, who put them under a memory knot spell and tucked them away safely in the nearby broom closet.

Closing the closet door, against the better judgement of Charlie and Michael, Frank turned and said, “Well…she’ll never suspect we hid your parents in her own castle. Any minute now our hiding place will be compromised. We haven’t much time.”

“Who’s she?” Asked Charlie.

She, is the witch in white that just confronted you outside,” said Alexios.

“Charlie, you will come with me and the whomping stick,” said Ben.

“Whomping stick? What? Would somebody get me outta here!” Shouted a familiar voice from the closet.

“Oops. I almost forgot,” said Ben, who went and opened the closet door—revealing the boys parents, still standing catatonically, and an angry Ostrich stick mixed within a cluster of brooms in the corner.

“Sorry about that,” Frank said, forgot I left you in there.”

“Sorry nothin’, how would you like to be left in a closet with a bunch of dusty old brooms,” said Oteza.

“Yeah-yeah. We don’t have time for your belly aching now, ya silly stick,” said Ben.

“Silly stick? Really? Why, if I—”

“PLEASE,” said Frank. Now is not the time for petty differences. We need to split up and find a way out of here.”

“Out of this room?” Asked Michael.

No. Out of the shadow we were just pulled into,” said Frank.


“Yes, a shadow. Luckily, the light charm found you just in time,” Frank continued. “Otherwise we may have lost you for good. Anyway, we need to split up into smaller groups and try and find a way out of here.”

“Out of the shadow, you mean?” Said Charlie.

“Yes,” Frank replied.

Ben grabbed Oteza from the closet and respectfully closed the door, leaving the boys parents inside. “As I was saying, Charlie, you and Oteza will come with me.”

“Right,” added Frank. “Michael, you will go with Midnight. Alexios will come with me. Three teams, three times our chances to find a way out of here. Any questions?”

“What do we do if we run into trouble?” Asked Charlie.

“Use your imagination and instincts,” Frank replied. “Even though we’re trapped in the white witches shadow, it’s still part of WONDER.”

“What about our parents?” Said Michael.

“They will be safe,” Frank replied, “I’ve placed an invisibility spell on the closet. If anyone besides me opens the door, all they will see is a closet of brooms. Go ahead, see for yourself.”

Michael walked up and opened the closet door. “They’re gone!”

Frank laughed. “No-no-no, my boy. Close the door.”

The boy closed the door and stepped away.

Frank walked up and opened the closet door. Their parents were still inside.

“What? No way,” said Charlie.

“Now do you believe me?” Said Frank.

Suddenly, the walls and floor began to rumble and shake apart, stone by stone.

Charlie and the others stumbled around the unstable floor, as Frank managed to close the closet door.

The crumbling walls and floor made it almost impossible to hear.

“They’ll be safe now! Charlie, take Oteza! Everyone, form a circle and join hands!” The magic light charm around Frank’s neck illuminated, as he recited, “Light of good open a path, take each group away from her wrath!”

A burst of light shot out in all directions from the charm, sending the circle of friends to places unknown—just as the castle floor gave way.


The White-Shadow Queen and her Dark Thorns stood atop the rocky remains of her castle, pointing and barking out directions to her crew of knight henchmen: tall, empty black-armor suits filled with dark magic and beaming red eyes who spoke in low-pitched tone.

“You two, check under that pile over there. You four, look over there.”

“Nothing here, majesty,” one henchmen said.

“Ugh. What about you four?”

“No Patrons here either, my queen,” said another.

The evil queen spun her head from side to side, internalizing her rage. Clenching her right fist, she raised it to the dark sky and said, “I know they are here. You may have escaped your doom this time, Patron fools, but I know you are still trapped within my Shadow Kingdom.”

She slammed her staff into the rocky mountain, triggering a mighty bolt of lightning from the sky, which split into many, striking the surrounding remains of the castle.

Instantly the heaping piles of stone, wood beams and thorns came to life, reassembling itself back into a twisted castle of darkness.

Inside, the white witch and Dark Thorns stood before a raging fire place—burning bright in chartreuse and yellow. Their long slender forms cast a shadow across the outstretched dining hall, decorated in tapestries and paintings of the darkest kind. Flanking the fireplace hung two door-sized mirrors, framed with golden gargoyles, snakes, spiders and skeletons. One mirror led out, the other back in.

The queen stared into the fire, contemplating her next move. “The well,” she said.

Elontra and the other four Dark.Thorns watched as the queen quietly walked to the left-side mirror and stepped through.

© 2024 Charles E. Zitta. Charles E. Zitta and Disney and the Wonder Within blog novels are in no way part of,  endorsed or authorized by, or affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

1 view0 comments


bottom of page