Everyone knows about the Yellow Brick Road...
But what about the other road? The one no one talks about...
As a munchkin, living in Oz, this question has been gnawing at Ibbly for years. So, when he wins a prize from the Wizard himself, he knows it's now or never if he wants to get his answers.
Along with his two cousins, Tali and Deeks, they announce their plan to explore whatever is outside the back gate of Oz. On the surface, everyone, including the Wizard, seems supportive. Yet, after a few mysterious and threatening events, they know there's someone (or something) powerful out to stop them.
These three will soon discover the massive catastrophe which is facing Ozland in the coming months, and how important their efforts are to saving their homeland. It's a story of friendship, courage, and the desire to find the truth.
Book One: Our Lost Heritage is the beginning of the adventure - how the idea came about, who the characters are. It's the start of something much bigger than any of them could imagine!
Read Chapter 1 below.
It turns out, it wasn’t a dream.
It has now been seven years since Dorothy left Ozland.
The cheerful Munchkins now live quite a contented life
since the Wicked Witches were removed from their lives.
The Flying Monkeys have been turned into productive
members of this peaceful society. Yet, there is some unrest.
It started out as another nice spring afternoon in
Ozland. Most everyone in Emerald City went about their
normal routines. Except the mayor. He arrived home early
and seemed to be rather anxious.
He slammed the door and called for his wife. “Mary!”
“What is it, Tom?” she asked as she came to him.
“I have to talk to you. Let’s go upstairs, to the bedroom,
where we can’t be heard.” They hurried up the stairs and
went through the bedroom door. The mayor closed it behind
His wife, again very concerned, asked, “What is it?
What’s the matter? I’ve never seen you so upset!”
Angrily, he answered, “The matter is, I’ve got three
Munchkins wanting to go on some adventure by leaving
through the back gate. They want to find out what’s out
His wife now understood his mood. “You can’t let them
do that!” she said.
“I don’t think I can actually stop them,” he admitted as
he sat down on a chair and wiped sweat from his forehead.
“But if they go, find out everything, and then come
back,” she said with great concern in her voice, “we’ll be
Chapter 1: Try Try Again
“Hey, Ibbly, do you have that lockbox finished yet?” Lacchi asked from the next room.
“Almost, boss. Give me another five minutes. I don’t think he’ll be able to figure it out this year,” replied Ibbly.
“That’s what you said the last two years,” snickered Lacchi.
“I know. But if he gets it this time, I’ll eat the darn box!” laughed Ibbly.
As he put the finishing touches on the box, Ibbly thought back to two years ago when he’d started doing this kind of thing. It was for the Stump the Wizard contest during Emerald City’s annual EC Day, an event where all of Ozland celebrated the dedication of the city.
His boss found Ibbly very clever, so he’d asked him to make something they could enter in the contest. The winner, when there was one, earned the right to use that accomplishment to promote their own business for a year, if he or she could figure out a way to actually stump the Wizard.
Ibbly loved figuring out how to make things work. Without instruction he naturally found ways to repair old locks at Lacchi’s Lock Shop. He enjoyed it even more when he could think outside the box and be creative about things.
“Okay, boss,” he announced when he was finished. “Come and try it.”
“A lot of good that’ll do,” Lacchi said as he entered the back room where Ibbly worked. “I wasn’t able to figure out the last two! It’s the Wizard you have to stump. But you know I want to give it a try.”
Ibbly was Lacchi’s only employee and did most of the repair work. He had a large work area. In front of him on the wall was a three-by-eight board with holes for things like chisels and myriad screwdrivers, and pegs for larger tools like hammers and small augers. About two dozen boxes were lined up across the backside of his desk that held springs and brads of various sizes. There were several small strips of copper and brass that he used to design hinges. Everything else he needed was across the room, where he fashioned wood and metal into the required shapes.
Lacchi sat down at Ibbly’s station. The lockbox was made of nicely finished mahogany. It stood three inches tall, six inches long, and three inches wide. It had four buttons on top and a matching set on the bottom. They were the kind of buttons normally used to hide screws or nails but, there were no screws or nails on the whole box.
Two hinges crossed along the horizontal edge about one half-inch from the top. The box also had four ornate cuts, two each going horizontally and vertically around the box.
Lacchi stroked his trimmed gray beard as he tried to figure it out. Ibbly thought about how hard it would be to do. The process involved touching the correct five buttons - three on the top and two on the bottom - in the proper order.
Lacchi had trouble, so he asked, “Okay, just one hint. Which button do I touch first,” then as he pushed and tugged on various parts of the box said, “or do I slide a piece of the frame away?”
Ibbly noted, “That would be two hints. I’ll show you this much.”
He held out his hand and Lacchi gave him the box. Ibbly turned his back on Lacchi for a few seconds, then turned back around and gave his boss the open box.
“I never would have guessed that,” Lacchi said as he pointed to the open end of the box. It wasn’t the top that opened, or at least what would have been presumed to be the top based on the hinges. It opened from the end.
“Impressive, Ibbly, very impressive!” exclaimed Lacchi. “Okay, show me. How do you open it?”
Ibbly closed it back up, then showed Lacchi the five buttons to push and the order to push them in to open the box. He had a satisfied smile on his face as he said, “Then, you must turn it upside down in order for it to open.” He turned it end over end and it popped open.
“Marvelous, Ibbly! You’ve done me proud. I don’t see how anybody, even the Wizard, will ever get it. We’ve got that prize in the bag this year! Thank you, my boy, it’s great. In another ten days, we’ll know for sure.”
All entries had to be reviewed and accepted for the Stump the Wizard competition by the Wizard himself. Based on the added complexity of this year’s entry, Lacchi felt confident it would be accepted.
“My pleasure, boss. Looks like you may want to hire some new people, huh?”
“Let’s hope so.”
Ibbly had worked too hard on this to fail. If he was going to be able to accomplish his next goal, this one would have to be successful.