“Ester is my aunt,” said Klaus, stowing their luggage as he talked. “I’m taking her on a special holiday. She’s always wanted to cross Europe by train. We spent some time in Paris first and we’ll spend some time in Istanbul at the other end.” He beamed. “It’s wonderful. Slight mix-up with the tickets – we were meant to be in a private car- but otherwise it’s all going brilliantly.”
Let’s start with the Witch in the Woods.
Only children could find her, the Witch, led by foxes faintly glowing in the darkness between sleeping and waking. Together they traveled through dreamland until they came to an archway like an eye half open, big enough only to crawl through.
Beneath the stars, the moon a bouquet of blue-violet bruises, the Witch lived in a castle with turrets of unnaturally thick tree trunks and broad walls of entwined branches and leaves, the battlements formed by the oversize molars of some unfathomable animal. The crisscrossed bones of the portcullis gleamed in the milky midnight light as the drawbridge of melded cloven hooves lowered over rushing river.