Coraline was having a rather strange dream. She was dreaming that she was home, fast asleep in her own bed. Turning in the thick blue and pink bedspread Coraline snuggled up to her strange octopus teddy and bolted upright. Looking around her room Coraline smiled happily and threw back her covers. Pushing her slippers on Coraline ran out of her room and down the steps. Coraline jumped from the last of the steps, landing on the old wooden flooring with a loud thump.
"Mum? Dadddy? I'm home!" Coraline called out. Stretching her arms above her head, Coraline stretched and yawned and turned in her rabbit slippers skipping towards the kitchen before she stopped suddenly.
"Coraline? Darling?" a woman called. Stood by the doorway to the kitchen, a little ahead of Coraline, was a tall woman with dark hair.
"Mum!" said Coraline, running forward eagerly. Throwing her arms around her mother Coraline hugged her mother happily. Long red fingernails brushed blonde hair back from her face and Coraline froze in her place as she felt the other mother's cold arms wrap around her. She stood, trembling and rigid as the other mother hugged her tightly.
"Where am I?" Coraline asked, trying to sound not as quite scared as she felt. Coraline pulled away from the other mother's strong grip and looked up at those cold button eyes.
"You're home silly." The other mother said simply. Her sharp red nails tapped Coraline on the nose. Her button eyes gleamed.
"No, I'm not. And I'm not scared of you." Coraline said. The other mother's button eyes gleamed in a challenge. She was taller than she remembered. And her skin was white and felt like paper. She scared Coraline but Coraline would never admit that. "Where are my friends? Where are my family?"
"Oh, around here somewhere." The other mother said dismissively, humming to herself as she walked to the kitchen. Her heels clicking on the wooden floor. "You're such a good daughter Coraline coming home to me, to us and bringing us a friend."
Coraline followed, freezing in place when she mentioned a friend. Coraline swallowed and looked at her scared.
"What friend?" Coraline said watching as the other mother cracked an egg into the pan. A bug fell from the shell into the pan and screamed as it was cooked in the hot iron.
"Oh, the most delicious little girl. Just like you, I put her in the woods. I think she might enjoy that," The other mother said with a smile. It was the smile that made Coraline's insides freeze.
"Trisha, where is she?" Coraline said moving forward to hit the woman but her hands were caught. The other mother took hold of Coraline's shoulders forcing her into a chair as she served her breakfast. A plate of fried bugs, foul smelling meat and what looked like rancid milk in a glass.
"Here I made you breakfast, eat it like a good daughter. You'll need your strength," The other mother said smiling at her. "That is if you want to find your family."
"I'm not hungry," Coraline said pushing the plate forward. The other mother's buttons flashed and she leaned in to kiss Coraline's cheek. Turning to whisper in her ear.
"Well, I am." The other mother said, grinning at Coraline and smoothing her hair. "But I'll give you a chance. If you can find four souls, your friends and your family then I'll let you and that little girl go. If not..."
"What?" Coraline said looking at her.
"I'll eat you both," The other mother said simply. "Do we have a deal?"
Coraline stared intently at the plate in front of her before nodding.
"Yes," Coraline said turning around to face... an empty room. Pushing her chair back Coraline hugged herself and slowly made her way out of the kitchen and down outside. Pausing only to pull wellington boots on over her pyjamas.