Alice’s Epiphany

[ This short story was written by me back in College. It was an experiment with lyrical whimsical storytelling – but never went anywhere. I found that this style of writing was just too difficult to get the cadence correct. So instead of doing anything solid with it – I just want to share it with you in all it’s rough and unpolished glory 🙂 Story (c) by me, but the characters and Wonderland is forever owned by the wonderful Lewis Carroll ]

“Off with her HEAD!” screamed the maniacal Queen.

Poor Alice sighed aloud. No matter how hard she ran away from Wonderland, something always drew her back. Therapist and doctors had told her she wasn’t well. Time and time she believed them only to end up in it’s spell.

She had no idea how she had returned this time – or how she could get out. The last thing that she recalled before was another horrid day. She’d been under so much stress and cried herself to sleep only to wake up here instead.

Now the Queen dressed in scarlet red hearts with a voice like a gull was screaming for her death. “There’s no escape now this time – Off with her head!”

“Don’t worry my dear,” Chesh snickered with glee, appearing behind her while gripping her sleeve. “The Hatters bound to intrude in a moment or three.. and proving his head doesn’t end up on the platter – maybe he’d have some advice for escaping this matter?”

Alice groaned to herself and now knew she was screwed – the Hatter was likely gone and passed out somewhere on shrooms. It was hard to recall – what with repressing the dreams when they came; but she was highly convinced that he wasn’t quite sane.

And then in with a clatter did indeed come the Hatter, stoned half out of his already wonky mind. He was dragging the Hare by the edge of her ear and a few mice were trailing behind. How they had got past the intimidating gate? She would probably never know.

“I have arrived, one and all! No more need to fret. After all, a party isn’t a party without me.” He chuckled out loud as he sauntered into the midst of them where everyone could see. He even twirled in his unstable fashion to keep their eyes on him.

“What is this?” screamed the Queen upon seeing the scene- “The Hatter in my own front yard!” She glared daggers from her eyes, at the one she despised. Teeth now tightly grinding back and forth.

“Full house!” the white bunny cried while the chaos amplified.

Just then as he bowed he removed his large hat and out came the sparking crack of some hidden fireworks stashed inside. Guest scattered here and there from the flaming sparks blasting towards their direction, giving Alice the excuse to back up even more to a safer section.

The Queen gawked as the embers from a bright green flare hit the edge of her dress causing her to jolt and jive awkwardly to put it out. Her beady eye did twitch while she wailed in a horrendous roar, “Kill that son of a Bitch!”

“Hatter, are you MAD?” Alice shouted, as the cards gathered ranks. Carrying the Queens Axe to her hand. He approached her without fear, or proper co-ordination wobbling this way and that. “Her guards outnumber you! This isn’t a time for games of chance!”

“Obviously he’s Mad.” Chesh answered, with a grin set on his lips.

They both watched him sway while he adjusted his hat back on his head after the smoking had stopped. He made no move to settle the matter, instead he remained firmly between Alice and guards that gathered. The bright shining Axe now in the Queens grasp looked far too menacing against the unarmed man.

“My Queen!” The hatter grinned and ducked a swing with a flourished and wobbly bow. “How good it is to see you! I do hope you’re well?” He backed up when the Axe came down where his head would have been, not a moment too late it would seem.

“Hold still!” She screamed cheeks puffed out now, while she once again hoisted the blade. Five cards this time sliced right in half on her lawn, as the Axes sharp tip was displayed.

“Off with your head! Cards just hold him still!” She roared while swinging again, but the other cards turned and instead ducked for the hedge. After all, a job is all well and good – but only if you don’t end up dead.

“For such a demanding woman,” Hatter remarked as he dodged, “Your aim is really quite bad. Are you certain my holding still would improve what dreadful aim you have?”

“You think you could do better?” she sneered, now barely missing his neck. She huffed and she puffed as she started to grow weary. A life of living on tarts and cushions did little to aide her exhaustion. He could have let her rest but grinned wider instead and retorted in sadistic query.

“That would be counter productive wouldn’t you say?” He rolled back and tipped his hat as more cards were lost in the fray. Ink and paper were littering the lawn and almost all the guests had scattered. Still the Queen carried on to try and kill the Hatter.

“I mean it really wouldn’t be fair! If I were you, and you were me I’d have a far larger target to hit… my your backside alone has so alarmingly grown I think it would be hard to miss!”

She twitched one eye and hollered anew as the remaining cards took a chance. From the hedges and bushes where most of them hid – they lunged down upon his back. The Hatter seemed lost under the flurry of them all, as they piled onto his lanky frame. Poor Alice was beside herself now as she felt her hope disappear again.

“This is crazy!” Alice gasped while the chaos ensued. She reached down and picked up a discarded spear. “We have to do something! We must get out of here!”

In front of her rolling back into existence Chesh came back into view. His bright green orbs capturing hers with intense concentration and distracting her from the fray. “Relax, my friend don’t get all huffy! You know the Hatter, this really is nothing –“

He grinned with sharp teeth and coyly he purred as his tail flicked along her side while he tried to comfort the girl. “What you should be asking, should you want the solution– is why on earth are you are still here? If all this is madness and all just a dream – why don’t you just wake up? Or you could be brave or perhaps just insane and give in to the madness you see…”

“Wonderland,” She mumbled at the irritating cat while trying to block his voice from her mind. “But it has to be all a dream!”

The pile grew heaving and from below the mass of paper and flesh grew a small puddle of dark red. The Queen was hooting from the side-lines, “That’s it! I want him dead!”

“He’s going to die!” She raised her spear. “He’ll be killed!”

“No he won’t. That is I don’t think…”

“But the blood!” She pointed by jabbing the spear as the growing puddle spread.

“I think that’s ink.” Chesh shrugged but it was clear from his eyes, he was no longer so sure. “Do they bleed? I think so – though I’m never quite sure – but you are right this has gone on too far.”

Chesh grumbled softly while away faded fur and skin. Leaving only his eyes as green as jade – and the sharp tips of his teeth. “Do as I say and we might yet get away, if our luck is yet to hold. I will retrieve the Hatter but I must have a distraction so get ready to make use of that spear! I’ll give the shout and break him out, but you must spear the Queen!”

It happened so quickly, he was there then he was gone.

Luckily the Queen could care less about Alice right now – she was far too involved with the current matter. Waiting impatiently she screamed, “Have you killed the Hatter! What is taking so long, I can’t see in this mess! Someone tell me something – before I get pissed!”

After all the feud between the Hatter and the Queen had been going on for much longer then Alice could conceive. Both enemies quarreling since time was remembered. A chance at him was far more appealing then Alice’s dismembering.

Then in a moment Alice heard his shrill whisper, “Do it now girl, and be quick! Aim steady and hit her!”

With a large heave Alice let the spear fly. Past the cards and the brawl it flew through the sky unheeded. The Queen must have known something was amiss, for she raised her eyes to Alice just as the spear hit. Through the bustles of her dress and into the edge of her thigh – the Queen screamed bloody murder and dropped to her side.

It may not have been a killing blow but it certainly did the job to distract the mass of cards who were starting to uncoil from the tangled mob.

From above the paper army came the appearance of a hand which flicked it’s wrist and tossed a hat onto the ground. Out tumbled a glass hookah and The caterpillar as well

It seemed somewhat anti-climatic for a moment or two as the tiny caterpillar lazily uncurled. Blowing upon the hookah pipe he suddenly spoke in a drawled voice almost too quiet to hear – “This stuff is good…”

With a blink and a rattle the glass suddenly shattered, and a huge cloud of gas billowed out. The Hatter and Queen. The massive fight. They all disappeared to a canvas of thick swirling fog of strange smelling white.

Surrounding Alice now was a curtain of smoke, silence, and seemingly nothing else. Had she moved? Did she die? What had happened to Wonderland?

“That’s it. I’ve lost my mind.”

It all was much quieter then it had ever been, and all the lonelier as well. She looked herself over again and again, while her mind tried to sort it out.

“Maybe it was all a dream,” she whispered slowly, her words seemed unsure and meek. “Wouldn’t I wake up by now, if I simply fell asleep? No…” she sighed pinching herself real hard to be sure. “Then maybe…” she shivered deep. Thoughts clashed inside her head. “If I am not just sleeping then maybe I am dead?”

“I certainly hope not..” the Hatter answered softly, his silhouette bowing graceful from around the drifting cloud. “My Lady, Alice dear I am glad that you are well.”

He took one step, then two before he faltered to his knees.

“You’re bleeding.” She whispered softly, removing the bow from her disheveled hair. Quietly and gently, she wiped the scarlet from his face. Traced along him were tears and slices from his battle with the cards.

“I’m sure it’s just ink, nothing more or nothing less.” He smiled his crooked smile which just oozed his sense of charm. “Chesh managed to move us with the caterpillars help – to a place both here and there. We’ll be safe from all the drabble while the Queen goes off to pout. It was brave of you to help us find a safe way out.”

Her eyes were watered now and her throat felt much to tight. She seemed a ball of nerves, and given quite a fright. She wasn’t sure how much she’d take, before she just took too much. She wondered how badly it would hurt – should her soul just break apart.

“I wasn’t brave – I was terrified!” Her chest heaved and her voice broke. “I didn’t know if you were killed or still alive! And I certainly didn’t ask to come here to Wonderland and be chased around by murderous royalty! I didn’t ask for talking animals, drug smoking insects or weird tasting tea!”

She wanted to stomp her feet and scream at the very universe. This had all gone so wrong so quickly and she feared it would just get worse. “I was home one minute, and here the next. I’ve spent days wandering this place that doesn’t make sense! Either everything I’ve ever known has all been shot to hell – or just dead or dying and in a fever spell…”

“My sweet Alice,” he took her hands and pulled her close, almost too sincere. She swore she felt a shake in them as he tipped her chin to wipe away her tears. “You are not dead my lass, you’re very much alive. Perhaps more so now then when you had first arrived. I remember when you first came to us, hiding inside of yourself and broken down under pressure of things you had to be. That world makes far less sense then Wonderland does to me.”

She couldn’t deny his words, even if she wished she could. She’d been traveling to and from Wonderland ever since her childhood. Whenever the real world would almost make her break – something would come and save her by taking her away.

“The truth is the world is far stranger then most people choose to see. You are a part of Wonderland Alice, more then I can explain. It breathes and grows within us all, and I think you feel the same. You deny it and fight it – but the truth is you aren’t alone. No matter where you wander, this will always be your home.”

“Then am I mad?” she whispered softly, lost in his eyes.

His wide grin seemed just for a moment like Chesh, but with an pained undertone of sad. He pressed his tired brow against hers. “We’re all a little mad.”

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