Somber Wonderland

Alice chased the rabbit across the grass. It was a little brown rabbit like all in her area yet she chased it anyway. It darted into a garden bed  and she crunched in after it. She didn’t even notice the root that curled around her foot and didn’t see the stone until it was a mere inch from her nose. She threw her hands forward but it was too late to stop her fall.

Her head passed through the stone and she found herself tumbling down a wide rabbit hole. It was very dark, what would happen if I ran into a wall Alice thought. Bright lights appeared above her and slowly fell past, she reached out and caught one and found that it was a small torch. She pointed its beam at the walls of the rabbit hole and was relieved to see they were at a safe distance. The walls were loose dirt, with little tufts of grass growing out of them. As she fell they became smoother and smoother. She realised rather suddenly that the walls had become white plaster, just like the walls in my house.

Below her she saw a cupboard, attached to the wall and moving up past her. That looks like my cupboard, she thought as she watched it go past, maybe I should have taken my jacket, it’s cold. A bookshelf matching hers came into view below her next. When it came level with her she quickly pulled her favourite book off of the shelf. She flicked through the pages until she found a picture of a little girl falling down a hole. Alice glanced at the next picture to try and remind herself what happened next. Thump! Alice landed on the soft carpet at the bottom of the hole and the book tumbled from her grip. She stood up and dusted herself off, she was standing at one end of a long hall. She picked up the book and compared the image to her surroundings; the book showed leaves and dirt at the bottom of the hole. Alice decided the new rabbit must have redecorated.

“Well it’s a little brown rabbit now, perhaps he changed some things.” Alice said.

She wandered down the hall, looking at all the pictures and trying doors at random. The pictures seemed to show her family and friends, she even remembered some of the times the paintings depicted. The weight of the book reminded her of something. She flicked it open again and looked closely at the pictures.

“There should be a little glass table.” She said, trying to remember if she had seen one.

She noticed the table down the far end of the hall and ran over to it. She saw the key and the little door and remembered the other little girl’s mistakes. She put the book down open on the table and studied the images carefully.

“I must remember to take the key.”

She took the key and the small bottle. She unlocked the door and sipped the bitter liquid inside. With a smile she ran through the door and into what she was sure must be the beautiful garden. A sudden chill wind tugged at her hair and she wrapped her arms tight around her. The garden was covered in snow, the leaves were all brown and the sky was dark. I’ll check the book, she thought, but her hands were empty and the book was still sitting on the beautiful glass table. She turned around and saw only the snow covered garden, the door was gone.

She heard someone sobbing in the distance and fumbled her way through the dark towards the sound. It was coming from a dead rose bush. It’s leaves were brown and its white roses were withered and dry. She walked around the bush trying to find whoever was crying. The noise always seemed to come from the bush. She reached into the bush and pushed aside the branches, wincing as a thorn pricked her on the wrist. Near the middle of the bush was a small rose, with red paint flaking off of its white petals. The rose was sobbing softly as one by one its petals fell. Alice reached forward to cup a hand under the flower and turn it towards her.

“What’s wrong?” Alice asked.

The rose sniffed, “Who are you?”

“I’m Alice.”

“No you are not.”

Alice looked down at herself. She was still the same person as she had been this morning, or so she thought. She tugged at her clothes and at her hair. And looked closely at the goose-bumps on her arms that were beginning to fade.

“But I’m sure I am Alice.”

The rose fell silent, its last petal falling onto a branch below. Alice tried to shake it, first gently then harder, but the rose was gone. Alice wiped a few tears from her eyes and left the rose bush. She stumbled through the garden, not looking where she was going. The tall trees closed in around her, their faces twisted into expressions of sadness. She could hear the soft hiss of heavy rain made up of tiny drops, the rumble of thunder and the all to loud drip, drip, drip as the water made its way through to the forest floor. Alice was so thirsty, I’ll try to find the drip. She walked and walked, for minutes or hours, she couldn’t tell. She never could find the drip, though it always sounded so close.

She pulled herself up onto the forked trunk of a tree and sat down. She was so tired, she closed her eyes and her mind began to slow down. The tree was comfy, Almost like a bed, she thought. She sighed and drifted further towards sleep. She heard a loud hiss, her seat shook slightly and she woke up as something stabbed into the inside of her elbow. She blearily opened her eyes, looking to see which of her cats had scratched her.

But she wasn’t in her house, and there didn’t seem to be any cats nearby. She was instead sitting in an armchair at the head of a large table. Curiouser and Curiouser, She thought, I don’t remember sitting down here. The table seemed set for afternoon tea, but was covered in a thick layer of dust. Alice opened up a biscuit tin, only to find it empty. She began to cry, she was hungry and the scratch on her arm hurt.

“It’s all wrong” She said between sobs. “What happened?”

“Everyone left.” A voice replied, “Because of you.”

“Who’s there?”

“Why, just me.”

A grin appeared above the table in front of her. Slowly it grew into a head, then a large tabby cat. Just like the one it her book, she realised.

“Are you a Cheshire cat?” Alice asked.

“Yes I am,” It said, grinning wider, “And are you an Alice?”

“Yes, well no.” Alice was confused, and began to cry again, “I’m just a little girl called Alice and I want to go home.”

“Don’t you like it here?”

“No! Everyone is gone and it’s so dark and sad. All the trees are sad.” She looked around at the faces on the trees, some looked so familiar.

“They are aren’t they,” the cat smiled, “It’s because you are here.”

“Stop saying that!” Alice yelled.

The cat had already begun to vanish though, but stopped when she yelled. Looking very thoughtful, “By-the bye, what what became of the rose?”

Alice only cried harder, “All its petals fell off.”

The Cat’s grin seemed to flicker, “Time to leave then, we’re the last ones here.”

“Oh do take me with you!” Alice called, but the cat was already fading.

Just before it disappeared completely she heard it call, “Just wake up Alice, please.”

Alice cried, and cried until she began to fall asleep. She was comforted only slightly by the fact that the stinging in her arm had begun to fade. At the edge of sleep when felt water drip onto her hand. She was too tired to move it. She slipped into a deep sleep. Silence claimed wonderland and her.

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