Waking Up in Wonderland

Fatal Fare

Halo One: Fatal Fare:

"Tell me a story!"

"No!"

"Please?"

"Then will you let me sleep?"

"Yes."

"Then will you go sleep?"

"Yes!"

"Alright. What kind of story would you like to hear?"

"A scary one!"

The sheets shifted as her small frame cuddled up close to his body.

"Okay, there was once a taxi driver in Ikebukoro; a humble man who just got people from destination to destination day-in and day-out. One night while he was making his rounds, he happened upon a young woman standing out on the street. She stood alone in the rain looking for a ride. So the driver pulled up to her.

"'Need a ride?' the driver asked. The girl nodded at him.

"'Hop on in,' he said. The girl climbed into the cab and closed the door. The driver looked in the rear mirror at her.

"'So, where are you headed, little lady?' he asked.

"'My apartment,' she told him.

"'And where is that?'

"'Ume-Kuro.' The driver gave her a puzzled look.

"'Never heard of it. Where is that?' he said.

"'Don't worry,' the girl assured him. 'I'll tell you where to go.' The driver shrugged to himself and drove. This girl led him on for what seemed like a wild goose chase. They drove through many streets and alleys that the poor driver had never heard of, kept making different turns, and passed through two different cities altogether. She ran up a high fare on the cab. The whole time the driver became nervous.

"'Are you sure we're going the right way?' he asked the girl as he looked through his rear-view mirror at her. She smiled and waved him off.

"'Yes, yes, of course,' she insisted. 'Just keep driving. We're just about there.' The driver shrugged and kept going. Because, what else could he do? He had her in the cab with him and she was the one hopefully paying him for this wild ride.

"They ended up in the countryside after many turns and streets for close to three hours of driving. By this time the driver became uneasy and annoyed. He had done his best to keep his composure up until this point. The driver gripped the steering wheel as he gritted his teeth in the black, raining country night.

"'Look!' the driver barked as he turned and looked in the back seat.' Are you sure this Ume-Kuro place even exists?!' But when he turned and looked, the girl had vanished. Not a single trace of her remained.

"'What the…?!' the driver cried aloud. When he turned to look at where he was going, the cab was heading right for the cliff."

She looks deep into his eyes. "Does he drive right off of it?"

"Not my version."

"Huh?"

"The next morning, a farmer was out looking for new land to plant his crops on. He came upon the taxi cab sitting near the cliff, still intact. Curious, the old farmer walked over and looked inside. There was no driver and no girl inside, but in the back seat sat a big box. The farmer opened the back door and surprisingly found it unlocked. He reached in for the box. Once he got his hands on it, he opened the lid and looked inside. One look inside drained all of the color from face. The poor old man ran away screaming as fast as he could.

"Why? What was in the box?"

"I can't tell you that."

"But why not?"

"Because my dear, there are some rabbit holes that humans are not meant to go down in."

"Damn it."

"Now, now. That's not very ladylike of you, now is it?"

"Forgive me."

"That's okay, just go to sleep now. You promised."

"Alright, good night."

"Good night."

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