Alice often went on walks around London. Most of the time it was just to get some "fresh air". Usually, it was to get away from the orphanage that she currently stayed at; though she doubted she would be living there much longer. There were even times when she just walked and walked, not really thinking about anything in particular.
So it came as no surprise to her when she suddenly decided that she wanted to go for a walk...straight after killing Doctor Bumby. Walking out of the station had been quite a surprise. Alice hadn't expected to see large and colourful mushrooms growing out of the dreary grey buildings that inhabited London. She hadn't expected to see a combination of her beautifully twisted Wonderland, and the boring, dull London, joined together as if the two worlds had formed some sort of peace treaty, and had become this way to help Alice regain some shred of sanity in a twisted way.
Despite how strange it all was, Alice was only too glad to accept this new world. She didn't really mind that the two worlds had joined together. Why should she care? She saw hallucinations from Wonderland while in London on a near daily basis, so not much would be that different. The hallucinations would be more realistic perhaps... That could be a little troublesome in the future.
Looking behind her, Alice discovered buildings and parts of the real world which hadn't seemed to be touched, not all of London appeared to have merged with her daydream world. There was still a horribly grey world behind her. No mushrooms. No oversized dice or domino pieces decorating the cobbled streets. Definitely no brightly coloured marbles lying randomly in the middle of the roads. Nothing from Wonderland seemed to be in this part of London. It was...odd.
Was that right? Then again, when has anything been truly normal? Alice knew that she didn't even need to ask herself that question. Everyone she had ever known could clearly see that nothing in her life had been normal since the fire. Although Alice craved the life she used to have with her family, she knew that she wouldn't give up her Wonderland.
Looking between the dream world and the rest of the London, Alice realised that she probably just had to decide whether she wanted to see her Wonderland friends again, or if she wanted to be completely sane...and never see her friends again as a result. The latter was out of the question. Alice instantly knew which choice she wanted. She didn't want to just forget about her friends in Wonderland. Not after all they had done to help her defeat the Dollmaker and regain her memories. She couldn't betray them like that.
And she was just about to walk into "Londerland", as she had now affectionately dubbed it. Except...
Alice froze. She knew that voice. She knew it very well. She had heard it many times in her memories. But it had been ten years since she had heard that voice. She couldn't possibly have heard her. The owner of the voice was dead. It was probably just the wind. Yes. Definitely the wind. The voice did seem to have a quiet, ghostly quality to it. In fact, it almost sounded like it hadn't been there at all.
Alice hesitantly took a step towards Londerland, like she had planned. She probably would've carried on walking, if she hadn't heard the voice call out to her again. Again she stopped, and this time she turned around. Her emerald eyes widened as she took in the sight before her.
The sight that greeted her was a shock to say the least. Because standing before her was her mother, her father and her sister Lizzie. They looked just as they had during the day, before they had gone to sleep and perished. They were all smiling, beckoning her to come towards them.
For the first time in her life, Alice found that she didn't know what to do. She was torn between going towards her beloved family, and leaving them behind. When her family began to retreat into the dirty streets of London, she acted on instinct and ignored her former decision to reside in Londerland and ran after them, determined not to lose her family again.
Alice, convinced that no one else could see these phantoms, slowed to a brisk walk once people began lining the streets. People stared at her as she passed them; they knew who she was. She had always been the mad one. The loony. That's how things had been since she left the asylum and she knew things would stay that way.
Normally, Alice would've felt some kind of shame from the drilling gazes burning into her. For now, her mind was on other things, and she didn't take her eyes off the retreating forms of her family, only speeding up a little when she was afraid she would lose them, which caused a few people to turn their heads and stare.
The chase took Alice past the gloomy Hyde Park where Lizzie had promised to take her on the slide and she ignored the lengthening shadows that followed. She chased them past the Mangled Mermaid, ignoring the jeers and wolf whistles from the disgusting sailors and fishermen, and she ignored the insults thrown her way by the many ugly prostitutes that congregated by the back door. Alice chased the phantoms past the orphanage, the market and the orphans who were still playing hopscotch on the pavement and through the many dark alleyways of London while hopping over the stray cats.
The whole time she didn't notice a certain pair of glowing eyes; watching and following her silently.
Eventually Alice began to grow tired. She didn't want to stop following her family. She was too afraid. She was afraid that they would disappear into thin air. Afraid that she would never see them ever again.
Alice groaned in frustration and stopped, falling to her knees and almost sobbing. She felt like such a failure. How could she have allowed them to get away? Slowly she lifted her head, expecting to see completely blank space in front of her.
However she was pleasantly surprised to find the three figures still standing in front of her. She knew they were waiting for her. She didn't know how she knew. She just knew.
Finally catching her breath, Alice stood and slowly began to walk towards her parents and Lizzie. She was pleased to find that they no longer ran from her as if to lead her on a wild goose chase. She started to relax a little and she let out a small smile. Something which she hadn't been able to do since her family had died.
But as she approached the figures of her family, she noticed her surroundings. She didn't know this part of London. None of it was recognisable at all. In fact, she was pretty sure that she had never been here in her life. The darkness caused by the night made the shadows look more frightening than the Ruin. Wait...Did that shadow just move?
"Don't go near them, Alice."
Alice almost jumped in surprise and her emerald eyes looked around the surroundings a little until she realised that she had heard the voice in her head. She didn't know the Cheshire Cat could communicate with her like that. It would've saved a lot of trouble in the past. It was typical of the blasted cat to make things as difficult as possible while finding some kind of amusement in her antics...
No. Something was wrong with Chesh. His voice didn't have the usual teasing tone in it that was itching to dish out the usual riddles. He almost seemed...worried. He was never worried about anything. Alice didn't think it was possible for him to actually BE worried. Which was unnerving.
Despite his warning however, she couldn't stop her feet from taking her towards them.
"Don't go near them, Alice."
Another voice now. The White Rabbit's. He also sounded worried, but that was nothing new. Then the Hatter joined. Then the Queen. Caterpillar. All of her friends' voices resounded in her head, warning her against going near the ghosts of her family. Why? Why would they try and keep Alice from her loved ones?
Whatever the reasons, it did not matter. Alice continued to step closer.
The warnings from her friends seemed to be going in one ear and straight out of the other. The figures of her family smiled at her kindly, encouraging her to come even closer to them. Alice took the extra time to go over every detail of her family's faces. She wanted to remember the moment when she was finally reunited with her parents and beloved sister.
She faltered a little when she noticed that something didn't seem quite right about them. They seemed a little too pale. It was probably nothing though. They WERE phantoms afterall... Phantoms were supposed to pale, right?
The voices of her friends began getting louder; more frantic and panicked. They seemed genuinely frightened. They had never been frightened before! What was there to be frightened of? It was only her mother and father and Lizzie.
Perhaps if she had been in her right mind, she would have listened to her friends' warnings. Alice chose to ignore them for a reason, however. Alice had been without her family for so long. She just wanted to be with them again, even if they were only delusions. Surely there couldn't be anything wrong with that? Was it so wrong to want to be with her loved ones?
As she approached, Lizzie stepped towards her and held out her hand, silently asking for Alice to take her hand.
Alice didn't notice the malicious glint in the eyes of her older sister, and she most definitely didn't notice how eerie the expressions of her family had become. She only saw her family; her loving family, who was taken from her in such a cruel way by that horrid Doctor Bumby.
Alice smiled and grabbed Lizzie's hand. She suddenly heard screams of anguish and despair. Everyone in Wonderland sounded like they were in pain. Why were her friends so against her family? After everything that had happened, Alice thought that they would be more than understanding.
Wait. There were three more voices that she recognised amid the screams. These voices were also crying out in despair and pain. She frowned and her heart lurched as she recognised who the voices belonged to as she heard the voices of her mother, father and Lizzie.
"Alice. What have you done?"
A shooting pain suddenly went straight through her chest and she gasped in shock and pain. Her hand grasped at the gaping hole, trying to stop the blood from spilling out as she looked up at the phantoms once again. Alice could feel the blood leaking through her fingers as she desperately clutched at the wound. Angry tears filled her eyes as realised what she had done. She remembered what the article said in the newspaper; she had bought it herself! How could she have been so foolish?
The article specifically mentioned that female prostitutes were being targeted. The killer must've seen her going into the Mangled Mermaid at some point, maybe seen her talking to some of the prostitutes there and presumed that she was one too. Nanny HAD tried to get her into the business. The owner of the brothel had lost a few girls through Jack the Ripper and so tried to recruit Alice to compensate. Alice would've ripped the perpetrator's head from his shoulders if she hadn't lost so much blood. If only she could use her Hysteria form...
She could now see that the phantoms of her family weren't in fact human. They were not normal. They were being controlled by a certain shadow whose eyes were a little too abnormal. They seemed supernatural.
Then as she heard the shadow laugh maniacally, everything went black.