We all heard it. The booming approach.
From within my cell my arms tied to my bedpost I laughed. The sound filled the room encompassing all the lost souls of Wonderland.
She was twice as angry as usual, a natural response to her son's death. She was just lucky to still be breathing.
"Where is Duchess? She said she'd only be a minute." The Queen stomped her foot the childish antic reminding me once again of her true age.
Freshly revived from the dead by Azrael the Queen had been all regal. Her golden crown and crimson gown beautiful even covered in dirt. But the dead should never stray too far from their graves.
It does things to the complexion.
"You, come here." Her face was covered by a pure white mask the lips heart-shaped in red. The dark hollows of the eyes boring into me as she snapped her fingers.
"My queen," I bowed. It was how I treated her when she was still living. As if though she was a queen.
It was no wonder how it got to her head.
"The White Rabbit head, you'll stand for me won't you?" She twirled around to look through the stained glass window. It showed the incoming ship which was floating ever closer. "They dare to come into my kingdom unannounced. Off with their heads!"
"I have always been loyal to you my liege. Give me the order and I'll shoot them down."
"Not yet," She snarled. "I want to kill Cheshire myself. That bitch. Did you see what she did to my beautiful face? No, I'll rip her head off with my bare hands. Where is Duchess!"
"Hey, calm down. I'm right here." The Moon Goddess in all her ethereal beauty materialized from the shadows. "I was making sure my son was prepared. I thought we would have to go out hunting but to think that bitch would just appear here." She cackled. Once she was done her golden eyes trailed to me and a distasteful smile flickered onto her face. "I thought we agreed to get rid of that."
"You know his history. What he's capable of, and as long as I have this," The Red Queen lifted her arm and the blasted black ink that trailed up her arm and connected me to her revealed itself. "He won't be able to disobey."
"He killed Jabberwocky." Duchess raised a brow.
"It was his time to go. Alice did us all a favor." Maybe the Red Queen's maternal instinct had died with her the first time around. Or she had never been too attached to the boy she picked up from an orphanage. "Is everything ready?"
"As soon as they land," Duchess grinned--so reminiscent of Chessie's--so demented. "Kier will meet them."
"Bring our Alice, it's time to give birth." Red Queen cackled.
And I was forced to do as she said.
"Time flows differently here," Hatter was explaining the rules to both Luka and Cain. "I'm sure your urge will be to run in head first but the maze is never-ending. Stick with me or Chessie, only we know the way back in."
"They'd make it a game. Set us out in the dark, the beasts would hunt us as we went." Chessie grinned. "Let's split into teams. I call Luka."
"No, I'm going with you." Cain was quick to interrupt. "I need to find Alice, I can already sense her."
I want to explain to him the terrible thing we are about to find. Want to explain that the memory of Alice in his head is now only a memory. She's changed. She's pregnant with a monster, a destroyer of worlds.
"Smee will remain on the ship, there's a protection so no one should be allowed aboard but it means I'm spreading my power. I'd say I'm at the same level as this one for the moment." Alexander juts a thumb in the direction of Cain much to the latter's annoyance. "Once we get off we'll be running blin--"
He stopped suddenly.
His brow furrowed and he closed his eyes as if he was listening to something.
"Uh, earth to pirate captain. What's wrong?" Cain huffed.
Alexander's eyes snapped open and he stared right at me as he spoke. "Fucking asshole."
"What is it?" Luka asked.
"We need another way off the ship." Alexander barged upstairs and slinked towards the railing. To search for something through the heavy fog that covered wonderland.
We came up beside him and cursed under his breath again.
Red glinted deep below us and I realized why Alexander had turned so somber.
The familiar red glint from below revealed why Alexander was so angry.
It was the wolf.
The one from my memory.
The beast that had killed my mother.