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Not Alice

By Jace L. Lockewood All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Fantasy

Blurb

A reimagined tale of Alice in Wonderland to fit today's political agenda.

Cheshire

“Well lookie here, another Alice? Too many girls just falling down the rabbit hole and tripping into looking glasses. I guess there’s nothing else to do but start the game…”

I woke up looking up at a lilac sky. Light streamed in from behind the mushroom caps that were as colossal as skyscrapers. Wildflowers littered the area, seeming to glare or snicker evilly at whatever was unfortunate enough to be around them. A shimmering morning mist seemed to perpetually hang over the forest I was in. Everything looked, smelled, and felt abnormally realistic to the point where I almost could not deny the fact that somehow, I had landed in an alternate universe. 

The grass between my toes tickled my feet as I got up and looked around. Whispers from the wind and wildflowers haunted me as I searched for how on earth I got here in this outlandish place. I only remembered looking through a mirror, tears staining my face and going to bed hungry, though something must have curbed that hunger now. I began my search for an exit, doing my best to ignore the oddity of the world around me. “It must be a dream, it has to be.” I assumed. “I’m not Alice.” I whispered to a bloom, trying to plead my case to the greenery.

“Oh really? Well that changes everything and nothing at all. Only Alice is allowed here, it’s her Wonderland of course. Something must have gone dreadfully awry for Wonderland to permit someone to waltz in who is not Alice.” A voice spoke, triggering me to quickly curl up into a ball, dignity out the wind and fear in control. This was my standard dream-defense against things I did not comprehend. The voice chuckled, and I heard tiny feet leisurely padding towards me, confidence oozing out of every stride. “If you aren’t Alice, who are you dear girl?” The voice purred from behind me, the audible grin grating on my nerves. “Do look up dear, I don’t bite. Oh, now what do we have here? I’ve never seen someone quite like you before. Are you sure you’re human?” I could hear the voice’s mile wide grin without even looking. Human? Of course I’m human, because what else would I be? I do not have a tail and do not roar, nor can I breathe underwater. I felt human, but maybe looks could be misleading here.

 “Cheshire, don’t torment the boy.” Another voice scolded from behind me. “Aw Alice, I was just playing around with him.” whined Cheshire. “You’ve terrified them to death, look! It’s okay girl you’re fine now. Cheshire just likes messing with new Alices.” The new voice told me. I sluggishly got up from my Fetal Position of Fear, eyeing the faces of the two people in front of me; there was a charming girl and a red-brown cat, which I guessed was Cheshire. I guess that settles it then, this must be Wonderland.

It’s been awhile since I’ve even read anything Wonderland-related, so I have no idea how this dream came to be. It was starting to look more and more like reality, which alarmed me more than any nightmare could. I looked at Alice, taking in the signature stockings and blue dress. I found it appropriate to bow in greeting, which amused Alice to the fullest, “What a gentleman you are! Cheshire why didn’t you invite this darling before!” “Well, I didn’t invite this one. It’s not even an Alice. I don’t know who brought her in. He’s definitely a new mystery.” Cheshire sniffed around me, before licking my knee. I yelped at that, replying with a startled, “Hey! I’m not Alice, and I know I’m just dreaming so you can’t possibly trick me, brain! Like I would ever believe cats can talk and mushrooms grow to be skyscrapers.” This gave the pair a great laugh. “He still thinks this is a dream!” Cheshire stated incredulously, the flowers and bugs sniggering along with the cruel cat.

“Okay then, Not-Alice, who are you?” The Cheshire inquired, mile-wide grin displaying rows and rows of deadly, razor-sharp teeth. I hoped he was not bluffing when he said he did not bite. “I’m…” I hesitated, thinking hard. I didn’t remember. I didn’t remember my own name. Come to think of it, I didn’t remember much of anything. Cackling surrounds me, the very flowers joining in to make fun of me, “He doesn’t know! The poor girl! They came here without even knowing a thing! Positively insane!” They all seemed to shriek at me, sardonically taunting my horrid memory and me. Alice just stared. Cheshire was purring and rubbing my legs. What is this madness? Why am I here? “You aren’t dreaming, dearest. This is Wonderland; kind of like a reject-heaven, not quite cruel enough to be placed in purgatory, but too full of sin to be divine. A world where nothing is as it seems. I am the reigning queen here, I know who enters and who leaves, who lives and who croaks. I would usually know every detail just by your entering, but you seemed to have slipped in from two doors at once, the front door and the back, completely discounting the happy medium while you were at it! Your footsteps echoed so loudly I had to get Cheshire to find you.” Alice said to me, refusing to break eye contact, “if you had fallen through a looking glass or chased the rabbit at tea time, or even dreamed of doing so, I would know your name, but you arrived too quickly, and through two entrances as well, and so I guess your name slipped away when you landed here, along with your memories. I guess that means you must find them, or create new ones.” Alice winked at me, letting on that she knew more than she was telling.

 “How do I go about finding a name? And why must I? I’m more worried about how to escape this hell.” I retorted irritably, getting worn-out from such antics, and I was not feeling like commencing the hero’s journey to hunt something intangible that was looking more like a preplanned circus act. Alice’s stare bore holes into my existence, “Wonderland is not hell.” She said, unnervingly calm, yet radiating pure hatred, and with that, she vanished in a waft of mint-chocolate smoke. Cheshire was balanced on a branch near me. “What are you still doing here you crazy cat?” I asked, letting out the breath I must have been holding. Cheshire just grinned and meowed, jumping onto my shoulder and lying there like a fur scarf. He smelled of blood and vanilla ice cream. I rolled my eyes and decided to walk, thinking that the least I could do is explore. I knew I would not be able to get an upper hand in Alice’s scheme, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t make the best of my situation. 

“Some clear answers in a place like this would be great, but if this place is as Alice says, that cannot and will not happen.” I grumbled to Cheshire, who just licked his paw in response. I absently went to scratch behind his ears, but as soon as my hand touched him, I blacked out, panic was sinking like a rock to the pit of my stomach as I felt myself fall.

“Come here kitty kitty!” I was falling down, memories surrounding me as I fell deeper into the darkness. “Come heeere kitty!” I looked around; I had landed in a black and white photograph. I was outside a big, white house, looking at a young girl calling to a kitty who was hiding in the woods. “Here kitty! Oh I wish I was allowed to feed you!” The girl exclaimed in what sounded like my voice. The cat, eventually seeing no threat in the girl, sat down and licked its paws to the annoyance of the girl. “Two can play that game.” The girl declared, sitting down in the grass, staring at the tabby. Minutes passed in this standstill, until the cat ultimately gave in to curiosity and came near the girl

Then, the vision stopped, and I was thrown back to Wonderland, an oddly familiar boy regarding at me with concerned, sharp eyes. “Alice, are you okay?” He questioned. “I’m not Alice!” I exclaimed dramatically, glaring as I scrutinized the bizarre boy. He had fiery red hair with black bands and ears sticking out of his head, not to mention a tail. “Cheshire.” I stated to myself out loud as soon as I recognized him. Cheshire genuinely smiled at that. “So you recognized me! You’re a first to be able to do that without any hints!” Cheshire’s garb was amusing; first of all, he wasn’t wearing a shirt, only a black tie and black and white pants looking like every adolescent teenager’s fantasy boy in cosplay. His chest was hairy, but groomed like a cat’s. He was wearing a studded belt that looked like the spikes were not just for show judging by the traces of rust and red, which petrified me to wits end. His nails were black and sharp, as well as his pearly white teeth. He had a respectable dental plan for someone who lived in a forest. 

“Fucking furry…” My brain contributed, which made me burst out laughing, trivial recollections flitting throughout my mind, filling in the details. Cheshire, perplexed, tilted his head, “you really are going mad, Not-Alice.” I couldn’t help but laugh even louder. This was all too strange. “Well Cheshire, looks like we have more to do then find my name.” I succeeded to choke out between laughs.

I then explained to him what I had seen, as he listened attentively. “It appears as if you can use the rabbit hole to time-travel. Only Alice can use the rabbit hole, are you sure you aren’t Alice?” Cheshire questioned, the cat’s curiosity taking hold. I shrugged, "at this point, I guess I could be Alice, I just don’t know." Cheshire nodded at that. “Now, cat, why are you a boy?” I finally asked. He grinned his notorious smile, “is that what I am? Truthfully this gender matter is so puzzling I can never tell the difference. When you blacked out, I had to get you out of the forest. There were too many creatures, undoubtedly looking to take you to the butterfly. I shifted into the form Alice gave me as to carry you away to the field. Anyways, since gender has no significance to me, just refer to me as Cheshire, cat, or Ruby. “Ruby? Why?” I asked. “Alice says a body must have a name, or there is nothing to tether the soul. The name I picked is Rubien. Do you like it?” His tail swished and ears perked, chest puffed to show how proud he was of his name. “I love it, but why not just use Cheshire?” I questioned. “Oh, that is just a title, he waved his paw/hand nonchalantly; I am the 13th Cheshire Cat, son of Golden-Eyed Jasper and Green-Witch Emerald, defender of Alice and curator of prophecy.” “Swanky title for a squat little kitty.” I baited him, causing him to puff out,” I’m still growing.” He retorted, shifting back into a cat before my eyes and vaulting onto my head. “Come on boy, let’s unearth your memories and chase your name”

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