|Malice in Underland
Author: Alice the Strange PM
Meet Alice Raven, the strange, enigmatic emo with an Alice Cooper fixation. What happens when she falls into Underland one day and finds that her worst nightmare isn't what anyone expected? A parody of both Alice in Wonderland and angsty gothic teenagers.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Adventure - Words: 2,095 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Published: 10-13-10 - id: 2855407
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Malice in Underland
Author: Alice the Strange
Rating: K+, might go up later.
Summary: Alice Raven runs into a spot of trouble on the way to school and finds herself falling down something that's definitely not a rabbit hole…
Feedback: Yes, please. I live for reviews!
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that Mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
When she was just small
Imagine a street in London.
A perfectly ordinary street, lined with neat, terraced houses with chequered front paths and front gardens in various states of neglect, a street with parked cars positioned almost precisely nose-to-nose. Imagine a grey road already glistening with wet, and reflecting back the orange light from the streetlamps, and a grey sky heavy with the kind of rain that does not so much fall as hang in the air, clinging to clothes and dampening hair.
Now picture a house about halfway down, not quite at the top nor at the bottom of the street, but instead a nice, regular, unmemorable middle. A nondescript house, with peeling cream paint, a little, rusted iron fence and a bush with leaves that had been viciously clipped back about a year ago, and were now running rampant, trailing dark green fronds across stone tiles that were chipped and cracked with age; a very ordinary street and a very ordinary house, in which live a very out-of-the-ordinary family indeed.
Now pan upwards to the window looking out over the street, facing into a dismal morning.
Through the glass there is a bedroom. A teenage girl's bedroom, although you wouldn't know to look at it, because most teenage girls do not have black flowers climbing pearly grey wallpaper richly adorned with posters of heavy metal bands, showing faces plastered with black lipstick, eyeliner and white face paint. Red lettering screams Slipknot, Marilyn Manson and Iron Maiden. The bed is iron-framed, the duvet black and scattered with cartoon skulls. A worn guitar rests in the corner, leaning tiredly against the wall.
A girl is just leaving the room, carelessly slamming the door behind her.
You see it like a camera; distant, apart. Pan right, now focus to fix on the girl as she as she steps into the bathroom. Zoom in: snap.
It was six-thirty in the morning and there were precisely thirty minutes and fifty-three seconds of normality left for the girl who now stood in a cold bathroom, slicking a fresh coat of black lipstick over the crusty, fading application she'd been wearing yesterday.
Alice Raven manoeuvred the dark, glossy stick carefully over the outline of her lips, holding her mouth slightly open to reveal teeth that looked startlingly white against the black. Her pale face was framed by a sheet of black hair, hair that had not yet been crimped and backcombed into its customary shock of tangles. She finished applying the lipstick and selected an eyeliner from the pile of make-up on the windowsill, beginning to slide it over her fluttering lids.
Already, the earphones of her iPod were in, blasting heavy metal into her ears. She normally preferred Lisa Gerrard or Thomas Newman this early in the morning, but she was feeling sort of…weird today, and wanted to wake herself up with the grating tones of Slipknot that drilled into her ears, jerking her back to reality and out of her half-asleep state.
It had been a weird night.
Now brushing lime-green shadow across her eyes, Alice couldn't help shifting uneasily as she recalled the strange, surreal dreams that had haunted her sleep. There had been a rabbit in there somewhere, and a chessboard tiled in white and red.
And at the end, there was falling.
Falling down into the deep, unfathomable darkness…
Alice's hand shook and she streaked the shadow across her temple. "Shoot," she whispered, licking her finger and rubbing it off.
The rain at last began to fall properly, trickling slowly down the glass of the window.
Twenty minutes later, Alice was walking along the grey pavement towards the school, allowing her dark hair to be blown in ever-increasing tangles around her face. The black skull-print shoulder bag full to bursting with study guides textbooks had already split a seam. She pulled it further up her shoulder, wincing not just at the heavy weight but also with dread at what she knew she would be facing in just a few minutes' time.
The high school she attended was just a few blocks away, but to Alice Raven, it always felt like ten miles. She'd lost count of how many times she'd tried to persuade her father to drive her, but he'd always refused. She could hardly blame him – he had a busy job, and to his eyes, it only took her a quarter of an hour anyway. It was hopeless trying to tell him the truth.
As she turned the corner into sight of the school, she felt the always false hope rise inside her that this time they'd allow her to walk up to the heavy metal gates unhindered, but she pushed the thought down angrily. It was no good trying to pretend. Dreams are like mirrors, she thought; you walk towards them and a cold pane of glass stops you.
Putting a hand up to wipe away mascara that had run in the rain, Alice was caught off-guard as she heard the voice behind her, overly loud and brash as usual, "Hey there, Raven! We almost thought you wouldn't turn up!"
Alice tried to carry on walking, but Whitney, Janice and Amy fell into step with her.
"Like the T-shirt," Whitney commented. "Nice picture of a transsexual on the front, as per usual. Who's this today, then? Some hobo you picked off the street and took a photo of, just to brighten up all those boring clothes you wear?"
Janice and Amy sniggered.
"Actually," Alice said as coolly as she could, "that's Alice Cooper, my namesake. He's a musical legend. Only, you probably haven't heard of him, seeing as you don't know good music when you hear it."
"Good music meaning a lot of drunks screaming their guts out in front of an equally drugged-up audience, then bashing up their instruments when they get bored?" Amy checked. "In that case, no, I don't think I want to know good music when I hear it."
"And what's this?" Janice said, tugging at Alice's bag so she was forced to come closer. "More skulls. What a surprise. Is that to go with the hairband?"
Self-consciously, Alice put a hand up to the matching headband keeping back her unruly mop of dark hair. "Mm. I'm very coordinated," she said, trying to stop her heart thumping.
"Coordination is so last year," Whitney mocked. "Actually, that's not saying much. Everything you own is so last year."
"So last century, you mean," laughed Amy. "Where did you get that skirt, Raven? Tesco during the eighties?"
Alice folded her arms and glared at Amy. "Wow, that's so funny, Amy. Even funnier than the last eight times you said it."
"You think you're so funny, don't you?" Janice broke it.
"I'm funnier than you," Alice claimed, smugly, because she was pretty sure that at least was true.
"Oh, ouch, that really hurts. I think I'll, like, die!" Amy made a melodramatic face.
"I wish you would," Alice told her. They were nearly at the school, and she was hoping she could make a break for it.
"Get a life!" Janice said, rolling her eyes.
"Get a brain!"
Furious on her friend's behalf, Whitney dragged the headband off Alice's head and crumpled it up, then threw it into the gutter. "You don't talk to her like that!"
"Well, guess what – I just did."
Amy seized the straps of Alice's bag and pulled. It slid off her shoulder. Alice made a grab for it, but it was no use, and within seconds, it was being tossed around between the three girls.
"Stop reading books!" Janice told her. "Jesus, how much have you got in here? I always knew you were a geek. Shutting yourself up in your sad little room with your homework and your ancient crumbly music – "
Forsaking her bag, Alice tried to run for the gates, but Amy and Whitney grabbed her arms and yanked her painfully back.
"I think," Amy said, taking the bag from Janice, "that Raven would be grateful if we lightened up her load."
"You aren't going to – " Alice protested.
"Watch me," Amy said. While Whitney pinned Alice's arms behind her back in a half nelson, Amy and Janice pulled the books and papers one by one from Alice's bag, and hurled them swiftly into the Drain.
The Drain was famous among the girls of Ashcroft High. It was the biggest one in the neighbourhood, with a loose grille, and at high summer strange sounds and smells issued from it. The Year Sevens swapped rumours that it was haunted. Even the Seniors were uneasy around it.
And now her bag was going in.
"How dare you!" Alice clenched her fists, shaking with fury. "What the hell did you do that for, you bitches?"
Amy tutted in disapproval. "She shouldn't have said that to us, should she, girls?"
"No, she shouldn't!"
"Shall we teach her what happens to naughty girls who swear?"
Alice pulled against Whitney's armlock, but was unable to free herself, and watched helplessly as the girls, laughing like hyenas, dropped her now empty bag into the dank depths.
"Now you can get yourself something more stylish," Janice said, and Whitney shoved Alice forwards, sending her sprawling to the ground next to the Drain. The three of them, linking arms and giggling, sauntered off, leaving Alice slumped on the ground, staring down through the metal grille into the blackness.
Finally gathering herself together, Alice sat up carefully and wrenched at the lid of the Drain. It came away easily, leaving her fingers smeared with slimy greyish ooze. She tossed the grille away with a clang, wiping her hands on her skirt, and leaned forwards again to stare into the Drain. It was even worse than she'd thought. All her books, papers, pencils, everything, was floating morosely in the dark water, paper already greying and sinking into the depths. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Alice bent forwards still further, wondering if she could reach in and save just some of it, but it was no good.
Suddenly, her sharp eyes caught the glimmer of something bright white, floating in the dank water. It looked like the reflection of something, but what? And, Alice realised as another thought struck her, that water was far too murky to reflect anything anyway…
Curious in spite of herself and momentarily distracted from the disaster of the schoolbooks in the Drain, Alice pulled herself closer still to the drain, so that she was hanging precariously over the edge of it, only her knees still resting on the pavement. She squinted, trying to make out the white thing she'd seen.
Alice almost jumped out of her skin. Someone…something…had said her name! She twisted round, expecting to see Whitney or Amy or Janice back, taunting her, but there was no one.
There it was again! Alice listened closely. She was sure, or almost sure, that it had come from…
A low, breathy whisper.
Coming from the depths of the Drain.
Fascinated and terrified in equal measure, Alice leaned right out. Now only her shins were balancing her…
Now just her ankles…
It happened all in one second. The ground gave way and she was falling, endlessly falling, tumbling into thin air, spinning upside-down. It was the nightmare all over again. Only this time it was real.
She didn't hit the water. Instead, she carried on falling, and the scream she let out dissolved and, like everything else, was swallowed up into the black.
TO BE CONTINUED…