When I didn't feel the instant and debilitating pain of being stabbed in the head with broken glass, I was forced to open my eyes and look up. I was… falling? I could see the opening of the mirror, the prop room beyond it, and it was getting smaller and smaller as I spun down through darkness, slowly, so slowly. I yelled aloud again, but the sound didn't do much good in the infinite space. There was no one else in it to hear me.
It was ages before I hit the bottom. I'd closed my eyes and let myself fall, figuring that I'd know when I reached the end of wherever the darkness led when I got there, and boy did I ever. They say it's not falling a long distance that kills you, it's the sudden stop, and I knew why when I landed. My mind blanked for a minute at the pain of the impact, but when it stopped hurting enough to compose myself, I looked up and around me.
"Oh, Toto… I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore." I muttered.
Doors. The walls of the room I'd fallen into was lined with them, door after door, each one different, yet all similar to a degree. They varied in size, which made no sense. Where the hell was I? Turning, I bumped into a table. It hadn't been there before, I was sure, because I probably would have landed on it if it had been. The only thing sitting on the table was a key. I picked it up, turned it over in my hands. It was gold. Who leaves a key of solid gold just sitting around where anyone could grab it? Then again, it could very well be that I'd set off some kind of silent alarm by touching the damned thing, so I put it back.
As I scanned the room, trying to figure out where to go from here to get back where I'd come from, I noticed an open space, where there was a curtain instead of a door. Bingo. Maybe whoever was screwing with me was hiding behind there. I crept over, and yanked back the curtain, cursing when I was confronted only with a blank wall. I dropped my head, dejected, and getting a bit pissed off. I had homework to do, a script to go through, and I did not have time for this. But when I opened my eyes, I noticed another door, this one much smaller than the others had been. I dropped down to check it out.
This door was made of glass, and it led to a garden. A garden meant outside, and if I could get outside, I could get my bearings and figure out how to get away from this loony bin and go home. But… how the hell was I supposed to get through a door that I could have cradled in the palm of my hand? I stood and turned back to face the room, my eyebrow rising when I realized that there was now something on the table beside that gold key. I walked back over it and had to laugh.
The bottle that now sat on the table looked like one of my mom's old perfume bottles. But it wasn't that which made me laugh. It was the note beside it that said two simple words in thick black writing. DRINK ME. No hint as to why, just a command to consume whatever was in that bottle.
"What kind of idiot do you take me for? It could be poison or something! I don't know what's going on here, but the hell I'm putting some unknown liquid in my mouth." I scoffed, turning away.
Walking to the wall, I began trying the doors. Maybe one of them would be the way out. Locked, each and every one. The gold key didn't work on any of them, either. It was always too small.
Finally, vexed with my inability to find a way out of this damned room, I sat down by the table, and frowned. There was something different… I surveyed the little table that had held the key, and the bottle that suddenly sat upon it. I picked it up, turning it over in my hands. Optionally, I could sit here and wonder how the hell I was supposed to get out of here, or I could drink down whatever was in this bottle and hope it did something that'd help. I was terribly aware of the fact that my current predicament reminded me of a movie I'd seen as a kid about a little girl who'd also followed an animal that she probably shouldn't. But in all honesty, what else could I do?
"Bottoms up…" I murmured to myself. I pulled the stopper out of the top of the bottle and tossed back its contents, wrinkling my nose at the taste. After a moment, when nothing happened, I snorted to myself. "Go figure. I finally get around to drinking the stupid stuff and it doesn't work. And now what the hell am I supposed to do?"
The words had no sooner left my mouth than I noticed something odd. Both the doors and the table in this room were getting ridiculously large, or I was getting horrifyingly small. I jumped to my feet, staring around me as I shrank. By the time all was said and done, the table was a skyscraper in comparison, and I cursed myself for thinking this might have been a good idea. But then again…
I turned a circle to look around me, and one thought fixed itself to the forefront of my thoughts. That door. The tiny door that led to the garden. I was now small enough to get out through it. I ran to it, which took an absurd amount of time given how short my legs now were, and tugged the handle.
"FUCK MY LIFE!" It was locked, and I was still trapped. I wasn't the type to do illegal things, so it wasn't as though I could pick the lock. I searched my pockets, praying I'd thought to take the little gold key even as I knew that I hadn't. I'd put it back on the table for fear of setting off an alarm, and there it had sat until I'd picked up that damned potion. "Well, this is just perfect… Now I'm Tom goddamn Thumb, and I still don't know how I'm supposed to get out of here."
With nothing else to do, I decided to wander, and see if I could maybe squeeze my way out under one of the doors. It took me at least half an hour to get to all of them, but it was no dice for each one. It was as though they had been placed with the exact purpose of thwarting my escape. Each opening under the door was just a mite too small. By the time I was done, I was exhausted and overheated from the long hike it now took to get anywhere, and I made my way back to the table to have a seat in its shade and try to figure out yet another means of escape.
When I finally reached the massive bit of furniture, I narrowed my eyes. There was yet another mysteriously placed item that I was almost certain hadn't been there before. Then again, I might not have seen it before. There was a mini-me size cake sitting on a tiny, pretty table under the big one. It would have looked like a toy if I'd been my normal size, but now, it was perfect for a sugary kick to help me think. As I moved closer, I noticed another note from the disembodied person who was playing this twisted game with me. EAT ME.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it, you jerk." I muttered as I scooped up the cake. "Instead of leaving a trail of bread crumbs for me to follow home like any decent fairy tale person-who-watches-over-the-protagonist, you leave snacks that do stupid things to my body. Some help you are." That said, I ate the cake in one bite.
I barely had time to blink before my size was increasing. Sweet! Finally, something useful in this loony bin. But as I passed my normal size and continued to grow towards the ceiling, I swore. I was getting too big!
I heard the pitter patter of feet somewhere near my ankle and tucked my legs in to see who had joined me in my exit-plentiful prison. It was the rabbit guy from earlier. He didn't notice me as he locked the door he'd come out of.
"The Duke is waiting on me… Oh, how dreadful, how entirely dreadful! I've left my house far after I should have, and now I'm so dreadfully late…" he muttered, one of his ears twitching in agitation. It was kinda cool to watch, given the fact that I'd never seen a human with animal parts before, but then wasn't the time to dwell on it. He might just know a way to get me back to my normal size, and back to my normal world.
"You're a real stickler for punctuality, I take it." I said dryly. He jumped, his eyes shooting up to mine and then widening.
"My word! You're that boy who refused me the directions I needed! What the devil are you doing here?" He demanded.
"Well, I tried to catch your attention before you disappeared, and I kinda fell through your magic mirror thing. It wasn't my fault! You should have been paying better attention or closed it behind you or something." I replied. He huffed.
"Oh, you don't just go closing a portal to Wonderland, you fool! Now get out of the way, because I need another door. I have to get to the Duke, and I'm—"
"Late. Yeah, I heard. But look, I need your help for a minute before you go. There've been all these little cakes and drinks around, and I'm not sure what else to do with them, so I've been eating them, you know? But one of them made me so tiny, I couldn't get the key I needed off that table, and the other made me…" I indicated my current predicament, and he sighed, tapping his foot irritably.
"That's because you're not from Wonderland. Our food doesn't do dreadful things like that to us. You're an Outworlder who's only here because you couldn't leave well enough alone and had to come diving in after me. Our conversation was done, and I had somewhere to be. You've absolutely no business here." That said, he turned towards a different door and began fiddling with a ring of keys, trying to unlock it. I reached down and wrapped my hand around him once he'd gotten it open. He let out a horrified squeak. I lifted him to eye level, glaring.
"Now, look here, Bunny Boy. I've got a shit ton of things to do tonight to get ready for my new show, and you aren't helping matters. Now you give me that key ring and tell me exactly how I get out of here and back home, or I'm going to make you in to a bowl of rabbit stew. Capiche?"
"You're a horrid boy! Absolutely horrid! I'm late! Put me down!" When I didn't comply, the suitably outraged rabbit sank sharp little teeth into my hand. It seemed the ears weren't the only part of the rabbit he'd inherited. I dropped him with a cry, and he darted down a hallway that the open door had revealed.
"You're going to be a good luck charm when I get through with you, Rabbit!" I shouted after him, trying vainly to nurse my wounded finger. He'd bitten right through the skin. Sitting back, I tore a piece of my shirt off to wind it around the wound, then knelt to look down the hallway to where that damn rabbit had gone. As I peeked in to the now open area, I noticed that White Rabbit had dropped his gloves and fan. That was something, right?
It was impossible to fit through the doorway at my current size. I sat back against the wall as I contemplated the opening. There had to be a way through, because no decent fairy tale land was going to leave me trapped in the early stages. I tried to remember what the little girl in the old story had done and drew a blank. It was as though those parts of my memory were deliberately fuzzed out. Just what the hell was I supposed to do?
It started to get hot with so much of my body crowding the room, and the fan was just big enough that I wouldn't crush it with my bigger hands, so I started using it. It was several moments later that I realized, hey! The more I fanned myself, the smaller I was getting!
"Aha! You're going to be a lucky rabbits foot yet, you little shit!" I muttered to myself, working the fan frantically in front of my face. When I was suitably sized (not quite my normal size, but not too big to fit through the door that had been opened) I set the fan on the table and darted down the hall way after my quarry.
The hall way went on for ages. There were more doors than a hardware store, and eventually, I began to despair that I'd die in a hallway of doors. There was simply going to be no getting out.
"Well, this is just perfect! I get out of a room full of doors that I fell into from a hole in the universe only to find myself in a never ending hall way! What the hell kind of place is this?!" I fumed, kicking one of the doors violently. To my surprise, it gave way. I peeked around its edges cautiously, because God only knew what kind of crazy shit would pop out of nowhere in this mad house if I wasn't careful. But when I looked out, it was just woods. But outside meant I was free, so I opted to go for it.
I stepped through the door, jumping when it slammed shut behind me. By the time I turned around to ask who ever had done it what the big deal was, the door was gone and I was left standing on some lone woodland road lined with trees taller than I could see. As far as I could tell, there were no foot prints that led either way, so I had no clue how to continue, but what else was new? I opted to go left and headed off down the road.
The air heated up as the day progressed, and still I walked on that lonely road. I had a feeling I was going in circles, but finally, finally, I came to a notch hole house in to the side. It almost looked as though the house had been randomly crammed into the rise of the hill beyond the trees, and its front seemed odd in comparison to everything around it.
"You! You made me drop my gloves and my fan, and now I'm later still for the Duke!" I turned , brows raised, when a belligerent voice yelled from behind me. The White Rabbit came rushing up to me, huffing angrily, and I shoved at him.
"I wouldn't have had to scare you if you'd just told me what I needed to know in the first place."
"It's of no consequence now! Just give me my things. I don't know how many times I have to tell you, but I'm—"
"Late! Yes, I get it!" I growled at him, and he jumped back, giving me a wary glance. I'd be stuck again if he bolted, so I took a deep breath. "Look, can you just tell me how to get back to my Outworld or whatever it is that you call it? I can't stay here."
"Give me back my things first." I patted my pockets dutifully, wincing when I remembered. I'd left the fan on the table on my way past, and hadn't grabbed the gloves to begin with. I lifted my hands in a helpless gesture. "Oh, bother and vexation! What good are you? Go into the house and find me a new set, then. And hurry it up! I've many things to do today! I'm a very busy bee!"
"But you're a rabbit." I pointed out, grinning. It was kinda funny watching this rabbit turn progressively redder in the face. Obviously, this whole late thing was a button for him, and I was taking perverse delight in making him later with each encounter we had.
"You know quite well what I meant! My gloves and fan! Shoo! Go fetch them!"
"I have no idea where they might be, but sure." I shrugged and he shoved me. I whirled back on the White Rabbit with a snarl, but he'd pulled an obscenely sized pocket watch out of his pocket and was consulting it worriedly. "Y'know, I don't see why you're making such a big deal about this. What's this Duke going to do? Chop of your head?" I joked, hoping to lighten the mood. The Rabbit's eyes went wide, and I felt mine do the same. "What, you mean he will?"
"No, not him. The Duke isn't the sort to run about loping off heads. But the Queen…" He shuddered, closing his eyes. "The Queen is quite fond of killing off the men of Wonderland for any small infraction. Only The King and The Knave have any immunity to her rages."
"Jeez. Well, if she's such a bitch, why doesn't somebody stop her?" I asked. "You said something about a king. Why doesn't he put her in the kitchen or something?"
"Because everyone that tries to stop her or protests her madness in any way ends up with their head cut off. Now along with you! Go and fetch my things since you're the one who lost them! The Duke could very well go to The Queen and I'll be the next head bouncing along the byway."
I didn't like the guy, but I wasn't going to be the one who caused him to end up headless. I nodded, and turned to make my way into the house.
A/N: Yeah, I know... it's short. u_u But there's not a lot of relevant action in this section of the Carroll story that I wanted to turn around, so I was forced to work with what I had. I hope you enjoyed it anyway. I've once again been working on this story in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, and hopefully it turns out halfway decent.
Do keep reading. I promise it'll get steamier in the future. Hopefully, the near future.
Read and review and let me know your thoughts? You know by now how important they are to me. Big thanks to Esquirella, CinderellaWithCombatBoots, Poptart Guava Kid, and supervirgin for reviewing.
Till next chapter, Happy Reading! Jazzy loves you!