Here's a preview of my next story! Wonderland: A Love Story
Mother would have a fit if she caught me by the creek again. I really couldn't help it; the creek was my favorite place. It was my father's favorite place. We would come here all the time when I was little. The playful green grass tickled my toes and the beautiful sea of colors that were the flowers swayed in the slight breeze. The singing of the birds calmed me into a sense of security, and the sound of the swirling creek reminded me of the many days I was a child; I loved playing in the creek. I took in the sweet scent of the cool air around me; it was mixed with the smell of wet earth, the fresh aroma of tree bark, and the pleasurable fragrance the flowers gave off.
The light wind caressed my golden hair, and the warm sunlight kissed my cheeks. I rose up from where I was laying and tip toed as if I was a child again, all the way to the edge of the creek. The mud molded against my toes, making a slurping sound every time I raised my foot. I giggled like a little girl, in spite of the fact that I was sixteen, going on to seventeen. I slightly raised my blue sundress up to my thighs; mother would have thought of my actions as highly improper. I dipped my foot carefully in the water and sighed with satisfaction. The cool water licked my toes clean, and swept away all of the impurities that not only lingered on my body, but also those that harbored my soul.
Images of my father seeped into my thoughts like water leaking through a small hole. Feelings such as sadness, happiness, and longing weighed down on my heart like heavy stones, both closing and opening old wounds. Father always understood how I felt about fitting in. I never wanted to become one with society, marry a man with money and power. My sister married at sixteen, yet I still fought with mother on the issue of my marriage. If father was here, he would have been on my side, and let me grow up how I wanted to; he would have given me a choice. Father wasn't here, though, he died of a cold, leaving my mother, my sister, and I to fend for ourselves. I understood mother's desperation, but couldn't she understand mine? I don't want to be tied down, I wanted to speak my mind and live how I wanted to be; I just want to be Alice, simple Alice.
"Who's my silly Alice?" My father would say.
"I am, papa! I'm your silly Alice!"
My throat clenched and tears stung the back of my eyes as I stared down the creek that led far off into a world I was determined to see, someday. Someday I'm going to break free of these bonds that held me back from life outside these grounds, and I'm going to meet new people, strange people; people like me…
"Alice Liddell! What on God's green earth are you doing, child!" I heard my mother's cry of horror. I winced as I hastily turned to face her. She was standing far off on the edge of the path I always took to get down to the creek. She looked like the slightest bit of dirt would shatter her whole image of perfect posture she tried so hard to maintain. Julie appeared at her side, her dark brown hair tied up tightly in a bun, her beautiful face as smooth as porcelain. She had the same complexion as mother; they had the same face, the same brown eyes, the same petite bodies brought forth by those horrid corsets. Only I stood out like a sore thumb. I was way too pale, and instead of dark eyes, I had bright blue ones, courtesy of my father. My golden locks reached past my shoulders, and I seemed almost lanky, not at all graceful. How could I stand next to my mother and sister and not be a proper Liddell? Not that I wanted to be proper, but the mere fact of not fitting in with my own family still hurt, especially if people were rude enough to point it out.
"I was only enjoying the water, Mother." I called out to them. I brushed my now tangled hair from my face and I figured that I probably got some dirt on my cheeks as well. I had dropped my dress the second I heard my mother's cry of indignation, so now my blue sun dress was soaked from the bottom. I could see the water seeping upwards, like a silent alligator creeping towards its prey I always did have an over active imagination. Creeping alligators, talking rabbits; funny how that was, dreaming about talking rabbits.
"…state of your clothes!" Mother cried. I snapped out of my reverie and realized I hadn't been listening to what she had been saying. I always do that, I could look at a bird and think about flying, cutting myself off completely from the boring world my mother was trying to force me into. What would it be like to be a bird? A hippo sounds slightly more amusing actually. Mother gave a huff and stalked away.
"Alice, now you've gone ahead and made Mother upset! Get out of there and come to the house for a bath!" Julie called. I looked back at the creek, immediately feeling that empty void flourishing in the pit of my stomach, that bittersweet feeling of not belonging. It was hard being in a world that didn't accept you, just because you couldn't distinguish what fork to use for the salad.
I was still in my dirty dress when Julie came into my room. She had in her hands a hair brush, a new pink dress, some stockings, and, to my horror, a corset. Julie stared down at the floor where all my books were spewed over the floor. Drawings were scattered everywhere, from the dirtiest corner of my room, to the highest bit of wall I could reach. Every time I would dream a strange dream, I would quickly sketch out the pictures while they were still swirling fresh in my head. They were odd pictures; maybe that's why I was so fond of them. On one piece of parchment, a strange green hat occupied its surface. There was a drawing with strange cat like eyes, and a pocket watch was found on another sheet of paper. So many things filled my head with dreams, such like roses, spades, a weird pastry, bottles of liquid, a crown, and a strange clock tower.
"…you aren't listening?" Julie asked, sounding far away, as if she was calling from deep within a cave. A strange image of a deck of cards found its way into my already clustered mind.
I quickly pushed the image away. "What was that?"
"You aren't listening again. Honestly, Alice, stop with your childish dreams. Mother told me to help you with your attire so you could look decent enough for dinner today." She explained, setting all of the ingredients she needed to turn me into one of them, properly boring. I eyed the pink dress with a sudden sour taste in my mouth. I never really liked flurry dresses, and this blue one fit me nicely, though Mother said it was too revealing.
"Who's coming?" I asked, as Julie prepared everything for my horrible transformation. She guided me to the vanity chair and I sat reluctantly.
"Harold is bringing the Collins family over to discuss matters of a certain issue." Julie said, pursing her lips. At the tone of her voice, I looked up at the mirror to study her. As a result for my trying to pry, she yanked my hair back with the brush.
"Ouch, Julie, that hurt!" I cried as Julie brought the brush up my hair again. It felt like she was trying to yank my hair from the roots, the brush raking through my hair.
"It's your own fault, Alice, look at all this grime! Honestly, you need a bath first. I'll go call Lily." Julie disappeared through the door and I sighed. Why did Julie's husband invite the Collins? Since Father died, Harold had been in charge of everything, since there was no male heir. I looked myself in the mirror and saw my wild hair; it was decorated with crushed leaves, flower pollen, and bits of gravel from the path. My face was caked with dirt, and mother would die if she saw my fingernails. My feet were a little scratched and bruised due to my expedition in the woods with bare feet. I looked down at the small scratches on my arm and traced my veins. I was so pale I could be transparent.
"Hurry now, Lily is getting your bath water ready." Julie said, appearing in my room. She dragged me off the vanity chair and tossed me out of my room.
After my bath, I was heading towards my room. I quickly brushed my hair, not wanting to have my sister feverishly tear my hair off. I wonder how I would look like with a bald head. The idea seemed quite amusing. After my hair was finely brushed, I set out to find Julie, to let her know I was ready. I made my way down the creaky stairs, fighting the urge to slide down the banister. I cut through the dining room and made my way to the parlor, where Mother usually spent her time reading.
Just as I was about to enter, I heard something that caught my attention. "Do you honestly think Alice is ready, Mother? Sometimes I see her talking to herself about absurd things." Julie said in a hushed tone. My mother looked so tired, I've never noticed how older she looked.
"Oh, Juliet, I myself don't know what goes on with that child. I worry she will make a fool of herself at dinner." She sighed. Dinner? What do I have to do with dinner? I thought Harold was inviting the Collins over for a type of business he wished to discuss with them. Suddenly I felt a wave of butterflies flutter in the pit of my stomach. What about me?
"Yes, I would die of the humiliation. Like the time she talked about painting the white roses red? Mother, why don't we give her another year? Maybe she'll grow out of her childish ways and become mature enough to handle a marriage and a family." Julie suggested. My breath caught in my throat. My marriage, but I had made it very clear that I wasn't going to marry just anyone; I want to meet someone to love.
"Oh, Juliet, I wish I could give her time, but Mr. Collins wants to marry off his son to Clair Bigot if not with Alice. We can't afford to lose the Collins' support if Alice does something to sabotage the marriage we have arranged for her. Harold worked so hard to get on Mr. Collins' good side. I just hope Jonathon Collins doesn't get chilled feet if he meets Alice, his intended betrothed." She said in exasperation.
"Lord, Alice is capable of sending him into a frightened rage with her strange nature." Julie replied. I heard enough to send my mind reeling. Arranged marriage? So they didn't bother to listen to my feelings about the subject. I felt a sense of betrayal leak through my mind. How could they? How could they think I'll marry Jonathon Collins?
I felt angry tears spill from my eyes as I dashed up the stairs towards my room. I quickly took my blue dress from earlier and slipped it on. Well, if they want to force me into marriage, they're going to have to find me first. I'm not going to throw my life away and be placed aside to watch life pass by my window. No, I'm not going to be a part of that world, that boring world of social status and discrimination. I put on my shoes, and quickly raced out of my room before I could be noticed by one of the house maids. I reached the stairs, and this time, I felt no remorse on sliding down the banister. I landed in front of my mother and sister as they walked out of the dining room.
"Alice! Goodness gracious, child! What are you doing-?" My mother cried, but I didn't stop to listen to her. I flew from the house, like a bird taking off from its mother's nest. I felt the air whip my golden curls as I dashed into the woods, not caring where I was going. I could hear the faint echoes of my mother and sister's cry as I let the forest engulf me greedily. The canopy of trees was suddenly filled with the furious chirping of birds, and the tiny voices of insects. Grass, bushes, and flowers brushed my ankles as I sprinted by. The branches grabbed at my dress, but I tore from their grasp; I'm not going to be held back, not anymore.
I burst through the trees onto a small clearing. The clouds rolled idly over head, and the wild grass swayed in the breeze, making it look like waves from an ocean; I could almost feel myself being dragged away by the sea of green. I caught my breath as I turned to look around me. It was so quiet, I noticed that the music of the birds had died down, leaving a gloomy silence behind. I gave an involuntary shiver, I was alone, and I wouldn't know how to get back, not that I was going to, anyway. I wrapped my arms around me when I heard something.
It was a rustle, and for a moment I felt scared; maybe it was a wild dog. There came another rustle and my heart hitched to my throat. What was that? Something shifted in the grass and I whirled around in time to see something white flash before my eyes, disappearing into the sea of grass again. This time my heart was racing, beating painfully against my chest, like a hammer pounding at my insides.
I heard a whisper from the wind, or was it something else? Another whisper, louder, but still audible. For a brief moment I thought the sound was coming from inside my head, but that was impossible. The air suddenly grew heavy, like something pressing against me, trying to suffocate me, choke me. I quickly moved from the spot I was rooted to, stumbling towards the soft whisper. A white blur shot through the tall grass. Perked by my sudden curiosity and unwanted fear, I slipped through the swaying grass.
"…late!" Came a sharp cry. I momentarily froze in my place. Late? Did I hear that right? I raced back into the forest, following the voice as beast as I could. My fear was replaced by adrenaline, and my curiosity doubled. I would catch glimpses of something white racing through bushes and dodging upraised roots. I lifted my dirty dress to run better, but it really wasn't any use. All I achieved was getting my legs scratched and bruised. I wasn't tormented by that, however, I was wondering what on earth that animal was, if it was indeed an animal.
"I'm so very late! How could I be so thoughtless?" I heard the panicked voice. I blanched; it talked! I should turn back now, I should turn back and never come back to this strange place. If I went back, however, Mother and Julie would confine me forever, my freedom taken from me; I continued the chase. I could feel trickles of blood run down the side of my face, my bruised cheeks throbbed painfully due to the whips from the branches of the trees. There was no time to worry about any of that! I burst through another clearing, but this one had rolling green hills. I lost my footing and crashed to the ground. I looked up through my curls in time to see a white rabbit leap over a hill.
"A rabbit!" I cried in disbelief. I should have turned back, but there was something that had bothered me. The rabbit had talked. I sprinted after it, my head whirling. What would I find over that hill? I was almost to scared to see, but I was already this far, I couldn't turn back now. The grass beneath my feet attacked my ankles, it was a lot more scratchy than before. The sky grew darker, and I wondered if this was a good idea. As I reached the top of the hill, my lungs were ready to burst, my heart was about to tear from my chest, and my limbs turned to noodles. Sweat and blood plastered my hair and face; welt were streaked across my face.
I dropped to my knees and spotted the white rabbit. It was near the base of an ancient gnarled tree. The tree was black as black could be, and it had no leaves, which was strange; it was spring, and the tree didn't seem at all dead. In fact, the tree let off this gentle sweet atmosphere, despite the ominous looking setting around it. I could have just curled up and slept if it wasn't for the fact that a strange talking rabbit was on the other side of the tree. The air around me almost seemed magical.
"How could I have forgotten about this important date…" The voice trailed off into an echo. I gathered whatever strength I had left and limped toward the other side of the tree. When I reached the other side, the wind suddenly picked up, surrounding me with unusual sweet smells. Aromas that teased my nose and beckoned me closer to a gaping hole beneath the roots of the trees. I couldn't see anything, except a faint glow of light that was diminishing further and further below. Is this where the rabbit disappeared to?
I closed my eyes and caught the sweet smell of roses.
"Alice…" Something whispered in my ear.
I opened my eyes and I found myself being engulfed by total darkness. I screamed in spite of myself, and I really didn't know which way was up. The small orb of light was gone, and I was left with nothing but black space surrounding not only my body, but my being as a whole. My heart thundered against my chest as the falling sensation filled my body to the brim. Because that was all I felt at the moment. I was falling.