Author's note : Hello! This is my first story published here. This is a short text I wrote last year in a Creative Writing Class.
You might need to know that my first language is not English but French, so please excuse the few mistakes that may have hidden in this text. Any advice is very welcome!
I hope you'll enjoy this little fantasy I wrote. I do not claim it totally original and I'm sure you'll easily recodnize some of my influences.

Think upside-down

There is this huge clock. It's carved in the floor, and filed with a dirty gold metal. All the numbers are upside down, the ten next to the six, the two hugs the nine and the eleven looks like a seventy-seven. The clockwise can't move, it's just a weird masterpiece on the floor of the town's biggest place. The children always loved to play around it, and the mothers hated that because the metal was so crafty the kids would always slip, fall and get dirt and blood on their knees. And then it would be as much a mess as the numbers were. But this is what children do. They play.

It was a black night. But dark doesn't mean anything in a city like this one. The floor lamp killed even the idea of darkness, so that little girls could get home safely. What they don't know, is that light is not safe either. It's tricky, because it only hides the evil in the shadows. And they are between all the peachy glowing circles, behind every shape, every corner, every sound, every drop of water. But if they knew that, it wouldn't be funny anymore. The hunt would have no savor, no rush of adrenaline. It is so pleasant to hear a breathing fasten, a heat beat getting erratic, the scary look behind the back, the steps getting hasty. Because they only hear the tip-tap of the metal on the floor, the rustle of the cloak on the wall. But they don't see. They try to reach the illuminated avenues and then they feel relieved. Light is safe, many people walking around is safe. They barely have the time to understand that where there is bright, there are also gloomy shadows, and where there is shadows, there is him.

This is fancy. Dandy. Showy. Gaudy. Reddish. No, perhaps magenta. Or carmine. Not easy to define around midnight, in a little street like that one. The amber light isn't a good judge. It's eccentric that's for sure. A jacket reaching the knees. Why not, retro can fit the season. Burgundy? Could be. Don't focus on the jacket, it's not the point. Look at the moves. The hips, rippling from left to right in a hypnotizing way. Thin waist, you can tell even under the layers of tissue. A hand reaches from the pocket it was hidden in, pushes away the man that was about to hustle the red jacket. Long black painted nails grapping an arm, a coat, making the drunken body move to the left, far from the red curves. Not a second of slow-down motion for the slender legs, molded in dark leather jeans. Just keeps walking, focused.

How about following this Red Riding Hood, through the artificial sunny streets? Let's wait for the big wolf to come out from the shadows to bite a bit on that unconscious prey. It's always such an enjoyable show. As someone said, "With the light's out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us".

Little cat. Come here kitty, he said. But the cat ran a few steps away, staring at him with his head leaning on the side. He suddenly turned to look behind him, like if a huge sound had resonated. But there was nothing. Nothing but a little breath of air, the sound a few tree leafs on the floor and the distant rumor of the people in restaurants and pubs. He wasn't bigger than a snowball, and he had the color, but yet he was acting like this small dead-end was his land, marching from a wall to another, checking that no one came in. The man, no, not yet, the boy, felt like he was invisible to that tiny cat. He tried to pet him again, but the kitten escaped in a smooth move. He didn't know what was about the cat, but he wanted to play with him, or at least to gain his confidence for a few minutes. A few minutes out of loneliness would seem like heaven. That the cat didn't, couldn't know. And so he was there, cleaning his ear with his little cat paws, trying to make his silver-looking fur even brighter. The boy didn't wonder how a wandering cat could stay that white, no. He didn't think of his own dirt for that matter of time. He was used to the dark streets, and this pretty clean shinny pet was in front, why would he matter about the showers he should take in this moment? He sat on the floor, grinning when he felt the cold humidity of the night on his knees and his thighs. He pulled his sleeves on his frozen hands, and called the cat again. "Kitty, come here kitty come." The cat stared at him for a long time and then he slowly came to the boy, pressing his head against a hand. Even if it was cold and painful, the boy felt the softness of that little head, the tickles of the mustache, and the cold again. The cat was going away. The little sad pout on the boy's face was eloquent. If the cat leaved, he would be alone again. Alone, cold, and sad.

But the cat turned away, looking in his direction. Waiting. The boy stood up and made a few steps in his direction. That dance kept on and on for a long time. The cat walking, turning, looking, the boy walking, waiting, walking, waiting. He followed the hurried white cat in the cold obscure alleys.

Never mind the looks. The scarlet top-hat on the silky black hair tied in a lengthy tail flirting with the bottom of his back, coupled with the long jacket were like a net for inquisitive looks. It surely was an odd character. A bony body with weird clothes, elegant surely, but so weird, and the eyes hidden under shades made by the edges of that tall hat. But the Red Hat just kept walking, without less than a blink for the dirty looks of men that avoided family, work and name in the depth of some cheap whiskey. Uncaring for the compliments and the insults, going straight up to a direction only knew by the hat. The silver in his hand shines with a cold warning. It's coming. It's coming.

When did the Riding Hood changed into a Mad Hatter?

Follow the white cat boy. You don't have anything left to do anyway, you know it's not safe to sleep in the streets at night, day is way better for that. And you want to play. It's what children do after all, and even if you almost look like, you're not an adult yet. So come and play children. Follow the white cat. He's late you know? He is awaited by a Red Highness. Listen. Hear him sing for you child.

"I invite you to a world where there is no such thing as time."

The Red hatter was almost there now. Almost. And the thin pinched corner of his lips were slowly arching. In his hand, the silver pocket watch was ticking. Backwards.

The cat was in the middle of the strange clock sculpture. He was hitting the air with his leg, like he wanted to move the clockwise. And it moved. It started to turn really fat, and the boy could only see the small pearly dot made by the cat. He couldn't move, he was too fascinated. He barely felt the hand on his shoulder because the pressure it put on him was so soft and warm. He didn't real hear the voice either. If you asked him now, if you could ask him, he would say it was friendly and cold as a glass, low and high-pitched, masculine and feminine, but mainly, it was laughing. He wouldn't be able to tell you why he answered with such a bizarre sentence, but he did. He said: "If I had a world of my own everything will be nonsense. Nothing will be what it is because everything will be what it isn't."

And he jumped. He felt down the hole between the twisted numbers. He followed the white cat. Helped by the dusky claws on his shoulder.

And on the edge, the Hatted finally laughed out loud. His fine blood-like lips finally traced a curve, pointing to the moon. And he stood there, looking at the sculpture to regain its normal appearance, the one of a twisted clock, made by a twisted man. His, actually. He giggled and cackled, thinking of his new guest. Another lost boy, abandoned by a too big and unfeeling city. Another one who wanted to love a sneaky little cat. Another one who wanted to play.

The hatter would play too. After all, he invited him in his world. A world of nonsense. Of Madness. A mad as a hatter can invent it. But weird, scary and mad, over there, didn't mean at all the same things. Because words are invented by adults, and adults don't like to play anymore.

The wind blew the hat backwards, letting too cold eyes, star looking eyes shine. And then he was gone. And the towns place remain desert, almost motionless, except for the few tree leafs flirting with the moan of the wind. And if someone had been there, they could have heard the sound of laughs. The crystal sound of a children's laugh, and the hysterical giggle of a hatter.

But no one heard. Because at night, normal people are afraid of what comes out of the shadows.

If only they knew what they're missing…

Thank you for reading!