A/N : Hi everybody ! (That shouldn't be many people)
So, here is the starting point of this new story of mine. Meet A Carpenter, or should I say our 7th Alice ?
A is a trans woman of colour. I belong to none of these two minorities, so if I get anything wrong about being a WOC or a transgender girl, please call me out on it. Unintentional racism or transphobia still is racism or transphobia and I don't want it in my story.
You also need to know I am a slow, lazy writer. I am a student and I also happen to have a busy life from time to time, so don't expect regular updates.
What else ? I took many liberties with Dodgson's story. Also, the real Alice Liddell had no daughters.
A is 17 and Max is 21 when the story really starts. The first scene between A and her father happened when she was 10 and the second one when she was 11.
Expect family bonds and romance but also adventure and friendship.
Enjoy the trip to Wonderland.
Also, if I had to tag this chapter :
#magic #alice in wonderland #racism #racist ancestors #trans alice #trans woc main character #gay poc character #supportive family #supportive father #bamf celibate father #choosing a name #bad breakup #brother-sister relationship #meet the rabbit #falling through the rabbit hole
I - What's in a name?
Magic ran in A' s family. The first one to show special abilities among them was Alice Pleasance Liddell. Charles Dodgson's a.k.a Lewis Carroll's Alice. Wonderland's Alice. The one who started everything.
After her came her eldest daughter, named after her sister Edith. Alice had loved her older sister dearly. Edith, Alice's daughter, was a charming woman and a good artist. Her sketches were still exhibited in a small museum somewhere. They represented strange characters wearing masks in colorful environments. A had seen some of them. Her favorite was of a crowned woman with a crimson red dress, and a crooked castle behind her. Her mask was white with two blood red hearts on the sides.
Then there was Lucy, Alice's only granddaughter. Lucy was known in the family as a fragile woman. It was said her spirit snapped when she was still a child. However, she married, and quite well. General James Humpfrey found in her "a light there was not in others" according to his diary. When it would become obvious she wouldn't give him a male heir, she was committed despite the undying love her husband proclaimed for her. She died a few months after her arrival at St George's Asylum. A and her brother always argued on this. Max thought she killed herself, A was certain she died because of mistreatments.
Her only child, Maggie, succeeded to Lucy. Maggie was a lively woman, mother of five and an efficient business concellour for her husband. She started wearing pants before it was fashionable for women, and had been described more than once as "a hell of a woman". She also was very proud to be Alice Hargreaves nee Liddell's great-granddaughter.
Katie was her only daughter. The girl had a soft heart but a stubborn head. She married Mike Jacobs against her parents' will. They had never forgiven her for having mixed race's descendants "tarnishing the bloodline" or something. Let's just say Katie had severed all contact with her parents after Mercy's birth.
Mercy Carpenter nee Jones was A's mother. She didn't have any siblings.
The family magic, Alice's curse as Katie Jacobs had called it, was passed from mother to eldest daughter.
Mercy had been the last Wonderland girl. Or so she had thought, on her deathbed. When she had given birth in 2001, they wrote down the sex of the baby as male. They were wrong. This kind of things happened more often than we think. A was not a boy. She was part of the Wonderland's legacy.
Mercy didn't had a chance to know that. She died a few days after the baby was born. But it was okay. Max and A had Dad. Dad, also known as Jason Carpenter, was a very good man and had answers for everything.
Once, when A and Max were younger, A went in the kitchen to talk to her father.
"Dad, do you think I am a boy ?" she had asked him earnestly.
Jason Carpenter had taken a sip of his tea and put his cup down. He had saved the last couple of sentences he had written and closed his laptop. He tended to do that for serious conversations. A had gulped. Mr Carpenter had brushed her hair away from her eyes to comfort her.
"Do kids tease you at school ? Being a boy has nothing to do with how long you keep your hair, kiddo. Do you want me to talk to them ?" he had asked gently.
He would talk to their caregivers, too. The kid had shaken her head negatively.
"It's not like that, Dad. It's me. I don't think I am a boy. I don't know why or how. But I know I am more of a girl." A had said, and there was fear in her quivering voice.
Mr Carpenter had hugged his child.
"It's alright, love. Ever heard of Marsha Johnson ?"
It was not that Jason Carpenter had known or was not surprised. Of course he was afraid. Not of his daughter, no. For her. His children were perfect. The rest of the world, far less so. Taking care of children was worrying. Knowing what they might face in the future was terrifying. But he didn't say anything to upset the kid. He was just great like that.
A bit later, an other conversation occurred.
"I don't want to be called A_ anymore."
Mr Carpenter's heart ached a bit. The name had been chosen by his beloved Mercy. However, he would rather cause distress to a dead wife than to a very alive daughter.
He smiled at the bundle of energy looking at him with wide eyes. He knew the kid was eager to know his thoughts on that decision of hers.
"What's your new name ?" he asked.
He was curious at what she had come up with. He wasn't sure he could keep a straight face if she suggested Hermione. He had no doubts it was on her list.
"I thought you could help me choose."
There was surprise on the father's eyes. He should have known, both his children rely heavily on him, but he would have thought the business of electing a new first name would have been A's personal quest.
Accordingly, he was careful in his answer.
"I feel honored. Would you rather not choose all by yourself ?"
He just wanted to be sure she didn't ask him help out of duty. Not that many A's actions had been made out of duty, once you thought of it.
"No. But if you only say ugly names, I'll say no." she had added.
"Hum... Are you a Rebecca, then ? A Jade ? A Brooke ? An Eliza ?" he tried.
She shook her head each time. Jason Carpenter was a writer. He was used to look for names for characters, but it looked like he had a tough audience.
"I want to keep my initials." the kid explained.
"Fine. Anna ? Amanda ? Adrienne ? Audrey ?"
"I don't know yet. I need to think. Can I go by A for the moment ?"
"As you want, girl."
So, she had gone by A for the last six years. It suited her. And then, she had found out about her mother's heritage.
A had woken up in the middle of the night. Her heart was beating like mad. She sat in her bed for a moment, her hand pressed on her chest until her heartbeats slowed down. Since she was no longer asleep, she elected to go at the window and pushed the heavy curtains away. She loved to look at the stars.
However, something else in the garden caught her attention when she reached the window. She blinked once and it felt uneasy. She had seen something white shining in the dark. Something that shouldn't have been there.
She hesitated. There ! She had seen it again ! She opened her bedroom's door. All was quiet in the house. A look at her phone indicated it was nearly three in the morning. Maybe her father had stayed up late to work on his next novel but she didn't think so. His deadline was not too close. Else, he would have sent the children to his brother so he could work without interruptions.
A and Max loved Uncle Mikey. He told amazing stories about his and their father's boyhood, knew how to weave wicker basket and played bowling with them. He helped Max with is guitar chords and tried to style A's hair unsuccessfully all the time, for the endless amusement of the kids.
A smiled at the sweet memories. A new glimpse of white caught her eye. Damn it. She wanted to know what it was. She put a sweatshirt over her pajamas and went down the stairs as silently as she could, using her phone's torch function. The steps creaked under her bare feet.
She went through the living-room and was going to open the door leading to the garden when she saw light filtering under the kitchen's door. Maybe someone forgot to turn it off ? She wanted to check. No need to waste energy. Electricity bills weren't cheap.
She opened the door quietly. She was surprised to find Max. He was supposed to celebrate his birthday in town with his boyfriend and staying at the aforementioned boyfriend's flat for the night.
A closed the door. Max still hadn't acknowledged her presence.
"Hey, Maxwell." she said, her hand on his shoulder.
"Stop the full name bullshit right there. What it is that you all fell like calling me that when the conversation is going to be unpleasant ? Max is just fine." he snapped.
She could see he had cried.
"What happened with Will ? Did he forget ?" she asked.
A didn't want to pry but she couldn't ignore the pain in her brother's eyes.
He laughed. It was a strangled sound, the cry of a wounded animal.
"I wish." he said, looking at the ceiling, blinking away the tears.
He had her worried. She put her hand over his own. He hadn't noticed his was trembling.
Her skin was darker than his. More like their mum's. Not that he remembered her much, but there were photos. Tons of them. Their Dad had loved their absent mother very much.
Maxwell knew for a fact that Jason Carpenter often put a bit of her wife in his characters. Most of the time, it was subtle. The scientist had a love for photo frames, the older sister always had golden nail polish in her handbag, the main character sorted their books by color. Sometimes it was not. One of his heroines wore her maiden name, another was a postwoman, as A and Max's mother had been.
"Max..." insisted the young man's sister.
"We broke up. Hell, I was the one doing the breaking up." he said gloomily.
Well, he had to do something. And forgiveness had not seemed to be a good enough option.
It was quite a surprise for A. Max had looked forward to this evening. He had been excited about it. He was an idiot.
"We had a fun night and we were eating dessert and he said he'd like to confess something. He's been cheating on me for the most part of the year and that he was sorry, so can we start anew ? The nerve !" he explained, agitated.
"What a dick."
A and Max had always been supportive of each other.
"Right ? I am erasing all his texts and I am going to bed." Max said, yawning.
"Wait. I saw something strange in the garden. Care to come with me and see what it was ?" A asked.
The oldest of the siblings shrugged. They went outside silently. A half-moon threw its soft light on the small garden.
They walked side by side until they reached the young oak. A was certain what she had seen had been there. There was nothing around the tree, only dry mud and a few patches of green. Max looked at his sister mockingly. A's untamable imagination was one of her most proheminent qualities.
"I could have sworn there was something there." she asserted, lightly touching the earth.
Light fused and formed a full circle. A moved back with a cry. A hole digged itself in the large circle. The wind made a mess of A's air. Suddenly, a woman with very fair skin looking agitated and wearing a red t-shirt with a fluorescent white rabbit appeared.
"I am late ! I am late !" she squeaked, bouncing.
And she disappeared through the hole.
"What now ?"
If they missed the memo on A's ability to create portals to unknown worlds, both kids were aware of their lineage and the fact that many women in their family were seen as witches.
Both of them were scared but also very excited. They didn't take the time to think this through. The thirst for adventure ran in their blood.
"Well, sister. Ready to go down the rabbit hole ?" Max offered with a smile.
"When we'll come back, I could tell Dad that I found my name."
"Really ? I thought you would die known as A Carpenter."
A took her brother's hand in hers, a knowing smile on her lips.
"I have a feeling Alice would fit as well." she said as they let themselves fall.
Max's laughter reveberated through their whole fall.