My Dearest Hatter

What happens when you lie? You might feel guity for a bit, but you get over it. But sometime it can an impact you can't imagine. One man lied and it Ruined Wonderland.

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2. TWO, A Curious Way To Fall Asleep

 

Outside the leaves were starting to fall off the trees and covering the floor in a light blanket of colour. People shuffled by collars up and hats down as shields against an invisible enemy, Alice joined the battle and headed down the street to where The Lilly Café sat between between the new Antiques Shop and the Post Office. On entering Lilly's Alice was struck by the warmth and the smell of fresh ground coffee, the one fond thought she held of the outside world.

“Hey, Alice!” Sarah called from the corner, their usual table by the window that looked over the park which now was just visible through the misty glass. Alice smiled and crossed over to her companion. “I've ordered you a coffee and a blueberry muffin” Sarah said after they hugged and sat down.

“Thanks hun, so how are you?” She set her bag down and made a mental note to keep an eye on her phone this time.

Her friend started at her, then said “I'm OK, have you been crying? Oh Christ, which book was it this time?”

“Lord of the Rings, Frodo left again”

“Yeah that tends to happen, you know story's that have been written down not changing” Sarah smiled, she had a good smile, the kind of smile that made you feel all warm inside and willing to talk about anything.

“Right so why have I been dragged out here?”

“Well. One, it's not healthy you staying up there all the time, you could start growing mushrooms out your nose or something. Two it's autumn and everything looks pretty. And three, and I can not stress this one enough, IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY! You should not spend it reading books alone .”

“Oh yeah, it is isn't it. Ha, I'd forgotten that.” Birthdays and Christmas and all that hadn't really held any relevance in Alice's life, not that she was a Scrooge or anything, she just didn't think much of them. She definitely didn't understand birthdays Yey, you managed to stay alive, you are now one year closer to your death. Well done! There is no reasoning behind it.

Sarah rolled her eyes, “You're useless. Here” she passed a blue wrapped parcel over the table, now Alice may not understand birthdays, but she definitely understood presents. The card had a picture of a cartoon girl blowing out candles on a big pink cake. That's the perfect image of a birthday Alice supposed, the image that she had dreamed about as a little girl, but each year she got a present left at the end of her bed and a cupcake. Maybe with a candle in if her parents had had the time to buy one. Sarah's card read:

 

Dearest Alice

 

If your reading this it means that I’ve managed to get you out of your flat, THANK GOD!

Happy 23rd Birthday, please at least pretend your enjoying it.

 

Lots of love

Sarah

xxxxxxxx

 

Alice stood the card up on the table and before she could open the gift the waiter arrived with their order. The coffee was liquid heaven, it always was here, and much to her pleasure she saw that Sarah had put a small blue candle in her blueberry muffin.

“We're not allowed to actually light it, but you've a pretty good imagination so I suppose we don't really need to. Make a wish.” Alice couldn't help but smile at her friend, they truly were like pees in a pod, birds of the same feather and all that rubbish. Closing her eyes she thought of something to wish for, it couldn't be too big like finding the man of your dreams and living happily ever after, but equally it couldn't be too small like wishing that Sarah was going to pay for the coffee. Ofcourse there was only ever one wish Alice made, her annual birthday wish. Who knows, maybe this year it'll come back fulfilled.

The blue wrapped parcel still sat on the table, Alice grabbed it, it was rectangular, not heavy, but equally not light, she flipped it over a few times in her hands as Sarah grew more inpatient for her to open it. Carefully she removed the wrapping paper and what was left on her lap was a book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, an original copy. From the look on Alice's face you'd have thought that what she had just recieved was a cure for some deadly disease she'd caught, it was as if a million tiny light inside her had just been turned onto full. She practically leaped over the table onto her friend who after the shock had subsided returned her hug.

“You like it then?” Sarah said after the oxygen had returned to her lungs.

“YES! Thank you so much, I've wanted one of these since forever!” she was still smiling like a school boy who had just been given the day off, sat back down and gazed down at the new addition to her library. She'd always loved Alice in Wonderland, mostly because its heroin was called Alice, but also she found such enjoyment in the nonsense of it all, it was a story so rediculous that it can only be enjoyed and loved.

“Excellent, you made a wish, you have your present, you like your present. Now you can ask me about that date you heard that I went on yesterday” Sarah said leaning back on her seat looking happy with herself.

“Ahhhhh, so I heard you went on a date yesterday, how did it go?”

“Oh where'd you here about that? Well it was with this guy from work and-”

Alice switched off as she always did during Sarah's longwinded conversations about her love life, not that Sarah ever noticed, she was sure to throw in the occasional “Oh yeah”, “Really?”, “How nice.” Her mind drifted off around the cafe she was in. It wasn't busy, there were two men sat at a table by the door drinking out of steaming cups, both dressed in suits probably on a break from work. The last member of staff she had seen was the waiter who brought their order who he must have gone into the back as there were no other staff out front, but then with only two groups of people here there wasn't really any need for them. The menu on the wall was the same as it always was, big red writing on a cream background served with lashings of reasonable prices. The walls were a faded yellow and on each table stood a small cup filled with packets of sugar, salt and pepper, although the food always had too much pepper in it anyway.

Suddenly it became apparent to Alice that her friend had stopped talking and looked on the brink of falling asleep, her hazle eyes were only half open and strands of her short brown hair had fallen over her face, it seemed as if she was still trying to talk, as if she wasn't aware that she was falling asleep. Alice tried to reach out to her, ask her if she was feeling OK, but her body wouldn't obey her mind as if the two had recently become detached, looking in the window she could see that her reflection looked just like Sarah, she was falling asleep withought any concious knowledge of even feeling tired. It wasn't panic she felt, she simply thought how curious.

In unison two girls sat in the cafe, celebrating a birthday and gossiping about dates driffted into unconciousness with no sense of it and the two men by the door looked at each other and stood up at last.

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