“I told you she was the right girl.” The Rabbit, who was now barely an inch taller than me, insisted to a mouse that was about half my height. “I am not convinced.” The mouse chimed in response, arms crossing over her chest. “Well, if she was she might be.” One of two identical men said from behind the rabbit. “But if she isn’t she ain’t.” The other piped up. Great, more twins. All four creatures stared at me, which was when I realized my mouth was hanging open and I had yet to say a word. I quickly shut my mouth, straightening myself out before piping up, “Exactly who are you and where am I?” The twins looked at each other in surprise before turning back to me. “I’m Tweedle Dum and he’s Tweedle Dee.” One piped up, “In other words I’m Tweedle Dee and he’s Tweedle Dum.” The other said, earning a small groan from me. “You, my dear, are in Wonderland.” I felt my mouth hand open this time, “Wonderland? You mean… This place is real?” “You’ve heard of Wonderland?!” The mouse piped up, her eyes widening as she ran towards me. “Of course I have, I read Alice’s story when I was younger. I just never thought it would be real. It looks so different from the pictures…” I said softly, looking around in awe. “You know about Alice?!” The rabbit piped up in surprise. “Yes, I just said that. Alice saved Wonderland from the Red Queen’s rule by slaying the Jabberwocky and brought the crown back to the White Queen before returning home to take over her fathers business.” I shrugged, “Typical children’s story. What’s so special about Alice and why am I here?” The rabbit shook his head, looking to the mouse. “Of course they change the story up there. They never want to have an unhappy ending.” “Wait, unhappy ending? What really happened with Alice?” The mouse waltzed over, looking up at me, “You better come with us, we have a lot to explain.” I nodded slightly, starting to follow the mouse away from the strange door when the twins each grabbed one of my arms. “I’m gonna escort her!” One, Tweedle Dee I think, insisted, tugging on my left arm. “No, I’m gonna escort her!” The other retorted, tugging on my right arm. “You can both escort her!” The rabbit called from behind us, following along.
Finally reaching a small patch of mushrooms, I took a seat on a shorter one as the mouse climbed up onto a slightly taller one. “Alright, so this story then?” I inquired, looking between the mouse and the rabbit as the rabbit joined us. “Alice was called to save Wonderland from the Red Queen, and she did save us from her…” The mouse began, trailing off to look at the rabbit. “Mallymkun, you really are no help.” The rabbit insisted, rolling his eyes before looking back at me. “Alice stole the White Queen’s crown that day, and she puts every one in Wonderland that she can get her hands on into slavery. Anyone who rebels is killed.” The rabbit explained worriedly. I rose an eyebrow, looking between the four creatures. “And what does that have to with me?” “You have to save us from Alice!” A Tweedle piped up, grinning. “We need you to save us!” The other chimed in. “Whoa, whoa, wait. You think I’m the person you need to save you from Alice?” I confirmed, looking back to the Rabbit who nodded slowly. “You’re our only hope, Shae. We need your help.”
After what felt like years of silence, my head finally fell into a small nod. “Fine, I’ll help you. But I don’t know where to start.” I said, watching the Rabbit and the mouse for any sign of a clue. “We know someone who does. Come on, we have to go see Absolem.” I stood up, immediately pulling my hands away from the Tweedles. “I will escort myself this time.” I insisted, following the rabbit and Mallymkun through the blades of grass and towards where Absolem rested.
The Wonderland I knew from the stories never looked anything like what it does now. All the plants were dancing and singing, the skies were always a shimmering blue and carried on for miles overhead and there were creatures and people every way you turned. Wonderland was full of life. Now, everything is dead. I don’t see a single dancing flower or any sign of life. I don’t even see the sun anymore, only dull, grey clouds. There isn’t anything to suggest the two are even on the same planet.
“Shae!” The Rabbit called, gaining a small jump from me as my train of thought was broken. “You won’t do us much good with your head in the clouds. Hmm. Come on, keep up.” My head fell into a small nod, trailing along after the Rabbit for what felt like hours. As we approached a clearing, I saw smoke trailing up into the air in small puffs. The Rabbit and Mallymkun stepped aside, allowing me the first entry into where Absolem sat on a mushroom. The butterfly was a radiant blue, standing out against the dull brown of his surroundings. “Who are you?” The butterfly asked immediately upon seeing me, blowing yet another puff of smoke from his pipe into the air. “Absolem?” I questioned, my eye brow rising slightly in question. “You’re not Absolem, I am Absolem. The question is, who are you?” He repeated, this time blowing the smoke directly into my face. I immediately began to cough, swatting away the grey cloud with a scowl at the creature. “Oh, would you quit that?!” I insisted with a huff, “I am Shae Warren.” “Hardly.” He said simply in response. “What do you mean by that? I ought to know who I am.” I said in response, shaking away the strangely familiar feeling of those words. “Yes, you ought to, silly girl. Unroll the oraculum.” He said, gesturing with one of several blush tinted hands towards the set of perfectly aligned mushrooms behind me on top of which Mallymkun and the Rabbit were unrolling a rather large scroll. “I remember this…” I muttered, more to myself than anyone else. “This is the calendar that tells of each and every day since the beginning. Alice saw it and it told of her defeating the jabberwocky.” I glanced down at the scroll, seeing the same picture Alice once had of herself looking down at the scroll. “This is so strange…” “Strange indeed.” Absolem commented from behind me, earning my attention as I turned back just in time to see him blowing another puff of grey smoke up into the air. “How is it you know of our Alice and her adventures here?” The butterfly asked, watching me carefully. “There are stories on it where I’m from. Although the ending is much different to the one I was told upon arriving.” “Yes, humans have a way of changing stories so the outcome is more to their liking.” He muttered with a slight shake of his head and another puff from his pipe. “I must say, you are proving to be a rather impressive girl.” I let a slight smirk form on my lips, “Tell me something I don’t know.” This time, it was Absolem’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “I suggest you take her to the White Queen. She will return you to your normal size and provide you with some assistance. I will be watching you, Shae Warren.” Absolem said, taking a rather large puff from his pipe and letting the smoke consume him. When the air finally cleared moments later, the radiant blue butterfly had vanished.
“Come on. It will be dark soon and if we can’t make it to the Hatter in time we’ll all be dead.” Rabbit ushered, leading the way through the dense, woods. “Hatter? I thought Absolem said the White Queen will help me?” I questioned, pushing through the all but dead shrubs to try and keep up. “The Hatter will get you to Marmoreal.” Mallymkun butted in, now walking by my side opposed to her previous place just behind me. “The White Queen hasn’t had visitors since Alice took over. Alice won’t let anyone who was in Marmoreal when she took over ever leave. Without that crown, the Queen is stuck there.” “She’s just stuck there? But I thought Alice didn’t have magic since she was from my world?” I questioned, looking back down at the mouse by my side. “Yes, well.” The Rabbit began, “You’ll find that here the impossible is possible. Alice gained many things besides power when she took that crown.” “What did happen to Alice? In the stories she couldn’t could a fly but she seems to have done a lot more damage than the Red Queen ever did.” I asked, earning several moments of silence in response. “Alice surprised us all. No one expected her to end it the way she did.” The Rabbit said simply in response. Taking that as all I’d get for now, my head into a small nod.
“Ah, here we are.” The Rabbit announced, leading the rest of us to a stretched out table covered in a ripped and tattered table cloth, completed with cracked and broken tea cups, tea pots and plates. At the far head of the table sat a rather tall man with vibrant orange hair, a tattered purple top hat, and a matching tattered suit over his pale skin. He was simply sipping tea from a broken tea cup as if it were a perfectly normal occurrence to hold a tea party in the middle of a forest with broken cups. A few seats down from him sat another rabbit, this one a rusty brown colour with matted fur and his clothes much more tattered than the White Rabbit’s. This rabbit was twitching ever few moments, ears perking up as we neared. In one swift moment he turned and threw his tea cup in our direction, it only just flying past our heads as we all ducked. “YOU’RE ALL LATE FOR TEA!” He exclaimed before bursting out in a hysterical fit of laughter which sent him tumbling from his chair. The man calmly put his tea cup down, pushing himself to his feet before stepping onto the table and crossing over top of the already smashed dishes. Jumping off the end nearest us, he knelt down in front of me with an unnaturally large grin. “It’s you.”