The Hatter

Alice meets Lewis Carroll.


4. A Voice Without A Mouth (A Smile Without A Cat)

~~We continued silently on our way. The colors of Wonderland still struck me as the most beautiful that I’d ever seen. They were bright, filled with life, everything that they were not in England. I was so absorbed in the wonder that surrounded me I failed to notice a fog sweep in. It was quite a shock when the fog then began to speak. “Have you to adopted the habit of calling her ‘the Queen of Diamonds’?” The voice was smooth, alarming, but not unpleasant.
 “She is a Queen, even if she were still here she forfeit her name at her crowning.”
 “She has been Queen for nearly five years, yet only now do you choose to treat her with the proper respect, what has changed?” The fog laughed merrily.
 “One ought to respect the dead.” The words that ought to have been solemn came out sounding much like a joke.
 “You come bearing proof of her demise?”
 “We both know that is an impossibility.”
 “Then she might still occupy her ‘host’?”
 “She has been suppressed.”
 “Obviously not, or her loyalty and love would not remain.”
 Alice seemed to become irritable, as though the peppering of questions had hit far too close to the mark. ”Enough, I have no answer to your accusations. State your purpose here, cat, or I shall leave your task undone.” Her anger rose and with it rose the temperature.
 “You seem already to know my purpose, Lady.”
 “Speak. Plainly.” The temperature continued to rise and the air seemed to shimmer in front of her. The shape of a sword began to appear and slowly solidified. Sword in hand she turned to the fog which was taking the shape of a cat. Or, rather I assumed it was a cat, for it still had no head, a smile simply hovered where it ought to have been.\
 “You cannot decapitate one that has no head. But, for you who can summon the vorpal blade, I shall state my purpose. You have been summoned to the Queens Council. Surely you will be punished this time.” His laugh was stifled into naught but a snicker.
 Alice looked around quickly, her face displaying an emotion I could not identify. “Where do your loyalties lie?”
 “I serve the Queen of Hearts.”
 “You have not answered my question.”\
 “I serve the Queen of Hearts, but my loyalties forever lie with the Queen of Diamonds.”
 Alice seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. Her tone was softer, though still filled with urgency when she spoke next. “Take him to the rabbit hole, I shall meet you both there. In the mean time I shall make my way to the Queen’s Council to deal with matters there. Keep him covered in your fog and do not leave him alone, no matter the circumstances.”
 A head suddenly appeared behind the smirk, “As you wish, Alice.” For some reason that I could not understand there seemed to be a reverence to his voice as he spoke her name, a reverence that hadn’t been there when he had addressed her before.
 “Thank you, Cheshire.” She walked away and soon disappeared into a shimmer of light. The intense heat dissipated when she disappeared.
 “Come, human.” The cat barked at me before turning tale to walk away in mid-air.
 “Wait!” Curiosity had gotten the better of me. “Can we not follow her? Her actions make me curiouser and curiouser.”
 “Have you never heard that curiosity killed a cat?”


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