Of Smoke and Mirrors

This is a short story that is about 18 pages. It's centered around the dream the main character Abby, a teenage girl, has been having lately. The dream is loosely based off of The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

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10. The Mad Baroness

   

Chapter 10: The Mad Baroness

 

Adam and I just stood there for a second. It wasn’t long before the woman chided impatiently, “Come on now, and don’t dally.”

 

Adam climbed up the ladder first and I went up right behind him. Almost as soon as we clambered on the boat, it rose up and set off once more. Once on the boat, I looked around and was shocked to see these mice as large as a person. They must be the crew, I assumed. They were wearing white coats that kind of remind me of the scrubs orderlies wear in hospitals and stuff.

 

The woman, who I guessed is the captain of the ship or the leader or something, walked up to us, her high heeled boots clanking as she walked on the wooden floor. She was dressed in a magnificent yet messy-looking gown that had rips and holes all over. On top of her head, she wore a grand hat, decorated with long thick plumes of colorful feathers, with actual live doves perched on top of it. She looked very embellished yet there was something about her that was familiar….

 

I took a closer look at her face and I could tell Adam had done the same because we both gasped. “M-mom…” we both breathlessly mumbled at the same time. There was no mistaking it, she looked exactly like our mom.

 

She made a face. “Mom? I am nobody’s mother, I am the Baroness,” she declared flamboyantly.

 

The Baroness? We found her! “Then…” I started, “You’re the Mad Baroness?”

 

“We’ve been looking for you,” Adam blurted out.

 

The Baroness looked offended. “Mad? I’m not crazy!” She crossed her arms in a huff. “I’m not crazy since everyone is crazy here,” she stated indignantly. “They’re the crazy ones, not me!”

 

Adam cleared his throat, “Sorry, mam. We didn’t mean to be rude.”

 

At his apology, the Baroness’s face softened. “It’s quite alright sweetheart.” She stood up a little straighter and formally presented herself to us. “I am the Baroness and these are my attendants. We are riding on my airship. ” The mice were busily bustling around, attending to various parts of the ship such as the boiler or the flags.

 

The Baroness shook her head and chuckled gently. She gestured around her with her long clunky ring-covered fingers, “Look at the silly little attendants, scurrying around like mice!” She laughed at her little joke.

 

Adam and I looked at each other and we could immediately tell what the other was thinking. She looks exactly like our mom and even talked like her. But she said she wasn’t our mom so we had no choice but to believe her.

 

“Anyways,” I interrupted. “We really need to get out of this place, wherever the hell we are. We were told that you could help us.”

 

She nodded. “Certainly, my airship is capable of ferrying outsiders back out of our land.” She walked over to the mice steering the wheel. “Change course for the exit! We must guide our guests out of this land of ours.”

 

The mice steering the wheel squeaked and nodded in response. He rolled the wheel a couple of times and the ship changed course. We were finally on our way out.

 

“Hey,” Adam started. “What’s all that back there?”

 

I looked to what he was talking about. There were these large boxes and crates covered in colorful fabrics. All of the boxes were pilled at the very back of the ship, right behind the cabin.

 

“Ah,” the Baroness nodded knowingly. “My duty is to ferry goods and supplies across the land.” She chuckled, “That it pays well is merely coincidence.” She winked laughingly. “Not a thing that goes in or out of this land that I have not personally inspected.” She cocked her head slightly and stroked her chin. “Which is why the very fact that you two are obviously outsiders and yet somehow managed to find your way into the heart of our land without my notice is very curious…”

 

I wasn’t sure what to say. “Sorry,” I shrugged.

 

The Baroness made a noncommittal “Hmm” noise. “No matter. On to more important matters,” she cleared her throat. “The two of you want to go home, yes?”

 

Adam and I nodded. Adam asked, “Can you bring us at least to the exit of this place?”

 

She cooed, “Why of cooourse!” She tossed her head back and laughed heartily. The birds perched on top of her hat fluttered their wings as they adjusted to the sudden head toss. “My airship is the fastest in the land! I am the one best qualified to ferry you home.” She puffed up her chest with pride and placed her hands on her hips.

 

I swallowed thickly. Especially when she laughs, she looks exactly like my mom. I couldn’t shake the feeling. However, I didn’t want to make the situation awkward so I just ignored the nostalgic emotion bubbling up inside.

I looked at the bow of the ship and saw something magnificent. The ship was sailing right through a huge mirror, much like the one I first saw when I entered this place, only this one was bigger. The giant mirror stood right in the middle of two large trees and the boat passed right through it. Once the ship passed through the mirror, I could see we were no longer in the forest. Instead, we were in a barren land with no significant feature whatsoever. The only thing of notice I could see were the thick smoke on the ground below us. 

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