Down the Rabbit Hole

January 14, 2009
By Graham Austin, Bethesda, MD

The lights throbbed around me, and a killer techno beat was blasting in accompaniment.
People were all around me. Some were dressed in outrageous pink boas and leather, and there were
even these sketchy guys hanging out in the corner wearing suits. I was in the middle of a mosh pit I
didn't want to be in, and was crushed by glow-stick-wearing euros and hoola-hoop-swinging hippies.
I was in the hellhole for a good thirty minutes before I could make my way to the back. I was
already drenched in sweat. It sucked. I might have stayed there another hour tops, if the music was
any good, but instead I leaned against the wall like all the other strung-out wallflowers. I stared
into the flashing lights for an immeasurable amount of time before someone I think I knew bumped
into me. "Yo dude! This water tastes like roofies!" He yelled in my ear. "What?" I shouted
back, unable to hear over the loud techno, and grabbed the water bottle and took a swig from it. I
felt hydrated so I bounced back onto the dance floor. I busted a thousand moves a minute. The crowd
around me swelled, the lights pulsing and bending. The neon glow sticks mixed with the reflections
in the dancer's eyes, creating monstrous techno zombies. It felt like I was moving too fast and I
couldn't control my movements. I sputtered around the floor bouncing into the bodies each pair of
glowing eyes belonged to. I started to spin, or at least I thought I was spinning. I might have
eaten some bad Mexican food for dinner, so I decided to move towards what I hoped was a bathroom, or
at the very least an exit. I reached the door and pressed against it, stumbling into the cool night
air. I was sweating profusely, so I rolled up my sleeves and sat down. My hands were trembling. I
held them out in front of my eyes, and they seemed to be swollen. I moved my face back and my hands
seemed to have gotten bigger. I yelled in surprise. I began to run, hoping I could somehow leave
behind my gargantuan appendages. I was about to escape the fleshy mandibles, but I tripped over some
object in the dark alley and fell to the ground groaning. I was lying on the ground, watching the
moon way up in the sky above me. I felt as light as the clouds above me and reached up to grab at my
fluffy brethren. I think I overreached, because next thing I knew I was puking in the gutter.
Stumbling to my hideously overlarge feet, I shuffled around like a drunk baby looking for a
trashcan. I saw one, and pitched forward into it, emptying the rest of my guts out in the process.
The can rolled over, with me halfway inside it. Right next to my face I could smell the sickly
remains of Popeye's honey mustard sauce and dog crap. I tried to get up. My hands slipped on the
slick sides of the bin and I fell down again. This was getting pointless, and I was increasingly
unable to control my movements. I probably laid there for a good fifteen minutes before whatever I
had been slipped and the smell of the garbage shoved me bodily into an uncomfortable sleep. The sun
woke me up. It pierced through my dreams and burned the sleep out of my eyes. I opened them. Above
me the sun shone with a brighter, cleaner light. It freaked me out a bit. Normally I would have a
splitting headache after a night like that, but my head was clear. I lay on my back staring at the
sky for a good while. It could have been a few moments or a few days. All I know is that time
abruptly came back when that sketchy dude's face blocked out the sun. He was about half my
height, seriously. I'm talking Snicker's fun-size here. His face was about three inches from
mine. I yelled and flailed my arm out at him, at the same time rolling away. The sketchy leprechaun
leapt back a little and stared at me with his hands behind his back and his chin jutted forward. He
spoke. "The faeries!" While I was wondering if he really said what I thought he did, he spoke
again, his eyes wide. "The faeries! You have to catch the faeries!" I was still lying on my
back, and he was in the same awkward pose as before. We stared at each other. I opened my mouth to
say something but the little bugger was quicker and immediately uttered a scream and started
sprinting away into what looked like a field, waving his arms like a banshee. I stared after him
before getting to my feet. I think he crawled into a trashcan. What a strange little man. I peered
around at my surroundings. I was in the middle of a field, and oddly enough I was dressed in a suit.
Instantly a collage of drug scare videos passed through my head. This did not bode well for me. My pockets were empty. That bastard
must have taken my wallet and cell phone. I sprinted across the field towards the sole trashcan
where the half-squat of a man must have been hiding. I reached the trashcan and dropkicked it as
hard as I can. Unfortunately, the combined weight of the receptacle and leprechaun was much lighter
than I had estimated, and I ended up falling over the trashcan, rolling in pain. My determination,
however, was stronger than my pain so I crawled into the trashcan after the leprechaun. To my
surprise he was nowhere to be found. Despite some debris in the bottom, the trashcan was empty. He
must have gotten out when I wasn't looking, I thought to myself. I grunted, scrambling out of the
dirty trash receptacle, but when I emerged I was no longer in the field. To my surprise, and utter
confusion I was now in what looked like a dining room. There was a long wooden table adorned with
various plates of food, and several tea kettles. All of this was illuminated by flickering
candlelight. Cautiously, I made my way towards the table, and the shadowy figure sitting at its
head. Upon reaching the array of food, I felt a massive craving of hunger. I looked down the table
at the shadowy figure, he appeared to be sleeping. As carefully and as silently as I could I reached
for what looked like a pair of chicken drumsticks, and I made sure to keep one eye on the figure.
There, I had the drumsticks in my hands. I was so hungry that I started drooling uncontrollably like
a giant baby. Unfortunately, before I could chow down the drool strands had to be dealt with.
Looking down at the ropey saliva, I wiped one after another off onto my sleeve. Before I could start
my feast though, I felt two heavy hands on my shoulders. Looking, up across the table again I could
see the chair was empty. "Why don't you sit down and eat with me awhile, son?" the man
suggested in a thick southern accent. A knot formed in my stomach and my knees felt weak. "Okay"
was all I managed to say before I was roughly placed in a chair by my unusual host. He strode back
to his spot at the opposite end of the table, and then he bit into a large chunk of meat. All I
could do was watch. Eventually he looked up at me, flayed meat chunks hanging from his mouth, and
said "well, ain't ya gonna eat nothin'?" Not wanting to offend his sensibilities, I bit into
one of the large drumsticks. Almost as soon as I started chewing, I spat the rancid meat out on to
the plate. "Oh my god, what is this?" I demanded still spitting chunks of gristle out on to my
plate and in my napkin. "Why, ya like it?" He asked. "No, it tastes awful. What is it?" He
stared at me for a while before answering. "It's a certain six legged mammal." Fighting the
urge to vomit, I looked around for something to wash out the taste of whatever freak animal I had
almost just consumed. My glass was empty, so I grabbed one of the several teapots that were one the
table and poured some of the liquid into my cup. Tilting the glass back, I tried drinking its
contents as fast as possible to get rid of the horrid taste. Halfway through the drink I spewed it
across the table because it tasted so foul, so horrible, it could only be one thing. "Was that?
" I spluttered. "Yup" He said, cutting me off. This time the urge to throw up was far too
strong to repress, so I leaned over the side of the table and emptied the contents of my stomach out
onto the rug. "Can I leave now?" I said, already trying to think of how to get out of this
strange place. "Nope" The man said. "I'm sorry, what?" I must have heard him wrong the
first time, because I thought he said 'nope'. "Nope?", I said, "ya deaf boy?" he replied,
getting up and walking into the kitchen. This guy was insane, obviously, and I needed a way out of
there fast. As I turned around in my chair I caught a glimpse of him sharpening a pair of rather
long and particularly lethal looking knives. This was not good at all. My options were rather few,
so I was forced to choose between making a run for it, incapacitating my host, or just hope that he
doesn't cut me up into little pieces of man-flavored sushi. I choose the second. I got out of the
chair and snuck into the kitchen, but my plan backfired when I bumped into a very inconveniently
placed hookah pipe, sending it clattering to the floor. The man spun around, glaring at me and
brandishing both blades like a berserker. I was frozen in my place, about to crap my pants as he
rushed at me screaming "Off with yer head!" He was about to decapitate me when I unfroze, and
immediately kicked him in the chest sending him sprawling to the ground. Now I had my chance to
escape, so I turned around and ran out the door powered by adrenaline and a vague sense of impending
doom. Out the door I went and across a lawn and into the street and I could hear something behind me
but I kept on running, running for my life and then it hit me. The car smashed into my back and I
woke up, staring up at the moon in the dirty alley. It looked vaguely like a cat, but that was
probably just a side effect. I knew I was home again. I blinked. "Holy s***" was all I managed
to say; my heart was still racing.

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