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Modern Fairy Tales: Poppy #1
Once upon a time in Wonderland, there was a little hatter named Poppy. Her father, The Mad Hatter had found her beneath two poppies fussing over her, and proclaimed that this girl, this human-like creature, would be his offspring. This creature grew up to be a snow skinned, dark haired hatter, with deep violet eyes. Her father was delighted when she took up his madness.
“Oh, my mad little tyke, you have your father’s muchness!” He screamed, as he did a mad jig around the table, she watched a small little door at the corner of wonderland.
From the time she was taken in, her father had told her story by story about Alice, his human friend. “Once Alice even saved the whole of Wonderland, with a swipe of that sword the Queen gave her, she killed that jabberwocky.” He would finish with a long, wistful gaze in his eyes and, “I wonder where she is now. She’s probably forgotten about us!” To which the Mad Hare replied, while throwing his cup of Earl Grey tea: “You’re MAD!” Poppy would reply: “Tell me another story about Alice.” And the Mad Hatter would tell another adventure.
One day, however, Poppy became overcome with curiousity when she looked at the small door with the bare steps. By then, she was already 13 and smart enough to know her father’s warnings (“There are baby jabberwockies inside!”) were to mad to be true. She, was more sensible in many ways, but her imagination was not limited. That day, she asked the Mad Hatter:
“Father, what’s behind that little door? And please, give me a good, sensible answer.” Her father spit out his tea and shuddered. He disliked the use of the word, “sensible”. He answered her in a quiet voice, so unlike the spirit he usually had:
“You don’t want to know Poppy.”
“I do. I’m not a child, I should at least know Wonderland!” Poppy glared at her father until he sighed and said:
“It’s the door to the human world. How Alice got here, but not how she got out. It’s the door to forgetfulness.” The Mad Hatter’s voice shook as he said: “Don’t do that Poppy. Don’t leave.” His eyes welled with tears, completely ignoring the cries of the Mad Hare.
“Father, I won’t leave you. Don’t worry about that. I’ll always come back. Promise.” Poppy gently held her father’s hand.
“Take this with you. The Queen made it.” Poppy raised her eyebrows at the small glass bottle filled with thick green liquid. The Mad Hatter averted his eyes in sorrow. “So you won’t forget Wonderland.”
The next day, Poppy (armed with some food, clothes, the glass bottle and her father’s blessing) crawled through the door while her father and the Queen watched on.
“If you see Alice, Poppy dear, don’t forget to say hello.” The Queen beamed at the raven-haired girl.
“Okay, I will.” Poppy looked at the Mad Hatter, then the Queen. “Well, I’ll see you soon.” She awkwardly hugged both and took out the old-fashioned key. Poppy thought about how she had always wondered how she ended up in Wonderland, and how this “other world” may be her homeland. She heaved a sigh, and turned the key.