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Alice, minus the Wonderland

Alice lives in a very quaint neighborhood in the year nineteen-oh-six.
Not really, of course, but don’t tell Alice that.
She lives with her mother, the town’s finest baker and seamstress. She has an older sister, Mary, who is possibly the next great seamstress. Alice’s father died before she could remember, so she does not know him.

Alice Montgomery lives in a very nice hospital in the present year.
Really, actually, but don’t tell Alice that.
She lives in the intensive care unit, sleeping in a coma induced when her mother, driving Alice and her real sister Mary home from school one day, crashed the car. Her mother and her sister are all healed and living their own lives once more. Alice’s father died in the war when Alice was only six years old, so she does not know him.

Alice was very happily reading the new book she had received for winning the Spring Festival’s poetry contest. She was enjoying the very wonderful tale of how a princess was trapped in a magical castle, pinned in eternal sleep until her true love kissed her, when her sister stamped over to her. Alice had been peacefully stretched out on her bed when this happened.
“Alice, Alice, Alice, stop reading! We’ve got work to be done! You’re to help Mother and me by running the shop!” scolded Mary.
“But this is such a lovely story, Mary, if you read it too, you’d be enchanted, I know it. Please, just nine more minutes!” Alice pleaded.
“Alice,” warned Mary.
Alice sighed, closing her book. “All right, Mary.” She slowly set off for the front of their cozy cottage, which acted as their shop.

The nurse gently changed out the fluid bags attached to Alice’s IV. “It’s such a shame,” the nurse sighed. Her name badge read Larissa.
The other nurse nodded. Her name badge read Clara. “Hasn’t had any visitors in more than two months. Poor kid. I remember when her family came every day. I guess they moved on.” Clara shrugged. She re-arranged the blankets around Alice.
Larissa adjusted Alice’s oxygen mask. “Well, at least she has a chance of recovery.”

Alice felt faint. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, but this felt different than when she was sick and felt dizzy. This was like someone had taken all of her breath away and spun her around a few times as well.
“Alice, are you okay?” asked her mother, offering her a steadying hand.
“Yes. I just had the strangest feeling…” Alice shuddered, dismissing the feeling.
“Maybe you’re getting ill,” fretted Alice’s mother.
“No. I feel better all ready.” Yet somehow Alice knew that something was wrong.

Larissa sat down in the hard plastic chair beside Alice’s hospital bed. “Since you have no visitors, I thought I’d sit with you,” Larissa offered amiably.
Larissa watched in shock as Alice moved slightly, stirring just enough to shift the sheets but not enough to seem that she had moved otherwise.
Larissa ran through all of the typical routines, to see if Alice was waking. But just as suddenly as Alice had moved, she went right back into her coma.

Alice felt herself spin, then faint. Mary stood over her, panicked. Alice was unconscious for only a minute before waking.
“Alice, are you okay?” asked Mary, alarm in her voice.
“Yes, I’m fine. It’s just… I had the most peculiar dream, Mary. I was in a funny room, in a bed, and there were these awful machines running tubes into me, and a woman…” Alice was consumed by her thoughts of what she had seen.
“You must have hit your head when you fell,” Mary conceded.
“Yes, that’s all…” But vision haunted Alice’s imagination.

Larissa collapsed gratefully into the chair beside Alice’s bed. She had no idea why she sat with her anymore. At first it was just to keep the rarely-visited girl company, but it had evolved.
Larissa was sure somehow Alice was waking, though there was no proof.
Alice’s pulse suddenly spiked and Alice herself opened her eyes. Alice took a sharp breath, yanking at the tubes in her arms.
“Don’t try to pull those out, sweetie, stay still, let me get the oxygen tube out…” Larissa instantly began the procedures, pressing the button for more staff to help her.

“Mother! Come quickly, it’s Alice! She’s fallen!” screamed Mary, pointing to the crumpled figure lying underneath the tree. “Alice was climbing, and then she fell…” Mary cried.
Alice’s mother sat beside her youngest daughter, checking her pulse. There was none.
Their world began to crumple at the edges, colors fading.
“What’s happening, Mother?” whispered Mary, tears forgotten.
“Alice created this land. Now she’s destroying it. One cannot live in two worlds, even if one is imaginary… Now we must fade…” Alice’s mother faded away.
Within minutes, everything was gone, leaving a dark, vacant hole in Alice’s mind.

“Baby, my baby, you’re awake,” cried Alice’s real mother.
Alice smiled, hugging her mother.
“I’ve never forgiven myself, honey, for that accident. You’ll love our new place, sweetie. I finally opened the bakery we always wanted, and I’m taking on some sewing to pay your medical bills….”





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