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White Rabbit

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CAR ACCIDENT LEAVES SOLE SURVIVOR

The wreckage of a car belonging to the wealthy Carroll family was discovered yesterday at 9:47 pm along Lewis Street, where the vehicle had presumably skidded off the road into a ditch.
Mr. Robert Carroll, 48, and his wife Eliza Carroll, 43, were killed in the crash, whilst their daughter Alice, aged 15, miraculously survived with several deep cuts and a severe head wound. She was immediately transported to the nearest hospital to be treated.
Whilst her gashes and wounds were treatable, doctors believe that her head wound is very serious.

“Her penetrating head injury could lead to further physical and/or mental health complications, such as delirium. There are no immediate concerns and the patient is stable, though we will be keeping her in the hospital over the next few days for further observation.”
Alice Carroll will reside with her aunt, Ms. Mary Carroll, upon being discharged from hospital. Ms. Carroll has been appointed Alice’s lawful guardian.
“We believe that, given the tragic nature of the incident, Alice would benefit emotionally from being surrounded by family during this troubled time,” officials said.

*****
It was raining heavily that late afternoon. The sky was a dark, penetrating grey, and clouds smothered the sky. Alice sat on a new bed, in a new room, in a new house. The rain pounding against the roof and windows drowned out her raw sobs of grief. No one heard her.

“Why can’t it all just stop?” she whispered, tears falling rapidly down her cheeks. “Why do I have to feel like this? I should have died with them!” Alice cried, her shoulders shaking.

She stood up and walked to the dressing table, where a long mirror stood, coated in dust. She was skinny after barely eating anything for days. Dark circles shadowed her hollow eyes; she hadn’t been sleeping well after the accident. There were still a few pale scars on her face and arms.

Alice stared at her reflection, hating herself for being here, hating herself for being alive. Rage began to build up inside her, rushing through her veins. Her sobs became sobs of fury; her tears, tears of frustration. She felt her pulse quicken, the blood pounding in her ears like war drums.

A piercing, guttural scream tore out from her lips as she struck the mirror with her fist; a long crack extended up its middle, distorting her reflection. Her knuckles bled, but there was another pain, something worse. Clutching her head in agony, Alice collapsed onto the carpet. The pain was excruciating, like a knife being driven into her skull; the world swam around her as a wave of dizziness overwhelmed her brain. Almost as quickly as the pain had come, it disappeared without a trace. Trembling, she stood up. Her face was covered in a thin sheen of sweat. Breathing deeply, her gaze fell on Alice in Wonderland, the last thing her parents had given her: her favourite book.

It was then that she heard it.

“It’s because you love people,” a voice said. “If you love nothing, nothing can disappoint your expectations. If you hate, then disappointment is your expectation, and you will be beyond pain.”

Alice peered through the gloom, trying to find the source of the voice. A crack of lightning shook the house, illuminating the dark room. A small, eerily pale boy flickered to life in the corner, shadows dancing across his gaunt face. He was barefoot, wearing an old-fashioned waistcoat, with a large golden pocket watch suspended from his fingers, rocking to and fro. The child observed her with wide, penetrating eyes.

“Who are you?” Alice asked uncertainly, approaching the little boy.

“You can call me White Rabbit.” His lips didn’t move, but Alice could hear him. The boy had a young voice, and couldn’t be more than 7 years old. Before Alice could reply, he lifted the hand holding the pocket watch and pointed slowly at the window, still staring at her. She stepped forwards slowly, her legs heavy with dread.

A tree stood outside her window; its crooked branches were almost bare, and the few frail leaves clinging desperately onto them were crisp and brown, shivering in a melancholy breeze. The first thing Alice noticed were two large eyes, bloodshot and unblinking. Alice’s throat constricted in terror as the rest of its body materialised.

A large, skeletal cat was sitting outside her window on a branch.

Each of its bones protruded grotesquely from beneath its matted brown fur. Slowly, a grin filled with hundreds of sharp fangs spread across its face, stretching it to unnatural proportions from one pointy ear to the other, in a very ‘Cheshire’-like fashion.

Alice backed away from the window, stumbling over her own feet, and turned to the corner where White Rabbit had stood - but he was gone. Alice felt fear burgeoning in her chest, transfixed by the cat’s supernatural stare as it watched her, its tail swishing mesmerisingly in the air. Alice wrenched the curtains shut as quickly as she could, hurried outside her room and shut the door quietly behind her.

*****
Alice hadn’t forgotten about the cat that night, and lay awake in her bed feeling out of place and vulnerable. Every time Alice shut her eyes, she saw its predatory gaze. She could sense it outside, still waiting for her. Alice curled up in a ball underneath the heavy bedcovers, and eventually fell into a restless doze…

The first thing Alice noticed was the sharp pain in her head. She heard wind whistling through the gaps in the rattling window panes, loud and shrill: another storm. Alice got out of bed and shivered, standing on the cold wooden floor.

A violent wind burst into her room, the windows swinging open and banging against the walls. To her horror, the cat lunged inside, eyes glowing hungrily, malicious grin gleaming. The ‘Cheshire Cat’ landed heavily on her back, forcing Alice to the floor, its claws embedded in her flesh. She rolled into the wall. The Cat let go immediately, giving Alice time to stand up.

As it prepared to pounce again, Alice grabbed a large ornamental candlestick from the dressing table nearby, her muscles straining with the weight. Adrenaline rushed through her body; Alice lifted the solid brass candlestick and swung with all her might. There was a sickening crunch as the cat’s head was crushed. She felt its skull cave under the blow, and the even weaker resistance of the soft tissue beneath the bone. The creature fell to the floor with a thud, half-alive. She watched as it struggled to get up, mewing feebly. Then, eyes blazing with hatred, Alice hit it again.

And again.

And again.

Alice dropped the bloody candlestick and walked steadily towards the cat’s frail, broken body. There was a resounding silence as neither the cat nor Alice moved. Then, she knelt down to pick it up, cradling it like an infant, blood running down her arms and staining her dress.

Outside, the storm raged relentlessly, torrents of icy water battering the ground like showers of bullets. Alice kept walking in a trancelike state, her hair and clothes soaked with blood and rainwater. Kneeling down at a particularly bare piece of ground, she placed the dead cat next to her and began to dig in the sodden soil with her bare hands. For two whole hours she dug, her eyes shining with crazed determination. Just as she was placing the body inside the hole, a light appeared behind her at the front porch.

“Alice? Is that you?” Aunt Mary called out hoarsely.

Alice did not turn, but continued to stare at the cat’s body, lying in the hole. She felt someone grab her shoulder and spin her around, and came face to face with her Aunt’s bewildered and horrified expression.

“What are you doing out here at this time of the night?” She then noticed the blood. “Alice...what…what happened to you? Alice, what’s wrong?” Aunt Mary yelled. Alice continued to stare blankly into her eyes. “Alice! ALICE!” Mary screamed, shaking her by the shoulders.

Alice blinked rapidly. Her arms felt weak, and her head wound was stinging from the rain.

“What...where am I? Aunt Mary? What’s going on?” Alice stared down at her muddy hands and ragged fingernails covered in blood. “Why is there blood on my hands? Aunt Mary!?” Her voice grew louder and more distressed with each sentence.

“I...I don’t know Alice…” Aunt Mary said. Their eyes were both drawn to the hole behind Alice, where the body of a small, fluffy orange cat lay, its eyes vacant and misted over. “Come along inside, Alice...you need to get warm.” Aunt Mary tried to sound firm, but was trembling and regarding Alice with trepidation. Alice herself had broken down into tears of pain, confusion and fear. As they made their way back into the house, Alice glanced back to see a small, pale boy standing in the rain by the cat’s grave, a golden pocket watch swinging from his hands.

*****
Dear Diary,

I don’t remember anything about killing a cat. I don’t even know why I’d do such a cruel thing! All I remember is getting angry and cracking the mirror, then going for dinner. Afterwards I just went to bed. The next thing I knew, I was covered in blood, my head was hurting, and Aunt Mary was staring at me like I’d done something terrible - and I had. I’m not sad, just surprised, which make me confused. What scares me most is that I feel victorious somehow...like I wanted to kill it. One other thing I remember is a pair of large glowing eyes and a long, wide grin filled with teeth. Every time I shut my eyes I see it.

Aunt Mary hasn’t spoken to me since the incident. I think she’s afraid of me...as if I’d kill her! What would happen to me then?

What will happen to me now?

--Alice

*****
Alice woke up a day later in bed. She felt groggy and exhausted, and her head was wrapped in bandages. The first thing she saw when she woke up was a strange man sitting on a chair by the door. Alice sat up, rubbing her eyes.

“Who...who are you?” Alice asked.

“I’m Dr Maddock, Alice. I’m here to talk to you.” He seemed quite old, with wisps of grey in his unkempt brown hair. He was holding a tall black top hat in his hands, twirling it around, and around…

“Talk to me? About what?” Alice asked shrilly.

“Calm down!” Dr Maddock stood up quickly and approached Alice, who shrank back into her covers. “Alice, it’s alright. Your Aunt told me you were having trouble coping since the accident. She feels that you need someone to talk to.”

Alice was shocked. Her Aunt thought she was crazy? “No - she thinks there’s something wrong with me! I know it! What did she tell you? WHAT DID SHE TELL YOU?” Alice yelled, close to tears.

“Calm down, Alice. No one is trying to hurt you.”

“YES! YES THEY ARE!” Alice screamed back.

The doctor took a deep breath. “Alright. I’m going to leave you be for now...I’ll be downstairs, while you calm down. When you’re ready you can talk to me. Please, Alice. It’s for your own good.” He attempted to smile at her and walked out writing something in a little black book.

Alice took a hot bath to clear her mind. She knew she was being irrational, but after the previous night, she didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t...what if everyone was trying to trick her, to make her think she was crazy so that they could get rid of her? What if she was crazy? But no, that couldn’t be right...it had all seemed so real...but wasn’t that what crazy people always said to themselves? Alice took a deep breath and put her head under the hot water.

“Alice...Alice...Alice…” Alice lifted her head out of the water at the sound of her name. There was someone knocking on the bathroom door from her bedroom. She stood up and drained the tub, then wrapped a robe around herself. Alice opened the door and saw White Rabbit.

“You!” Alice smiled. White Rabbit merely turned silently and walked towards the open bedroom door, motioning for her to follow him. He stopped by the living room door, and pointed at the keyhole beneath the old fashioned doorknob. Alice bent down, and peered through it.

There was a stranger sitting in the room beyond with Aunt Mary, dressed entirely in black with sharp, angular features cast into shadow by the brim of a black top hat. His bony, talon-like fingers raised a steaming cup of tea to his thin lips, and dishevelled tufts of hair protruded from behind his ears and under the rim of his forbidding hat.

Who was he? He seemed mad as a hatter, sipping quietly, wild eyes darting across the room. He lingered for a moment on the door and keyhole, as though he could smell the presence of eavesdroppers.

“There’s something wrong with that girl, Dr. Maddock, I can just sense it. You need to help me,” Aunt Mary said, clearly desperate.

“Of course, but it will be hard. She won’t let me in, so how am I supposed to help you? The most I can do is take her to the institution. Are you sure this is because of the accident...or something else?” Dr. Maddock asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well...last night, she...she killed a cat!” Aunt Mary said tearfully. “I was horrified...I still am! I don’t even want to look at her, let alone care for her or share a home with her! Doctor, I implore you, get - her - away - from - me.”

“Good God! There’s no room for a child like that in civilised society...simply no room, no room!”

Alice pulled away from the door, her face contorted with rage at her Aunt’s betrayal of her secrecy. A thirst for revenge broiled and bubbled beneath her skin.


*****
The doorbell rang the next afternoon, its dull tenor intonations reverberating through the walls and windows of the old house, interrupting Alice’s daydream. She stood up and made her way downstairs.

“Good afternoon, Duchess!” Aunt Mary was saying, curtseying slightly and ignoring Alice’s presence as she embraced her friend.

The White Rabbit stood near the door. As the Duchess shuffled inside, her beady eyes glared at Alice beneath a heavily wrinkled forehead. A bulbous nose protruded over a leering grin settled in between gaunt cheeks. Her back was slightly hunched, and she carried an infant, screaming and wailing in her malevolent grasp.

“Come, come! Let’s have some tea!” Aunt Mary chirped. Alice followed them into the living room.

“Oh, Mary, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this child. It was left on my doorstep, without a note or anything,” the Duchess sighed, looking at the infant distastefully.

“So what do you plan to do?” Aunt Mary asked sympathetically, sipping her tea.

Alice narrowed her eyes and watched the Duchess suspiciously. She seemed to have no concern whatsoever about the baby, who coughed and spluttered.

“Well, I have absolutely no time for a child! I think I’ll just leave it at an orphanage...it’s for the better, you know. Better for both of us,” the Duchess said.

“Abandon her?” Alice burst out shrilly. The two women silently glared at her, but Alice held their gaze, her eyes blazing.

“For goodness’ sake, Alice! Go to your room right now!” Aunt Mary scolded. Alice stormed out of the room without another word.

This time, Alice wasn’t surprised to see White Rabbit, who was standing by the living room door, a forlorn expression on his face.

“Do something, Alice,” White Rabbit whispered softly. “Tonight.”

Alice watched the Duchess’ animated gestures out of the periphery of her vision as a plan formulated in her mind. Her smile grew wider and wider. “Oh, yes,” she muttered to herself.

*****
Shadows slithered across the road, hissing and whispering around her feet as Alice made her way to the Duchess’s house. The moon was shrouded in gossamer threads of cloud. Darkness enveloped the stars above, shielding their innocent gaze from the evil that lurked below. The only other source of light came from rusty street lamps flickering weakly along the road. The sinuous silhouette of the White Rabbit darted in and out of the yellow pools of light, guiding the way to the front gate of the Duchess’ unremarkable house. Alice shivered as an icy breeze brushed past her hair. Her breath came out in puffs of mist as she stood outside, staring determinedly at the house. None of the lights were on - everyone was asleep.

Alice climbed over the blackened wall that surrounded the entire house and jumped down to the other side, gasping for breath. Her eyes focused on the top left window, the room where the woman slept. Alice began to pull herself up a nearby tree, her nails raking across the bark, a snarl fixed upon her face. When she reached the top, Alice noticed the window had been left unlatched.

“Stupid woman. It’s as though she’s inviting me in,” Alice scoffed, smirking. She crawled across the branch until she could reach the window sill, then swiftly pulled herself onto it and opened the window.

The room was large and filled with luxurious furniture. Alice stood, framed by the window, observing the scene carefully. She spotted the baby’s crib in the corner, and the Duchess asleep on a large, four-poster bed. Alice took a deep breath; she had to concentrate. Alice unknotted the curtain rope from the heavy drape by the window, and tugged it towards the bed where the Duchess lay.

“Now, you die,” Alice hissed, and wrapped the rope around the hideous crone’s skinny neck. The Duchess’ beady eyes snapped open in alarm. Before she could cry out, Alice grabbed a piece of cloth from her pocket and gagged her. Alice’s fingers worked quickly, tying a tight knot near the jugular vein. Slowly, she began to pull with as much strength as she could muster.

Alice felt the crone’s muscles strain and tighten against the rope as she flailed and writhed on the bed, eyes bulging out of their sockets. Tighter and tighter Alice pulled, until her victim’s fits grew weak, her life slipping away like the light of a dimming bulb. Gradually, the Duchess’ weathered, gnarled hands went limp, and her eyes rolled upwards to stare emptily into the frenzied glare of her killer.

Panting, Alice dropped the rope, gingerly rubbing the friction burns across her palms. A gleam of triumphant pleasure danced in her pupils.

Alice then took a small pillow from the bed, and approached the crib, her face softening. She bent over the cot and tenderly stroked the baby’s fluffy hair.

“Shh, little one. You’ll be free of this Hell soon.”

She placed the pillow gently over the baby’s nose and mouth, and pressed down ever so slightly. The baby did not stir or move, accepting its fate passively, obliviously, with open arms. Alice placed a hand over its chest, and waited until the tiny flutters of its heartbeat died away to silence.

“Goodnight,” Alice whispered, and kissed the child lovingly on the forehead. She climbed out the window sill, down the tree, and ran, a gleeful, child-like smile on her face. As Alice rushed through her Aunt’s gate, she laughed softly to herself, and skipped back to her bedroom, where she collapsed onto her bed in a peaceful slumber.

*****
When Alice came downstairs the next morning, she heard someone crying in the kitchen. She walked inside to see Aunt Mary slumped against the breakfast table, her shoulders shaking. Tears were streaming down her face from swollen eyes. A crumpled handkerchief was in one hand whilst the other was clamped across her mouth to restrain her sobs. Two police officers stood on either side of her, obviously uncomfortable with the situation, patting her awkwardly on the back.

“We’re very sorry to bring you this unfortunate news, Ms. Carroll,” one said, eyes downcast.

“What’s happened?” Alice asked innocently.

“Oh, Alice!” Aunt Mary wailed, “It’s th-the Duchess!”

Alice looked at the police officers expectantly. One of them produced a photo from his pocket, and placed it on the table. It showed a woman in her late thirties with long, red, elegantly styled curls. She had a pert nose, large eyes, full lips and a fresh complexion. She was standing up straight in a long evening dress and smiling prettily, her cheeks glowing. Alice frowned, confused. Something wasn’t right...the picture didn’t match her dim recollection of the Duchess. Her thoughts were interrupted by one of the policemen.

“We are very sorry to say that the Duchess and her baby were murdered last night. The baby was...smothered, and her mother was strangled to death with a curtain rope. The murderer hasn’t been found yet - at this present time there are no suspects. We should be leaving now. Once again, Ma’am, we are very sorry for your loss.”

Alice watched Aunt Mary silently as she cried.

“She wasn’t a very nice woman, you know,” Alice said unsympathetically, examining her nails. Mary sat up and stared at her in shock.

“How - how can you say such things? What is the matter with you?” she cried shrilly. Mary stood up and walked towards Alice threateningly, a hand raised. “Where is that sweet girl I once knew a few years ago? She never would have said these horrible things, or DONE these horrible things!”

“I never would have believed you’d befriend such a nasty old crone,” Alice spat, glaring.

Aunt Mary slapped her across the face, leaving a bright red mark across Alice’s cheek. “You - go - to - your - room,” she snarled. Alice left, glaring menacingly at her Aunt, whose eyes had filled up with tears once again.

“The Alice Carroll you once knew is dead,” Alice said, and slammed the door shut.

*****
Dear Diary,

I don’t understand what’s wrong with me. I don’t feel sad about the Duchess’ death, and I think it’s because I did it. I think I killed her, and the baby. I don’t even feel right when I write that. Rather than feeling horrified and disgusted at myself I feel happy, happier than I’ve ever been since Mother and Father died. I even have friction burns across my palms as proof, and I can’t bandage them up because someone will notice.

I’m so scared. I think Aunt Mary suspects me. She’s bound to tell Dr. Maddock something...everything is so strange nowadays, people seem slightly mad. Things aren’t what they seem, they keep flickering in between one reality and another, but I can’t tell which one is real life and which isn’t. White Rabbit always seemed to know what I should do next … but I haven’t seen him for a while. Am I really going crazy? What’s going on?

-- Alice

Dr. Maddock closed the covers of the diary shut with a snap, breathing heavily.

The girl, he thought, the girl is the murderer.

It all made sense now. The girl had killed the cat in a state of delirium, as well as the Duchess and her baby. Alice was hallucinating: she thought she was doing the right thing; she was just confused. If Alice pleaded insanity, he knew a judge would give her a light sentence. After all, she was only 15 years old, far too young, surely, to commit premeditated murder, to take another’s life intentionally. The proof was sitting right there in his hands…

Alice flung open her closet doors, and tossed the clothes over her shoulders into a haphazard pile. No - it wasn’t there either. She rushed to the dressing table drawers and pulled each one out roughly onto the floor: it wasn’t there. WHO could have taken it? Where was it? Did she misplace it somewhere, leave it outside? Anyone could read it, anyone.

“Out there, Alice.” She whirled around to see White Rabbit by the window. She was at his side in seconds. The man clad in black with the top hat was sitting by the murky brown pond outside, a steaming cup of tea on the grass beside him; and sure enough, there her diary was, between the Mad Hatter’s long, spindly fingers.

“NO!” Alice roared, wrenching her bedroom door open and sprinting into the garden. She raced towards him and lunged, knocking him backwards onto the ground. She landed on top of his flailing body, locking his legs down with her weight, her hands seizing his greasy dark fringe and thrusting his head into the stagnant water. His lips burst apart, releasing a stream of bubbles in a panicked scream, but nobody could hear him. His body jerked and bucked against her hands; her ligaments and tendons strained, prominent against her skin as she fought against his struggles. The water continued to bubble and froth as he thrashed around helplessly, his hands reaching out to claw at her face.

The effervescence subsided abruptly and the water went still.

Alice rose to her feet, breathing hard. The diary was lying on the ground; she tucked it into her dress pocket. The Mad Hatter’s lifeless body dangled over the edge of the pond, strands of hair drifting forlornly with the dissipating ripples.

“I have to get rid of the body somehow!” Alice said urgently to herself. Panic-stricken, she rushed back into the house to get some rope; back at the corpse’s side, she tied a large, heavy rock to his neck. Carefully, she held the rock over the surface of the water, and then let it drop, shoving the body down after it. Alice collapsed onto the grass, panting from her exertions.

A muffled cry travelled through the still air from the house behind her. Alice sat up swiftly and saw her Aunt watching her, wide-eyed, almost hysterical. As soon as Alice caught her eye, Mary ran back inside, and Alice ran after her, livid.

“Aunt Mary?” Alice called out in a sing-song voice, walking slowly through the kitchen and dining room. “Where are you?”

Hands shaking uncontrollably, Mary picked up the phone, and dialled 911.

“Hello, this is the Emergency Services, how may we help you?”

“My name is Mary Carroll, I live on 18 Fort Street...someone...someone just killed Dr. Maddock and I think they may kill me too,” Mary whispered, her breathing ragged.

“Alright, Ma’am, we’re on our way. Stay calm and keep away from the intruder.” The line went dead.

“Oh, there you are, Aunty.” Mary’s heart stopped momentarily as she saw Alice in the doorway. “Who were you talking to?” Alice asked menacingly.

“Alice - I was - no one, just the undertaker…” Mary said feebly, her words slurred slightly.

“And why would you need to tell him that I’m about to kill you?” Alice asked, stepping closer and closer. Mary backed away, tears running down her face in fear.

“Please, Alice, please!” Mary begged.

“It’s too late for you, Mary. You just called the police. I can’t possibly let you live after that,” Alice said, shrugging. “Oh, and by the time they get here, I’ll say I killed you in self defence. Then I’ll be free from everyone, everyone in the world who tried to get rid of me.”

Alice picked up a knife from the countertop nearby, and pounced.

Mary screamed as the knife grazed the hem of her skirt, tearing the fabric. She thrust herself forwards, towards the doorway, hysterical, stumbling, falling…

Alice was upon her, a feral cry issuing from between her clenched teeth. Her arm rose and fell, the blade flashing; fountains of crimson droplets spattered the spotless floor, glistening rubies on cold ceramic tile. The treacherous wretch beneath her gurgled, the limbs twitching pitifully in a desperate, vain attempt to escape…

Alice froze.

Sirens.

She fled, ignoring the weak moans behind her. She burst out of the front doors, into blinding sunshine. Hostile eyes took in the knife held fast in her clenched fist, her bloody clothing.

“Stop right there!” Strong arms seized her shoulders, and Alice felt herself being dragged to the ground, where she came face to face with the gaping muzzle of a revolver.

As they dragged her away, Alice thought she saw a small, pale figure at her bedroom window, one child-like hand clutching a golden pocket watch.
*****
Three months later…

It is late winter’s evening in London, 1903. A spotlight focuses on a small, square, grey room - a prison cell. Furnishing is sparse, but there is a cracked mirror on the wall. Alice is sitting on a hard bed, chained at the wrists. The prison psychiatrist is sitting across from her, watching Alice intently with a notebook and pencil in his hands.

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: [writing something down in notebook] So, Alice…have any of your friends come to visit you here recently?

ALICE: [smirking slightly] Friends? [chuckles softly] I don’t have any friends.

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: [calmly] I see...why not?

ALICE: Do you really think I can trust anyone? Oh, no, sir...most definitely not.

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: What about family? Parents? Cousins? Anyone?

ALICE: [throws her head back and laughs mirthlessly] Oh, sir, my parents died just a year ago. I was the only survivor...surely you heard about it? And I’m very sure you know what happened to my only other relative…[she winks]

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: [uncomfortably] Mmm, yes. How did you feel when your parents passed away?

ALICE: [rolls her eyes] Well let me see now...what do you think? Sad, angry, hating the world... [her eyes glaze over, an uncanny smile forming on her lips] But then, I shut it all out, every single feeling - the sadness, mostly, but also the love I felt for them. It made everything much, much easier…

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: [uneasily] Do you still see...things, like we talked about last week?

ALICE: [cocks her head to the side and stares at him] Sometimes.

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: [trying to hide his horror] They - they’ve come back, have they? Who - who is it this time? [leans across to her and whispers urgently] You have to tell me, Alice. I need to know, if I’m to help you. Who is it?

ALICE: [smiling, but with a crazed gleam in her eyes] The March Hare...but you should know him very well, Sir. You wake up, and you see him. You go to bed, and you see him.

PRISON PSYCHIATRIST: [scared and confused] Alice...who - who are you talking about?

ALICE: [grinning] Look to your left, Sir.

[He turns slowly and sees his reflection in the mirror. Comprehension dawns on his face and he stands up quickly, trembling from head to toe, sweating, his breath catching in his throat. With one last fearful glance at Alice, he strides shakily towards the door and leaves.]

[Alice laughs.]

*****





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