The Mad Hatter of the Wonderland
Author's note: Inspired by the many versions of Alice in Wonderland and my own imagination. You will enjoy this.... Show full author's note »
Prologue: The Looking-GlassAlice was far from slumber. After her parents had kissed her goodnight and shut the door, Alice crawled out of bed and went to her mirror. She pressed her small hands against the glass, trying hard to reach through to the other side. Nearly every night for the past few months he had come to her through the mirror. He would stay for a little while, tell her amazing stories of where he came from, and promise that she could go there soon. She was hoping that tonight was the night she could finally go to the Wonderland.
“Hatter,” she whispered to the mirror. “Hatter, are you coming tonight?”
As if called by her sweet voice, a shadow came spinning fast from the depths of the mirror. As it grew bigger and bigger Alice scuttled back to give it room. A smile was blossoming on her face.
Out of the looking-glass tumbled a man. He was young and handsome. His jet-black hair was cut in choppy layers and fell over half his face. His eyes sparkled as if a thousand golden stars danced in them. He wore a black waistcoat over a white poetic shirt. His black trousers were tucked into his calf-high boots. The top hat set on his head still had the price tag – 10/6 – tucked into the band.
Alice ran to the Hatter and leapt into his arms. The Hatter lifted the small child up easily, swinging her around once before setting her gently down on her bed.
“I was worried that you weren’t coming tonight,” Alice told her friend, her smile like the sun.
“That’s something I need to talk to you about, Alice,” the Hatter said.
He knelt down before her. His eyes were changing to a deep sea blue. He reached out and tucked a lock of Alice’s golden curls behind her ear. The smile faded from the child’s face.
“You’re sad,” Alice said in a small voice. “Why are you sad, Hatter?”
“I’m so sorry, Alice. I made you a promise that I cannot keep,” the Hatter said regretfully. “I cannot take you to the Wonderland… and I can never come back to your world again.”
“But why?” Alice asked tearfully.
“Remember that I told you that time in the ageless Wonderland passes differently to time in your world? Well, in the past few days since I came here, a long time has passed in the Wonderland. There are many bad things happening and it’s not safe for you to come.”
“But you’ll protect me, Hatter,” Alice said with all the faith of a child.
“I swear I will always protect you and keep you safe, little rabbit,” the Hatter promised. “That is why you must never come to the Wonderland. Do you understand? There is only hurt there now.”
Alice looked up at her friend, wide-eyed with confusion.
“I don’t understand, Hatter. You told me that the Wonderland was a beautiful place. What’s happened?”
“If you ever knew the answer to that, my dearest Alice, then you would never love me again.”
The Hatter stood and went to the mirror. The deep blue of his eyes was now riddled with black lines.
“Hatter…” Alice began, but the tears fell from her eyes as she started to cry.
The Hatter turned his back on the child he loved more than anyone else in all the worlds. He longed to comfort her, to wipe her tears away, but it was best that he leave her broken-hearted. By the time she grew up, she would have forgotten all about the Wonderland. She would have forgotten all about him, the Hatter. She would never know about the darkness that was quickly turning him mad.