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Alice sat, everyday it was the same. He would visit her and no one believed her. She had tried to tell her mother and father about him, but they insisted it was all in her mind. Even her own dear sisters didn't believe her.
"Alice" they said, "Don't start trouble for Mother and Father, he's a dream and nothing more." they insisted. Her friends often called her mad. After a while, Alice gave in. No one else could see the him and she liked it that way, he was her secret. He was a strange man, but Alice was in no position to judge. His long hair fell just past his shoulders and his nails needed a good trim. He always wore the same clothes. A long black jacket, dark pants and black boots. Oddest of all was the hat he wore on his head. A deep purple top hat with the oddest collection of pins and feathers.
He would walk through the door and sit at the table. He would pour them each a cup of tea. At first she was surprised, but Alice was used to it now. She actually started to enjoy their little chats. Alice knew she should be afraid of him but over time she started to trust him and, that was just what he wanted.
"what may I call you?" Alice asked one day over a cup of tea. He thought for a moment.
"well, you may call me what wish, you are my only friend." Alice glanced at the tall purple hat that sat upon his head. Bright peacock feathers decorated the brim of it.
"then I shall call you Hatter" she said smiling.
"Alice, I would like to show you a new world. Do you trust me?" he asked. She thought for a moment before nodding her head. He got up and politely pulled out the chair for her. She followed him to a small coat closet.
"Trust me" he said flashing her a smile to try to calm her nerves. "Close your eyes and take a deep breath" he coaxed. She did as she was told. He opened the door and helped her through like a gentlemen.
She felt very silly but she knew he had only good intentions. She opened her eyes and her breath caught in her throat.
The sky was a eery, almost green color and the grass tickled her knees. The massive sun overhead threw golden streams of light over the tall thick blades of grass. This world was full of insects. She watched in awe as a fly the size her fist flew by.
"Am I mad?" Alice asked taking in her strange surroundings.
"Maybe" he replayed laughing.
"What is this place?" she asked. She had never seen anything like it before in her life.
"What is it?" he giggled "well it's what ever you want to be." he replied still laughing to him self.
"You live here?" Alice asked. This world was amazing, she was too stunned to speak.
"Yes my dear, right over there." he said pointing just over the horizon. "Come, I can give you a better life." he repeated extending his hand. She heisted for a moment before taking it.
They walked for a short while before coming to a small run down house.
"chez hatter" he said pointing at the house that was almost in runes.
"it's, very quant" she said. It reality the door was too small for the doorframe, the windows were different sizes and each shutter was a different color. The roof was starting to cave in.
He helped her up the uneven steps and into the main room of the house. Alice looked around, her eyes wide with shock. Right in front of the door was a grand stairway that stretched into the upper levels of the house. The door frames were perfectly aligned with the doors. The walls seemed to go on forever before finally reaching a ceiling.
"Its...its beautiful" She finally managed to say. She glanced back at the crooked door hanging off the broken hinges.
"Your room is up here" He said taking her hand and pulling her up the stairway and through a long hallway. He stopped at a unusually small door.
"Here you are my Alice" he said pushing her in the room.
Alice looked around. The room was dark, gray paint covered the walls and ceiling. A broken bed sat in the corner of the room next to a wooden chair. A grimy window allowed little light to shine in.
"Hatter? I think this is the wrong room" Alice called as she turned back to the door.
"Oh no my dear Alice, this is correct. You are mine and I shall never lose you again" He called back. Alice heard the soft click of the door locking her in. The sound of footsteps told her that he was gone.
Alice walked over to the bed and sat down, she started to cry. She had trusted him. She cried until she had no more tears to shed and she fell asleep.
When she awoke the next morning she was greeted with the sour smell of mildew. She rubbed her tear streaked eyes and walked to the window. This world was amazing. A man and a woman walked by holding hands, she giggled at the woman's unusual hair style. Her teal hair was piled on the top of her head and curls stuck out messily on either side.
"help me!" Alice cried as she pounded on the window. "please, I'm in here!" she called. The woman glanced at her, scrunched up her over sized nose and kept walking.
"please" Alice said softly as she slid down the wall and onto the floor. She laid there crying until she heard a soft knock come from the door.
"Alice dear?" Hatter called carefully. "I...I brought you some tea my dear" he said opening the door just enough to push a small gold tea cup through, then he closed and locked it again. Alice just sat there unmoving. Anger built up inside of her, how could he expect her to trust him again? How could he be so calm and friendly? He took her away from her family and her life and he expected everything to go back to normal, simple conversation over a cup of tea.
Alice jumped up and threw the cup at the door. The once elegant golden cup now lay ugly and broken on the floor. Alice flinched as the hot tea came back and turned her pale hand bright red. Blisters soon started to appear making her cringe. She ran back to the bed and cried. Memories from her childhood spun around her head.
Once when she was a young girl she had accidentally burnt her hand on the cast iron stove that sat in their parlor. Her mother rushed over and blew on her hand, then dipped her young daughter's hand in a bucket of cold water sitting on the old wooden table in the dining room. Her mother wrapped her hands with a small strip of cloth that sat atop the sewing basket.
"There you go my love" her mother said kissing Alice's hand softly.
Alice looked with tear filled eyes at her father, who had just arrived home from work.
"Oh, now what's wrong with my little Mousie?" her father said using the nickname her sisters had given her because of her small mouse-like features. He picked her up and spun her around.
"I...I burned my hand" Alice said sniffing.
"Oh no my dear, don't cry" he said wiping a tear from her small pale face.
Alice woke with a start. She got off the bed and started pacing around the small room. The sun shone through the window, heating up the wood and filling her nose with a thick musty smell. She walked to the window and leaned against the windowsill. The heated wood groaned under her weight. She ran her hand along the windowsill, a small piece of molded wood fell off in her hand. Her eyes widened in understanding as she ran for the broken cup that still lay shattered on the floor. She picked up a large piece being careful not to cut her still sore hands, she scratched it against the rotting wood. Pieces flew off and created a small pile of dust on the floor. She pushed gently on the window as a small hole started to appear. She kept scratching angrily as the cool air flooded in. She could almost taste her freedom. She kicked at the window, the frame groaned but held strong.
She heard footsteps approaching quickly. "Alice, Alice are you alright?" Hatter called anxiously.
Alice turned back to the window and kicked it again and again until the thick glass popped out of the old frame. Hatter worked quickly trying to unlock the door as Alice squeezed out of the newly formed hole in the wall. Hatter burst through the door just in time to see Alice fall to the ground. She took off running, she has never ran faster in her life. She thought quickly trying to remember the path Hatter had taken her. Her long golden hair filled her mouth and covered her eyes. She pushed it away frantically, searching for anything familiar that could lead her to safety. She stopped for a moment to catch her breath. She gulped in air that seemed to burn as she swallowed. Tears mixed with the perspiration that gathered on her face. She looked around and started to run again, when all of a sudden she was on the ground. A spot just above her eye burned and a thick sticky liquid rolled down her face. The sky started to spin and bright flashes covered her vision.
"I'm so sorry Alice, I never intended to harm you, I'm sorry" Hatter said lifting her off the ground. He softly kissed her cheek as she slipped out of consciousness.
Alice's eyes fluttered open and her stomach lurched. She looked around slightly unsure of where she was.
"Father, Mother!" she screamed as her bedroom slowly started to take focus. The floor length pink drapes her mother insisted she have, her favorite stuffed cat with the unusual smile that sat on the old rocking chair.
Her mother rushed in first, followed closely by her father.
"my little Mousie got quite a bump on the head" her father said taking her hand.
"I missed you so much, I was afraid I would never see you again" she said bursting into tears.
"what do you mean darling?" her mother asked glancing at her father.
"Hatter kidnapped me, and he took me to a wonderful land!" she said telling them all about her false trust in the Hatter and about the land full of magic that she was taken to.
Her mother shook her head as if she was disappointed and her father kept his eyes fixed on the floor.
"Alice, you were only unconscious for an hour, you must have been playing in the coat closet again and bumped your head, it was all a dream sweetie." her mother said sternly.
Alice sat there stunned. It had all felt so real, she remembered the rude woman with the teal hair, and the fly, and the tea cup.
Alice glanced down at her hand. There was still a large, painful blister from the hot tea.
"we will let you rest darling, you have had quite a day" her mother said pulling her father away and blowing out the lamps.
"goodnight sweetie" her father called as the door swung shut.
Alice could hear her mother and father speaking just outside of her door.
"she has to get out of this foolish delusion!" her mother said angrily.
"I know, we might have to take her back to the doctor." he father said trying to reassure her mother.
"but they might have to put her back in that filthy hospital" her mother said crying. Her parents started to walk away and she could no longer hear what they were saying.
Alice sat there for a moment, it couldn't have been a dream, could it? A soft creek from her closet door made her jump. The door creeped open just a crack, a brightly colored peacock feather floated into the room.
"Alice" something whispered from the other side of the door. "I won't lose you this time, I promise"