Disclaimer: Maximum Ride belongs to James Patterson, Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and several other poems used will be credited at the end of each chapter. Allusions portrayed will hopefully be obvious enough.
AN: Yes, yes. We've all heard about those silly, sadistic versions of Wonderland and wooo boy, this one's no different. Sorry for the clichés, but I just had, had, had to do it. Keep in mind, 'events' will be mixed up as well as added components from both the books and Disney movie. Yay.
And reviews are appreciated, of course. Thank you!
Chapter One : Last Dream
"… In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;
Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?
Jeb closed the large hardcover book and leaned back against the pillows, allowing Max to sleepily roll her head off his chest and snuggle within her blanket. The six-year old girl stifled a yawn but kept her wide eyes open in an attempt to appear very awake. Jeb glanced down at her and gave a soft chuckle.
"Did you like the story?" he asked, tapping the book on his lap. He immediately checked back a sigh when Max sat right up, giving him a pout.
"Boring!" Max exclaimed, gathering up the reserves of her energy that Jeb worked so hard to calm and settle down for bedtime. It was past midnight and the little winged girl refused to go to sleep even though the others had nodded off hours ago.
"What?" Jeb gave her a mock look of admonishment in which she returned with her usual sassy grin. "You can't hate 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' or 'Through the Looking Glass'! Fang and Iggy liked it."
"It was weird. Nothing made sense," Max said, tilting her head in a very doglike manner. Her face was in deep contemplation that no ordinary six-year old would show. "There was no moral to the story. It's just about a girl who dreams about her English lessons and stuff! I didn't like it!"
Jeb laughed, a very honest and genuine laugh. For all the potential talent and intelligence Max possessed, she was still a little girl that was learning and growing. Being away from the School shed a different light on the avian hybrid, turning her into an actual child rather than a human experiment. Jeb felt his gut twist a bit before brushing the thought off.
"That's funny," he said, "I thought Alice was a little bit like you."
Max's soft brown wings ruffled in annoyance and curiosity. The girl leaned forward, pulling off the book from his lap. She inspected the cover's art that featured a little blond girl that was supposedly Alice. Other than possible physical traits, Jeb could see that Max wasn't following along.
"How?" she demanded, unabashedly blunt. A frown tugged at the corners of her mouth as she tried to figure it out.
Jeb, now feeling the effects of reading a whole book throughout the night, thought for a moment before answering lightheartedly.
"Just like Alice, you're forced into a crazy world with crazy people to make the best of it. Maybe one day you'll wake up…. Or at least go to sleep now," Jeb hinted, poking Max's sides. The girl giggled and scooted away.
"The whole world's not crazy!" she protested, warily shuffling the blankets over her body to prevent another tickle attack. She laid down, her brown eyes finally going to half mast.
"Oh, but I suppose you're the crazy one then," Jeb teased.
"Then I'm crazy," he concluded, slowly getting up from the bed and placing the book on the bedside. He let Max settled in and leaned forward to plant a gentle kiss on her forehead.
"Well, I'm crazy too then," Max said, craning her neck as if to make sure her goodnight kiss was valid. Jeb ruffled her short blond hair and walked towards the open door. As he turned off the light, Max grinned and said, "We sound like the Cheshire Cat… 'I'm mad. You're mad.'"
Jeb smiled and he quietly closed the door behind him. Max could hear the warm laugh in his voice before drifting off to sleep.
"We're all mad here."
Nine years later…
It was the cliff dream again.
It was night and she was running through the dense thicket of trees. Her heart was pounding and her even breaths were slowly becoming short and loud. Max knew that this was the same dream she had been getting ever since she left the School six years ago. Jeb had rescued her then he disappeared and betrayed her. Betrayed her, and the whole flock. No, it was the same dream, only worse. That knowledge wore her down and plagued her mind.
It was only dream.
Her mind protested against what she saw and felt. Muddled scenery in her dreams was suddenly made vivid and clear with detail. Her legs felt sore with each step she took and the snarls of the Erasers chasing after her sounded all too real.
No, she decided, this time she wasn't dreaming. She was stuck in reality now… with no chance of waking up.
Max heard other noises too. It was much more different than what her mind portrayed it to be. She heard Angel's soft cry, Fang's angry shout, Nudge's fearful yell, and then the quiet gunshots before there were no other voices to be heard besides her own panting gasps.
Her flock wasn't dead. Max refused to believe it. She worked too hard to keep them alive. She loved them too much to lose them. And she was too scared to look back over her shoulder.
She saw the ledge and like her dream, she unfurled her wings. Real animal fear took over her actions. She didn't think.
So close. So damn close. The clear night sky beckoned her forward, to be with up with the stars.
She felt it. Her left leg buckled beneath her and she fell. However, other than the fall, there was no pain. Max's eyes prickled with tears. No, no, no! She let out a shout that was mixed with desperation and rage. Pushing herself up, Max craned her head to glance at her left leg. Sure enough, there was a needled capsule penetrating through her pants and skin. Tranquilizer. She was shot like an animal.
That being the case, she would go down as one too.
Against here protesting body, she stood and immediately swayed on her feet. If she could make it off the cliff, then maybe…
Max's thoughts clouded and it was all she could do to command her feet to start moving. She felt like she stumbled of every rock and scraped against every tree. The drug was quickly taking effect and Max met the ground once again. The stars mocked her now and was beyond her reach.
It didn't take long for the Erasers to find her. Their blurry images swirled in her visions as she thrashed about. Her body had lost all sense of feeling and sleepiness infected her mind.
A nightmare… she was being taken back to the School.
Her worst fear, her last thought.
And the world went black.