Well, everybody. This is it. The last chapter. I know it's probably shorter than you'd like it to be, but I think the story came out nicely and I am proud of it. I want to thank everyone who has left reviews for the story, everyone who stayed patient all these months while I fought through personal stuff and then writers block to get this finished!! As always, I hope you enjoy it!

Uncaging Alice

Chapter 26

I exited the train, stepping onto a platform that held a sign that read: Philadelphia, PA. I hadn't traveled too far from New York City, but this is where the ticket had gotten me, so I set out on foot.

I was only slightly aware of the looks I was getting as I walked through the streets of this town. A brief thought broke through all the others, reminding me that I must look out of place walking along in a blue silk dress while everyone else wore long heavy pants and thick coats to keep out the cold of the season. I didn't care, they could look all they want. I continued to walk along. I don't know how long it was that I trudged through the streets, looking more at my feet than anything else.

For some reason that I cannot understand, I stopped. It was a sudden stop that jolted me out of my thoughts, and made me look up.

I was standing in front of a place that had a big bright sign, lighting up the dark sky around it. It said "Jenny's Diner", and I stared at it for a long moment before I felt my feet begin to move towards the front door. The bell over the door rang as I entered, and the warmth of the kitchen surrounded me.

There weren't many people sitting in the booths along the front windows of the diner. There were maybe three. A lanky brown haired woman that wore an apron stood behind the counter, wiping her hands on a dish towel. When she saw me, her eyes widened. "You must be freezing!" She hurried around from behind the counter and touched my arm, ushering me to a seat. "Oh, dear, you're ice cold! Let me get you some tea!" The woman said before disappearing through the kitchen door.

A moment later she hurried out with a cup of tea, steam rising up from the mug. She set it in front of me. "Thank you," I said, putting my hands on it. I could drink it if I needed to, but I was hoping I wouldn't need to.

"You're welcome," The woman smiled genuinely at me. "I'm Jenny, what's your name?"

"Alice."

"Where are you from, Alice?" She leaned on the counter.

Unsure of what to say, I just said "New York City."

Jenny's eyes lit up. "Wow! It must be exciting there. I've never been. What brings you to Philadelphia?"

Again, I'm unsure of what to say. Absolutely nothing brought me to this exact place, and I surely couldn't tell her what had happened to make me run. "I'm looking for family." I finally answered.

"Do they live around here?"

"Hey, Jenny!" Another diner called from where he sat in a booth by the window. I didn't have to worry about coming up with a reply to her question because she hurried over to talk to that customer. I let out a sigh of relief as the bell above the door jingled.

A young man that looked about twenty years old walked into the diner, looking around, almost as if he was lost. For a split second I could have sworn that my dead heart that fluttered at the sight of him. Tall, with blond curly hair, this was the man I had seen so many times in my visions.

Standing so close to me now, I could see that crescent-shaped scars covered his body, but it didn't make him any less beautiful to me. When the door shut behind him, our eyes met, and I got up from the stool I had been sitting on. I stopped about an arms length from him.

Kindly, I said, "I've been waiting a long time for you to arrive."

A look of bewilderment fell across his face but his eyes held a little intrigue. After a moments hesitation, he ducked his head like a southern gentleman would, and answered, "I'm sorry ma'am."

Smiling, I reached out and offered him my hand. A strange feeling flowed through the air in the diner, making me feel hopeful, and also making me feel like I had not been hopeful in a very long time.

When his hand slid into mine, the air changed and I looked into his eyes, confused.

He was smiling back at me. "Sorry," He said. "Sometimes my emotions get the best of me." He motioned to the air in the diner. "I'm trying to learn to control it."

I squeezed his hand reassuringly. "I'm Alice."

The man ducked his head again. "Jasper."

"I think there is a family out there waiting for us. Would you like to come with me, Jasper?"

Instead of saying anything, this time Jasper squeezed my hand and turned sideways so he could open the door for me.

And with that, we left to go find the family I knew would accept Jasper and me, the bell above the diner door jingling happily behind us.

The End