Alice Pennywhistle coughed and hacked from the black smoke that quickly filled up her room. She had to shield her eyes away from it and the spreading fire by her mini-fireplace so she could bang on her door. If she were thinking rationally, she would have gone for the golden key that was safely tucked away in her nightgown, but in her panic, Alice frantically clawed at the locked door, forgetting about the key.
"Alice! Alice!" Her parents pounded on the door. She could her them hacking behind the wood, "Open the door!" The doorknob rattled endlessly.
"Alice!" her father called, "Get out of the house! Save yourself!"
"Run, Alice!" her mother screeched in between her wheezing, "RUN!"
Alice searched wildly for an escape route. Her eyes caught sight of her half-closed window, the curtains singed away to a blackened ash. She grabbed the things that meant most to her (her stuffed rabbit and her cat, Fate) and jumped through the window, curling herself into a ball.
Impact wasn't as painful as she thought it would be. Fate let out a soft hiss of protest and curled up behind her. Her stuffed rabbit lay by her feet like a rag. Alice didn't pay attention to these things. Her green eyes held the reflection of the orange flames that engulfed her home. Her parents never came out.
It's been four years since the fire.
And she's still in this hellhole.
Alice stared at the white ceiling of her room (everything in this place was white), her face stoic and her eyes blank. Soft patters of rain beat at her one window, creating an ominous glow at her surroundings at the Ruzledge Asylum. Alice stared at a small crack in the ceiling, and blinked.
Things indeed have changed for this now-sixteen-year-old. No longer was the happy-and-bright girl, the all flowers-and-sunshine child. Now she likes to keep inside for most of the day, away from the sunshine and flowers. Once was the smiling chatterbox, now is the antisocial shut-in.
Physical changes have appeared as well. Her caramel brown and slightly curly hair turned into a brownish-black that hung straight. Bright green eyes that once held a light-hearted humor now held a cynical sense of things and had darkened with grief.
The gashes that she made across her wrists had recently begun to scab over. They twinged and itched from healing. Alice flexed them once, the only movement she made voluntarily for a few weeks.
Empty eyes darted toward the padded door. Someone was coming. Footsteps softly padded against the tiled floor. They stopped in front of her door. Eyes returned to their spot at the small crack in the ceiling. They did not move when the door opened and a stern, yet kind nurse name Angela Diles stepped in. A ragged stuffed rabbit was in her well-worn hand.
Angela looked at the girl sadly before moving to her bed. She fluffed her pillow, tucked the blanket in around her, and gave her a fresh glass of water beside her daily medications (that would remain untouched by the next night). The nurse gave the girl another sad stare before placing the stuffed rabbit into the crook of Alice's arm, making sure the rabbit wouldn't fall out.
"There you go, dear," Angela spoke, "Nice and snug."
She turned briskly toward the door. The nurse muttered to herself, unaware that Alice was hearing her, "Poor dear. After all these years. Maybe that old rabbit will bring her around." Angela shut the padded door, leaving Alice to herself. And the stuffed rabbit.
Alice was still for a few moments. Then, ever so slowly, she lift her arm, bringing the rabbit with it. She shifted to bring the stuffed animal's head to her face. In the dead silence of her room, a small whisper made itself known.
"Save us, Alice."
She hesitated, then kissed the stuffed rabbit softly between it's ears. She shifted the rabbit back to her side, and continued to stare at the small crack in her ceiling.
She kept staring throughout the rest of the night.
The rain pattered softly at her window.
No, I'm not dead. Contrary to popular belief. Just not been able to write. So, yeah! This baby is going to be a crossover between American McGee's Alice and one of Tim Burton's finest, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Small warning to all Nightmare fans; you might not be able to see Jack and the crew for a few chapters. Nothing against anyone, I just have no idea when it might fit in. I have a pretty good hunch, though. People weren't kidding when they said that the story writes itself. Too long of an Author's Note, not gonna make it longer. Ta ta!
Disclaimer: Alice belongs to McGee, and Nightmare belongs to Burton. The only thing that belongs to me is the idea of bringing these master pieces together, and my character, Angela Diles.