It has been years since I've submitted something here. Perhaps it's been five? In any case, I wanted to become an active member again. Upon watching Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I was compelled to write something for it, since the end was potentially up in the air. I do hope I can get back into the swing of things quite nicely and that you enjoy this opening chapter. Dialogue will follow, I'm certain.

I own nothing of Alice in Wonderland.

Curious and curiouser. That is what she had been saying to herself these past months. There she stood in her business partner's trading ship, headed straight for China. Britain now had its own stake in that eastern nation, abundant with silk, spice, tea, and other fineries. The salty air made her anxious and she had yet to acquire sea legs. She grasped the ship's railing for support.

This now was the world that was quite strange. How odd it was that the duke's mother upon her return seemed but a taller version of the Red Queen. Moreover, the twins and their demeanor were reminiscent of the Tweedles. English society was a Wonderland within itself, she concluded. This one, however, she grew less and less fond of.

She remembered packing the night before for this journey. Oh, she had been excited indeed. Hadn't it been her father's dream to do the very thing she would embark upon? She thought fondly on his magnificent ideas, how he would spout them out ceaselessly, each more wild and marvelous than the last. Others thought his plans nothing but a dreamer's mad fantasies, but she had drunk them in as a young girl. Her mother chose to forget them completely now.

She put in plenty of nice, functional clothes. How cross her mother would be to find she brought not a single pair of stockings or a corset! She giggled while putting her things in the case. Then she found her old blue dress.

It seemed fresh enough, with its pretty white lace. Her fingers brushed across the fabric with a sort of tenderness. How long had it been since she laid eyes on the gown, or even though about that other-worldly place down the rabbit hole? Upon coming back to England, she became so whisked away in the present that Wonderland nearly became a dream again. But the dress still remained.

Her pack on the bed with things for her departure was temporarily forgotten. What would it feel like to wear it again? Would she smell Wonderland tea, tarts, or the caterpillar's smoke? Or…would she simply be wearing a nice, clean dress and nothing more. She anxiously put the thing on, fabric whistling softly. She stepped before the mirror and heard a glass bottle drop onto the carpet.

A gusty breeze rushed into her face, bringing her back. The men were loading the last of the cargo onto the vessel. She turned around, a hand still firm on the rails. They finally brought her trunks and cases, going down to her quarters. On the top of all of her clothes for the journey she folded a light blue dress. No corsets. No stockings. Inside her coat she fingered a smooth, tiny bottle with a bit of liquid inside. In two hour's time the ship would leave London's docks and set its course to China. The duke's estate would be thousands of miles behind her.

She followed the men as they took her things down into the ship's belly. Perhaps putting things away would ground her nerves. She arranged her things into drawers but was drawn to look at the contents of her pocket. Very neatly printed onto some parchment attached to it were the words "DRINK ME." She gazed into the bottle's holdings and sighed. Maybe the magic was gone out of this, just as it had been with her dress. Maybe it was just some sour brew that would make her ill and nothing more.

She continued to look at it a bit sullenly until she saw reflected two bright green eyes reflected in the glass.