Author's Note: Well hello! You are about to venture into my little ficlet and I am very pleased you are doing so.
This is my first submission and I am thrilled beyond all happiness. It is a rather slow moving story and I only ask for dedication when reading it. Any Mary-Sueness that you see from any of my own characters, or any the actual characters, please feel free to throw a tea-cup at my head.
Oh, I am also on a the look-out for a Beta Reader for this story; I currently have close to five chapters already wrapped up.
Send me word if you are interested
It had been 21 years.
Yes, 21 years since that memorable Frabjous Day, which now seemed like a small pebble in a brook, and everything had continued as was expected. The citizens of Underland still pondered over their lost savior, questions of where and why a certain blonde haired girl had left still remained with those who knew of the story. However, like all legends, the questions and stories faded with time and the remnants of the true tale were thin strings woven into the minds of the elder inhabitants; looked on as fantasy by the passing younger generations.
Time too had continued in the world above that of fantasy. Of course world's had changed and countries had both fallen and risen, but the clock continued to tick and the life of Alice Kingsleigh or Alice Saigal, as was her married name, had continued as well.
Time had been like bittersweet chocolate to the unique and prudent woman. Her life had been very enjoyable; she had found herself a husband who shared her spirit and ideas, carried on her father's dreams for his company by touring with Lord Ascot's ships, and had started a family.
Her husband had been a wisely, young scholar from the British territory of Nepal in India; their love had been cemented when she had revealed the secrets of Underland to him. He did not laugh nor run when she told him of rabbits in waistcoats and Hatters with tea obsessions. Remarkably, her husband believed her and became enthralled by the stories she had to share, marveling in the adventures she had faced in this 'Underland'.
Mr. Nikhil Saigal even dreamed of one day returning to Underland with his wife, where they could live in happiness. Not that they were not happy, it was just the fact of racial differences that caused scandal everytime they were introduced to a new party. Nevertheless, the young couple dealt with the circumstances, when the circumstances needed to be dealt with, and lived a life of pleasure in the company of each other.
Exactly two years after Alice had drunk the blood of the Jabberwocky, she had taken the vows of marriage. Then, a year after that, she had given birth to a daughter.
Sweetness had washed over her life in steady waves; yet, the bitterness that was always expected when taking a bite of such chocolate occurred but a few months later. The letter had come in a nicely made envelope, with Lord Ascot's insignia burned into black wax of the fastener. It looked like every other letter she had ever received from him, which, she personally believed, was cruel since there had been no small warning to the very devastating news concealed in the contents of the harmless looking letter. Therefore, Mrs. Saigal opened it, carelessly ripping apart the letter in the manner she had grown accustomed too. If some small warning had at least been written on the back or front of the letter, greater care may have been taken to the opening of it; but no, the entire envelope had been ripped apart and discarded into the fire.
Now Alice Saigal was not one of those women who crippled and fainted like dead fishes when told some piece of shocking or overwhelming news. No, she prided herself on being able to swallow down all her troubles and stand upright like a man did when receiving such reports. This mentality though, was thrown carelessly into the fire along with the letter's envelope as she read the line containing the straw that broke the camel's back.
"…sorry to report to you that your husband, Mr. Nikhil Saigal, has passed due to the yellow fever which he contracted when touring the country of Cambodia. I regret to inform you that no warning was given to you due to the small span in which your husband fell ill…"
It was then that Mrs. Alice Saigal fainted, a clean melodramatic-free faint that was so quiet that the cleaning maid found her a whole half an hour later in the same crippled position. As she laid there in her catatonic state, Alice had dreamt of Underland, not of her then dead husband, and all of the fantastical things she had left behind. A curious question appeared to her in that dream; was the hole still their in the great oak in Lord Ascot's garden that led her to her beloved Underland? That question was then stored hastily away as a foul smelling concoction was thrust underneath her nose and a maid recalled to her the scene she had walked in on.
The funeral for Mr. Nikhil Saigal had been simple but beautiful, a recreation of the man and life he had lived. Tears were shed, as to be expected, and Alice Saigal and her only daughter headed home to England; the nagging questions brought up everytime she thought of her husband and her past.
Time continued on and on, the pain she had felt with her husband's death was soothed and eased by the passing of years. Alice now turned her entire attention onto her daughter and her daughter's upbringing. It was a complete reflection of the upbringing her father had given her, boundaries with enough freedom to dream and explore. Her mother, of course, had her hand in her granddaughter's raising, making sure to at least fill half of her mind with manners and morals. Mrs. Kingsley had not approved of all of her own daughter's choices in life, but disapproval set aside, she pitied the situation Alice was in, having experienced a similar situation of her own. Like always, mother and daughter did not always see eye to eye on every decision so the child became a happy medium between the two.
Every night Alice Saigal would whisper into her daughter's sleeping mind the stories of Underland that she had shared with her husband. At first, the child delighted in the vivid fantasies presented to her, asking questions like a schoolchild poking the mind of a renowned theorist. Then with time, the stories of fantasy became just that; fantasy. The little girl grew into a young woman and began to scorn the idea of smiling cats and talking flowers. Her grandmother's ideas began to manifest and she began to conform to the ideals of society. She even dared to Alice's manners and ways.
Therefore, Alice Saigal was left in a curious predicament; she did not want one of the last of the believers to slip through her fingers.
Mrs. Alice Saigal was a warrior at heart and devised a plan that intertwined that curious question stored away in the back of her mind. On the eve of her child's eighteenth birthday, the Ascot's and her family had devised a party to be held at the country manor that had begun the whole story long ago.
It was a muggy, typical English spring day when the Saigal women arrived at the country estate. Alice watched as her daughter uneasily conducted herself with all of the kind manners her grandmother had instilled within her. It was almost like hearing the call of a mockingbird try to mimic the call of a meadowlark, every once in a while one would hear the true sound of the mockingbird's song bleed through. There was still hope for her daughter, and that small little chance at hope kept the plan in motion. That and the fact that once they had arrived, a sensation had come to Alice Saigal that mirrored the emotions she felt when chasing McTwisp, the white Rabbit, a second time.
As they were about to enter the house, out of the corner of her eye, a white and vivid blue spot was seen making a mad dash through a hydrangea bush caddy corner from the garden. A smile crept onto Alice Saigal's face that would have made the Cheshire Cat turn pink. It was then that Alice demanded that all unpacking of her child's belonging from the carriage be halted. Her daughter and the rest of the company had turned to her oddly in confusion, and that is when she made the excuse of needing to talk to her daughter alone. All had left and it was the look on her daughter's face, one of mortification mixed with a little indigestion, which caused Alice to begin unpacking a small travel case.
All the contents of the case were emptied onto the ground; and, placed into the case was a change of dress and a few necessities that she knew her daughter was going to need.
The cries of her daughter where ignored as the poor insipid thing was dragged away from the front of the house to the garden. The white dot had reappeared, but Alice was still unsure if it was the actual rabbit or just a dream being reincarnated into reality. It took the two a while to get to the recognizable tree, due to the struggling of the daughter as her mother yanked her this way and that. Alice saw the hole and smiled; yes, this would be a good idea after all, if only her dear Nikhil was there.
Looking into her daughter's blue eyes, Alice repeated a few instructions that were met by deaf ears. Words such as 'madness' and 'lunatic' were thrown at her and the short temper that Alice had was soon exhausted; the travel bag was thrown into the rather large hole, to her daughter's anguish.
With one final kiss on the cheek of her shocked daughter's face, Alice pushed the girl through the hole as well, hoping that a change in scenery would improve her beliefs.
"Pick the door on the left my dear, and be kind to my friends."
With that said and done, Mrs. Saigal walked back into the house to prepare herself a cup of tea.