Eight year old Maddy Haddock walked down her street's sidewalk, alone except for the sun's beady rays beaming down on her. The kids made her miss the bus home from school again. Big ole' Tommy Gringo had held her back while his fangirls (including Maddy's sister, Carol) chanted:

"Maddy, Maddy, she's so mad

Maddy, Maddy, makes me sad

When she leaves, I'll be so glad

'Cause Maddy, Maddy's so, so bad"

It was more than annoying (not to mention catchy; it was still ringing in her head), but what was worse was when they threw their lunch left-overs at her. That guaranteed even more heck from home.

She went up her steps to her door and went in ever so quietly, hoping she could change before her mother saw that she had ruined her dress. But it didn't work.

"Madeline Haddock!" her mom barked out at her from behind. She slowly turned around, trying to cover up the biggest disaster ground with her arms. "What the hell happened?"

"Carol and her friends-they threw food at me and-"

"Now you can quit that lying on me right this second!" Maddy glanced at her smirking sister sitting at the dining room table. "Your sister would never do that. She is far too good-"


"No buts! Just go to your room!"

Maddy sighed and went up to the second floor and to her room. She had gotten off easy. It was just easier for her mom to send her to her room and pretend she had only one child, and a perfect one at that, than punish her, she guess. She had no complaints about it; it was a lot better than the spanks she used to get.

Carol shoved past her in the hallway, still doing that silly little song under her breath. Maddy went into her room, inwardly cursing her sister. In their mother's eyes, Carol was an angel and Maddy a step-child. It was always, be more like Carol, you should try harder and then maybe you'll get as good of grades as Carol, try making some friends like Carol has, Carol, Carol, Carol, Carol! Why couldn't they see the devil that lurked underneath that angelic persona?

She grabbed a big, black pirate hat from under her bed and put in on her head. It was way too big for her and she had to keep pushing it up over her eyes every few minutes, but she loved it. It was her big brother, Lewis's.

She glance up at a framed picture of her, Lewis, and their dad playing at the park. They were so good to her. Every Saturday they'd have boy's and girl's time (Maddy had grown tired of spas and shopping with her mother and Carol and opted to be a boy for the day), and they went to numerous parks, beaches, skate parks, and the like. Then, they'd go out for ice cream and let her get triple scoop (something her mother never did; said it was too fattening). That's why the car crash had taken such a toll on her.

It was a cool night in September, and her dad had taken Lewis to a local wrestling match (her mother deemed it too manly and wouldn't let Maddy go). On the way back, while crossing the road, they were hit by a drunk driver. Both had died instantly. Maddy remembers the police officers, the paramedics, the tears, the screams, just everything in picture perfect detail. She hadn't just lost her father and her brother that night, she had lost her best friends too.

"Madeline! Go get some potatoes from the basement refrigerator!" her mom yells from downstairs.

She takes the small hike down, muttering under her breath. Once she gets into the dusty cellar, she notices a mirror. It was unlike any mirror she'd seen before. Surely it was new, so she decided to check it out. The the weirdest thing happened: her reflection began to mock her. She had to be hallucinating, just had to be. The other her was making moose horns at her for God's sake! Then mirror-girl grabbed her and pulled her in.

She fell for a great while. Mirror-girl had disappeared completely so she landed on the ground hard and alone. She found that she was in a garden, a lush beautiful garden filled with white roses. Then she heard some yelling and went to investigate.

"I wanted RED ROSES you idiot! RED not WHITE!" screamed a crowned woman whose dress was covered in hearts. "Change them!"

Then, a walking, talking card spoke up. "But, uh, your highness, we can't-"

"What do you mean, YOU CAN'T?"

"We don' know how..."

Just as the queen was about to start shouting again, Maddy said, "Why don't you just paint the roses red?"

"Why don't we paint the roses red? WHY DON'T WE PAINT THE ROSES RED! Hey...why don't we just paint the roses red?" the queen murmured to herself. "Servants! Paint the roses red!"

The whole pack of cards standing around marched out, most likely to go get some paint. The queen turned to Maddy. "I like the way you think. You are now ordered to be my advisor!"

"Um...I can't...I've gotta go home..."

"Come on now," the queen whispered. "Think about it. You'll have so much power. All of Wonderland will follow your every wish. The punishment for denying you will be decapitation...come on..."

Maddy's jaw dropped. If one person mocks her or orders her around again they'll have their head cut off. That sounded good. She could do whatever she wanted, no more slaving for her mother or her sister again... "I'll do it."

"Marvelous!" the queen cheered. "Now, what would be your title?"

"My title? Um..." Her fingers grazed the rim of her hat.

"The Mad Hatter."