Hell-OOO! Welcome to my first (posted) fanfiction. (I've written others…they'll be up eventually.) I honestly hope you'll enjoy this and review…BUT NO FLAMES, PLEASE! They will be deleted!
Warning: This story can be described as, and to paraphrase the great Bonejangles, a tragic tale of friendship, love lost, and a suicide quite grotesque. The story contains vore, so read at your own risk.
Rating: T (Just to be safe; due to disturbing situations and morbid death)
Disclaimer: Regrettably, I do not own Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, or anything connected with it (unless you count my copy of the film on DVD, a copy of the video game, and a copy of the novelization…that's it). All characters, places, names, etc. belong to Tim Burton, Lewis Carroll, Disney, and anyone else I failed to mention. The Waltzing Cat is a real piece of music by Leroy Anderson. Again, I do not own it.
Summary: A vorish, dramatic, and tragical (yes, that is a word) story based on the film Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland starring Chessur the Cheshire Cat, Mallymkun the Dormouse, and Thackery Earwicket the March Hare. The Hatter is gone, and the Hare and Dormouse are in insane depression. Mally is particularly saddened…and has a huge favor to ask of the Cheshire Cat… Contains Tarrant/Mally and possible Chessur/Mally.
The Final Game of Cat and Mouse
The Hatter was dead, to begin with…dead as dust. It appeared that the mercury that was once the wondrous fuel of his equally wonderful, albeit somewhat worrying, insanity that he used to cure felt in his millinery trade had finally deteriorated his brain to nothing. He had been growing… "nuttier" each passing day, and more forgetful, too, but no one had really noticed; Tarrant Hightopp wasn't called the Mad Hatter for nothing.
Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare, had always been mad, but after the funeral of his best friend and honored guest for tea, he went gallymoggers…completely over the edge. He stared blankly into space, one eye never ceasing in twitching, drinking from a teacup long since emptied. It was improbable (nothing is ever truly impossible) to communicate with him; if he responded at all, it was in the form of a blink, a grunt, or, if you were lucky, a chuckle.
Mallymkun, the white Dormouse, was hit worst of all by the Hatter's death. She'd loved Tarrant. Really loved, LOVED him! If it hadn't been for the differences in size and species, she would have married him years ago! But it was too late for that now. Tarrant "Mad Hatter" Hightopp was gone. Forever. She currently sat on the bank of a burbling brook, which burbled with tears as she shed bitter ones of her own. Each teardrop that fell into the brook made it burble louder.
"Well, well, well! What have we here?"
Mally gasped and was on her feet in a split second. She whirled around, snapping out her pin-sword, ready for action. However, once she recognized the source of the startling voice, she lowered her weapon and relaxed.
"Oh. It's you. Hello, Chess."
"Hello, Mally," purred Chessur the Cheshire Cat. His blue-green eyes gazed at the dormouse, shimmering with concern. (He could not stop smiling, so his eyes and voice determined his emotions.)
"Don't sneak up on me like that!" Mally snapped, sheathing her pin-sword. "You about scared me out of my wits!"
"I am sorry," purred Chessur. "Why are you out here alone?"
Mally's nosed twitched and she turned away, head hung with grief as tears seeped back into her eyes.
"I've really got nowhere else to go," she choked. "I'm a lost little dormouse."
"In mind or way?"
There was a short pause. Chessur's purring grew louder and the next thing Mally knew she was curled up against his blue, black, and gray striped fur, the cat's long tail wrapped around her tiny frame like a blanket. She buried her small, whiskered face into his body and sobbed.
"Th-Thackery, too! He's beyond my r-reach now! M-m-madder than…th-than…"
"A March Hare?"
"You…you could say that…"
"Shh…" soothed Chess. "Shh…go on, Mallymkun…let it out…just let it all out…"
The next five minutes were spent without words. Mally cried into Chessur's body, and the Cheshire Cat tried not to shudder; he hated getting wet. But this was Mally, his friend! Species-wise they were considered arch-enemies, but they had never showed that to each other…although Chess sometimes DID want to…his thoughts were interrupted. Mally was saying something, muttering something into his fur between her tears. It sounded something like, "Bug fish eyeball red."
"I WISH I WERE DEAD!" Mally squeaked loudly, unable to suppress the words any longer. She wept a bit more and then continued in between chokes, sobs, and sniffles, "I w-wish I were dead, Chess! I wish I w-were d-d-dead!"
"Oh, Mally…Mally…" said Chess in a comforting tone, curling up around the dormouse a bit closer.
"I-I'm s-serious! I wish I were d-dead! I want T-T-Tarrant, Chess! I…I…I w-want…"
"SHH!" hissed Chessur.
"Oh, Chessur! I want to d-die! I really d-d-do! I wish…I-I wish…" She stopped, sniffled, and then let all her woe and lament burst out in a spontaneous exclamation of "AGH! I WISH YOU'D EAT ME, CHESS!"
The cat's eyes widened and his ears perked up at this, but all he said was a shaky, "Hush, Mally…hush, now…"
Mally sniffled a few more times, sobbed again, and stopped at last. She turned her face up to Chessur's and wiped her left arm across her face, wiping away her remaining tears.
"Th-thanks. I needed that."
"So I saw! Really, Mally, I hate to see you like this! I miss Tarrant as much as anyone, but such grief…! You're almost as looney as the Hare!"
"I know, Chess. I…well, I…"
"I…" Mally took a deep breath and then confessed. "I loved him, Chess."
"Mally, we ALL loved the Hatt…"
"No, Chess. I LOVED HIM."
Chessur raised an eyebrow. Then Mally's words sank in and he almost seemed to frown. (Almost.)
"Yeah. Silly, eh?"
"Oh, no! No! Not at all, no! It's just…" Chessur sighed. "Aw, Mally, I'm sorry. I didn't know. Now that I look back, though, it was pretty obvious."
"Yeah, I guess it was," laughed the dormouse. She paused. "Do you think…Do you think he…?"
"Perhaps he knew, perhaps he didn't. Given the circumstances, I'd say it doesn't really matter now, does it?"
"No. I suppose not," sighed the dormouse.
For a long time, neither spoke nor made a sound. The Cheshire Cat was the first to break the silence.
"You don't suppose that Thackery would mind if you disappeared for…" Chess coughed, clearing his throat. "…An indefinite period of time?"
"Probably not," she answered sadly. "He doesn't seem to know that I even exist anymore."
"Hmm…" the cat half-murmered, half-purred in a thoughtful tone. After another dead silence, the cat spoke up again. "Say, Mally?"
The dormouse giggled. "Mally."
"Be serious! Mally, would you like to stay with me for a while?"
Mally stared in disbelief. Chessur was a good friend, but to offer her…? There had to be a catch of course; the Cheshire Cat never did anything for free.
"What's in it for you, Chess?"
"I don't believe it!"
Mally paused, contemplating her situation: life at the March Hare's was becoming unbearable, especially without Tarrant. On the other hand, the Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, while always friends, had often hit "speed bumps" in their relationship. As a dormouse, wouldn't she have more reason to dislike Chessur? Of course, she never had…he'd never given her reason to, but living with your greatest natural enemy was still not a pleasant thought. On the other-other hand, though, the evaporating feline's offer was tempting, and knowing him, doubtlessly a one-time deal…
"Well?" hissed the cat, impatiently.
"I-I'll check with the March Hare. You never know…he might miss me after all. Besides, there's something I want to get…"
"All right," said the cat, and vanished in a puff of dark blue smoke, only to reappear on the bough of a tum-tum tree nearby.
"I'll be taking a cat nap up here," purred Chessur. "Just come back and wake me up when you have an answer. And hurry, mind you!"
"Don't worry, I'll be back soon!" said the dormouse, and scampered away, back to the home of the March Hare.
As always, Thackery Earwicket was having tea and blindly staring. The tea table had gone into even worse disarray ever since the Mad Hatter's death; the tablecloth was in shreds, and the tablelegs were coming loose, ready to break off at any minute. Mally hopped onto the table. She looked at the March Hare, but he did not look back. His eye still twitched.
"Uh…h-hello, Thackery," she said.
No response. Not even a blink.
"I met Chessur in the tulgey woods today. Since Hatter's well…you know…"
The March Hare blinked, but neither did or said anything else.
"Anyway, Chess said I could stay with him from now on. Th-that's okay, isn't it, Thackery?"
Still no answer. Mallymkun sighed, her large, round, white ears drooping sadly, and went over to the teapot she slept in. Inside the pot was a small bedroom, just the right size for a dormouse. Mally walked past her bed – made by the White Queen, Mirana, herself out of matches and tea leaves – and opened up her wardrobe, taken from a child's dollhouse. In it were three tiny hangers, one empty and the others holding her remaining two outfits: the first was the maid's outfit she had used as a disguise during the time of the Red Queen. The second was the one she'd come for. She took up a bag, made out of shred of a tea cozy by the Mad Hatter, and packed the outfit into it. Then she hopped up the spout and out of the teapot and scuttled across the table.
Just before she leapt off the table and vanished into the woods, she turned back to the Hare.
Once again, there was no answer. And that was that. The dormouse did no more.
But if she had turned back around, she would have seen a single, small teardrop slide down the March Hare's twitching nose.
It didn't take all of five minutes for Mally to find the burbling brook again. The Cheshire Cat was still sleeping in the tum-tum tree.
"Wake up, Chessur, you lazy fat cat! I'm back!" squeaked the white dormouse.
The Cheshire Cat opened one eye. He seemed to grin a little wider when he saw Mallymkun, staring at him impatiently and stamping her foot at a speed that made the White Rabbit seem as slow as a mome rath. Her insults seemed to have no effect other than to amuse him further.
"Well? Are we going or not?" snapped the dormouse.
Chessur chuckled and his body vanished in a swirl of mist. His head spiraled down towards the young dormouse, and stopped when his eyes were at her level. The body then faded back into view.
"Show-off!" teased Mallymkun.
"I know it," sighed Chessur in a melodramatic way. "I can't help it. Evaporating's so much fun."
"Well, now, shall we be trotting home, Chess?"
"Indeed we shall," said the cat, holding out one smoky paw to the dormouse. "Hop on."
Mally hopped right onto the center of Chessur's paw and the Cheshire Cat lifted her up and placed her on top of his head. Then he bounded off into the deep forest.
After Chessur and Mallymkun had gone on for what seemed a mile or so, they came to an enormous tree stump, as if someone had only cut off the top half of a tree. A circular door was carved into the stump. The cat, panting like a dog, opened the door, revealing his home.
It was a small, simple place, not what Mally had expected at all. A bed, the kind a housecat might have, was in the center of the house. A bookcase was in one corner, a stove and cupboard at another, and a small table with two chairs and candelabra in the center (this was the only source of light in the cat's tiny home).
"Not much, I know, but welcome to my home."
"It's lovely," said Mally.
"Yes, I rather think so, too," said the cat. "Tea?"
"No thanks! I got enough at Thackery's!"
The cat just shrugged his "shoulders."
"Do you have any treacle-pepper tarts?" asked the dormouse after a moment.
"Yes. Just one," was the reply. He sauntered up to the cupboard and pulled a tart with a black jelly center out, which he handed to his rodent friend, who took it and quickly devoured it, down to the very last crumb.
"Mmm…delicious!" she murmered. She looked at Chess, who stared inquisitively at her bag.
"If I may be so bold, my dear dormouse," purred the curious Cheshire Cat, "What's in the bag?"
Mally held up a finger, "Wait," and pulled out of the bag a bright red velvet dress with red and blue lace trimmings. Chessur's aquamarine eyes widened, sparkling with surprise and delight.
"Very pretty," purred Chess. "Where did you get it?"
"From the Hatter. He made it for me as an unbirthday present. It's my most prized possession…besides my pin-sword, of course."
"I say again, very pretty. Tarrant always did have good taste. His hat was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"He never would have let you have it," said Mally seriously, well aware of the feline's hat fetish.
"He never did," said the cat pointedly. "Still, it was a sweet thing…"
"If you wouldn't mind, Chess," interrupted the dormouse, not at all eager to hear her feline friend ramble on about Tarrant's hat, "will you cover your eyes?"
"I wear this dress whenever I sleep."
Chessur's eyes became wider.
"Do you really?"
"Yes. So, if you would be so kind…"
"Certainly," Chessur hissed, and placed two of his round, furry paws over his incredibly large eyes. Mallymkun quickly undressed, throwing her pink skirt, blouse, and breeches into a corner. Then she slipped on the red dress and slipped the belt that held her pin-sword over it.
"Okay, you can look now, if you want."
Chessur slowly uncovered his eyes. A warm shiver splashed over his spine; Mally was positively stunning in the red dress! It fit like a glove on a human hand. He whistled teasingly.
The dormouse blushed.
"Aw, Chess come off it! You're such a flatterer…
The Cheshire Cat laughed and beckoned the dormouse closer with the digit of one paw, Mally followed him as he strutted up to his cat bed and curled up in it.
"Do you dance, Mallymkun?"
"A little…" peeped the dormouse.
"Well," Chess grinned, rolling onto his back and exposing his furry stomach, "I may not have a rug to cut, but don't you think my fur could use a trim?"
Mally giggled and hid her face. Her usually snappish and spunky attitude dissolved whenever Chess said things like that.
"Oh, stop," she simpered.
"Come on, Mally! I may be too big, but my paws are the greatest waltzers I've ever met!"
"I…I don't waltz…"
"Then they'll teach you!" Chessur meowed. "Please, Mally? Just a little dance on me?"
"You and your double meanings!"
"Please?" Chessur pleaded, trying to imitate what the kittens called "the cute look."
Mally sighed; despite all of his human attributes, Chessur was still a cat, and what cat didn't love playing with a mouse?
"One. And make it short."
"Ooh, marvelous!" Chess almost squealed.
Mally hopped onto Chessur's soft, warm, ash-colored belly. It was really unnaturally large for any cat, even a fat cat, and jiggled a bit as she walked over it. The cat purred with content, Mally's paws giving him pleasure he had never thought possible as she skittered on his stomach. The purrs sent a tremor along the stomach, and Mally found herself lose her balance. But before she could fall, the cat's paw grabbed onto her and pulled her up. It "stood" on two digits, and the other two worked as arms. The paw bowed, and with a giggle the dormouse curtsied back. Chess chuckled, and the next thing Mallymkun knew, she and the cat's paw (don't you DARE laugh) were twirling, prancing, and sometimes, in her case, bouncing across the Cheshire Cat's big belly as Chessur hummed the tune to his favorite dance – The Waltzing Cat. After a few minutes, Mally released the paw.
"That's enough, Chess," she panted, "I'm tired."
"Good! My stomach feels quite sore after that dance," hissed Chessur, and stroked his stomach with his paw. Mally just smiled.
The dormouse jumped, suddenly, as a low, loud groan rumbled up from the Cheshire Cat's stomach.
"Ah, yes," growled the cat, "which reminds me: there's something I want to talk to you about, Mally."
"Get off of my gut and I'll be glad to regale you."
Mally giggled and raised an eyebrow curiously; Chess only spoke crudely when he was either in a great hurry or was feeling extremely anxious, neither of which was very often. She jumped off of Chessur's stomach, and the cat rolled back onto it and curled up again. He nodded with his head in a significant manner, gesturing to the dormouse that he wanted her to lie up against his whining midsection, as she had earlier that day. Mally quickly complied, as the cat's belly – while an odd sleeping place compared to the teapots she was used to – was very warm, and far more comfortable than the floor.
"Mally," began the cat, "Remember your words from earlier today, when you were crying?"
"Some of them," Mally answered, knitting her brow. "Why?"
"Do you remember what you said to me?"
"I said…that I wanted to die. I said that…"
Mally stopped mid-sentence. Her tiny black eyes widened with realization and fear.
"Go ahead. Say it," urged the crafty cat.
"I said that I…that I wished you could…"
"…Eat me," she finished.
"Did you mean what you said, Mallymkun?"
"Calm down. I don't want to hurt you. Just take a deep breath and go on."
"I…don't know. I just don't…know! I said them, Chessur, but I…I don't know if I m-meant them or not!"
"Then try to think about how you feel now and how you felt then. If you didn't mean them, and life is a game you want to keep playing, then consider me a friend who'll keep you updated on its rules. If you meant them, however, and you truly want to die, then I am more like a genie…I'll grant your wish, but I'm not saying I'll enjoy it."
"In short, you're saying that unless I ask you to, you won't eat me?"
Mallymkun turned away. She considered her words and her feelings, just as Chessur had advised. Life without the Mad Hatter barely qualified as life, and death sounded tempting, but she couldn't help but think that perhaps all this was a state of depression and she'd soon get over it. Besides which, the cat was notorious for his sadistic pleasure in playing with his food…
"Did you mean it? Do you want it? What are you thinking about?"
"Will you toy with me when you eat me?"
"Of course not! You're no ordinary rodent! Quite to the contrary, you're Mallymkun, the avenging angel of dormice! The mistress of the pin-sword! Underland's finest fencer! The greatest…"
"I get the picture, Chessur! Now show me what it would look like."
"What do you mean?"
Mally raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms in response.
"Do you mean…if I ate you?"
The cat sighed and rose. He went to the cupboard and grabbed a jar of squimberries. He took a single berry out of the jar, went back to his bed and to Mallymkun, and curled up.
"Let's pretend that this squimberry is you," said the cat, and closed his eyes. He tilted his head back and opened his always smiling mouth and dangled the berry between two claws over the abyss. After a few seconds his tongue rolled out of his mouth like a roll of pink tape. Chess dropped the berry onto his tongue and rolled it back up into his jaws, which shut with a snap. Chessur paused and purred, tasting the berry that was in the dormouse's place, and then swallowed it with one gulp. A tiny bulge travelled down the throat and vanished just above the cat's chest. As the squimberry arrived in the stomach, Chessur scratched his belly with a long black claw.
"That's what it'll look like out here," the Cheshire Cat purred at long last.
Mallymkun shuddered in disgust, fur rippling along her body. The whole process was not pleasant to watch, and she wasn't sure if she really wanted to be in the squimberry's after all. But when she thought of Thackery's reaction (or lack thereof) at the tea table to her leaving, and then thought of Tarrant's funeral…his burial…the blank, mourning face of Alice, the tearful eyes of Bayard the Bloodhound …the famous hat still on the Hatter's red-haired head…
"Hello? Underland to Mallymkun the Dormouse? Do you copy?"
Mally laughed lightly, Chessur's joke snapping her back into reality.
"Welcome back! Now, Mally, what do you say?"
"I…I'll have to sleep on it, Chess…"
"Aha! Now who's using the double-meanings?"
"Chessur…I was depressed, delirious…mad! I'm going to need some time to think, and I know that we're both sleepy."
"Hmm…how true that is," murmered the cat. "Especially you, right, dormousey?"
His secret pet-name for her. Mally glared and fingered her pin-sword in its scabbard.
"Don't push it, cat."
"Very well. Fairnacht, Mally."
Mally's feline friend nodded, yawned, and fell asleep in a flash. The dormouse remained awake for a time after, thinking feverishly. For those who don't know, choosing between your own life and your own death is not an easy choice to make in any sort of scenario. For Mallymkun, this was also true; for her, death sounded almost appealing, but the manner of death made her squirm.
Cheshire Cats, rare creatures that they are, have anesthetic in their saliva. Anything they eat that hits their bellies still breathing will feel no pain, and the acids of their stomachs are not the strongest in the world. Mallymkun knew this. Every inch of her body touched by Chessur's tongue would be immune to any pain, and it would likely be lack of air or dehydration that would do her in. She wasn't scared of feeling pain, therefore, just scared of the experience. (That and her mind was buzzing with whether or not suicide via digestion in the stomach of her closest remaining friend was a prudent idea.)
Mallymkun turned her head back and up to gaze upon the sleeping cat. Chess was adorable, almost like a kitten again, when he was asleep, not like the mad cat he was when awake at all. She smiled and snuggled closer into his furry body. She placed her paws on his belly and rubbed it lightly. Chess purred, sending a soothing vibration along him and into Mally, and curled his tail about her tighter. Mally's comfort increased as his body warmth seeped through her own snowy white fur and warmed her up like a giant bedsheet. Her round, marble colored ear was against the cat's chest, and amidst his ecstatic purrs she heard the thunderous pounding of the Cheshire Cat's heartbeat.
The dormouse sighed loudly, the sound of her friend's heart lulling her, inviting her to sweet rest. The vibrations caused by Chessur's purring were as relaxing as any massage, and only made the always-sleepy dormouse (this was why she was so grumpy and snappish most of the time) all the more tired. Her beady eyes fluttered, closed, and she drifted off into a dreamless sleep, the thought of death temporarily out of her weary mind.
Chessur was the first to awaken. He yawned and looked at the still-sleeping dormouse.
"Wake up, Mally," purred Chess in his velvety voice, but his purring only caused Mally to mutter incoherently in her sleep and squeeze herself against him a bit closer. Chess chuckled and licked one of the dormouse's ears, tickling Mally and causing her to wake up with a laugh.
"Fairbon, Mally!" purred Chessur.
"Fairbon, Chess!" squeaked the dormouse.
"Did you sleep well?"
"Very! You make a great bed!" teased the dormouse, jabbing the cat's ample belly.
Chessur grinned as always, but his eyes were very serious, almost stern in appearance as he looked the dormouse in the eye.
"Did you decide, Mally?"
The dormouse let a sly smile that made the cat jealous play across her whiskered lips. Sly…but also very sad.
"Later. I'll tell you my decision later."
"When is later?"
"Tonight. I think I need just a little more time."
"All right," he said. "Care for some breakfast?"
"What is there?"
"Well, I have a few things in the cupboard…"
And thus began what would be the dormouse's last day. The day was strangely uneventful; after Mally changed into her usual pink skirt and breeches, she and Chessur enjoyed a breakfast of squimberry and spinach scones with milk. The dormouse found herself back in a depressed state of mind soon after. Chess did his very best to try and cheer her up, but no matter what joke he cracked or game he played, Mally stayed sad. Nothing worked.
Evening came sooner than either had thought. Mally was sitting in a corner, brooding and scratching images of the Hatter's signature top hat into the floor with her pin-sword, when Chess evaporated behind her and cleared his throat loudly.
Mally whipped around, a bit startled but not really scared.
"Don't do that!" she snapped.
"It's evening, Mally. Your choice?"
Mally smiled that sad but sly smile again. Chessur was almost happy to see her lips curl up instead of down for once that day.
"May I tell you in bed?"
Chess sighed irritably; Mally was just as annoying as he could be when she acted as mysterious as she was now.
"Fine," Chess hissed. He and Mally went to the Cheshire Cat's bed, where the cat curled up around his rodent friend.
"So, are you going to tell me your choice or not? Will be my dinner or eat dinner with me?"
"It was difficult to choose, but…"
Mally took a deep breath and gave the cat a very grave stare.
"I hope you're hungry."
Chess sighed again, this time with grief.
"You still want to die, Mally?"
"Yes. Yes I do. I'm sorry, Chess, but without Tarrant I find no meaning in living anymore. I've got to see him again, one way or another!"
Chessur's ears drooped, and his eyes shimmered with tears
"So be it," hissed Chessur. He scooped the tiny dormouse up in one paw and brought her up to his face, right in front of his grinning mouth.
"Take off your outfit," he said softly, silkily. "I refuse to eat you with your skirt on."
And so the dormouse removed her pink skirt, her blouse, her apron, and – reluctantly – her prized pin-sword. She kissed her treasured weapon, lovingly whispering to it, "Fairfarren" as she flung it into the corner, not without regret. She refused to take off her breeches.
"Thank you, Mally," whispered the cat. He wasn't sure if he could do what the dormouse wanted; it was tough to stomach (both the deed and the dormouse). Still, a deal was a deal…
"No, Chess. Thank YOU. I hope I taste good."
"As do I," murmered the cat, and almost meant it. "Fairfarren, Mallymkun."
"Fairfarren, Chessur. Take care of yourself."
Chess nodded, sniffled, and then lifted Mally higher into the air with the thumb and finger of his other paw, by the scruff of her neck. Slowly he opened his ever-smiling, but not always happy mouth, revealing to Mally all of his sharp, pointed teeth and dark, red, wet throat. His tongue rolled out of his mouth and gently licked the dormouse, as if in farewell, and then wrapped around her waist. With a soft slurp, she was pulled into the dark, dripping space between the Cheshire Cat's jaws. For a few moments, nothing happened. The rumbling of Chessur's purrs wafted up from the abyss that was his throat. (He wanted to kill himself; Mally was the tastiest creature he'd ever met!)
It was more cramped than Mally had expected inside the mouth of the cat. She caught a whiff of the feline's breath, and wrinkled her nose; Chessur may have been a handsome cat, but his breath stank foully of fish!
"Huhlf!" she gagged. "Chess!"
"Yes?" came the cat's muffled voice.
"PLEASE remember to brush after eating me!"
Chess made no reply, save a sound that came from his throat somewhere between a sob and a chuckle. Wanting to get it all over with, the Cheshire Cat tilted his head back and swallowed Mallymkun the dormouse in a single gulp.
Mally felt the slippery, sand-papery tongue beneath her tilt backwards. There was a loud noise – it sounded like someone growling out the word "galumph" – and she fell headfirst down the throat as her friend-turned-devourer gulped her straight down, down into the depths of his body. The throat was tight and slick, like a very narrow water slide. The dormouse slithered down rapidly, and heard the cat's heartbeat as she passed his chest. It grew darker, and redder in color, as she descended. She slowed suddenly, and realized she was approaching her final destination: the dooming stomach. She was practically squeezed into it by the muscles of the throat, and landed with a murky splash as she hit the gastric fluids.
So here she was, thought the dormouse, in the proverbial belly of the beast. Actually, the Cheshire Cat's belly was not at all as horrible as she had previously thought, particularly because Mallymkun was coated in the cat's pain-killing saliva. It was dark, warm, and very wet, but not uncomfortably so…well, not for someone who'd slept in teapots for a good portion of her life. Mally found herself up to her chest in a fishy-smelling liquid, a pale orange in color, when she stood. It came up to her waist when she stood up. The walls were deep, dark, bloody red, as if illuminated by a light that seeped through the blood of the cat's belly, and pulsated as the digestive process began and they began to churn and mix the stomach juices. No "goop" dripped from the "ceiling", and except for the stench of fish, it wasn't as smelly as the dormouse had guessed. Bubbles tickled her now-drenched and sticky fur, rising from the fluids like the bubbles of soda.
No sooner had Mally stood up than she fell back down into the fluids as her world was rocked and rolled and a loud, messy, roaring sound filled her ears, "BOOOORRRAAAAAP!" The bubbles rose rapidly around Mallymkun, and she found herself quite disoriented. It took the sound of her friend's voice above – not muffled but actually increased in volume – letting out a satisfied "Ahh!" to make the small, white dormouse realize what had happened: Chessur had belched.
"Pardon," came the polite but saddened voice of the cat.
"I should say so!" squeaked Mally. "You tripped and shook me up in here, you did! Why if I had pin-sword down here with me, Chess, I'd give you a case of indigestion you'd never forget!"
"I'm sorry…about all of this…" meowed the cat in a strangely broken voice, speaking to his stomach, tears in his large, turquoise eyes.
"Don't be, Chess!" soothed the dormouse, just as the cat had soothed her when he found her at the burbling brook in tulgey woods, when the whole thing started. She placed a hand on the fleshy, somewhat slimy wall of the stomach and rubbed it gently, as if trying to pet the cat from within. After a few moments of this, she felt something touch her tiny hand, and saw a round imprint on the wall before her: the cat's paw. Chessur was patting his belly back. "You've been a good friend, Chess…it's not as painful this way…I want this…" continued Mallymkun in a soft, calm voice.
But Chessur refused to hear her. The feeling of his old friend inside him, slowly digesting, and trying to comfort him, filled him with regret and self-loathing. Sad and angry (at not only himself but at Mallymkun, Tarrant, Thackery, and indeed the whole wide world), the Cheshire Cat collapsed into his bed and cried like a baby. A smile graced his face the whole time, but needless to say, he wasn't happy.
Mally heard the cat's weeping from inside the dark stomach. She sighed and, ears drooping, lay back in the pool of acid and floated about idly in her dark, growling tomb. Chessur let out a second, softer burp as he wept, and the dormouse felt the air grow thin, and noticed the pulsating walls of the stomach had inched closer, now lightly caressing her body as they prepared to digest her. She felt herself relax, and became terribly drowsy. Then, still floating in the slimy, hot stomach, her eyes finally flickered closed and the tiny, sleepy dormouse slipped into a sweet slumber…one from which she would never awaken.
Mallymkun the Dormouse's final words were, "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat…how I wonder where you're at…"
"It's over now, the music of the night!" - Erik, The Phantom of the Opera