So here's the last in my "Alice's Wonderland" series. I thought this would be a good scene to end the series with, but if I do think of something else, I'll add on. But for now, this is the final one shot. I hope you all like it.
Oh, and I heard some bad news. Apparently, Tim Burton has denied making an "Alice" sequel, and instead, wants to do a stage adaptation. Now, who else other than me thinks this will ruin the fandom? How in the world will they put this film on stage?
Disclaimer: I don't own Alice in Wonderland. If I did, a sequel would already be in the works.
The Final Journey
Helen Kingsleigh knew that her time was running short.
At such an old age, one always knows when it is time for them to leave, never to return to the life they lived. Nor do they fear it. They accept it, allowing themselves to move on and give way for those who are younger. It's a way of life. Everyone must die sooner or later.
And for the elderly woman, she was certain that her time had come to move on. She was lying in bed at the Ascot estate, her breathing heavy and her body weak. Her eldest daughter was downstairs with her husband, both giving the woman the much needed space to spend her final moments, as the doctor had advised them to do. Helen couldn't blame him. Margaret was a very emotional young woman.
The youngest wasn't. She was strong, independent, and...absent. Helen had forgotten how long it had been since Alice had disappeared without a trace, on the day Hamish proposed to her. Lady Ascot had been livid concerning the rejection, so had ordered for Alice to be found and fetched back, where she would talk sense into her; or worse, blackmail her into marriage. But Helen had just smiled.
"You won't find her," she had told the other woman.
And she had been right. For Alice could not be found. Men searched well into the night, but still they could not find any trace of the blonde haired girl anywhere. Margaret had cried, but Helen had comforted her and told her that Alice was happy and in a better place. Margaret said firmly that Alice wasn't dead. Her mother had told her she never said she was.
Helen was surprised Lady Ascot had let her spend her final days in her household, but it was vital that she did. For she was determined to see her youngest daughter one last time before she died. She was weak, but deep down, Helen knew she had the strength and determination to make her final journey.
It was nightfall, and once she heard the last footsteps disappear into the many bedrooms, Helen very slowly climbed out of bed. She wrapped a blanket around her and put on a pair of slippers. Her head spun after she stood, and Helen paused to allow her muscles and bones to get used to the idea of standing again. When the room had stopped spinning she walked very slowly over to her desk, picked up a pen, and began to write on a blank piece of paper.
My dearest Margaret,
By the time you read this, I will be long gone. I am sorry to leave you like this, but I must see Alice again. I must say my goodbyes to her before I pass away. I will not be returning, so do not wait for me. Allow yourself to move on and carry on with life, with me still in your memory, but not enough to keep sorrow planted in your heart.
I shall give your blessings to your father.
Her handwriting was scruffy, for her hand was shaking with weakness. She almost gave up. But Helen was determined. She had to see her youngest daughter one last time. And she knew only one place she would be.
Helen had always suspected Alice's dreams to be something much more. And when Alice spoke to her that day, she had marked her suspicions as true. So with only one thing set in her mind, Helen silently made her way out into the Ascot grounds and through the maze, trying to figure out the same route which Alice would have taken. She had never seen the hole herself, but she had a feeling she would know it immediately.
In the darkness, Helen found herself entering a clearing, using nothing but the starlight to guide her. Which wasn't enough, since her eyesight was failing her. Helen looked around; she didn't see any sort of rabbit hole. She hoped with every hope left in her heart that Lady Ascot hadn't decided to fill it in. And even if she hadn't, it would take Helen too long to find it in the darkness. Perhaps she should have brought a candle with her.
There was a rustling in the bushes, and Helen turned to see a rather large White Rabbit staring at her. And what was more, he was wearing a waistcoat.
"Um..." Helen began; she knew it must be one of Alice's friends, but she was rather uncertain about talking to an animal. "You know my daughter, don't you? Alice?"
The Rabbit wasn't surprised, and instead, his head tilted in curiosity. He must be wondering who she is, Helen decided.
"I'm her mother," Helen explained, her voice weakening. "I would like to see her one last time before I..."
She trailed off. But the Rabbit seemed to understand, so hopped past her towards a large tree on a hill. He turned to her as if expecting to follow. Helen did, after some hesitation, and found a large Rabbit Hole waiting at the base of the tree. The inside of it was dark, but Helen wasn't afraid. But she wasn't stupid, either.
"I should have given myself better advice," she spoke aloud to herself. "The fall would kill me before I even reached the bottom."
The Rabbit, noting her weakness and sadness, placed a paw on her hand. When Helen looked up at him he gave her a trusting look, before darting into the hole with his white tail sticking upwards into the air. Helen debated her choices. She could just go back to the house and die peacefully and in the safety of four walls. But she couldn't just leave the world not knowing whether her youngest daughter was being taken care of.
So, taking in a deep breath, she allowed herself to fall into the hole. At first she was met by a rush of wind, but then, she began to slow down. She was falling, but slowly, as were the many objects she passed. Chairs, cups, paintings, globes, jars, desks, a piano; all were things Helen never expected to see in a rabbit hole, but at the same time, she wasn't surprised by them. This was Alice's world, after all; of course it would be nonsense.
Finally, a light blinded her vision, and Helen landed upon soft heather in the middle of a lush field of blossom. It was late evening, she noticed, and the sun was setting in the west. She weakly helped herself to her feet, and gazing round, she saw the White Rabbit waiting for her no more than a few feet away. Helen cautiously walked towards him.
"You can talk, can you not?" Helen asked, remembering Alice saying once that in her world, all the animals could talk.
"That I can," the Rabbit replied. "I hope your fall was better than your daughter's. I asked Time to slow down for you. Of course he didn't mind. He'd do anything for the mother of Underland's Champion."
Helen's eyebrows screwed up at this. Champion? Alice had told her nothing of that amongst her many stories and wild tales.
"I can see you're confused," the Rabbit observed. "Follow me. I shall explain on our way to the castle."
So Helen weakly followed him to where she could see a white castle in the distance. Along the way, the Rabbit (who's name, she learnt, was Nivens McTwisp) told her everything about Alice's second visit; the prediction in the Oraculum, her time at the Red Queen's castle, her escape, how she had stepped forwards the slay the Jabberwocky, and finally, her decision to stay in the magical land.
"You'll be glad to know that she is happy and well," the Rabbit finished. "She and Tarrant are doing so well together."
Helen's eyebrows screwed up once more.
"Your daughter may have referred to him as the Mad Hatter before," the Rabbit explained. "That's...the most important part of the story, and the reason why she stayed. You see, when she returned, they began to have...feelings for one another."
Then it made sense. That was why Alice couldn't marry Hamish. She had, by the looks of things, fallen in love. A Mad Hatter may not have been who Helen had in mind for her daughter, but thinking about it further, it seemed...right. Who better for her mad daughter than a mad man?
"Are they married?" Helen asked.
"Some months ago, they did," the Rabbit replied. "I'm sure she would love to tell you about the ceremony herself."
The Rabbit stopped, and Helen stopped with him, glancing upwards. They had arrived in the courtyard of the castle. Directly ahead of them was a beautiful woman all dressed in white, but with dark fingernails, lips and eyes, which contrasted perfectly. Next to her stood a man with wild orange hair and a hat atop of his head, his skin white and his clothes mismatched. And next to him stood...Alice!
It was whispered so silently that it could barely be heard, but Alice heard it, and instantly her head shot up. Her face became full of shock, relief, surprise and happiness all at once.
She was in front of her before Helen could even realize it, her hands wrapped tightly around her frail and weak body. She had changed so much; her hair was let down loose, but she was glowing with happiness and something Helen could only recognize as freedom. In fact, she looked a lot happier and a lot healthier than she had ever been in London. Her eyes were sparkling with a sense of adventure, and an untameable spirit she had once thought to be a bad thing. But seeing Alice now, she realized that it was who her daughter was. She would be nothing without it.
"What are you doing here?" Alice asked, still astonished by the sudden appearance of her mother. "You didn't fall down the hole by accident, did you?"
"No," Helen assured her daughter. "Alice, I...just had to see you again, before..."
"Before what?" Alice asked, noticing that her mother didn't look quite herself; older than before. "Mother, are you all right?"
As soon as she had said it, Helen collapsed. Seeing her daughter like this, so happy and so free, had been too overwhelming for her. She dropped to the ground, and instantly, Alice was by her side.
"Mother!" she cried. "Mirana! Tarrant! Help!"
The two who were with her were instantly by her side, along with the Rabbit, all looking just as worried as Alice. The commotion brought others to her side, as well, all of whom Helen recognized from Alice's many stories. A Dodo bird, dressed in a coat and holding a walking stick; twin boys, round and identical (and squabbling with each other); a small Dormouse, dressed in breeches, and wielding a small hat-pin sword; a Hare, his fur and coat messy, and holding a broken teacup; a smiling cat, drifting just above the man's shoulder; a bloodhound, along with another and puppies; and a blue butterfly (who she presumed was once a blue caterpillar), seated upon the white woman's shoulder.
"Mother, what's wrong?" Alice asked again.
"My time has almost come, Alice," Helen told her gravely.
"No..." Alice whispered, shaking her head frantically. "No! No, you can't die! Mirana can heal you! She's in the healing arts!"
"Alice, I'm afraid your mother is right," the woman, Helen presumed was Mirana, said. "Her time as come."
"No!" Alice denied. "Mother, I'm so sorry I left! Please, don't die!"
"Don't be sorry, Alice," her mother assured her. "I can see that you are very happy here. And as long as you are happy, then I am happy. I came her so I could see you one last time. Just to make sure you are being taken care of."
"I am, Mother," Alice told her. "I even got married, just like you always hoped I would do. But I doubt you would approve of you I married."
"As long as you love him, Alice, then I am proud to call him my son in law."
Alice's smile couldn't have been wider. At that moment, the man wearing the mismatched clothes came and knelt down beside her, taking her hand in his and giving it a comforting squeeze. Helen knew that this was the man Alice married.
"Mother, this is my husband," Alice introduced. "Tarrant Hightopp, Royal Hatter to the White Queen."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs Kingsleigh," he greeted her with a wide smile.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, too, Mr Hightopp," Helen greeted him back. "I can see, just by looking at the two of you, that you both love each other dearly, like I loved Charles. I know...you will take care of Alice."
"I will defend her with my life."
Helen was happy, content, and proud of her daughter. And knowing this, she allowed her eyes to drift closed.
"Mother, no!" Alice cried, tears in her eyes. "You can't die! Please!"
"Alice..." Helen whispered. "I'm so proud of you."
And without another word, her eyes closed, and she peacefully and painlessly drifted away. Alice, overwhelmed, turned and flung into the Hatter's arms, crying into him as he held her close. Her friends around her hung their heads low, respecting the memory of Alice's mother. Dark clouds gathered in the skies above, thunder rumbled, and the rain poured down from the heavens to quench the thirst of the plants and trees below.
Underland herself was even mourning the death of Helen Kingsleigh.
I hope that didn't depress too many people. Please leave reviews.