A/N: I know, I know, I haven't finished posting RTWAWAFT. But I needed to start posting this one because I really need to start working on it! And perhaps by starting to post it I will be more motivated.
Summary: Alice is now 21 years old, a successful business partner to Lord Ascot, and engaged to be married to her successful fiancé. Alice's life would appear perfect, except for her constant nightmares of strange creatures and things, in particular a certain man with a large top hat and striking green eyes. Alice thinks this is all a dream she had made up in her head, but suppose she falls down the rabbit hole and her Dreamworld could actually be a reality? Based off the Almost Alice CD and Avril Lavigne's Alice music video.
6/22/2012: I went through and edited this story to fix grammar and cut down the paragraph sizes to make it easier to read!
And of course: I don't own AiW, many other people do. Nor do I own any of the songs that are included in the centered, italicized sections. This one, Her Name is Alice, belongs to the Shinedown.
(If I had a world of my own everything would be nonsense
Nothing will be what it is because everything would be what it isn't)
I invite you to a world where there is no such thing as time
And every creature lends themself to change your state of mind
And the girl that chased the rabbit, drank the wine, and took the pill
Has locked herself in limbo to see how it truly feels
To stand outside your virtue
No one can ever hurt you
Or so they say...
Alice Kingsleigh sat at the wide desk in her small room looking out the window. She was supposed to be carefully writing out wedding invitations in meticulously practice calligraphy but she was much too distracted by the beautiful star-littered sky outside her window. She tapped the pen that was supposed to be drawing the difficult letters upon the desk as she bit at her thumb nail.
Her twenty first birthday was fast approaching and so much had happened in her life since the day she accepted Lord Ascot's offer to become his business partner. She had traveled from China and back, meeting Lord Bayne Johnson on her travels. He was a branch owner for the company and a very smart man. Alice found him quite intriguing to talk to and they had long conversation about law and life in the late nights on the boat. Both had trouble sleeping- Alice because of her strange dreams and Bayne because he just couldn't sleep. He claimed so much preoccupied his mind that he just couldn't concentrate it all and shut it off so he could rest at night. They came rapid fire to him with no end in sight. Alice had found this slightly funny and completely absurd. She liked absurd. Ever since she was little she had a small notion in her that there was a place where everything didn't make any sense and what should be wasn't. It was a funny little dream to have constantly. Something quite different had always nagged Alice in the back of her mind that this really wasn't a dream, that she had actually visited a place such as this. But it was all impossible.
She was tired because of another late night pacing her room and trying to chase away the nightmares. She had a crazy notion that if such a place did exist she hoped she could find it because it would be a safe haven for her. She found herself laughing aloud at the stroke of midnight and feared she had truly gone round the bend. She tried to bore herself with the plans for the wedding. Soon she would be Mrs. Alice Johnson. A perfectly horrid name. She didn't like the idea of getting married and the only reason she had agreed to it was because she promised her mother she would do something useful in her life.
Alice felt that leading the company wasn't enough; she truly needed to settle down like all the other girls much younger than her already had. She would never be able to find a man that truly captured her anyhow. He sister thought she had snagged the perfect man for her. Lowell Manchester was a handsome, witty, smart man that her sister absolutely worshipped. He also cheated on his wife and had a severe gambling problem. Alice figured if she couldn't find the perfect man she might as well marry in the ranks of a rich one. Her mother had been lucky in finding her father, but Alice was not her mother. She was not down to earth and she certainly let her dreams take over her reality. She had chased a rabbit and tripped in a hole two whole years ago because she actually believed it to be wearing a waistcoat! What a funny notion! All she got for it was a soiled dress and a very confused head. Her nightmares only became more frequent and descriptive after that. She actually believed that she had found this magical wonderland and fallen into a hall where she had to eat cake to grow and drink wine to shrink. What a silly idea to even propose!
Alice looked down at the wedding invitation and sighed. A place like that was only one her heart dreamed was real because that way she would be able to escape from the terrible future she could only block from her thoughts. She closed her eyes and thought of the wedding. It was time to concentrate, to take things seriously, not to dream. She took her pen in hand and dipped it into the ink well. With a steady hand and an aching heart she began to address an invitation to one of the now married Chataway sister, banishing the hope of escape from her thoughts.
Sometimes the curiosity can kill the soul but leave the pain
And every ounce of innocence is left inside her brain
And through the looking glass we see she's painfully returned
But now "off with her head" I fear is everyone's concern
Alice sat at the right hand side of Bayne at their engagement party. He smiled at her with his straight toothed smile and his deep blue eyes. Alice found herself looking down at her dinner plate as her stomach churned from the lack of sleep she had acquired last night.
"Alice, are you alright?" The man asked in concern and put a hand on her back. She hated the feeling of the weight and found herself shrugging it off.
She was in a horrible mood and she didn't want to be reasonable. Alice wanted to lock herself inside her room and throw shoes and clothes against the wall just because she could. She felt that she was losing all she was merely because she took this proposal from Bayne. She closed her eyes again and saw the mysterious man that always seemed to stare back at her with his rarely focusing large green eyes. They were the brightest green she had ever seen and she felt so completely accepted and at home in them. But she had never met this man before, he was an escape in her imagination and it always caused her to curse herself inwardly because she was strangely attracted to him. But now was a time to live in reality, she couldn't go off into the dream man's stare as Bayne touched her body and looked into her with those dead blue eyes. She forced herself to look into them now and plastered a very fake feeling smile upon her face.
"Of course I am dearest; I don't mean to cause you to worry." She said gently. He looked at her with a shake of his straight black hair.
"Don't tell me you are having more nightmares?"
"Then I won't." She said and looked back to her plate and the food that lay there. She wasn't in the mood to eat and she certainly would retch the food up later as she tossed and turned, the mad man still on her mind.
"Everyone is going to think you are off your head if you constantly find yourself lost in them." He said disapprovingly and took Alice's hand. She kept hers limp like a smelly dead fish.
"I am not in the mood to care what others think. I am tired and I am irritated." She said and glared at him.
"Alice, be a proper woman!" He scolded harshly in a whisper. She put her elbows on the table and thrust her head into her hands.
Would she suffer every day she didn't feel like herself being told to behave like a proper woman? She stood suddenly and left the room in rush. She didn't want to be there and she certainly did not want to be scolded like a little child by her husband to be. She heard his chair scrape across the floor as he rushed up after her.
"Alice!" He said. "One moment, everyone, I am afraid Alice's nerves have gotten the best of her." He apologized and made an excuse for Alice in front of the rest of the party. Alice went out to the balcony of the large mansion that overlooked the Johnson estate. She began to pace back and forth, her brain thinking constantly. Bayne stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame and watched her.
"I am not going back in there." She stopped her pacing to speak to her fiancé.
"Alice, why are you acting this way? It's almost as if you don't want to marry me." He said and went to Alice, standing before her. He frowned down at her and she looked up at him with a scowl.
"Of course I do!" She lied and went to lean against the railing. "It's just that these dreams keep happening and I don't feel like myself." She admitted with frailty and looked out to horizon.
"Alice Kingsleigh. You must do your best to rein in this feeling you have. It makes you quite disagreeable when I need you to be extremely." He answered her good naturedly. Alice just kept looking ahead.
You see there's no real ending
It's only the beginning
Come out and play...
This kingdom, good riddance
Her freedom and innocence
Has brought this whole thing down
Alice shot up from a nightmare. It was a new one about the same old place she went to when she rest her head on her white pillows at night. She couldn't remember names and the faces of the people she met were sometimes unclear. Only the man with the intense green eyes and the strange top hat that sat upon her head stayed locked in her memory in her waking hours.
Tonight the same red face appeared in her head. The short woman dressed in the angry color had a large forehead, big brown eyes, and an enormous mass of hair atop her head. Alice sat on her bed panting and trying to remember what the dream was about. She was dressed in battle regalia and she had carried a large sword advancing toward an intimidating reptile. The air around her in the dream was thick and Alice knew she was going to kill the creature before her. The dream became fuzzy again and she could only remember killing the creature by slicing off his head. Something had startled her very much in the dream for her to have awoken so violently. She threw the large, fluffy blue comforter off her body as she began to take note of how hot her body was. She placed a hand on the back of her neck and found that her head was sweaty. A chill from the cracked open window caused her to shiver from the sweat that glistened on her body, now soaking into her night gown.
Alice stood up and went to the window to look out it. It was summer and the English night was warm, a slight breeze traveled through the windows. She looked down into the garden and saw a curious little white creature which appeared to be looking back up at her. It reached into its pocket pulling some strange device from his waistcoat. A waistcoat wearing rabbit? Alice knew she had to be dreaming still and she pressed her wrist to her eyes.
Perhaps she was coming down with a strange sickness that was making her go mad. The Ascot's oldest son had contracted a horrid disease and came home to die in the fits of madness. It was partly the reason that Alice had decided to return back to England with the man, she felt terribly sorry for his loss. He was going to have to train Hamish now as another business partner because of the loss of his influential eldest. Alice had agreed to give the exasperating childhood friend some help and advice she had acquired in her travels with his father. In fact, she was going to meet him in the garden the next morning to review maps and trade routes that Lord Ascot had bought and controlled.
Her eyes were heavy with sleep but she knew that it was again going to evade her this evening as the nightmare had frightened her. She went to light the small candle that sat on her desk but then opened her curtains as wide as they would go letting the light of the full moon illuminate the chamber. It cast an eerie silver glow on her furniture and walls, making things appear not as they should. Alice looked out to the garden and saw the rabbit again. How maddening it was to see the creature and she regretted drinking so much wine at the party last night. Bayne had persuaded her to go back among the guests, she had agreed half heartedly. The rest of the evening was laced with tension and all Alice wanted to do was escape from the propriety around her. She began drinking wine, something she had never done before. She drank lots and lots, to the point where the room started spinning and her stomach felt heavy. She imagined Bayne's horrified look in her face. Her mother had come to the two of them, scolding her for drinking too many glasses. Alice remembered trying to apologize but she couldn't get her tongue to move right. Lady Kingsleigh had brought her up to her room early, putting her straight to bed. Alice had awoken a few hours earlier and vomited, vowing to never again try finding her imagination at the bottom of a bottle. The way she felt was absolutely horrid and she returned to bed with a headache. This was the second time she had awoken this evening and she had a mind numbing pain that raced through her skull to boot. Surely she was still drunk if she saw this silly little rabbit looking up at her curiously. Alice gave a shrug of her shoulders and found herself leaving the room without much thought to it. She ran out the room and down the stairs, her bare feet tickled by the feeling of the soft grass beneath them. The rabbit stood on his hind legs and she realized he was holding a large pocket watch. She laughed at the funny looking creature.
"I really must give up drinking before I even start." She said with a shake of her head. The White Rabbit looked at her with a cocked head and suddenly his mouth opened.
"Alice?" He asked cautiously. She began to laugh. She laughed so hard that tears were streaming down her cheeks and she felt the sudden urge to urinate.
"I really am still dreaming." She said and she pinched herself, not waking up. The White Rabbit shook his head at her, hopping a little closer.
"Alice, do you remember me?" He hopped closer.
"You are the silly white rabbit that always races through my dreams. Perhaps someday I will figure out where you are going to lead me and I will write a wonderful little tale about my journeys." She said and turned back to the house.
"Wait, Alice. You should come back with me,"
"Why ever would I do that?" She halted in her walk back to the house and looked at him. "This is a dream and I don't want to go back to that horrible place that always makes me wake up terrified." She answered; turning back she walked quickly to the house. She went up the stairs and she threw herself on the bed. She had to wake up because this dream was starting to mix with reality. The last thing she wanted to be known for was raving fits of lunacy. She wasn't going to be locked up in the sanatorium like old Aunt Imogene was. She forced her eyes to closed, focusing on her breathing. She would wake up in the morning when the creepy light of the moon was replaced with the warm rays of the sun. She began to count backwards which calmed her mind enough in the past and before she knew it she was back in the Wonderland. Would she never escape this nightmare?
Her name is Alice (Alice)
She crawls into the window
Through shapes and shadows
And even though she's dreaming
She's unlocked the meaning
(Midnight's bright lights,
Marching into the fight.
Drink me, shrink me,
Fill me to sink me.)
She's unlocked the meaning for you
Alice was glad to find that she had awoken the next morning after the last of a strange dream that involved chess pieces and playing cards getting up from the game table to race after each other. She thought it was the oddest thing to dream about and she pushed the ponderings from her mind as she looked at Hamish. He was studying a map of England which was circled and lined with red pen. He shook his head.
"My Father certainly has a lot of territory to keep track of." He said in frustration and lay the map down on the table. They sat at a table in the Ascot's garden, sipping tea. Books were strewn all over the glass table's top, some had even fallen to the cobblestoned path as Hamish tried his best to memorize which business partner ran which part of the company. Alice remembered trying to memorize them herself and all the last names had begun to run together. She looked at Hamish with a forgiving smile and placed a gentle hand on her friend's.
"Don't worry, Hamish, you'll get them straight." She encouraged him and reached up to push the large brimmed hat she wore to remain pale out of her viewpoint. He smiled at her and shook his head, crossing one leg over the other. He placed the map and a chart on the table-like formation crossing them had made his legs and looked down at it fretfully.
"If you succeeded in memorizing this, Alice, you are a patient one indeed." He flashed her a smile then returned to muttering to himself. Alice found that the repetitious babbling sounded like the marching of the knight's feet she had in her dream last night. She looked to the book she was trying to read on stuffy old men that had traveled China's countryside in look for rare goods. The words on the page ran together and she groaned in frustration as her thoughts returned to the dream. It caused Hamish to look up; his bent index finger paused ponderously on his lips, the rest of his fingers curled into his palm. "What is the matter, Miss Kingsleigh?" He asked and adjusted his posture to face her. She shook her head and closed the book in her lap.
"It's nothing really. Just nightmares I've had ever since I was young." She looked up at him and he nodded his head.
"What are they about?"
"Nonsense, really. I always need to be eating this cake that makes me grow and drinking wine that causes me to shrink. I meet strange creatures that dress like proper gentlemen and ladies. I see talking flowers and crying trees. Nothing in them has any meaning."
"Alice, it's just a dream, not a lesson." He responded to her with a reassuring smile. "You always are trying to find the nuance in everything you ever see." He shook his head. Alice gave him a half hearted smile and looked down at her feet.
"I suppose I am," She agreed with him. "But I can't help but think it must mean something if I see the same things over and over again." She looked up and he shrugged.
"Perhaps someday you'll find this Wonderland on earth and then you'll know what it means."
"Oh it's not available on this side of Heaven, Hamish." She answered with a sigh. "I always need to fall down rabbit holes and through looking glasses to get to where it is I go."
"That is rather odd." He nodded his head. "Oh well, Alice, you were one for making unusual entrances. It's most likely anxiety at this wedding to Lord Johnson that is coming up. Speaking of which he owns….no don't tell me….the company that controls the Western part of the English empire." He said to her. She smiled at him and nodded.
"Yes. If it is a dream, be that as it may, I wish I could just make sense out of all the indefinite." She placed her cheek on her hand and looked over at Hamish.
"You, Alice? The little girl who always told me that what it is, it be wouldn't in her own little world of her mind?" He said with a smile.
Perhaps Hamish was right, the dreams would cease once the wedding was over and her anxiety of the planning for it was gone. Only to be replaced with the horridness of the marriage. She frowned inwardly at herself at her little conundrum. But outwardly she smiled up to the old childhood and family friend and laughed in agreement with him over her juvenile proposal. "And what it wouldn't be, it would."
(And contrary wise, what it is, it wouldn't be.
And what it wouldn't be, it would, you see?)