The Cheshire cat sits in the accustomed place. It lurks in a tree, hidden, barely there. The Mad Hatter is in his garden as usual, limited to the space behind the white picket fence. They are in a staring match, you see, and neither of them has blinked for hundreds of years. Once someone heard it say that everyone was mad. Everyone knows, of course, that 'everyone' in this context must exclude the cat; cats are immune to madness. No whole cat has ever been less than fully aware. Yet, the staring match goes on. Does the cat dare to look away, as cats are wont to do, and forfeit? Does the man have the sense to know if and when he has won, or what the odds are of such a thing occurring?
Somewhere once upon an idea, Chess is driving into the woods with Madd, and she may never return.
Somewhere, Emily Chester is either smiling at the satisfaction of having driven the baron away, or she is locked in a private asylum, whispering her tale to the whitewashed walls.
In a way, somewhere Chessie is summoning the courage to plunge a knife into the chest of the man who haunts her dreams.
The Cheshire cat and the Mad Hatter are at a standstill. They are waiting.