She was done. Closing the log laying heavily on her desk, with a satisfied sigh, Alice had finished what she had set out to do. It had taken nearly 6 years but she had surpassed her late fathers dreams and extended his trade route all the way to china, and done so successfully. Pushing back the chair she walked over to the the ancient globe spinning it ideally and watching as it spun wildly. Instead of feeling complete though she felt empty.
Looking in her mirror she didn't look much different then she had the day she had laid out her plan to her fathers old friend and colleague. Her hair rarely worn up anymore, fell around her face an shoulders. It was a waste of time to try to tame it, her hair had a mind of it's own and her fine strands always ended up escaping even the most elaborate style. She gathered it up into a messy bun in the back to better study her reflected features.
There were no wrinkles marking time across her visage yet, but they would come, especially since her daydreams and musings made her smile frequently. Her eyes looked a little tired, dark under the lid. Sleep would fix that though she hoped. Her clothing was the biggest difference. She had embraced the "eccentric" title she had earned that day Hamish had asked for her hand. No matter what she did to upend the laws of propriety now people just tittered and whispered it was her "eccentricity". She wore Light grey trousers and a white blouse with a light blue vest and tie. It was a gentleman's attire if not for the color and fit. Her mother had a small conniption when she first saw her youngest child's new style, it was leaps past refusing to wear a corset and stockings. But on the ships and in her line of work a dress just was not an option.
Those tired Sapphire colored eyes drifted down from the mirror to the collection of pictures at the thought of her mother. A gilded frame on the mantle held a picture of Alice sitting next to her. An image caught just weeks before Helen Kingsley had followed her husband to their eternal reward. Farther down the ledge was a double frame holding an image of each of her late parents. She touched each softly. It wasn't that she hadn't accepted the loss of her parents, so what was it making her long for something so much? It wasn't her sister. She and her family were happy as was possible, living in town and traveling with the income they earned with their share of the business. If anything happened to Alice her sister wold receive all her estate, but they had drifted apart as was inevitable she thought with her traveling all over the world.
Perhaps it was that she was rather alone now. Only the business had mattered for these last few years, and now that it was established she had nothing to move on to.. No more adventures. There she had come to it. Her days of adventure were at an end, she had nothing but monotony and normalcy and all of it terribly alone. She spun around with a huff and spun the globe again, harder then necessary and crossed her arms to watch it spin fast around in its confined orbit...
Alice spun to the door at the knock. Whoever could be at the door at this hour? She walked over to the solid wood entryway "Hello?" but silence was all the reply she received. She leaned an ear to the wood and listened. Was that movement she heard? the soft sounds of feet moving impatiently? or was she listening too hard and hearing what her brain thought she should? This was silly, she wasn't some scared little girl to be frightened of the dark and sounds. Steeling herself she took a deep breath and pressed her foot against the door she opened a few inches to look out. Nothing was out there.
Huffing she locked her office door again and gathered her belongings to go home. She had gone too long without sleep yet again. That was the only explanation for it. If she continued on like that she was going to go Mad...She glanced back at the photo of her father sitting on the mantle. Not that being mad was a bad thing, in her experience all the best people were! Her father, herself, and... funny who had she been about to say? As soon as her mind had moved on to that last thing it had fogged over...That happened to her so often the last few years..
"Curiouser and curiouser.."
The streets were dark, lit only by the gas street lamps that lined the roads. There was just too much dark for the struggling flames to fight off. Silence and wind swirled around her, the only traveler this late. She stopped in front of the local hatters, as had been her habit for years now. She stopped every day and looked in the window even though she never saw anything that caught her fancy. Looking through the imperfect glass she glanced at all the hats in the window. Every one of them the height of fashion for the season, everyone of them typical and unimaginative. Even the warps in the glass's distortion of the shapes didn't make them anymore unique. As she frowned at the frilly productions her eyes caught a movement to the left, down the direction she was going.
Instinct took over, and Alice fell back, however instead of a cower it was a fighting stance. Her hands moved pushing her purse up on her back arm, and her front arm took a strong hold on her umbrella as if it were a weapon most deadly. Eyes narrowed scanning the walk, she walked forward silently ready to strike out at any moment. Reaching the end of the storefront she drew in a breath of the chill air before jumping out into the ally to face... a dark empty ally..
"Alice you are finally going round the bend. And what were you going to do beat an assailant to death with your purse?" She rebuked herself. As if she could defend herself. She'd never been in any situation which would call for her to defend herself. And if that were true then why had she taken that stance and why had she acted defensively instead of running? Shaking her head she pushed a loose lock of hair out of her face and started forward again hurrying home before anything else strange could come along.
Finally home and in her dressing gown, Alice was busy making a pot of tea when she heard her townhouse's door open and shut. Edging up to the doorway she peeked stealthily around the door frame into the entrance. To her surprise all she saw was the back of a white rabbit and a blue butterfly. "What in heavens name?" She walked into the foyer slowly so as not to startle the two creatures. It was far to early in the year for either of them to be out and around in London. To her surprise when she spoke the two turned to look at her. The white rabbit was wearing a blue waist coat, and both he and the butterfly had expressions that were far to keen for an animal..And the expression was panicked and intent.
"Alice! you must come with us again!" The little white rabbit said. Alice fell to her knees and just starred at the two.
"Come with you? again? What do you mean by that?" Alice looked at the two with a dazed expression.
"I told you she would have forgotten everything. She is a foolish girl all over again." the blue butterfly flapped his wings a bit more violently then was necessary in irritation.
Alice's brow furrowed as she listened to the insult. She opened her mouth to retort when the rabbit turned to the butterfly
"How is it she keeps forgetting? I understood it the first time but to do it again?"
"I can only assume it is either her weakness of mind protecting her as she returns to this dim existence, or there was something to the Jabberwocky's blood that brought her back. Nothing from that creature could be good."
Tired of being talked about as if she wasn't there in her own home Alice straightened up. "Pardon me, but who are you two and why do you feel you have the right to speak so condescendingly of me in my presence no less?"
The rabbit starred at her intently. "She hasn't lost her muchness at least." he whispered aside to his companion. "Alice we need your help! The Hatter needs you most desperately!"
"...Hatter..." she breathed the word softly, her eyes clouded as hidden memories fought to surface.
Flicking his delicate blue wings the butterfly nodded. "Little consolation there. We don't have time for this mess again." He fanned his wings and flew right at Alice and landed on her nose. When he touched down she gasped with shock and her mind exploded into fractions of color, light, and suppressed memories.