Characters © EA Games, American McGee, and Lewis Carroll

Recollecting

"Well, don't ye look a bit dogged, old friend."

The Mad Hatter's eyes flicked open, uttering a disgruntled sort of noise. He flicked his weak eyes about, trying to locate the source of the accented voice. He uttered a moan when he noticed the character before him, uncertain of his desires.

"Oh, it's you! Come to torment me some more, Marchie? Ah, yes, I bet you have! You've got every right to! I'm down here, and you've soiled my domain! Reconstructed it into madness, and that train! Oh, that Infernal Train! You defiler of Wonderland!"

The March Hare rolled his eyes, tapping his bladed arm against his thigh. How many times had he heard those insults from him? A few times, no less, no more. "Ah think yer still gone right around the bend, Hatter. Speaking nonsense as usual. Can yeh feel the sensations surroundin' yeh?"

Hatter cried out as shrill clanks erupted around them, echoing and rippling through his former domain. "Of course I do! In my eyeballs, my nostrils, my ears, and into my throat to make ill of my gullet!"

Hare paced before him, tapping his blade against his good hand and continued to gaze at him. He looked so pitiful, so pathetic! Just a head that whimpered and screamed insanity much like how he himself did in those painful days where Hatter performed cruel, inhumane experiments on him and poor Dormy. Who was in charge now? He was! He recalled all of that agony that twisted at his mind and heart. Just where had the fun days gone? The days where he and his happy companions sipped tea and told riddles, puns, and jokes?

Gone. Back in the irretrievable past, one he would never reclaim. Dormouse was far too engrossed in his work and would blither and babble eagerly about their plan and the train. He followed the Dollmaker to the letter where Hare had his doubts about the monster's loyalty. Hare had once loved Wonderland, saw the world as his treasure to share with the Hatter and Dormouse. Yet, when that fire happened, his Wonderland was charred and burned beyond recognition.

He remembered so vividly when Hatter began to change. He would stop coherently speaking at their Mad Tea-Parties and just mutter, inciting his concern. When Hare tried to talk to him, Hatter would scream at him and even raised his hand to slap him. He had never felt such stinging agony writhing through his face as Dormouse looked on in horror. That was when the madness started, when Hatter apologized and offered to 'heal' him. Hare blindly accepted, desperate to keep Hatter pleased and followed him into his lair where he would never see sunshine again. He just remembered drinking a Darjeeling and passing out, and when he woke up, Hatter was slicing him open with a rusted knife and sneering down at him. Hare's wails went unheard, pleas dismissed, and when poor Dormouse came and lost his grip on reality, Hare lost his world.

"Are you even listening to me?" Hatter bellowed, causing Hare to jerk his head down to him.

Out of instinct and rage alone, Hare slammed his mechanical foot onto Hatter's nose, bringing a wail as a response. Panting slightly to calm himself as fresh blood began to flow from the wound, Hare stabbed his blade over Hatter's head, snarling down at him. "Why'd yeh do it, Hatter? Why'd yeh go an' ruin everythin' fer us?"

"What are you talking about? Wonderland changed, changed for the worst. We all went mad," Hatter grumbled, looking away.

"Oh! So, that gives yeh the right ta torment children? Yer friends? What kinda person are yeh, yeh bloody idjit?" Hare removed his blade, knowing he would kill the Hatter with an accidental slip of his arm. Sighing, he adjusted his metal monocle and glanced at the bloody orange sky. "Do yeh miss those days?"

"Huh?"

"The old days."

Hatter went silent, eyes working their way to the top of his head, but Hare continued on.

"Ah'll be honest. Ah do. Ah dunno what made yeh snap or whatever it was ah did that made yeh turn meh inta a monster. Ah'll assume it was the insanity that bitch went through as it's the only logical solution fer everythin' that's 'appened here. Ah thought when the battle with the Red Queen was done with, we'd go back to normal, but no!" Hare slashed his blade in the air, grunting to exhume his fury. "That bitch wouldn't let 'er past go! If she'da gone and let it go, we wouldn't be 'ere right now!"

"Marchie-!"

"No, yeh listen ta meh! Ah missed those days, Hatter. Ah still do. Think about that while yeh rot. We've a train to finish. When Wonderland burns to its last inch of land, ah'll come back fer yeh." He smirked, free eye twitching as the delightful prospect of their train scorching and slaying Wonderland tore through his mind. "Ah'll show yeh a different Wonderland."

With that, Hare stomped off, hearing Hatter shriek after him with insults or pleas. He thought he heard an apology, but he was wrong before by trusting him. Who knew what words Hatter would use this time? Yet as Hare stormed through his domain, he felt the tear in his mechanical heart bud, spreading and spreading, and he knew he would break one day or another. It was just a matter of time before Wonderland or him broke.

As Hare stood on his elevator, making his way back to his respective room, Hare recalled that riddle: Why is a raven like a writing-desk? To his dismay, he covered his mouth and realized that he no longer remembered their answers. It was the best riddle in the world, and they, Hatter and Dormouse and him, solved it together after years of thinking, but to his horror, he could not remember a single answer. Devastated, Hare dropped to his knees and held his face in his gloved hand. Why did this have to happen?