Rated: T (Language)
Disclaimer: I do not own Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However, Willy Wonka owns me.
Theme song for chapter: "American Beauty" By Thomas Newman
Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Everyone can do it, simple. Babies can do it the minute they're brought into the world, so why couldn't I?
It may have had something to do with the piece of paper I clutched at tightly, fingers digging into its surface.
For the fourth time, my eyes pored over each of the precious words etched onto the piece of paper that smelt vaguely of candy.
To Miss Alice Hatts,
Greetings to you!
You and 5 other lucky winners have been invited to work and stay at my factory for 2 whole months, as part of the Study Program you applied for.
The two month period will begin on the 1st of November until the 1st of January.
You and the other guests will be given the initial tour around the factory to acquaint you with the premises, before starting work on the 2nd.
As for travel, you will be picked up from your house on the 28th of October at 10:00am sharp, and then taken to the Airport to fly to London. All expenses will be paid for. From there, the driver will take you to the hotel that has been booked for you for the night. You will be picked up at precisely 8:00am to be taken to my Factory.
I hope all will go as planned and look forward to meeting you and the others in person.
If, for any reason, you are unable to attend, please contact me as soon as possible.
I breathed out. Finally. My cheeks were flushed, but I wasn't sure if it was because of how long I'd held my breath or because of the letter I had just received.
I'd been invited to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Holy crap. It was too surreal, there was no way this could actually be happening. I'd actually been invited to the single largest, most famous, legendary factory in the entire world. A lot of that fame was due to the mystery that surrounded the factory like a dense fog. 15 years and only eleven people had seen the inside of the factory. Eight of those people were expelled from the factory with hours stretched, contorted, filthy and covered in chocolate. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? It certainly made the media wonder, but not one of them could reveal what had happened inside there. Contracts are a bitch.
Of course, even more of that fame was due to the candy itself. Every single thing he came out with was extraordinary, unlike anything else. Gum that blew to incredible sizes and that never lost its flavor, ice cream that stayed cold on hot days and never went runny, candy that could make you spit in seven different colors, edible chocolate clockwork toys and so much more. This man, known by no one, was a genius.
After watching countless documentaries, I knew everything there was to know about it. Which, admittedly, wasn't a lot. The things I did know were that 15 years ago, Willy Wonka told every single one of his workers to go home after they began to spy on him and sell his recipes. The only times those huge gates opened were for the Wonka trucks with opaque windows to deliver all that wonderful candy to the world.
Other than those trucks, nobody came in and nobody went out.
When it was announced that there would be another competition, everything went nuts. A group of guys at my school were distributing fake IDs so that people could enter more than once. Chocolate sales went through the roof. Talk about the factory and the impressive things people put in their applications was heard all over school, public transport, shops, everywhere. So I decided to give it a shot. Why not? Everyone else was. I just never dreamed I'd actually win.
My mother scrutinized by expression from across the kitchen counter.
"Well? What does it say?" She asked almost anxiously. I was brought back into reality with a start and I looked at her.
"I get to go. My Application won." I said, kind of dazed.
"Oh my, well that is good news! How lucky are you? You've got a lot of packing to do, Alice. But, holy cow. I can't believe it. Can I see the letter?"
I passed her the letter. There were marks on the paper where I grasped it too tightly.
Her eyes scanned over he piece of paper.
"Wow. This is just.. wow." She looked at me. "You don't seem too excited."
"I am. I'm excited. I think. It's just… sinking in, y'know? I mean, not every day you're invited to one of the most famous places in the world. It seems too surreal. I should probably start packing, shouldn't I?"
"Good idea. Dinner will be ready in about an hour."
I nodded and disappeared into my room, taking out my suitcase from under my bed and beginning to fold and pack everything into it. I didn't have many clothes to begin with. Jeans, shirts, sweaters, coats ,the occasional skirt and one dress. My shoe range was pretty limited, too. A pair of Doc Martens that took me two paychecks to buy, two other pairs of boots that never seemed to match any of my outfits but were absurdly comfortable, a random pair of black flats that cost me about five bucks and a few pairs of converse. You could say I'm not a very fashionable person.
After I finished packing my clothes, I moved onto packing my bag of toiletries which didn't take long, as I already had most of it in a bag.
I was done within the hour, just in time for dinner.
"God, I'm tired." I sighed after stacking my plate into the dishwasher.
"Then go to bed, hun. You need to catch up on your sleep, anywho. Don't want to arrive at the most famous chocolatier's doorstep half asleep, now would you?"
"You have a good point. I'm really excited, though. Do you know what this means?"
"That you will have a life changing opportunity to experience working in a chocolate factory and learn lots of really important life lessons?"
"Psh, no. It means that I don't have to go to school for two months."
"And that doesn't mean you shouldn't still be studying, Allie. I'd pack a few of those textbooks if I were you."
"Yeah, I will." I lied. Like I was going to study at a freaking chocolate factory.
"Congratulations. Your father would be very proud."
I hugged her.
"I miss him."
"I do too." She gave a sad chuckle and pulled away, her hands on my shoulders
"Well, you go jump into bed now. Get some rest. I'll see you in the morning."
I walked into my bedroom. Ever since my father died four years ago, I kinda dreaded sleep. Often I would dream of us two playing on the swings in the park. Just like the old days. Boom. He would then fall to his knees, blood trickling out of the ragged hole in his chest. My father died five years ago, when I was 10. He hadn't really been pushing me on the swing when he died. He was an accountant, shot in a bank robbery.
My subconscious just wanted to fuck with me even more, so it gave me a pleasant memory and then shat death and horror all over it.
I changed into my pajamas after brushing my teeth and climbed under the covers. I lay there for about an hour, struggling with my thoughts. Good ones. Bad ones. I wanted to feel happy. This was a great opportunity, so why was I so calm about this? Why wasn't I jumping up and down on my bed? Thousands, possibly millions of people had applied for this contest. It's still just sinking in, I told myself again and eventually, I managed to close off my thoughts and fall into a light slumber.