Author's Note: Welcome to the concluding chapter of "Nightmares in Wonderland", everyone! Thank you guys so much for sticking with this like you are and I promise you it will be rewarded with a sequel, so stay tuned! :D Leave me a review! Leave me a review! Leave me a review! Please?
Chapter Eight: Heading Home and a Promise of Return
The feeling of hitting hard ground stunned me as I picked myself off the asphalt and looked around in a daze, attempting to figure out where I was since traveling by Looking Glass is so random. Spying a street sign on the corner, it read Seventh Avenue and Main Street, giving me a sense of familiarity and froze, horror creeping up my spine at the sound of the Hatter's disoriented moaning. Turning in the direction I heard the moan to make sure I heard correctly and hoping I was wrong, there he was, sprawled out on the ground in a disorderly heap. I yelped in fear and ran, hoping I would get far enough ahead of him to get help.
That hope was short lived, however, as strong hands came down on me and forced me to turn around to look into the Hatter's unnaturally yellow eyes. Thrashing around in his grasp did no good in trying to escape him and I was reduced to the only thing I could do: I screamed. The sound was like it always was when the Mad Hatter riled me to bring forth the hidden power I had in my vocals: loud and ear splitting. My scream was loud enough I got the attention of everyone as they ran toward the sound to find out what was going on before the Hatter held a gloved hand over my mouth and guided me to an alleyway out of sight of the bystanders alerted to the scream for help.
"That's a cute trick you got there, Cricket, but I'm not done with you yet," he whispered menacingly, and I retaliated by biting his hand, pushing him away as hard as I could, and running for the entrance of the alley and into another man's arms. The man looked down at me in bewilderment as I clung to him as if my life depended on him. "Save me!" I cried, tears of utter fear and terror streaming freely down my face as I glanced over my shoulder at the Hatter as he slowly made his way to me.
The sudden shout startled us as cops ran for us and tackled Hatter to the ground. Momentarily stunned at the police officers' appearance, I looked down the way they had come to see there was in fact a police station nearby. Thank you, God, I thought thankfully, closing my eyes and leaned against the man in relief, knowing that my suffering at the Hatter's hands was finally over.
A tap on my shoulder made me flinch and I looked up to a female officer as she offered me a reassuring smile. "Are you okay, sweetheart?" the woman asked me, a tone I familiarize with the one my mother used to soothe me when I was a child. I shook my head and wiped at my eyes, reluctantly letting go of the man I had clung to as she took my hand and led me to the station a few blocks away with the other policemen that arrested Hatter in tow.
The whole night consisted of questions being asked and pictures being taken to record the damage done from my 'tattoos' to the bruises and gashes on my body from the last scuffle I got mixed in with Hatter before falling through the Looking Glass with Hatter hot on my heels. I answered all their questions but left out Wonderland and twisted certain facts around to sound more believable.
"Yeah, man, it's definitely her," one of the cops whispered, nodding his head at me.
"How can you be sure?" the second man whispered back.
"She disappeared with that whack job and she showed up tonight with him. It's the same girl," the first answered.
I tried to ignore the stares of the people in the station, but I found I couldn't, feeling as though they were all going to treat me as the Hatter did. Looking up as a young man took a seat beside me, I asked, "Where am I?"
"Hollywood, California," he replied, quirking an eyebrow at me in a silent question as to how I didn't know that.
"I've been running blind lately, y'know? That's kinda how it is when you're running from a psychopath that wants to be your friend one moment and beat you till you're unconscious or close to it the next," I sighed, running a hand through my hair.
"Ms. Liddell?" a female officer asked, taking a seat next to me.
"That's me," I replied, nodding my head.
"My name is Officer Mary Ann Johnson. I was told to give you this," she said kindly, handing over a plane ticket. "This is for a flight headed for Georgia in the morning. We also took the liberty of putting you in a hotel nearby," she said and I thanked her for it before she left me be.
The whole night I was haunted by dreams of Hatter and all I was put through while I was in Wonderland. Waking up early that morning, I quickly ran through my morning routine before running out the door for the airport a few short blocks away.
Taking my seat onboard, I sighed in anxiety of being alone and clung to the keepsake box as if my life depended on it.
"Are you alright, miss? You seem tense," a woman's voice asked, getting me to jump and reply with, "No, I'm not alright. After being on the run from a crazed predator for so long, I'm just ready to go home and be with my family and not leave their side. Maybe I'll sleep for a whole month after all the hell I was put through."
"You poor child. I'm sorry for you," she said softly, and left me be for a while as the plane finally took off.
When the plane landed in my home state hours later, I found my parents in the masses of people and eagerly met them after being apart for so long and once we got home, I stayed true to my word of staying by their sides, past experiences in Wonderland with the Mad Hatter making me paranoid of having a repeat of the kidnapping.
How long has it been since they locked me up? Days? Weeks? Months? I wouldn't know. My concept of time has been muddled since my fight with Time.
I stared at my whitewashed with a bored expression as a psychiatrist came in to talk with me as is a ritualistic habit with this place. Instead of acknowledging her, I stared over her shoulder at the wall where I had a large canvas hung up to bring a bit of color to the room. The painting was more or less a mural of Wonderland, but I didn't say that out loud lest I want these people to think I'm crazier than they already think I am.
The mural of Wonderland is one of many paintings I had created since I was put in here because they thought I needed some sort of outlet for creativity. Leaning against the wall on the floor was a picture of a certain blonde woman who haunted my dreams as I'm certain I haunt hers and smirked in satisfaction of it since it's one of my best works.
"Hello? Pay attention to me, please, Brian," the woman said gently, bringing me back from my thoughts and scowled.
The woman sighed. "You're not going to talk to me today, are you?" she asked, getting out of her seat and taking her leave. I watched her go with envy but sighed when the orderly took his place outside the door to ensure I wouldn't get out. They got smart, I thought bitterly, thinking back to a few days before when I almost broke out until they caught me and dragged me back in.
"Well played, Cricket. This round goes to you," I murmured, addressing the painting. "But when I get out of this hellhole, I'm coming for you."
Author's Note: Don't you just love cliffhangers? I don't. But I have to do this so you have something interesting to read about in the next part of this story "Nightmares in Wonderland: Alice's Return"! Stay tuned! You won't regret it! :D