Once upon a time there was a body sleeping in the abyss. It was a small body, young and fragile but capable of growing into great strength. It could be said that the body floating there in the midst of the blackness was nothing but a cruel joke. It was possibly one of the most defenseless forms and inside of it was the potential to unlock all the choas in the universe. It was not a mere babe but it wasn't a man either. It was boy.
Then, the strangest of things happened and by chance or design the young boy awoke. As his eyes opened he took in the abyss around him. There was a threat in the ominous black and as the boy took in his first few seconds of darkness, he realized he did not belong. He drew his waking first breath, a frightened gasp and as he did he fell.
I'm falling. He thought to himself, the wind whipping past his ear so fast and harsh that it sounded like screams, why is this happening to me? Where am I?
His arms panicked as they searched for something to grasp onto. His eyes searched the vast blackness for any sign of light or shape or color. He would have even been happy to have found a shadow were that possible in a void.
"No," he whispered, his eyes targeting the area above him, searching still for a source of some tangible entrance, perhaps where he had first fallen into the blackness.
He brought his limbs toward his body, fighting with the current of wind going past him. He formed the fetal position and closed his eyes tight though there was no difference between the dark outside and the dark behind his own eyes.
"NOOOO!" he screamed, his throat aching from the sheer volume and desperation of it as he let limbs free, spreading them out as if he could conquer the darkness with his own state of existence.
From his small body spread a red light and it seemed to eat at the black around him. The boy's body was racked with pain as this never ending supply of energy shot from every pore in his skin, every cell in his body. The darkness went on forever but the red attacked it until it reached such power and dominance that for a brief moment the world went white.
The boy then felt the impact of ground on the side of his body. He kept his eyes closed but slowly he opened them. He was waking for a second time but instead of a world of dark he woke to a world of color.
All around the boy was a forest made of the oddest shapes and colors. The ground the boy woke up on was an obnoxious shade of green and just under that he could see the dirt was so rich a brown that it was almost red. The trees were tall and brightly colored with purples and blues and polka dots. There were large flowers here and there, ones in which the petals length spanned that of a grown man's arm.
The boy sat up and took the world around him in even more. He realized that trees were not trees. As he looked at them, he noticed an absence of bark. He looked upwards to see what topped these monstrously tall plants and there, clouding most the forest were mushroom tops.
"...where am I?"
"You're in Wonderland, silly," a girl's voice answered.
The boy turned around quickly to find a girl standing where there hadn't been a girl standing before. She was bent down so that they were face to face.
"Who- who are you?" the boy stuttered, stumbling back a little from the invasiveness of how close she was to his face.
She was a pretty little albino girl with big red eyes. She was clad in a skin tight suit that blended with her pale flesh so well that it seemed she wore nothing. Her eyes were round and red and rimmed with thick white lashes. Her hair was long and the fair locks shimmered in the sunlight from the clearing.
She titled her head to the side, a little confused by the boys question. She was about to answer when something strange happened.
Two, white rabbit ears seemed to pop up from the side of her head. The girl was so pale that the boy hadn't noticed them sitting at rest. Now the ears were pronounced and at attention, the red insides veering off in this direction and that as the ears tried to pinpoint something.
"Your ears..." the boy said, astounded.
Finally, the albino girl's ears had locked on target. She jumped high into the air and far, disappearing into the mushrooms.
"Wait!" the boy called out.
He got up quickly though clumsily and began to go after the pale girl with the bunny ears.
"Please come back!" the young boy begged.
It seemed to get darker the further the boy ran into the mushroom forest and as the darkness grew so did the boy's desperation. He couldn't go back to the darkness and yet as he chased the only other creature he had seen, shadows clung and crawled onto the world around him.
"Come back!" he yelled again.
As he continued pursuing the girl, he came to the realization that she may have changed directions. She may have even hid for a moment just to turn around and go back to where they'd started. If that was the case, the boy should turn back but as he turned around, he realized that it was very possible that he had been the one to change directions and that backtracking in a straight line would get him even more lost.
The boy was at a dead halt in the middle of a mushroom forest in a land he didn't recognize and he was all alone. Not only that but it dawned on him that not only did he not know where he was, he didn't even know who he was.
The lack of knowledge terrified him as did the growing shadows around him. He was indeed lost in every sense of the word.
The boy, feeling hopeless, began to cry. He fell down to his knees, curled up into a ball and sobbed.
"What's going on?" he cried questions to no one, "Where am I? What is this place? Who am I?"
There was a single solitary chuckle. It was amused but not friendly.
The boy lifted his head slightly and looked around for the source of noise. He saw nothing at first but upon his second glance around, he noticed a light hiding in one of the more shadowed areas, sitting inbetween two mushroom stalks. It was a crescent shape with a dim glow.
It was a grin.
"Who's there?" the boy demanded to know.
"You are quite something aren't you?" a voice said, matching the bemused giggle.
The grin slowly fleshed out and a figure emerged toward the boy.
It was a man in a dark gray business suit. His grin was wide, his teeth yellowed and it felt as if the smile was filled with dirty little secrets. The toothy smirk seemed like a permanent expression and the man's eyes were slanted to a close as if he were thoroughly entertained by the world around him. Two gray striped cat ears prodded from his head and behind him swished a thin, sleek tail bearing the same colors.
"Who are you?" the boy asked.
"Who are you?" the cat man asked back, elongating the words and bellowing before chuckling, "Ah, you really must meet the caterpillar. He's quite the laugh."
"I asked you who you are," the boy said, becoming annoyed more than he was scared.
The man grimaced a little and the expression seemed inherently unnatural on his face.
"You're not very fun are you?" he said, "Well, if you must know I'm a Cheshire cat."
"A Cheshire cat?"
"You don't know what Cheshire is? Cheshire; the land of many cows and milk? And I'm a cat? ...you're not the smartest one in the bunch are you?" the cat man replied, sounding both insulting and disappointed.
"So, this place is called Cheshire?"
"No, why would it be called that?"
"But you just said that' you're from Cheshire," the boy whined.
"No I said I am a Cheshire cat."
"So we're not in Cheshire?"
"No," the man's grin seemed to grow if that were possible, "But I sure do smile like we are."
"Just tell me where we are!" the boy yelled and stood up, becoming more and more frustrated than afraid.
Again, the Cheshire cat grimaced. The majority of his smile was retained but the frown caused it to just barely turn downwards at the tips. His ears seemed a little less perked and his striped tail paused its lazy sway.
"All right," he said, "no need to get upset."
His smile returned and with it came the absence of honesty. No, it wasn't a lying smile. It just wasn't completely telling the truth.
"You're in Wonderland dear boy," he leaned in closer to the boy, "in my Wonderland."
The Cheshire cat took a step away from the boy and turned around. His tail still had that calm swing to it, slight but ever present.
"Wait!" the boy cried out, "You can't just leave me here!"
The boy looked down at the ground for a moment. His look was sad, a little lost but by no means defeated. He had a quiet determination to him.
"...I don't even know where I am in this Wonderland."
The cat turned back around to face the boy. He was amused with the young man and found him to be very promising.
"I'll tell you what," he said playfully and maliciously, "why don't you go this way-"
He gestured his right hand to the left.
"-or this way-"
He gestured his left hand to the right so that his forearms crossed. He then turned his hands to fists and held up the 'x' made by his arms to the boy.
"-or you could always go the Hatter's way."
"The Hatter's way? What does that mean?"
"'Dead center.'" the Cheshire Cat gruffed up his voice and then laughed, "The Hatter's also fun more so than the caterpilliar I'd say. Can't say the caterpillar doesn't make you think though."
The Cheshire turned back around and headed back to the spot that he had appeared.
"Wait! Don't go!" the boy cried.
"How did that song go again?" the cat wondered as he literally began to disappear, "Da da da da and the slithy toves-"
The boy watched as the cat's tail made one last swish before vanishing.
The boy felt helpless again. He wasn't sure what the cat had meant by the "Hatter's way" but he knew that there wasn't any point in crying. At least he had some guidance however vague and useless it was. A direction was a direction.
"Well, he said I could left or right or the Hatter's way," the boy reasoned, "and that means that the Hatter's way is neither left nor right."
The boy looked behind him.
"I've already been where I've already gone and I want to get somewhere else so going backwards isn't going help me."
The boy thought hard. He didn't want to go left or right. Left and right were too vague for his liking. The Hatter's way at least had a title to it but what direction?
"Oh!" the boy said before laughing, "I can be slow sometimes! Of course."
He put his arms into an 'x.'
"If it's not left or right or backward then it has to be forward," he said, "dead center..."
With that the boy begun to move forward not sure what he would find along Hatter's way but glad to finally have a direction to go in. It was much better than chasing after people...er, animals? People with animal motifs? Either way, the boy had a way to go and hopefully that way would have some answers.