Ravens and Writing Desks
…An "Alice in Wonderland" based Rise of the Guardians and How to Train Your Dragon crossover…
WARNING! This story contains: Blood, gore, disturbing imagery, violence, insanity, gay relations, slight (possibly massive) OOC, a mad hatter, tea parties, and a very adorable cat. If ANY of these things upset you, throw you off balance, or cause your head to be set in a tizzy, then by all means, please make yourself scarce. And if you're staying, then I wish you happy trails in reading this fic!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of these characters. I do not own Alice in Wonderland either.
Last minute notes: I suggest watching BOTH Alice in Wonderland movies (The Tim Burton film and the Disney one) sometime before reading this. And playing (or at least looking up) Alice: Madness Returns (which I took a few ideas from and have been playing a lot recently. It's a great game, seriously) Not that doing any of those things will cause this to make more sense if you do. It's just a recommendation. Sucker Punch is another good one to watch. Now I'm just spouting out movie references…Also, Finally Visible is on a slight hiatus while I figure out where I want it to go next. It will update! I'm just not positive as to when. Thanks for your cooperation, guys.
And one last thing…please do not forget to review. Thanks!
Another day, another hour, another minute at the orphanage, where life made little to no sense. Then it was back to the asylum, as to where everything was more of a dream than reality. Intermittently, things seemed to flip back and forth, quickly and with haste, as if they were meant to be that way. But what way were they honestly destined to be? Thinking about it got him nowhere. Nothing got him nowhere and everything landed him stranded in an unquestionable void.
It was as if he was stuck in a universe where parallels were accepted and things were not as they seemed. Because everything is what it isn't. And what it wouldn't be, it would.
Blinking to rid the glossy film from his eyes, he looked upwards as the old man cleared his throat.
"What's been on your mind lately, Jack?"
He hated that question. You see, his mind wasn't something he could just divulge into at will and pick apart pieces of it, like a puzzle. It was more…like the pieces of the puzzle were missing and strewn across the world, never to be found and hardly available for access. All he really wanted to say was one simple word: nothing.
But like every other time he was asked, he responded with as much thoughtfulness as possible. "I can't really seem to understand much anymore. It hurts and its annoying…I hate it."
"Do you think there is a reason for this?" The man leaned back in the dirtied, worn chair and puffed on a cigar, filling the room with odd smelling fumes.
His question irritated the boy, just like the absence of thought and memory. "Even if there was, I can't remember a damn thing, Doctor." He put enough emphasis into the last word to really explain his true feelings. At least, he hoped he did. He was tired of talking to people that didn't help him, that seemed all they could really do was sit there and ask him question after question. It got him no where fast, just like everything did.
All he really wanted to do was finally get somewhere. Being…no where was just as good as being dead.
And Jack wasn't dead. The world could tell him that he was, it could spout lies into his ears and scream at the top of its lungs into his brain that he was a rotting corpse, wandering around the streets and putting fear into others. But he refused to accept it. He would refuse until they buried him in the ground, to join his already dead parents.
Though he could not remember the death of his family, people had told him of it. There was a fire. A terrible fire and Jack was the only one to live. After that, his memories vanished along with a decent amount of his sanity as well.
"That day when your mother and father died…does it haunt you, child?" The Doctor's eyes were shining behind small spectacles, but Jack paid them no mind. All he could hear was the reverberations of the man's nasally, worn out voice, his British accent thick and gamey behind those vocal cords.
The boy's heart was aching for some odd reason. How could he feel sorry for that which he didn't even remember? "I have flashbacks sometimes…of the fire. But there's not much. There's hardly anything…" The brown haired boy lowered his head and fiddled with his fingers. He was starting to feel uncomfortable, like always. Though something was different, this feeling was strange and unwelcome and painful. He asked a question that popped into his mind, words bubbling out of his mouth like an untamed waterfall. "Where is my cat?"
The man in glasses looked perturbed as his eyes squinted over metal rims. "Your…cat? You don't own any animals, my dear boy."
That was utter bullshit. Jack had a cat and her name was Dinah. She was his cat. He had always had her, even in the orphanage. "…Where is she? I need my cat, sir, please…"
"I think it's about time to end this session. Go fetch your medicine from the nurse and be on your way. I will see you soon, son." He shooed the boy away with a wave of his long fingered hand and then hunched over a desk that had one too many folders on it.
Jack could do nothing but leave. It wasn't like he may perhaps press the matter any further. The Doctor didn't have Dinah…she must have ran off somewhere.
As soon as the thin boy exited the room he was faced with that mirror. For some odd reason the Doctor had a full bodied glass hanging on the wall just outside of his office, as if to display if you've changed while inside. It showed an eighteen year old boy in it, faced pale with dirt crusted to his ears. The hair atop his head was chocolate colored with a shimmer of gold and copper, though his clothes were less shiny. He'd been wearing them for weeks now, so it wasn't like he really noticed or took any kind of regard for them. Though looking further at his reflection, he did wish that he could change. Maybe into something more fashionable, something that would make him look sophisticated and smart. Something that would lie for him, cover his skin and body in a cloak of mystery, shielding his real self from the scrutinizing glares of everyone around him.
Impossible things to hope for, he thought. I'll probably end up wearing these same pants for years to come.
"No, it's impassable, not impossible."
Jack turned a lithe ear in the direction of the voice. There were others as well, continuing along after one had finished.
"Impassable is the same fucking thing! Always the same with you two. Same, same, same!"
"Enough! I've heard enough from your mouths. I don't want to hear another word."
"You're just scared of leaving."
They snickered loudly and obnoxiously. They were the others that lived there, girls and boys without parents or homes to call their own. Yet all of them seemed to hate Jack with a passion. No one really liked him though, so he was quite used to it. The teen passed them without a glance but was stopped shortly.
"There he goes! The crazy one."
"He's not crazy, he's totally mad!"
"Mad as a hatter, he is!"
Fists clenched at his sides and his eyes were closed shut tight. He'd heard these insults before, many times. Plenty of times. All the time.
"I'm not…not mad…" he whispered and quickly they shot back venomous words that made him cringe. They spat and licked their lips with hatred and hazardous ways of cutting his heart wide open, spilling the blood onto the wooden floor.
He could hear one's footsteps approaching him from behind. With a chilled hand that felt like a skeleton's bones, he was whipped around and faced with another solidly ensnaring stare.
"Kid thinks he's sane. Well then let's test that out, shall we?" Laughter resounded from behind and the other male, much taller and a few years older, shook Jack back and forth in his hold, pinning him to the nearest wall. "What year is it, Frost?" The way he screamed it into his face was harsh and blatantly a cry for attention. His breath smelled of rotting remains.
Jack thought about the question but the odor and the evil, bloodshot eyes staring back at his were making him nervous and shaky. "G…get off of me!"
"Answer the question!" The older male pounded a fist into the teenager's side causing the boy to sputter and cough rapidly.
With trembling and wavering hands and thoughts, he answered with, "18…74…"
"WRONG!" More laughing and crooked, toothy grins with spinach and tobacco stuck in-between them. "It's 1895, you dumbfuck."
He thought for a moment that maybe the boy was just bluffing to make him seem like more of an idiot. However, it mattered not. Nothing mattered. All he needed to do was to get his medicine then find Dinah.
"Please let me go now…" he mumbled while turning his nose and gaze away from the other.
"Not until you give me a kiss, Frost."
"Fuck you," Jack growled and spit what liquid he had in his dried mouth onto the older boy's shoes.
A growled boiled up from the scraggly male and he punched Jack in the face then screamed and urged him to put his lips onto his flesh.
Jack fought with all he had and managed to yell for the doctor who soon appeared, concluding the skirmish.
Once the other boy had been locked into his room, the Doctor turned to the beaten brunet and frowned. "You were supposed to go get your medicine."
"I know! But he—"
"No excuses, Jack. Go." He simply pointed with a thin appendage and Jack continued on his way, feeling as if he'd been the one in the wrong. That's how the place made you feel—as if your existence was something to be looked down upon. You didn't really deserve to be in the world. You're hopeless and dead to everyone but yourself.
Unless you were Jack Frost. Then you were literally as dead as a doornail.
The streets of London smelled of urine and stagnant creeks with too much waste left in them. Everything was dirty, especially the whores. Jack took no heed to glance in anyone's direction. He seemed to have a one track mind, as it were. Enough now than it ever was, he had only those two things in his mind—what little was left of it anyways.
"Would you like a good time, dearie?"
At first he said nothing to her, even though she tried to touch his coat and even succeeded in pulling him backwards. He snarled under his breath and then shook her away, "Piss off."
"Such rudeness," she blathered with a slight limp in her step and a fan in one hand, as if she were royalty and not a body for sale.
Jack continued on his way, seeing the butcher and reluctantly taking in the stench of pigs flesh and cow brains. He passed by the tailor who gave him a look, up and down as if he already knew he was stock raving mad by just connecting bleary eyes to the boy.
Soon enough, he had reached the apothecary. The doorbell rang behind him, sounding like a bird's call, something that was very rare to hear indeed. So he pretended it was a bird, instead.
"Ah, Jack. I was waiting for you. Here you are, love." The woman behind the counter handed him a small brown bag which he took willingly. Though he dreaded what was inside with all his might.
Large pills meant for swallowing and returning to normal. More like evil clumps of disgusting chalk that grated down your throat in more than instants. They would then put you to sleep most likely, either that or cause serious sweating and sleepwalking.
The medicine never helped but he took it to feel like a human being. It was either the pills or an empty, torn up mind. Shambles and pieces cracked, bruised and swollen, lost within the space of nothingness. He'd do anything to escape that place.
"Thank you," he told the woman who smiled and tipped her head towards him.
"You take care now, Jack Frost."
A small light excelled in her eyes, like the wisp of a tree, sunlight creeping though cracks of the moving branches and leaves.
That little fact made the boy's heart stop its beating for just a moment.
As he exited the shop he remembered the real reason for coming outside of the orphanage: he had to find Dinah.
I just hope she hasn't been run over, or fallen down a hole by now, Jack told himself worriedly while cradling the bag in one arm and pushing people away with the other.
Some spat profanities at him; other's stumbled and knocked into his body, unable to stand on their own perhaps. He was accustomed to it, this was normal for him. As long as he had the pills then things would stay this way. Maybe…
When he reached the back alley near the institution, he started calling out the kitten's name. "Dinah! Come here kitty…"
After what seemed like hours of searching behind boxes, under railings and in sewer holes, finding the cat almost appeared impossible, or perchance impassable.
"Maybe the Doctor was right…" Jack whispered to himself while kicking an extremely strange looking rock. It had eyes it seemed, that were blinking at him. "Maybe I don't even have a damn cat…" The rock smiled at him and he stopped kicking it in fear of it growing arms and molesting him.
As soon as he turned and started heading back to the orphanage, he heard it.
"Dinah!" he shouted, almost dropping his bag. He ran in the direction of the sound. It was starting to rain and the sky was dark but that didn't stop him. Since when did the dark scare him? He huffed loudly, breaths coming out of his lungs like the steam of a train. "Dinah…?"
The boy knelt down and saw the cat, curled up atop a blanket with blood running down its side and a miserable look drenched in its eyes. "Shit…no…no…" Jack picked the cat up and held it near to his chest; the bag was lying on the ground, forgotten. "Dinah…" he cried again, tears mixing with the rain, the only way to tell them apart would be to smell the salt.
The small animal licked his finger and smiled, saying, "I'll be okay, Jack. Find me…when I die…"
Even though the cat spoke, it hardly fazed him. "Find you? Find you how?"
He turned confused and scared; eyes searching everywhere for the bottle his cat was speaking of. "What bottle? What do you mean?"
"Thank you…for loving me, Jack…"
Then the cat died. Just like his parents died. Just like everything else in the world died. Everything died and nothing ever came back. It never would. And Jack hated that.
"God…dammit…" His teeth were grinding together in his mouth, sending shock waves to his brain, minuscule vibrations that sent him into a state of madness.
He rubbed a few wet fingers through the rain soaked cat's hair. It was brown, chestnut brown with a pale, pinkish face that was littered with spots resembling freckles. Maybe if Jack waited long enough…then maybe Dinah would come back. "Please don't leave me here…I don't want to be alone, please…"
The boy spent almost an hour, hunched over the dead cat, crying his eyes out and wishing for something new. He just wanted his eyes to be opened, to not see or smell the rot of the city anymore. The people were horrid, the atmosphere was wretched, like a plague, a disease that consumed you and congested your soul, leaving nothing but a shell left when it was done chewing you up.
"I want to join you, Dinah…" Jack told the very much dead feline. "I'll find the bottle…I will drink it…And I will be with you."
He stood up and placed the cat back on the cloth. A small prayer exited his lips and then he left with the bag clutched between his dirty fingernails. The sky was crying but he was not anymore. He'd done his mourning, it was time for action. Time to rid this place from his life for good. Jack wasn't about to take no for an answer.
"No," the Doctor spat while polishing a silver bowl to his left. "You cannot leave here."
"I just need a little money! Just some…from the inheritance, please, I—"
"Your parents hardly left you anything, Jack," the man spat with an abruptness in his tone, that like none he'd heard before. Usually the Doctor spoke softly and courteously towards him. When he continued, his voice faded into something like pity, "The money that was left was used to pay your hospital bills and is reimbursing your stay here. You have no inheritance." The way he said the verses was dampening and rude, as if he was basically telling the boy he had nothing to hope for and he'd inevitably spend the rest of his miserable life being tossed back and forth from the asylum to the orphanage.
The words were still echoing in his empty head as he slammed his palms onto the table, causing the doctor to look up, startled and appalled at his behavior. "You'll give me the damn money, Doctor! I am leaving!"
A realization shined in the bearded man's eyes and he instantly stood up and wrapped a bony hand around Jack's wrist. The glare he gave the boy was none too kind. "I was thinking it was about time to send you back. I'll have your things packed and I will fetch the assistants now."
"NO!" the brunet shouted and squirmed in the trap, a bug attempting to fly away and crawl into a hole in the wall. Anything but the asylum. He…he loathed it there. All they ever did was strange tests on him! Horrible examinations and worse…worse they would throw him in a room with no medication. A room where they would bind his arms and legs together and leave him there to rot for days on end, no food and water only provided through a tube in the wall. The whole building smelled of antiseptic and bile and screams from the insane could be heard everywhere you stood.
"Please don't take me back…I don't want to—"
"I don't have a choice, Jack. I'm sorry. They will help you," the man told him while pulling on his arm, forcing him out of the room, passing by the looking glass. Jack cringed when he saw his reflection. He appeared so helpless and utterly pointless. Everything was pointless. Especially if he was going back to that hellish place. It was all…so meaningless.
The doctor pushed the young boy into the room and then locked the door behind him. "They will be here for you soon, Jack. I do hope things get better for you, son."
He hoped nothing. He felt nothing for Jack Frost. The boy was just another tally on his list of mentally insane children. And how Jack hated that.
He kicked the wall and kept kicking until large men showed up and wheeled him out of the room in a chair which he was bound to. Every single girl and boy was laughing or pointing at him, glares bore into him like the stings of wasps, vicious and festering until he could no longer look at any one of them.
There was a carriage waiting outside, bars in the back and a dreadful looking man guiding the horses up front. He looked down at the boy in the wheelchair then turned away, like he was rubbish, filthy vermin. Nothing to waste his time with.
The boy was wheeled up into the back and the bars were shut tightly behind him. The rest of the ride was bumpy and the chair hit the walls numerous times, more than Jack could count. It was as if they didn't even care what happened to him.
After obtaining a few new bruises on his skull, he finally arrived at the asylum. Though he liked to call it hell.
"Home sweet home, love," a large mammoth looking man uttered as he lowered the boy to the ground, grinning like an ape. He smelled like salt and sweat.
Jack felt the need to beg this man to free him. "If you let me go…I swear I won't tell anyone. I promise. Please, don't make me go—"
A large finger was placed onto the boys lips, it pushed against his flesh horridly seeming like a sign as to the abruptness and fatality of the situation. "You're cute, but that's not going to save you. I've placed women and children alike in this asylum. It's just my job, boy. Nothing more. Nothing less."
Knowing that resistance was futile, Jack lowered his head and tried not to fight it anymore. He had accepted the fact that there was nothing he could do. It was something easily customary though, for it was all he ever reminisced.
The doors were like large metal humans, opening their arms to the insane and relatively mad folks, saying: "come in and fear for your life. This will not be a pleasant journey." At least, that's how Jack perceived them to be.
His mind was empty though, it told him nothing. Fear was more like an inkling to death, something to invite, not something to be afraid of. He just had to accept it like he did with everything else. Like he did with the streets and with the people in his life. There's nothing more than this, so why bother to fight against it?
Jack was pushed past the doors, past the hall where they would eat, past the screaming children and shouting adults. He heard voices, calling out to him. Maybe to him, he wasn't sure.
"HELP ME! I'VE LOST MY MIND!"
"I can't seem to find my way; I'm no longer alive anymore!"
"It's nothing. Nothing is nothing and everything is something. Please no more…no more of this I want away from here!"
It was as if he was entering the small divisions of this own mind, left to wander fruitlessly in the abyss of what was not.
The man was standing in front of him. That same man he'd seen many times before, but he looked different somehow. Perhaps it was the mustache, for he didn't have one last time. Was he gone for that long? How long had he stayed here? How long had he spent looking for Dinah? How many days did he sit in the room filled with drawings of cats and mushrooms and fancy teapots?
The answer wasn't one he sought after, for he had no reason to other than the words themselves.
"Ah, he's here then? Take him to…" he flipped over some paper in his hands then looked back upwards, "the lobotomy room. Seems this one's a lost cause."
Lobotomy…? What did that word mean, exactly? Pictures of needles entered his mind but that was all he saw. Horror was tugging at the abstract portions of his brain, telling him to leave this place.
I can't, he told it, I can't leave. It's impossible.
"Simply impassable," one man said to the other as the brunet tilted his head to the side, causing it to droop and hang there like a doll without a soul. "Can't we at least give him a few days?"
"He's been here before. It's not my judgment."
The man above Jack nodded and started pushing the boy towards his destination. "I'll give you some sedative so it won't hurt as bad, love."
"I want to die…" Jack slurred, not really sure of what was coming from his lips. "I just want to die…"
"Sure enough, love. Sure enough."
He was drove into a room, white as paste and a sinking feeling engulfed his gut, claiming it as its own. There was a chair with binds of course and a head piece, like an alien about to suck out your brains through a straw.
His whole form was wracked with shivers, as if he were in the north pole, surrounded by ice and encased in an igloo.
Run, run away from here.
I can't. I can't run, they'll catch me.
The lower half of his body was placed into the chair and soon his back connected with the icy, unnerving metal that had him swallowing thorns and wanting to vomit.
He watched as the large man cuffed him into place, feeling like a spirit with no where to roam. After he was finished, he brought over to him a brown bag, just like the one he'd been carrying around beforehand, the one with his medicine in it. The one he'd had when his cat died. And what was pulled out of it...was a bottle.
A bottle…? Jack pondered for a quick, splitting moment and Dinah's voice filled his ears.
Drink the bottle, Jack.
Instantly, he opened his mouth, welcoming the sweet liquid into his throat. It coated it with a syrupy texture and the brunet closed his eyes and thanked the man.
"I hope this helps you, love," he heard him say while a hand was placed onto a frail shoulder.
He just spouted thank you's again and waited for the end. He welcomed it. He wanted this. Jack Frost was ready to die.
The large colossal man exited the room then and another entered, someone in a lab coat with glasses as thick as poles. He eyed Jack and then sifted through some papers on a desk. "Your name?" Jack said nothing, only smiled. "Hello?"
"Are you going to kill me?" the boy asked almost silently.
The tall man walked closer and pulled down his glasses to examine the mental. "No, dear boy. I am going to help you."
"If you're not going to kill me, then just change your mind. I want to die instead."
He turned confused and caught the boy's chin in his fingers. "You want to die that much?"
With no hesitation, he answered, "Yes."
A deafening silence entered the room, though Jack could hear a humming in his left ear. Or maybe it was a ringing. It was annoying and he just couldn't wait to die and see Dinah.
The doctor was finished with inspecting the teen so he moved on to collect his tools. "Do you know what a lobotomy is, boy?"
"I don't care," he responded, starting to get very pissed off by the fact that this was taking so long. "I don't fucking care, just do it. Do it now, please."
Eyebrows furrowed on the older man's head and he shrugged, pushing off the fact that no one had ever been so eager to get this procedure done before. "This will hurt. Try to clear your mind."
That will be easy enough, Jack laughed to himself.
"That man gave me Dinah's bottle. I'll be okay…" He then closed his eyes and thought of his cat. He thought of cabbages and kings. He thought of mushrooms, teapots and talking caterpillars, of musical flowers and rabbits in waist coats. He thought of nonsense because after all, that's what everything was.
A needle was lowered towards his eyes and he grinned like a cat.
"I'll be with you soon, Dinah…" he whispered before the sharp point connected with his brain and swirled itself around inside, mixing up the mesh so that there was nothing but nonsense left.
Everything was what it wasn't, because nothing would be what it was.
Eyes blinking rapidly with a head full of pain, Jack sat up and rubbed fingers through his hair. He was disorientated and weak and wanted nothing more than a glass of water for his throat was parched dry like a desert bowl.
"Dammit…" he growled as he scanned his elbows, which were bleeding profusely. It was as if he had been tossed onto the ground like trash. After holding onto his leaking arms, he sat up and took the chance to look around.
He was in a very small room with old wooden floors and doors all around him. This baffled his brain and he was almost reluctant to step up to one. With a turned up nose, he placed his fingers on the handle of one and jiggled it.
It wasn't opening though.
"Dammit…" he muttered once again then went on to the next door, allowing his elbows to drip their blood down his arms. Though of course the next door was of no help either, still locked just like the one before it had been. "Dammit!" this time he shouted the curse word and ran to the other three or so doors. None would open.
However when he turned to what seemed to be the last one, he noticed a mirror, hanging there. Either that or there was someone else in the room, which he thought was honestly the case for a few moments up until the reflection touched its head just as he did. He narrowed his eyes and zoomed in on it, taking in the boy who looked so…well, not like himself. Not like he remembered himself to be anyway. His hair…it was white—snow white. As white as snow could possible get and it felt like a feather. The clothes on his body were a little tight but fit him well, and they were brand new. His throw over jacket was navy and his pants brown. Crystal like blue eyes were a little droopy and blackened around the edges, but there seemed to be some kind of spark in them that he'd never seen before. Something…so very different. And that intrigued him.
"Why don't you try the key?"
His head whipped around violently and he searched frantically for the source of the voice. "Who…who's there?"
"Down here, boy," it shouted and Jack noticed that there was indeed someone in the room with him. But it wasn't…really a someone, per say.
"You're…a doorknob," the boy pointed out while leaning down to the tiny door that had spoken to him. It was black but shining and had a very pungent smile, its teeth crooked and eyes red as rubies.
It laughed and chuckled in an extremely course voice. "How observant you are! But as I was saying…" The doorknob's eyes went to the table in the middle of the room, which suddenly had a key on it. How had Jack not noticed that before? "You should use the key instead of growling at the doors to open! That'll never work!"
Jack rolled his eyes and stood up, grabbing the key in his palm. It was smaller than he expected. "Which door does this open?"
"Well mine of course!" the glossy doorknob answered. Jack leaned down once again and went to open the door, in doing do, though, he had to stick the key into the talking doorknobs mouth; the metal scrapped against sharp teeth. It soon clicked and opened, but there was something wrong.
Obviously something wrong.
"I'm too big…I'll never fit through there…" Jack said with downtrodden eyes.
It seemed that the doorknob had all the answers. "Why not try the bottle?"
Once again, a small bottle appeared, just sitting on the table as if it had been there the whole time. "How…how did that…? I don't get this. How did that appear there? I just looked and—"
"You're asking about materializing bottles as you talk to a doorknob!" The metal on the door was sent into hysterics and Jack chose to ignore it and pick up the bottle anyway.
The label on it read: "Drink Me."
Like I didn't know what do to with it in the first place, he thought to himself.
As soon as he did, he thought that maybe it was just a trick, that nothing was going to happen. What could have happened? It was just a sweet tasting juice, like cherry tart or something equally appealing.
Yet, those thoughts soon left him as he shrunk down to the size of a dormouse.
The doorknob laughed loudly once again, abruptly preventing him from speaking and smiled with cheer. Though the smile it adorned was nothing like a real one. It almost scared Jack to look at. "There, you see! Now give me a turn and you'll be on your way!"
Jack's mouth was wide open and attempting to reconstruct words behind those lips. "I…I don't…what…? My clothes don't fit me anymore!" He scrambled to pick up the pieces of cloth around his ankles and covered himself with some. The doorknob couldn't stop laughing. "What the hell am I supposed to do now?!"
"Calm down! Calm down…there seems to be an extra set in the box over there." He gestured with his dark red gaze to the corner where a box was placed. Jack kept his stare on the door but drew it away as he neared the container. Inside was a white long sleeved shirt and khaki colored pants. They were his size and he didn't care what they looked like as long as he wasn't naked. "What about my old clothes? How will I get them when I return to normal?"
"They should appear when you do," it spoke with vigilance and composure in its voice. As soon as Jack was clothed, the knob spoke once again. "Are you going or not? I need to get some sleep." The animate object seemed impatient so Jack tried to shrug all this strange stuff off. He was just…going to have to learn to accept things.
He turned the handle and the doorknob squeaked.
On the other side was a beach with the sun beaming down on the shore and water that sparkled like wine. Honestly…it looked like wine. It was deep maroon; almost like blood and the smell of something despicable pierced his nose in an instant. The skies were not blue, like they should have been. They were gray and covered in smog. In the distance he could see large pillars, spitting out fumes and pollution into the air. And when he looked down, he noticed dead fish next to his feet.
Jack recoiled and shook his foot away from the death beside him.
"This has got to be a dream…either that or I'm in he—"
"Say, good fellow! Good fellow!"
What now…? he thought, almost exhausted from just the past few minutes.
A large bird appeared and started flapping its very featherless wings at the boy. Jack sighed and leaned his head to the side but he also took a few steps back, very much apprehensive by the sight of this…this thing. "What's wrong?" he asked slowly as the bird collapsed and started spouting out nonsense. It was strange…for it had no feathers anywhere on its body, only tight, slightly charred skin and its eyes were huge round orbs, black as night. Perhaps someone was about to roast it, but was stopped short in the process.
"I need help, you see! For no one is getting dry enough! You must sing with us!" It sounded like a damned pirate, squawking wildly.
Jack looked un-amused and crossed his arms on his chest, coughing a little because of the appalling gases filling his lungs. "Uhh…sorry. I don't sing," he deadpanned.
The naked bird looked saddened, if that was even possible, but then raised its dried head and touched Jack's bleeding elbows. In doing so, the pale teen flinched backwards and hissed at the bird. It smiled with a cracked beak. "I can fix those. If you sing with us."
The boy opened his mouth to talk but he had no idea what to say. Why should he listen to a giant baked dodo bird? It shouldn't even be speaking let alone living and moving. How did that even work at all?
Though, it wasn't like he had anything better to do. And this was…after all…only a dream, so considering that fact; it did make some sort of sense. The bird just needed help, and Jack was there to be of assistance.
"Sure, fine. But help me first," he said quickly.
The bird looked ecstatic and then, within seconds, Jack's elbows were like new again, as if he really hadn't fallen into this insane, messed up hallucination.
"How in the bloody hell—?"
"Off we go! No time to waste!"
With a roll of his eyes, Jack followed the bird to a building, a decent sized one made out of metal squares, as if it had been thrown together in a couple of days by a group of seriously unskilled carpenters. There were cages hanging from the ceiling on the inside, with what looked like dead animals inside of them. The terrible smell that was wafting just outside was absolutely inconceivably revolting while within the walls. In the darkness, he landed eyes on many sea creatures marching in a circle. The interior of the ring held a dodo bird with a large stake stuck through its backside and impaled out of its mouth, underneath a huge fire with purple and green flames burned with passion. The bird it…it looked exactly like the one standing right in front of him. Only this one of course, was on fire and a look of terror was struck into its eyes, for the rest of eternity. Jack had no idea how the living dodo could stand to even look at such an atrocity. The sea creatures, Jack noticed, were also all skinned and some were missing arms and legs…or fins or claws. Though despite their weathered looking statures, they were still all singing happily at the top of their lungs: "Backward, forward, outward, inward bottom to the top, never a beginning there can never be a stop!"
"In you go, boy!" The dodo appeared behind the boy and it pushed Jack's back until he fit in with the animals and started running in a circle, chasing a fish in front of him. The heat was immense and the smell of cooking sea food was ripe in the air. He horribly wanted to retch. Every time Jack passed the dodo it looked enraged, so he started singing as well. Well, it was more of repeating the words, "Backward, forward, outward inward," a lot.
After about three laps around, a few of the creatures began to hook onto his legs and cause him to trip. It was starting to get irritating and exhausting, what with the colossal heat blasting in his ears, causing them to burn and flux.
Though soon enough, everyone was dry, though partially cooked as well, and Jack was freed.
"Thank you for singing with us, mate! And take this as well! It will make you less tiny, if you know what I mean!" The bird threw Jack a cookie as he walked out the door, which read: "Eat Me." So he obeyed the command and consumed the treat. He then resumed his regular size, the giant, rotting bird now seeming a little less giant. And sure enough, his former clothes appeared beside his sandy feet outside of the building to his left, just as the doorknob had said. He quickly dressed himself and then continued on his way, farthest away from the maddening singing creatures as possible.
He ended up in some forest; thick marshy ground was beneath his feet, sometimes sucking them in and gobbling them up. Whenever he glanced upwards there was hardly any light coming through. It was as if he was stuck in a huge salad dish, though the atmosphere was too hot, or maybe it was too cold. Jack thought that it could be the climate was changing each and every step he took.
With squinted eyes he tried to look ahead, but saw nothing except thickets. "I swear, I'm just going to end up lost in this damned place…"
"There you are, Jack."
Another voice without a body, and this one knew his name. It also…for some reason, sounded oddly familiar. Like he'd heard it before, somewhere…somewhere very far away. Perhaps in a parallel universe, where folks weren't dancing in circles and singing to get dry.
Though maybe that was just silly. Maybe this was all…normal.
"Show yourself," the white haired boy stood a firm stance and glanced around his surrounding area. He was a little frightened; he didn't want to see another, lunatic, skinned animal. Something that shouldn't be alive. Something dead. And there, in the tree, he could have sworn he saw a pair of eyes.
"I didn't think you'd join me so quickly," the eyes said which were then followed by a disembodied grin.
Suddenly…the voice was recognized somewhere in his mind. How he realized it, he had no idea. But it was unexpectedly so blatantly evident.
A boy jumped out of the tree and landed on his undressed feet. Instead of fur like Jack's cat had previously had, this boy was clad in a dark brown vest and equally browned leggings and hair. He wore a green shirt and then…on the top of his head…
"You…have cat ears…" Jack sputtered, his voice lost somewhere within the vast forest. The boy was grinning; all those teeth perfectly aligned in his mouth, a few were extra sharp though, causing him to look more feline like. And then a tail swished out from behind him. "And a tail! You're…you're a—"
"Cheshire cat," the boy cut him off, holding up one finger, "But that's just the name I was given when I arrived here. You used to call me Dinah though, Jack," the browned haired boy said as he approached the other almost like a real cat would, with a slight sway in his step, nose twitching a little.
Jack's head was telling him things that didn't make sense. Like maybe this really was his cat, the one that died that night in the rain. But the cat was dead. Perhaps he had been reborn in this place. He then noticed the freckles and peach colored skin around his cheeks. "So you're saying…you're my cat?"
The boy nodded. "Is it hard to believe?"
"Well obviously…you're a boy. Dinah was a girl. And-and furthermore, you're a lot more…human now…" Jack frowned and narrowed his eyes willfully.
The cat boy laughed a little, which was kind of adorable and then continued grinning. "I've always been a boy, Jack. You just thought I was a girl."
Another nod and the smaller boy was closer than Jack seemed comfortable with. And then, that soft pinkish nose nuzzled into the nape of his neck, a sound rising from the cat boy's throat that could be distinguished as nothing but a purr. Jack froze in his stance. "I missed you…Your hair has changed color. I like it this way…"
The paler boy cleared his throat and raised his chin; brown hair was touching his skin and for some reason that made him uncomfortable...or perhaps somewhat embarrassed. "Then I'm…dead, then, huh? You died. I…I was lobotomized and I must have died somehow. This has to be—"
"It's not hell. Nor is it heaven," the cat said, touching the string that hung from Jack's shirt, playing with it. "This is Wonderland."
It was quiet and the air was cold. Something felt off to Jack. Like…like everything wasn't what it seemed to be.
"What is a Wonderland…?"
"It's a place to go when you have nowhere else," the cat replied.
The taller boy was still confused. "I…don't understand. You died. Did I as well?"
"Maybe," the boy smiled up at Jack and licked his neck, causing him to recoil precariously, "maybe not. Honestly, Jack. You never used to ask so many questions. And I always thought you liked it when I licked you."
A look of discompose set across the teen's face. "That's because you weren't human, you were a cat back then…"
The brunet laughed and giggled and then…hiccupped. Looking embarrassed, he covered his mouth and stepped away from the other male. "Do you," hic, "not want me to lick you," hic, "then?"
With eyes narrowed and cheeks a little flushed, Jack looked away from the boy and shook his head. "I don't…I don't really care, okay?"
"Good…" The cat boy latched himself onto Jack's arm again and continued licking at his neck, hiccupping after every time he darted his tongue out.
Jack just tried to ignore it, though a sudden burst of strain was smashing his gut like an executioner's axe. "You're a nuisance, like always."
"But you love me." Hiccup, "You cried for a long time after I died, didn't you?"
Breathing was hard and tallied as Jack ran a couple fingers against the back of his neck. "Y-yeah…I did…"
"Are you going to still call me Dinah, knowing I'm," hic, "a boy?"
A strange question indeed. Jack had no idea how to answer it. "I…well, I don't know. Sure?"
"I refuse to be called by a girl's name," the brown-haired boy growled and stopped the licking, but the hiccups persisted. "Think of something." Hiccup, "You named me before, just pick out a boy name this time."
"I'm not naming you. You're human now. Think of your own damn name," Jack told him, shifting away from the ultimately clingy boy who was…seriously adorable, even though he kind of didn't like admitting that. Dream or not, the kid was his cat, after all.
"Just pick something. Any—" hiccup, "thing at all."
White hair hung in his eyes as he thought and then suddenly, "Hiccup. That's what I'll call you, since you can't stop those damn hiccups. Okay?"
A smile of warmth and friendship engulfed the cat boy's appearance and he leaned in closely to Jack's face, whispering his next words, "I very much like that name, Master." Hiccup.
Jack stuttered out his next few words, "D-Don't c-call me that…" By the shining look in his eyes, it seemed that the boy probably didn't even hear him. But what did it matter? Jack didn't want to lose his cat…—the boy again so whatever he did, Jack was just going to have to…deal with it.
"So you were taken back to the asylum, then?" Hiccup asked as he sat somewhat close to Jack on a nearby log. The hiccupping had finally stopped, but his name was still there.
The white haired teen just nodded and put his head into an outstretched palm. "That's all I remember. Nothing else comes to mind, beside you and the orphanage. It's as if my memories just dwindled down to fewer numbers since coming here…"
"Perhaps while journeying through Wonderland, you will get them back. This world has its ways of ups and downs and those sorts of things."
Jack wasn't totally sure he understood that. Even his cat didn't make sense here.
"All I know is…" Jack spoke fervently, focusing his eyes on a small dancing flower, "I've finally found somewhere that I don't have to run from. I can finally be free. I'm no longer an invalid and I—"
"I wouldn't be so quick to judge, Jack. Wonderland isn't a place to come for refuge. It can be cruel, at times. Just depends on if you're ready to face what is yet to become," Hiccup said while tilting his head in a very cat like manner. He almost looked strange without whiskers and fur but too attractive to be anything but enchanting.
Jack just decided to look at the flowers again and ask, "Cruel…?"
"The Red Queen is to blame for most…There are also monsters, malicious and depraved. They take no care in destroying everything in their paths. The people here are almost all mad, so the things they do and what happens around them are not…at all normal or natural. You probably know that by now. You see…it's…well, to put it bluntly, an asylum or sorts."
"No," Jack spoke harshly and fast, "This is nothing like that place. You've never been there, so don't say you know what it's like."
Hiccup looked almost hurt but he didn't flinch; only observed the trees above. "If you say so, Master."
"I told you not to call me that," the male grunted and started biting his lip pugnaciously.
The cat boy apologized with quickness. "Forgive me, but that's the only thing I've ever really called you. I suppose I'll have to get used to addressing you by your name, then."
After a bit of quiet, Jack decided to change the subject. "Who is the Red Queen?"
Hiccup answered with a soft voice, fingers running up and down the tail that was positioned in his lap. "The ruler of Wonderland. She's taken over as of late, though most everything is always topsy-turvy here, it's even more so when she's the Queen. All ways are the Queens way."
Jack was still confused. "What do you mean?"
"She's wicked and cruel. Most of the time, she fills her hours with beheading those who even slightly oppose her. I believe the tally is up to the tens of thousands by now." Hiccup's eyes were lowered once again and he connected them with Jack's for a moment. "I sometimes even fear for my own life. Though I can evaporate just as well."
"Evaporate…?" Jack didn't move.
Hiccup disappeared in the next moment, only his eyes and mouth left to show any kind of sign that he ever existed. "I'm not really all there either, Jack." He giggled and then appeared right beside the other, an arm draped along his neckline. "Does Wonderland still sound appealing to you?"
Sighing, Jack watched the flower, which had moved from place to place in his observations. It seemed to like the extra watery parts of the ground in which it would sink and then grow little tuffs of hair, each time a different color. Then it would ooze blood, which it would persist to bathe itself in. That's usually when Jack tended to turn away.
He decided to answer the cat, even though he figured it to be pointless. "You're here…and I don't have anyone else. Besides, I doubt I could leave even if I wanted to."
"There is a way…though it's quite dangerous and most have died trying." Jack eyed the boy curiously from inches away and Hiccup laughed. "Through the looking glass. Still, it's hidden deep within the Queen's castle."
Jack craned his neck a bit and ran his tongue over his teeth. "Sounds like a hassle. I think I'll stay here with you."
"You say that now…I'd do anything to go back at this point…"
"Then why don't you? Why haven't you tried?"
The boy smiled and licked Jack's cheek and the older immediately melted. "I was waiting for you, silly."
With fire surrounding his weak heart Jack said, "You…you seem to be more of a cat than a human…" The teen's core was thudding and the proximity of the other was overwhelming blistering.
Hiccup touched his nose to Jack's then grinned, white teeth radiant. "I am, first and foremost, your kitty cat, Jack Frost."
Jack was suddenly starting to wish that perchance things really weren't always what they seemed. Because maybe…everything really was what it wasn't.
The bushes suddenly wiggled next to them and Hiccup was up on his feet, ready to evaporate if need be. Jack on the other hand was only slanting his head in question of the noise. "What could that be?"
"I don't know. Could be something terrible. I'd suggest you leav—"
"I'm LATE!" shouted a voice that was thickly coated in an Australian accent. "Dammit! I'm fucking late!"
Hiccup lowered his guard and put a hand on his hip. "Never mind…it's just the Rabbit."
A large, kangaroo like creature bounded from the shrubbery and then ran straight into Jack, a head on collision that sent him spiraling towards the ground. It was wearing a waist coat with a couple of belts around its shoulders.
The furry individual started spouting out harsh and vulgar words at the boy beneath him. "Get out of my way, mate! I'm late as hell and your pansy ass isn't helping!"
"So get off of me, you damn kangaroo!" Jack yelled almost helplessly. The so called rabbit had been the one to topple across him! It wasn't Jack's fault at all!
But the argument was not over. It was far from over. "You wanna say that again, you little shit?"
"You. Damn. Kangaroo," Jack articulated for him with a glare only he could possess.
Hiccup put a hand to his face and whispered words of disappointment. "I wouldn't upset him like that if I were you…"
The kangaroo then grabbed onto Jack's neck, swung out a boomerang that he had strapped to his belt and held the sharp edge close to skin in one swift movement.
"I'm not a kangaroo, mate," the animal hissed at him.
Jack held up his hands in surrender. "Fuck…okay! Okay, just get off of me…"
When he finally did, the rabbit turned and saw the cat, questioning him with tightened eyes. "Chess? The hell are you doing with a huma—"
"He's my owner. The one I was telling you about," Hiccup said while licking a poised thumb. "I believe introductions are in order, Jack. This is Bunny."
Each of them connected eyes and then looked away from the other rapidly. "Yeah whatever…" Jack mumbled, angry and upset that a giant rabbit had just attacked him without any consent or warning. This place was starting to get stranger and stranger by the second.
"He's kind of a brat, Chess. Wouldn't have thought he's the one who raised ya," Bunny laughed and sheathed his weapon.
Jack looked overly upset at the comment but decided to stare at the flowers again. It was blue this time around and the blood was flowing out of its center into a pool that circled the stem.
"No, he's not a brat at all. He's very kind to me. I love him," Hiccup stated and Jack's face filled with the color pink.
Bunny laughed once again but then looked at a watch that he had tied around his waist. "Dammit, I really have to go. The Queen'll have my head for sure this time."
"I don't see why you work for that witch…" Hiccup said solemnly.
"She'd send her hounds after me if I didn't. I'm basically bound to her as it is, mate."
Jack looked to the rabbit then to his cat, who was a boy, then back to the weeping flower. Nothing was making sense. Was it always like this or was everything innovative…?
Bunny approached Hiccup and placed a large pawed hand on his shoulder. The difference in height was ridiculously apparent. "Just make sure she doesn't find ya, alright?"
Hiccup nodded and then the rabbit was gone. Jack almost wanted to follow him. He felt the need to see what this Queen was all about. The whole lot here seemed so unrealistic and petty, albeit very dark and disturbing. If Jack saw this Red Queen…could he defeat her somehow? It appeared possible, since everything in this world basically was.
"Is…is anything here impossible, Hiccup?" he just had to ask, for it was something peppering his brain and eating away at his thoughts.
The cat boy floated on his toes and grinned, hovering next to the boy. His eyes were so green, comparable to emeralds or…a field of grass. Something impossibly inaccurate and beautiful that he couldn't even think of the right words to describe them. When the boy spoke, the syllables floated out of his mouth like gumdrops. "Only impassable. Nothing's impossible, Jack."
An hour or two passed by. It wasn't long enough to really sort things out, but it was short enough to actually understand a few. Like how this world was so different, utterly inconceivably diverse. The water still came from the ground, but some of the birds looked like shovels and pencils. The air was still air, but it was coated in toxins from each universe, a different smell and taste and culture in every single step.
Jack wanted to know everything about this place and he wanted to know fast.
"Curiosity often leads to trouble, Jack," commented Hiccup while he eyed the other boy mischievously.
"You should know. You're a cat," he laughed and flicked one of the large pointed ears atop of the boy's head. Jack then realized just how soft it was, exactly the way Dinah had felt in his arms. All he wanted to do was touch it again but he withheld for some purpose.
A blush came over the cat boy's cheeks and he looked away from his elder. "Jack, there's something you should know…and now before it's too late."
This something was undoubtedly terrible and Jack dreaded to hear it. "What…?"
"I…can't stay with you, as you wander through Wonderland."
Shock overtook his features and he almost grabbed onto the jacket the boy was wearing in irritation. "What the hell does that mean?"
"It merely means what was said," he replied simply.
Jack growled at him, the words causing his emotions to boil, becoming overly fed up with the situation. Was this his idea of a joke? Getting all chummy and then just…just telling him it wasn't even going to last?
Hiccup sighed and grasped his own shoulder in one hand, his gaze faltering but never really straying away for too long. "In Wonderland I can evaporate anywhere and everywhere, but only for a short period of time. I always…have to return here, to this forest. That's just how it is. And how it will be."
"Then…then I'll stay here with you!"
The boy giggled and somehow he just couldn't help but grin once again. "You're too kind, Master, really. But you must find a way out. You must attain the way to the looking glass. Perhaps we can both return home."
Jack's eyes were starting to water at the foul sentences coming forth from the boy's mouth. "There is no home for me in London…only the orphanage. They'd put me back in the asylum, they'd—!"
Hiccup grasped Jack's face and stared into those blue orbs with all of his valor. "But Wonderland is not a home. Particularly not for you, Jack. We'll make it back to the real world and we will live our own lives. Away from the orphanage and away from any other people."
"You make that sound so easy," Jack gasped a little and tried looking away from the other boy who was just too intoxicating for his own good.
Another laugh escaped those lips and Hiccup leaned forward then…pressed them onto Jack's. They were warm and welcoming yet the fear of something new, anything new was scaring Jack into backing away. It was all too good. Nothing was this good. Nothing…because…nothing was…what it wasn't…
Hiccup started to lick, that tongue divulging in sinister, seducing ways and running along Jack's lower lip. His head was floating on a cloud, the highest of billows where there was no oxygen to breath anymore and his lungs felt the need to collapse in on themselves. When the boy drew himself back, he rubbed at his eyes with the back of a hand, much like a cat would.
"I'm sorry…I guess being human now has its advantages. I've always wanted to do that," he told the older male with a bit of tartness in his tone.
Jack couldn't really do much, but his hand moved up towards his own lips and he touched them with his pointer finger and thumb. The more he looked at the feline human, the more he didn't understand a thing.
Just when he had almost figured it out, it seemed to backfire into his face, like a gun with no safety, pointed right at his skull.
He'd end up with a bullet through his brain one of these days, he was sure of it.
Hiccup didn't tell Jack the reason for the kiss. He just had "so much love for him," and that was that it seemed. Though the boy with the snowy hair didn't buy it, perhaps because there had never been anyone to love him in the past, not that he knew of. Not ever. And accepting it was harder than trying to even comprehend the fact of Wonderland actually being a real place.
But it could have been. And possibly…Hiccup really did love Jack Frost. Since Jack knew that he loved the cat as well, even in his human form. So love was a real thing after all. Maybe.
"You must get going. There is much more of Wonderland to see, Jack. And…you have to—"
"Find the looking glass, I know…"
"Now you're the one interrupting me. I feel like my job's been commandeered." Hiccup smiled, but it was more of a grin. It was never really just a plain old smile with him. It always had that undertaking feel of supremacy. "Before you go…take these." The Cheshire cat held out his hands and in turn he filled Jack's with bottles and cookies.
"Just where the hell am I going to hold all of this?" Jack's raised eyebrow questioned the boy.
Hiccup looked around the forest and eventually he came back with a small leather bag. "This…should do the trick, yes?"
The older took it quietly and placed the items inside. "I guess shrinking and growing are common things here?" He then ducked his head, adorning the bag. It fit nicely against his chest.
"Well, for visitors, yes. Because Wonderland is divided into sections, each one with different animals and beings alike. We all…stay in our respectful areas. Unless we work for the Queen. Then it's back and forth, but only then. Besides for that, there's really no use in leaving where we are."
Jack blinked in confusion. "But this place is…it's so bizarre. Don't you just want to travel it?"
Hiccup shook his head and placed a warm hand against Jack's chilled cheek. "All I want is to spend the rest of eternity with you."
Things like that threw Jack off balance, but not enough that he couldn't speak. "T-then I guess it's a good thing cats have nine lives."
The corner of Hiccup's lips turned and curled, it was almost as if his mouth was overly large, his face being too small for it to fit. Or maybe Jack's mind was the small thing. Everything in this world was too large, it was impassable…so it seemed.
But then again…
Nothing was impossible in Wonderland.
"Drink just a drop of this," Hiccup had said while handing Jack a customary looking bottle of fluid, though this one had a crescent moon shaped leer on it. "If you need me. But only if you need me. I'll evaporate straight to you when you do. Otherwise, I will be here. And I will visit you when I can."
The hoary haired boy angrily growled while pushing a large branch out of his path, it retaliated and snarled back at him then cut his arm with its sharp edge, causing him to bleed and stomp away through the impenetrable forest.
"I'll come back and see you. I'll let you know what I've found," Jack had told him.
A scraped hand leaned against a tree that suddenly had a mouth and teeth that were laughing at him and trying to ingest his whole body. He screeched and ran away quickly with a racing heart and equally brisk feet. The boy then fell accidentally and a rock jammed itself into his knee. He hissed out his pain and roared, sitting on the ground in frustration.
The boy with cat ears had only laughed at him. "Coming back here will be harder than it sounds, Jack."
"No fucking kidding. I can't even get out of this fucking forest!" He yelled and birds chirped and shouted at him to be quiet and stop that incessant racket.
"Be weary and careful, Jack Frost. Trust no one in Wonderland."
"How am I…How am I supposed to be careful in a place like this?!" He started to cry, blue shimmering eyes spitting out tears onto the earth. It started to suck him in once again, so he got up and moved away. He had long forgotten which direction he was destined to go. The rabbit had run somewhere this way and Jack only needed to find the Queen. He'd worry about everything else when the time came.
But that was impassable, as it were. How in the world was he going to get out of this mess…?
Perhaps something would just fall from the sky and—
In front of Jack stood a small girl, about the age of four. She had bright blonde hair that was cut terribly bad atop her head, as if she had no mother to tend to it. Also much like Hiccup had cat ears on his head, this girl adorned small gray mouse ears on hers, a skinny pink tail rustling from behind her. Though there was also a teapot balanced next to her, her whole outfit was brownish and green matching the forest so it almost looked as if she were only a head, floating in midair. Jack really hoped that not to be the case. It reminded him of what Hiccup had said about the Queen beheading people.
The little girl blinked, seven times then dropped the teapot she was holding. It crashed and fell to the ground in shambles. "Twinkle, twinkle…" she whispered.
Jack approached her with caution, shaking off dead leaves and blood from his skin. "Hey…what's your name, hon?"
She backed away from him so Jack stood still instead, even though he was slowly sinking as he did. "Little bat…" she continued, in a singsong voice. "I'mma dormouse…ma name's Sophie…" finished the girl, while she swayed and rocked her head back and forth. Her talking was a bit slurred, as if she couldn't speak properly yet. That may have just been the case though.
"Can you lead me out of this forest, sweetie…?" the boy asked her calmly, as to not upset the fragile looking child.
She nodded happily then…shook her head. "You…wan out? But why?"
Jack assumed that to be perhaps the dumbest question he'd ever heard. But, exhaling heavily, he tried his hardest to keep his cool. "Because…because I-I don't much like it in here."
"Ma fwends are mad," she told him quickly, "Do ya wanna be awound mad people?"
"Anything is better than being here…" he answered, though he supposed that maybe he'd regret that later on. Sometime later on, but at the moment it didn't matter. He could wish or dream about being out of the forest, but that would never happen in a million years. He'd end up dying there, in that very spot, his eyes trained on the sky that never showed and the mud eating him alive. This child was his only hope for freedom from the ghastly place.
The mouse girl surveyed him thoughtfully and then…"You fowwo me. And huwwee!"
Jack had less than a second to get up from the ground and chase after the lightning fast little girl. Glancing at her firstly, you'd never guess she could fly through the forest at those kinds of speeds. Specifically that individual forest. But maybe Jack was just too big, while Sophie was small and agile. She didn't get sucked into the ground like he did because she wasn't heavy enough to be.
The teen was in shambles by the time he finally saw the sun once again, though it had a reddish glow that made everything seem like it was bloodied and discolored. Instantly, he collapsed onto the ground and took in the air as if it were the very life coursing through his veins.
After a few minutes of harbored breathing, Jack sat up and looked at the girl. "Do you…have any water?"
She giggled and held a dainty hand up to her lips. "No siwwee…but there's lotsa tea!"
His eyes drifted to the left of the girl, right behind her was a giant table full of teapots and odd looking treats that smelled very sour, chairs were positioned all around it. Some had spikes on them, so if you sat down it'd be the death of you. Others were covered in worms and dirt. There was a dog, a greyhound he suspected, that was sitting at one and nervously looking into a broken teacup. It laughed heavily, its eyeballs twitching and then slammed it down until there was nothing left of it besides the handle. The dog then proceeded to spread butter onto the glass, like that was something typical and customary to do.
And at the very end of the table was a man, probably in his twenties with a large hat. Long, slender legs were put up on the table, as if he didn't own a speck of manners. He was wearing a suit, simple but it looked like it'd seen better days.
"Dat's my big bwother. He'sa mad Hatter!" Sophie was jumping by his side and singing twinkle twinkle again. Though Jack was focused on the man.
"Do we have a visitor, Soph?" he spoke while turning up his hat with a thumb. Jack, while still staying as far away as possible for fear of things turning grave, was very curious. He wanted to know who that was.
"Is this a birthday party…?" Jack asked while glancing at the twirling girl. She had picked up another tea pot and was using it as a hat instead, the tea spilling over her hair, staining it.
And when he looked back up, the Hatter was watching him. Hair stuck out in little tuffs around his tall hat, it was brown like the tea in his cup, his eyes matching perfectly. And when he smiled, Jack noticed that one front tooth was missing to that sneer. "An un-birthday, actually. Why don't you sit down? It's my little sister's today and we figured we would celebrate it, nicely."
With eyes as confused as ever, Jack sat down in a chair that wasn't crawling with insects or covered in spiky metal. The one he chose just so happened to be quiet close to the man.
"Uhh…if you don't mind me asking…what is an un-birthday, exactly?" Jack picked up a teacup and looked inside but it was empty as his mind seemed to be.
The man laughed, blatantly loud and the greyhound a few chairs down joined in. Sophie even started giggling. Apparently Jack had asked a stupid question.
"He doesn't know what an un-birthday is!" the dog barked out and slammed its paws into another defenseless cup, crushing it underneath the force.
Jack sighed a little and lowered his head in embarrassment. When the Hatter finally spoke, he was wiping tears from his eyes. The teen then noticed that this man was actually quite handsome, for someone who had lost his mind. "365 days in a year. One birthday, you see. For you can have 364 un-birthdays, newcomer."
The boy ran a few fingers along his chin and replied, "My name is Jack. And that seems like an awful lot of birthday parties…"
"Well then, Jack. You can call me Hatter. Or Jamie, it's all the same really. Up or down, left or right. What's the difference, be it day or night? Am I right, Soph?"
She was dancing on the table and agreed with a thumbs up. Jack feared that she would fall and be impaled by the sharp spears only inches from her feet. He'd really seen enough blood for one day.
"How about some tea, Jack?" Jamie picked up a teapot and began to pour it into Jack's cup. The boy looked happy for a moment but then disappointed as he saw nothing coming out of it.
With a slightly agape mouth, he picked the cup up and dumped it upside down. "There's no tea in it. You might need to refill that—"
"CLEAN CUP! CLEAN CUP!" Shouted the greyhound. "MOVE DOWN!"
The Hatter stood straightaway with acceleration and pulled Jack's hand so that he was following. Soon he was seated in the chair Hatter had been recently in and the greyhound had moved as well, sitting in the one with worms. They started to crawl inside its ears.
Jack looked away then back at Jamie who was sipping tea calmly, legs crossed out in front of him. "Tell me dear boy, where are you from?"
He swallowed and tried to calm his heavy beating heart. "I uh…I'm from London…"
"I've never heard of that section. Have you, Abby?" he asked the dog. It just shook its head with a loud cackle, worms falling onto the table. Jack decided against having tea anymore, even if he was parched.
Hatter turned back to Jack and smiled, "You're not going to have any tea, London boy?"
The way the man spoke kind of offset the pale haired male. It upset him. It made him angry, like he was being demeaned. But he wasn't about to tell the Hatter that. They were all mad, which made sense for the way they were acting. "I'm okay. I'd actually just like some water…" he admitted feebly, the word making his mouth even further dried out and swollen.
"There is only tea here!" the man pointed out, even though Jack already knew that fact very well. "Maybe have some jam?"
"Or mustord!" Sophie laughed and threw the mustard jar at her brother. He moved just in time so that it flew passed his head.
"MUSTARD?!" he proclaimed, angered by just the mere thought. "Let's not be silly! …How about lemon?" His smile was wide and pure of insanity.
Jack tried to swallow but there was no spit in his mouth to do so. He was starting to regret this decision. Being among mad people wasn't something he wanted anymore.
"I think…I think I'll just be on my wa—"
Jamie grabbed a handful of Jack's hair and forced the two to make awfully neighboring eye communication. The younger boy started to quiver, the skin around his eyes flinching in pain of his hair being pulled, as he gazed further into the whirling eyes of the mad Hatter. "Tell me, boy," the man initiated, slowly licking his lips with a grayed out tongue. "Do you have any idea why a Raven is like a writing desk…?"
Laughter filled the air and Jack's chest was shifting up and down with each diminutive breath he took.
He had no inkling as to why a raven would be anything like a writing desk.
No idea whatsoever.