All in the Golden Afternoon

I was going to go for a late night post until my body said “NO! SLEEP!” (it wasn’t even that late, 11:00pm compared to how late other highschoolers stay up – ^ -) . Plus I got distracted with another thing that’s for school… I was so cloooose!!!! – EchoFox

Boring job. Boring day. Nothing to see other than the colorful creatures roaming about. Mad Hatter and March Hare lose their tea-heads over unbirthdays; Queen still killing and creating decks of cards with guillotines; White Rabbit finding excuses to keep his job; And then there’s me, waiting for another one to waltz into Wonderland without a clue. Others began following the White Rabbit, chasing him down until they reach the Queen of Hearts. Never bothered to see the Jabberwocky or Duchess, though I don’t think anyone wants to be near her. It was only her who probably began creating rumors about this place. She was a nuisance since she didn’t want to become one of the “mad people”. At least she liked my accordion playing and singing of the Jabberwocky tale. Now idiots are here just for directions. “Where did Alice go after (insert location)?” Now I just point the direction and pray they don’t get lost.

The Queen of Hearts complain to the cards about them wandering into their barracks and touching their weapons. At least the Walrus is having a blast with it. He’s a people person, loves telling the clam story with the Dodo. Usually one person would come in, on rare occasion it’s two (and strangely twins, never triplets or quadruplets). They’d come here because of Alice. Her influence on Wonderland changed everything for us, made us more alive in a way. Before all of the rumors spreaded up on the surface. They’d do something to make themselves dream about Wonderland and that’s how they come here. Never the same person, never Alice.

Though after years and years of visitors, it eventually faded away after she came back. Of course it was like her, smelled like her but not her. After hearing the White Rabbit being stiff and prickly as usual, she came through. Blond locks that fell 1/4th down her back, blue curious eyes, and big black bow. Her dress was different this time, instead of a blue dress with a frilly underside and apron, it was white with flower prints on the bottom. She didn’t wore her black flats with tights, instead she wore nothing on her feet at all. She even held a small stuffed rabbit with her, only black with beady red eyes. The Alice-look-alike walked with the White Rabbit, instead of chasing him. Though his always maddened expression was still there.

I was too lazy to look who it was. Everyone was the same to me, but never like Alice or Eric who got tangled up with the Jabberwocky. My claws kept fumbling over the accordion keys as I practiced. But it might’ve not been a good idea to play upside down while hanging on a tree. Before I threw it at an annoying Rose, who complained about my beautiful playing, she and the White Rabbit stepped before me.

“Here’s the Cheshire Cat, in his… what are you doing Cheshire?” the White Rabbit asked annoyed.

“Was going to bash that snooty Rose for complaining” I muttered “What do you want?”

“I was introducing Lacie to you.” he said

“Hello, I’m Cheshire, I gave directions to Alice and now to you” I said monotonously, staring at my claws that needed sharpening.

“That is not what I’m saying!” he said bitterly “Look at her or be fully here!”

I let an eye roll down to the corner of my eyelid to see. Surprised by her familiar appearance, I swung myself rightside up and looked at her. I thought for a second it was her but realized those subtle differences. She hid behind her rabbit, unusually. No one was afraid of being here. Everyone was truly fascinated by the world around them. Lacie kept her toy close to her face, hiding her mouth most of the time. I noticed that her bow had a small white rabbit print on the bow part.

“This is Lacie Kingsleigh. Alice seemingly married a rich man given her outfit and last name.” White Rabbit explained further “Lacie came on her own accord, unbeknownst of her mother’s journey here”

“She came here?” Lacie said in a soft hushed voice.

“Now, if you would please take care of her for I am late once more!” White Rabbit pulled out his large golden pocket watch and opened “I’m terribly late this time!” then dashed off like the little rabbit he was.

“She’ll cut off your head someday ya know” I shouted as he ran away at a demon’s speed. Lacie looked at me with big scared blue eyes. “I don’t bite?” I said unsure what to say.

“Why are you like a person?” she said quietly.

“Why am I in a human form?” I regurgitated the question “Cause I can be. And I like it that way. A bit more comfortable than being a cat.” I smiled largely, but she became even more afraid. Maybe an already large smile painted on my face and me literally smiling is a bit creepy. I pulled out my accordion and asked “Would you like to hear a song?”

She didn’t say a word, only stared at me. So much for that, I thought. I followed with my previous plan and threw it at Rose. She cried out in pain and turned to me. As a sly mischievous cat as I am, I became invisible before Rose could see. She looked another few directions, left, diagonal, and one can never forget lopsided, then went back to humming to the newly grown rose buds. After she stopped her search, I turned back into normality, or mad-ality. Lacie was surprised by my actions. I smiled greatly and put a claw/finger up to my lips. I hopped down from my dull, brown, twisted tree to Lacie.

“Let’s get someone else to babysit you, yeah?” I said sticking out my hand. Her tiny baby-ish hands took my enourmous hand. I held her hand gently, carefully trying to not squish it like the horsefly that I killed last week. He was a good listener. First, I lead her to the Tea Party room where Hatter and Hare were. They were howling away while clinging their teacups and mugs together, occasionally breaking one or two. I introduced Lacie to the both of them and added she was a shy one. They stopped their madness, strangely, and formally introduced themselves in a calmer manner. They offered a seat for the both of us, then told us a tale of some sort.

The Mad Hatter talked about a never ending railroad with a train that rides it every 6:00 am and pm. Water would surround the tracks but never rust it, with rocks supporting the rails. He mentioned riding it a few times before he stayed in Wonderland. Small tiny villages were at every station but they never expanded beyond that. As close as I was with Hatter, I would’ve never believed in his tall tales. Every time I snuck in one of his tales, it’s just utter chaos. The hippopotamuses with tiny wings fought against ox who had red circle on their eye; God struck him dead 30 times until he offered butter instead of margarine for his bread; He fought a bear once by having a sophisticated conversation, before the manly gods of men forced them to fight to the death. It’s pure madness, which is what I feed off of. It’s fun to hear him go so in detail about his strange adventures. But now, it’s so surreally calm and peaceful.

The March Hare followed in a similar manner by offering us some tea or coffee. Those two wouldn’t dare let anyone touch their tea, let alone the dozens of cups that piled on the long dining table. Hare was usually hyped up on, whatever they put in that tea. His pupils dilated at different times and had a serious twitching problem. His clothes would be sloppy but still kept together by a button or knot. However, the March Hare was less twitchy despite his shaky handling on the kettle. He was almost normal, like a normal normal and not madness normal. It seemed his demeanor flipped when Hatter’s was flipped. Once Hatter finished his story and we finished our tea and coffee (I don’t trust Hare’s “sugar”), we politely left the Tea Party Garden.

Lacie was the same as before, maybe even smiled a bit. I don’t think Hatter and Hare were interested in taking care of Lacie well. We traveled to the Garden, asked the flowers if they’d take care of Lacie. The Tulip and Lily was willing to take care of her, somehow. But the stuck up bloody red Rose remembered my face and kicked us out of the Garden. That’s not going to happen, besides the Garden would’ve been nasty to her like with everyone else.

“You should’ve thrown that accordion” she quietly tattled on me.

“Quiet Quiety” I snapped back softly. We traveled to the Walrus, Dodo, Caterpillar and asked if they’d take Lacie off of my claws. The Walrus thought about moving somewhere else with more clams to serenade and didn’t want someone to scare them away. Dodo was impossible to find until I searched the White Rabbit’s house. He planned to set the next caucus race at Rabbit’s place for it’s large front area and it’s easier to find. Rabbit won’t be pleased once he finds out, but he’ll find out once the race begins. Caterpillar left his long pipe and small mushroom behind in favor of becoming a butterfly. He spoke in very few but peculiar words. He orated about the wonderful nature of change, life and death, and journey. For he has moved on for the greater good of mother nature and himself. Caterpillar stated his new life begins alone and free from pesky humans.

It’ll be odd without his confusing words of wisdom, but no one really cared for his spiels. The only one that cared for them was Hare, when he was separated from Hatter. They’d go on forever about nonsensical yet wise sounding riddles. We continued to Kingdom Hearts where the King and Queen were. Selected people were allowed to enter, or even stand at the gates. The Queen never really acknowledged my existence, despite my frequent visits every other day. The drama there is so delightful to watch, especially the fools who try to mess with the cards by painting the roses white. We entered through the backgate, sneaking around in the hallways.

“Why didn’t we go through the front?” Lacie whispered

“To be unseen from the seeable, see?” I whispered back mischievously. We trailed one of the stupidly oblivious waiters/guards all the way to the throne room. The King and Queen sat side by side in their red heart shaped chairs. The Queen’s crown was larger than the King’s, with more rubies decorated on the side. Both were living well, for they were rather large; but it might’ve been their large capes and multiple layered clothing. It was quite clear that the Queen ruled the land by her frizzled bun and small wrinkles forming across her forehead. As for the King who picked up from her stressful/guillotine days by his exhausted expression. He looked as if he were about to sleep.

The Queen was not a very nice queen. She practically barked at me for entering without an appointment. The King calmed her unruly rage and allowed me to continue. I announced myself as the treasured Cœur the cat, hopefully to jog a false memory in the Queen’s… busy mind. I offered them the child that they never dreamed of, Lacie. I tried to convince them to take her off my hands, but their minds were elsewhere. The King sat up from his slumbered state and began reminiscing on the past. He never said anything other than being a mediator. The Queen was shocked by his few words, before joining him. They talked nostalgically about how they were young and where did it all go. They had a long history together, more complex than a Caterpillar’s riddles. Never, in my existence have seen the two be friendly. Or see the Queen smirk or smile. I asked them again but they denied my existence. They seemed to rediscover their marriage? Or something?

I turned to Lacie to seemed to enjoy their reunion. A smile hid behind her black rabbit. We left through the front gates, not caring whether someone will catch us since the Queen is occupied. I racked my brain for other caretakers but none would even watch her: Duchess is too busy with her own family; Dormouse is narcoleptic and small; The Knave of Hearts was stealing the Queen’s tarts during the King and Queen’s reunion (she’ll kill him); And finally the Gryphon is a bird, he can’t take care of a girl despite how generous he can be. Everyone was unavailable or unsuitable. Which just leaves me, a cat who switches between being “human” and a cat. I lead her back to the tree that I came from and climbed up. I helped her get up but she seemed to find some ledges to get up.

“So who’re we going to see next?” Lacie asked

“No one left to take care of you, so you got me” I sighed “Did you do something? They were all acting unusual after I brought you to them.”

“I don’t know” she said “My mom says that change is inevitable, for the good or worse”

“Well it’s the worse now. No one’s themselves and it’s not maddening anymore.” I looked at myself, who changes all the time. “I guess I’m always changing too but…”

“Maybe the story’s ending?” Lacie interrupted “Since my mom, Alice, grew up, maybe her grew up as well. She used to tell me stories of her adventures here. Until today she said something about leaving Wonderland led her to grow up more.”

Like her mom she’s smart. But unlike her mom, she’s accepting and has an air of death, I thought. As sweet sounding she could be, everyone she met changed and went their separate ways. Unlike before they’d be running their gags that they did with Alice. I wonder what’s going to happen to me…

“So, when will I change I wonder” I thought aloud

“After the story ends I suppose” Lacie replied. “My mom also said that every story has an ending, even imaginary ones. It’s so beautiful here, I wish I didn’t leave.”

“It’s possible to stay here if you want” I suggested “I can try to take care of you, with the help of the Mad Hatter of course”

She shook her head and said “My family would miss me. Besides, I like the way things are now.” Lacie handed me her stuff toy, “I wanted you to have this as keepsake. I have another up on the surface. I’ll tell my mom that I gave this to you, she’ll understand.”

“Thanks…?” I said taking the toy.

Lacie hopped down from the tree branch and said “Bye Cheshire!” She was a lot sweeter than Alice, but she knew this place existed. I wonder if Alice would be the same if she knew too. As Lacie ran off into the distance, I brought out my new accordion and set the black stuffed rabbit down. I played around with a new tune, one akin to the ones the Roses humming. The sun setted with the sky casted a pure golden color, the clouds were gone and everything was at peace.


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