Thank you to @BRCloth on twitter, who gave me the prompt that started this series.
The beginning of a Series of Twisted Fairy Tales we know all and love. See how many references you can find.
Alice ruined everything.
The wonder washed out, the fields burned, the tea ran dry. Now sobered up, I was sent to retrieve her to answer for her crimes.
The Rabbit Hole in London- a dive bar to say the least, was where he found her, drunk and dancing for money. The walls were painted a dark brown, and white rabbits in various lascivious poses were painted on the walls.
The Hatter immediately felt out of place in the derelict establishment, the patrons far below his usual company. He searched the dark club for the girl that once frequented his den. He tapped his purple and gold cane, a raven’s head adorning the top, shooing away the ladies who approached him with various ales and liquors.
His eyes sparkled when he spotted the familiar face. “Alice…” he said to the dancing blond woman in the middle of the room. There were many women of the night milling about, dancing in between the tables, flaunting their bodies to the men drinking ale. Selling themselves for coin. Alice looked up when he said her name.
“Hatter?” she slurred, her glassy eyes focusing on the cane.
“Oh, Hatter, I figured it out! The raven is like a writing desk, because, because- the raven is…” her head fell forward and her blond hair covered her face.
“Alice, be sane,” she whispered to herself. The Hatter watched perplexed as she flipped her hair back, forced a smile to her face, and her eyes dark and clouded over.
“Hi handsome, A tenner and I’ll send your body to Wonderland,” she purred, putting her hand on his lapel and tugging him towards her.
Her demeanor switch made him twitch as he thumbed the raven on his cane. This wasn’t the naïve young girl he remembered. The girl who caused a revolution in Underland. The girl who wielded the Vorpal sword and destroyed everything.
This was a traumatized woman. Her smile was fake, her eyes sunken in and hollow, her body, thin and malnourished, looked frail and easily breakable. What had this world done to this poor girl?
“Oh, you don’t want her, luv. She’s raving mad. Pick me instead.” A brunette swept in, moving Alice away from him, and running a hand along his cheek. Alice’s eyes flashed, and her lips fell into a pout, and she pushed out her chest, “I called that one, Linda.”
“Go away, Alice, you crazed lunatic. This one deserves someone who won’t bore him to death with your looney tales.”
The brunette to his side reached for his hat, the peculiar tilt catching her eye. He tensed and swatted her hand away.
“Leave us,” he hissed, reaching for Alice. Her green eyes brightened and her demeanor shifted again. The woman named Linda let out a huff and mumbled under her breath as she strode away, clinging to the next man she passed.
“Is it really you?” Alice breathed out, and he saw the familiar little girl inside, the eyes of fire and determination.
“It’s me, Alice.” He opened his arms and pulled her towards him, brushing his fingers through her long, blond hair. She reached and hugged him, arms tied around his chest and he heard her choke back a sob.
“Take me back, please… They’re all mad here.”
Poor Alice. He thought. Her frail body shook and shivered in the cool night air as they walked the dark London streets.
Hatter’s stomach twisted, and he knew that whatever life had done to her here, bringing her back was going to be much worse.
They walked quietly, her shawl wrapped tightly around her as she wavered.
“Hatter, I figured it out. I swear I figured it out… I just have to go back. I have to tell everyone.” Her voice was small, strained.
“Alice,” she turned her emerald eyes to him, and the depth of her plea was plain on her face. Her small nose accentuated her pouty lips, and her flushed face was beautiful in the dim streetlight.
I could have her before we return. He thought. She’s so damn beautiful.
“I was sent to bring you back, Alice.” He said, his tone even and calm.
“You’re lying, Hatter. They don’t want me back.” She spit the word ‘hatter’ and he winced. She hasn’t called him by name since she saw him. He heard something in the alleyway and felt his stomach drop. Which miscreant was prowling around in the shadows tonight?
Chester watched from the shadows as the Hatter led Alice along the dimly lit London Streets. Tsk tsk. Shouldn’t be wandering the streets at this time of night. Jack might be about.
He flipped his hood up, the peaks like pointed cat ears on either side of his head.
“Alice,” He mewled, “Where do you want to go today?” He called to his comrade. He grinned as the Hatter froze in the streets. The Hatter tapped his cane once and held fast to Alice’s elbow, speaking gruffly. “She’s with me, Chessie.”
“Oh, is that so? Alice? My dear Alice, where are you going with him?” The hooded man laughed as he emerged from the shadows, his forehead and eyes covered, but his grin was as full as the moon and shining just as brightly.
“Well, that depends on where you ought to get to.” Alice replied, a glimmer in her eye. She twirled around in her tea dress, the necklace around her pale thin neck raising off her chest. A pocket watch for a necklace? Thought the Hatter.
“Are you going home, dear Alice? With the Mad Hatter? Is the dormouse with you too?” Chessie asked the gentleman as he prowled closer, his dark long hair peeking through the dark hood. Chessie jumped in the air as a barking was heard in the alleyway.
The dog rushed towards Chessie, barking the whole time until a heavily accented voice called out, “Toto, shh. Leave him be. He won’t hurt you.” The woman from Kansas strutted out of the neighbouring alleyway as her ruby heels clicked against the cobblestone.
“There’s no place like home, Alice. Let me show you the way.” Alice looked between them, confusion flashing across her face. She was familiar with the three of them.
Hatter had inherited Underland, the biggest mushroom drug den in London, after his stepmother was brutally murdered and his father was convicted. The den was a wreck after that scandalous upheaval. It didn’t take long for the competition to move in.
Chessie was a Lost Boy, a drug runner for Neverland, a newly opened lounge bar. The Lost Boys were a gang of miscreants and hoodlums who ran Pixie Dust from the Oz to the city. He and Alice were recruited when the Asylum was shut down, and the wards turned loose on the streets.
Dorothy was the notorious leader of the Lollipop Guild, the biker gang that owned the Emerald City Casino. Famous for her Kansas southern charm, she and the Scarecrow were the biggest opioid dealers around. They moved the drug from the poppy fields that grew in Oz.
Oz- the colloquial term for the outskirts of London, under the control of the White Queen.
The dog barked again, growling as the cat-eared man crept closer to Alice and the Hatter. Click clack. The ruby heels caught Alice’s attention, and she turned towards Dorothy.
“Will you take me back? I need to finish what I started.” She walked towards the woman, her braids woven with ribbons, charms and trinkets collected from her victims. She smiled and held out her hand.
“Of course I’ll take you back, dear. All it takes is some courage, some heart and your mind. “
“She’s still missing one of those,” Chessie laughed as he reached out and grabbed Dorothy’s hand, spinning her around, her locks of hair flying outwards, jingling as she turned.
“My dear Dorothy, even a good witch ,such as yourself, recognizes that Alice has lost her mind?” He laughed again, and put his hands over Alice’s blond hair, the grin ever present, ever growing wider.
“Why- She’s as mad as the Hatter!” Chessie squeaked out, as his voice raised, his laughter growing more shrill. The Hatter stiffened, but remained calm. He breathed deep. He was cornered, but he would not be outmaneuvered.
“How lovely to see you, Dorothy, and the little dog, too.” Toto barked at him, but continued to growl at the younger man dancing to an unheard song in the street. “Where are your bodyguards this evening?” He asked.
“Oh, I gave them the night off, visiting their families in Oz. It’s just me and Toto.” The vicious canine snarled, his wolfish features making Chessie pause. “I think we’ll be okay, though’“
Hatter smiled and tipped his hat, and a playing card fell forward into his hand. He toyed with it before placing it back. He wouldn’t need the CardPack just yet. “Even with The Ripper out and about?” The Hatter asked her, raising an eyebrow.
“How do you know I’m not the Ripper?” Dorothy asked sweetly, crossing her arms as Alice looked between them all.
“Then, please. Let us be off. I need to get her to Underland by morning.’ Hatter said.
“You can’t just take Alice back there! They’ll chop off her head!” Chessie exclaimed, pulling Alice into his arms protectively.
“Yes. Allow me to hide her away in Oz while Underland gets its house in order. I mean, really? Blaming that poor child for the state of Underland. How Ungentlemanly.”
“Why are you here, Dorothy? Chessie, I understand. He’s as mad as she is, and they went through a lot together. But you? What does Oz and the Lollipop Guild want with her?” Hatter asked her.
“I want to protect her from the likes of you.” With the look from the Hatter, Dorothy dropped the smile, the Kansas charm wearing off.
“To be honest, I need a scapegoat, and the crazy Wonderland lady is perfect. She can take the blame and some heat off of us. She’ll sit in jail instead of being executed and then get off with an insane plea. The White Queen will remain in place. Though I do miss the Red Queen. Shame what happened there.”
Hatter flinched as she referenced his step mother. I need a spot of tea.
Alice was still twirling with Chessie, when her eyes locked with the Hatter’s.
“Do you trust me, Alice?” He asked her. Something he had asked her long ago, when she held the Vorpal blade high and killed the jabberwocky. She said no then, and the pain that tore through his heart left him a broken man.
“Nope. Mustn’t ever trust a Hatter. They’re mad, you know?” She said gleefully as she twirled and danced in her drunken stupor.
“Fine.” He said, teeth clenched. “You decide. Are you going to go to Underland or Oz?”
She smiled hazily, her emerald eyes lost in the cheshire cat’s own bright eyes and he whispered. “Do you want to fall back down the rabbit hole, or go somewhere over the rainbow?”
“Over the Rainbow! I want to see it.” Alice shouted, throwing her hands up in a wide arc. Dorothy smirked and walked towards the dancing couple.
“She’s made her choice, Hatter. Would you like to come with?” The trinkets braided in her hair jingled as she nodded, Hatter’s face grim. “Come on then, Alice. Let’s go over the Rainbow.”
“Hatter, come with me?” She looked at him, eyes pleading, as she grabbed at his cane. He was a sucker for those emerald green eyes and nodded.
“I will join you,” and he linked arms with an excited Alice.
Chessie reached around, grabbing Hatter’s hand and cane, and then Dorothy’s other hand. Then he meowed at the moon, his grin matching as he called out,
“The adventure awaits, just follow the yellow brick road.”