Alice in Horror-Land.
“You know I fucking hate it when you watch me shower.” Alice glared at her cat lounging about with that toothy smile she adores/hated. The cat always had a toothy smile. “Little doors, and I am too big. Big doors and I am too fucking small!” Alice knew she was heading to a padded room if she didn’t get her act together. Taking the lotion from a shelf in the bathroom, she began to rub lotion onto bite marks on her breasts. “Guess I won’t be wearing anything that shows cleavage any time soon.”
After getting dressed, she grabbed her keys and headed out to her car. Driving several miles to see Chloe, the local witch, took a chunk of her day. Traffic was backed up and much of the time was spent switching from radio station to radio station only to determine there was nothing on. Nothing caught her interest and it was sure to be one of those days, but she needed to be close to Chloe. Not like, attraction right, rather magical. Crazy things seemed right, finally right.
Alice tapped her fingernails on the dash of the car impatiently. A long time ago her mother broke her habit of biting her nails when she was stressed. A good thing too, or else she wouldn’t have been able to scratch that fellow up for marking her as he did with his teeth. Of course, afterward, she took his wallet and left him a note saying he would get it back in a week. The note also told him not to try and get it sooner or she would make sure his wife found out about his extracurricular activities. No, she wouldn’t worry about that guy. Chances were he would come back in a week with more money. Fear inspires bravery and depravity. Such is life. ‘It’s all in how the cards are played’ but she couldn’t remember who said that to her.
Arriving at Chloe’s place, she was amazed at the plants that covered the place from top to bottom. The sign above the building read, ‘White’s Salon’. Of course, Chloe was in the haircutting business and the witchy stuff was kept more secret, which meant the price was jacked up. Chloe greeted Alice at the door. It wasn’t long until Chloe was cutting away at Alice’s hair, which Alice often referred to as getting hair sexed cut. Chloe said the messaging helped with the divinations and such but Alice suspected it was how she got off. Chloe was a woman who could turn eyes when she wanted to. She tended to wear mostly white colors that accentuated her deeply white skin and perfectly straight hair. Her high heels helped make her inviting hips sway so a person’s heart would skip a beat. Including Alice’s own heart which was not a heart easily skipped. Something about Chloe was magical, really magical.
“Any luck with Wonder Land?” Alice made eye contact through the mirror and noticed the grimace thrown her way.
“Are those bite marks?”
It was too late for modesty. “I’ve got his wallet and his wife on speed-dial. It’s how I can afford your services!”
“You know I’m worth it. Besides, who else can get you in?” Chloe spun Alice back around so she could look in the mirror at her new haircut. Alice’s hair was short and quite blond. When she walked in it was dark, nearly black but now she was blond. Her blue eyes were now grey and even her eyebrows matched her hair color. “See? You are re-made."
“What the Fuck, Chloe! You know I don’t …“
“You do today…for me.”
Alice glared and tried her best to break the mirror with it. Just then in the mirror, Alice noticed the words, “eat me” written backward across Chloe’s forehead, but when she turned and looked directly, there were no such words. “Did you?”
“Did I what?”
“Just now. I saw the words ‘eat me’ written on your forehead but it’s gone.”
“Good. Then that’s it. This is what we’ve been waiting for!” Chloe saw the questioning look on Alice’s face. “Not like that silly, though it might be fun. I have something else in mind, but you are going to have to wait a bit longer.
After Chloe cleaned up the area, Alice followed Chloe down a wooden spiral staircase and into the basement. Of course, she had been down here before but it always felt so new, so alive. The plant lights were everywhere glistening their life-giving energy to not only the plants but the people lucky enough to observe life itself. The basement was large if the doors indicated access to other rooms. Alice had never been to any other room except the one she was currently in. Following Chloe’s direction, Alice fell into a chair at the small round table across from Chloe’s chair. Alice watched as Chloe grabbed a duster and began dusting the room zestfully. No dust filled the air which confirmed the cleanness of the room. “Since when did the duster replace the wand?”
“Cool your negativity.”
“I’m not being negative! Why would you say such a thing?”
“You know full well that the duster is more capable of soothing energies than a mere wand.”
“I know, but it is still funny…”
Playfully, Chloe made a show of dusting over Alice’s direction and Alice was hard put to keep the goosebumps from rising on her skin. She stifled the comment which would probably get her kicked out. “Witch, PLEASE.” Somethings are better left unsaid, but Alice noticed the slight smirk and wondered if this witch was a mind reader also? Probably not or else she would likely be blushing too. After a couple of more minutes of watching Chloe dust, Alice watched as Chloe sat down and carefully pull out a deck of Tarot cards carefully wrapped in a silk cloth from a wooden box.
“I don’t need to clear the energy here to get a good reading just as I don’t need to state aloud my purpose for this reading, but I choose to do so. It’s also good to make eye contact when dealing with people like this just as it is to clear the air by stating our intentions aloud. No matter what the cards seem to portray, we should look for the positive and not focus on the negative. Negativity can draw in all sorts of nasty we don’t want to interfere. Are you ready?”
Alice nodded she was ready and Chloe closed her eyes and began shuffling the cards until they felt right.
“The first card will represent you and any influence which may surround your life at this moment.” Chloe flipped the first card and laid it down. “The Devil. This indicates a state of bondage but know that with willpower, you can expect to break free.
The second crosses you: The Lovers. This defines the influences which cross you and you may have divine guidance toward finding a new love.
The third card: Justice reversed. This indicates things may not be as they seem and this is perhaps what you fear.”
Alice grasped the table and her hands whitened. “I’m not with this. Not one bit”
“Patience. It isn’t good to stop reading in the middle. Let’s see how this plays out. Okay?”
“The fourth card indicates a bit of your history: The Empress. This card indicates you had it made some time ago. I am a bit surprised it isn’t reversed, but it is what it is.
The fifth card: Nine of Pentacles. This is beneath you and indicates a lack of love but some measure of success, I think.
The Sixth card: The Queen of Cups. This is your near future. Drinking from the cup of life shows a likelihood of success. This completes the initial cross layout.
Now, the seventh card: Wheel of Fortune. This shows a bit how you may feel about the present course. Perhaps you expect things to get better?
The Eighth card: Knight of Swords. The environmental position. You have a good possibility of getting out of danger unscathed, even after charging in unprepared. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful, though.
The ninth card: The Sun. This position might mean you fear an open relationship but I would be discouraged were I you.
Finally, the tenth card: The Fool. This card and the position of this card will take into effect all the previous influences and gives you a possible result should you keep traveling the path you are on. I think you are willing to take the leap, to start a new life maybe even in a new place.”
Alice relaxed her grip on the table and now her hands hurt. It felt as if she were short of breath and just couldn’t get enough air. She leaned back in her chair, just trying to comprehend all that this witch had conveyed to her. Most Tarot readings were pretty vague and this was no different, but the possibilities were awesome. Alice knew magic was real, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was getting it to do what was needed when it was needed. “So what about the “Eat Me?”
Chloe held up her finger telling her to give her a minute, then plucked out a hair from her own head and tied it into the shape of a person. “This will represent me,” Chloe said. Then she put the hair into a chalice. Then, she took a bottle of wine from under the table somewhere and took a large swig directly into her mouth where she swished it around before she spits it into the cup with her hair in it. “Eat me. Use the drink to wash it down.”
Alice grabbed the chalice and noticed the exchange of energy within the cup. It practically glowed. Alice knew this was dark magic, the kind where human sacrifice was involved. Most magic worked best when the caster released control of the spell, but this was different and Alice realized that this was a bonding ritual, much similar to a love spell. Swallowing a hair should be impossible but this one went right down. The drink burned its way through her body until she glowed with energy. Chloe was smiling and looking so very good, so good she couldn’t think straight. Behind Chloe, a tiny door appeared and it was barely discernible. “Too little,” Alice slurred.
“What was that, dear?”
“You’re luk-en gud.” Alice then was not Alice now.
Sometime later, Alice awoke with a headache and no knowledge of how she got home. When she put her hand to her mouth she could smell Chloe’s scent all over it and a shiver raised the hair on her skin. There was no doubt. The love potion and a blackout? Chloe. What Chloe really wouldn’t understand was Alice wasn’t some young impressionable cub; being marked by a witch wasn’t going to unsettle her. She had a near lifetime of love’em and forget’em on her side. She had a bit of immunity to magic since coming back from Wonderland, but it takes time for it to kick in, especially, when a witch is as powerful as that one. “Fuck!” Alice grabbed her temples and hunched over the blankets on her bed, not so much the throbbing in her head as it was the sheer frustration of getting duped. Off in a corner, a tiny door about the size of her hand appeared and wasn’t missed by Alice. “Too big, I am too big. Wait till I get my witch, okay?” She wasn’t speaking to anyone in particular, but the door did disappear after a moment.
Stepping into the shower as if carrying twice her body weight, she spent an extra long time cleaning herself and scrubbing every nook and curve. Chloe’s scent just wouldn’t rub off, no matter how she scrubbed. Perhaps Chloe wasn’t meant to be scrubbed off? She had been whammied by witches before, even by Chloe, which is why Alice didn’t suspect her to be quite so powerful, but being taken advantage of without her express consent and being powerless to resist was enough to put her mood in the dumps. Not that she was complaining, this was war, after all. Justice would be hers, in the end; she had no qualms about that. Shit, Alice doubted Chloe would even see it coming. Chloe undoubtedly thought Alice to be still under her spell and no threat at all.
Since Alice wasn’t killed outright, this seemed to be proof Chloe wasn’t a bad witch, or at least, not all bad. It was going to be tricky finding her again, but one thing spending all that time alone in between customers as she had plenty of time to research and plan and it sure beet walking the streets. Certainly, Chloe had cleared out of the salon and moved on? Or maybe she didn’t. One thing was for certain, Chloe would have some protection spells in place and Alice wasn’t going in there without better protection this time. She had a few tricks of her own though.
It took a year of searching but sources finally came through as to the whereabouts of Chloe. This was good considering she couldn’t get rid of her blond hair until she convinced the witch to relinquish her control. Dyes didn’t take and would run right off. She tried cutting her hair but scissors wouldn’t cut it. Wigs were okay but her day job roughed her up a bit at times and they had a way of getting knocked off. Besides, her now blond hair kept growing and growing until it reached down to her knees. At least it was soft and felt right to comb, and comb, and comb. What really made her mad was when a client took one look at her and said he wasn’t into kids, like she was a kid! This was so Chloe’s fault!
Alice was glad she didn’t have to work the streets. There was something to be said to having a legit employer with insurance benefits even. Her employer worked the market and did the book-keeping for her, being careful to take good care of her as well as her co-workers. Money didn’t usually go directly to her unless some bloke was trying to screw her the wrong way. Then, she made it personal but some people liked to play the let’s make her angry game and she was usually happy to oblige if the price were right, to a point. As long as there was no harsh physical violence, she didn’t mind. Such violence, she would not condone.
With her hair being blond, she had to learn a new cliental and deal with the incessant blond jokes. How many blonds does it take to screw in a light bulb? Working where she did, naturally, there was no clean version of the joke. Of course, her boss didn’t like the change but learned to deal with it after she threatened to walk off the job and do something else. Her boss was reasonable that way and they did have a mutual understanding. He didn’t throw his weight around unless it was to protect his own, then he was great to have on their side. Customer satisfaction and loyalty were all-important, after all, but his employees got taken care of and abuse was not tolerated. Knowing this was what made Alice like her job. She was truly performing a service to the community, well, that is what she has been known to say but the truth is that people needed release and this way was not only profitable, it helped keep it off the streets where real abuse was prominent. She stood in the window and watched the crowds’ reactions to her presence on the third floor and the finger-pointing and picture taking began. She was long past being embarrassed.
Walking into the Salon where Chloe worked, the exact same salon where she worked a year ago, in fact, Alice walked in and requested Chloe outright. The wait wasn’t as long as expected, about twenty minutes, and she brought plenty of reading material.
“Alice, my dear! How are you?” Chloe didn’t look at all surprised to see her.
“I’ve been better.”
“So sorry to hear that. Perhaps a haircut will help. How would you like it cut today?”
“Uhm, how about shoulder length, feathered to the top and brunette?”
“Brunette? But you are a natural blonde, Alice. Don’t you like yourself?”
“I haven’t been blond since leaving Wonderland and you know it”
“Looks like you are now…”
“Don’t mock me. You need to fix this.”
“Well, first let’s get you cleaned up in the basement. Perhaps do another reading?”
“No time for reading, you need to fix this!”
In the basement, Chloe began dusting once again and quickly shushed all objections away. Afterward, she pulled out her Tarot cards once again and laid them on the table. “I know you don’t have time for a full reading but the truth about the cards is that a full reading can be gotten from drawing one card and one card only. Are you ready for your card?” Chloe didn’t wait as she shuffled the deck and pulled the one card from the deck and laid it face down on the table. Chloe tapped the card but didn’t turn it over. Then, she pulled out a cup and poured some wine into it, and shoved it across the table to Alice. “Drink up and I will show you the card.”
Alice looked at the cup as if it was a snake ready to bite, and perhaps it was. Who could tell what a witch might be willing to do? After hesitating a moment longer, Alice downed the cup.
“Good choice.” The card was flipped, and then behold, The Tower. The more they looked at the tower the more it looked like a rabbit hole and a blond girl falling into it. An inside-out tower it was. “Well, that was unexpected. It seems you will be keeping that hair of yours, I am sorry to say.” Just then a door appeared-it was the door to Wonderland and they both saw it and knew it for what it was. “Well, it seems we will be going to Wonderland today. Can’t wait!” Chloe began chanting something under her breath and a shocked look came over her as whatever it was she expected to happen didn’t happen and Alice began to smile a wicked smile which looked particularly scary upon a now childish face. Alice was now noticeably, quite certainly, a child in appearance which was all part of the witch’s plan. Now that the plan was playing out as expected, the witch turned to bolt from the room but found herself facing Alice who was holding a rather wickedly sharp-looking blade and blocking her exit, something she never dreamed she would need. “Alice, come on. Can’t we talk about this?”
“Witch, Please! If you remember, the words said to eat you and that’s just what I’m gonna do!” With that, Alice plunged the dagger deeply into Chloe’s heart whereupon the witch turned magically into a rabbit and should have died but didn’t. “Don’t worry, rabbit. The queen wants your head for some hat tricks of hers, but the rest of you is mine to eat. Just think, with the magic I get from your lucky rabbit foot, I can now safely go after the bad witches!” Once the undying rabbit’s head had been removed, Alice opened the door to wonderland and shoved the no-longer screaming rabbit head through to wonderland where the queen's guard threw the head in a sack and up on a horse to drag to the queen. Hat tricks helped keep magic in wonderland after all!
After reading a note one of the queen’s guards handed her through the door that said the queen needed more witch heads, Alice sighed. There isn’t much you can do to Wonderland, but there is a lot Wonderland can do to you! Not today, though. Today, she had a rabbit to cook and long, blond hair, to her continued dismay, to comb.