adults enter the alice in wonderland world
“So what do you think of the house? Michael asked Susan as they wandered through the meadow they had seen from one of the back windows of the house they had just looked at. Do you like it enough to buy it?
No answer but she had one of those looks on her face that he recognised as being one of deep thought. Susan? You seemed to like the house as we first started going round but then you went quiet. I thought you would really like it, he paused as they clambered down a small bank next to a small river and then stopped. “And look at all this right on our doorstep” he suggested as he flung his arms wide to encompass the lovely summer scene around them, he smiled and looked around him at the slow moving river, the meadow full of wild flowers that they had just walked through, he looked at the field off to their right which was full of buttercups and insects buzzing quietly about their own business and the small wood on the other side of the water. “It’s perfect he muttered”
“It’s familiar” Susan had finally said something, she turned to him with a quizzical expression on her face. I feel like I know this place and the house it was everything I could have wished for. You’re right it is perfect it’s all perfect.
“Then why are you frowning? What’s the problem? Asked Michael as he took both of Susan’s hands in his own “now don’t tell me it’s too perfect or I’ll chuck you in that glorified stream there”
Susan smiled a last “No you don’t have to throw me in the water, its just its so familiar but I couldn’t of been here before as I grew up on the other side of Deaton and I don’t ever remember coming to this village as a child.”
“Ok but did you like it enough to put in an offer as we shall have to move fast if we…” Michael dropped her hands and turned to look across at the field “What the hell?”
What is it? Asked Susan standing on tiptoes trying to see what had caught her husband eye.
“Probably nothing” he said turning back to her “I thought I saw someone but I can’t see anything now. Anyway about the perfect house?”
Susan cocked her head to one side, which was another sign of her thinking, and another one of the many endearing things she did that had drawn Michael to her. “Yes I like it, I think we should go right back there now and offer the full asking price, so we can be sure of getting it!”
My god you really do like it don’t you? Smiled Michael “You’re usually very cagey until you’ve had chance to think about it”
“Michael look!” Susan said wide eyed and pointing at something over his shoulder
Michael quickly spun round only to see the backend of someone, disappearing underneath the hedge which separated the meadow from the field next door. “I did see someone then” he exclaimed as he turned back to Susan but the expression that was now on her face was not one he had ever seen before. “What’s wrong? Who was it? Did they frighten you?” He turned back to the hedge to see if he could spot any more of the person that seemed to have spooked his wife.
He couldn’t see anything but as Susan strode past him to get to the hedge he grabbed her hand and pulled her back “Susan?” he cried trying to make her look at him but she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the spot under the hedge. He put himself between her and her target and tried to catch her eye. “Susan!” his voice was getting louder now in his anxiety “What’s going on?”
At last he managed to get her attention and as he opened his mouth to speak again, she put her fingers up to his mouth and whispered “Shhhh…. Listen”. He shook his head trying to free his mouth from her fingers but then he realised he could actually hear something.
It was only faint but he thought he could hear a voice muttering, he turned his head so that his ear was closer to the sound and as he did so there was a faint breeze which seemed to carry the sound closer and make it louder, although the fleeting thought did cross Michaels mind, that all day there had been no such breeze and so the timing of this little puff of wind did seem to be perfect. But of course that was a silly idea…
“Oh dear! Oh dear” I shall be too late……………”
“Weird” Michael shrugged his shoulders and then after a couple of seconds shook his head and turned back to Susan.
”Did you hear it too? She asked quietly not taking hers eyes from the hedge.
“Yes. I think so, they must have been in a hurry or something, especially to try and get through the middle of a hedge when there’s a gap at the end there by the river.” He once again shrugged his shoulders. “Well it’s nothing to do with us if a farmer or local is late for milking or whatever.”
“You didn’t see it then?” Susan was looking at him like she’d seen a ghost or something.
“No why?” He wondered why she was calling the mysterious person an it but he could see she was still upset and so moved closer. ”What was it?”
She seemed to gather her thoughts a little and shook her head “No never mind, it was probably my imagination, “She started to walk back toward the house.
“Wait if someone’s scared you I’m going to do something about it.” Looking more confident than he actually felt, he did feel that he had to protect his wife of only 6 months from anything that scared her, although they had been seeing each other for 3 years and had been engaged for 2, He was still going through the “She is my woman and I must protect caveman stage” ever since they had set the date for the wedding. He made his way to the hedge and tried to find the gap that the man must have used to get through.
“Michael it doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I saw anyway.” Susan came up beside him and grabbed his arm. “So it probably was my imagination and maybe the sun was in my eyes!”
Michael stopped looking and stood up, whilst he did so noticing the direction of the sun and that it couldn’t possibly have been in her eyes. “Ok, what did you see?”
She cocked her head and hesitated.
“Ok what do you think you saw?”
“Ok I know this is going to sound stupid and there is probably a simple explanation, but…”
“What?” Michael almost shouted in his frustration
“A man size white rabbit!”
Michael lifted his head and laughed out loud releasing the tension that had been congregating between his shoulder blades. She had to be joking, here he was getting all het up, trying to be the big man and protect his wife from evil and here she was telling him she had just seen a large white rabbit! “Oh man you are joking?” he wheezed in between guffaws, what are you trying to do give me a heart attack? At first you scare me into thinking some weirdo has been following or watching us and then by telling me that you have just seen a large white rabbit! Isn’t that a character from one of those old movies that you like watching so much?”
“It was wearing a waistcoat and was looking at a watch on a chain which it took out of the pocket of his waistcoat!”
Susan was now standing with her arms crossed and was looking at him in that ‘one is not amused’ way like the time he had come home from the pub late one night, after a lads night out and had given her some flowers from their neighbours front yard as a present, knowing that she would be mad with him for being so tipsy.
Realising he was now upsetting her by laughing so much he tried to calm down but couldn’t help himself from giving another little snigger.
“You heard it speak” she said obviously frustrated at his reaction “and I told you you’d think I was insane!”
“Well what did you think I would do go and call the nearest vet to come out and give it an injection for myxamatosis?” he guffawed again and turning round toward the hedge just managed to stop himself from falling down a large hole that had appeared directly behind him. He no longer finding anything funny, tried to catch his breath and explained that the hole now in front of him and large enough to fit an adult sized human through, had not been there 2 minutes ago.
Susan coming up next to Michael also looked curiously into the hole under the hedge. She also said very matter of factly “That’s where the rabbit must have gone.”
Michael turned his head very slowly and looked at his wife who was now bent down trying to see into the hole, which was surrounded by weeds and long bits of grass. “Hey honey watch you don’t fall down” He now didn’t know what to feel. He had heard those words but didn’t know what to make of them or this situation. His brain was beginning to shut down and he felt a more than a little bit uneasy. That hole definitely hadn’t been there before and Susan was acting so weird. Like she was now sure of herself and he was the silly one for not believing her
The use of his favourite endearment showed Susan that he was feeling a bit unsure of the situation and was now showing concern instead of mirth. She stood up, took hold of his hand and sighed but she only said one word. “Jump” and she did!
Susan wasn’t sure what she was doing, but did know that it was the right thing. As she heard her name echoing down the hole from above Susan tried to focus her thoughts. I have just jumped down a large hole into which I saw a large white rabbit disappear, and I am not dead or hurt but might be insane. It actually took her a couple of moments to notice that she seemed to be slowly falling or even floating like a feather and that around her on the sides of the hole or whatever it was, were little shelves and cupboards, there was also maps and pictures that she could just about see from what little light there was.
As she heard her name once more drifting down above, it was all she could manage to tear her thoughts away from the shelves, turn her head and shout “I’m ok, just jump it’ll be fine!” she hope Michael had heard her as she didn’t want to do this alone and now as she fell she tried to remember what came next.
The next thing Susan heard was “Ahhhhh….“ and a little more softly “Oh!” Good. He had jumped now she could concentrate on trying to remember what she had read as a child, Susan had guessed by now that somehow and beyond any thing she could ever of imagined or believe to be true they had somehow found the setting for the novel or least were in the novel ‘Alice in Wonderland!’
It was strange half of her mind was screaming “This is insane, you must be asleep or knocked your head or something I don’t know Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” But the other half, which was the loudest half at the moment, was trying to remember the story that she had read repeatedly as a child to escape her mundane existence and to get away from her evil brother whose favourite hobby as a teenager, it had seemed to Susan, was the bullying and shaming of his youngest sister. Susan had spent a lot of her younger years hiding in the attic between two chairs with a blanket draped across the top of them like a makeshift tent. She had eventually found out that it was too much work for her chubby brother Steven to climb up the ladder and make his way over the old furniture and boxes to where her den was positioned as far away from the hatch opening as possible. Susan’s’ den had gradually filled up with all sorts of books from fairy stories to the classics, which included ‘Little Women’ and of course ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.
All Susan could think of at the moment, as her thoughts were still milling around like a hamster in a ball inside her head, was that she had to follow the white rabbit. Oh and to find out if Michael was ok. Once again she turned her head upwards when suddenly thump! Thump! She had landed. As Susan had just opened her mouth to shout to Michael all her breath came rushing out in a big Whoof!
At least she seemed unhurt if a little shaken, and as she looked around her to see what she had landed on she jumped quickly out of the way as she heard “Incoming” shouted from above and there he was lying a on a bed of sticks and dry leaves, with a look of pure shock.
With the look on his face all she could do was laugh but even to her own ears it began to sound a bit hysterical. Michael jumped up and went to hold her in his arms
“Are you ok my love, are you hurt?” he hugged her tightly and rocked her from side to side as she sobbed and gradually the sounds coming from his chest area lessened and stopped. “It’s ok I’m here, its going to be alright!” although he didn’t believe his own words he hoped that Susan felt better.
He couldn’t believe that he had just jumped down an opening in the ground, he had panicked when Susan had jumped and had just about managed to get his hand free before she could pull him down with her. But then in his terror of losing her and his wild shouting down the hole and around the field for help, he had heard her faint cry. In his panic he did the only thing he could do and it was such an instinctive thing to do, which was to save his wife. So he jumped!
All he knew was that something very weird was going on. They had just plummeted, if somewhat slowly, down a large shaft of some sort, and at the moment couldn’t get his round anything except that Susan seemed to be in shock and he had to help her.
Susan lifted her head up to his and so he gave her a kiss. “Feel better?”
“A bit yes.” She sheepishly answered and then gave him another peck on the mouth just to make sure. As she stepped away from Michael they both looked around.
“Where are we?” Asked Michael, having not read the same books as Susan as his tastes had run more to boys books and adventure stories like ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and ‘Treasure Island’. All he could see was a long passage, down which he also saw the white rabbit rushing out of view at the other end. He also heard some more muttering which sounded like, “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!”
“Who talks like that?” asked Michael but to thin air it seemed as Susan wasn’t behind him anymore she was darting down the corridor after the rabbit. “Susan! Where are you going we have to try to get out of here! Susan?”
At the second use of her name Susan turned “Hurry up or we’ll lose him!”
“Lose him! Why are we following him?” shouted Michael as he did the only thing he could under the present circumstances and that was follow his wife. He glanced once at the opening above him as he started moving and muttered to himself.” Why are there never any breadcrumbs around when you want some?”
As she rounded the corner he almost bumped into Susan who was stood stock still and was now smiling but there was no sign of the rabbit.
“What are you smiling at?” he asked “I thought you wanted to catch that rabbit and he’s not here!” to prove this fact he continued down what seemed like some kind of hallway or corridor which was lined with doors. As he wandered down he had to bend several times so as not to hit his head on the line of lamps that were hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling was low enough he thought without having these swinging lantern light things as well. “And anyway!” he said turning back to his wife who had started down after him. “What are you smiling at?” his voice softened “After all you were just crying a minute ago!”
Susan came up to him still smiling her secretive little smile and said “Alice’s’ Adventures in Wonderland!”
She was looking at him as if this was meant to mean something to him, he shrugged “What about it. What’s going on? And stop smiling at me like that I feel like a five year old!”
“I’m sorry darling ! Have you ever read the book?”
Michael shook is head “Isn’t it about a little girl called Alice, who falls down a hole after chasing a white rabbit and then goes on to have.…………!”
Susan nodded her head and kept on smiling that ridiculously smarmy smile, really! She looked like someone who had got the cat, ate the cream and found the cherry on top.
“No way that’s impossible this is a dream or something!” after he had ranted for a couple of minutes he stopped “Well it would explain everything, how we are not injured from that fall and how we must be INSANE!…………” he shouted.
Susan slapped him.
“What was that for?” He asked rubbing his cheek.
“I’m sorry, it seemed like you were going to have a little tantrum and I wanted to stop it before it started. Did it really hurt?” Susan stood on tiptoes and kissed his now reddening cheek.
“Yes it hurt, you didn’t have to slap so hard you know!” as she kissed him again he calmed down a bit and forgave her “ok maybe I was getting a little bit ga ga! But this IS insane that’s a story, a story written by what’s his name hundreds of years ago and nowhere has it ever been said or written that it is based on a true story. Nowhere. Never!” realising he had again raised his voice, he stepped backwards and put a hand up to protect his cheek.
Susan just laughed “Lewis Carroll and it was written in the mid 1800’s I think. Does it matter how we got here or why its’ happening to us? We are here together, now, about to start an adventure through Wonderland!” she tiptoed up again and kissed him on the mouth this time “Isn’t it exiting?”
He just looked at her “You’re enjoying this aren’t you?
Susan nodded “Uh huh!”
“And you’re not one bit scared or worried about what can happen to us or how we got here, or how we are going to get out of here?”
Michael sighed resignedly “Ok! You’ve read the book what happens next?”
Susan pointed behind him “Well we get the key off that table and open the door behind that curtain there.”
Michael turned “What table there isn’t a table there! Oh you mean that table?” Michael shook his head he was beginning to lose all sense of reality and told himself not to believe anything that he saw from now on. Or didn’t see!”
Susan picked up the key, did a little skip towards the curtain and pulled it back to find a little door about just over a foot high.
“Ok my little bookish brainy one how do we get through there then?” asked Michael crossing his arms.
Susan ignoring him bent down on one knee and turned the key in the lock. The door opened and Susan found herself lying flat on the floor looking down a passage to the loveliest garden she had ever seen. She couldn’t actually see much but what she could was delightful, there were bright flowers and lovely spraying fountains.
“Oh it’s lovelier than I ever imagined!” she cried
“What is? Here let me have a look?” Despite himself he was curious, not having read the book he didn’t know what was going to happen down here, but he what he must have picked up about it over the years told him that it wasn’t a dangerous story or something to be worried about. If such a young girl as Alice could travel down here and get out again unharmed then it would be no problem for him and Susan.
“Well what do you think?” asked Susan who was doing something behind him at the table.
He stood up and turned round “Well it did look quite nice in there.” he said grudgingly. “But how do we get in there? You are not going to fit through there never mind me and I assume that where we need to go seeing as all these other door seem to be locked and with out any.”
Susan just nodded looking at something she had picked up from the table
“What have you got there some magic potion or another?”
“Yes!” she said turning “That’s exactly what it is, are you sure you haven’t read the book?”
“Positive, but I may of seen bits off it on the television, anyhow I only said that as all these sorts of stories seem to have potions and wizards and magic stuff in them” I don’t believe I am thinking rationally about this said a thought from the back of his mind
“Well this story doesn’t have any wizards in it, I don’t think, but it does have plenty of magic potions and magic!” she held up a small bottle which had a label tied around it with words on it saying “DRINK ME” “And here is magic potion number one.”
“I don’t suppose there is any point in my asking how that got there is there.”
“No probably not” then she whispered” It’s magic!”
He bent toward her “Why are you whispering?”
“I don’t know!” Susan shrugged and said out loud “Anyway here goes!”
“Hey wait!” he grabbed the bottle from her before she could drink it. “ What are you doing?”2
“I’m drinking it that’s the whole point of it saying DRINK ME!”
“I Appreciate that but what does it do? You need to let me know what’s going on and what’s going to happen when you do these things, otherwise I am gonna have a heart attack every five minutes!”
Susan looked at him with her sparkling blue eyes and shiny blonde hair “Ok I am sorry I’m just so exited, I don’t know how this has happened but it’s a dream come true for me and even if I wake up in hospital with a big gash in my head, which means that this is actually a dream. I don’t care! This is happening now whether it is real or not!” and with a toss of the head “And I am going to enjoy every minute of it!”
“Ok fine drink the damn stuff just tell what its going to do will you!” He hadn’t meant to sound so angry but this was just the weirdest situation he had ever been in and she wasn’t even a little bit nervous. But he could tell by the look on her face that he had upset her “I’m sorry honey I didn’t mean that to sound so strong I’m just like a fish out of water here and I don’t like not being in control of any situation never mind this one!”
“Ok I understand.” Susan put one of her hands into his. “How about we both calm down and I will try to remember to let you know what’s going to happen next.” She squeezed “Ok?”
He pulled her into his arms again. “Ok! I’m sorry this is just too weird!”
“Right!” said Susan. “If we both drink this potion it will make us small enough to fit through that little door. Is that ok with you Mr likes to be in control Williams?”
The twinkle in her eye told him she was joking. “Yes that’s fine Mrs have read every book since 1274 Williams!”
They both laughed, it helped, they felt better. Susan lifted up the bottle slowly and drank down half the bottle, she quickly gave it to Michael who polished off the rest.
“Sausage, mash and gravy and now, apple pie and cream!” exclaimed Michael opening his eyes “Wow!”
“No it’s Greek salad with lemon sorbet and cherry sauce!”
Michael just shook his head he wasn’t going to say anything and seeing as Susan was still her usual size relative to him he didn’t think anything had happened until he looked down at the table and made a start as he realised that column like thing that had appeared beside him was actually the chair leg, he looked up and once again said “Wow!”
“I know its amazing isn’t it?” Shrieked Susan, then as she headed toward the now not so little door she cried “Oh no!”
“What is it?” Michael was now at her Susan’s side looking around to find something that could have upset her.
“I forgot we’re not meant to go through the door!” She moaned looking at the little golden key in her hand “Alice forgets the key when she is made small then has to eat a piece of cake that she finds under the table to make herself big again, then she gets too big and ends up being about ten feet tall and crying enough to create a large pool into which all these animals appear!” Susan was almost crying now “I’ve ruined everything before we’ve even begun!”
“It’s ok.” soothed Michael he had been looking around the table to find the infamous piece of cake, but he had no luck. “Don’t worry we’ll think of something, maybe the magic will wear off and we’ll be tall again in a minute!” he could see that his wife was getting herself into a state “It’s fine Susan, calm down it’ll sort it self out, I promise, this is a children’s’ book not a thriller, only good things can happen!” he paused “Can’t it?”
Susan now beginning to feel a bit silly wiped her eyes on her sleeve, “Yes I know you’re right it’s just I wanted it to be perfect, like the book!”
“Ok! Well we know it’s a book yeah?” he held her so he could look right into her eyes.
“And apparently it’s a good book!”
“Well what if we had to change the story a bit? It doesn’t matter does it? You can try to think ahead and to get us back on the right track can’t you? It just means we will have bits of adventure that even Alice didn’t have. Doesn’t it? And then you can write it in that book of yours, that you say you are always going to write!” he looked at her questioningly “What do you think?”
Susan looked at him, looked around her still getting used to the fact that she was only about a foot tall and then slowly nodded. “I guess you’re right!”
“Ok good. Now what’s supposed to happen next? You said something about a cake, crying and animals?”
“Yes well that’s where I’m supposed to come in!”
Both Michael and Susan jumped off the floor as they heard this squeaky voice come from behind them. They spun round and Michael almost screamed until he realised that it wouldn’t be a very manly thing to do and managed to stop himself just in time. Although the same thing couldn’t be said for Susan who did scream.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to frighten you.! The mouse said.
“Yes it really is a mouse” Thought Michael as he stared open mouthed at this apparition before them. The mouse seemed to be waiting for one of them to say something. “Erm no that’s fine” Uttered a high pitched sounding Michael. He coughed and his voice became a little stronger and deeper. “It’s just that we weren’t expecting any…one else to be here.”
“Well now you come to mention it, I wasn’t really expecting the two of you to be here!” Said the mouse.
Yes it was definitely a real mouse decided Michael and not someone dressed up as one. As he had tried to get his head round this next strange happening to assault his senses. He had to tell himself to stop thinking rationally, thinking like that wasn’t going to get him anywhere except the mad house, if he wasn’t there already!
Whilst he was going through all this, Susan was just standing there, not even moving and her tongue was still hanging out, until she must have realised this and with a loud snap! Shut it. This brought Michael out of his reverie and he asked her if she was alright
“I’m fine what’s…it doing?“ she asked
Michael turned to see that the rabbit was pawing at itself as if looking for something.
“Ah here it is!” It happily exclaimed triumphantly holding up a small piece of paper.
As it started towards them, they both, not seeming to be rude and not wanting to offend the mouse, just leaned backwards a little.
Michael trying to figure out where the mouse had found the bit of paper had to stop himself from asking, as it seemed a little bit rude.
“Here look it says my presence is requested at blah blah blah. To carry on the family tradition of playing the part of the swimming mouse! It‘s a great honour you know!” He could tell from the look on their faces that they didn’t. “I am sorry for scaring you and I probably shouldn’t be talking to you either but!” It looked around to make sure no one was listening and leant forward. “Well you’re not quite what I expected and where is the water? I’ve been practising my swimming for days!”
“Water?” asked Michael.
“I told you.” muttered Susan. “About Alice crying so much that she creates a pool of water into which a lot of animals appear. Then the mouse tells everyone a story, Alice upsets them all by talking about cats and dogs… Sorry! and she gets left on her own again I think!”
“Yes that’s about it, you see I’ve known the story ever since I came to be the next mouse in line for the part after my father past away!” The mouse beamed for a second and then started to cry. “And now I’ve ruined everything. Oh dear me he’s going to be so mad with me!”
“Never mind.“ said Susan putting her arm round the mouse, her mothering instinct getting the better of her scared one. “It’s not your fault there’s no water, its mine! I got it wrong I didn’t remember the story properly, but it was a shock you know finding ourselves in here without any warning. We’ll explain that if you like to whoever we need to! Would that be ok?”
The mouse eventually nodded and began to blow it’s nose on an old hanker chief that had appeared from somewhere. Michael spent the next few seconds trying to find out where.
“Anyway!” said Michael after his inspection had proved fruitless. Who is he? That’s going to be so mad with you?”
“The White Rabbit of course!” The mouse now looked at Michael as if he was an idiot for not knowing this.” Oh no!” the mouse started crying again. “I was supposed to wait until he had passed through dropping his fan and gloves. That was my cue I really have ruined everything” The mouse now started wailing very loudly.
As Susan tried to calm it down Michael noticed that there wasn’t just the three of them anymore. A small group of what Michael could only think to describe as creatures, had appeared from round the corner at the end of the hall, where he and Susan had first come.
They didn’t seem particularly threatening to Michael but there were some raised voices and so he tried to get the mouse’s attention. “Erm miss!” He had guessed it was a girl by the insisted upon crying, no respected boy mouse would let himself cry like that, Michael found himself thinking! “Miss Mouse? We have company, are these - erm are they with you?” he finished rather lamely, he want used to thinking like this and also wasn’t sure of the most politically correct description of a group such as they!
As Susan stopped trying to soothe the mouse she looked up and saw a strange and still growing assortment of creatures, who all seemed to be arguing. She thought she could pick out a few ducks, an assortment of small furry creatures, although they weren’t so small now being roughly the same size as her and Michael and there, yes it was, the dodo. She recognized it from the pictures of it in one of her children’s books, the one that had in it all the stories and poems that Lewis Carroll had ever written. It did seem quite elegant and she could hear it, even over the row they were all making, its booming voice carrying out over the top of the heads like a balloon filled with helium.
“Something has obviously gone wrong!” It said “I think we must all wait here until the white rabbit comes by!” Its’ authoritarian voice obviously wanting to brook no objections.
The mouse was so upset by their apparent anger at her, that she wailed once then ran past them all as fast as she could and disappeared around the corner from whence they had all come.
“Oh dear!” said Susan “I do hope she is going to be alright!”
“I do hope!” mimicked Michael “Who talks like that anymore?”
Susan ignored him and started to move toward the group, which had grown quiet after the mouse’s dash for freedom. Until she felt a hand on her arm “What are you doing he asked?”
“I was going to talk to them! What’s wrong with that?” she asked turning to look him in the eye…..