A daughter seeks a way to save her mother's life.
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Through The Looking Glass
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
“Are you sure this is it?” Allie looked at the small man that stood quivering before her.
“Absolutely, child. But if you have your doubts, if you don’t want it…” He held out his hand, prepared to take the object back.
“I am not a child,” Allie said, holding firmly to the talisman the man had delivered to her. “I will need to take it to her to find out for sure.” She turned to leave but he grabbed hold of her arm, holding her back. He was no longer quivering, but determined.
“You will pay me first.”
“And if this isn’t the mirror I am looking for? You will have my payment and I will be the fool with a useless relic.”
“And if you don’t pay me, you will never know. Are you prepared to lose your last chance…” His fingers closed around hers and she felt her grip on the mirror’s handle loosening. With a strength he didn’t show in his aged features, he reclaimed the mirror, placing the object back into the bag he had first produced it from.
“NO!” Allie lunged for the bag, but he stepped back.
“Tut, tut, you know what I want. Give it to me and the mirror is yours.”
Allie sighed. “Very well.” Turning, she started to leave and then stopped, seeing that he was preparing to follow her. “Wait here.”
“No tricks,” he cautioned. “I will know if you try anything… funny.” He cackled then, his eyes twinkling with amusement.
Allie’s stomach knotted at the unpleasant sound. “I promise, no tricks.”
She slipped out of the room, closing the door behind her. A moment later she stepped into another room. A baby lay sleeping in a bassinet. Allie smiled down at the child. “Don’t worry, Regina, I have no intention of giving you to him, promise or no promise.”
She stepped past the baby’s bed and touched a panel on the wall. It slid open, revealing an empty chamber. She picked up the knife she’d hidden there and then opened up another panel that led into the room she had left the little man. His back was turned to her and he remained unaware of his danger as she approached him. He stiffened when the knife plunged into his back, but offered no other resistance. His top hat fell off his head as she lowered him gently to the floor.
Allie had spent years trying to find her mother’s old mirror. Now that she was dying it became more imperative than ever that she succeed. Her mother’s only chance to live was held within the mirror. She looked down at her mother now, while the nurse administered another round of medicine… intravenously. Her mother had long ago lost the ability to swallow. So used to the constant prodding, Alice slept through the needles prick, even smiling.
“Do you think she is dreaming about him?” The nurse asked.
“Who else would make her smile like that?” She held Regina against her, patting the baby bottom, while the nurse took her mother’s pulse and emptied her catheter. When she was finished, Allie handed her a piece of paper. The nurse looked at the check, confused.
“It says final payment.”
“Your services will no longer be required.”
“This may very well be my mother’s last day. I wish to spend it with her alone.” She held up the mirror and the nurse gasped, understanding. “Don’t worry, we will both be okay. We will be together. Oh, when you leave, can you please use the back door. There’s a bit of a mess in the front foyer and I wouldn’t want you to slip.”
After the nurse was gone, Allie woke her mother.
“Allie…” Her mother’s voice was weak when she spoke and Allie put a finger to her lips, silencing her.
“Save your strength, mother, you will need it. We are going on a journey.”
“Where are we going?” Alice’s eyes fell on the mirror. “No, Allie… “
“You are dying and the only chance for you to live is in Wonderland. You will be young again… and you can be with Hatter.” She lifted the mirror and held it in front of them.
“You don’t understand!”
Her mother’s voice was panicked and Allie worried she might have a heart attack and die before they made it through the looking glass. She wondered if there was something she should say. Then the mirror began to ripple and she found herself falling forward. A white rabbit waved at her from the other side of the mirror. And then the rabbit disappeared and a woman in red stepped into place.
“Allie, no! That’s not my mirror… it’s hers!”
“Welcome back, Alice. I told you we’d meet again.”
Allie looked at the woman that was speaking to her. “I’m not Alice.” She turned to her mother and cried out, dismayed. The woman next to her was dead, her body already turning to ashes. “No. NO! This was supposed to save her.”
“Perhaps if you had just paid what we’d agreed on.”
The strange man that Allie had killed in her own world stepped from behind the Red Queen. He appeared younger and now Allie knew him from her mother’s descriptions. The Mad Hatter, Alice’s true love.
“But… I… How?”
“You should know,” he said, taking Regina from her arms, “That in Wonderland, nothing is as it appears. I am not THE Hatter. My brother died long ago.”
“He was the first after Alice left,” the Queen said, taking the baby. “She took something from me when she did and I vowed I would get back what was rightfully mine.”
“What? I will give it to you! Just please, give me my baby back.”
“Give me my baby back,” the Queen mimicked, laughing. “You don’t understand, Allie, she took my baby from me. That’s right, you, child. And now that I have you… and my grandchild home, I am never going to let you go.”
Word Count: 1,000