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Rated: E · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #2189934
Alice is lost. And this time it isn't Wonderland.
And the sun dove shyly behind the mountains.

Peepcove Highway stretched out before Alice like a huge slice of dream cake heaven as she drove through the first tunnel that seemed never ending by any stretch of the imagination.

She enjoyed the burst of what felt like winter sunlight that caught her in its glow as she emerged into a broader expanse of road, with wild flowers and yewberries growing on either side. A truck drove by, not stopping at all, without even an indicator, the damn driver cheekily grinning like a mad hatter as he drove past her.

What the...

Alice hit turbo determined to overtake the wiseass at any cost. Hitting sport mode, she revved ahead at top speed, touching 180.

As she gained speed, she could make out the orange truck in front of her, shaped like a matchbox and bearing the company logo: Key Cake Logistics.

Up ahead the world grew dark and Alice realised that she was making her way into the next black tunnel. The shadows of the tunnel gradually gobbled the truck up and before she knew it, a vast curtain of darkness wrapped around her like a crow's cold body.

She pressed on, gritting her teeth. For a fraction of a second, she turned her attention to turn on the music that belted out a song about dreams, sung by some crazy old fart named Richards.

She slowed the car gradually and by the time she turned around and stared ahead she found herself looking at a road that turned completely brick yellow ahead of her and the...truck?

A couple of strange red mail boxes on the way caught her eyes as the road twisted and turned ahead of her like a complex network of brain cells, with red mailboxes spread out like millions of bright neurons. Lost, she stared around.

Whatever happened to that truck?

She braked in the middle of the road and stared ahead. Something seemed familiar about the place, but yet she couldn't fathom what it was. She pulled the car to a safe distance from the road into a meadow near the woods and a rather dense one at that, a couple of yards behind.

Getting out of her car she opened the boot to take out her camping equipment. She decided she would wait for the night to fall, before giving her friends a call and asking for directions.


The thing moved in the silence of the oncoming night, its bulbous body wrapped in a shiny film. It stopped its silent slithering, cocking its enormous head in the direction of a sound emanating from a bunch of wild trees in the corner. There was something at once very otherworldly and yet familiar about it, as it squeezed itself through the branches heaving its huge form, and then with a sudden reflex stood up on its fours scanning the stars through its red shot ruby eyes.

Oozing slime through its every pore it moved through the maze of mulchy undergrowth as it rumbled on. Towards the direction of this new sound...


Alice was slowly losing patience. The seconds were turning into minutes and the minutes into hours. To make it worse, the mobile phone wasn't responding! Just when she needed to talk to someone!!!. The mobile stubbornly kept showing no network coverage, again and again and again.

It was then that Alice sensed it. An eerie stillness that hung in the air. The chill in the ...could it be called air? The other peculiar thought creeping up over her like the dense fog over the woods, was another startling revelation: why, of all things was that truck the only vehicle on this brain patterned highway? There were no other cars. No silly boys passing by to stop and ask a beautiful, lost woman if she needed help. No tow truck. No police patrol. No nobody.

She decided to cry absurdly, amidst the sheer pang of hopelessness, not to mention that tingling of fear that generally accompanied loneliness. Where was her camping gang?

But the tears didn't come.


A rabbit stared ahead at something dark under the foliage. There was a sudden burst of red as an explosion of flesh, snapping bone and ripping skin that filled the air as the poor thing was torn into a million pieces by the bulbous mass of hooves and spurs, in an instant.

A huge horn like that of some deranged unicorn, spiked the rabbits innards, lifting it proudly into the air. Moving its huge mass and fur, the shape shook its whole body like a Bacchian creature saluting an ancient ritual of a triumphant kill. What followed was a sickeningly loud bellow that shattered the forest. Standing in mute testimony were the bloodied trees - the only ones to stare back at this bloody spectacle.

Alice suddenly jolted out of her sleep, rudely awakened from some sort of bad dream in the comfort of the yellow tent that she was sheltering under.

She thought she had heard a sound…

A distant clap of thunder followed by a sheet of thin drizzle warned her of more trouble. It almost felt like fate was slapping her hard, a kind of absurd punishment for a wishful evening of camping. A song echoes through the tunnels of her brain:

Cuz the night has a thousand eyes
A thousand eyes
A thousand eyes

There was no question about it. Much as she hated admitting it, she felt someone was watching her from far off.

The shifting form rumbled through the morass of green spindles and sticks that crunched under its weight, edging closer to the delicious smell of fresh human flesh - so perversely delicious. It stopped a moment, its head cocked to one side with the sudden advent of the icy rain that pelted the forest like a billion needles. And then moved on, licking its bloodied mouth, spitting out bones and rabbit fat, while clearing its mouth for what seemed certain to be a delicious feast ahead.


Alice jolted her head in the direction of an alien sound that sounded muffled against an unmistaken rustling of trees, made all the more faint, no thanks to the downpour outside.

Grabbing her flashlight and shivering against the biting cold, she popped her head out of the tent struggling to see ahead.
Just then a mass of something huge knocked her flashlight away to one side. She looked up and froze, as the beams of light from her fallen torch settled on a ghastly hooded figure with fur and hooves and smeared with rabbit blood all over.

As she opened her mouth to scream against the violent rain and the dark nothingness around her, her voice was drowned by an unnatural neigh.

It was the Night Mare.

And it was doing the neighing.

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