HOW TIME FLIES!
Alice ambled along the pathway through the scrub. As she walked, she was reading a biography of Lewis Carroll’s life. Consequently, she didn’t realise there was a hole in the path until she suddenly dropped through it.
As she landed she stumbled, dropping her book. Looking around, she was in a sort of cave. It wasn’t a normal type of cave because it had plants and there was light coming from somewhere. She heard a murmuring sound and moved cautiously towards it.
She found a garden with rather enormous plants; roses, cornflowers, violets, marigolds and others she couldn’t name. As she approached, the murmuring stopped, and the flowers turned their heads towards her. Rose was quite discombobulated by the sudden appearance of this alien being.
‘Who or what are you?’ Rose asked imperiously, leaning slightly away.
‘I’m a girl,’ Alice said.
‘A girl?’ Rose queried. ‘Never heard of a girl’. She leaned forward and Alice was sure she was sniffing her. “Mmm, no perfume at all,” she muttered to the other flowers, ‘and no foliage either’. Her eyes slid down Alice’s body, then Rose shrieked with horror.
‘She has two stems! Two stems! An utter abomination,’ she hissed to the others.
Cornflower turned her gaze to a point in the distance. She hummed a little tune while her eyes wandered around, then casually glanced at the girl. She shuddered slightly. ‘It’s true,’ she whispered to the others, ‘she really does have two stems’.
‘They’re not stems, they’re legs,’ Alice retorted.
‘She’s a weed. A noxious weed,’ Rose announced. ‘She cannot possibly stay here and contaminate our perfect garden.’ Turning to Alice she waved her thorny leaves, making shooing motions. ‘Go away girl. There’s no place for you here. Shoo, shoo.’
Alice was offended. ‘I wouldn’t want to stay here with you anyway. You’re all horrid.’
Cornflower bowed her pretty blue head and whispered, ‘I hope life is kind to you.’
As Alice walked away she heard Rose’s voice. ‘Now ladies. Stand up tall, faces towards the sun, leaves carefully positioned to offer the best possible presentation to our admirers.’
Alice kept walking, still not sure where she was or how she’d get home again. Then she heard another voice. ‘I’m late, damn it. She’s going to be aggro at me again I just know it.’
A rabbit was hurrying along the path, looking at a large pocket watch he was holding. He almost bumped into Alice, realising at the last moment there was someone in front of him. He jumped back, surprised.
‘Better late than never,’ Alice said, trying to project a friendly attitude, ‘I’m Alice’.
‘Hello,’ said the rabbit cautiously. ‘I’m Black Rabbit.’
Alice heard a sudden ping and Black Rabbit looked at his watch. ‘I’m late!’ he moaned, ‘again.’
‘Late for what?’ Alice asked. As she waited for an answer, another ping sounded and Alice frowned a curious frown.
‘Oh, the Queen! She wants me to umpire the cricket match. It starts in fifteen minutes and I’m not going to make it. Ping.
Alice looked around but couldn’t tell where the strange noise was coming from. ‘Can you hear that?’ she asked.
‘What?’ ping Black Rabbit asked.
‘That ping noise. What is it?’
‘Oh that,’ said Black Rabbit. ‘That’s a minute passing. That’s how time flies.’
Then Alice noticed with the very next ping, a little black mark flew off the pocket watch into the air. ‘How fascinating,’ she murmured.
‘Well it’s been nice chatting with you,’ Black Rabbit said, ping, ‘but I really must be going.’
‘Wait,’ said Alice. ‘I may be able to help you.’ She fossicked around in the grass and gathered all the little black marks into the palm of her hand, blowing gently on them to remove any dirt. Another ping and she shot her hand out, catching one on the fly.
Black Rabbit was very impressed. ‘You must come with me. We could do with a great fielder like you. If I ever ping get there.’
‘Here,’ Alice said, ‘open up the back of your pocket watch.’ Black Rabbit did so and Alice tipped all the little black marks into the workings and closed it.
The hands flipped back by twelve minutes. Black Rabbit was ecstatic. ‘If we hurry, we’ll be there early! Come on then,’ and taking her by the hand, Black Rabbit and Alice hurried off to see the Queen and play their game of cricket.
Malice in Wonderland
The Black Rabbit and Alice hurried along the path. Coming to a crossroad, Alice looked at the signs. Happy Hatter’s Residence to the left, ManicTurtle’s Performance to the right, Flower Garden behind them and Queen’s Cricket Ground straight ahead. They hurried along the path that took them to the Cricket Ground. In the distance they could hear a woman’s voice screeching, ‘Off with his head!’
‘Goodness me,’ said Alice, ‘Who is that screeching?’
‘The Queen of Hearts,’ the rabbit told her. ‘She’s always shouting at somebody,’ he explained, ‘mostly me.’
‘Has she actually chopped off someone’s head?’ Alice asked.
‘Not yet,’ he replied, ‘but don’t take any chances. She’s rather unpredictable.’
Stepping through a gap in the high hedge, Alice saw a grassy oval with many cards of different suits standing around a pitch. To the side of the oval were a number of spectators seated at a table. They were drinking tea and shouting encouragement to the players.
At one end of the pitch stood an impressive woman dressed in red and holding a cricket bat, glaring at the very nervous Manic Turtle at the other end.
‘That’s the Queen of Hearts,’ Black Rabbit whispered.
‘Who is that speaking?’ the Queen screamed.
‘Er … Sorry Your Majesty,’ the rabbit said. ‘It was me.’
‘How dare you speak while I’m trying to concentrate on my game!’
‘I’m so sorry, Your Majesty, I promise I won’t do it again.’ The rabbit said, bowing so low his nose almost touched the ground.
To Rabbit’s tremendous relief, the Queen shifted her gaze to Alice. ‘Who .. is .. that,’ she shouted, pointing the bat at Alice, ‘and why is she here?’
‘This is a girl, Your Majesty. She is very good at catching things and I thought she might be useful in your game of cricket.’
‘Really,’ she said thoughtfully, lowering the bat. ‘How good are you, girl?’
Alice curtseyed awkwardly. ‘I believe I’m quite good, Your Majesty,’ she replied, ‘and my name is Alice, not girl.’
‘Bowler,’ the Queen shouted, ‘throw the ball at the girl.’
The bowler threw something at Alice, and as she moved to catch it, she saw it was a hedgehog. Not wanting to be stabbed by hedgehog quills, she caught it in her apron, then tipped it gently onto the ground.
‘Hmph,’ grunted the Queen, ‘I suppose she’ll do.’
Alice noticed one of the cards sneaking around behind the hedge. It was the Jack of Hearts, carrying what was left of a tray of tarts. He hurried over to Alice and thrust the tray at her. She took it automatically as he turned and rushed away.
‘Where are my tarts?’ the Queen screamed. ‘Who has stolen my tarts?’
Suddenly Alice was the centre of attention and all eyes were on her and the tray of tarts she was holding. Black Rabbit quickly stepped sideways.
The Queen glared across the pitch at the girl holding the tray of tarts and, pointing an accusing finger at her, screamed, ‘Off with her head! Off with her head!’
‘Off with her head,’ shouted the spectators at the tea table.
‘But I didn’t take them,’ Alice said. ‘The Jack of Hearts stole them and gave me the tray.’
The Jack of Hearts stepped forward and declared his innocence. ‘Not true, Your Majesty,’ he said, bowing respectfully. ‘I would never steal your tarts. This girl is a stranger, and she must have taken them.’
‘He’s lying,’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Look at his shirt, there are crumbs all over it. And his face is smeared with red jam.’
All eyes were now on Jack, and the evidence could not be denied.
‘Off with his head, off with his head,’ the Queen shouted.
‘Off with his head,’ shouted the spectators.
The cards began rushing about, seemingly purposeful but achieving nothing. Shouts of ‘Off with his head’ echoed around the grounds. Alice became quite dizzy with all the pandemonium and felt herself falling face first into the tray of tarts and down to the grassy oval.
She felt someone grab her by the arm and shake her. She could hear her name being called and, opening her eyes, saw her sister leaning over her anxiously.
‘Alice. Are you alright? You’ve been thrashing about and shouting something about a head. You must have had a bad dream.’
Alice sat up. ‘Yes, I did have a dream, but fortunately it was only a dream.’
‘What have you been eating?’ her sister asked. ‘You’ve got strawberry jam on your face. Come on now, it’s getting late, and we’d better get home before someone comes looking for us.’
Alice was thoughtful as the two sisters strolled home hand in hand.