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Fantasy > Alice's Wonderland *by Ariane*

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message 1: by ✿ αzzι ✿ (new)

✿ αzzι ✿ (azziplz) *Authors Note*


Okay, so, I'm thirteen, so don't go comparing me to JK Rowling or whatever, okay?

So... Sorry for any typos, grammar mistakes, logic mistakes, whatever, as this is a draft and therfore will be really hard to get perfect.

Also, please do not copy this story, the idea for this story, any characters, or... pretty much anything else, actually.

Disclaimer: I did NOT copy Alice in Wonderland. This story isn't anything like Alice in Wonderland, I just am using the name and a few other things later. It's all part of my ORIGINAL plot.

Aaaand... I just want to say... this is based on a true experience. Now, before you be like "LIAR! ALL THAT STUFF ISN'T TRUE IN THE REAL WORLD!" (sniffle) I said it was BASED. This means my family dragged me on a road trip last school holidays and we stopped off at this random beach/valley thing like 7,581 kilometres from any civilisation. When my parents made me go on a walk with them to "enjoy the scenery", I got lost and went down this random path to this clearing, which had a burnt treehouse, loads of dolls and toys scattered everywhere, and a battered sign saying "ALICE'S WONDERLAND" in faded letters. In the middle of a forest. Creepy, right? So, yeah. That and the valley are about the only true things in this story.

Okay, I love you all!


message 2: by ✿ αzzι ✿ (new)

✿ αzzι ✿ (azziplz) *Chapter One*

I stared at the rain lashing the car window, the scenery flashing by so fast it made my eyes water. It was one of those dark days where eveything seems grey-the sky, the sea, even the trees were all the faded hue. But I'd much rather look at the monotonous landscape than my aunt who sat in the drivers seat next to me. Because I knew that if I met her eyes, I would see pity.

Eventually she spoke. "I know you've had a difficult time lately, Zoe."

I reluctantly turned towards her. "Mmm," I said, hoping I could get away with noncommital noises.

No such luck.

"And I know you didn't want to come to stay with me, but your mother thought a bit of time in the countryside and an oppurtunity to distance yourself from... that boy... would be good for you. Help you clear your head." Aunt Shylah continued unwisely.

"With all due respect, Aunt Shylah," I said quietly. "My head is already clear. And I don't think staying at your house in the middle of nowhere for a week is going to change that fact."

After that, we drove in silence again.

***

"Zoe? We're here." Aunt Shylah tentatively shook my shoulder, jerking me out of my nightmares.

Furious at myself for letting down my guard, I blinked hard and sat up. Aunt Shylah leaned over me. The car had stopped.

"Here?" I asked, disgruntled.

"Here," Aunt Shylah repeated.

Rubbing my eyes, I slipped past her and gazed around.

We stood in front of a large wooden house. Honeysuckle, ivy, and other vines decorated the sides, hiding the building from view. Forest surrounded the overgrown front yard. Trees being the key word. The green spread for as far as the eye could see.

A small place in my heart, the place that still appreciated beautiful things, constricted. But I turned away and muttered, "Can we get out of the rain, please?"

Slightly crestfallen, Aunt Shylah nodded and popped open the boot of the car.

Silently, I gathered my luggage and tread slowly up the weathered cobblestone path. Aunt Shylah followed, unlocking the door and holding it open for me as I crossed the threshold.

Somewhere under my facade, I felt bad for Aunt Shylah. It was obviously not her idea to care for a depressed teenager for a week. But here she was, no doubt pressured into it by my mother. The least I could do would be to show a little appreciation. It was hard to show any warmth these days.

"This is the kitchen," Aunt Shylah said, gesturing through an open door at a large, cluttered room hung with herbs.

"The lounge..." A space almost solely inhabited by books.

"The downstairs bathroom..."

I lost track of all the rooms she showed me. After a while, she moved upstairs and stood next to a door on the landing.

"This is your bedroom. I guess you're tired after the drive? Maybe you could have a little lie-down and I'll wake you up for dinner."

I nodded, too tired to protest.

Aunt Shylah's footsteps retreated down to the kitchen and I heard pots and pans banging.

I leaned my forehead against the cold wood of the door.

I was fine.

I was totally fine.

Why did Mum have to send me here anyway?

Okay, maybe I did need a break, but did she have to send me to stay with my aunt who lived alone in a valley about a million miles away from any other humans?

No. She did not.

Sighing inwardly, I turned the handle and walked into the small guest room.

The walls were cream with a glazed pattern of flowers, with faded black curtains. A double bed took up most of the space. I flopped onto it, throwing my backpack and suitcase onto the floor and brushing my hair back from my face with a long exhale.

Leaning my head back against the headboard, I promised myself I'd only sleep for a half-hour. I would wake up in time for dinner...

My eyes drifted shut.

***

The scratching on the window woke me. I sat straight up, heart pounding, only to feel a rush of relief when I saw it was just a tree branch.

It was still light outside, but when I checked my cellphone, it said 5:14. I had about a half hour until dinner.

Making an impulsive decision, I threw my legs out of bed, and walked to the window, sliding it open and sticking my head out. The rain had finally stopped, leaving a cloudy sky and a damp feeling in the air.

Pushing the window as wide open as it would go, I climbed out, clinging to the branch and clambering over the limb. Only when I was nestled in a little alcove beside the trunk did I realise what a stupid idea this was.

I'd only wanted some fresh air, without having to go through the interrogation that surely waited for me downstairs.

But I could fall and break my neck. Or another body part. The tree was tall, and the ground far away. It was a miracle, really, that the branch I'd scrambled along hadn't broken. Now I'd come to my senses, there was no way I'd be able to get back.

So the only option was down. Slowly and carefully, I began my descent, my bare feet holding no purchase on the wet bark. I slipped and clutched the boughs tightly, shaking a million tiny raindrops out of the leaves.

Finally my toes brushed the grass, and I sunk to the ground.

Well, at least I got out, I thought, flicking my hair out of my eyes.

Now I was out, I could at least make the moat of it.

I began to walk, winding through the trees, cutting my feet on brambles.

After a long time, I came out at a beach. Sand stuck to my wet feet and as I crested a sandbank, I caught sight of the turquoise waves that were the ocean.

I just stood there, taking it all in. A little voice in the back of my mind whispered to me, "This week might not be so bad after all."

Eventually I remembered Aunt Shylah. I began to hurry back, but paused, suddenly uncertain. Was it the way with the large rocks, or the way with the stream? Or just the way through another part of the forest?

Crap.

I decided to wander through the woods and hope I'd stumble upon Aunt Shylah's house.

I stumbled on a house, all right.

But not the house I was looking for.

***

Whoa, I thought as I padded over the pine needles. I was certain I hadn't been this way before.

Sitting down, I sunk my head into my hands.

I'm going to die out here, I thought. All alone.

"Zoe..." The wind whispered.

My head jerked up.

All was silent.

Must have been my imagination, I decided.

"Zoe..." the voice came again. It was so faint and eerie I could barely make it out.

"Who are you?" I yelled. "Aunt Shylah? Is that you?"

But for some reason, I was pretty sure it wasn't Aunt Shylah. This voice sounded girlish and childlike.

No answer.

I got up and began to run towards where I'd heard the sound.

Thorns lodged themselves in my skin, and tore at my clothes, but I didn't feel it.

I had an overwhelming compulsion to know who the voice belonged to.

I stopped short in a clearing. It was small, and fenced in by trees.

I spun around in a 360, and my eyes locked on a battered wooden sign, weathered letters on it spelling out "Alice's Wonderland".

A shiver crawled up my spine.

Broken, dirty toys scattered the ground. Some's plastic was melting, like they'd been in a fire.

And beyond them was a treehouse. Burnt and blackened, it was simply a hollow shell now.

I stepped closer, ready to investigate furthur, when a voice that was most definitely Aunt Shylah rang out, shattering the spell.

"Zooooeeeeeeeeee!"

Blinking, I turned towards her voice, mind numb with confusion.

When I turned back, the sign, toys, and treehouse were gone.

*Did you like it so far? Hehe. :)*


message 3: by ✿ αzzι ✿ (new)

✿ αzzι ✿ (azziplz) *Chapter Two*

*Here it is, guys!*


“You’re sure you’re alright?” Aunt Shylah asked, wringing her hands in distress.

“I’m fine,” I assured her, running my hands through my tangled hair in an effort to return it to a more respectable state.

She abandoned the pot she was scrubbing, walked to the table, and swung down into the battered chair across from me.

“Don’t do that again, Zoe. I almost had a heart attack when I came in and saw you gone. What would’ve happened if you got lost? It’s a big forest. I don't have any problems with you wandering around, but if you want to go walking again, tell me where you're going. Comprehende?"



I nodded, genuinely feeling sorry.





Aunt Shylah relaxed.



"So, what do you want to do after dinner?" She asked, attacking the pot with the scrubber again.



"Um, could I go on the computer?" I asked back. "I promised to Facebook my friends once I got here."



"Well, your friends are going to be very confused when you don't message them," Aunt Shylah smirked.



I gaped at her. "You don't-you don't have a computer?"



"Nope!" She laughed, drying the pot.



"But...but..."



"Did you really think I'd have one? I've got no TV, no cellphone, no wifi. All the contact I've got to the outside world is my home phone." She gestured to a small white phone mounted on the wall.



I frowned. “Isn’t it a little dangerous to only have a landline phone? I mean, what if it breaks or something?”



“It’s done me fine so far. The little beauty hasn’t broken down in fifteen years.”



I shrugged. It wasn’t my ideal lifestyle, but who was I to judge?



“How long have you lived out here anyway?”



Aunt Shylah put down the utensils she was washing and stared out the kitchen window dreamily. “I suppose it’s been almost twenty years. But, you know what? I can still remember the day I first saw the place like it was yesterday. The real estate agent had had that shifty look in her eyes that told me it was going to be a tiny shack in the middle of nowhere. And when she gave me the address and I drove all the way out here, I’ll admit I had my doubts. But… I needed a fresh start after Christopher… after Christopher passed on. And when I saw the house, I fell in love with it. This valley has been my home for so many years, I can’t imagine my life back near people. I know it’s hard to understand, Zoe, but I needed my space. I couldn’t deal with people after my husband died. Their kind words just ripped my heart to shreds all over again. And I found my place here, amongst the trees.”



She shook her head, blinking away the tears that had gathered in her large brown eyes. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be telling you this. Just an old woman rambling on about nothing. Don’t listen to me, Zoe.”



My chest constricted. I knew what she meant about words ripping your heart to shreds.



“Look, let’s stop talking about this. I know it’s not the number one activity for people your age, but I gather you can still read? There’s a box of Nancy Drew’s somewhere in the lounge, I know there is. Why don’t we go look for it?”



Putting her arm around me, she guided me down the hall.



I still couldn’t breathe.



**



I think that it was the silence that woke me. That sounds strange, but it was true. I’d grown accustomed to Aunt Shylah’s huffing breaths in the room across from mine, and the sudden lack of noise disrupted me.

I sat up in bed, quietly reaching over and flicking on the bedside lamp. The sudden light made me blink, and it cast grotesque shadows on the wall.



I slid my legs out of bed, standing up and walking to the door. For some reason, my heart was pounding, but I told myself it was stupid. Aunt Shylah had just gone downstairs to get a drink or something.



Then the floorboard creaked. My pupils dilated, and I stepped back from the closed door, blood rushing in my ears. That floorboard only creaked if you stood on it a certain way. Namely: going towards my bedroom.



I tried to calm myself. This was stupid. I was getting worked up over nothing. Aunt Shylah was just coming to check if I was alright. She’d seen my light on the way back from the kitchen.



So why did it sound so much heavier than Aunt Shylah?



I shivered. I only wore threadbare shorts and a tank top to bed, and it wasn’t so much cold as chilling.



“Aunt Shylah?” I called out before I could stop myself.



Of course it was Aunt Shylah. Of course.

No answer.



Then the door to my room flew off.



A piece of shrapnel hit my lamp, knocking it to the floor. The glass smashed, and I screamed as I stumbled back and some lodged in my foot.



A hulking shape stood in the doorway, far too tall for Aunt Shylah’s thin frame. But it didn’t look human either, with limbs in all the wrong places and a blank face with impossible angles.



I scrambled backwards until my back hit the bed.



“Who are you?!” I screamed. “Why are you here?”



The thing took a step towards me, and I noticed it made a strange clicking sound as it moved, clear and concise, like the snapping of fingers.



I jumped up, fingers latching onto the strap of my backpack and pulling it with me. I vaulted across the bed, slamming into the window, fumbling at it’s catch. The window slid open and I launched myself out, barely grabbing hold of the branch before scrambling across it. I collapsed against the trunk, sobbing with terror and adrenaline.



Clicks emanated from inside my room, and that terrifying blank face peered out, shining white in the darkness. But it knew it would never get across. With a sort of throaty groan that reverberated deep inside me, it moved away from the window.



The call was answered by three more from inside the house. My throat closed off. There were more of them!



I froze when I remembered Aunt Shylah. I couldn’t leave her!



But something told her she was already gone.



So I did what any coward would have done. I climbed carefully down the tree, clutching my backpack, tears streaming down my face, my mind numb.



I kept expecting a creature with a smooth face and a mutated body to loom out of the shadows, waiting for me.



But nothing did.



And so when I hit the ground, I turned, and ran so fast I couldn’t breathe.



Towards the forest.


message 4: by ✿ αzzι ✿ (new)

✿ αzzι ✿ (azziplz) *Chapter Three Part One*

I slumped against the tree trunk, my breath sobbing in my lungs. I bent over, my hair framing my face.



It was okay, I soothed myself. This was all some twisted nightmare and I’d wake up soon to my mother stroking my forehead and telling me it was time to get up.



Only I didn’t.



My legs ached. I had no idea how far I’d ran, and I couldn’t see anything apart from shadowy trees.



I was terrified. I’d never been this scared in my life, not when Dad was sick. I think I’d known, in my heart, back then, that he was going to die. But this… I had no idea what was going to happen. It occurred to me that if those things found me, I could be dead in the next few minutes. Strangely, the thought calmed me. If I was dead, I wouldn’t feel this terrible uncertainty, this deep horror that came from deep within me.



My numb brain told me to keep moving. Run! It screamed at me. Keep moving!



But I couldn’t. My limbs felt like lead, and I knew that if I continued, I would collapse.



Maybe I should.



If I just lay down and accepted death, maybe it would be kind. Maybe this night of hell would finally come to an end.



I turned, ready to give up.



That was when I saw it.



The blackened treehouse sat in the burnt boughs of a tree. The dolls were invisible in the darkness, but I knew they were there, just like I knew that the beaten-down sign would be nailed under the tree.



Alice’s Wonderland.



The panic that coursed through me lent me strength. I turned and ran, faster than before, not even noticing my screaming muscles.



Where to? My brain shrieked. Every instinct in my body told me to go home to Aunt Shylah’s, but I had just enough sanity left to know that was suicidal. The monsters would tear me to shreds before I even got within fifty metres.



I couldn’t go to anyone else. Aunt Shylah had taken great amusement is informing me that there was no human for a hundred kilometres.



I was on my own.



I think that’s what truly scared me. Being all alone. With no one. Aunt Shylah was most likely dead. My mother was probably asleep right now, or quietly reading one of her sappy romance books I used to tease her about.



I stopped suddenly. My mother!



Aunt Shylah had said that she had a landline phone. If I could ring my mum…



But it was in her house. Too risky.



I had to try anyway. But not now. Right now, I had to find somewhere to hide. Until the sun rose. I couldn’t just blunder around in the darkness forever. Something would find me…



“Well, you’re a rather large rabbit,” said a voice from behind me.



I gave an ear-piercing shriek that echoed around the valley and spun around, my heart hammering.



A shadow of a boy stood there.



His teasing face changed to one of worry.



“Sorry, didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said. “Who are you? And why are you running around in the dark?”



I stared at him, not really comprehending his words. That shriek-it was heard all around the valley. The monsters could be coming.



“Hello?” he asked gently.



“I’m Zoe, and I have to get out of here,” I said, bolting off.



A couple of seconds later, a hand grabbed my wrist.



“Wait!” the boy said. “Why are you here?”



“We have to get out of here!” I cried again. “It’s a life and death situation.”



The boy stood back, gazing at me thoughtfully.



After a few seconds, he nodded. “Alright,” he said. “Come with me.”

**



“I’m Will,” the boy said, sticking out a hand which I didn’t take. “Nice to meet you.”



I gazed around me. This night had been so nightmarish, I wouldn’t be surprised if this place was a figment of my imagination.



“It’s not much,” Will said softly, a hint of a blush staining his cheeks. “But it’s home.”



Will had led me to a corrugated iron shack. Basically two sheets of metal put together so it formed a sort of tepee, one end had been blocked off with branches, stones, and rotten wooden boards. The other had a small opening, which served as the doorway. Inside, the floor was dry grass. The only things resembling furniture were a wooden carton that looked like the table, and a pile of crusty ferns that were obviously his bed. I’d noticed a fire pit outside. Herbs and plants hung in bunches from the ceiling. I had to stoop a tiny bit to fit in, but Will stood upright just fine.



I hadn’t seen what he looked like while we were in the forest, but now, by the light of a flaming branch that he held, I could see him clearly.



Will was short. I was a bit above average, but the boy was literally only my shoulder height. Wiry and thin, he had curly dark hair, caramel coloured skin and a cheeky smile. Kind of cute, but not my type.



“So, Zoe,” Will said, sticking the torch into a homemade brazier on the wall and sitting down. “Are you going to explain why you’re in the middle of nowhere, running through the forest at night?”



“No,” I said, gazing agitatedly around me. “You wouldn’t believe me anyway.”



“You wanna bet? I’ve heard some pretty strange things in my lifetime.”



“Look, we’re not safe here,” I said. “The things will find us and-“



“What things?” Will asked exasperatedly. “Did you have a nightmare or something?”



“Yes. A nightmare. That is exactly what I had. What I’m still having.”



He gave me a hurt look. “I would’ve thought my company was a little better than that.”



“Oh, will you shut up?”



“Why are you so angry?”



“Because my aunt just died!” I almost screamed.



Saying it out loud seemed to confirm the truth.



Will’s face changed to one of horror. “Oh… Oh, I’m so sorry.”



“No, you idiot,” I snapped. “She died just then. Tonight. She was killed by a strange creature. There are loads of them. They’re ROAMING the VALLEY, and I’m sitting here TALKING!”



I leaped up. “I have to go.”



“No, you don’t,” Will said. He jumped up too and grabbed my arm in a vice-like grip. “Is that like your catchphrase or something? You’ve already said it about three times tonight.”



“And you’ve been counting?” I retorted, but let him pull me back down.



Will sat back and studied me.



“I think you just had a nightmare or something,” he said. “Mystical creatures don’t exist.”



“These aren’t unicorns or dragons or whatever!” I hissed. “They are true monsters. They’re really tall. Like three metres. And they’ve got a bulky body, with loads of, like, jagged edges. And a smooth, white face with no features. I think they’ve got horns or claws on their knees, because when they move, they make a clicking sound.”



Will gazed at me. “You definitely had a nightmare,” he said.



“I’m telling the truth!” I tried not to yell. “They chased me, and I just escaped. I was running around in the dark. A treehouse was following me. And then I met you.”



Will nodded slowly. “I see…”



“You believe me?”



“Nope.”



I dropped my head into my hands. “Look-if you want proof-“ I shook my hair away from my shoulders and showed him my left upper arm. My pyjama tank top and shorts were in tatters from all the running.



“Wow…” he said under his breath. “That is one deep cut.”


message 5: by ✿ αzzι ✿ (new)

✿ αzzι ✿ (azziplz) *Chapter Three Part Two*

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “They have claws on their hands, or something. It cut me as I was escaping through my bedroom window.”



“Seriously, you’re losing a lot of blood…” Will looked a little pale. “You should put something on that…”



I glanced at it dismissively. “It’s not that deep. Don’t worry about it.”



“No…” Will got up and started pulling different plants down from the ceiling. Within a moment he crouched beside me, pressing the herbs onto the wound and pulling off his shirt.



I gaped at him.



“What?” he said, wrapping it tightly around my arm. “It’s not like we have anything else to use for a bandage.”



“I guess that’s true,” I said, trying not to stare at his chest. For someone so small, that guy had serious muscle.



“There,” Will said, stepping back. “Now, tell me what you’re doing in the middle of the forest.”



“I could ask you the same thing,” I shot back. “Why do you live here? Where are your parents?”



Something dark crossed Will’s face. “Hey. Zoe. I’ll talk about anything with you. Apart from family. Deal?”



“I… guess…” I said. “But what were you doing in the forest at night? And why did you say “You’re a rather large rabbit” when you first saw me?”



“Well, what do you think I eat?” He roared with laughter at my horrified expression. “Yes, ickle fluffy bunnies. They come out at night, and I was hunting them, with my bow.”



He picked up his bow from where he’d discarded it when we’d first walked in.



“Yeah. What about you?”



I hesitated for a split second, wondering whether or not to tell the truth.



“My mother sent me to stay with my aunt for two weeks. The creatures invaded our house and I only just got away.”



Best to tell the truth, but avoid saying why mum sent me to stay with Aunt Shylah...



“Ah…” Will said, nodding slowly.



“You still don’t believe me, do you?”



“Oh, I believe you. I just think you’re insane.”



“Oh, thanks.”



“No problem. And, for the record, you’re the prettiest insane person I’ve ever met.”



I jumped up, trying to control myself. “Please do not say that again.”



“What, that you’re insane?”



“That I’m pretty. Never say that again.”



Will frowned. “What’s wrong? I thought girls like being called pretty.”



“Yeah, well, not me,” I said, trying to keep myself from crying.



“Okay,” Will said. “You have my word.”



“Th-thanks.”



Awkward silence filled the shack, until I said, “I really do have to go now.”



Will wrinkled his eyebrows at me. “Uh, Zoe?”



“What?”



“You’re in your pyjamas. You have no provisions. You’re hurt, disorientated, and scared.”



“I do have provisions!” I said, dumping my backpack on the floor.



“What’s in it, then?” Will leaned forward.



I emptied it onto the floor.



Cellphone (no reception, useless.) IPod. Hoodie. Sketchbook. A couple of pencils. Homework. A hairbrush. Breath mints. Tissues. And a Twilight book.



“Yeah, you’re REAL prepared,” Will snorted, waving the Twilight book in my face.



“I’ll be fine,” I said, blushing, shoving everything back into my bag.



“Yeah, you and Edward Cullen save the day.”



“Shut up.”



Will tossed the book to me. “Seriously, Zoe,” he said, looking me full in the face. “If what you are saying is true, and there really are monsters roaming the valley, it will be irrelevant. Because believe me, this forest isn’t friendly. I’ve had to live here on my own for three years, and I know it more than anyone. You’ll die of exposure or hypothermia or dehydration or starve to death, and that would be a shame. So stay here. It’ll be fine. I can see how tired you are. Just take the bed, and I’ll sleep on the floor.”

I looked at him, and I really did want to believe him.



I almost did.



“Okay, if you insist,” I said, lying down in the nest of ferns. Surprisingly, it was quite comfy.



I closed my eyes.



**



It was almost dawn. The torch had burned down, and was just a smoking snub.



Will’s soft huffs of breath echoed around the shack.



Quietly sliding my feet out of the pile of ferns and standing up, I gazed down at him.



He lay on his side, hair dishevelled, face slack.



I smiled at him. He was the first boy I’d smiled at since… since Matthew.



“Sorry, Will,” I said, swinging my backpack onto my shoulder.



And I left the shack as the sun rose over the mountains.


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