Note: This is my first fanfic ever written. Goodness knows I'll look back on it one day and say "What was I thinking when I wrote this?". I know some parts seem to come out of nowhere and some parts are rushed, etc. Well, rate and review. Be nice, but be honest. Hopefully you'll enjoy it, at least. ^^
What is dream and what is reality? It really is hard to tell. The line often gets blurred. But keep this in mind, Hazel dear, all dreams have to end sometime… ~ Tane the Rabbit.
All was peaceful around my house that night. The crickets were chirping and the soft light of the moon streamed in through my bedroom window. The lighting made my black hair appear silver. Not a person was awake in my silent house. Not my little brother or big sister; I couldn't even hear any sign of movement from my parent's room which was next to mine. I was currently staring at the white ceiling above.
It was spring outside, which meant that the horrible, miserable school year was coming to an end.
I sighed, and rolled over, trying to find a comfortable position in order to fall asleep. A few more weeks of absolute torture and I would be free from school—and all the teasing that came with it.
Finally, I felt myself drifting away.
I didn't stay asleep long. I awoke quite suddenly; there was the sweet fragrance of blooming flowers in the air. All was still dark. Something was different, though… My eyes searched the room. Then I saw something that was strange, that I knew had changed: the window was open.
"Ah, so the dreamer has awakened. Welcome to Wonderland, Alice."
My heart skipped a beat. Standing over my bed was a white rabbit… A white rabbit that stood 6 feet tall on its hind legs and wore a tuxedo. He looked almost human with how skinny he was and how he stood. But he was, clearly, a rabbit. Many thoughts occurred to me. One was that I was dreaming; white rabbits dressed in tuxedos could not exist. The other wondered why he had called me Alice when my name was certainly not "Alice". And I couldn't quite believe he had mistaken me for somebody else, because the idea that a rabbit in a tuxedo would be looking for anybody was ludicrous.
"This is my house," was what I ended up saying. The rabbit grinned (could rabbits grin?).
"No, Alice dear, this is Wonderland," he said. "Jump outside the window and you will see soon enough." I did not move. This was my house. It looked exactly like my house at night… Only there was the smell of flowers and the window was open.
"But I'm not Alice," I said, confused. The rabbit looked mildly surprised.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I thought all outsiders were called Alice," he said. "What are you called, then?"
"Hazel," I answered. I simply couldn't believe I was conversing with a rabbit. The rabbit in turn laughed (could rabbits laugh?).
"Well, Hazel dear, time is escaping. Let's go," he said. I wished then that he would stop calling me dear. He shook his head reprovingly when I did not move. "If you do not get up now I fear I shall have to carry you. And I'm sure you don't want that, do you?"
I found myself left with no other alternatives but to go, however confused I was, with a rabbit into the mysterious world of "Wonderland". I slipped out of bed and found to my surprise that I was actually dressed in my favourite pair of jeans and a t-shirt—not my pajamas. And my contacts must have been in too, because I realized I could see clearly. I looked on my dresser beside my bed and was even more so surprised to find that the book I had been reading before I fell asleep wasn't there. So this really isn't my house after all, I thought. Which sounded ridiculous, but it had to be the truth.
"Hop this way," the rabbit said, "not literally of course." He gestured to the open window. I did wonder then why we weren't going to attempt to go out the front door, but did not point this out.
"Do I just…jump out?" I asked. The rabbit nodded.
"Why, what other way is there?" he asked of me. I didn't answer. I felt then that nothing could really surprise me. Or perhaps I was in a state of shock. Probably both, now that I think back on it.
I crouched awkwardly in the window and looked outside. It was strange. The room all about me was drenched in moonlight, but although I was looking outside I could see nothing. There was no moon and it was very dark.
I'm crazy for doing this, I thought. And then I jumped out of the window.
I had been expecting somewhat of a short fall. It lasted much longer than I thought it would. I let out a scream. Naturally, I expected that when we hit ground we'd be seriously injured. Or dead. However, the landing was… soft. Not something I had anticipated. As soon as we hit ground, I realized it was light out again. The moon was high up above. A full moon. I was sitting on the ground.
"We're not dead," I said bluntly. The rabbit happened to be standing.
"Of course we aren't, Hazel dear," was his reply. "You must remember that you are in Wonderland now." I was confused, because simply telling me that we were in Wonderland did not answer how we survived such a fall. I didn't say anything and got to my feet. The rabbit looked me up and down.
"Hmm… you aren't used to falling and managing to land properly," he said. "It will come with practice."
"You mean there are more places you have to fall from around here?" I asked. I wasn't keen on the feeling falling gave me. The rabbit simply stared. "Never mind," I said, groaning. "Don't tell me the answer." I looked about my surroundings. We were in a forest, or at least what appeared to be a forest. It was only when I began to look closer when I realized something was very different about this particular place. There were no trees. The things that looked like trees, they were roses. Giant, giant roses. And of course, there were lots of thorns. But the roses' petals were… white. Not red.
"What is this place?" I asked.
"This place? It doesn't have a name. It's a very small forest, you see," the rabbit said. "If we call it anything at all we call it the Rose Wood." What he said struck me as odd. To me, this place seemed so unusual and spectacular that I had thought it must have a name. We walked in silence. I continued to follow until I realized I had no idea where we were headed.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"I cannot answer that question, Hazel dear," the rabbit said, continuing to walk on. I froze. Why couldn't he tell me? There had to be a reason. If he couldn't tell me, it wasn't a good reason. Not in my eyes it wasn't.
"I'm not going with you then."
The rabbit turned to face me. His eyes which had been black before now flashed red… And he looked much fiercer now, much more aggressive. I was startled and stepped backwards.
"You have no choice in the matter," he said. His voice was cold. "There are many creatures of darkness that lurk in Wonderland, Alice, just like creatures of darkness lurk in one's heart. If I were to leave you here they would surely devour you. I know you, Alice dear, and you of all people would not want that."
"I'm not Alice," I said, growing scared. He didn't pay attention to me.
"Alice, you must come with me now, for we are short on time. I cannot be late. If I arrive with you late, then that will be bad, very bad…" he said. He advanced towards me. "I suppose you will not come. I must force you, then, to come with me."
He's mad, I thought, he's a demented bunny. Well of course he was. He was wearing a tuxedo for Pete's sake, standing like a human, speaking human. Rabbits just don't do that. At that moment, though, I could not see the humor in the situation. Rabbit or not, he was going to kidnap me and drag me to who knows where. Not someplace good. He kept advancing towards me and I felt a rush of adrenaline.
The rabbit ran after me, and I realized just how fast he actually was. It was dark despite the full moon, so I kept running into things. He was gaining on me. I continued to run, forcing myself to go faster. I turned this way and that, trying to lose him and looking for possible hiding places.
That's when I ran right on into one of those giant roses. That's also when I cried out in pain because a large thorn pierced my right shoulder. I staggered, then fell to the ground. I huddled at the base of the huge rose, clamping my left hand to my shoulder. There was blood, I could feel it. And the cut was deep. I was tired, I was frightened, and I couldn't keep running. Wonderland indeed, I thought darkly. I looked around. There was no demented bunny rabbit to be seen. Had I really gotten awa—
A wave of dizziness hit me. Exhaustion, I thought. Blood loss. The two magic words the equaled out into the perfect storm. But I had to move on. I couldn't just sit here and sleep in the Rose Wood, could I? I forced myself to stand. It wasn't my most brilliant moment. My vision went fuzzy—the fuzzy like you see on a TV screen. Then, as though somebody had flicked off a light switch, everything went black. I suppose I must have fallen to the ground. It wasn't until morning that I woke up.
When I began to come to my senses, I nearly forgot everything that had happened to me. Then I remembered it all; demented rabbits, the Rose Wood, Wonderland. But when I opened my eyes I was looking up into a blue sky. In the Rose Wood I had not been able to see much of the sky because the roses were like trees. I sat up. I was lying down in a field of what appeared to be wildflowers. On closer inspection I figured out the flower petals were made of… well, whaddya know, hard candy. Then the thought hit me: how in the heck did I get here?
"You're in a bad situation, miss, did you know that?"
I sat up extremely quickly, which caused a bit of dizziness. I steadied myself. Sitting down on the grass across from me was a boy who appeared to be around my age or older. He wore a black cloak, though his hood was down, so I could see his facial features. He had black hair and strange silver eyes. His eyes made me feel a sudden wave of fear I wasn't prepared for, though I didn't know why. When I locked eyes with him, however, he smiled at me. It was a bit of a mischievous smile, looking back on it.
"Yes, I do realize that," I said after a moment's pause. "Who are you?"
"Ah, well, people around here call me Terror if they call me anything at all," he said. No wonder, I thought. It's his eyes. There was another pause. I didn't know quite how to respond.
"Nice to meet you," I said eventually. "My name's Hazel." Terror arched his eyebrows.
"Not Alice, then?"
I felt myself grow slightly irritated.
"No. Not Alice. I don't even know who Alice is."
Terror looked thoughtful for a moment.
"So I see," he said. I dropped my gaze to where I was sitting.
"Umm…" I trailed off. "Last night… How exactly did I get here?" Terror stood up and dusted himself off.
"Ah, last night I was walking through the Rose Wood," he said, "and I happened to spot Tane. I wondered what he was up to and then I stumbled over you. You were unconscious and had that cut on your arm so I brought you over here, suspecting that you had run away from Tane."
"Tane?" I echoed.
"The rabbit in the tux."
So that's his name, then, I thought. Tane.
"Might I ask why he was after you?" Terror asked. I sighed.
"I think it was because I refused to go with him when he wouldn't tell me where we were headed," I said. Terror looked surprised, then grinned.
"So you aren't the type to just follow people blindly, huh?"
I laughed a little at the question.
"No, I guess not. Speaking of which, you aren't going to try and drag me somewhere either, are you?"
"No, I was not planning on doing something like that," Terror said. "If you want to know, I was told by somebody that an Outsider had entered Wonderland and that I should bring them to a certain castle. But I can't force you to come with me."
So the guy had been ordered to bring me somewhere. It's better than being forced, I reflected. At least this time I had a choice. I picked at a flower.
"Why is it that so far everybody is after me?" I asked.
"Because you're an Outsider," Terror said simply. I stared at him.
"And this is significant because…"
"Because anybody who claims the life of an Outsider becomes the ruler of Wonderland."