This is a piece I've been working on for a few months now, and I've only just worked up the courage to post it, but it's not likely to get read anyway, so...
Before you read it, let me just say that I'm not an expert on the Wonderland musical, having only listened to the soundtrack, read the plot synopsis and watched a few clips of the show, so any plot discrepancies are my fault. I took a few liberties with Maddie's exile for the sake of the plot...don't behead me.
The Hatter still thinks wistfully of the time when Madness was just a part of her title; just a word that she inherited along with pride of place at the head of the tea-table. She remembers back to a time when she knew exactly who she was, where she was and what she wanted. Now she's reduced to a mocking nickname, cast adrift and held prisoner in a roomful of mirrors. How she despises mirrors; a bitter irony, since she is, in essence, a reflection. She hates them for their honesty. As much as she'd like to fool herself into thinking that she's all right, the mirrors show her what is truly there. And the image never changes. A figure, paler than a wax doll, with heavy black shadows carving into the flesh beneath its eyes, bloodshot and glassy. Its hair hangs in wild disarray, tangled and matted and lank. It huddles in the middle of a freezing stone floor, hugging its frail body, sobbing and shrieking. The sound echoes in her head even when everything else has surrendered to silence.
Sometimes it looks straight at her, those glazed eyes somehow managing to lance through to the very heart of her, understanding everything. It reaches for her, and she reaches back. When their hands meet, all she can feel is glass.
Words fill every part of her until it becomes too much to bear, but every time she tries to speak, a single stone falls from her lips, hitting the floor with the sound of a mountain being torn down. Her hands fly to her mouth, and she's certain that somebody has heard her this time. Any minute now, they'll find her, and they'll punish her. She waits and waits, but they never come. She resolves to be silent, just in case, but for every word she doesn't speak, a pain builds in her chest. The silence lasts for three days until the pain feels ready to tear her apart.
She screams, draws air into her lungs and screams until her throat feels ready to bleed, until she is deafened by the sound of her own voice, until there is nothing left she can say.
But there is always a single word left. Just one, lingering in the smallest part of her mind, just hidden from view. Always there, always driving her mad, always hurting her.
It's a word that speaks of innocence, of sunny, daisy-covered hills and blue cotton and black patent shoes and hair the colour of the summer sun. It shouldn't hurt her so badly.
A single word.
When she can take it no longer, Maddie drags herself up from the floor, to the mirror she hates so much, faces the hateful wax-doll on the other side. It looks at her reproachfully, eyes filling with tears as though afraid of her. She presses her hot forehead to the cool glass, nose to nose with the truth of her existence. She wishes it were more than just a simple mirror. They put it there to spite her, she knows it. To give her a false hope, a false gateway to freedom. She still carries a shard of the real Looking Glass with her, the only fragment of her past life she was able to keep. It stays hidden deep within the bodice of her ragged gown, whispering of the Citadel, of her home. She presses it close to her; sometimes it cuts.
She doesn't mind the pain anymore.
An opaque smear of red mars the cloudy glass, starkly unnatural against the keen brightness.
Madeline prays she still has some power over mirrors. She's weak, and tired, and in so much pain, but she tries anyway, cut hand pressed desperately against the mirror. She summons any remaining traces of power up from the deepest part of her, silently willing the mirror to open for her.
Let me out of here.
Her eyes are burning and her muscles screaming with the effort, and she's on the point of giving up, but slow, impossible ripples begin spreading across the mirror from the point of contact, like the surface of a pond disturbed by a pebble. Slowly, slowly, the image before her changes. No longer her own reflection standing before her, but a room. A woman she recognises, loves and despises sitting on a bed, brushing her hair distractedly. Smiling, so happy…!
"Alice…" she breathes, that one word sounding crueller and more beautiful than anything she's ever heard. The woman on the other side of the mirror turns slowly to face her, dark eyes widening as they come face to face.
Madeline can't help but smile.
This can be read as a oneshot, but if there's enough readership I might consider writing more...maybe. I should probably warn you now that I sort-of ship Madeline/Alice, and if I do continue this I will probably bring that into play. In my opinion, it makes more sense than White Hat, sorry to those of you that ship it.
I would loooove to continue this at some point, so please please review.