How far have I fallen so far? Will I ever stop falling?
It feels like I have been falling for at least ten minutes or longer.
How deep is this damn hole? How the hell did Hanji get out of it? There must be somewhere that leads back to the top.
I check my surroundings, but all I see is darkness. Tears start to form in my eyes as I begin to think that I may be falling forever, or worse, I might find the bottom of the hole and be stuck down there. People would notice my absence right? Eld and Gunther saw me head after Hanji, so they know what path to take to look for me. Would they think to look for me in a rabbit hole though? Even if they did, there isn't a long enough rope in the entire world to retrieve me.
Why would Hanji do something like this to me?
"That's a good question," I hear someone say in the darkness. "I was simply helping you find the white rabbit."
All of a sudden, Hanji appears out of nowhere a few inches above me. She seems to be falling with me, but she wasn't colliding with me, so she must've been levitating in some way.
I am too shocked by the events to even reply: Hanji was levitating and I was falling down a hole that seemed to go on for eternity. Finally, I manage to say something; one of the few questions that have been repeating in my head since I fell through that hole.
"Hanji, where am I going?" I squeak.
"To find the White Rabbit," she giggles, and then proceeds to cackle. "Why else would you be in a rabbit hole?"
"Because you pushed me down one!" I scream, sounding a little more panicky than angry.
"That I did," she replies, tilting her head to the side innocently. "I was only trying to help."
She forms a mock pout, but that soon turns into a large grin.
Is she mocking me? At a time like this?
"What do you mean by that?" I ask, frowning and tilting my head. "Aren't… aren't you the White Rabbit?"
She cackles again, leaning back so that we are no longer face to face. Now she is falling feet first-well, floating- and I am still falling with my back to whatever lays behind me.
If anything lays behind me.
"Will you just answer my question already?" I groan, rolling my eyes.
I was trying to act casual, but I was still screaming in panic on the inside like I was when I first fell into this hole.
"No, I am not the White Rabbit," she says, smirking down at me. "I am the Cheshire Cat."
Cheshire Cat? Where did she get that from?
"Y-You're not a cat though, Hanji. You're Hanji," I mutter, frowning in confusion.
A look of amusement takes over her face, but at the same time, it looked like I have offended her somehow.
"Oh? I thought I was the white rabbit?" she says slowly.
"Well, you were, but-"
"Really, now? I thought I was Hanji?"
"Well you were, but-"
"So make up your mind, Alice," she demands, leaning close to my face. "What am I? Who am I? Am I really anyone or anything at all?"
As she spouts out these questions, her body disappears and reappears in random places around me. Which isn't saying much, because it was just the walls of the hole that surrounds us; it was still very dizzying though.
This is definitely not Hanji. Unless she learned to teleport without me knowing.
She disappears again, and this time, she takes her sweet time in reappearing. I start to panic after about ten seconds of not seeing her because then I would be alone in the darkness again. Scaring me must've been her intention all along because as soon as I am about to call her name, she reappears; our faces were too close for comfort, and her grin floated directly above my eyes.
"Answer my question, Alice. Am I a who or what? What am I or who am I?" she whispers.
She then disappears, reappearing beside me.
"Answer wisely and I might save you from this eternal fall, Alice," she whispers in my ear.
I wanted to stop falling more than anything, but I didn't have a clue how to answer her question.
She's Hanji but she's not Hanji.
She's the White Rabbit, but she's not the White Rabbit.
She's the Cheshire Cat, but-
Wait a minute.
I look up to see Hanji floating above me again, and I notice two magenta cat ears poking out of her shaggy brown hair that weren't there before. She had grinned in my face many times during this fall, but I had never taken notice of the sharp feline teeth that stuck out like I notice now. Then there was the long tail that swayed behind her; it's color matches her ears. Lastly, her pupils are long slits in her wide brown irises. Although these transformations were completely terrifying, I find myself unable to look away.
"So, my dear Alice, have an answer for me?" she coos, showing off those sharp teeth of hers again.
I am too shocked to say what's on my mind for the moment, so I just nod.
"Good," she chirps, floating a little bit closer to me. "I was growing bored of waiting. Although, watching your thought process was a bit amusing. So, what's the answer to my question, hm? I'm waiting."
"You're… The Cheshire Cat. The teeth, the tail, the eyes, and the ears all prove it. I dont know why I didn't see them before.
She raises her eyebrows in amusement.
"Maybe because I didn't show you them before. I'm never all there you know," Hanji replies, floating back a little.
So she was toying with me? I think, my eye twitching in irritation. She's been toying with me this entire fall.
"So, was my answer correct? It has to be. The evidence is right in front of me," I say in a snappier tone than I had meant to do.
"Oh, is it now? Well, it's like I said earlier," she says, making almost all of her body go transparent. The only thing that was visible to me was her eyes, mouth, ears, and tail. "I'm not always all there."
She begins to grin wider and wider. Then, her attitude changes completely as she goes from highly amused to utterly bored.
"I suppose I'll accept your answer for now," she sighs heavily, her body reappearing again. "Just remember, Alice, in this place, nothing is as it seems."
Hanji disappears again, and I fear she isn't going to let me out of this hole after all. Although, once again, she appears only millimeters away from my face; her grin is almost bigger than the width of my head.
"Also, remember that the answer won't always be right in front of you," she whispers.
She lets out one last cackle before her body slowly begins to fade away; soon, Hanji was gone completely, and I was alone again. This time, I wasn't afraid, I was full on furious.
"Hey! Get back here!" I demand, screaming at the top of my lungs. "You told me that if I answered your damn question, you'd stop my fall! You better not go back on your word, or so help me I will-"
"Hey now, I made no promises, but I suppose I'll give you a break. You are new here after all," Hanji says from somewhere out of sight.
I hear the sound of someone snapping their fingers, and all of a sudden I'm falling faster than I ever was before. There is so much force that I feel like a magnet was awaiting me at the bottom, and maybe somehow Hanji has attached a piece of metal to my back. It is only a few seconds though before my back hits cold, hard flooring. The landing causes my head to bounce off the floor: the impact rattles my brain so that I feel dizzy. The room begins to spin, and I have to close my eyes to keep from vomiting. The spinning seems to go on forever, so I cover my mouth with my left hand for further motivation not to puke.
Where the hell am I? is my last thought before the rooms stops spinning, and I let my brain and sight completely black out as I go unconscious.