Alice’s Return: Part 2

by Hillary Keating

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Alice climbed out of the spout on the tea pot and dropped onto the table. March Hare still sat shaking in his seat. Alice looked around, quite unsure of what to do next. She then heard the voice of the Hatter in her head: Find the blue caterpillar. He will know what to do. Alice turned to face the shaking March Hare.

“You’re not going to help me, are you?” The rabbit just blinked at her. “I thought so.”

Alice seized the cloth of the table and slid down to the ground. She began to walk back down the path through Tulgey wood. Soon she began to hear the singing of the blue caterpillar, and see his smoke letters floating through the air. The caterpillar didn’t notice her as she crept up. Alice hoisted herself onto a mushroom and waited for him to stop singing. Suddenly he turned around and fixed his gaze on Alice, who waved at him.

“Hello Absolem.”

“Girl? You have come back.”

“I have, and I need your assistance.”

Absolem frowned at her. “Do you not remember what I told you last time? One side will make you taller; one side will make you smaller.”

Alice nodded and took pieces from either side of the mushroom. She stared at them, trying to remember how she grew back to regular height the last time. Carefully, she licked the piece in her right hand. She sprang up immediately to normal height. Pleased with herself, Alice slipped the two mushroom pieces into her apron pockets. After a quick goodbye to Absolem, she went back to the checkered path.

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It wasn’t long before Alice came to an intersection in the woods. Puzzled, she looked around, trying to remember which way the Red Queen’s castle was. Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice singing. She turned around to see a floating grin and eyes look at her. A huge smile came onto her face.

“Cheshire Cat!”

The cat now came into his full form, and tipped his ear at the sight of Alice.

“How are you, my dear?”

“I’m afraid I’m quite lost. Tell me, which way is it to the Red Queen’s castle?”

“The castle? Have you been invited back to play croquet?”

“No, nothing of the sort. I’m going to rescue the Mad Hatter!”

“You still going to see him for tea? I recall you telling me that you don’t want to go around mad people.”

“I didn’t, but their parties are always fun. Now Mr. Cheshire, please help me find the castle!”

With a flick of his tail, the cat pointed down a path that lead to a huge garden. Alice thanked him and hurried on her way. Soon she began to see playing cards marching around the castle, guarding the entrance.

“Oh dear” Alice whispered to herself “However will I get through?” Just then she remembered the mushroom pieces in her pocket. Acting quickly, she took a bite of the side to make her grow smaller. Instantly, she was back down to the size of a blade of grass. She began to make her way through the hedge. She found herself on the great front lawn of the Queen’s castle. Alice was now faced with the challenge of where to look. She noticed bars on a window close to the ground, so she took a chance and began running over. Peering through the window she saw a familiar shape.

“Hatter!”

The Mad Hatter looked toward the noise, and saw a pint-sized Alice waving at him. His face lit up in a smile.

“Alice! You found me!”

“I did Hatter! I do hope you are all right!”

“I’m fine, but look!” Hatter reached into his pocket and pulled out his tea-cup “I only have invisibili-tea right now.”

Alice gave a small smile “Poor dear.”

Hatter nodded. “The other night I asked the Queen what time she drank her cruel-tea. That did not go over so well.”

Alice laughed. She then reached into her pockets and tossed down a piece of mushroom to Hatter. “Eat that!” She said “You will grow small and be able to fit through the bars. I’ll go find something to hoist you up with!”

Hatter nodded and Alice went off to find something to pull Hatter out of the prison. Around the corner she could hear a voice yelling, and as always, her curiosity got the better of her. She peered out to see the Red Queen, red-faced and yelling at some of her guards.

“I can’t play croquet without my flamingos! OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!”

Alice took extra care now not to make any noise. With luck, so she a rope lying on the ground. With a big heave, picked up the heavy thing and dragged it back to the window. Now when she looked in, she could no longer see the Mad Hatter.

“Hatter?” she called.

“I’m down here Alice!” a voice said. Alice peered farther down and saw a small Hatter waving up at her. Alice threw the rope down to him, and he climbed up. Once Hatter’s feet had reached the ground, they took off running. Soon a huge rolling shape stopped them in their tracks. Hatter noticed that it was a hedgehog from one of the Queen’s croquet games. Hatter grabbed Alice hand.

“Run Alice! The Queen will be over here soon to retrieve her ball!”

Finally the pair made it to the other side. They both took a small lick of one of the mushrooms and grew back to their regular height. Hatter smiled.

“Well now Miss Alice, I do believe we have a tea party to get back to.”

“Indeed we do.” Alice was quiet for a few minutes, but curiosity once again got the best of her. “Tell me Hatter, why did the Queen have you arrested?”

“She wanted someone to make her a hat.” Hatter said smiling “But I just couldn’t fashion one to fit her very large head.”

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