A Shimmering gauze of mist beckoned her through the mirror, the woods dark and haunting at night under the shadows of the trees were so unlike the daisy chain making summer days she remembered as a child. She looked down into the candle-lit cavern. Alice should have known better than to go into the hole again, but bloody-minded and contrary as always, she would never have been able to persuade herself otherwise.
Long ice-white coloured hair trailed behind, her porcelain coloured skin contrasting with the unusual dark shadowed eyes as she grasped the small horse-shaped looking glass, the hand mirror that she carried with her on all her journeys. As she clutched it to her breast she felt the words came back to her, her grammar had been poor then, ‘curiouser and curiouser’ she heard herself repeat those words that she had not spoken for a very long time. She felt the tingle of excitement at the thought of another mystery. The fall felt further this time, maybe it really was 4,000 miles down, long enough to remember about her cat Dinah, she had had other cats but Dinah had been her first and the most affectionate. During the fall she became disorientated and in order to keep herself moderately sane she repeated to herself her favourite children’s poem.
“How does the little Crocodile
Improve his shining tale,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every Golden Scale”.
As she fell she slowly withdrew the note book and the photographs, taking care not to let go of them in the slipstream. She looked over the photographs carefully, noting that they were of young girls the same age she would have been at the beginning of her adventures. She examined the pictures of the girls the in the notebook, she discovered what she assumed to be the names of the missing girls.
She almost hoped that he would not be there, but there he was. As much like a detective as a white rabbit can look. She and Rabbit had a history, he hated her mainly because she was female and that she was from Wonderland, as far as he was concerned that made her lower than the lowest of the low in his beady rabbit eyes. Intolerance did exist, some people didn’t believe in the Wonderland people this was fine with her as she didn’t always believe in herself. Some people that knew of their existence feared and despised them. Her first case had been to track down the murderers of her parents, the murderers had escaped from the real world to Wonderland she had tracked them with the help of Hatter and her own skills and competence. This competence was the main element that had annoyed Rabbit, she had made him look stupid and he didn’t like that.
“You’re late, and when you’re late it means I’m late, and I don’t like being late.” he said looking at his elaborate and rather ostentatious wrist watch “The boss wants to see you,” barked Rabbit. “Charmed to see again to I’m sure Rabbit” she said not making the slightest effort to disguise the sarcasm in her voice. “No time for niceties” he said as he tried to bundle her into the waiting horse drawn carriage. She stamped on Rabbit’s foot and stroked the horse’s mane. She felt the mirror in her pocket vibrate as she patted it gently. “Soon,” she whispered “soon.”
Alice’s long strides easily kept up with Rabbit’s hops as they made their way into the building Rabbit still muttering under his breath about being late and actually wanting to get home to his burrow tonight. Climbing into the air lift she placed the palm of her hands together, she let the blast of freezing air send her shooting up to the Hatter’s office on the fifth floor. She followed Rabbit into Hatter’s Office which as usual was chaos. Hatter loved tea but never seemed to finish one so there were an array of cup and saucers scattered all around the office with the brightly coloured tea pot taking pride of place in the centre of his desk. Hatter’s top hat sat at a jaunty angle and his out-sized bow tie flapping as he fidgeted around. She knew that the nickname for Hatter was Mad; she knew this annoyed her more than it annoyed him and in turn this made her even angrier. The most gifted, though admittedly the most ‘off the wall’, detective in the force deserved more respect. On the notice board were pinned pictures of the three missing girls that Alice had been summoned to help trace. Hatter absentmindedly kissed Alice on the cheek. “Ah Alice so glad you could come, we really need your help this time.” Alice ignored the grumbling that emitted from Rabbit behind them.
Next to Hatter sat Jackson, the first Vampire to be called on to the force, his dark eyes shone with mischief, his long hair black hair tied back to create some impression of respectability. “What’s to do now?" Jackson said as he winked, smiled and waved a hand in greeting towards Alice. “I think we need a cup of tea” said Hatter. Alice would have preferred a beer or even a gin and tonic but she accepted the tea and sat down to let Hatter take her through the case and evidence so far. There had been a phone call claiming that a young girl had disappeared from the Wolfendale home but they were adamant that the girls had run away of their own accord, but a further tragic telephone call insisting that another two girls had disappeared at three monthly intervals made had made Hatter take notice. “Why didn’t you listen to me you should have done something!” the voice choked “Now two more girls are missing.” Hatter was taking this personally as he had taken the initial anonymous phone call about the girl’s disappearance from the home.
Hatter by this stage had started to take this more seriously and had contacted Alice through the mirror; he knew she wouldn’t be able to resist. She read through the information, Hatter had sent a foot soldier known as Door mouse to chat to the manager of the home but had been given short shrift. No girl was missing and no girl could possibly want to disappear from such a lovely home. Door mouse had little to report except the feeling that he wouldn’t want any of his offspring living in such as institution. The woman that had opened the door was dressed in a red dress shaped with hearts more suitable for a brothel that a young girls home. Door mouse was a good detective empathetic, and able to get things out of people when others had failed. He just needed his sleep. At this point the Cheshire Cat appeared with his usual sinister grin. “You need to check out the Wolfendale Home. I have a hunch that this all about Alucard and a cat’s hunch is rarely wrong.” with that he disappeared but it was enough.
Beginning to feel frustrated and needing time to think she bade farewell to the Hatter and took the air lift back to the entrance of the police station. She patted the mirror as it started to vibrate excitedly, the reflection in the mirror was not hers but that of a beautiful liver-grey horse. “Ok,” Alice murmured “so you want to go for a ride.” She tapped the mirror three times and gave a low whistle, at this signal Mia appeared through the mirror, Alice gratefully jumped onto Mia’s back and relaxed as Mia pranced and was airborne before Alice could take a breath, her body moving as one with Mia as she soared through the air Alice decided to take a look at the outside of the Wolfendale Home, “just to get a sense of the place,” she promised herself with a wry smile. Alice gave a tender signal with the reins and Mia began to descend, her delicate legs not missing a beat as they eased the transition from an easy canter through trot into walk finally coming to a halt outside the Wolfendale Home. Alice felt in her pocket for the mushroom: she hadn’t dared bring too much of the mushroom out of Wonderland as it was actually illegal to remove magic ingredients. Looking around, she nibbled the tiniest piece and felt the shrinking feeling, Petite enough to climb through the letter box, supper; she climbed up hanging on with her fingertips before dropping to the floor. Things were too perfect; no noise came from the long dormitories. Keeping herself small so she would not be observed. Silence came from the white beds where white alabaster faced girls slept with their long blonde hair flowing onto the pillows like seaweed left by a tide. Then she noticed the red marks, she felt sickened. She knew now it was a blood bank. Alice shivered! She realised that Jackson’s theory was probably correct, it was a farm where blood of little girls was extracted feeding the obsessional thirst of rogue vampires.
Sitting tense in Hatter’s office with Rabbit glaring at her, a dark scowl on his face, Alice didn’t mince her words. “It’s a blood bank, they are collecting blood from virginal girls to pass onto Vampires.” Jackson’s face turned to thunder, the fact that some of his race were still active infuriated him and he felt responsible. Alice rested her hand gently on Jackson’s arm to calm him, she spoke softly.
“We knew there were rogue groups of Vampires but they are nothing like you, we know that.
“There will be a backlash” Jackson raged
“It is becoming light, you need to sleep “Both of you need to rest,” declared Hatter “Take him home Alice”.
Alucard sat in front of Hatter looking as distinguished as his name sounded. The smile on his face however could not hide the cold unfeeling scorn behind his eyes. Hatter was prepared to play the waiting game. Through the two way mirror that Jackson had set up, Alice and Jackson were watching the interview as the events unfolded before them. Alucard fended off the questions like a master batsman blunting a bowling attack. No, he had no idea where Alice or Lorina were. He was aware they hadn’t settled into the routine as well as some of the other girls and they may have run away, they had both been highly strung and may well have been mentally unstable. They had immediately unsettled the other girls with their strange behaviour. Hatter pressed him again. “Do you know where they are? Considering that they were both orphans with no close relatives it would be difficult to guess where they had gone to.” He said, tersely.
As Alice observed Alucard being interrogated, she saw with relief and some sympathy him wither under the bright glaring lights the garlic and the wooden stake placed in view, his pale features paled in contrast to his bright red lips. He began to confess “The girls are still alive” Alucard insisted “Where are they?” Demanded Hatter. “You need to tell us or this story will go to the journalist and the whole Vampire race will be under threat.”
Suddenly the door was thrown open and Jackson stalked in and took hold of the wooden stake. It worked! Alucard began to write down his full confession including the location of the missing girls. Alice needed Jackson, but she also needed to return to Wonderland, her strength was draining and she needed the restorative powers that Wonderland could provide; maybe Jackson could come with her to Wonderland. She considered the implication. What would the reaction be to a Vampire? Even one that had repented would be met with suspicion. It was not time. She would have to go back to Wonderland alone.
She slept restlessly that night and dreamed that Alucard had visited her.
A graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University where I studied English and did some creative writing. I am married to John and mother of two teenage children Jolyon and Henry. I enjoy reading and writing crime fiction, I am a particular fan of Nordic Crime Noir well as the Moomins and Alice in Wonderland. As well as writing I love horses and loan Bonnie, a stroppy but fun silver mained pony. As well as riding I enjoy scuba diving and am a member of Manchester Diving Group. My other love is my beautiful but temperamental Bengal cat, Benjamin Beasley.