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Hanon Ondricek

Alice Aforethought

...

Your silence is a little disturbing, because you know I rely on your advice, voice in my head with whom I converse on a regular basis when I'm by myself, right?

Oh, I guess you're being contrary to-day. This adventure should go splendidly.

Nonsense! It's only logical that if there is a riddle, it follows there is a correct answer. Else, why have a riddle in the first place!

Riddles without answers might be the most horrifying thing I could conceive of!

Of course there is. We will discover it together! If you think of any ideas, definitely share them with me.

Paradox. I'm not quite sure what that means.

I suppose I'll need to look it up...

Perhaps it all the opinions and facts stuffed inside my head alongside you. I promise to sort it out and make things a little more cozy for you in the near future.

I've got it. They both have legs!

Hmn. They are both things?

I don't really know either. I thought you might have an observation. That's why I was asking.

Surely there must be something.

Oh! I know, they are both nouns!

All right. I trust you so... I'm just going to take a little nibble since we don't know how potent the effect of the mushroom is...

Mn. It's not bad. It tastes very mushroom-ey. But...ooh. There's sort of a fizzle sensation as it moves down my–

Curiouser and–the room is growing–no I am shrinking! I can feel myself shutting up like a telescope. Just a few inches. Okay, I think by process of elimination we know what the other mushroom bit will do.

Oh! That's a curious sensation! My spine is expanding and the ceiling is growing closer to the top of my head! Just a few inches. So we know that bit is the side of the mushroom that makes me larger, and we can infer the other one will make me smaller.

Mushroom physics, sorted!

Much to my chagrin, nobody has installed a handy trap door in the floor under the rug since the last time we checked. But good thinking.

The rug covering much of the floor isn't much to my taste–red and beige and gold swirly patterns–but it's not going anywhere with the weight of the bed on it.

Look under the rug

Well, there must be an answer, or there wouldn't be a riddle. Riddles have answers, don't you agree? If we have a riddle, it must follow that there is an answer.

Alice responded...

All right. I'm not going to carry the looking glass since it is heavy and awkward and has convenient wheels, but I've got hold of it and will roll it along with us.

All right. We'll leave the looking glass here for now.

Fair enough.

Okay, with some shifting and sliding and maneuvering, I manage to work the mirror around the corner out from behind the armoire. A pivoting frame at the base with some small wheels clicks horizontally into position so it may stand freely, and also can be rolled around on a flat surface with relative ease.

It's rather heavy, so I've set it down here.

All right. I'm not going to carry the looking glass since it is heavy and awkward and has convenient wheels, but I've got hold of it and will roll it along with us.

All right. We'll leave the looking glass here for now.

Fair enough.

Why is a writing desk like a raven?

I have no idea.

They are nothing alike.

That is utter nonsense. There's no answer, Alice.

I don't know, Alice. Why is a raven like a writing desk?

"My full title is Sir Lorraine of Wembsley-Dask, of the noble profession of Locking Mechanisms. I've been knighted by the Queen herself, you know. I outrank that bulbous one up there!"

"Oh, ha-ha!" chuckles the Doorknob. "That makes so much sense!"

"No it doesn't," clicks the Keyhole.

"Once again, it's a pun," explains the Doorknob. "Bills can mean demands for payment, or the beak on a raven, and tales is a homonym for–"

"I really don't care."

"I am utterly, not surprised, Lorraine."

"Stop calling me that, I said!" grumps the Keyhole.

"If I had eyes to roll, they would be rolling," clucks the Keyhole.

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

What would you rather be called?

"Oh, the chortling commences!" brays the Doorknob. "I shall remember that one to repeat to my Wednesday social club!"

"You have no such thing," clacks the Keyhole. "You have no other friends on Wednesday or any other day and couldn't leave this door even if you wanted to."

"I do so have other friends!" insists the Doorknob. "You're not the only game in town, even if you were good company."

"Who are you talking to on a Wednesday, the curtains?"

"At least the curtains can see outside and always have something new to discuss," humphs the Doorknob. "Unlike a certain other fixture I'm forcibly acquainted with."

The keyhole remains stonily silent.

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

"Ah-ha!" exclaims the Doorknob brassily. "Quite so!"

"Whut?" scrapes the Keyhole.

"I suppose I'll have to explain what a spoonerism is to him later," returns the Doorknob. "I'm sure this young lady doesn't have time for me to lecture on at length right now about humorous grammar construct."

"That's what it takes to stop you lecturing on at length?"

"Oh hush, or I shall never speak to you again."

"You keep promising," deadpans the Keyhole.

"Punch and Judy shows are funny," insists the Keyhole. "Unlike that."

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

"Oh, now that's a good one!" chortles the Doorknob. "Rest for pens, pest for wrens!"

"Why is humour so difficult?" clunks the Keyhole.

"Wit is often dependent on the scale of one's vocabulary," explains the Doorknob.

"Oh that must be my problem then. I'm a keyhole, not a chat show panelist!"

"You'd make a completely dreary one."

"Is that raven actually eating its own feathers over there?" wonders the Keyhole.

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

"Oh, guffaw!" gleams the Doorknob. "That is rich!"

"Didn't you already give an answer with a musical pun?" jingles the Keyhole.

"The world of music is full of humour," squeaks the Doorknob.

"And the world of being a keyhole is mainly concerned with wishing one had something to stuff themselves with to avoid inane conversations like this."

"Behave, Lorraine."

"She's already said that one," shunks the Keyhole. "Is she allowed to repeat these? Because this could go on all week at this rate."

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

"Oh, tee-hee!" chuckles the Doorknob. "That's a good one!"

"I don't get it," rattles the Keyhole.

"It's a pun," explains the Doorknob. "Notes can be taken as musical notes, or as written paper notes, of course. I love puns!"

"But ravens aren't musical, nor can they write."

"That's utterly the point, Lorraine."

"Stop calling me that," chides the Keyhole.

"Still not funny," murmurs the Keyhole.

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

This crown is fit for a Queen; beautiful, sparkly, casting rainbows and sunshine in all directions.

It fits so perfectly on my head. It's quite heavy, but we will manage, because we love this crown.

Take off the crown, Alice.

I think I should wear the crown.

It's a crown! I want the crown! Please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease...

Okay, take the crown.

Leave the crown here.

lUm. With all due respect, my brain, I'm going to veto that idea.

We need to keep it. I mean... What if someone else picks it up? Then they will be able to weild its fabulous cosmic powers of Royalty and Sparkling. Wouldn't it be better for us to hold onto the magic for ourselves?

I refuse to drop it. It's too sparkly and beautiful to leave behind.

Okay, point made.

"I can't do that," crunks the Keyhole. "What kind of locking mechanism would I be if I didn't prevent a locked door from opening?"

"I told you! I'll get written up again if I don't do what I'm supposed to!"

"Nope," tightens up the keyhole.

"Come on, just this once?" wheedles the Doorknob.

"No exceptions!"

"Nope!"

Please?

Where is the key?

Fine.

Fair enough.

Can't you please make an exception this once?

"I dunno," snaps the Keyhole.

"I'm not sure that's the truth. Don't forget I have symmetry and awareness on both sides of this door as well as you do, Lorraine!" scorns the Doorknob.

"Shh-sh!"

"Well, let me think for a bit," reasons the Keyhole.

"For...how long?"

"Quiet! I'm thinking!"

"Lorraine!"

"All right, I've got it," concludes the Keyhole.

"Don't keep us in suspense," rattles the Doorknob.

"I can tell you it's on the other side. It's in my thoughts. I am thinking around it."

"Ah, so Alice," confides the Doorknob, "you do know the trick with the mat and something poky?"

"I do, but unfortunately that's not an option right now.

"I've told you, it's sticking out of the back of my head. It's on the other side of the door."

"Pst! Alice!" whispers the Doorknob. "Don't let him know, but I think if you can get the keyhole to open up somehow–maybe get him to laugh or yawn–that might serve to forward your cause!"

"I can hear you as loud as day," stage whispers the Keyhole. "Don't forget we're practically connected by brass!"

C'mon, where is the key?

Fine.

Fair enough.

Inside the iron maiden are my clean clothes; about fifteen identical blue informal play-dresses, each with its own individual white apron.

That sounds like a good enough answer to me.

Right!

My bed is soft, feathery, very bouncy, and draped beneath a cream-white and lilac lace canopy. One leg permanently holds down an area rug that covers most of the floor and extends under the bed

I–

It's actually hard to explain. It will be easier to just show you what happened. To do that, we'll need to get to the drawing room somehow.

Oh! It's too terrible!

Exeunt, Queen Alice.

-thump-

Ow! My nose! You're supposed to be unlocked, Door!

"Listen," jams the Keyhole, "I'm a keyhole which is part of a locking mechanism, and if there's one thing I'm sure of it's whether the door I'm attached to is locked or not! This door has been locked, and I don't care whether you're some kind of Queen who wears a fancy crown, nor whether you have some sort of time-bending powers because of it and can move as far as you please in any direction you want! Unless you can show me the key to this door, I don't care what time of day it is, this door is remaining firmly shut! Perhaps those aren't the rules for every keyhole, but I am a sentient talking keyhole who is a right smarter than the average clink, and you can explain Wonderland physics to me all you want, but I follow two rules: locked and unlocked. And as far as I'm concerned, my current status is locked!"

"I've made myself clear," snorts the Keyhole. "Go find some other hardware to submit to your whims."

"I must apologize for my brassy friend," squeaks the Doorknob. "He doesn't quite understand how things work around here..." he adds conspiratorily.

The Keyhole merely clenches, obstinately.

"Sometimes, Lorraine, I'm ashamed to be a part of you," grumbles the Doorknob.

The Keyhole merely clenches, obstinately.

Well, if you won't listen to logic...

Hmnph.

I can't see anything through the keyhole, so the bedroom key must be in the door on the other side.

So what that means is that I need to acquire a thin book or a mat, slide it under the door, then use a narrow object like a piece of wire to push the key out so it lands on the mat, then pull the mat gently through the door to retrieve the key!

Unfortunately, I've used that solution before, and Governess had the Nursemaid turn out my room and remove any thin, wire-like poky objects and books thin enough to slip under the door.

They're on to most of my schemes!

Through the keyhole, I get a glimpse of the Upstairs Hallway, and I can see the balustrades of the railing at the top of the stairs.

My bedroom door is locked.

Look! Governess left the key sticking out of the keyhole!

Take the key

Unlock the door

Look! Governess left the key sticking out of the keyhole!

Take the key

Enter my bedroom

I wasn't sure how this would have helped, but we could creep a few paces along the corridor. Through the sliver of an open door I could see my Governess in her room knitting, but she didn't seem alerted by our presence. Perhaps we would have been able to make it downstairs quietly to see what had happened.

We may only have a narrow chance. Let's go down to the drawing room so I can explain to you what happened.

Let's go!

Our Governess' voice echoes sharply down the corridor, "Alice!"

She's on alert and has the best hearing in the household. We won't be doing any sneaking around while she's keeping an ear out. This old parquet flooring rattles and clicks like a spirited game of chequers.

Back to the stairs.

While I would always fancy a game under normal circumstances, we have more pressing matters to attend to currently than moving these tiny pieces around!

Besides, while we can and have played both sides when no other opponents are available, a little less exciting when both players know what the other is doing!

It's quite shocking how much the kittens like to play with these pieces–there's not a one without teeth marks in its wooden head. You might almost think the pieces could be alive and moving around to entice them!

The result is we often have to play handicap matches with less then thirty-two pieces, or occasionally make substitutes out of origami paper. On occasion, we've also tried using Grandmother's antique salt-and-pepper shakers, but that often results in the match concluding early when Mother notices.

This doesn't seem like an ideal place to grow larger. I've already broken Father's pocketwatch, so it might be a very bad idea to risk breaking everything in this room when I'm too big to mind being careful!

Should we go through the foyer and back upstairs?

Yes.

Through that passage lies the dining room.

At this hour we will have been having breakfast. I've already had breakfast once to-day, so I needn't eat again this very moment.

No meal is happening presently, but I can hear the kitchen staff clattering dishes and preparing for tea later. Surely they've been notified I'm not to be out and about, so I shouldn't go snooping in there.

I will at this point be banished to my room and will have missed tea, which the staff will be in the process of clearing away, so I am potentially famished (unless Governess brought me a sandwich in my room (which is very likely she will have had done.)

I need to stay out of there until I can clear up my status in the household.

Footsteps.

Governess.

"ALICE!"

Then the long stare of predator and prey before the teeth come down.

"What have you done, Alice?"

It was obvious. The only thing to do was search hands-and-knees for all the pieces. Skim the rug, sift the ashes in the hearth, feel under every chair and on top of every book in the bookcase. One tiny gear was even recovered from my apron pocket, so there was no denying who would be accused, even if I hadn't actually done anything. This time.

But you did do it!

You didn't do it!

Aren't they both us?

I don't quite know who I am now...

You! Come here you murderer!

No! Don't let her get me, she's mad!

I'm going to give you such a thrashing!

You see! I didn't do it! I told you! It was her!

You're an imposter!

No you're the imposter!

Ow, my arm! Let go!

You've got some nerve!

OW MY BEAUTIFUL BLOND HAIR

This one and that one whirled about tugging on the crown until it was impossible to tell which was which-

MINE!

One managed to secure the crown on her head, and was immediately gone in a twinklingly impossible diagonal whirl.

Did she escape through the glass?

She's gone!

Maps of New Zealand?

The White Rabbit and the March Hare crowding into frame at some kind of party?

"I'm not impressed," glowered the Keyhole.

"Can you tell I'm bowing, Your Majesty?" grovels the Doorknob. "I haven't as much play in the works as I used to!"

This is impertenence!

Off with your–well, never mind.

I can get you a royal promotion to Front Door. No?

"Oh, so true!" giggles the Doorknob. "There is a B in both!"

"No there's not," rattles the Keyhole. "R-E-V-A-N. R-I-T–"

"We've moved onto the humor of the non sequitur," explains the Doorknob. "Which I won't even bother to explain to you, Sir Lorraine!"

"Is it my birthday somehow?"

"No, I said it's a non-sequitur."

"Stop calling me names in French!" snaps the Keyhole. "You know I can't understand French!"

"Go ahead, Miss, you may as well give us the next unfunny punch-line in your list," groans the Keyhole.

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

Upstairs Hallway

(a while ago)

(a while into the future)

I wasamwill be creeping quietly so Mother wouldn'twon'twill not discover our escape...

Wait a moment. We're in the past tense. I haven't yet gotten in trouble. I think... If my suspicion is right, perhaps we might be able to prevent disaster before it happens!

The bannister prevents a short fall to the tiles below, and the graceful front staircase winds its way down to the west as it always does.

The corridor continues north to my parents' quarters, which are usually empty this early in the daywhere Mother likely is, resting with the Governess close by and attentive listening for my potential escapewhere Mother might be potentially be awakening from her nap. The south corridor and the rooms there are usually empty at most hours of the day.

GROW

NORTH

NORTHWEST – NORTHEAST

WEST – – – – – EAST

SOUTHWEST – SOUTHEAST

SOUTH

SHRINK

Seriously, Alice, you should be giving me good advice.

That might be something possible in our own flights of fancy, but right now I'd prefer avoiding behavior conducive to destruction, injury, death, or punishment!

I'll veto that, as I'm in control of the arms and legs.

Really, Alice.

A graceful chandelier hovers above checquered parquet foyer floor tiles a story below. The stairway winds gracefully down, clinging to the opposite wall as it turns a hundred and eighty degrees in descent. The sturdy bannister rail prevents a short but great fall to a (presumably) quick death.

The bannister-slide has been tried (not just by me–mind!) with different measures of success, but even we know better than to risk the chance of accidental friction and even a non-fatal tumble at the end.

Descend the stairs.

Topple the looking glass over the rail.

Shove the looking glass downstairs.

Leap over the bannister.

Step back from the rail.

All right, then. No sooner said than done. Hmph!

There. The black looking glass topples over the bannister down to the–it's still falling, somersaulting end over end as it goes.

And...it's still going.

No sign of it now as it vanishes from sight.

I keep expecting the sound of a great crash, but there's nothing.

I certainly hope you have a sound reason for this course of action.

I am sure I do.

Not really, but it was a choice to make.

I regret everything.

Wait! Before we do that...

Let me grab my bedroom door key out of the door. I'm sure you are in agreement that the less we need to interact with that keyhole again, the better!

See! I'm clever as well. I'm surprised you didn't think of it first!

Good thinking.

I was just going to mention that.

That was a test. You passed, Alice.

How was I supposed to know? I didn't get the option!

All right, let's descend. Or at least follow these stairs where they go, since they start out going up and then take a turn the wrong way, and then the other. It's a poor sort of staircase that just meanders this way and that, going every which way but down which is where I'd like to be–

Oh dear, the stairs are twisting about and rolling to the side like a serpent! It's almost like being on the Waltzer at the Fun-Fair–oh!

I'm holding the bannister because my feet have no purchase on the stair-treads–which are increasingly vertical–

Help me hang on–no!

We're falling...

All right, then. No sooner said than done. Hmph!

There. The black looking glass topples over the bannister down to the–it's still falling, somersaulting end over end as it goes.

And...it's still going.

No sign of it now as it vanishes from sight.

I keep expecting the sound of a great crash, but there's nothing.

I certainly hope you have a sound reason for this course of action.

I am sure I do.

Not really, but it was a choice to make.

I regret everything.

Normally, this type of suggestion would give me pause, but everything has been rather queer to-day, so why not throw caution to the wind?

Vault-leap!

Back-flip!

Swan-dive!

Double-half-gainer!

Okay, actually, no.

Okay, despite it looking quite precipitous, I have a peep over the bannister railing. There is no chandelier, but the looking glass owners have left few links of chain hanging from the sloped ceiling.

What should be the downstairs entry-foyer close below is also no longer there, and the staircase winds endlessly down into the flickery depths of the earth. There is no bottom of the well to be seen.

Descend the stairs.

Topple the looking glass over the rail.

Shove the looking glass downstairs.

Leap over the bannister.

Slide down the bannister.

Step back away from it.

I understand that a bannister-slide sounds like a romp on paper, but the logistics are not very ladylike in a skirt, and–well. Friction.

I promise we can throw ourselves headlong the next fun thing you suggest that isn't going to potentially kill me.

DEAR ALICE

The entire staff kindly requests when you read this you refrain from climbing the mantel or the fireplace.

Wiping fingerprints from the glass more than once a day is a bit unreasonable.

Plus were you to fall and split your head on the hearthrug we would all be very sad, and your parents would likely feel the same.

SIGNED

Devoted Housekeeping Staff

Well there's a huge obstacle.

Back down.

With you to help, we'll be able to create quite a picture in the soot–an entire chain of daisies in a ring!

The shovel sends great clouds of ash up the chimney and–

There's an unburnt piece of wood amongst the ashes. Oh, no, I'm wrong! It's one of the white rooks from the chessboard!

When we stand on the hearth on highest tiptoes, our eyes are directly level with the mantelpiece. If I want to see more, We can use that nearby chair to stand on and get a closer look.

Oh–look! There's that other Alice doing the same thing! She's attempting to be sly and peep over the fireplace to see if the coast is clear! Wait until I get my hands on her. I'll teach her a thing or two about contrafugual force! Just put me in the same room with her!

The ashes from yesterday are cold. Sometimes when nobody's looking we can use the fireplace poker and shovel to smooth the ash out flat and then draw flowers or other designs in the gray soot. It's very like flour or sand, only much finer for tracing designs in. And it makes us smell like a chimney-sweep, remarks our Governess quite often. She's always very particular and attentive when the young man comes round to clean the flue.

Step back from the hearth.

Well, we could try to climb back up all those rickety stairs again, but there's dozens and dozens of them, and I'm uncertain whether we've the time nor my legs the energy.

Perhaps there's another route that doesn't involve stair climbing. It would be grand if we stumble across some type of gravity reducing mechanism and we'll just float up later.

Like we don't have enough new rules and directions and re-arrangements to worry about currently.

Did you have breakfast? I think I've got a box of comfits if you need refreshment.

Yes, I know. I'm sorry those aren't very refreshing at all, but perhaps the Governess will remember to bring our tea later.

"The Queen of Hearts?" shrieks the Doorknob. "Ahhhhh!"

"THE QUEEN OF HEARTS?" shrieks the Keyhole even louder. "AAAHHHHHHH!"

As the keyhole opens up to scream, there is a click on the other side of the door, and a hollow clink of a metal object landing on wood.

The key! The keyhole has released the key from the lock! It's on the other side of the door! If only we'd thought to have a flat object shoved under the door–

Wait, someone is stomping up the stairs. And they're approaching my room.

"It's the Queen of Hearts! And she's in a particularly savage temper to-day, you need to hide or she'll have your head!" cautions the Doorknob.

"Quick, under the bed! She won't find you there!" advises the Keyhole.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

I have no idea.

They are nothing alike.

That is utter nonsense. There's no answer, Alice.

I don't know, Alice. Why is a raven like a writing desk?

The notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes?

Poe wrote on both...?

Bills and tales are among their characteristics?

Because one has flapping fits and the other fitting flaps?

Because one is good for writing books and the other better for biting rooks?

Because a writing desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens?

Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat? And it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!

Because there is a B in Both?

Oh my feathers, it's the Queen of Hearts! EVERYBODY RUN!

Replace the hourglass where it belongs.

That doesn't seem like a proper answer to the riddle at all, but the thought is terrifying; The Queen of Hearts is the maddest of them all.

Shudder

The book is open to a page:

How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,

How neatly spreads his claws,

And welcomes little fishes in,

With gently smiling jaws!

I certainly hope we don't meet any crocodiles at the bottom of this well, who might verily mistake us for a fish!

I'll assume this is a jar of orange marmalade, and I make that assumption due to the label having the words "ORANGE MARM-" printed neatly around the top.

I can't see all the way round the curve of the jar, mind you, but I can't think of many other words that start with marm. Except perhaps marmite and I'm not certain how that would taste mixed with oranges. I suppose we could very well find out when we hit bottom (assuming we, along with the jar, are still in one piece!)

Oh! I've thought of another thing it could be. The jar could be advertising that it contains "ORANGE MARMOTS"... Although after some thought, that sounds even more unpleasant than orange marmite.

Okay, one more. It could be "ORANGE MARMOREAL"...which according to this dictionary that's also falling along with us means...

adj. - Of or relating to or characteristic of marble

Which would imply the jar is full of orange marbles. That sounds like quite a ruckus at the bottom, so let's hope for jam.

It's orange marmalade. Surely.

That leads to the kitchen. There's such a commotion from in there–people sneezing and shouting and crockery shattering–let's just not even bother. We can cross that off our 'must-do' list for to-day.

But, we should check in there anyway...

Trust me... If we go in there invariably we're going to start sneezing due to all the pepper in the soup, and then invariably we're going to end up with a baby, and invariably that baby is going to turn into a pig which turns the situation rather awkward... I've been there.

For sake of thoroughness...

Invariably, the Duchess will be savage the way things go, so–that's a long story I'll tell you more about later if you like, but for now, let's carry on how we have been.

Are you sure?

I know you can only be here for two hours at a stretch anyway before you have to leave me and do something else, and I'll have to continue to work all this out for myself, so... in the interest of our time together...

Fair enough.

All right. Nevermind.

"Well!" thought Alice to herself "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!" (which was very likely true.)

Presently she began again. "I wonder if I shall fall fight through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The antipathies, I think-" (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word)

Dinah, my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?"

And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy son of way, "Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?" and sometimes "Do bats eat cats?" for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it.

She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and was saying to her, very earnestly, "Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?" when suddenly–

Okay, that is patently ridiculous. I can no more take this piano and put it in my apron pocket than I could do so with the entire earth.

Don't even consider that we're in the process of falling down a deep well

See, even if I try grabbing hold of it–

–OH! We are hurtling down the well along with the piano now at ludicrous speed!

Hang on!

AAAAAAAAA!

GERONIMO!

"– yes that's about the right distance – but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?" (Alice had not the slightest idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but she thought they were nice grand words to say.)

That piano seems to have no time for a long freefall, and tumbles away, making an express beeline for the bottom, wherever that is, likely due to its great weight, most likely. Or would that be its great mass? I know great masses can be played on piano but–

Okay, I'm nibbling on the big side of the mushroom and–

I've got to hunker down because the ceiling is way too low for me, and the walls are too narrow for me, and–

It reminds me of when I would make houses out of discarded cardboard cartons, cutting a door and windows in the side with a sharp knife. I could fit inside, but there was no room for anything else but me, a giantess in a miniature one-room house.

I hope I'm not too big for this room! Okay, the growth has subsided, but I've not a fraction of space to move, and there's no place for my arms and legs to go. The only thing I can reach is a bit of the other mushroom. There's really no other choice but to nibble that and shrink back down.

"Well," shines the Doorknob. "I suppose since I am a ranking member of your inner circle who spends more time in your bedroom than you do, we may as well exist on a convivial basis!

"I would be delighted if you'd call me Douglas."

Wait, you spend more time in here than I do?

It stands to reason; he's part of the furniture.

That's a little creepy.

That's what happened this morning. I did it, and I'm guilty. I deserve to be sent to bed without supper for an entire year and that will be nothing in comparison to the look in Father's eyes when I explain what happened.

When we play chess, sometimes it takes him ages to make a move, so he lets me hold the watch so I can count the seconds and minutes-

We got out of breakfast early and discovered Father had forgotten his watch. The last thing he always does is set the watch on the side table before he fetches his coat and his hat and his umbrella, then he sets it according to the mantel clock, and winds it-

-and our joke is to take turns while the other thinks, letting the watch sway hanging by the chain, you are getting sleepy...you are getting VERY sleepy-

-and he kisses Mother before being on his way. It was the first time we had the watch ourselves unsupervised-

-you want to move your knight to G6...knight to geeeeeee siiiiiiiiiix!-

-We had just learnt a lesson on Isaac Newton, and centipedinal force, how an object held in place by a force curves around the center. An object, say a pocketwatch on a chain, remains in circular motion when twirled about over our head rapidly.

Centripetal?

Centrifugal?

Oh, don't do that–

"Oh hallo! No answer? Don't pretend to be asleep, Alice! I know your tricks!"

"Oh, you haven't, have you?"

"Oh, what a headache you're giving me, little girl."

The doorknob rattles a bit, but I'm holding it steady on my side.

"Oooowwww!" echoes a hollow voice from somewhere else.

"The door is still locked, Governess, I promise you!"

"How is it then that the key is missing?"

Alice responded

A resounding clunk from the other side of the door as it is locked again. "You are quite right, Alice!"" exults the Governess. "Oh, and stop leaving furniture in the hallway please? This mirror is in the way!"

The door unlocks abruptly, and the white looking glass is shoved through. The door is firmly shut and locked again.

Footsteps fade down the hallway and disappear.

Fiddlesticks. Do we need to go through all that keyhole business again?

Ugh.

For the length of the fall it took, it seems in surprisingly good condition. Look! It just needs a tuning.

Perhaps this means I won't be needing to practice etudes and that unplayable "Blue Danube" piece for a good long while.

Actually, I think we should keep wearing it.

Take off the crown, please.

But it looks so good on us!

No, take it off.

As Queen, my first decree is no Queen shall be forced to remove her crown without her specific, Royal permission!

Alice.

But I am the Queen! I don't want to take off the crown!

Why are you being so difficult?

Fine. But I am going to wear it to sleep in tonight.

All right, that is much better. I've taken quite a load of metal and superfluous bling off my head. Oof! No wonder half the monarchy goes mad.

Thank you.

All right, wear it for now.

In another moment we are through the glass, and have jumped lightly down into the drawing room.

Through the Looking Glass

Let’s pretend there’s a way of getting through into it, somehow.

(Ooh, mind the fragile bric-a-brac scattered on the mantel–breaking one of those surely will spell our doom.)

Let’s pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it’s turning into a sort of mist now, I declare! It’ll be easy enough to get through–’

And certainly the glass WAS beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist.

In between the rooms here, it's somewhat like looking at the stereophotos in the machines at the seashore. Each eye sees a different picture, but when combined into one there is an eerie sense of real-ness.

This must be what a doorknob experiences, having its heads fully in two separate rooms!

The mantel clock looks both ways.

GROW

NORTH

NORTHWEST – NORTHEAST

– – – – –

SOUTHWEST – SOUTHEAST

NORTH

SHRINK

"Oh, that's a disappointment. I thought you were asking a riddle, not making an inquiry," tarnishes the Doorknob.

"We thought you might know an answer."

"Perhaps you ought to have a word with the Raven, if you're curious," thunked the Keyhole. "If anyone should know from waterfowl, it would be another bird."

Hm.

"I ." mutters the Keyhole.

"I can't !" responds the Doorknob with practised theatrical ease. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

I have no idea.

The notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes?

Poe wrote on both...?

Bills and tales are among their characteristics?

Because one has flapping fits and the other fitting flaps?

Because one is good for writing books and the other better for biting rooks?

Because a writing desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens?

Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat? And it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!

Because there is a B in Both?

Oh my feathers, it's the Queen of Hearts! EVERYBODY RUN!

In another moment we are through the glass, and have jumped lightly down into the Looking-glass room.

This door opens up into what seems to be another corridor full of doors!

Let's see where it leads...

Let's remain in this corridor.

Hm. It seems to be a disused broom closet.

Go inside.

Leave it be.

Oddly, the smoke seems to smell of pipe tobacco, burning autumn leaves, orange-blossom, and a trace of...skunk?

Hmn. How long is it till lunch? My mouth is parched. I'd like something to drink and I could really go for a slice of cake. How are you feeling?

What a funny little broom closet! I'm not sure why, but this whole situation is just funny. Hey! Are you still there? What was I talking about?

Hey, isn't this the funniest little broom closet you've ever seen? Where'd you go?

We should really look for some cake. Cake would be delicious right now.

What a funny little broom closet!

I'm suddenly very hungry. Have we eaten lunch? I don't remember eating lunch. Is part of our punishment being starved to death? I certainly hope not. Because it feels like it's been days since breakfast!

I'm pleased to meet you, I say, curtseying. My name is Alice.

Sometimes it's fun to pretend to be two people, but this is one of those times I'm not quite sure who I am minute to minute. I'm sure I'm not Ada, for her hair goes in such long ringlets, and mine doesn't go in ringlets at all; and I'm sure I can't be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh! She knows such a very little!

You know who I am; we practically share a mind, my imaginary companion with whom I converse in my head!

I look rather presentable in a casual blue dress with a white apron. Behind me I can see . It's such an effective illusion that there are two of me. But look–she does exactly what I do, only in reverse!

Oh... I must say, I look stunning in this crown.

Give me a moment, I'm going to practice a graceful wave. There it is. Adoring throngs. Queen Alice. Queen Alice...

Queen Alice. Her subjects adore her. They adore her if they want to keep their heads...

I think a tax increase is in order!

My loyal subjects... My gracefulest of waves...

And I'm waving gracefully...so adored. Queen Alice!

I shall overlook your grave etiquette breach of failing to bow before me... Since you live in my head, having it removed might be rather counterproductive...

Check the wave. How graceful is that?

Curious...

The hourglass hovers nearby within reach, falling along at about our same speed.

The black looking glass tumbles end-over-end in slow somersaults keeping pace on the way down with us.

I'm still hanging onto the black looking glass in case you were worried about it, but I don't vouch for its survival at the end of this fall. Breaking another mirror will increase my debt of bad luck well into my thirties for sure, but that's only if I manage to not shatter in a million pieces when this is over as well!

Oh, there's the chandelier from above! Good to know it hasn't gone missing, it's just on its way down. Free from the pull of gravity, it's pulsing in the wind rather like the jellyfish that swim up the warmer river channels in the winter from the ocean.

A small book of poetry flaps along in the wind like a bird, but nearly within our reach.

A closed jar of something plummets along with us. I hope it doesn't land on anyone down below!

A green-shaded desk lamp tumbles along with us, flickering on and off.

A blue croquet ball is being batted back and forth by the green and the red croquet mallets in mid-air–as if it were badminton. How very–ooh here comes the red mallet after a long volley, duck your head!

A silver tea tray plummets with us, orbited by six china teacups. The teapot rotates, perfectly pouring tea into each one. If only I could be this graceful when serving tea! Oh, and there's some toast halves fluttering about like butterflies. I wish I could grab a slice in case we need something to nibble later on, it's surely past lunch by now!

A very frustrated-looking flamingo cartwheels nearby with its scrawny, tall legs splayed like a letter Y. Occasionally he attempts to get purchase in the air by flapping large wings, but flamingos aren't capable of flight, are they? I know there's a list of birds that cannot. One is a penguin, the next is an ostrich, and I believe that flamingo is on that list somewhere. Oh what bright beautiful plumage he has! I hope he doesn't suffer in the fall (tho his put-out expression gives me the idea that this type of thing may be an indignity he's accustomed to on a regular basis, as if he were simply biding time on the railway to the seaside.)

"Paradox." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2017.

Definition of paradox

* 1: a tenet contrary to received opinion

* 2a: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true

* 2b: a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true

* 2c: an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises

* 3: one (such as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

It might appear soft, feathery, and bouncy, draped beneath a red and beige and lime-striped lace canopy. It's easy to see a collection of gears and straps and lumpy ironwork incorporated into the works to make it very uncomfortable, and some sharply dangerous spikes barely concealed within the canopy above.

There's no rug here, it's just bare, splintery wood parquet squares designed to make an extended stay here as unpleasant as possible.

Let's see what's this direction–oh!

The Queen of Hearts is stamping around in the rooms further down. Perhaps we'd better not go this way!

There's the Queen of Hearts in the distance again. How does she move around so quickly? Let's better not proceed.

Maybe this way. No, turn back! There's a whole procession of numbered cards marching this way with some empty white paint buckets and they don't look very happy! Quick, we should get out of the way!

Oh, here come the face cards from that direction. And the masked Executioner–he's masked, but I can tell it's the Joker in a dour harlequin hat–is with them. They must be looking for that other girl named Alice, but it would be dreadful if they mistook me for her! I'm nothing like that Alice, but I do have beautiful blond hair and we shouldn't take that chance. We need to get out of here!

No, no good! I hear the stamping of card feet approaching from that direction. Let's just get out of this hallway!

Okay, retreat!

Most older houses, like ours, were not built with any sort of closet or storage space, necesitating large pieces of furniture to hold clothing and other spare accessories.

Inside the armoire are my clean clothes; about fifteen identical blue informal play-dresses, each with its own individual white apron.

Also, the round edge of my full-length looking glass peeps out from behind the armoire.

I suppose we could get smaller, but that runs the risk of winking out of existence altogether! Worst case scenario we are set upon by hostile giant ants, amoebae, and electrons.

Let's not take that chance just yet.

"Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet," said Alice; "but when you have to turn into a chrysalis–you will some day, you know–and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?"

"Not a bit," said the Caterpillar.

"Well, perhaps your feelings may be different," said Alice; "all I know is, it would feel very queer to me."

Do you understand?

That's the way I feel.

But this is the looking-glass world!

"You don't know how to operate a door?" huffed the Caterpillar.

I do; this one is complicated.

"With what?" muttered the Caterpillar.

Do you know anything about repairing watches?

Understanding the meaning of existence?

I'm trying to get through the tiny door.

"No."

And there is a long pause.

"I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly," Alice replied very politely, "for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."

"It isn't," said the Caterpillar.

Perhaps not for you!

Perhaps you haven't found it so, yet?

People don't normally go about underground.

"Less than nothing, and that's quite a great little," responded the Caterpillar.

"Oh is that all?" the Caterpillar said, setting down his mouthpiece for the first time. "That's something I'm quite knowledgeable about..."

The Caterpillar explained existence to us, and we had a lively discussion for a good while. (It took more that forty-five minutes, so I won't bore you with the detail.)

"And now, finally, perhaps you can answer my question," said the caterpillar, taking up the hookah again.

"You can't explain yourself, or can't explain, yourself?" the Caterpillar sighed, taking a draw from the hookah which he seemed to be much more intereted in than us.

"That's the same question."

"No it's not."

I can't explain myself.

I can't explain, myself.

"Indeed," exhaled the Caterpillar.

And we stood a while, both in thought.

So can you help me?

Hm. There's nothing for miles in that direction at our size. I think we should return to normal before we encounter any mice that will seem the size of oxen in relative comparison to us. I hear they are nowhere near as cute and cuddly as they seem in the fairy tales.

"Are you implying somehow, that one can't change the person they are over time?"

"Oh, not at all. In fact, I believe I've been a different person probably at least four times to-day."

"Well then," inhaled the Caterpillar.

Nnnngggahhhh!

"Is that all?" said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.

"No," said the Caterpillar.

Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, "So you think you're changed, do you?"

"I'm afraid I am, sir," said Alice; "I can't remember things as I used–and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!"

"So there's a crowd of you then?" squints the Caterpillar. "Where are you all hiding?"

There's just one of me!

Yes, there are a lot of me.

I can't explain, myself.

All together now, I hardly make one person.

As the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.

"Come back!" the Caterpillar called after her. "I've something important to say!"

This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.

"Keep your temper," said the Caterpillar.

"Do you think you are the only personage flouncing about today making those sorts of claims?" replied the Caterpillar, folding several of his arms.

"Well, I'm the only one who's me, and I'm quite sure of that."

(I'm keeping you a secret from this caterpillar–he's already cynical enough without knowing I talk to myself regularly as another person!)

Argh!

"But everthing is all backwards here!" Alice insisted. "Up is down, forward is backward, east is north, and it's a bit confusing for someone who comes from the right side of the looking glass!"

The Caterpillar straightened up. "Are you implying this is the wrong side to live on?"

Well, you do live on fungus in a dirty closet.

No. I didn't mean that.

"I mean, you're accustomed to living backwards and people shrinking and growing and repeating in endless loops and pianos falling down stairs. It's not like that at all where I come from!"

"Where did you come from?" asked the Caterpillar, concentrating on holding the smoke in his lungs.

Why here of course!

The other side of the looking glass.

Do you always answer questions with another question?

"Which one?" sighed the Caterpillar, exhaling a sweet cloud of hookah smoke.

What do you mean, which one?

The only one!

Me, myself, and I.

"I hardly know, sir, just at present–at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

"What do you mean by that?" said the Caterpillar sternly. "Explain yourself!"

I can't explain myself...

You see, as it seems, today I'm not myself.

"Why?"

The Caterpillar tapped his hookah stem on the metal rim of the smoldering plate on top.

I thought you might know things since you live here.

Why not?

"The other side of the looking glass," Alice explained. "You know there are two sides, right?"

"I don't. Can't you see I'm a caterpillar? I don't go far from here."

"Well, I've been all over this house."

"Who are you?" asks the Caterpillar maddeningly again.

I hardly know, sir.

I know who I was when I got up this morning...

I'm Alice.

Just WALK AWAY from him, Alice, WALK AWAY.

Advice from a Caterpillar

Our eyes immediately meet those of the large caterpillar sitting on top of the largest mushroom with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking not the smallest notice of us or of anything else.

We gaze at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar takes the hookah out of its mouth, and addresses us in a languid, sleepy voice.

"Who are you?" says the Caterpillar.

I hardly know, sir.

I know who I was when I got up this morning...

I'm Alice.

Just WALK AWAY from him, Alice, WALK AWAY.

Okay. I certainly hope this works the same way...but in reverse. Or–the opposite manner–actually. Is that right? My fingers are passing through the mirrored glass, causing ripples on the surface like a vertical pool of reflective liquid, followed by the rest of m...

I am melting through the surface of the looking glass...

I am having the curious sensation of being turned outside-in.

It is a full-length oval looking glass with a carved ebony frame, nearly as tall as I am. It looks exactly like mine, only reversed like a black and white photo negative.

It's here and I'm wheeling it along with us wherever possible, but I'm not technically carrying it. I hope you understand.

I do.

Gaze into the looking glass.

Leave the looking glass here.

The glass is so clean, it almost looks as if nothing is there and I could step through it.

Reflected in the glass, I see myself in .

Take the looking glass.

"I don’t see," said the Caterpillar.

"I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly," Alice replied very politely, "for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."

"It isn’t," said the Caterpillar.

But you must understand...

But you live here.

"Oh, ho-ho!" chuckles the Doorknob. "Bravo!"

"I don't get it," rattles the Keyhole.

"You don't know who Edgar Allan Poe is?"

"I've never met the fellow."

"You wouldn't, because he's deceased. Poe is one of the most famous authors of the nineteenth century, of course."

"I don't get much chance to read down here much, what with me being a keyhole and all. Mostly it's 'lock the door!' or 'unlock the door' as is appropriate and none of this soggy sort of humour!" mutters the Keyhole.

("Good thinking, Alice," hints the Doorknob. "Perhaps if you can make the Keyhole open up and laugh, he'll release the key!")

"Still not funny," murmurs the Keyhole.

No, really, why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

I give up.

MIND your BAGGAGE!!!

DISCARDED items of ANY SIZE subject to TIDYING

NOT RESPONSIBLE for LOST, DAMAGED, or STOLEN PROPERTY

–Mgmt.

Would it be the height of irony to steal a 'not responsible for theft' notice?

'The notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes!'

'Nevermore!'

'Poe wrote on both...'

'Lub-dub. Lub dub,'

'Bills and tales are among their characteristics!'

'Tap tap!'

'Because one has flapping fits and the other fitting flaps!'

'The tree thr+?3h the,'

'Because one is good for writing books and the other better for biting rooks!'

'LUB-DUB! LUB-DUB!'

'Because a writing desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens!'

'Check that new brickwork in the cellar!'

'Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat!'

'And it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!' noted Alice.

'Sure, that too.'

'Meeeoww!'

'Because there is a B in Both!'

'UNMASK!!!'

'Oh my feathers, it's the Queen of Hearts. EVERYBODY RUN!'

the Raven.

Wait... Let's take the bedroom key. The Governess left it sticking out from the keyhole. Okay, I've got it.

Okay, we were carefully creeping down, although this wheeled looking glass wasn't doing us any favors thumpity-bumping on the stairway carpeting... I know by heart where the creaky risers were as we strategically navigated the curve of the foyer staircase–risers four, sixteen, seventeen, and twenty-three were the loudest ones to be carefully negotiated with feet near the wall...

And we made it to the Foyer! Now just a matter of preventing shoe footslaps on the checquerboard tile...

We crept to the Drawing Room.

"Alice! Is that you out of your room!" The Governess is stomping out to the hallway... Quick! Back in the bedroom so she won't suspect us!

I close the door as quietly as possible trying not to give any impression we've escaped.

Through the door: "Alice, have you somehow managed to leave your room? I am sure I heard you in the hallway!"

Alice said.

Exactly my confusion! One gives force to the other when the chain breaks-

With a loud SNAP, the pocketwatch was free of its gravitational orbit, flying at lightning speed straight at the fireplace-

Wait, who's that? I'm not doing that-

-and with the sound of a tin box of currants hurled against a factory wall, the watch was no more-

-Alice, why didn't you tell me there was another Alice behind me sabotaging our plan!?

-a million intricate pieces exploding in slow motion, jangling and ricocheting into the ashes, bouncing merrily on the hearthstones with the sickening clatter of junk metal-

I wasn't paying attention!

Uhhh-

I didn't want to interrupt!

I thought this was just a very detailed flashback!

There are two of you?

"Oh, now you decide to be quiet. Don't let me catch you in the hall a second time! I'll be back in an hour to give you your History lesson."

No. Not that!

"I don't have the key, Governess!"

We're lying to the Governess?

I'm not doing all that keyhole business again, seriously!

"I don't have the key, Governess!"

"Well, then it appears you are locked in forever, for I can't open the door. We'll see what you have to say about it in an hour when I have to flatten your lunch and force it under there bit by bit. I hear it's tomato soup! Don't make me figure out how to explain your behaviour to your Mother, Alice!"

"Oh, and once again, stop leaving furniture in the hallway! This old mirror is in the way of everyone it seems!"

Heavy footsteps clomp away down the hall and disappear.

What now?

"I would be more than happy to facilitate your unimpeded process into the upstairs hallway!" turns the Doorknob. "In fact, it's my whole provision and reason for being! Unfortunately, the decision does not rest solely with me..."

"I says no," fusses the keyhole.

"Sorry! The door is locked, and without the key, it's more likely for a camel to pass a through this keyhole than it is for you to pass through the door. I'm sad about it."

"Can she?" inquires the Doorknob.

"Nope," squinches the Keyhole. "I needs the key."

Can't you please make an exception this once?

Where is the key?

Fine.

Fair enough.

"The door is open as requested! It has been an honor to assist you in your journey!" beams the Doorknob.

"I helped too, didn't I, Douglas?"

"You did. Yes, you did, Lorraine. You helped."

Out we go.

Okay, I'm spinning to the side out from under the piano so it doesn't crash down on our heads as it passes.

Whew! Just in the nick of time! Good reflexes!

Our entire grand piano, with bench. Someone must have rolled it over the edge of the staircase from above, and its great weight is hurtling it down at top speed!

Get out of the way!

Play the piano.

Take the piano.

I'm not certain that I'm able to use proper form since neither the piano or I are on level ground, and orientations are subject to change.

But I do assure you, I can tinkle out "Greensleeves" with the best of them!

It's an ivory-framed looking-glass, shaped like a narrow oval which is nearly as tall as I am.

I usually keep the looking glass behind the armoire mostly to prevent things from coming through unexpectedly at night while I am sleeping.

Pull the looking glass out from behind the armoire

It's here and I'm wheeling it along with us wherever possible, but I'm not technically carrying it. I hope you understand.

I do.

Gaze into the looking glass.

Leave the looking glass here.

The glass is so clean, it almost looks as if nothing is there and I could step through it.

Reflected in the glass, I see myself in .

Take the looking glass.

(Of course, we won't be dragging this looking glass up on the mantel with us. It should be safe here.)

(Of course, we won't be dragging this looking glass up on the mantel with us. It should be safe here.)

Okay, up on the chair seat, balance on the arm and lean carefully...

Oh. There's a note pasted on the side of the mantel. The top has DEAR ALICE written in large letters. I wonder if it concerns us?

What does it say?

Ignore it.

Climb the mantel

Get back down

The notice is easily peeled off the shelf. Are we certain we want to do this?

Certain.

Okay. I guess we need some from both sides of this larger one the Caterpillar was sitting on. There's no actual visible difference, so I'll just stretch my arms around each side–there. We've got two pieces of magic mushroom! I've got them separated in my apron pockets.

All right–so. We're very tiny among the giant mushrooms in this closet. The floor stretches out in all directions, but unless we want to walk for hours, there seems no other way out of here.

GROW

SOUTH

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTH

SHRINK

I wasn't quite clear on your intention. We'll leave it for now.

...

I agree. Too much irony for this situation. I've pasted it back, but now it's just a bit crooked. Good enough.

It's for the best.

Okay. Claimed. The back is sticky though and–oops, I've lost hold of it in a stray breeze...

Um. It's drifted down and slipped right through a crack where the floor and the wall meet. It's gone. And there is nobody else responsible for it! No wonder they had that sign up!

How ironic.

A Corridor of Doors

Further up the hallway we trudge...

We seem to beare still in a low hallway that stretches as far as I can see to the nor–I mean south. Every fifty feet or so there is a flickering brass lamp swinging above that dimly illuminates a door. Between each door is nothing but utter darkness.

I assume it's a long hallway; the dimness reminds me of how they lower the light at magic-shows so they can trick the audience with mirrors in the darkness.

Ugh. Why must every long walk lead uphill somehow? While the hallway looks flat, it gradually slopes up, making progress quite difficult.

Due to the slope of the floor, this looking glass will probably roll all the way back to the drawing room if I let go of it.

There is a door on that wall, whichever way it actually is.

GROW

SOUTH

SOUTH

SOUTHEAST – SOUTHWEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTHEAST – NORTHWEST

NORTH

SHRINK

I don't think we'll make it any further down this corridor against the current rushing down! We'd better try to open this door here to make an escape!

Open it, hurry!

Swim back to the drawing room along with the current!

-glug–

Quick, before we're washed away!

-blub–

We'll be electrocuted if the water rises to those lamps!

Oof, there's not a lot of room in here. I need to lay down on my side so I don't bash my head...

Okay, that's about as big as I can be in here without squeezing myself too violently. Luckily the mushroom effect has stopped.

I don't really see any particular advantage to being large here. Unless you'd like me to cry and flood the corridor with gallons of tears (which I would rather avoid, if you please!)

Okay, shrink back down to normal.

Can you grow up that well you described?

I suppose we can give it a try. Let me get my head positioned near the opening (urf!) and work the hand with the mushroom closer to my mouth (urf! urnf!)–okay. Nibbling...

Well, I am indeed rising up the well (which is interestingly lined with shelves and knick-knacks!) but perhaps not in the way we expected, as my shoulders at this size won't fit through the opening, and just my head is extending up as my neck elongates continuously (and disturbingly) aaaaaaallll... the way up until just my head can peep above the well!

(This must be what it feels like to be a submarine periscope, or a serpent, surely. I can rotate around a bit with my head just above the entrance to the well. I'm at the top of a hill, and it appears the fields in every direction are neatly divided into squares which are different shades of green (grass?) and amber (wheat?)–the effect is like a giant chess-board, only gently rolling and falling with the lay of the land.

That's as far as I can go as the mushroom has worn off. Oh dear! I don't see how I can reach my mouth with the other mushroom bit! I'll have to see if I can retract my entire neck back down the well (you can cover your eyes if you like, it might not be a pretty sight!)

I see nothing to be gained in this configuration so I hope it's okay with you if I retract back down and shrink myself again before my neck gets too tangled.

Mm... No. I've checked it thoroughly and there is no label reading 'poison'.

Surely anyone who might think to leave a random bottle of mysterious liquid lying around in a disused underground tunnel would also be conscientious enough to apply a warning label to any toxic substance!

There, I've caught it just as it was nearing the edge of the table!

It is a beautiful bottle, but the most awkward I've seen: perfectly spherical with no flat base to steady it; a good deal larger than a croquet ball and only the corked neck impedes it from rolling freely in every direction. The unusual size and shape compels me to hold it with both hands or support it like a crystal ball from below. It won't fit in my pocket.

Perhaps one remaining draught of purplish-red liquid rolls round inside. A label is tied around the neck with string; only two words beautifully printed:

DRINK ME

Drink it down!

Is it marked poison?

Anything else on the table?

Okay, hold onto the bottle.

Okay, I've plucked it gently between my thumb and index finger.

I don't want to put it in my apron pocket for fear of misplacing it amongst the dust and loose fibers in there.

Okay, I'm nibbling on the small side of the mushroom and–

I'm shutting up like a telescope–oh, hello, feet!

The space around me enlarges until I'm in a vast open space, and the floor spreads out around me for miles and miles. I think I might be a total of three inches high as the shrinking–luckily–slows down and stops.

I'm so small, there's nothing anywhere in reachable proximity to me, and it appears I could walk for miles and miles in any direction and not get anywhere. Being small is useless at the current moment. The only choice I really have is to eat from the other side of the mushroom grow back to normal size.

What a beautiful little glass table! I'd love to haul this back up to my room, as it's lovely and appears to have just been discarded down here.

There's nothing on it.

Oh, no, wait. I almost missed it because it's so tiny–but there's a tiny golden key resting edge the edge of the table. It is about the size of a tiny watch gear and looks to be the correct size to fit some of the obscure doors in my dollhouse. A tiny puff of breath or a mis-judged leap by a cat might send it flying into oblivion, never to be found again!

Well, this certainly wasn't here before. There's a clear spherical bottle wobbling in lazy circles on the glass surface of the table.

Pick it up before it crashes to the floor!

There's nothing else on the table.

Okay.

This closet is barely larger than a phone box. I'm not sure there's any room to grow further in here. I'm sure it would be bad news if we tried!

Okay, I try the tiny handle, but the tiny door is locked up tight. Despite its tiny size, it's built very sturdily and I don't think I'd be strong enough to break through.

The tiny golden key fits the tiny lock! The tiny door opens with a tiny squeak and I'm holding it open, revealing a tiny passage beyond!

Behind the door, the passage appears dug through the ground and tightens like a gopher hole. While we could probably squeeze through the actual door by lying on the ground, we'll never make it all the way through the passage which is no bigger than my arm at the smallest point. And oh–

That's too bad, because as we lean down, it's apparent the tiny passage leads out of this bleak corridor into a sun-drenched garden of bright flowers and cool fountains and chirping birds! It really is too bad we're not the size of a mouse who could scamper through and escape this hallway!

If we're going to see some looking glass folk about possibly solving our problem, we need to figure out how shut up like a telescope and enter the tiny passage through the tiny door into the garden.

Step back

I don't at all understand what the brook is babbling about.

I'm not quite sure to what the hedge might be privy.

(Just ignore everything the flowers have to say–they are full of nothing but sass)

I can't identify any of the statues as all the inscriptions are backward and eroded, and none of them, strangely, seem to have a head attached.

If only it were warmer, and we weren't so occupied with correcting things, this would be a good place to take off our shoes and dip our feet in. We'll have to return in the summer.

All right. The tiny door makes an even tinier squeak as it swings shut when I let go of it.

It's far too slippery. That won't work.

All right–bottoms up! (Even though the bottle by design has no bottom...)

I uncork the bottle and swallow the last bit. The thick red liquid coats the inside of the glass like medicine. It's not bad though; the flavour is somewhat like . Very soon I have finished it off.

Odd, the bottle collapses into itself and winks out of existence.

Oh look! We're shrinking down to the size of the mushrooms!

Curiouser and curiouser!

Mmmm! Cake!

! My favorite!

All right. As expected, we are growing to normal size, but we're not making the same mistake that false-Alice kept making of eating too much. I don't want to wear this hallway and have to squeeze our way out like paste from a tube.

I appreciate the caution, believe me, but why would someone poison a cake? That's quite an awful thing to do. I don't know how to check, as there really isn't a place on a cake for a warning label–oh!

The currants on the top have rearranged themselves:

NOT POISON

JUST DELICIOUS CAKE

NEED YOU EVEN ASK?

I ASSURE YOU

HONESTLY

TRUST ME

JUST EAT ME ALREADY

FOR THE LAST TIME

WE ARE JUST CURRANTS

PLEASE STOP ASKING

Well, that's an example of a polite foodstuff if I've ever seen it.

We–(nrf!)–cannot.

I'm jumping and standing on tiptoes. The table is too high since we're small now.

I'm not going to cry about this believe me. My dress might soon stand upright on its own from soaking up all the tears shed to-day.

Under the Glass Table

Perhaps it fell under the table? I don't see it down here.

Oh. Look up. See through the glass? It's up there still on the table.

Can we reach it from down here?

Can you climb the table leg?

What's that on the ground near that leg?

That? Oh. It's a platter with a glass dome covering a beautiful cake!

There are currants arranged on top spelling out words, let me turn it round...

It says:

EAT ME

I am starving and could eat that entire cake myself, but I will divide it with you, because too much cake is sure to make one larger than they'd like to be.

Hooray! More cake for us!

Ugh. I should think we are both quite full of cake, but we'll need to eat more so we can have another go at opening the door.

I am thoroughly stuffed. Hopefully just a nibble of this will be sufficient to return us to the right size.

Do you think it's poisoned?

Okay, let's have some cake!

All right, we're eating more cake.

The End of the Corridor

Goodness, this is the longest hallway. Doesn't it feel like we've been walking forever? Surely it can't go on like this...

Oh, goodness, finally we've reached the end! It feels like we've been marching up that slope for months. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to lead to an exit, though. Let's have a little rest, then look around.

No sign of Imposter Alice. We must have managed to get ahead of her.

Okay, I'm refreshed now.

The hallway ends here in a somewhat round, violet-curtained alcove. No lamps hover nearby, but shafts of dusty golden light gleam down from above. If I crane my neck, it's plain we are at the bottom of a very deep well open to a small circle of sky a mile or so straight up.

The curtains draw back just slightly, revealing a tiny door that's just a bit taller than my knees.

Let's drink from the bottle now.

A small table, made all-over of glass, stands in the very center of the alcove.

GROW

SOUTH

SOUTHEAST – SOUTHWEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTHEAST – NORTHWEST

NORTH

SHRINK

Yes, it's the tiniest little door–well, perhaps not as tiny as the ones in my dollhouse in the attic. It reminds me of the doors on the low storage cupboard in the hall upstairs.

Open the door.

Unlock the door with the tiny golden key.

Shrink using the mushroom, then unlock the door.

Okay, step back from the door.

We have shrunk down to witness the forest of giant blue mushrooms, but I've already got enough of the magic mushroom to last us, and that caterpillar seems to have gone off for a nap or for some lunch.

(Lunch sounds really good right now as I am suddenly extremely hungry, are you hungry? I know I am! That mushroom doesn't seem to make a dent at all and is making me hungrier if that's even possible. They say caterpillars eat ten times their weight per day. If you'd like to pause here for a moment to fetch a snack, I won't object a bit. Bring me back something as well, would you? I'll wait!)

Oh look, the mushrooms are growing rapidly! The room is enlarging and the shelves are passing us upward into the sky and...no wait. It's us! We're shrinking down to the size of a mouse!

A giant grove of blue mushrooms now lies ahead, and atop it sits a rather fearsomely imposing caterpillar!

GROW

SOUTH

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTH

SHRINK

I've got fist-sized bits broken off from opposite sides of the mushroom separated in my apron pockets. The caterpillar said one side would make me larger and the other will make me smaller. The only trouble is I am not quite sure which is which.

This might call for a bit of experimentation.

Try the one in your left pocket.

Try the one in your right pocket.

We'll figure this out later.

Through experimentation, we've determined that the mushroom in this pocket makes me larger, and the mushroom in this pocket makes me smaller. Now I can specify which way with a sense of determination.

The Caterpillar thought for some minutes.

"How high do you want to be?" it finally asked.

"Oh, I'm not particular as to size," Alice hastily replied; "only one doesn't like changing so often, you know."

"I don't know," said the Caterpillar.

Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.

"Are you content now?" said the Caterpillar.

"Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn't mind," said Alice: "three inches is such a wretched height to be."

"It is a very good height indeed!" said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).

"But I'm not used to it!" pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought of herself, "I wish the creatures wouldn't be so easily offended!"

"You'll get used to it in time," said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.

This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away into the shadows, merely remarking as it went, "One side makes you larger, the other makes you small."

"One side of what? The other of what?" thought Alice to herself.

"Of the mushroom," said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.

Did we even pick it up?

I remember we tried it earlier. I thought we opened the door and I'm sure I left it in the keyhole–did the door just swallow the thing?

Okay, my bad this time. I was holding it but set it back down when I picked up that awkward bottle. Perhaps it's still on the table?

Ugh. I tried to hold onto it, really. That key is so tiny that I might have inhaled it without realizing, who knows?

Yes, we've forgotten the key again. I'm sorry–I know! I need both hands to drink from that bottle, and neither that nor the key can go in my apron due to the logistical mass of each. If only we could shrink down with some sort of a more easily one-handled comestible!

Yes, we've done this again. No key. I have no excuse.

They're the most unusual birch trees I've ever seen–the ones I'm used to have white bark, but where the occasional strip peels away, the under-pattern is checquered in black and white squares!

Further down the hall, a voice echoes: "My what a great many doors there seem to be in this hall! But they all seem to be locked tight! I wonder what I should do?"

That voice sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?

There are great drifts of dead leaves and white sand piled here. Look–is that a seashell? We haven't time to look for shells, but we ought to remember to come back when we can.

"Oh look, here's a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; and upon it is a tiny golden key! Perhaps it might belong to one of the doors of this hall; but, alas! either the locks are all too large, or the key is too small, but at any rate, it would not open any of them. However, look at this low curtain I did not notice before, and behind it a little door about fifteen inches high. The little golden key fits!" says the voice down the hall.

Goodness that girl is chatty, narrating herself like she's a character in a book. I should never go round doing that because I have you to converse with!

"It leads into a small passage," the hollow voice continues, "not much larger than a rabbit-hole. It leads into the loveliest garden I ever did see! How I long to get out of this dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but I cannot even get my head through the doorway–"

Oh, must we hear all of her adventure? We've got our own to–

"–and even if my head would go through, it would be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could if I only know how to begin."

I insist, that girl is nothing like me.

"Perhaps I might find a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes, but no! This time she found a little bottle on the dear glass table–"

Oh, as if she just missed that before!

"–and round the neck of the bottle is a paper label that reads 'DRINK ME' beautifully printed on it in large letters."

You know, it is all very well for a random bottle to say Drink me, but I know I'd not do that in a hurry. You look first, and see whether–

"However, this bottle does not seem to be marked 'poison,' so–hm!" echoes the voice down the corridor to us.

Still, she shouldn't be drinking random liquids she just found–

"It has a sort of pleasant mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast!"

That does not sound at all pleasant. I am seriously doubting this fraudulent little girl's judgment... We need to hurry to that end and stop her before she does something with grave consequences.

"What a curious feeling!" echoes the voice. "I must be shutting up like a telescope. And so it is indeed: I am now only ten inches high, and now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden."

(There is some clacking and thunking of a door latch here if you don't understand what that sound is...)

"Alas! Alice, you've forgotten the little golden key, and I can see it through the glass surface of the table above me, but I cannot reach it! Oh boo-hoo! Boo-hoo!"

She needs to stop calling herself Alice, because we are Alice, and she seems not to have a brain in her head at all!

"Come, there's no use in crying like that!" echoes Alice's voice sharply. "I advise you to leave off this minute!"

There you go, at least pretend you're talking to someone else as two people! That way, people tend to stare way less at you in public–

"But it's no use now, to pretend to be two people! Why there's hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person! Oh, boo-hoo!–But look! Here's a little glass box that was lying under the table: It seems to be a very small cake, on which the words 'EAT ME' are beautifully marked in currants. Well, I'll eat it, and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!"

Eating should never be a solution for your problems, "Alice!" Show some determination, Miss!

"Which way? Which way? Curiouser and curiouser! Now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet! Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I'm sure I shan't be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can; –but I must be kind to them, or perhaps they won't walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I'll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas."

She's talking to her giant feet now? Honestly!

"Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking! Oof! Ow! Now I'm so tall I'll never get through the door! Oh boo-hoo! BOO-HOO!"

I–don't know if this is a problem, but you do notice there's a stream of water splashing over our shoes and running down the corridor, don't you? Oh, look! A White Rabbit, and he's carrying a pair of gloves and a fan! I did not know they made gloves in that size, much less for rabbits!

"Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess! Oh! won't she be savage if I've kept her waiting!" he squeaks and scurries away towards the far end of the corridor, splashing in the water.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself, a great girl like you–" (she might well say this if she's giant) "–to go on crying in this way! Stop this moment, I tell you! Oh BOO-HOO-BOO-HOO-HOO-HOO!"

(Not to worry you, but this water has risen past our knees nearly to our waist, and we will be swimming against the current flowing back to the Drawing Room any second now... Salt water. Is this imposter Alice crying that much that she's flooding the entire hallway? Good gracious!)

STOP CRYING, fake Alice! You're going to drown everything with your weeping!

"Oh, look! A White Rabbit, and he's carrying a pair of gloves and a fan! If you please, sir–"

"Aaaaaaagggghhh! Leave me alone, you giant little girl!" is the shrilly-screamed reply.

"Oh, Mister Rabbit, come back! You've dropped your gloves and–he's gone, and now I am all alone again!"

She's weeping even more copiously from the sounds of it–

"OH BOOHOOBOOHOOBOOHOOOO!"

Salt water up to our neck! This is bad, like swimming against rip-currents in the sea! I'm afraid since we aren't nine feet high we will soon run out of air if she manages to submerge the entire corridor! Perhaps we need to think about opening a few of these doors to divert the water flow...

This must all be a bad dream!

Broom Closet off the Corridor

It's a another very dusty broom closet. (Goodness, there seem to be a lot of broom closets down here. This corridor must get very dirty and dusty being so far underground, it seems!

There's so much dust, it's hanging in the air almost like smoke–caugh-caugh!

All the shelves around are devoid of cleaning-supplies and any other contents altogether, other than drifts of white dust that smells briny like the ocean and a few cob-webs. There's not even a broom to be found, so perhaps I'm mistaken and this could be some sort of storage pantry. But why would they need so much storage down here? If it's meant as an emergency underground shelter, it's depressingly understocked.

There's even a small grove of mushrooms growing in one corner under the bottom shelves. The custodial staff seems to be severely lacking if even their own broom closet is this untidy!

Oh, there's a notice tacked on one shelf.

GROW

SOUTH

SOUTHEAST – SOUTHWEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTHEAST – NORTHWEST

NORTH

SHRINK

We have a pleasant stroll through the wood and admire the scenery for quite a while. When we stop, however, we're exactly in the same spot we left and nothing seems to have changed!

There is a newly-constructed (I can smell the fresh wood!)weatheredcrooked and time-bleachedbroken down old sign poked in the ground here:

TULGE W OD

TULGEY W OD

TULGEY WOOD

The sign sports numerous tacked-on arrows pointing in all directions from here. Several of them are uselessly crooked or hanging loose from their nails. Many have fallen to the ground below the sign, providing no directional help at all.

As a Queen, we are able to move wherever we want most efficiently without all this directional mucking-about:

Oh, don't worry too much. In the extremely unlikely case we would need to play an actual game of chess to complete our adventure, I'll take over and do all the heavy mental work. I won't let us do anything wrong (unless, of course, it's necessary to cheat.)

If you're worried, though, the rules aren't hard. I'm sure you'll learn them as you go. Most always, we use special house rules to make the games end faster when we need to.

Of course I know the rules.

The horsey moves in an L, right?

All right–bottoms up! (Even though the bottle by design has no bottom...)

I uncork the bottle and swallow the last bit. The thick red liquid coats the inside of the glass like medicine. It's not bad though; the flavour is somewhat like . Very soon I have finished it off.

Odd. The bottle collapses in on itself and winks out of existence.

Oh look! We're shrinking down to the size of the door!

How clever you are!

Thanks!

You've still got the golden key, right?

Please pick up the key before you–

GRAB THE KEY ON THE WAY DOWN!

This still isn't going to work...

What beautiful blue mushrooms! They look gorgeous enough to eat, but we know better than to eat anything–especially potentially deadly poisonous mushrooms–that we haven't identified yet.

Oh! There's a dear little green and black caterpillar curled up all snugly on top of one of the mushroom caps! He looks very contented. I might think to take him with us, but so many insects and creatures in the past havn't survived the trip home in my apron pockets. The moral of that is: Live and let live!

I wish we were somehow small enough to visit the caterpillar! Perhaps he might have advice for us. We've already got enough mushroom, we needn't deforest the Caterpillar's home.

DRINK ME...

I pull one down at random. It appears to be written in some other language:

YKCOWREBBAJ

sevot yhtils eht dna,gillirb sawT’

ebaw eht ni elbmig dna eryg diD

,sevogorob eht erew ysmim llA

.ebargtuo shtar emom eht dnA

I can't make it out.

Hold it up to the looking glass.

Why, of course! It's a looking glass book!

JABBERWOCKY

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!’

He took his vorpal sword in hand:

Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree,

And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.

‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’

He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

It seems very pretty, but it’s rather hard to understand! Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas–only I don’t exactly know what they are! However, somebody has killed something: that’s clear, at any rate.

While shrinking down might help me hide from everyone when they come looking for me, I don't relish the thought of encountering one of the kittens. Seeing as how they carry the chess pieces about, I'd hate to give them a chance to take their revenges on me when only standing four inches high!

The only door out of here leads to the upstairs hallway. The Governess locked my door with the key from the outside, effectively imprisoning us here after my destructive escapade.

I should have paid more attention when my sister was reading that book about the Locksmith of Luxembourg, but who could have possibly predicted your current situation? Besides, it had no pictures or conversations. What use is a book without pictures or conversations?

I can twist the handle all I want. It's not going to open.

Drat.

Look through the keyhole?

Okay.

The door is unlocked!

Okay, let's go.

But wait. Right now we're in the past. It's several hours ago, before the incident, so our Governess has not locked me in my room yet! She's not yet had a reason to lock the door! Brilliant!

It should be open. Unless my logic is somehow flawed?

Flawless.

"It has been a respectable honor to be your choice for all of your Second Floor Hallway access needs, Your Majesty!" warbles the Doorknob as we leave my backwards room in the opposite direction than what is normal.

Out we go.

"Oh good gracious, OW!" hollers the Doorknob.

"Oh dear, you can talk!"

"Of course I can talk! Allow me to introduce myself: I am The Second Floor Doorknob, of the Upstairs Doorknobs (surely you know of us!)" The Doorknob inhales sharply through whatever nostrils a doorknob secretly incorporates... "I'm quite pleased to make your acquaintance!" the Doorknob says, puffing up. "I am in charge of access and egress for the entire zone relating to the second-smallest non-guest bedroom in the manor house proper."

"I can talk too," grumps the Keyhole.

Wait, my bedroom is the second smallest?

"Oh, she's back," observes the Keyhole.

"Welcome, Alice, to the interior side of the Second Floor doorway of the second-smallest room in the hallway. How may I serve your desires with regard to my abilities to open and close for you?" booms the Doorknob.

All right, Keyhole, we're in the past now. The Governess has not yet had the opportunity to lock the door, so therefore you must be open.

Out we logically go.

By Order of the Queen, I shall henceforth declare this door open and unlocked. And now I shall take the first journey through.

Graceful wave.

May we go through the door, please?

Do you have a nickname of some sort?

Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

Okay, we are done interacting with this door.

Let's not go through the door just yet.

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? "I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?" she said aloud. "I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think-" (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the school-room, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over)

Oh good heavens! Our entire great grand piano from the music room tumbles down at us rapidly from above! I wondered where all that music was coming from!

I'm trying to float aside it whizzes past so it won't take us down with it in its wake!

"-but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand? Or Australia?" (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke- fancy, curtseying as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) "And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere."

Oh, watch out, here comes one of the easy chairs from the parlor gaining on us from above–oh, and aren't you enjoying a comfortable sit as you fall down the stairs with your legs primly crossed, Other Alice? You are a bad girl for getting us in troub–is that one of the cats in your lap? Noooooo!

Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. "Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I should think!" (Dinah was the cat.) "I hope they'll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time.

Oh yes, Other Alice, that's a dainty wave as you drop past us and the easy chair plummets away below. Yes–good-by yourself. I can wave gracefully too. She's awfully big for her bloomers, trying to get to where we're going ahead of us, don't you think?

I've read most of the books here worth reading already. I can summarize them for you:

"Blah blah blah, legal precedent..."

"Blah blah blah, writs of property..."

"Blah blah blah, all in Latin..."

I wonder if any books on the looking glass shelves are more interesting...

We are of the same mind, so you know I am in no way above giving myself an undeserved advantage, but the trick is subtlety, as missing or additional pieces will be noticed, and my sister has an eagle-eye about all but minimal rearrangement.

My specialty is the switcheroo: changing one piece for the same of another color often goes undetected.

Good to know.

Can we switcheroo that red rook?

Wait for a second.

What need have we of gallivanting around the looking glass world when we have the key to my bedroom door, and we are capable of potentially getting downstairs to the drawing room since we are in past-tense (excuse me, we were in past-tense!) and we might have had the chance to prevent my crime from being committed if we had hurried downstairs?

Sounds like a plan.

I don't know.

I'm along for the ride.

Okay. This never seems like it's going to work but... My fingers are passing through the mirrored glass, causing ripples on the surface like a vertical pool of reflective liquid, followed by the rest of m...

I am melting through the surface of the looking glass...

I am having the curious sensation of being turned inside-out.

'I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,' said Alice a little timidly: 'but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.'

'Explain all that,' said the Mock Turtle.

'No, no! The adventures first,' said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: 'explanations take such a dreadful time.'

–Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Oh dear, he'll need quite a scrubbing to get all the ash off.

The kittens must have set up a merry chase to send him fleeing into the fireplace!

Oh, stop screaming, little thing. I'm not going to hurt you. We'll keep him safe in my apron pocket away from the kittens. That will also muffle the shouting a bit.

Give him air.

Don't crush him.

Chess pieces don't scream, Alice.

That way leads past some doors through a short downstairs corridor. We could probably sneak through there and get outside into the garden. Do we want to do that?

Yes.

"Now run!"

We're running, and I don't know how, but–goodness, nothing is–

"Faster! Don’t try to talk!"

I'm out of breath–"Are we nearly there?"

"Nearly there!" the Queen repeated. "Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster!"

"Now! Now!" cried the Queen. "Faster! Faster!" And suddenly, just as we were getting quite exhausted, we stopped.

The Red Queen looks befuddled, "This is the sixth or seventh time we've talked, which is why I didn't ask who you were, I was more interested in where you came from and where are you going."

I seem to have lost my way.

Actually, that's quite a good idea! It gives one time to gather the thoughts–

"It’s time for you to answer now," the Queen said, looking at her watch: "open your mouth a little wider when you speak, and always say 'your Majesty.'"

I only wanted to see what the garden was like.

For some minutes we stand with the Red Queen, looking down from the hill.

"It’s a great huge game of chess that’s being played–all over the world–if this is the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is! How I wish I was one of them! I wouldn’t mind being a Pawn, if only I might join–though of course I should like to be a Queen, best."

The Queen is smiling pleasantly: "That’s easily managed. You can be the White Queen’s Pawn, if you like; and you’re in the Second Square to begin with: when you get to the Eighth Square you’ll be a Queen–you might want to take my hand now," she said, holding it out.

Why?

"I will not be spoken to in that fashion!" humphs the Red Queen.

We need to be careful how we address her. She seems to insist on propriety.

Right!

"That’s right," says the Queen, patting us on the head, "though, when you say 'garden,'–I’ve seen gardens, compared with which this would be a wilderness."

"–and I thought I’d try and find my way to the top of that hill–"

"When you say 'hill,'" the Queen interrupted, "I could show you hills, in comparison with which you’d call that a valley."

"No, I shouldn’t," said Alice, surprised into contradicting her at last: "a hill can’t be a valley, you know. That would be nonsense–"

The Red Queen shook her head, "You may call it 'nonsense' if you like," she said, "but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!"

Curtsey.

"Hmph!" says the Red Queen.

We must have offended her somehow. Perhaps we should be more polite?

Maybe.

"I don’t know what you mean by your way," said the Queen: "all the ways about here belong to me–but why did you come out here at all?" she added in a kinder tone. "Curtsey while you’re thinking what to say, it saves time."

Curtsey.

"I know what you’d like!" the Queen said good-naturedly, taking a little box out of her pocket. "Have a biscuit?"

-breathe–

-pant–

-heave–

"While you’re refreshing yourself," said the Queen, "I’ll just take the measurements."

And she took a ribbon out of her pocket, marked in inches, and began measuring the ground, and sticking little pegs in here and there.

"At the end of two yards," she said, putting in a peg to mark the distance, "I shall give you your directions—have another biscuit?"

No thank you.

One's quite enough.

At the end of three yards I shall repeat them–for fear of your forgetting them. At the end of four, I shall say good-bye. And at the end of five, I shall go!"

At the two-yard peg she faced round, and said, "A pawn goes two squares in its first move, you know. So you’ll go very quickly through the Third Square–by railway, I should think–and you’ll find yourself in the Fourth Square in no time–But you make no remark?"

I didn't know what to say...

Curtsey.

"You should have said, 'It’s extremely kind of you to tell me all this'–however, we’ll suppose it said–when you reach the Eighth Square we shall be Queens together, and it’s all feasting and fun!"

Curtsey.

I concur, this is taking a bit of a while.

Okay, I'm pulling my arms in close, shutting up like a telescope to cut our wind resistance...

But all this 'slow down now', 'now speed up, Alice'–there's only so much I can do here to fight against gravity and the wind and manage to fall at the perfect velocity–

Okay! It seems we're going a bit faster now!

The Queen props us up against a tree, and says kindly, "You may rest a little now."

"But–everything's the same!"

"Of course it is," says the Queen, "what would you have it?"

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you’d generally get to somewhere else–if you ran very fast for a long time"

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

-breathe–

-pant–

-heave–

At the next peg the Queen turned again, and this time she said, "Speak in French when you can’t think of the English for a thing–turn out your toes as you walk–and remember who you are!" She did not wait for Alice to curtsey this time, but walked on quickly to the next peg, where she turned for a moment to say ‘good-bye,’ and then hurried on to the last.

"Oh, though technically we're on opposite sides, but I'll do you the professional courtesy of warning you about that red rook lying in wait–oh." She shields her eyes, gazing into the distance, "Odd, I thought that was the red rook! Never you mind about it." if you move to E3. Better to move two spaces first!"

How it happened, Alice never knew, but exactly as she came to the last peg, she was gone.

Yes! Mine!

I promise you I shall take very very very very very good care of it. Don't you worry.

Okay...

Can I wear the crown?

"Hmph!" says the Red Queen. "Such impertinence!"

Perhaps we didn't show her enough respect?

Possibly?

"Well, I didn't ask who you were," she says, "but now that you mention it, which one?"

Which one what?

The only one!

Ignore all the imposters!

Why, I didn't even realize it was possible to move in diagonal directions! I suppose when one is a Queen, then we are allowed to move in any direction we please, as much as we please, and everyone else had better watch out! We're a Queen, of course, because we're wearing this crown, and we shall do as we please, speaking in the Royal 'we' because we are a Queen!

Goodness...Queens wield cosmic powers of travel on a chessboard unknowable by any other piece...and in the "real" three dimensional world the privileged entities get to move in directions incomprehensible by mere mortals–We zip along the diagonal timespace as we please, free from the restricting arrow of Time as the scenery rolls by along a convex curve; not traveling somewhere else, but traveling somewhen else.

What unusual circumstances these were!

I think I've reached the edge of the available space-time chessboard and can't go any further diagonally... I'd rather not break through the earth amongst the prehistoric Australian dinosaurs. Or would it be New Zealand?

What unusual circumstances these–remain!

What unusual circumstances these are.

Why, I didn't even realize it was possible to move in diagonal directions! I suppose when one is a Queen, then we are allowed to move in any direction we please, as much as we please, and everyone else had better watch out! We're a Queen, of course, because we're wearing this crown, and we shall do as we please, speaking in the Royal 'we' because we are a Queen!

Goodness...Queens wield cosmic powers of travel on a chessboard unknowable by any other piece...and in the "real" three dimensional world the privileged entities get to move in directions incomprehensible by mere mortals–We zip along the diagonal timespace as we please, free from the restricting arrow of Time as the scenery rolls by along a convex curve; not traveling somewhere else, but traveling somewhen else.

What unusual circumstances these will be!

What unusual circumstances these are!

I think I've reached the edge of the available space-time chessboard and can't go any further diagonally... I'd rather not break through the earth amongst the future Australians. Or would it be New Zealand?

What unusual circumstances these–remain.

Huzzah! shout all the other chess pieces in solidarity, before quickly resuming their spirited argument regarding .

"Excuse me, Guard!"

"Oh yes?"

"Any chance you might let us out of here? We've got other important business to attend to, you know."

The Two and the Five consult in hushed tones. "Ye're a pawn, are ye?"

"Yes."

"I don't see why not!" says Five.

"Yeah," snickers Two. "It's not like anyone's going to promote a pawn to another pawn!"

(There are guffaws and derisive laughter from all assembled which we politely ignore.)

"I'll fetch the carriage, then!"

It isn't long till we are loaded into a royal horse-drawn carriage and transported back to the starting edge of the chessboard.

The water has risen to the ceiling! Good-bye, Alice, good-bye–

And surely, it was only a bad dream. We seem to have dozed off on this very uncomfortable bed in my bedroom backward...

If only we could somehow make it out of the house (perhaps by getting to the end of the long looking glass hall and into that garden that Fake Alice mentioned!) we might be able to make progress toward undoing all this mischief so we don't get in trouble when Father gets home.

It was then that the clear, salty water reached the ceiling and we were both submerged.

The looking glass slipped out of our grasp and was taken away in the current rushing down the hallway...

We kicked and swum down to the door, and after two tries twisting the slippery handle, it burst open, sweeping us (and a rather large collection of brooms of different shapes and sizes) through it.

Luckily, the area we were washed into was above ground and dry enough.

The salty water poured out until we slammed the door, and then pooled up to our ankles for a few moments as it rushed away down the corridor in all directions, finally running out and leaving us on dry ground.

Why, it seems to be another corridor with a lot more doors. But this one is familiar. It seems like we may have been here before...

If only we could somehow make it out of the house (perhaps by getting to the end of the long looking glass hall and into that garden that Fake Alice mentioned!) we might be able to make progress toward undoing all this mischief so we don't get in trouble when Father gets home.

There wasiswill be an hourglass here.

The white looking glass from my room wasiswill be here.

We werearewill be trundling the white looking glass along with us.

A black looking glass wasiswill be here in the exact location the white looking glass wasiswill be in the room I left a while agoI just leftwill have just left. Well...not quite the exact location because everything is reversed, so not the exact location. And this is not the exact location. It is, and it isn't, really. It's mirrored so... Bother! Stop obsessing, Alice, we know what we mean.

Oh, well, there goes the looking glass, rolling along its own merry way back down toward the drawing room...

We werearewill be trundling the black looking glass along with us.

A key is lying on the floor.

There wasiswill be a tiny golden crown here.

A strange pocketwatch is discarded here.

No sooner have we found the edge of the square and leaped over the merrily babbling brook into the next one, then we are set upon by a loudly-stomping tower of red stones and bricks who catches our arm before we know it.

Check! yells the Red Rook, blowing a tiny police whistle in his jagged maw, the sound of which echoes across the countryside, summoning all the Red King's horses and all the Red King's men, who surround us on all sides.

"She's been captured! Take her away!"

With great pomp and circumstance and flugeling of flugelhorns, we are hauled into a net which is lifted on two long poles and transported between two horses (It's confining, but rather comfortable and expedient travel) completely off the chess field directly into a nondescript building topped by fluttering red flags where we are thrown into gaol.

No sooner have we nibbled the mushrom, then we find ourselves the size of a tea-biscuit and splashing around in the March Hare's cold teacup.

"I told you butter wouldn't suit the works!" the Hatter says, looking angrily at the March Hare.

"It was the best butter," the March Hare meekly replied.

"Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well," the Hatter grumbled: "you shouldn't have put it in with the bread-knife."

"Did you se where that strange little girl got off to? She was here, now suddenly gone!"

"I certaintly hope she wasn't taken by the giantess that also stalks these woods at this time of day!" the Hatter reasoned.

We quickly dive before the March Hare slurps us from his teacup and nibble the mushroom as we dodge the butter plate set back in its place–

We seem to have landed on a piece of toast. It's sticky with marmalade and–oh! We're approaching the Hatter's mouth! Roll and dive! And eat the other mush–

There's no point at shrinking down here as I'd rather not be accidentally inhaled with the scones, and I'll override your opinion if it differs from mine.

Okay

Have

with...

Mmmm...

"There isn't any," said the March Hare.

"Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it," said Alice angrily.

"It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited," said the March Hare.

"I didn't know it was your table," said Alice; "it's laid for a great many more than three."

Your hair wants cutting," said the Hatter.

You should learn not to make personal remarks.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

We nibble the mushrooom and immediately are treated to a bird's eye view of the enormously long tea-table.

Below there are tiny sounds of smasing crockery and panic: ("Help!" "It's a giant!" "She's upset the jam!") which is amusing for a few minutes, but soon we nibble the other mushroom and return to normal.

"Be aware of the giantess stamping about!" warns the Hatter. "We could have been killed if we hadn't hid under the table!"

We have some mushroom and grow large again, to a much subtler reaction.

"She's squeezing me out of my chair!" cries the Dormouse.

"Seriously, we don't have enough tea if you insist on being that large, Young Miss!"

Since we won't get any buttered toast at this scale, we nibble the other mushroom and return to normal.

There's no point at growing large here as it terrifies everyone and they have no teacups larger than normal.

Okay

"There wasn't a ticket-office where I came from." And again the chorus of voices went

"There wasn't room for one where she came from. The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!"

"Don't make excuses," said the Guard: "you should have bought one from the engine-driver." And once more the chorus of voices went on with

"The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!"

Where are all these other voices in my head coming from? It's like I can hear the thoughts of everyone on the train!

"Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!"

"Now then! Show your ticket, child!"

“Don't keep him waiting, child! Why, his time is worth a thousand pounds a minute!”

Who was that?

I'm afraid I haven't got one...

"All aboooooooard!"

Before we know it, we're in a train carriage ready to depart. Our fellow passengers are a man dressed in paper, a goat, and a beetle.

"Tickets, please!" says the rail guard, head through the window.

"So young a child ought to know which way she's going, even if she doesn't know her own name!"

"She ought to know her way to the ticket-office, even if she doesn't know her alphabet!"

"She'll have to go back from here as luggage!"

"She must go by post, as she's got a head on her–"

"She must be sent as a message by the telegraph–"

"She must draw the train herself the rest of the way–"

"Never mind what they all say, my dear, but take a return-ticket every time the train stops."

Indeed I shan't!

The peal of the train whistle overtakes everything, and the train leaps straight up into the air!

Goodness, is the train going to vault over the third square altogether?

Peering out the window, we have a magnificent vista of the square below. E3 is a rolling meadow cut in two by a long winding table that seems to be set for a great many guests for tea. Oh look! There's a rabbit and a man in a tall hat trying to tip a dormouse into a large teapot. That looks unpleasant!

Before too long, the train crashes down onto the track just past the next brook, and we're in the next square.

It has the name 'W. RABBIT' engraved upon it.

Oh. It's completely stuffed with carrots.

The cabinet holds the china, and a cache of emergency carrots.

Several vintage bottles of carrot wine.

With real carrots floating in them.

No gloves nor fans.

Nothing but dust bunnies.

(No offense to rabbits, of course.)

Surprisingly: no carrots here.

Linens, but no gloves or fan.

But if you'd like some carrots, there are some of those here too.

We're already the size of a chess-piece, and who knows what type of nasty spiders or beetles we might encounter at this scale.

Let's save the mushroom for a more opportune moment.

Turn on the radio.

Turn off the radio.

Opening the small mailbox reveals a leaflet.

You see nothing special about the leaflet.

I'm not quite sure why you'd want me to eat this mushroom. I said I was thirsty, not–okay. That was the right side of the mushroom, so I'm growing. Luckily I only nibbled a bit!

Okay, we wind our way quickly back down the garden path.

After a quick nibble, we are shrinking rapidly back down to normal size!

(I say "normal," but I'm sure you understand I mean "normal" with regard to the scale of this house, since we've already started about four inches high and the actual baseline description of "normal" with regard to size seems to be less and less relevant.)

I don't know how much trouble we're in, so we're bolting out the door through the assembled throng of animals and assimilating ourselves among them, pretending to be one of the bystanders just as curious about these strange events until they discover there's nobody else in the house and everything is back to "normal".

There he is at the window. Come here, you!

I didn't get hold of anything with my hand, but we hear a little shriek and a fall, and a crash of broken glass, from a cucumber-frame, or something of the sort.

Next came an angry voice–the Rabbit's.

"Pat! Pat! Where are you?"

"Sure then I'm here! Digging for apples, yer honour!"

"Digging for apples, indeed!" said the Rabbit angrily. "Here! Come and help me out of this!"

(Sounds of more broken glass.)

"Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the window?"

"Sure, it's an arrum, yer honour!"

"An arm, you goose! Who ever saw one that size? Why, it fills the whole window!"

"Sure, it does, yer honour: but it's an arrum for all that."

"Well, it's got no business there, at any rate: go and take it away!"

Oh, no you won't!

"Sure, I don't like it, yer honour, at all, at all!"

"Do as I tell you, you coward!"

GROW

SHRINK

In the salon, there is a lovely console radio.

Search the...cupboards, pantry, bookshelves,

china cabinet, linen cupboard, under the sofa, the winerack...

GROW

Leave the house.

SHRINK

I've got hold of Pat, or whomever it is–

This time there were two little shrieks, and more sounds of broken glass.

What a number of cucumber-frames there must be! I wonder what they'll do next! As for pulling me out of the window, I only wish they could! I'm sure I don't want to stay in here any longer!

GROW

SHRINK

Here comes Bill! I'm kicking up the chimney!

There's a shrill scream and then a general chorus of 'There goes Bill!' then the Rabbit's voice along–

"Catch him, you by the hedge!" then silence, and then another confusion of voices–

"Hold up his head–Brandy now–Don't choke him–How was it, old fellow? What happened to you? Tell us all about it!"

Then a feeble, squeaking voice: "Well, I hardly know — No more, thank ye; I'm better now — but I'm a deal too flustered to tell you — all I know is, something comes at me like a Jack-in-the-box, and up I goes like a sky-rocket!"

"So you did, old fellow!"

"We must burn the house down!" says the Rabbit's voice.

Oh, no you won't!

GROW

SHRINK

There is a rumbling of little cartwheels outside, and the sound of a good many voices all talking together:

Where's the other ladder?

Why, I hadn't to bring but one; Bill's got the other.

Bill! fetch it here, lad!

Here, put 'em up at this corner.

No, tie 'em together first — they don't reach half high enough yet.

Oh! they'll do well enough; don't be particular.

Here, Bill! catch hold of this rope.

Will the roof bear? — Mind that loose slate.

Oh, it's coming down! Heads below! (a loud crash)

Now, who did that? — It was Bill, I fancy.

Who's to go down the chimney?

Nay, I shan't! You do it!

That I won't, then! — Bill's to go down.

Here, Bill! the master says you're to go down the chimney!

Oh! So Bill's got to come down the chimney, has he? They seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn't be in Bill's place for a good deal: this fireplace is narrow, to be sure; but I think I can kick a little!

Okay, I am searching in the upstairs hall. Here's a storage cupboard. It's full of carrots.

All of these drawers are full of carrots as well. My, it's hot and dry and this house, and I could use a refreshment. Have you found a fan or gloves yet?

Under the bed–dustbunnies. That's rather funny. And the green remainder of a partially eaten carrot. Whoever this Mary Ann is the Rabbit keeps discussing; she's not earning her keep!

Oh. I shall never find what we need among all these carrots. But here is a clear bottle with a refreshing-looking beverage. I believe I shall quench my thirst.

Oh, he's so not happy to be along, wriggling in my apron pocket. Perhaps he'd like some air–oh well hello! What powerful lungs you have!

Rooks are the castle-y looking pieces, in case you have forgotten all your chess rules while we've been apart!

Also, other than Queens, they tend to have the loudest screaming voices when unhappy or fearful.

Shhhh. It's the red rook we switched the white one for. I don't want to leave it behind, lest anyone discover it and accuse us of rule-breaking.

Before the Tiny Garden Door

It seems we're the correct size for this tiny door now.

And we've managed to arrive with the tiny golden key that unlocks it!

Out we go to the beautiful tiny garden!

But the door is locked. I–don't have the key.

Where did it get to?

It would be rude to just eat that straight out of the dish!

The tea service looked delicious, but I couldn't yet decide what I wanted.

I help myself to a delicious biscuitwarm blueberry sconea slice of fresh breada crispy slice of toast with butter and a dollop of clotted cream with a smear of sweet orange marmalade and a spoon of homemade raspberry jam smeared with a modest layer of marmite with a little too much marmite.

"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more."

"You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."

"Nobody asked your opinion," said Alice.

"Who's making personal remarks now?' the Hatter asked triumphantly.

I'm helping myself to a hot cup of tea. Who knows whether it's before or past tea-time in actuality, but I'm finding myself rather famished.

Ah, one lump–Dormouse, can you pass the–thank you.

There's nothing like a hot cuppa. Despite the madness of the situation, it's actually very good tea.

Ah, yes. Normalcy. Very soon I've finished the cup, and fortunately am suffering no growing, shrinking, sideways, flying, turning orange, nor talking backwards effects that I am aware of.

Why, yes, I will have another cup. That's one advantage to never-ending tea-time: you can take as long as you like and there are always more biscuits!

"Two days wrong!" sighed the Hatter.

The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing to say.

What a funny watch!

Take some more tea.

Have something to eat.

"It tells the day of the month, and doesn't tell what o'clock it is!'

"Why should it?" muttered the Hatter. "Does your watch tell you what year it is?"

"Of course not," Alice replied very readily: "but that's because it stays the same year for such a long time together."

"Which is just the case with mine," said the Hatter.

"I don't believe I understand," replied Alice.

"Of course you don't!" the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. "I dare say you never even spoke to Time!"

Perhaps not...

Take some more tea.

Have something to eat.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

"–but I know I have to beat time when I learn music."

"Ah! that accounts for it," said the Hatter. "He won't stand beating. We quarrelled last March–just before he went mad, you know–" (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) "–it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!How I wonder what you're at!"

"You know the song, perhaps?"

"I've heard something like it," said Alice.

"It goes on, you know," the Hatter continued, "in this way:–

"Up above the world you fly,Like a tea-tray in the sky.Twinkle, twinkle–"

Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep "Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle–" and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.

"Well, I'd hardly finished the first verse," said the Hatter, "when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, 'He's murdering the time! Off with his head!'"

How dreadfully savage!

Take some more tea.

Have something to eat.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

"And ever since that," the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, "he won't do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now."

A bright idea came into Alice's head. "Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?" she asked.

"Yes, that's it," said the Hatter with a sigh: "it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles."

"Then you keep moving round, I suppose?" said Alice.

"Exactly so," said the Hatter: "as the things get used up."

But what happens when you come to the beginning again?

Take some more tea.

Have something to eat.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

"Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?" said the March Hare.

"Exactly so," said Alice.

"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.

"I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least–at least I mean what I say–that's the same thing, you know."

"Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!"

"You might just as well say," added the March Hare, "that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!"

"You might just as well say," added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, "that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!"

"IT IS THE SAME THING WITH YOU!," cried the Hatter, thonking the Dormouse in the head with his spoon.

There is a long silence.

"What day of the month is it?" the Hatter said finally, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear.

The fourth.

What a funny watch!

Take some more tea.

Have something to eat.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"

I believe I can guess that.

Take some more tea.

Have something to eat.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

"I want a clean cup," interrupted the March Hare: "let's all move one place on."

He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed him: the Hatter moved into the Dormouse's place, and Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the Hatter. The March Hare was the only one who got any advantage from the change: and Alice was a good deal worse off than before, as the March Hare had just upset the milk-jug into the Hatter's plate.

And that's about where you came in.

All the tiny gears and levers and pieces and bits of glass were gathered on a silver tray and placed right back where they had been like an offering to the church of naughty boys and girls where nobody ever gets to eat supper.

"Now you march right upstairs with me, young lady. You are to remain in your room and think about what you're going to tell your Father when he returns home to-night to find his irreplaceable watch in fifty shattered pieces!"

"Oh, and I know you've got the key, Miss. Let's pretend your door is locked fast for the rest of the day. I know you're good at pretending!"

"And STOP DRAGGING THAT OLD MIRROR AROUND WITH YOU!"

"And STOP LEAVING FURNITURE EVERYWHERE IT DOESN'T BELONG!"

The door slams.

My Bedroom

(a while ago)

(a while into the future)

ALICE was beginning to get very tired of sitting in her bedroom and of having nothing to do. Wait. Past-tense is wrong, this is now! I know I might sound crazy, voice with whom I converse in my head, but you've got to believe that I'm not, and I think with your help we can prove that and make sure we don't get in trouble later. I may need to go an entire week without supper unless we can fix this!

I wasamwill be in my bedroom. I mean, that's obvious. That's where I've been put and that's where I'm supposed to stay. It was always my refuge, but now it is our prison. The white door to the hallway leads out of here, and from my study of maps, that direction would be west.

I have my bedroom door key. I picked it up in and have it hidden in my pocket, so the Governess should not have had the opportunity to lock the door earlier this morning, if my hypotheses regarding time-travel hold true.

A writing desk perches on one wall. The only thing that wasthat will be on it wasiswill be an hourglass.

My bed takes up most of the room, one leg pinning down the rug that covers most of the wooden floor.

My armoire in the corner takes up most of the rest of the room. The rounded edge of my looking glass peeps out from behind the armoire.

That's about it. That's what we've got to work with. Let's figure this out.

GROW

NORTH

NORTHWEST – NORTHEAST

WEST – – – – – EAST

SOUTHWEST – SOUTHEAST

SOUTH

SHRINK

My Bedroom Backward

(a while ago)

(a while into the future)

My bedroom, only reversed round the other way. It shouldn't seem quite so ominous as it does, despite it being impossible, and very similar to my bedroom only with a very unpleasant lime-striped wallpaper pattern.

My bedroom door is now on that side of the room now when I face the mirror, (but not really because everything is reversed...) And that is... west? It gives the impression it's flown across the room at some unobserved opportunity to see things the other way round?

A raven is perched against one wall.

What might be my bed takes up most of the room.

An iron maiden in the corner looms, evidence of the unjust imprisonment this chamber represents.

GROW

SOUTH

SOUTHEAST – SOUTHWEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTHEAST – NORTHWEST

NORTH

SHRINK

A pale arm thrusts under the duvet and pats the floor a foot from the crown.

"Oh, fiddlesticks! Too far under the bed! And since I havn't yet learned how to grow longer arms, it appears my only escape from here is through the looking glass into the perils of the mirror world! Off I go then...again!"

Then all is silent for a few minutes.

Her voice is not at all similar to mine. That girl had a sort of whiny, nasal affect, and as you know, I speak quite properly. Plus I would never say anything so twee as "off I go into the perils of the mirror world!" As you know, I'm quite fine with how mirrors work...

Of course, Alice.

We need to go, she's going to end up in your room!

She's nothing at all like you, nothing.

"Off I go then again." Pfff.

Under the Bed

Just as we scramble to safety in hiding, there is a tremendous pounding and rattling of the door.

"WHO LOCKED THIS DOOR! I demand to know who is going around locking doors without my permission!" queries an imperious voice outside.

"You locked the door! You lock the door! You always have locked the door! You always will lock the door!"

"Hand me that key, little girl–Percy."

"Alice!"

Alice?

The door bashes open.

"Ow, my arm!"

"I'll have more than your arm, young lady, DON'T YOU FEAR."

"But I do fear! How can I not fear when what you say fills me with fear and does the exact opposite of what you command in your–"

"Give me that crown, you're no Queen. You are nothing but a petty thief!"

"I thought the tarts were for everyone–OW, MY BEAUTIFUL BLOND HAIR–"

With a metallic clink, a tiny golden crown rolls under the duvet and clamors to a wobbling stop.

"You are a bad girl, and shall remain here, Thornton–"

"Alice!"

"–until we figure out what to do with you!" The Queen of Hearts bellows. "I imagine it will involve bidding aideu to your noggin if history keeps repeating itself the way it does! For we are doomed to create history until we learn to repeat it!"

The door slams and there is a definitive ch-clunk which likely means it has been locked again. Fooey.

Alice?

The Drawing Room

(a while ago)

Okay, hold my hand and please don't judge me. We're treading new ground and while I have an idea how these rules might work, you know my propensity for gallivanting in utter nonsense and sometimes it's hard to know that from reality...

If I'm not mistaken... Yes, the mantel clock is approaching nine-thirty, so if I'm understanding the rules correctly–it's morning again!

Oh look! It's true! We are in the past! Here is Father's pocketwatch right where he forgot it on his way out. He skipped breakfast! He never forgets his watch, but he was in such a rush running late for an important meeting...

Father's watch has been passed down for generations and has been running for almost three-quarters of a century. He knows I like to watch the little mechanisms go round and round through the slivered openings. Okay, hold your breath with me, I'm opening it–

It's working! Do you hear the ticking and whirring of gears inside? It's alive! Look at this inscription on the inside of the lid:

With Love, Mary Alice - 1865

I don't know who Mary Alice is, but she must be some kind of relation who loved someone!

We're saved! It didn't happen yet! Set it down. Put it back. We didn't touch it we didn't move it, we didn't see it, we didn't break it.

Break it?

Gaol

We are confined in a large cell with all the other white chess pieces who have been captured. They are all muttering about "poor opening gambits". The cell is guarded by a very bored-looking Two of Diamonds and Five of Clubs.

You can't keep us here!

This injustice will not stand!

Do you mind if we leave?

"It's a stupid name enough!" Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. "What does it mean?"

"Must a name mean something?" Alice asked doubtfully.

"Of course it must," Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: "my name means the shape I am — and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost."

"And some eggs are very pretty, you know," she added, hoping to turn her remark into a sort of compliment.

"Some people," said Humpty Dumpty, looking away from her as usual, "have no more sense than a baby!"

"Don't stand chattering to yourself like that," Humpty Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, "but tell me your name and your business."

My name is Alice–

"Why, because there's nobody with me!" cried Humpty Dumpty. "Did you think I didn't know the answer to that? Ask another."

Don't you think you'd be safer down on the ground?

"...for that wall is so very narrow!"

"What tremendously easy riddles you ask!" Humpty Dumpty growled out. "Of course I don't think so! Why, if ever I did fall off — which there's no chance of — but if I did–" Here he pursed up his lips, and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly help laughing. "If I did fall," he went on, "the King has promised me — ah, you may turn pale, if you like! You didn't think I was going to say that, did you? The King has promised me — with his very own mouth — to — to–"

"To send all his horses and all his men," Alice interrupted, rather unwisely.

"Now I declare that's too bad!' Humpty Dumpty cried, breaking into a sudden passion. "You've been listening at doors — and behind trees — and down chimneys — or you couldn't have known it!"

"I haven't indeed!' Alice said very gently. "It's in a book."

"Listen, Mr. Dumpty, it's been quite an honour to talk to you, but I am headed to the eighth square. Might we pass by this wall?"

"No, you may not," Humpty Dumpty puffed up. "This is the most beautiful wall ever built. It's meant to keep people like you from passing through."

"But–you're a bishop, right? I can't move diagonally and you can't capture straight on, so it seems we're at a stalemate unless one of us budges."

"Well, it won't be me, that's for sure," the egg howled, wobbling atop the masonry. "This is the greatest wall, it's staying right here, and the playing-cards are going to pay for it!"

"But that does either of us no good..."

A voice behind us, and a tap on the shoulder, "Check, come with me, young lady."

Is that the Red Queen?

"Come along, now," says the Red Queen, "neither of you can do any good from this position."

"That egg was being unreasonable! If he's a bishop, how can he build a wall as if he's a rook? Why isn't he removed for cheating?"

"To be sure, he's in an advantageous spot, so I let him get along as he does. He's easily removed once he has no more use," she looks up as a royal carriage approaches. "Ah, I've arranged first class transport for you to gaol. No hard feelings! I just needed you out of the way for now. Have a pleasant trip!"

The tiny plate of jam tars comes whizzing through the air, shatttering on the roof slates covering my forehead and raining delicious berry crumbs into my mouth–

–and we're shrinking again. No!

Quick, use the mushroom again!

Run!

Limit break!

Spring at her with all we've got!

I deflect Enormous Alice's missilized and very likely stolen jam tarts, bashing them out of the air with a swipe of the chimney that encircles my wrist, keeping my mouth tightly closed so no crumbs will enter and cause us to shrink down!

Our move!

FORWARD

CAPTURE – – – – – – –

Giant Alice is one file to the left. In her surprise, she uses her move to step foward and hurl a tiny plate of jam tarts straight at us!

IT'S TO BE GIANT BATTLE THEN!

DEFEND!

FORWARD

CAPTURE – – – – – – –

"CHECK!" Giant Other Alice bellows, scooping us up and flinging us away over the tree-line.

We are sailing through the air.

Hmn. We're going to need to take measures to avoid gargantuan pseudo-Alice capturing us in E5.

And probably plan for our impending landing at some point.

Oh...after that nibble I'm growing again, and there's no more room for me!

The structure of the house is yielding, and my arms and legs punch through the walls and the floor! I can straighten out my legs and clamber to my feet. There is a small chorus of screams from below as the assembled onlookers lose nerve and scatter in the wake of the destruction before and above them.

The roof breaks apart, and I am wearing it like a hat on my head. The chimney is around my wrist like a bracer.

As I stand up, I am wearing the Rabbit's house like a suit of armor around my torso.

Incredible.

"If you do. I'll set Dinah at you!" I shout.

I then add: "Dinah is my cat, and she's normal size, which might not mean a lot to you, but for me, "normal" is a great deal larger than you're accustomed to! And she's a fearsome mouser which means she'll chase anything which to her is the size of a mouse...which in relation to her you all are!"

There was a dead silence instantly. I wonder what they will do next! If they had any sense, they'd take the roof off.

After a minute or two, they begin moving about again.

"A barrowful will do, to begin with."

A barrowful of what?

The next moment a shower of little pebbles came rattling in at the window, and some of them land on my face.

I'll put a stop to this, "You'd better not do that again!" which produces another dead silence.

The pebbles are all turning into tiny cakes. I can try letting one fall in my mouth.

GROW

SHRINK

Full of books. And lots of spare carrots.

Okay, I have something I might need to inform you about that could become important–please don't be angry with me. I found a clear bottle amongst all the carrots and because I was so thirsty I drank from it. The good news is my thirst is quenched. The bad news is I seem to be growing steadily larger again.

Well. I seem to be filling the entire house now. My elbow is against the front door, my foot is up the chimney, and my other arm is out the window. It's rather a tight fit and I'm unable to move, so I hope you've a bright idea about how to proceed!

Oh, and I seem to have jostled that radio...and here comes the Rabbit, I think?

"Mary Ann! Mary Ann! Fetch me my gloves this moment! Why can't I open this door?"

Because it opens inwards! And my elbow–

"Then I'll go round and get in at the window."

Oh, that you won't.

GROW

SHRINK

Things flow about so here! And this one is the most provoking of all–but I'll tell you what–I'll follow this pretty box up to the very top shelf of all. It'll puzzle it to go through the ceiling, I expect!

But even this plan failed: the 'thing' went through the ceiling as quietly as possible, as if it were quite used to it.

"Feather," says the sheep.

We sail completely over the border of the chess field, and land neatly in a net that has been set up to catch us.

All the King's horses and all the King's men cheer our stellar landing, scoring us 9.4.

We are carried off to gaol where all the captured pieces are assembled.

Actually, there's a better way...FULL STEAM AHEAD!

(I told you my chess knowledge would come in handy!)

EN PASSANT!

FORWARD

The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill

Here comes the White Rabbit, muttering to himself: "Oh the Duchess will be savage, oh my ears and whiskers–Why, Mary Ann, what are you doing out here? Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick, now!"

He points down a garden lane and scurries away without letting me explain I'm not Mary Ann.

A gate with a brass plate attached leads down a garden lane that winds toward a white house.

There is a small mailbox here.

The White Rabbit is here gravely discussing the remains of his house with an insurance-adjuster who oddly seems to be in the shape of a 20-faced die with legs and arms and a clipboard.

Oh, hold on one moment, I have something for him...

"Here, Mister Rabbit; here are your gloves and fan. Sorry for the delay."

I'm sure the White Rabbit is grateful, despite that sour look on his face.

(I didn't have a chance to tell you, I found the gloves and fan in my hair–they must have entangled there somehow when we dislodged the house from its foundation.)

We'd better keep away as they look very stern and serious.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

"Red bishop in–but both of them are off the board!" she puzzled.

"Neither of us can get past each other–we're in the same file and we both capture diagonally."

"How do you know this? Have you already been to E6? It's all water..."

"He's wearing a bishop's cap, it seems..."

The White Queen took in a a sharp, dramatic gasp. "Dumpty!"

"You look as though you might be in a position to deal with him," Alice said, curtseying.

"He shouldn't even be on the board. It's all a masquerade for him! He's not even an actual chess piece, and he goes around mucking up the works and making rules and building walls that obstruct play." She took a determined breath and rolled up her sleeves. "You distract him, and I'll back you up. He and his wall seem to be headed for (here she paused dramatically) a great fall! Do you understand the plan, Dear?"

Got it!

"At the end of our last conversation–we did this all before–I meant to ask you..."

"Quick, child! Ask at the beginning! Time's a-cumulating!"

The red bishop in E6 is blocking me.

"Well, yes, if you call that a-dressing," The Queen said. "It isn’t my notion of the thing, at all."

"If your Majesty will only tell me the right way to begin, I’ll do it as well as I can."

"But I don’t want it done at all!" groaned the poor Queen. "I’ve been a-dressing myself for the last two hours."

Every single thing’s crooked, and she’s all over pins!

May I put your shawl straight for you?

Here, let me help

Wait, I had something important to ask you...

"It can’t go straight, you know, if you pin it all on one side, and, dear me, what a state your hair is in!"

"The brush has got entangled in it!" the Queen said with a sigh. "And I lost the comb yesterday."

Alice carefully released the brush, and did her best to get the hair into order. "Come, you look rather better now!" she said, after altering most of the pins. "But really you should have a lady’s maid!"

"I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!" the Queen said. "Twopence a week, and jam every other day."

I don’t want you to hire me!

I don’t care for jam!

Wait, I had something important to ask you...

"It’s very good jam," said the Queen.

"Well, I don’t want any to-day, at any rate."

"You couldn’t have it if you did want it," the Queen said. "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday–but never jam to-day."

"It must come sometimes to 'jam to-day,'" Alice objected.

"No, it can’t," said the Queen. "It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know."

"I don’t understand you," said Alice. "It’s dreadfully confusing!"

"That’s the effect of living backwards," the Queen said kindly: "it always makes one a little giddy at first–" the Queen began screaming so loud that she had to leave the sentence unfinished. "Oh, oh, oh!" shouted the Queen, shaking her hand about as if she wanted to shake it off. "My finger’s bleeding! Oh, oh, oh, oh!"

Have you pricked your finger on the pins?

Wait, I had something important to ask you...

"I haven’t pricked it yet," the Queen said, "but I soon shall—oh, oh, oh!"

"When do you expect to do it?"

"When I fasten my shawl again," the poor Queen groaned out: "the brooch will come undone directly. Oh, oh!" As she said the words the brooch flew open, and the Queen clutched wildly at it, and tried to clasp it again.

Oh be careful!

Wait, I had something important to ask you...

"Ouch! There! That accounts for the bleeding, you see," (her finger was no longer bleeding) "Now you understand the way things happen here."

"But why don’t you scream now?"

"Why I've done all the screaming already," said the Queen. "What would be the good of having it all over again?"

It's impossible!

Wait, I had something important to ask you...

"Let’s consider your age to begin with—how old are you?"

"I’m seven and a half exactly."

"You needn’t say exactually," the Queen remarked: "I can believe it without that. Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day."

"I can’t believe that! One can’t believe impossible things."

"Can't you? I daresay you haven’t had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!"

The brooch had come undone as she spoke, and a sudden gust of wind blew the Queen’s shawl across a little brook. The Queen spread out her arms again, and went flying after it, and this time she succeeded in catching it for herself. "I’ve got it!" she cried in a triumphant tone. "Now you shall see me pin it on again, all by myself!"

Wait! I had something to ask you!

But she was gone.

A Mad Tea Party

We gently leap the babbling brook at the end of the wood and wander through a green meadow up the rise of a low hill.

Cries of "No room! No ROOM!" greet us asAgain, we approach the longest table set for tea I have ever seen. I can't even spy either end as it stretches to the horizon to the left and right, rolling with the curve of the landscape into the distance.

The March Hare and the Hatter are conversing over tea: actually, a Dormouse is sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two are using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, so they are actually conversing over its head.

Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse, only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.

Sit down.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

We take a seat next to the Hatter, spying his shiny golden pocketwatch. Perhaps he might explain where he got it and direct us to a shop where they might repair watches!

"Have some wine," the March Hare says in an encouraging tone.

I don't see any wine.

I still don't see any wine.

Look there; the Hatter seems to have left his own pocketwatch in his previous teacup. Do you think he'd miss it?

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

I'm quickly growing up above the tree-line, and I can see the squares of the meadow all around, and the roof of a house a bit to the left is waist-high.

Oh, hello, Miss Fraudulent Alice, you're a giant on the chessboard as well? We've surprised her–she's one file to our left and a couple squares back, the same size as us, peering over the tree-line. She looks a bit perturbed to see us for sure. Oh, you think you're the real one? We'll take care of that.

PREPARE FOR GIANT BATTLE!

Before I can get at Mammoth Alice, she whirls around and a tiny plate of jam tars comes whizzing at my head. I almost deflect them, but they scatter like shot-pellets and two or three manage their way into my mouth–

–and we're shrinking again. No!

Quick, use the mushroom again!

Run!

Limit break!

Spring at her with all we've got!

I think we've frightened the locals enough with our growing and shrinking antics for now.

Okay.

How queer it seems to be going messages for a rabbit! I suppose Dinah'll be sending me on messages next! "Miss Alice! Come here directly, and get ready for your walk!" "Coming in a minute, nurse! But I've got to see that the mouse doesn't get out from under the bureau."

Oh here's the house. Let's get in and out as expediently as we can. Hopefully, we won't encounter the real Mary Ann. You search the first floor and I'll go upstairs. Give a shout if you find anything glove or fan-shaped.

We charge forward with a great harrumph into E5, holding out my left arm and catching the giant faux me directly under the jaw with the chimney.

That's how we en passant here in Oxford, Little Miss Big Alice!

She crashes to the ground with a landscape-quaking rumble, and tiny whistles are blown all around by all the King's horses and all the King's men who swiftly toss giant grappling hooks and ropes over giant fake Alice and anchor her down to the ground.

When she is under control, she is shrunk directly with a blueberry scone and carried off to gaol. We also shrink down and attempt to set the White Rabbit's house down on its original foundation–or closely enough.

Hurrah!

We leap the brook into E5, which is a pleasant if ordinary meadow. It shouldn't take long to make our way across.

Oh, except that the fake Alice is giant now, and she's crashing over the trees from a square ahead of us and one file to the left.

"CHECK!" she bellows, scooping us up and flinging us away over the tree-line.

We are sailing through the air.

Hmn. We're going to need to take measures to avoid gargantuan pseudo-Alice capturing us in E5.

And probably plan for our impending landing at some point.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

I look rather presentable in a casual blue dress with a white apron. Behind me I can see . It's such an effective illusion that there are two of me. But look–she does exactly what I do, only in reverse!

Oh... I must say, I look stunning in this crown.

Give me a moment, I'm going to practice a graceful wave. There it is. Adoring throngs. Queen Alice. Queen Alice...

Queen Alice. Her subjects adore her. They adore her if they want to keep their heads...

I think a tax increase is in order!

My loyal subjects... My gracefulest of waves...

And I'm waving gracefully...so adored. Queen Alice!

I shall overlook your grave etiquette breach of failing to bow before me... Since you live in my head, having it removed might be rather counterproductive...

Check the wave. How graceful is that?

Curious...

Well, I know one thing for sure: It won't be through the bedroom door while it's locked.

I bet if I were a Queen, I could order myself released on my own recognizance.

We are Royalty, we can go wherever we want, whenever we want, including directions inaccessible to the other chess pieces. How dare you suggest otherwise!

If only we had some way to convince Time to go back somehow for us, we could maneuver around a lot easier before the point the Governess locked us in our room.

Wait. What tense were we in? Aha! It seemed like we were in past-tense, where we might have been able to open the door since it hadn't been locked yet. Did that sound crazy to you?

Okay. I've been considering this. With your help, we can disassemble the bed. Surely somewhere in that there's a piece of metal we might be able to use as a functional prybar. A couple of good whacks with that, the doorknob comes apart, and we're out of here.

I've already given my suggestion: piece of metal, bang bang, door open, freedom!

We're not disassembling the bed.

That would take too long.

That's a rather extreme option.

Haven't you already caused enough destruction, Alice?

Let's try something else first.

Before the egg can answer, there is a great whiffling sound from behind us and to the right, and a rocketing wooly streak tackles the egg from the diagonal shouting Check!

There is a great crash behind the wall, and in the distance a great flugeling and galloping of horses.

The white ball of fire streaks back and crashes through the wall, destroying it completely. It's the sheep from before, who quickly removes the wool to reveal the White Queen, who is dusting off her hands.

"I told you I'd have your back! That's how we do it here, if perhaps a bit backwards." She then leaned over to the mess of broken eggshell, "Stay off the board, you fraud!"

"That's better," the White Queen said...

"Much better!" cried the Queen, her voice rising into a squeak as she went on. "Much be-etter! Be-etter! Be-e-e-etter! Be-e-ehh!" The last word ended in a long bleat, so like a sheep that Alice quite started.

She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again. She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a shop? And was that really — was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she would, she could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop, leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair, knitting, and every now and then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles.

"What is it you want to buy?" the Sheep said at last, looking up for a moment from her knitting.

"I don't quite know yet," Alice said very gently. "I should like to look all round me first, if I might."

"You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like," said the Sheep; "but you can't look all round you — unless you've got eyes at the back of your head."

The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things — but the oddest part of it all was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite, empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold.

"Feather," says the sheep.

"Can you row?" the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knitting-needles as she spoke.

"Yes, a little — but not on land — and not with needles–" Alice was beginning to say, when suddenly the needles turned into oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat, gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to do her best.

"Feather!" cried the Sheep, as she took up another pair of needles.

Very soon after lots of knitting and purling and rowing and feathering, we reach the bank, and the beginning of the next square. The White Queen in Wool waves as we jump onto land.

GROW

FORWARD

SHRINK

I wonder, now, what the Rules of Battle are?

One Rule seems to be, that if one Knight hits the other, he knocks him off his horse; and, if he misses, he tumbles off himself – and another Rule seems to be that they hold their clubs with their arms, as if they were Punch and Judy – What a noise they make when they tumble! Just like a whole set of fire-irons falling into the fender! And how quiet the horses are! They let them get on and off them just as if they were tables!

We're safely behind a tree while the Red Knight and the White Knight engage in combat, observing the rules of chivalrous battle.

And it appears they're done resting and are back to more exciting battle!

ROUND :

"" the Knight, his club at the opposing Knight.

A miss! The attacker tumbles noisily from his horse!

A hit! The opponent tumbles noisily from his horse, taking (1 HP) damage!

It takes several minutes and some help from the other Knight to reset for another volley...

It appears they're taking a short rest now.

FORWARD

'To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said"I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head.Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they beCome and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!"'

And hundreds of voices joined in the chorus:

'Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea—And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!'

Oh, how glad I am to get here! And what is this on my head? How can it have got there without my knowing it?

Oh! It's a golden crown.

Queen Alice

Without knowing how we got here, we're at a party...

A shrill voice is singing and there are about fifty guests of all kinds: some were animals, some birds, and there were even a few flowers among them.

I'm glad they've come without waiting to be asked. I should never have known who were the right people to invite!

There were three chairs at the head of the dinner table: the Red and White Queens had already taken two of them, but the middle one was empty.

I guess that's where we sit?

There is a long silence as I settle into the chair.

At last the Red Queen began. "You've missed the soup and fish," she said. "Put on the joint!" And the waiters set a leg of mutton before Alice.

"You look a little shy: let me introduce you to that leg of mutton," said the Red Queen. "Alice—Mutton: Mutton—Alice." The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be frightened or amused.

"May I give you a slice?" she said, taking up the knife and fork, and looking from one Queen to the other.

"Certainly not," the Red Queen said, very decidedly: "it isn't etiquette to cut anyone you've been introduced to. Remove the joint!" And the waiters carried it off, and brought a large plum-pudding in its place.

"I won't be introduced to the pudding, please," Alice said, rather hastily, "or we shall get no dinner at all. May I give you some?"

But the Red Queen looked sulky, and growled "Pudding—Alice: Alice—Pudding. Remove the pudding!" and the waiters took it away so quickly that Alice couldn't return its bow.

However, she didn't see why the Red Queen should be the only one to give orders; so, as an experiment, she called out "Waiter! Bring back the pudding!" and there it was again in a moment, like a conjuring trick. It was so large that she couldn't help feeling a little shy with it, as she had been with the mutton; however, she conquered her shyness by a great effort, and cut a slice and handed it to the Red Queen.

"What impertinence!" said the Pudding. "I wonder how you'd like it, if I were to cut a slice out of you, you creature!"

It spoke in a thick, suety sort of voice, and Alice hadn't a word to say in reply: she could only sit and look at it and gasp.

"Make a remark," said the Red Queen: "it's ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding!"

And that's about when things started to actually go mad.

There was a toast to my health, then I rose to return thanks, but we actually rose out of the chair and would have floated up to the ceiling if I hadn't grabbed the edge of the table–

"Take care of yourself!" screamed the White Queen, seizing my hair with both her hands. "Something's going to happen!"

And then all sorts of things happened in a moment:

The candles all grew up to the ceiling, looking something like a bed of rushes with fireworks at the top.

As to the bottles, they each took a pair of plates, which they hastily fitted on as wings, and so, with forks for legs, went fluttering about in all directions.

A hoarse laugh at one side; we turn to see what was the matter with the White Queen, but instead of the Queen, there was the leg of mutton sitting in the chair.

"Here I am!" cried a voice from the soup tureen, and Alice turned again, just in time to see the Queen's broad good-natured face grinning at her for a moment over the edge of the tureen, before she disappeared into the soup.

There was not a moment to be lost. Already several of the guests were lying down in the dishes, and the soup-ladle was walking up the table towards Alice's chair, and beckoning to her impatiently to get out of its way.

I can't stand this any longer!

Grab something!

Get out!

I jumped up and seized the tablecloth with both hands: one good pull, and plates, dishes, guests and candles came crashing down together in a heap on the floor.

I'm thrashing about in the tablecloth and–

We quietly make our way through the back service corridors and to the gardener's door that leads outside for some fresh–locked. The back garden door is locked.

Oh how nice it would be to escape into the gardens to-day! To wander amongst the budding blooms, search for daisies in the tall grass–wait. Through the window–there's my sister out by the brook under a tree, but who is that with her? Wearing one of my dresses!

I've got my ear to the glass. Shh!–I can hear them!

MY SISTER: And that, Alice, is how the House of Commons of England evolved in the 13th and 14th centuries. It eventually became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, and assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century.

FRAUDULENT ALICE: (clapping her hands) Oh, my dear beloved sister! Thank you for that brief but insightful lesson on our political government! How I love to hear you go on about your knowledge! I could never be as smart as you are, for you are the BEST, dear beloved Sister!

MY SISTER: I love you too, Sister, but are you feeling all right? Your behaviour is particularly queer to-day.

It's not me! That's the wrong Alice! Get away from her, Sister!

Oogh! She cannot hear me through the glass, even with me banging on it! Don't believe her lies!

WHITE RABBIT: Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!

COUNTERFEIT ALICE: Oh Goodness! I shall chase that White Rabbit, for who has ever seen a White Rabbit with a pocketwatch, much less a waistcoat pocket to take it from?

Me! I've seen a White Rabbit with–oh.

We've been scooped up wordlessly by one of the gardeners and deposited onto the hearthrug in the Drawing Room. The Governess has everyone in her collusion!

Fiddlesticks.

It doesn't appear we'll make it out the back door, what with everyone in the household in the employ of the Governess's whim. We'd better not.

You're right.

ALICE AFORETHOUGHT

While they're busy, we'll just slip away quietly. That looks like it's going to go on for a good while, and we don't really need rescuing anyway.

Here's the brook that leads into the last square! All we need to do is jump across and–

Oh dear. It seems we were able to sort of glide across the other ones, but something is different and we tumble–

–headlong into the grass on the other side...Oooof!

I found this antique hourglass in the attic and moved it to my room. I suppose if nobody wanted it, it's okay to take it. I'll give it back if anyone asks, but I think it's been forgotten.

Take the hourglass

I had leftleftwill have left the hourglass from my room here.

Take the hourglass

This is the hourglass from my room.

Set it down here

It's made of brass with two connected globes connected by a wasp-waist. As the sand runs through, there are markings on the brass pillars that indicate the progression of the hours.

The sand in the hourglass usually runs for about ten hours and was mostly in the upper globeis equally divided between the two globeswill be mostly in the bottom globe, but doesn't actually seem to be running through at the moment.

Oh, if only all the sand were in the upper bulb of the hourglass, and things were like they were before things came to pass!

All the sand is in the top bulb. I wonder if that means we're in the past again, or if I've just been waiting so long that Time has given up?

Have I murdered Time? It is not longer moving? I suppose that sword is double-edged because when the sand runs out, Father will be home to pass sentence on my act of destruction.

The Drawing Room

This Morning

This is my favorite room in which to spend time. Books on shelves line most of the walls. There are comfy chairs all about for sitting or pleasant napping–

Yes, you know that. Let's get the pocketwatch and–

You didn't know you have legs to spring, you didn't know you had hands to catch.

Got it!

Still ticking.

Now the Alices are whirling about in a seemingly mortal struggle; one looking exactly like the other:

"Help me!"

"No, help me! She's an imposter!"

"You are such a liar!"

"No I'm not!"

"Yes you are!"

"Oh help!"

"She's too strong!"

"She's exactly as strong as me!"

"Let go!"

"OW MY BEAUTIFUL BLOND HAIR!"

Assist the left Alice. Assist the right Alice.

He hands over the pocketwatch. And what a funny pocketwatch it is: telling the day of the week and not what o'clock it is!

"I suspect you may have some information regarding the whereabouts of my actual watch, Alice, dear?"

Oh. This is going to take some explaining. Since you can't really talk to anyone outside my head, I guess that's up to me, and I suppose I won't be seeing you for a while. So good luck in your future endeavors–unless you have a way to meet me again in the past and perhaps help me seek a slightly more optimal outcome?

I'll be waiting. And I'm sure you know where...

The End

Mine!

Oh no! Fake Alice is here too!

No, you're the fake! Faker!

They are both pulling and tugging, trying to gain possession of the artifact and–

–with a great shout, they tumbled clumsily onto a sofa, the prize held aloft and–

The pocketwatch glittered as it arced impressively through the air in slow motion, its estimated trajectory ending on the bricks of the hearth.

Save the watch! both Alices shrieked in unison...

Don't.

There is no way to escape fate. Imagining one can go back and rewrite the past and somehow come out for the better is a folly that is proven by its sheer impossibility. No does not become yes; dark does not become light, and a raven cannot sing like a partridge.

As someone once said: "We are doomed to create history until we learn to repeat it."

Shaking...

You seize what must be the Other Alice (who is the cause of all this mischief) by the shoulders and give her a good shake.

The Red Queen made no resistance whatever: only her face grew very small, and her eyes got large and green: and still, as Alice went on shaking her, she kept on growing shorter—and fatter—and softer—and rounder—and—

"You know I cheat at chess, Father. And checquers for that matter. But I'm happy to tell you I'm not actively cheating at this moment."

"Goodness," he says, grinning and setting one of your knights on the board you didn't even realize was missing. "Have I taught you nothing about parlor games, my dear?"

"Yes, I'm guilty," you say, drawing the red rook from your apron pocket and setting it on the board. "I'm sorry Father."

"I hope you don't do it again!" he says, grinning, setting a white knight on the board you didn't even realize was missing. "Let's play again, with all our pieces this time!"

Over the chessboard after dinner, your Father is losing the match as you dangle the pocketwatch over the board to impose a sense of ticking urgency to the proceedings.

"Alice," he says, raising an eyebrow, "are you cheating?"

Yes, Father.

No, Father.

Well. It appears this is the end of our story then.

I mean, we could have done this without having such a long adventure. Although I appreciate your taking time to play with me and keep me occupied while I awaited my inevitable but unforseen fate.

You'd better go. I may not see you again–unless you have some sort of time-travel means which I'm not aware of that would let us meet in the past again and choose another outcome.

Here comes Father downstairs. I'll handle this.

The End

Okay, we are doing this. I've dumped all the broken gears into my apron pocket and placed the Hatter's watch in it's place on the silver tray. Surely nobody will be the wiser!

We make it through dinner, and although there are some accusatory glances, the conversation remains safely away from the subjects of time, watches, breakage, mischief, or me at all.

Father even wants to play a game of chess with me after dinner! It appears my transgression has gone unnoticed!

"Alice," Father says. "I'm going to think a bit about my next move. Would you mind timing it for me?"

The Drawing Room

(a while ago)

(a while into the future)

This is my favorite room in which to spend time. Books on shelves line most of the walls. There are comfy chairs all about for sitting or pleasant napping, in the evening there is usually a roaring fire in the fireplace, and, of course, here's the chessboard where many a good time has been had by all driving my sister mad by cheating and winning matches despite her being the actual best person in the household at chess!

The looking glass on the north wall above the fireplace has been a constant source of wonderment to me. When I was littler, I would frequently climb up on the mantel to see down into the backwards looking glass room and discern if what was there was the same as it is here. I've not done that in ages, of course, being that I'm more mature now (and also since I am now the proud owner of my own portable freestanding looking glass which I hauled down from the attic) and no, they don't have to tell me a billion times not to climb the mantel.

The clock on the mantelpiece informs us it's almost half-past nine, but the damage has already been donejust before eleven o'clocka quarter of six, Father will be home before we know it! I hope we're ready.

Surely the kittens are lurking, but I don't see them.

GROW

NORTH

NORTHWEST – NORTHEAST

WEST – – – – – EAST

SOUTHWEST – SOUTHEAST

SOUTH

SHRINK

Before we knew it, the clear water filled the entire hallway and we were submerged.

It was no use grabbing onto doorknobs; we only had a limited supply of air and the current swept us forcibly back down the hallway into the drawing room where we were able to surface since the ceiling was ever so much higher.

Ah, oxygen. We took great gasps as the room filled partway with a few feet of water, and then only had to wait a few minutes as it swiftly drained out through the fireplace, leaving the room high and dry. (Or in this case, low and dry since we were deep underground...)

If only we could somehow make it out of the house (perhaps by getting to the end of the long looking glass hall and into that garden that Fake Alice mentioned!) we might be able to make progress toward undoing all this mischief so we don't get in trouble when Father gets home.

"Oh, that key and that door and that potion, huh. Yeah. Lots of you have had trouble with that."

"Well, how do I get the door unlocked while I'm tiny without losing the key?"

"You know there's other ways to get low besides liquids, right?"

"Yeah..."

"Why, I certainly can! I took a night course in micromechanical engineering!"

"Capital! Can you maybe fix a broken pocketwatch for us?"

"No can do," purrs the Cheshire Cat, rolling on his back. "It's all theoretical and not practical for me, due to the fact I have no opposable thumbs."

Oh! It's actually a cat! A Cheshire, I believe, with stripes on its coat that are able to blend in with the weird paisely wallpaper pattern here, so it only seems invisible when it's actually blending in, only given away by it's ever-present grin.

"Can I be of assistance?" asks the cat, shifting its striping so it's a little bit more visible against the background, stripes rippling in hue from its tail to its ears.

Can you repair pocketwatches?

I can't seem to get to the end of this corridor.

I can't get through the tiny door!

"Don't be in such a hurry!" says the Cat. "Some of these intricate puzzles can only handle one player at a time!"

"But she's always down there. And then she gets sad and floods the entire place with her ocean of tears..."

"Yes, that is disturbing, but there's an abundance of tuna and crabs here in the Drawing Room!"

"But how can I reach the end of the corridor?"

"You know what they say about the early bird, don't you? If you can wake up each day perhaps a quarter-hour early..."

"I've already missed that chance it seems."

"Unfortunate!" the Cat says, leaping onto an armchair and draping itself across, taking on the mauve houndstooth pattern in its coat stripes.

Seriously, help.

"There's this crazy Caterpillar I've seen around. He seems to know all about transformative substances. Trippy li'l guy. Maybe you should consult him, if you can find a way to get down on his level first."

"Well, if it's a race, you need to race faster! If you're in a slower boat, you need a faster boat! If you're racing to the bottom of the ocean, you need to grab an anchor if you want to sink professionally! Get here earlier!"

The Drawing Room (Only upside-down...)

The Drawing Room (Now only just backwards...)

"What do you mean upside-down," calls Alice from the ceiling, where she is standing also upside-down–or right-side-up on what would actually be the floor. "Everything looks quite normal from here, only backwards! You're the one who is upside-down it seems!"

Okay, I'm climbing down from the ceiling.

A clock is striking eleven again, oddly enough. It's curious how it always seems to be eleven-o'clock here–almost as if the room is somehow re-setting itself every time we look up...

That's odd. Something is different, but I can't put my finger on what it is.

The Drawing room. Backwards. Books on shelves line most of the walls. There are comfy chairs all about for sitting or pleasant napping like in the reverse, in the evening (I presume) there is (also) usually a roaring fire in the fireplace, and, of course, here's the chessboard. Occasionally I have glimpses of chess pieces which are out of play scurrying, likely to avoid mauling by the kittens.

The prominent feature of the room–the looking glass–resides where it usually does on the wall above the fireplace (to the north still, but it makes my head spin because it's the other way!).

The clock on the mantelpiece informs us–don't mark my words because even though the clock-face is backwards, I'm uncertain if mechanical things also run the other way–it's ten minutes of eleven.straight up eleven o'clock (thank goodness we've agreed on up and down–despite your landing the wrong way, those directions don't reverse as readily due to gravity!)It doesn't seem our attempt to fall down-stairs faster gained us any time though.a quarter of six, Father will be home before we know it! I hope we're ready for his return!

And a short corridor leads past a few doors to the south like it does in our house.

Only that way now.

Something in the corner by that chair is odd. It looks like the wallpaper is wriggling a bit. And there's toothy grin.

GROW

SOUTH

SOUTHEAST – SOUTHWEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTHEAST – NORTHWEST

NORTH

SHRINK

Upstairs Corridor, the Other Way

This corridor is strange. I'm used to the hallway outside my room, but this one exists on the other side of my room which now opens up the other way.

In the non-looking glass world, this is a tidy upstairs hallway. Here, it winds its way crookedly past an assortment of random doors in either direction to the north or south, and the wood parquet floor tiles seem to be off-parallel and don't match up at all neatly with their neighbours as if none of the builders could manage two straight lines at once.

The bannister here is wretchedly at odds with the floor, and the staircase that begins to the–oh what is it now, I guess we call it west?–to the west actually goes up a bit before curving around the far wall, banking like a racetrack before spiraling vertiginously into the foyer below, barely clinging to the wall.

My bedroom door is that way. That's east, I would suppose.

GROW

SOUTH

SOUTHEAST – SOUTHWEST

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTHEAST – NORTHWEST

NORTH

SHRINK

Wool and Water and Walls

We leap the little brook and find ourselves...rowing a boat in a stream?

Our companion is a sheep in a wool sweater knitting another wool sweater.

"Now, what do you want to buy?"

"To buy!" Alice echoed in a tone that was half astonished and half frightened — for the oars, and the boat, and the river, had vanished all in a moment, and she was in a little dark shop.

"I should like to buy an egg, please," she said timidly.

"How do you sell them?"

"Fivepence farthing for one — twopence for two," the Sheep replied.

"Then I'll have one, please," said Alice, as she put the money down on the counter.

The Sheep took the money, and put it away in a box: then she said "I never put things into people's hands — that would never do — you must get it for yourself."

And so saying, she went off to the other end of the shop, and set the egg upright on a shelf.

"I wonder why it wouldn't do?" thought Alice, as she groped her way among the tables and chairs, for the shop was very dark towards the end. "The egg seems to get further away the more I walk towards it. Let me see, is this a chair? Why, it's got branches, I declare! How very odd to find trees growing here! And actually here's a little brook! Well, this is the very queerest shop I ever saw!"

Well, there's the egg again! And it got larger and larger, and more and more human: when she had come within a few yards of it, she saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. "It can't be anybody else! And how exactly like an egg he is!"

He was sitting on a head-high wall, cross-legged, with a crimson bishop's mitre on his head. It doesn't look very safe or steady at all.

"It's very provoking," Humpty Dumpty said after a long silence, looking away from Alice as he spoke, "to be called an egg — very!"

I said you looked like an egg, Sir.

Why do you sit out here all alone?

I need to get around this wall, please.

So she went on, wondering more and more at every step, as everything turned into a tree the moment she came up to it, and she quite expected the egg to do the same.

HOWEVER, the egg only got larger and larger, and more and more human: when she had come within a few yards of it, she saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. "It can't be anybody else! And how exactly like an egg he is!"

He was sitting on a head-high wall, cross-legged, with a crimson bishop's mitre on his head. It doesn't look very safe or steady at all.

"It's very provoking," Humpty Dumpty said after a long silence, looking away from Alice as he spoke, "to be called an egg — very!"

I said you looked like an egg, Sir.

Why do you sit out here all alone?

I need to get around this wall, please.

That would be a capital idea if we could get away with–oh behind you, is that the Jabberwock? Oh my EARS AND WHISKERS! RUN FOR YOUR L–oh wait. that's not the Jabberwock at all.

I'm sorry. It's just one of the kittens. My mistake!

Wink...

We'll never reach her physically on the board at the rate a pawn moves. But we know that Queens are speedy and omniscient. Perhaps if we can get into her line of sight–on a space in a direction she can move, we can perhaps wave a flag or something and get her to approach us.

Time and distance is of no matter to Queens, so we might need to meet her in a season she favors.

It appears as though a game is in progress, although it's hard to tell if someone just left off, or this is the result of the kittens batting pieces about the drawing room leaving just this setup.

I don't see how we get past Humpty Dumpty.

How do we get to the White Queen?

Let's play chess!

I have no idea how to play chess.

Can we perhaps rearrange the pieces to our advantage?

Let's try to remember the positions of the pieces.

Okay, we're done here.

You act as if we are strangers of some kind. Is this a pretense, or are you suffering from some sort of mental deficiency I ought to know about? (Really, for I have as much at stake in our mental construct as you do!)

My sister accuses me of being a 'disembodied intellect', but that's you, not me! (Don't worry, my constant companion; I keep you my secret–what would people think if I went around conversing with myself in public as I frequently do!)

My sister knows a lot of things, but I can only trust what she says so much. Often she proclaims 'You can't possibly understand, Alice, you're merely seven years old!' 'Alice, your baby words make no sense to me...' Then in the next sentence, she chastises me: 'Act like an adult, Alice. Act your age!' I don't understand how she feels I'm not acting my age when she is quite unclear on my actual age, for I am seven and a half!

I've no fresh ideas regarding our predicament. That's where you come in! I'm so fortunate you're here with me today.

What do you want to discuss?

What exactly have you done, Alice?

So how do we fix this?

We've got the key to my bedroom door, so that isn't an issue.

So, how do we get out of here?

I don't see how we get past Humpty Dumpty.

How do we get to the White Queen?

Okay.

Dinah has two kittens we kept, a black one and and a white one. They're both naughty and exceedingly co-ordinated when one is running a distraction for the other. When their mischief is discovered, then they put on so cute and innocent that there is no way to scold them.

The Drawing Room

This is my favorite room in which to spend time. Books on shelves line most of the walls. There are comfy chairs all about for sitting or pleasant napping–

–Nngh! I'm waking up in an easy chair in the Drawing Room. With a blanket. Someone must have covered me up...how long have I been asleep–?

It was Father! He's home! Father must have put the blanket over me! I can hear him walking upstairs and talking to Mother!

He'll be downstairs any second, what do we do?

Explain rationally, and accept the punishment.

Swap the Hatter's intact watch for the broken pieces on the silver tray.

We are a Queen. Slide diagonally into the past, steal the watch before it's broken, and bring it back here.

Several comfy chars are scattered about the room. Of particular interest is the one nearest the fireplace that nobody knows allows me to climb up on the mantelpiece when nobody is around.

Oh, wouldn't it be nice to just forget everything and curl up in one of those chairs and nap the afternoon away so we wouldn't have to deal with the suspense before Father returns home? If we can figure out a solution to our broken Time problem, perhaps that might be a valid course of action.

I was notam notwill not be carrying anything.

I wasamwill be carrying:

an hourglass

the white looking glass from my room

the black looking glass from the backwards bedroom

two separate bits of mushroom

a beautiful sparkly wonderful crown

I'm wearing a crown that fits perfectly.

my bedroom door key

a white rook chess piece in my apron pocket

a red rook chess piece in my apron pocket

I've got this awkward round DRINK ME bottle for an opportune moment. It doesn't seem like a good idea to set it down, lest it roll off somewhere.

I'm trying not to lose track of a very tiny key from the glass table.

the Mad Hatter's pocketwatch

It's a bit wet, but it's in one piece, and seems to be ticking at least. The Hatter doesn't seem to pay much mind to it.

Take the watch.

I've got the Hatter's pocketwatch in my apron pocket. Perhaps we can substitute this in place of Father's watch, and none will be the wiser?

This is where we left the Hatter's pocketwatch. It's still slightly damp.

Take the watch.

"That could very well be a bluff," he intones, gazing at his dwindling pieces.

"Bishop to ceeee seveeeeeen..." you taunt, incorrigibly.

Okay. I nibble a bit of the right-side mushroom, and my neck elongates freakishly like a giraffe.

I can see above the tree-line now and have a great vantage of the chessboard countryside, but we are immediately surrounded by a very upset flock of pigeons all screaming the word 'serpent!' incessantly at us, so I'm going to nibble the other mushroom and go back to normal before they decide to peck out our eyes.

"Where do you come from?" says the Red Queen. "And where are you going? Look up, speak nicely, and don’t twiddle your fingers all the time."

(She looks just like the chess piece, only nearly a head taller than me!)

I'm Alice!

I seem to have lost my way.

Here comes the White Queen running wildly through the wood, with both arms stretched out wide, as if she were flying.

"I’m very glad I happened to be in the way," Alice said, as she helped her to put on her shawl again.

"bread-and-butter, bread-and-butter..."

Am I addressing the White Queen?

It's the key to my bedroom door.

Ooh, take the key.

I'm going to hang onto this to keep myself from getting locked in again.

Now that I have this, surely that grumpy looking glass Keyhole won't have any excuse to keep me from opening the looking glass bedroom door!

by Hanon Ondricek

based on and including writing by Lewis Carroll

Special thanks

Brian Rushton

Music"Exotics""Air Prelude""Wizardtorium""Willow and the Light""Zazie"

by Kevin MacLeodhttps:incompetech.com/

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp:creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Humpty is a bishop and can only move diagonally. We are a pawn and can only move forward and capture diagonally. Since we're nose-to-nose on the board we can't do anything if he refuses to move out of the way.

We'll have to figure out if another piece is in position to capture him and remove him from the board, and persuade that piece to help us out.

We need to fix or replace the pocketwatch somehow, which requires getting out of the house, or we need to go back in time and make sure the pocketwatch doesn't get broken in the first place.

If we were a Queen, we'd have a crown, and perhaps that might give us the edge we need regarding movement in time and space.

An .

Oh, goodness, that's dizzying...

The wood is whirling about us, but we are not whirling. And the trees aren't moving like we're spinning before a game of blind man's bluff–some trees are whirling one way, and other trees are whirling the other way and I can't focus on anything.

I might fall down if I don't cover my eyes for a moment.

Whirling again. Like a carousel turning in both directions at the same time.

Can't look!

Not looking.

Open your eyes again.

Oh, there you are, thank goodness!

I need your help. We are in big trouble.

Not that I blame you, of course. I mean, you're supposed to be the one who talks me out of things before I do anything stupid. You weren't around anyway–off sleeping or playing another game or doing something important–but that doesn't matter now. It's not your fault exactly, but we're in this together.

I didn't mean to do it, honestly. You must believe me. Of course you do, you're in my head so of course you believe me. But I'll prove it to you anyway if you help me.

Time isn't moving. It hasn't been moving, and it will continue to not move the way it normally has and does. Did. That might likely also will have had turned out to be my fault. What tense are we in? Never mind. It hasn't been important; at least not now. What is and will be important: there are people who will be able to help us.

Unfortunately, they are all mad.

Tulgey Wood

Beautiful birch trees surround us, and golden light filters down through the cool green canopy overhead. The mossy smell after an early rain rises as the air warms into a gentle mist.

A riot of insect sounds clicks and whirs and chirps in the birch trees that shimmer around us in the sultry post-noon heat. Fragrant petals drift from flowering trees which are yielding fruit and nectar for the humming bees that hover occasionally.

The Red Queen is lingering here, enjoying the warmth.

A crisp breeze blows through the increasingly skeletal branches of the birch trees against the sky, rattling leaves and blowing the great drifts of them up into crackling whirlwinds that make us wish for apple cider and pumpkin-carving!

The bare branches of the birch trees are laden with dazzling cradles of new-fallen snow and icicles that glitter like prisms in the cool sunlight. Frigid whirls drift down on occasion, piling against the white trunks and giving the impression the entire forest has been wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of snow.

A white shawl is blowing along on the winter breeze. It catches on some brambles if we want to try and retrieve it.

A sign has been stuck in the ground nearby.

GROW

SOUTH

EAST – – – – – WEST

NORTH

SHRINK

As a pawn, we're only allowed to move one square forward at a time (except on our first turn; we can two squares forward as a bonus!)

GROW

FORWARD TWO SPACES

FORWARD

SHRINK

The Beautiful Tiny Garden (of Tiny Flowers and Tiny Fountains)

(and Beautiful Statuary)

What a beautiful tiny garden we've emerged into!

Let's take some time to wander about the beautiful statuary, the cool fountains, the colorful flowerbeds, under a beautiful blue sky.

The land stretching out before us to the horizon seems to be divided into fields of alternating green and amber, and each is surrounded by a low privet-hedge and a tiny babbling brook.

Oh and look! There are large scale chess pieces gliding around serenely. This might be a giant game of chess being played somewhere!

(Yes, I know that we're now small-scale so the pieces are only large-scale in comparison, but the looking glass world is sometimes so confusing to describe!)

Turning about, we seem to have emerged from a stately manor house, and there is no evidence of being underground nor the miles and miles we fell to get here.

Return to the Drawing Room in the manor house.

Race down the meadow toward the woods past the brook.

Race you to the brook!

How exhilarating, running through the bright, dappled grass down the hill towards the brook! The sweet, warming air whizzes past, streaking my hair behind me like wild flames.

I'm pulling ahead! You can't catch me!

I barely make it to the finish-line ahead of you! But you gave it a good run. You will probably beat me next time!

Oh! You're faster than me! You've got an advantage in that you don't need to work the legs and arms and can sort of drift down, pushed by the wind!

You've pulled ahead and won. What a merry chase! I will make sure your victories aren't consecutive if we do that again!

Let's take a moment to catch our breath. Over this babbling brook the landscape becomes wooded, and we can wander among the trees.

Leap the brook.

Return to the manor.

Of course I shall. Just... One moment, please.

bum bumbum bum bum–BUUUUM!

ROYAL SUBJECTS. MAY I PRESENT TO YOU...

QUEEN ALICE

(I promise you this will not go to our head nor change our opinions of ourselves in any way, honest.)

Oh yes, that's so very regal. And–ooh. Heavy. And...a bit disorienting. And heavy.

Perhaps it's lack of bloodflow to my head, but it appears the whole room is flickering a bit, and exists at both the correct angle and then another that is also offset somehow at a–what is it?–forty-five degree angle? I mean, it looks as though were I to try and move in a demi-cardinal direction, I might succeed through sheer force of will. Diagonals? That's madness!

ALICE AFORETHOUGHT

click title to begin

Thump! thump!

Down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.

We seem to be unhurt!

Can't say much for that piano next to the heap though.

The piano lands with an indescribable sound. The best I can do is "KABOOMCRASH KATANG-TANG CRUMPLEBASH sproing PATANG-TANG pingpingity-ping-ping rattletinkle tink-tink-tink! SPROING!" Followed by us landing with less exotic sounds ("Oof!" "Ow!") but we're alive! Clouds of dust float in the air from the impact. Good thing we had that piano to cushion our fall instead of just a heap of sticks and dry leaves.

Alice, are you all right?

Come on, get up, quickly now!

Hurry, Alice, we'll be too late!

Down the Stairwell

Down we go again.

Down, down, down.

Down.

Down..

Down...

Is there such thing as a terminal velocity, or am I slowing down?

Down, down, down.

Down, down, down.

Down, down... Still down...

Oh, goodness! Will this be the end of our adventure?

Either the stairwell is very deep, or we are falling very slowly, for I have plenty of time as we go down to look about me, and to wonder what is going to happen next.

Although, we mightn't have time to read every bit of text that whizzes past but we'll do our best. Oh! I'm upside down! Now I'm right side up! Now I'm upside down! Now I'm–well, you get the idea...

First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything: then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves: here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs.

Let me see. I can spread out like a starfish and try to catch the wind a bit. Oof!

There, we seem to be descending at a slightly-less breakneck pace now, how's that?

Okay. It will be just a moment before we approach something interesting at this speed...

It's coming, I promise!

Wait for it...

Any chance we might try to slow our descent down a bit?

Okay, I'm bored. Can't we fall any faster?

Waking

—and it really was a kitten, after all.

But which one were you, Kitty?

Your Majesty shouldn’t purr so loud. You woke me out of oh! such a nice dream! And you’ve been along with me, Kitty—all through the Looking-Glass world. Did you know it, dear?

It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens that, whatever you say to them, they always purr. If they would only purr for “yes” and mew for “no,” or any rule of that sort, so that one could keep up a conversation! But how can you talk with a person if they always say the same thing?

ALICE AFORETHOUGHT

by Hanon Ondricek

based on and including writing by Lewis Carroll

Special thanks

Brian Rushton

Music"Exotics""Air Prelude""Wizardtorium""Willow and the Light""Zazie"

by Kevin MacLeodhttps:incompetech.com/

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp:creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Chivalreh

We're over the brook into the second to last square. We've almost made it!

Before we get far, however, hoofbeats approach and a knight all in crimson armor rears his steed majestically.

"Ahoy! Ahoy! Check! You're my priso–" the Red Knight bellows, then promptly falls off his horse.

More hoofbeats, and a White Knight gallops up, rearing also majestically.

"Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!" the White Knight orders, then promptly falls off his horse.

"She's my prisoner, you know!" the Red Knight said at last.

"Yes, but then I came and rescued her!" the White Knight replied.

"Well, we must fight for her, then," said the Red Knight, as he took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something the shape of a horse's head) and put it on.

"You will observe the Rules of Battle, of course?" the White Knight remarked, putting on his helmet too.

"I always do," said the Red Knight, and they began banging away at each other with such fury that we'd best just stay out of the way while they battle.