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TipGrundlefunk
August 30th, 2015, 09:55 PM
The great glass door swung solidly on its hinges as Alice pushed. Inside it was bright like morning. Looking around she saw row upon row of neat benches and tables that stretched as far as her eyes could see. A soft clicking drifted down from a number board on a wall that wasn’t there, just below a ceiling she couldn’t see. Every now and then a new number rolled over. She stood on tiptoe and took a look around.

“You won’t find it.” said a soft voice beside her. Alice turned to see a grin hanging in the air, exactly the way a dodo doesn’t.

“Hello.” she said, slightly surprised.

“Yes, yes, hello,” said the cat, “you won’t find it like that.”

“I won’t find what?” asked Alice, still on tiptoe.

“Whatever it is you are looking for.” replied the cat.

“I don’t know what I’m looking for.” stated Alice with some certainty.

“Exactly.” The cat’s grin became slightly smug.

“Very clever, I suppose.” conceded Alice not very graciously. “Where are we?” she continued as she sank softly to her heels.

“It’s not so much ‘where’ are we but ‘what’ are we.” said the cat.

“I don’t understand.” said Alice.

“We,” said the cat pausing slightly, “are dead.” He paused once more for effect.

“Oh.” said Alice not in the last bit surprised. “That would explain why I was much older before I walked through that door.” She gestured behind her but there was no door where she had just walked through one.

“You see,” said the cat, “in this place you exist at every age. For every moment of your life there is an Alice somewhere in here.”

Alice looked around expectantly, “That would certainly explain why it’s so big.” she said.

“Yes, but mind you don’t go bumping into yourself, it’s bad manners and also very embarrassing.” the cat shook his pendulous head slightly and frowned to himself.

“Am I in heaven?” asked Alice.

“That is an interesting question,” mused the cat, “to which the answer would strictly have to be, no. You see this is the place you come to after your first death.”

“My first death?” quizzed Alice.

“Yes, once you die you come here and you wait.”

“Wait for what?” asked Alice feeling slightly annoyed for no good reason.

“Well, until you are forgotten of course.” answered the cat enigmatically.

“I don’t think I understand.” said Alice, trying her hardest not to look puzzled.

“I’ll explain,” said the cat fading in and out slightly, “You stay here until the last person alive, who has heard of you, dies. The moment you pass out of living memory is your second death. Then you move on to wherever it is you are destined to go.”

Alice though for a moment, “So, this must be a kind of waiting area.”

“Metaphorically speaking, yes. That door you came through is a metaphor, this forecourt is…” the cat stopped to consider his next words, “a metaphor-court.” The cat chuckled gently at his own cleverness.

“Curious.” said Alice looking around. “There must be a lot of very famous people here.”

“Quite.” said the cat.

“How do I know when it is time for my second death?” Alice asked.

The cat nodded towards the board high in the air. “When your number is, quite literally, up.”

“I don’t think I was given a number.” said Alice looking about her person.

The cat grinned then slowly vanished leaving nothing but a feint imperfection on her field of vision, rather, Alice thought, like she’d been staring at a grin-shaped light bulb.

For a brief moment Alice felt abandoned then she remembered who she was.

belthagor
August 30th, 2015, 10:43 PM
wow!

amazing imagery, very nice, and easy to read, I enjoyed this... and you should expand on it.

MousePot
September 2nd, 2015, 03:05 PM
Hi Tip

lovely piece, it really feels like you captured the whimsy of Alice in wonderland. I particularly like how you start with an action, and then build around it. You also set the scene wonderfully and the dialogue is spot on.

such a minor point I would bring up is that perhaps the cat gives up his answers a bit too easily. It might be more in keeping if he made Alice work a bit more for it before admitting she was dead, or perhaps some aspect of the room itself could give it away.

As I said such a truly minor point, and can't wait for the next section ^^

TipGrundlefunk
September 2nd, 2015, 09:43 PM
Thank you belthagor and Mousepot,

This piece is intended to be allegorical - the 'cat' is the writer and 'Alice' is the writer's creation. I deliberately leaned on the association with Lewis Carroll's work as I feel al lot of Carroll's work is allegorical itself, it seemed fitting.

Really well written characters tend to outlive their creators. Most people have never heard of Carlo Collodi but we all know Pinocchio. In fact Arthur Brooke's two most famous creations made a literary hero of Shakespeare when he turned Brooke's poem into a play, Romeo and Juliet. I'd love to know what Bram Stoker would have made of Twilight...

Great characters withstand reinterpretation and can die many times, even long after their creators suffer their 'first' and only death.

Tip

EmmaSohan
September 5th, 2015, 02:14 AM
Really nice story! It was interesting and engaging. I am impressed. I liked the cat. I liked the premise.

Small point, but where there is a dialogue tag (that itself is not a sentence), the sentence itself gets a comma instead of a period. “You won’t find it,” said a soft voice beside her.

PaintYourReality
September 12th, 2015, 11:05 PM
I want to start by saying that I am a HUGE Alice fanatic. I even have an Alice in Wonderland piece, featuring the Cheshire Cat tattooed on my leg. That being said, the title caught my attention right away. I love the theme and basic story line here, and it would be cool to see if you would expand on it. I do have one critique though: part of the charm of the Cheshire Cat is that he speaks only in confusing metaphors and has a talent for avoiding the question being asked (or at least, seeming as if he is avoiding the question...). He often gives answers that make absolutely no sense until much later. That being said, the Cheshire Cat in your story seems to answer all Alice's questions really directly and easily. Try to make him a little more confusing and much less direct.