You know why you are here I presume?
I do not know a single thing. I only wish you would let me sing! I had a friend, where is he now? Please tell me he is safe. He’s no stronger than a cow. He is small and he is skittish. I think he has brown eyes. His hair is blondish with a pink face and a nose resembling pies! He was such a great friend, I hope he is okay. I fear for his safety is all I should say. How I got to this world I do not know. When I left my home it was beginning to snow.
The weather was cold; my fireplace was roaring. One look at the snowflakes sent my heart soaring. I ran outside to play in the snow. But I fell down this hole, and ended up in a land I didn’t know. My bum landed on grass, but it wasn’t the grass I normally see. I saw a young boy and I started to flee. Yet before I could run, could hide or disappear, I was trapped by the sights, by this new world, by my fear.
The boy came up to me and asked me my name. “Alice,” I said. “And I must ask you the same.”
“My name is Jon.” He told me blatantly. He did not smile, he did not run but he stood there staring at me.
“What are you doing? Where did you come from?” he asked as if I knew.
“I do not know!” I cried out. “Please tell me what do I do?”
“We must hide you.” He told me. “Come on, come with me.”
“No I want to stay here. I cannot leave this tree. I do not know why, but I feel safe here, you see. These trees, they are beautiful, can I have some to eat? The colors are bright it looks like a treat. I have never seen fruit like this before. Is it good? Is it delicious? Can we take some? Maybe four? I have never felt hunger like this,” I told him; it was true. “Come on lets eat there is nothing else to do.”
“No. We need to leave. If they see you, we will be in danger. Come on, come with me. We must hide you because you’re a stranger.”
Do you expect me to believe that the young man, John spoke in riddles? We don’t waste our time on such ancient nonsense. In fact, I wish you would stop. You are making the story go in circles in my head. The impracticality of it all is ludicrous.
No, I don’t expect you to believe me. Its called creativity, you see. Your people don’t have it. No, the gift lies with me.
I told Jon I come from a land where creativity thrives, Wonderland they say. Creativity is what keeps us alive. Creativity allows us to live to dream and to play.
“What is this play you talk about?” Jon asked me so keen.
“It is how we have fun.”
“ I don’t know what you mean.”
“Fun is what you do when you have extra energy inside. Don’t you have fun?” I asked. Then I sighed. “Poor Jon. What is this place? Why do you look so sad? You need to know what fun is, or else the world is just bad.”
“This is Land Mass Five. Everything has a purpose. There is no room for fun; no room for joy on the surface. Our happiness comes from completing our tasks. A thing at which I am failing. Thanks to you, my dear friend I am now trailing. I was supposed to pick fruit for my family today. Every day is different and we must obey. We have a chore schedule and a task leader to follow. He tells us to pick fruit, to plant crops or kill the barn swallow. Swallows make for the best supper at night. If they are kept alive they give us too much of a fight. We kill them swiftly with our knives or our hands. A twist of the wrist is all it takes to follow Task Leader’s commands. But I digress, please tell me about you. You speak so weird, you sound like a shrew.”
You see, Jon wasn’t so keen on my riddles either. But in my head I like to believe he was eager. Eager to be my friend, save my life, and save me. Eager to help me hide, help me eat, help me see. See the truth about this world and all the dangers in it. I wanted to know more, explore; yet he didn’t. We ran through the forest and through the fruit filled trees. He warned me not to eat anything lest I wanted to be attacked by bees.
You see sir, he cared about me. I don’t know why, but he did. He led me to an abandoned home where I met another kid. This kid looked just like him and I asked if they were brothers.
“What is a brother?” He struggled to ask. I replied, “You share the same mother.”
“No we came from the machine,” he told me, and immediately I was confused. “A machine?” I asked completely bemused.
“We were created in the lab. Everyone is the same. There is no room for differences except in our name. This is Bill and I am John. That is our only difference. What is your name?” He asked me.
“My name is Alice, Alice of Wonderland,” I replied in remembrance. I remembered my world of color, of exploration and of fun. I remembered a world where I was free to read, draw and run! Speaking of reading, I soon realized John’s world had no books. When asked about it three days later, he gave me an odd look.
“What is a book?” Jon asked me as we sat eating our dinner.
“A book is a story. They are full of adventure!”
“We don’t have adventure here. No everything has a purpose. If you don’t follow the rules there is fear. Fear of punishment, and that is only scratching the surface. Alice we must get you back. You don’t belong in this time. Tomorrow I will find your portal. Having you here is a crime. I don’t want to suffer the same fate as Bill this time.”
“What did he do?”
“Bill had a secret, a secret too much to keep. He had a book and gave me a peep. One day we were practicing our planting of fruit and Bill pulled me aside to show me his new loot. He pulled out a brown and leathery thing. At first sight I thought he was going to sing. But he didn’t, rather he opened and read. He told me something no one else had ever said! The word poured out and some were unfamiliar. He told me it was a book, and I thought it was too peculiar. I asked him where he got the paper wrapped in leather. He said from his father, so I guess that made it better. He told me his father said not to tell a soul, but the book was too important, more important than our coal!”
“What happened to Bill?” I asked Jon carefully.
“Well, in Land Mass Five there is no privacy. There are especially no lies and no secrets in our society. The leader of Land Mass Five has cameras everywhere. He saw Bill show me the book and came to delve out his future despair. Bill was taken that night without warning and without reason. I couldn’t even cry for that would be seen as treason. If they find out I am keeping you here they will take you for study. I will be thrown in jail and our futures will be worse than muddy.”
I felt bad for John and asked him what I could do.
“Just stay hidden for monster’s sake. Even if you must sneeze, don’t make an achoo!”
Don’t make an achoo? Aren’t you just so clever. I would appreciate it if you would stay on topic and get to the point. All of this story telling is a useless waste of time. As you must know by now, time is of the essence. We must make the most of it, so hurry along.
Like I said before, my creativity is brimming. In your bleak world it is the only thing keeping me grinning. You lack a spark; you lack fire and fun. I don’t know how you lasted this long.
My name is Alice, and I just want to go home. 2164 is not the year for me it bores me to the bone. Let me go; let me flee. I beg of you I’ll stay gone. I just want to see my mum, my pop, and my cat, Mulan. Your colorless world and laughless lives make me wish I was born with hives!
I cannot take it anymore; this world is not for me. You don’t even allow breaks long enough to pee! Your grass isn’t as green; your plants are not as violet. When you want it to rain you simply just dial it. Nothing is natural and nothing is free. I want to be in a place again where I can just be me!
Unfortunately we cannot let you out. You are a danger to all we have created. Until we understand how you remained hidden for so long it is unacceptable for you to leave our custody. Your talk of freedom, laughter, nature, and urination is unacceptable. If we were to let you out there would be confusion and nothing would get done. Trees would not be planted, owls would not be killed, and fruit would not be picked. Eggs wouldn’t be harvested, teachers wouldn’t teach, and mothers wouldn’t give birth. So please, if you will, do us both a favor and continue with your story. I for one want this to be over with so I can move on. Also, I have feeding in an hour and I cannot miss it.
If you insist I will continue, but I won’t be happy about it. I am only telling you my story. I’ll start with Jon looking for the rabbit.
John was worried about me and he began to look for the rabbit. The rabbit that led me down the hole, which really is an awful habit. I saw him for the first time in England, where I am from. I chased him and fell down a hole bigger than a drum. I ended up in wonderland a magical place full of color. Unfortunately, the next time the rabbit led me here, where there is no fun at all. Not even in the summer.
The house Jon hid me in was full of secret treasures. Inside one door I found a room full of books that gave me great pleasure! I would read all day and wait for john. The books enchanted me so I didn’t even yawn! There was Dickens and Rowling; Sparks and even Keats. The books were all mine for the choosing. I read and I read as the days passed by bleakly. I heard John come in, he would look at me meekly. It was hard for him to find food, find the hole, and not draw suspicion. He told me he constantly had an eerie premonition.
“What is wrong?” I asked him trying to dispel his fear.
“I feel like this has all happened before. All the voices in my head, I can hardly even hear”
I must interrupt you. It is impossible for a member of Land Mass Five to hear voices in his head. We have perfected our breeding so that the mind is only focused on productivity and remaining pleasant and content. To hear voices signals discontent and we do not allow that in our genetic makeups. So there is no possible way Jon was hearing voices.
Excuse me sir, you are being rather rude. I must ask you to shut up, unless you want me to start being crude. Now where was I? Oh yes I remember, I was talking about Jon’s voices in his head in September.
“What voices?” I asked, for I was worried now.
“Some voices tell me to help you, some say turn you in, and some just ask me, ‘how? How will you find this girl her home? What does it even matter? She seems to me she is madder than a hatter.’ “
“Oh stop using my own stories against me. You wouldn’t turn me in.” Next thing I knew he was looking at me with a frown, or maybe it was a grin.
“I have to tell you a secret. Please don’t judge me for it.”
“I’ll make a promise; you will not be judged.”
“Two weeks ago today, I was learning about the plants. My teacher called me over and told me to pull up my pants. ‘You and Bill are close, right?’ He asked me in earnest. I told him ‘yes sir’ and felt my face turn as red as a burnnit.
‘I want to ask you a question, about Bill is that alright?’ At the nod of my head he went on without a fight. ‘He has been acting strange, like he is hiding something, you see. But we don’t hide things on Land Mass Five. Oh no, hiding is for Three. Those who hide are held in treason and must be ended. So if he is hiding something please tell us so it can be undid.’ “
“I tell you the truth, Alice, the next thing I spoke was worse than the worst monster you would ever want to poke.
“He is hiding a book thing sir, at least I think that’s what it is. I am not sure though that it is really his. He said it was his father’s, please don’t punish me though! I couldn’t help it when he brought it to me to show.”
With a sinister smile on his dark round face, my teacher then began to pace. He rubbed his fingers along his face and asked for me to bring him his mace. I walked to his desk and handed him the weapon. I had no idea he would use it on Fred. I didn’t even reckon! Next thing I knew, the teacher’s face was red with fury. I had never seen anything so red, except maybe the fruit when we try to cut it in a hurry.
The teacher approached Bill and asked him for the book. All Bill could do was give me a terrified look. I didn’t register his fear until it was too late. See, us here on five don’t acknowledge fear because it is not our fate. Fred was maced and taken out of school and there I was standing around like a fool.
I don’t know why I lied to you Alice, I guess I wanted your trust. Even though I guess you have no choice. Trust me, you must.”
“Oh Jon,” I told him for I did not know what to say. “I am sure you will see him again someday.”
“But I don’t think I will and now we must flee. I will get you to freedom, get you back to your glee.”
But before we could move, we heard voices outside.
“Come quick,” Jon said. “We must hide”
We hid in the library behind a shelf of books. The whole time we attempted communicating with only looks. As the door creaked open, I knew we were finished. I couldn’t bear to see his life diminished. I saw two men walking through with advanced weapons. Jon told me they use them to teach the cruelest lessons. The men were tall and light just like Jon at first sight. They had a darkness about them that only old grownups have. In fact their faces kind of resembled a calf. A calf is a baby cow, in case you didn’t know. Their faces don’t display emotion for they have none to show.
Anyway, we were hiding, scared even though we tried not to show it. I wanted to be brave, and I wanted him to know it. I knew he didn’t want his friend to perish, or else he would have told on me too. So now I had to figure out what it was we should do.
I looked to my left and then looked to my right. I couldn’t think of any solution in sight! Then a lightbulb went off and immediately I smiled. Jon could sense a change in me; he felt my heart get riled. I pushed on the shelf with all my might. I didn’t care if we were heard or if we were brought into plain sight.
Yes, I did hear all about your plan. Unfortunately your plan didn’t work out the way you wanted it to. Although, I did hear that the books did some damage to Quincy our Safety Keeper. Oh, and for the record those weapons are called guns. It would do you well to learn a few things while you are hear.
Thankfully, neither of our Safety Keepers had any broken bones or anything of the sort, just a few scrapes and bruises. It was a very thought out effort and I must say we were shocked to see that your kind has the viciousness in them.
Oh my! Would you look at the time. Well, I am off to the feeding; it is where I feel my prime. Oh my heavens, I am beginning to talk like you! Ah! How could you do this? You miserable shrew! This is why we can’t have you around. Oh no. Oh no. With you here our society is likely to drown! I must go away at once. Oh No, this cannot be. I will straighten this all out. Just you wait and see.