Alice Adaptation Part 3
The knave of hearts was all but lost
After ten minutes on the bus her ear perked up when the driver announced that University was their next stop. She tried to think about where on campus she could possibly find the Knave and why she hadn’t seen him there before. Alice gathered up her notebook and Cheetos before exiting the bus. This time no one seemed to notice her at all.
Alice walked quickly onto campus and started racking her brain to think of where she might find the Knave. She hadn’t spent much time with him when she was in the other realm. He spent most of his time chained to the Queen or in prison - two places Alice took great care to avoid.
“Don’t be late, Alice. It’s tea time,” called another voice from behind her. She turned but no student looked up from their phone as they walked mindlessly through the pathways.
Alice glanced around the school and had a strange feeling that she was being watched and something was following her. She continued to glance behind but repeatedly saw nothing. She felt a bit like she was losing her mind.
“Alice, over here, Alice,” called a soft voice carried by the wind. She couldn’t tell what direction the voice was coming from. She swirled around but saw nothing suspicious, just blank faces of the scattered students walking towards their classes.
She looked down and saw a card on the ground. She reached down to pick it up and saw that it was the queen of hearts. It had a black arrow on it pointing towards the astronomy tower. Alice narrowed her eyes and picked up her pace. As Alice made her way towards the observatory, she thought she could hear her name being repeatedly called out but again - no one was there. For a moment Alice considered taking the drugs that Doctor Hightopp had prescribed but she felt certain she wouldn’t be able to succeed in finding proof if she let herself be numbed out by those reality-inducing drugs.
Alice opened the door to the tower to see red rose petals and hearts scattered all over the floor. She was here. Just as she was preparing to climb the stairs a hauntingly familiar laugh bellowed through the small oval building. She glanced up to see the Red Queen holding the Knave by the throat and leaning him slightly over the glass railing.
“I believe you are looking for him. Well, my dear, you’ve come to the right place,” the Queen cackled. Alice narrowed her eyes and instinctively balled her hand into a fist. Without a word Alice started to climb the stairs. All she needed was to kill the Queen once and for all, save the Knave and bring him to the doctor. Then she’d finally be free. The Queen continued to laugh as Alice climbed the stairs. “I must say, you were much easier to manipulate here. I thought it would be more challenging to defeat you on your ‘own turf’ as they are but you seem much more susceptible to losing here.”
“If you wanted me to continue to lose, you shouldn’t have shown me where you were hiding, your majesty.” Alice choked out the last words in a sarcastic tone, dripping with disdain. The Queen frowned.
“You are half out of your mind, seeing things, hearing things, taking all kinds of drugs you don’t even know what’s real anymore. You honestly think you can beat me in a face to face battle?” The Queen laughed and smirked but Alice could hear the fear in her voice.
“I defeated your precious jabberwocky. Compared to that, defeating you should be easy. Let the Knave go and let’s settle this, just you and me.”
The Queen tossed the knave aside and Alice urged him to run to safety. He tried to move forward to help Alice but the Queen continued to push him back. Alice pulled out the small dagger that she always kept in her bag and began circling around the Queen. The Queen pulled out her heart-shaped cepter and now it was Alice’s turn to laugh.
“You’re in a land without magic. What do you think you’re going to do with that?”
“Bash your skull in, my dear, of course,” the Queen answered with a playful smile. Alice frowned. When she had the Queen positioned over the edge, Alice launched herself at the Queen - dagger first. In one quick motion she stabbed her and sent the Queen flying over the edge of the railing. She cried wildly as she felt, looking truly pained and panicked. Alice watched, shocked at how easily the Queen was defeated.
“Good evening, this is Doctor Hightopp, how can I help you?”
“Yes, hello Doctor. This is chief of police, Bill Gryphon. I’m calling on behalf of one of your patients, a Ms. Alice Liddell.”
“Yes, what about her?”
“Well, I’m so sorry to inform you, she has committed murder. She’s not making any sense when we try to question her and she’s demanding to speak with you. Is there a chance you could come down to the University Observatory Tower?”
“Oh my goodness! Yes of course, I’ll be right there.” Doctor Hightopp hung up the phone before quickly grabbing his jacket and keys and heading out the door. He almost forgot to lock up as he left the building and headed out to his car.
It was sprinkling and the sun was setting behind the cloudy sky. Doctor Hightopp shivered as he shook away the feeling of the ominous setting. He tried to imagine what could have possibly happened. He knew Alice wasn’t well, but she had never been violent. Her delusions had never hurt anyone but herself. Doctor Hightopp drove as quickly as he dared in the dark, dangerous weather. He didn’t bother to lock his car as he pulled up the school and started walking towards the tower. He mentally kicked himself for not discouraging her delusions and her choice of classes. He had thought she was making progress, but clearly she was much further gone than he realized.
There were police and news crew all over the area as he approached. He started to feel a deep sense of dread deep inside. He wandered up to the yellow tape and waited for someone to acknowledge him.
“Hello, I’m Doctor Hightopp, Chief Gryphon called me?”
“Ah, yes, he’s expecting you. Come on in,” the officer answered, lifting the yellow tape for him to duck under. Doctor Hightopp clung tighter to his bag and tried to keep his eyes focused on the door in front of him. “I’m sorry to say but it’s not a pretty sight in here. I guess the two teachers were having an affair in the tower. The girl walked in on them in kind of a crazy fit.”
Doctor Hightopp glanced at the officer out of the side of his eye when he mentioned Alice. He couldn’t help but feel guilty, like his last proposal to help set her straight was the final straw that set her off the deep end. The officer pushed open the door to reveal more police officers and forensic specialists inside. Alice was sitting with a blanket and handcuffs on the stairs. There was a body covered with a white sheet that was slowly melting into red. There were pools of blood spilling out from it, soaking up the romantic scene of flowers and paper hearts. The Doctor could tell that her head had been the first thing to hit the ground.
“You must be Doctor Hightopp,” the Chief stated, moving over to shake his hand.
“Doctor Hightopp! I did it!” Alice cried out when she saw him standing there. Her smile was wide and she was glowing with pride. She threw off her blanket and stumbled over to him holding her hands out, as if highlighting the cuffs she was wearing.
“I’m sorry, Alice. What exactly do you think you did?”
“I killed the Red Queen. I saved the Knave. He’s there, you have to believe me now! The Caterpillar and Cheshire Cat told me I’d find them here. They are all here because of the melting place but now that the Queen is dead we can all go home!”
“As far as we can tell from her ramblings ‘the Caterpillar’ is a man named Chenille who runs a Hookah bar downtown and the Cheshire Cat is a drug dealer she used to frequent before she got charged last time,” the Chief clairfied.
The Doctor glanced back and forth between the chief and Alice. She looked so desperate for his approval, for him to see that she had succeeded. He forced a weak smile at her.
“Who is this?” the Doctor whispered, pointing to the woman under the sheet.
“Her name is Genevieve Heart, she was one of the theater teachers here. This is Jack Card, the astronomy professor.” The Chief gestured to the broken man in the corner, crying hysterically and doing his best to answer the questions by the police surrounding him. “Obviously, Ms. Liddell is… not all there. We were hoping you’d have a facility to hold her until her trial, when we can put her in a proper institute.”
“Yes, I’ll take her, thank you. Though, if it’s not too much trouble, I’d like a police escort. I never imagined her to be dangerous, but now I’d rather not take that risk, I'm sure you understand.”
“Of course, Doctor. I have a police officer follow you home and watch your house tonight,” Chief Gryphon answered. Doctor Hightopp turned back to Alice and did his best to form a smile despite the sheer terror he was feeling.
“Come, Alice, it’s time to go.” He held out an arm for her and she grabbed it as well as she could with her hands still bound in the manacles.
About the Creator
Hello. Welcome to my page. I have been writing for over ten years & have been published in several different formats including magazine articles, poems & full length novels. I have a BA in English Literature & a Masters in Psychology.
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