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Alice Adaptation Part One

Dreaming of Wonderland

By Leah DeweyPublished 2 years ago 7 min read
Alice Adaptation Part One
Photo by Johnathan Kaufman on Unsplash

The animated walls seemed to shift and blend together as her cart raced down the invisible tracks. Her heart pumped in her chest and she started to shake as sweat built up around her temples. The mangled, warped cartoons danced and sang her off as the tracks ended and dropped her down into a dark pit.

She blinked her eyes open, surprised to find she was still sitting in the bland waiting room of her psychiatrist. She stared at the rorschach painting with a groan and dull eyes.

“Alice? You can come on in now,” called the familiar voice of her Doctor’s assistant. Alice looked up to see she was just barely poking her head out from behind the door as if trying to keep everyone’s secrets locked inside.

Alice forced herself up and dragged her feet across the floor towards the slightly ajar door. As soon as Alice walked through, the receptionist shut the door behind her and walked quickly down the white hallway. Alice trailed after her.

“How are you feeling today, Alice?” the receptionist called back. Alice cocked her head to the side as she noticed the small edge of a tattoo poking out of the receptionist’s scrubs. It looked almost like a bunny. She shrugged before rolling her eyes and actually using her voice.

“I’m fine.”

“Come have a seat and Dr. Hightopp will be right with you.” Alice slowly maneuvered herself into the room and drooped down onto the open chair. Alice turned her eyes to the disturbing clown painting that hung behind her Doctor’s chair. The clown looked almost familiar, like someone out of her nightmares. She hated how he tipped his top hat as if hiding a secret from her.

“Good morning, Alice, how are you doing today?” Doctor Hightopp asked, closing the door and walking across the room to his seat. He had her file in hand and Alice was a bit surprised he didn’t have it completely memorized by now.

“I’m fine,” she answered, keeping her eyes on the painting. She could feel Dr. Hightopp glance up at her from her file but she forced herself to keep her eyes away from his. His mismatched blue/green eyes always left her feeling a little uneasy.

“You know I’m going to need a little more, Alice,” he muttered, turning back to the file. Alice stifled a long sigh that had built up in her chest.

“I am feeling… good, I am still working at the CVS and… I’m taking two night classes.” Alice crossed her arms over her chest and turned her eyes down to her shoes before mindlessly trying to scrape the mud off them with the edge of the table.

“Oh that’s great to hear. I’m glad you took my advice and decided to go back to school. Which classes did you decide to take?” Dr. Hightopp asked, folding her file and pulling out his notepad. Alice resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

“I’m taking creative writing and astrology,” she answered. Dr. Hightopp sighed before placing his pen back on the table.

“Those are some interesting choices, Alice. Why did you choose those particular classes?” Alice shrugged, hoping to avoid admitting the truth. Dr. Hightopp dipped his head to look at her with concern, which always made Alice feel like a child.

“I don’t know. Those were the only classes that really interested me. I like writing and you know… stars….”

“Are you sure you aren’t using these two classes as different types of outlets?” Dr. Hightopp leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. Alice glanced back at the disturbing clown picture and realized in this position Dr. Hightopp bared a certain likeness…. “Alice?”

“No, why is it so impossible to think I could want to, like, write or study the stars?”

“Is that truly why you took those classes?”

Alice shrugged and cocked her head in a suggestive manner to avoid straight up lying to her doctor.

“And tell me Alice, have you been taking your medication? Do you feel this dosage is helping you adjust?” Dr. Hightopp asked, turning back to his notepad and scribbling endlessly.

“They taste funny, they make me feel funny,” Alice mumbled. The doctor turned his kaleidoscope eyes on her. “But, yeah, I’m taking them. Like I said, I feel fine.”

The man in front of her dropped his pen and crossed his arms again, causing Alice to sigh a little more dramatically than she had intended.

“Interesting that the regular in-take of ecstasy and ketamine that landed you in these mandatory sessions with me didn’t ‘taste funny’ or make you ‘feel funny’. Why do you think that is?”

Alice knew the answer she felt and she knew the truth but she also knew if she admitted it out loud again, she’d never escape this office.

“Maybe I’ve just been feeling messed up for so long so those felt more normal but the antipsychotics you put me on make me feel more normal and that’s a new feeling for me,” she answered with her best smug smile.

“Alice, I can only do so much to help you but it’s out of my hands if you don’t want to get better, if you aren’t willing to try to get better,” Dr. Hightopp answered with his condescending look of concern. Alice pursed her lips. “Why don’t you at least try to be honest with me?”

“Every time I’m honest with you about anything you tell me I’m crazy, put me on crazy pills and demand more sessions here.” Alice didn’t mean to sound as whiny and frustrated as she did, but she sighed realizing there wasn’t much more she could do to lower Dr. Hightopp’s option of her emotional state anyway.

“So are you still having hallucinations and believing in this alternate reality?”

“I don’t know what I believe anymore. All I know is there’s got to be something more than this,” she whispered, gesturing around the mundane reality that existed all around her.

“What else would you like to be real, Alice? More talking bunnies and made up creatures like jabberwickies?”

“Jabberwocky….” Alice mumbled under breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing. I don’t know, Doctor. I don’t know what I want to be real. Maybe you’re right, maybe this world I went to isn’t real. Maybe it’s all an illusion I created to help myself cope with my ‘empty and traumatic childhood’ and it was enhanced with the drugs I was taking-” Alice stared off for a moment recalling the realm she had experienced and tried to help herself recognize any distinguishing attributes that would confirm one way or another it’s existence.

“Alice?” The doctor called out, snapping her back to the moment.

“But does it really matter? It still means my only flaw, my only damage is that I want magic. I want purpose and danger. I want something more than this,” Alice started, looking around again with disgust at the blandness of her surroundings. “If you want me to be honest, Doctor, I’ll tell you, I want fairytales to be real. I want kisses of true love that are powerful enough to raise the dead. I want tyranting queens, prophecies, magic powers, angry gods, and immortality. This space you call ‘reality’ pales in comparison to the point that I can’t stand it. I want to rip my hair out and scream every moment I’m forced to continue to endure. So tell me, if not drugs, and searching for alternate realities, what the hell else am I supposed to do?”

“I wish I had an answer for you. The only thing I can offer is, in the end wasting your life on poisonous drugs and searching endlessly for something that you’ll never find isn’t worth it. You need to find some healthier coping mechanisms. Perhaps if you spent more time trying to engage in reality you could find something as fulfilling as these made up places in your head.”

Alice frowned. She wanted to object. She wanted to throw her chair and get up to walk out. But she knew that the doctor was only trying to help and doing those things would only land her in more trouble and sessions with him.

“Please don’t say that to me,” she whispered, glancing at his enormous bookshelf. She examined all the medical books and informational texts of science, rolling her eyes.

“Don’t say what? Which part of that was upsetting for you?”

“Don’t tell me it’s all in my head. That’s all I’ve heard my whole life: ‘it’s all in your head, Alice,’” she repeated in a sarcastic, mimicking tone. Doctor Hightopp sighed.

“What other alternative answer do you see?” he questioned. Alice glanced at him, and their eyes met for the first time since the start of the session.

“Every time I mention an ‘alternative answer’ to you - or anyone. I end up in places like this taking more crazy pills.”

“Alright then, perhaps it’s time for a different approach,” Doctor Hightopp offered, turning back to scribble more notes on his notepad. “If you promise not to take anymore recreational or illegal drugs, or do anything that might risk your life, I will go along with the idea that your fantasy realm is real. I’ll also cut your prescription for now. Bring me conclusive evidence in the next three months, while you’re required to see me, of this place and together we can set the record straight.”

For the first time since walking into the wearisome building, Alice’s eyes lit up with hopeful sparkles.

“Are you serious?” Alice sat up a bit straighter and started thinking of all the new things she could try.

“Sure, I mean so far, conventional therapy hasn’t helped you much. Maybe this will,” he answered. Alice smiled at him before standing up abruptly.

“Thanks!” She threw her book bag over her shoulder and walked out of the office and down the hall again.


About the Creator

Leah Dewey

I am a novelist with a Masters in Forensic Psychology. I have experience writing in many formats. Follow me down into the dark corners of imagination. Experience thrills & chills through poetry & short stories.

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