,,You did it Alice! An impossible thing"! Mallymkun smiled after wiping her tears.
,,Nothing is as impossible as saying goodbye to you my friends"! Alice answered, turning to look at them. Deep sadness in her voice. It was so different this time. Saying Goodbye never felt so hard. Her heart tightened and a lump formed in her throat. It took her all her strengh to fight back the tears, that were already burning in her eyes. Finally, she got her attention back to the hatter, who was still holing her hand.
,,Goodbye Hatter" she then aspirated and went through the mirror. ,,Goodbye...Alice" he murmured after her with as much saddnes in his tone as Alice herself. It had been a volatile echo but it still reached her. Already far from them, tears finally made their way down her cheeks.
Three years had now passed since Alice fell through the looking glass and arrived in underland, or better said, her so called Wonderland, once more. To save it and its people another time and also leave it with a heavy heart again.
The true pain of missing, mostly came a few days after her return into her own world. Alice reckoned that the pain of missing got worse each time she left. And every single time it took years for her to come back.
Even now it was three whole years again. Three whole years and Alice Kingsleigh had now grown into a fine young woman. The first time Alice had been a Child of seven years of age. The second time, she was about to turn twenty that year, she was set to marry a very unpleasant Lord named Hamish. Luckily she didn't in the end. However, she found her way to Underland only to discover she had to save it. She had been scared to the bones and irritated a lot. Thirteen years made it hard for her to remember it all as being true. Eventually Alice remebered it all as real and managed to slay the chabberwocky. Three years later in age of twenty three, she returned to save her dearest friend, Tarrant Hightopp, also known as the hatter. Fought against the time, which happened to be a person, went into big trouble and still managed to save Underland a second time. Alice thought of that time with bittersweet sadness. Oh how she missed them all. This time though, she didn't expect to ever return.
It was noon in London. The midst of spring. The weather got warmer and the trees already sprouted their young leaves. Other ones blossomed in soft colors that matched the light greens of the leaves. Singing birds were back, tweeting their tunes, greeting the lovely season. The sun climbed higher and higher each day, lightening up to sky into a pleasant shade of pastel blue. The city also came back to its more lively self. More people were now on the go. It was a day as these. Alice had joined her mother into the city to help her to run some errands. While Helen tried to talk to her daughter, Alice thoughts were far away from her mothers speech. It wasn't something new that Alice had her mind stuck in the clouds most of the time but it had gotten noticeable worse since the past year. To the topic if Alice had considered to ever marry, she managed to avoid pretty well. In the end, Helen gave it up to ask her holes in her daughter about it. Even though she never really understood why.
It wasn't like there weren't no suiting men. There had been plenty young handsome men around, that had been interested in Alice. The young blonde however had always rebuffed them. Alice didn't even knew a prudent answer herself. Why was it that she wasn't interested in any men around? For some reason she just couldn't picture herself beside any of those that came to her. Instead, Alice preferred to lock herself in her room for hours, writing down her experiences in Underland, taking long walks in the huge garden or in the forest, or just sitting somewhere, letting her mind wander.
In the eyes of the world, Alice was a especially untypical woman. Till a few years ago her mother Helen had thought the same. However, she stopped, after Alice returned from her journey. She realized that her daughter, even though it was strange sometimes, was exactly right the way she was. Even though it meant that Alice was a huge exception in the society.
Both were walking quite a while until they settled themselves onto a small but neat café. Alice had her eyes fixed on a point far away. Her chin resting on the palm of her hand, she gazed out to the ocean behind the port. The water was reflecting the sun and was glittering and shining as if someone poured liquid gold on top. Alice in fact, was so deep in her thoughts, she didn't even hear her mother call her name. The words seem to fly past her ears, vanishing in the air like a certain cat she knew.
Helen Kingsleigh aspirated the air through her nose quietly as she rose her brows into a suspicious frown. ,,Alice” she called again. It was impossible for her to guess her daughters thoughts. ,,Alice”! She called once more, this time louder and finally the blonde snapped out of her daydreaming trance. ,,Hmm”? Was all she hummed as a surprised answer as she turned her head slowly to her mother, who sighed deeply.
,,Really Alice” Helen began, stirring the sugar cubes in her tea. ,,Sorry mother” Alice mumbled subdued. ,,What's up with all that daydreaming” Helen shook her head ,,I know you were always a little up in the clouds with your head but it's gotten worse. Should I worry”? Alice didn't answer to her mothers argument, instead she just looked at her mother apologizing. ,,Child” Her mother started again ,,I can clearly see there's something bothering you”. ,,It's nothing” Alice assured. ,,It doesn't look like nothing” her mother retaliated. ,,How would know”? Alice furrowed her browns ,,I'm just thinking a lot, that's all”. Helen sighed again ,,I got that, but what in the world are you thinking of”? Alice ignored the question and turned her head away again to gaze into the distance. Helen gave it a exhausted grumble. It was no use with her daughter. Stubborn as a mule if she wanted to be.
Alice thought back to the one topic that caused her to be so absent. It was of course her friends of Underland. ,,Dreams” she aspirated. Dreams or better said, the dream. A dream that came back over and over again. It wasn't a nightmare by all means, it was more if a bittersweet dream, that caused her to wake up in tears every single time. It tore her heart to see her friends in her dreams and waking up to nothing. Dreams of the white queen Mirana, Bayard, Mc Twisp, Cess the grinning Cat, Thackery the march hare, Mallymkum, the tweedles, and most of all Tarrant the hatter. It always ended with her seeing his face.
It was a painful memory of her saying goodbye. On the one hand, she never wanted to leave but at the other hand, she had to. She couldn't leave her mother and sister behind just like that. Her sister that she hadn't heard of in a long time by the way. Alice always had a reason to return home. Home. Now she wasn't even sure what or where her true home was. Was home really just a house? A place? A country? Or was it more persons that she loved?
Alice knew to well that the hatter wanted her to stay and yes Alice wished she could have stayed but she had to leave. Hatter had his family back and even he understood how important family was. Alice had been very happy for him. However, it didn't change the fact how sad and heart tearing it was to leave them all, leave him, again. It hurt Alice more than she would ever admit to herself.
She feared they would never see each other again and it broke her heart. Hatter had told her they would meet in dreams and memories which was indeed true but still no reality. For a moment, Alice wanted to trust Tarrants words, but she knew and probably as well as he did, that it most likely were just to make the parting easier.
It was true that she kept on seeing him in her dreams, but these were just memories that ended up making her more sad than happy. It ended up making her miss them more than enduring the separation.
And there she was now, back in her world, never able to return or was that wrong? Maybe she could return? Maybe she could go on her own for a visit? But how would that happen? Alice never came to Underland on her own will, she always stumbled into it to save it. So she had to drop that thought. How would she even know where to start searching? And who would guarantee it would work if she tried on her own?
The much bigger problem was, if she would happen to get back there, she would also have to return back to her mother again. And Alice hated that fact.
Alice had build up her life as far as she always wanted it. She was a famous and skilled captain, good at making deals and nevertheless she missed her Wonderland more than anything. Every striped cat reminded her of chess, every dog of Bayard and if there was a store of hats, or dear. Tea and cake seemed dull and boring and whenever she saw a butterfly, she hoped it would be Absolem. It was to get mad. But hold on, wasn't she a bit mad herself?
,,Alice“! After a few long moments, that seemed to have been an eternity, her mother called her again. ,,Alice I am really worried about your well being” she said. Alice turned her attention back to her mother ,,I am fine I told you. It's just...a dream I am thinking about”. ,,These dreams again”? Her mother asked. Alice nodded. ,,My dear child” her mother put her hand on her daughters cheek ,,These are just dreams. They are not real”. ,,Thanks for reminding” Alice whispered, disappointment in her voice.
After another while, Alice and her mother got up from the café and went back to their house. In her room, Alice changed into one of her favorite night gowns. It reached down to her ankles and had a soft faded blue color to it. A darker ribbon was tied around her waist. Alice stood before her mirror. In slow steps, she took out the hair pins and undid her braid with her fingers, that was laying over her shoulder. Come to think of it, she didn't really change much. She just got older and more mature. Just as it was normal for a twenty six year old woman.
Sighing, Alice turned away from her mirror and strode past her bed on which an orange tabby lay. Curled up into a circle. Alice swiped her fingertips over the furry head swiftly and continued to head to her huge windowsill. It had a pillow across, so you could sit on it. The cat on the bed rose its head, got on its paws and stretched itself yawning. After Alice had sat herself on the Windowsill, the cat scuttled over to her owner in light and quick steps and jumped up next to her feet with a small and welcoming meow. A small smile spread across Alice lips, as she reached out to pat the cats head again. ,,Well hello Dinah” Alice greeted her. Dinah gave it a pleased purr, as she rubbed herself against Alice legs and pressed her had into her palm.
Dinah was the cat Alice got from her father when she was a Child. Dinah had been a kitten back then and obviously grew as Alice grew. Now being a fourteen year old cat, Dinah didn't look as young as she had been a few years ago. But anyhow, she was still a very active and loving cat.
Starring out of her window into the garden, Alice let her mind wander again. The sun was about to set and the clouds already turned into a soft pink and orange. Her thoughts went back to Underland like they always did. Longing Alice closed her eyes. As soon as she did, familiar faces appeared and her heart tightened. She saw herself being in the clock tower again, in front of her Tarrant. His expression was sad and disappointed because he understood to well that Alice had to leave once more. It made it even worse for her. She felt so incredible sorry. Alice wished their worlds weren't separated. She missed them all so incredible much, missed him so incredible much. But why was it that it hurt the most when she thought of the hatter? Why was it that it was him she thought of the most?
He was her dearest friend, Alice assured that to herself. Alice kept hearing him say his, fairfarren, and tears started to burn in her eyes. A barely audible whimper escaped her lips, as she ducked her head down into her crossed arms and pulled her knees tighter to her chest. Softy she started to cry. Emotions washing over her. She didn't know what to feel anymore. This pain in her heart didn't let her go. She didn't know why that was, she couldn't lay a finger on it, she only knew it hurt. It was way more than just missing.
Suddenly a quite voice reached her ears. Almost like a whisper. ,,Alice" it called. It was a rather deep voice. Maybe Alice was starting to hear voices now. ,,Alice" again and she lifted her head. There, there was indeed a voice. Did she loose her mind for real now? ,,Alice"! Now the voice became louder. ,,Hello"? The blonde sniffed, tears still running down her cheeks. ,,Here I am" the voice said. Alice looked around but didn't find anyone. ,,Not at the ceiling silly" the voice chuckled slightly. Alice knew this voice as good as all the other ones. ,,Absolem"? She aspirated. ,,Where are you"? ,,Here" the voice called and Alice finally turned her head to the window handle. And indeed, there was a blue butterfly on it. ,,I am hallucinating" Alice whispered in unbelief. ,,Absolutely not" The butterfly countered making Alice realize he was truly there. ,,It's really you then. Absolem"! The blonde repeated, pure happiness in her voice as her lips curled up into a smile. ,,Why are you crying"? Absolem then asked her plain and simple. ,,Well I..." Alice blinked and wiped her wrists over her cheeks and eyes to wipe away her tears. ,,I was crying because I missed you all". ,,I see" Absolum fluttered from his spot right in front of Alice face ,,Then I guess I's time for you to return Alice". ,,Return"? The blonde asked in a questioning but sad manner. ,,Why, Yes"! Absolum confirmed. Alice thought for a moment but lifted her gaze back up to the butterfly still tears in her eyes ,,I would love to....I wish I could....but I can't".,,Can't"? Absolums voice seemed surprised ,,Who said you can't".,,I do" Alice sniffed. ,,You are missed Alice" the butterfly stated. ,,And that's why I can't return. If I do, everybody would want me to stay again....and I...". ,,And you would like to stay too I suppose" Absolum looked at her suspiciously. ,,I don't know" Alice whimpered. ,,I can't stay in Wonderland, I can't leave my mother, and my sister". ,,I understand" Absolem flew back to the window handle ,,But how about a visit then? They would understand". Alice thought again. ,,But...Time told me to never come back". Absolem turned his head once more ,,He meant to never come back to his tower silly, he surely didn't mean for you to stay away from underland". Alice lowered her gaze. ,,Anyhow" Absolem flew up in the air ,,Make your choice Alice. Until tomorrow noon. I will be waiting for you".And with that he left the young woman behind. Utterly shaken up and torn in her thoughts. Alice watched Absolem fly away through her window, out into the dusk.