I mustered up the courage to post this, and I owe a lot of that to your kind words over the last few days. Since this is the first time I am publicly sharing an excerpt from my novel, I encourage you to let me know what your thoughts, and I hope you enjoy it!
Just before the figure was able to completely round the corner Elizabeth caught a glimpse of a blue dress trailing behind a figure with blonde hair. For a moment the sky blue fabric seemed to be caught on a rogue splinter hiding on the wall as Alice tried to round the corner, and Elizabeth watched the fabric rip ever so slightly as Alice freed herself from her snare, and her footsteps once again echoed in the next hallway of the marble labyrinth surrounding them.
Elizabeth stood fixed on the white marble tile she was on, with one arm stretched out toward Alice, who never faced her but continued to run just out of her reach.
“Alice!” she shouted. Her voice pierced through the sound of scuffling, becoming shriller to the point of cracking as she lost herself deeper within the labyrinth. “Please wait, Alice!” She begged in a labored voice.
Alice’s pace did not slow, and neither did hers.
“I’m lost! Alice, I’m lost! I need your help!” she shouted, nearly losing her footing as she slid on the smooth surface of the tile.
With the bang of a door the sound of quickened footfalls in the distance stopped. Alice disappeared, leaving Elizabeth at the end of a hallway facing another corridor with nothing but a white side table and a large black door at the end of it. Even though she was alone when she reached the bottom of the rabbit hole, this kind of loneliness took another, more sinister form. It was as if she heard only one note of her favorite song, or as if she was lost in the desert and saw a plane flying far overhead.
Elizabeth’s breaths became shallow as her isolation gripped her. She still stood frozen in the spot where she watched Alice disappear.
“Alice!” she screamed, “Alice, can you hear me? Please stop, Alice! I know it’s you, I know who you are!”
She heard only the echo of her own voice, repeating her words back to her in a fading chorus, “Alice! Alice! Alice! Is there anybody in here? In here?”
“How could she just disappear?”
Everything she knew of reality and logic slowly slipped through her fingers like sand in an hourglass. She reached down to touch the small nail that jutted ever so slightly out of the wall. Several fibers of Alice’s infamous blue dress were still caught on the nail, and Elizabeth ran her fingers over the light blue threads as if they were something both precious and familiar.
Regaining her senses, the desperation of being alone gripping at her throat, she raced toward the door through which Alice had disappeared. When she finally stood before it she cautiously reached for the doorknob. Her outstretched fingers slid right through it. She faintly saw her fingertips on the other side of the door as if she had reached her hand through a cloud. Her heart sank into her stomach as the thought of losing Alice took her mind captive.
“How could I have lost her?” she said to herself, “Please don’t leave me alone!
“Breathe, just breathe,” she reminded herself, “If Alice got through this door then there must be a way out for me.”
Scanning her surroundings for another way out, refusing to succumb to the dark fear welling up inside of her, her eyes suddenly grazed the small, white table a few feet to her right that she had past on the way to the door.
There was nothing on its surface, but inside the top drawer Elizabeth found a small, white compact mirror with pink borders stamped across its sides. She recognized it as her own, the one that she exiled to her purse, and the same one that floated in the rabbit hole. As she picked it up to stash in her back pocket, carefully and without opening it, she noticed a letter laying beneath it with the words “OPEN ME” handwritten on the front. The letters came together in a unique cursive that bent together like tree branches, beckoning her into their welcoming arms.
As she held the letter in her wet palms she could feel the beating of her heart inside of her chest as it hummed along with the sound of a distant clock, both emitting a beat like a war drum that left her with a harsh reminder of her seclusion – and that Alice was getting further and further away. She tore at its seams and extracted the folded paper inside, which read:
“So, you want to see my world?
Look around you. Honestly, did you really think that you were going to come and do a little sight seeing? There are no maps down here, but I’ll tell you what one would look like if such a thing existed. What you see around you is the white, tender underbelly of the subconscious. This is where all of the skeletons, ghosts and demons that are hidden in your closet and up your sleeve come to tuck themselves in at night. And don’t think for a second that they will be easy to spot, because everyone wears a mask here. And you do too, gorgeous, even if you don’t think so. I’m not the one who looks in the mirror and then quickly looks away.
No, this isn’t rock bottom. I’ve been to rock bottom, and I’ll tell you something about it that no one ever talks about – down there it’s finally quiet.
So I’ll let you in on a little secret before you find yourself hopelessly lost in the depths of your own subconscious that you’ve fallen into. There aren’t any cute little white rabbits for you to follow around, and there are no refreshments or frosted cookies that turn you into something else, or someone you’re not.
When you were casually meandering down the rabbit hole I was the one who screamed at you to run, but you didn’t listen to me. That’s about to change. There’s something that you need to know about this place before you start following your intuitive whims instead of following my advice: you created this place. You created everything in it, and you have the freewill to change and create anything you please, if you can. And when you were thinking earlier, ‘Oh God, why me,’ I would like to remind you that you wanted to come here, you came here yourself and let yourself in.
And yes, the rumors are true. Everyone here is mad, therefore I’m mad too.
Welcome to Wonderland – catch me if you can, bitch.”
I want to thank you for being a constant source of inspiration as I wrote the book, and as I head into the publishing jungle… and thanks for giving me the courage to post this!