It was midnight on my 21st birthday. In other worlds I would be out partying and drinking with my peers- or at least, the books on my shelf say that. In this world though, the stroke of midnight on your 21st birthday meant you would dream of your soulmate, the person you are meant to be with for all eternity. But, I don’t want to meet my soulmate; I want to stay single forever. So, I am refusing to go to sleep. Nope, not going to fall…asleep.
I guess I should start with why I don’t want to see my “soulmate.” You see, I’ve already met my soulmate. I was seven years old when he rescued me from the Queen. He says we rescued each other, but I still believe he rescued me the most. Oh! My mother would kill me for not having introduced myself correctly, my name is Alice Hamilton. My mother changed our name after my fathers’ death, before it was Alice Liddell.
So you see, I don’t need to dream of my soulmate, we have already met and had all of the adventures we are going to have. There can be no more adventures, or so the White Queen said when I left through the looking glass the last time.
I had fallen asleep on my 21st birthday. And, I saw Hatter. You are only given an hour with your soulmate. Many spend their hour trying to figure out where the other one is located so they can finally meet in person. You see, you never dream about where the person lives or is located. The two soulmates meet somewhere neutral, somewhere they can never identify where in the world they actually are. Besides, who wants to dream about your partners old childhood room? No, it’s better to meet somewhere you will both be comfortable.
We met in a meadow, reminiscent of the Kingdom of the White Knights. Instead of trying to figure out where we were, knowing we are in different worlds, we spent the time holding each other and kissing each other. He had changed so much. He is so tall and muscular now; filled out into a mans’ body. He was wearing leather pants, leather boots, a paisley shirt, leather jacket and leather hat. He was wearing a lot of leather, but he pulled it off so I forgive him. He loved how long my hair was now. Leaning back against his chest he combed his hands through my hair, gently undoing any tangles stirred up by the wind. His right hand, the sledgehammer, was wrapped around my waist. I kept gently running my fingers up the corded muscles in his forearm. He buried his nose into my neck at different points; leaving gentle butterfly kisses against the delicate skin.
“It’s been so long Alice. I can’t get over how much time has passed since we’ve seen each other.”
“I’m sorry my Hatter. I know it’s been longer for you.”
“The decades pass slowly my Alice. My heart grows heavier with each passing year.”
“I know Hatter. The same is for me. I didn’t want to fall asleep tonight. I didn’t want to dream of someone other than you, but at the same time…”
“It would almost be easier if we had because then our hearts could move on.”
“Yes, but I don’t want to move on and I’m scared of never moving forward; I’m torn between the two Hatter, and all I want is to be with you.”
“I know me Alice. I pray to Wonderland that she brings you back to me.”
“But you know the White Queen said…”
“Damn the White Queen! We belong together and who is Wonderland or Aboveland to keep us apart.”
“I know Hatter, I agree. Hopefully a solution will present itself now that we have turned 21.”
I woke up in my room alone; our hour was up. I sighed and got up to get ready for the day. After my shower I leaned in to wipe the steam from the window. Something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. Turning my head I just barely glimpsed the White Rabbit gesturing to his pocket watch. This time, the Rabbit was an actual rabbit, like from when I was a kid. I brought my hand up to the mirror, unsure if I had finally lost my mind. As my hand touched the glass something strange happened; my hand passed right through. A sharp intake of air was all it took for me to jump, whole body, through the mirror. After passing through I was very grateful to look down and remember I had in fact gotten dressed before wiping off the mirror; it is a very good thing that I won’t be running around Wonderland in only a terrycloth towel. I looked up to see that the White Rabbit had morphed into a man dressed all in white; he was however, still frantically pointing at his pocket watch. He was also chanting that he was late for a very important date. He ran off, and having forgotten how strange and dangerous Wonderland could be, I took off after him. I stopped right before falling off a ledge. Hatter wasn’t wrong when he said Wonderland had changed. After taking a deep breath to calm my nerves I looked around, trying desperately to get my sense of direction.
A few moments passed where I continued to take some deep breaths when a sharp tug on my heart jerked me to the left. I followed the direction my heart was leading me in; before being bowled over by someone running at me.
“Excuse me love, I didn’t see you there.” Strong hands gripped my upper arms before jerking me to my feet. I looked up and right into the eyes of my soulmate.
“Hatter,” I breathed out softly.
“Alice,” he whispered back before bringing me to his chest and wrapping his arms tightly around my shoulders and lower back. My arms flew up and around his neck bringing his head down to my neck. A few moments passed before he lifted me off the ground and began swinging me in a circle, laughing the whole time. I giggled and brought myself closer to him.
“You’re here! I can’t believe you are here. I felt the pull and just took off running. I couldn’t help but hope it was you and it is. Gosh Alice, this has to be the best day of my life.”
“Mine too,” I whispered back in his ear.
He finally set me down and we began walking back hand in hand to his shoppe.
“How, how is this possible? The White Queen said you would never be able to return.”
“I don’t know how it’s possible, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror when I saw the White Rabbit looking at me and pointing to his pocket watch. I wasn’t sure it was him so I put my hand to the glass; it passed right on through. I didn’t waste a minute thinking about it and jumped in.”
“Well, I’m so glad you did. Now I guess we will figure out how this affects us. Should I contact Chesh and get him to take us to the White Queen?”
“Someone rang?” Chesh slowly appeared, first his grin, then his eyebrows, slowly revealing himself.
“Yes, Chesh, can you bring us to the White Queen?”
“Hello Alice, it’s good to see you again. Cheshire’s and Alice’s go together like Hatter’s and Alice’s. You’ve been sorely missed darling.”
“It’s good to see you too Chesh. I am so excited to be back and see all of my friends. I’m not sure where the White Rabbit got too; he didn’t look anything like himself.”
“Alice love, what do you mean?”
“Well, after I came through the glass he transformed into a man wearing white, still pointing at his pocket watch.”
Hatter and Cheshire shared a glance that I caught; by their faces it couldn’t be good.
“What, what is wrong with the White Rabbit?”
“Let’s go see the White Queen and see what she says; it might be nothing Alice.”
I wasn’t buying those words with anything in me, but I would gladly follow him and I did miss the White Queen so.
We set off for the White Queen and soon reached her lands with the help of Chesh. We entered the throne room and curtsied to the Queen.
“Now my children, there shall be none of that. Rise Alice and Hatter, you are welcome here. It is a surprise to see you here though dear Alice. How was it that you came to enter Wonderland?”
So I told my story to her and included the part about the White Rabbit. At the end of my story the White Rabbit stepped, or hopped forward, to say, “Alice, I was not the one to lead you back to Wonderland. No, I have been here in court all morning.”
“Well, if it wasn’t you than who was it I saw in my mirror?”
“I can only think it to be a trick of the Red Queen’s. She would have the White Rabbit organization do something like this,” whispered the White Queen.
“And just what would they gain by bringing me back here,” I questioned while squeezing Hatter’s hand harder.
“There is a war brewing Alice, one that has been bubbling just beneath the surface since you left here as a little girl. It is possible the Red Queen has you brought here in order to turn the tide in her favor. Oh, whatever poor soul was sent to bring you here is sure to lose their head for not completing their job.”
“But what would she gain by trying to transport me to her realm?”
“Oh my dear, don’t you know you hold some of the strongest magic in your heart with your love of Hatter? He would slip into a madness not seen here for a long time that could turn the tide in her favor, all by holding you from your mate. We are lucky though. The White Rabbit did not succeed in his mission, you two are together again and we now know a snippet of the Red Queens plans.”