Kyria had been warned since she was a small child, beyond the veil was dangerous. Her older siblings had told her monsters lived there, that there were witches waiting to eat a young child.
What the adults said wasn’t much better. Her Grandma Iris said she’d lose her soul if she was caught in the veil beyond. She talked about shape shifters and immortal creatures of the dark such as vampires and werewolves.
One day hanging the laundry on the line at her grandmothers, Kyria gazed at the veil nearby. She hadn’t thought of it for a long time and she wasn’t sure why it called to her now. She’d never admit she could hear the whispers of the creatures which lived their. They were tempting her and she knew it.
Did everyone in the village see the veil as she did? Kyria believed they had no idea where it physically was, that to them it was was only folklore for children and not a real thing; it was extremely real to Kyria and she knew for her grandmother as well.
Kyria was twenty-four and long past the age of adulthood. Her parents lived together and her siblings with their families. She hadn’t found a suitable man to marry so her father decided she should move in with her ailing Grandmother and care for her. He thought she needed to be of use somewhere since she hadn’t married quickly as her sisters did.
The more Kyria thought about the veil and the mist shrouding it, the more she thought about how she’d never put herself out there in life. She’d always done what she was told and when others failed she was the one who took their place, who filled in so everything went smoothly.
It was how she made up for her so-called “selfishness,” still being single and not having children for her family and village. She wondered why she had never pushed her boundaries and was tired of being ruled by her father’s and her grandmother’s whims.
Kyria loved her Grandma Iris the most because she understood Kyria better than anyone. But her grandma still cautioned her to never cross the veil daily. But grandma was inside sleeping and Kyria heard the whispers from veil more and more these days. They were a sirens call to her.
She ignored all she had been told by her grandma, her family, and her friends as a child. She decided today she would cross the shrouded veil into the other world. Dropping the laundry Kyria walked towards the veil and into the mist surrounding it. The veil shimmered as she came closer and sonorous voice could be heard singing on the other side.
When she reached the line where the spiritual and natural worlds met Kyria stopped for a moment and stood. She smiled and with both hands raised in front of her she was able to feel the mystical energy she was about to pass through.
She stepped into the shimmering fog and breathed deeply. Her long blond hair flew out behind her and it was the last thing her grandmother saw as she watched her granddaughter cross into the other world.
Grandma Iris sighed in frustration but she knew as it had been with her, the veil had been too much of a temptation for Kyria. She knew that adventure and discovery awaited her sheltered granddaughter. As it had been with Iris, the veil and it’s magic was in Kyria’s blood. Grandma Iris was the only one besides Kyria who actually could see the veil, she had made herself guardian of the gateway and hoped Kyria would take over for her one day.
But as the last of Kyria’s blond hair slipped through veil and disappeared, Iris couldn’t help being thrilled for her granddaughter. What awaited Kyria would shape and change her. It would motivate and hurt her, it would be an experience far beyond the scope anyone in the village would ever experience.
Iris blew a kiss towards the veil and whispered a blessing for Kyria. The feelings of excitement in Iris were so intense it was as if it were fifty-years-ago and she herself was crossing the veil.
I didn’tunderstand it, we’d been dating a year and Raph never touched me in public. He didn’t mind when I rubbed his back in the mall or if I made the effort to lace my fingers through his. When I first pecked him on the cheek in public he blushed bright red.
I asked him one day why he didn’t touch me in public. In private he couldn’t keep his hands off me. He didn’t mind cuddling at home and he often tangled his hand in my hair or massaged the back of my neck while we watched TV. I adored these touches but didn’t understand why he was afraid to initiate small bits of PDA.
I explained to Raph how it was important to me because it made me feel like I was his, that he loved me, and didn’t care what anyone else thought of us. He was angry at first and confused, but the next day as we grocery shopped he linked his pinky through mine while we waited to pay.
Two days later he casually put his arm around my shoulders at his friend’s house. I snuggled into him kissing him when his buddy went to grab more beer. I linked my pinky with his and smiling, Raph returned the kiss as his friend walked into the living room. I was thrilled Raph understood how much these small touches meant to me.
Great green leafy trees are reflected on the lagoons glimmering surface. High above the actual trees dance in the breeze, drooping, almost as if to kiss the water with their branches. On the shore are large rocks which I take and skip across the lagoon. The mermaids will love me for this.
I continue to skip rocks until a few lovely mermaids pop their heads out of the forest lagoon and give me dirty looks. They hope it’s Peter, but when they see it’s only Peter’s shadow, they roll their eyes diving back under the water beneath the lillypads and floating flowers.
No one anywhere thinks much of a shadow and they don’t realize shadows are beings too. So the mischief in me has unsewn myself from Peter Pan. He’s been chasing me all day but I’m quicker and smarter than he. It’s why I decided he should take a trip home to a little girl I fancy; she is called Wendy.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for Friday’s music prompt, “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” by Rod Stewart. The song is loosely used in part three. Warning Part Three contains Adult Content.
“I Don’t Want To Talk About It” – Rod Stewart
Tallia drove back to Fairy Dust as fast as her Vespa would take her without losing the giant fish off the Vespa’s back compartment. She was feeling afraid because she knew Teegan would be nearly awake, but felt certain he would be in enough of a fog she would have time to make the potion he required. She prayed the tonic took his darkness away, the shadow that stalked him. But at the same time Tallia knew, the shadow was Teegan.
The presence of darkness lurked as Tallia quietly opened the back door, slipping inside her shop. She set the goldfish in his bag, down on a countertop and stood for a moment blinking tiredly. It was the middle of the afternoon and a wave of fatigue overwhelmed her. She had been up late thinking about Teegan, what he could have possibly done hundreds of years ago to be cursed so wickedly. She was thinking about him in other ways too, Tallia realized blushing.
She wasn’t sure what she’d do if Teegan knew she’d drugged him, what he’d say or do. She didn’t know how much in control Teegan was of his darkness right now. The wisest thing Tallia could do was make him his potion whenever he needed it, whatever kind of potion it was. She thought about the wisdom Teegan hopefully acquired in his centuries alive. Would it make him extra understanding?
Then again, she could be wrong. Some people never learned their lessons despite experience. Yet Tallia was sure, in Teegan’s startling green eyes had been knowledge of dark deeds and lessons learned with difficulty. The blackness in his gaze almost had the affect of repelling Tallia at first.
At the same time, his emerald eyes were seductive and drew her too Teegan. No matter his real age, he appeared to be in his thirties. He was ridiculously good looking in the truest sense. She could smell his particular pleasing scent from where she leaned against the counter in the back of her store. Where she put together potions and caste spells for magical items customer’s required.
Perhaps, it was her heightened sense of smell which brought to life Teegan’s addictive scent, or maybe her memories were more vivid due to her attraction to him.
Tallia jumped when a voice whispered in her ear.
“Where’d you go? How come my potion’s not made? I need it now Tallia,” he whispered.
“Yep, I’m awake, thanks for the nap by the way. Did you find out what you needed too? I see you got the giant gold fish. You’re worried about me and the shadow around me which makes you sick. You went and talked to Jude. He’s been around over a century. Old for most humans, but not as old as me, Tallia.”
“I didn’t talk to Jude, he’s in the hospital because he had a stroke and isn’t doing well,” Tallia sad with sadness.” I talked to his great-grandson Aspen. He run’s the store now I guess. He said you were cursed, that you did something terrible. That’s why you’ve so much darkness. How do you make it go away Teegan? What happens if you don’t take this potion?”
Tallia felt warm and comfortable and realized Teegan had moved to hold her from behind, his arms crossed against her stomach. Teegan’s head suddenly lay against hers and she could feel him sigh as if he could finally relax. Tallia had never been so near to Teegan, she felt dizzy in good way. It felt wonderful to be held so gently, though she wondered if Teegan realized he had moved to comfort her.
Moments later, Tallia felt Teegan’s lips firmly on the side of her neck, traveling up under her ear and sucking gently on her earlobe. His lips moved back down her neck to the v-neck of her sweater. He kissed her over her heart and Tallia shivered when his lips traced her neck, went over her chin, and landed on her lips. Her heart was racing, she felt hot and cold all over.
Teegan bit her lip gently, seeking access to her mouth. His tongue met hears with need. Tallia couldn’t think, could only feel. Her connection with Teegan was something new to her. This sense of knowing him and recognizing him, beyond the physical sense. In her mind, she could feel him encouraging her to relax.
“I’ll take care of you,” he whispered.
Teegan kissed Tallia until she was breathless, his hands massaging her stomach, sides, and hips. His hand moved up to squeezing her breast over her sweater and short coat. She moaned when he broke off his the kiss leaving Tallia wanting. He breathed in the crook of her neck, his hand not moving, but not leaving either. It seemed as if hours had passed but it had only been minutes.
Teegan collected himself and moved a distance from Tallia as he spoke: “Tallia, I can’t. I want to, but I shouldn’t have done that; it confused you. I need you to make my potion nowplease. You’re the only one who can do it. It has to be one of your bloodline. And if you don’t I’ll turn evil. I’ll be a curse myself, a terrible man. I’ve done such evil because I’m cursed, or was before your gifted ancestor came up with this potion. It’s the only way to keep me from turning, Tallia. You and I, we’re tied together because of your ancestor. You remind me of her,” Teegan remarked.
“You need to tell me the entire story. This isn’t fair Teegan. Of course, I’ll make the potion. But my Aunt never told me any of this. The cancer took her a way in so little time. I need more answers from you,” Tallia pleaded.
“I don’t want to talk about it Tallia. Make the potion. You’re breaking my heart here,” Teegan said rolling his eyes.
“What if I don’t?”
“I’ll be evil, as I’ve said and as I’m sure Aspen told you. I’ll hurt you, probably kill you, and I don’t want to do that. If I kill you, I’ll be evil forever — until someone kills me. You’re the last in your line. Make the potion, Tallia, we could be happy.”
“Tallia, make it now! You know I’m not trying to deceive you. You can feel it.”
“Yes, you’re right. I do feel you’re being genuine. I’ll make it as fast I can.”
Tallia gathered all the ingredients she had laid out earlier and brought them to an extremely large mixing bowl. She measured all the ingredients into the bowl quickly and accurately, barely thinking. She followed the directions in Aunt Willow’s tome and chanted the right words when she needed to say them. Pouring out the water of the giant gold fish’s bag in a sink, she slid the giant flopping gold fish into her bowl. With wide eyes she watched the potion simmer and turn scarlet.
Aspen had been right, the goldfish was a sacrifice of life. Although a mouse or anything small would’ve done the job, but her ancestor’s writing said the giant goldfish was preferred. Tallia strained the chunks of ingredients from the mixture; the goldfish had disintegrated.
Tallia pulled a beer stein out of her cupboard to Teegan’s surprise. She poured half of the scarlet liquid into the earthen beer stein. Teegan had been watching Tallia create the potion the entire time. He hadn’t said anything, only watched her, familiar with her actions. He’d probably watched her Aunt Willow and her Great-Aunt do the same. And many of Tallia’s ancestors, if she could believe his story.
She turned around from the giant bowl and found Teegan beside her, leaning against the counter studying her. His hand moved, pushing her light purple-grey hair behind her ear. He was so much taller than her, Tallia thought.
Teegan smiled when she offered him the beer stein.”Where’s yours?”he asked her.
“Where’s my what?”
“Yourhalf of the potion? You have to drink it with me,” Teegan told her.
Tallia was about to protest but he was gazing at her in a particular way. She noticed the pain usually hidden in his eyes present. She felt it through herbeing and it softened her heart; her protests crumbled.
” I wish I wasn’t so intuitive, Teegan. You do really need me to drink your tonic with you? Do you promise I’ll be okay?”
“I promise. Your Aunt, she was always fine. You’ll find it invigorating actually,” he said.
Tallia nodded reading what Teegan had told her in the tome beside her on the counter. How did she miss that direction? Peeringup she noticed him pouring her a beer stein of the remaining liquid. She took the potion from him, grimacing because she knew the ingredients in it. She tasted a bit of the potion, testing the flavour. It tasted like cinnamon and a woodsy red wine. How could that be?
“Bottoms up?” Teegan said holding up his stein.
Talia clinked her stein with his, “Slainte,” she said.
Teegan’s potion was easy going down. Tallia could feel a lightness, as if her cares were floating free. She felt energy, Teegan was right. His potion did feel invigorating. Her mind felt intensely perceptive as well. Swallowing the remenants of the liquid she saw Teegan had already finished his.
“Better, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s amazing stuff,” she said peering everywhere, everything around her was completelycrystal clear. Her early fatigue was gone. Tallia noticed Teegan’s dark circles had faded. He appeared younger, his few wrinkles smoothed out. He was gazing at her again in certain way, and she knew from the flicker in his green-eyes what he wanted. Tallia felt almost drunk, except the potion made everything feel real.
She laughed aloud and Teegan frowned,”What?”
“No you’re not getting that from me,” she said.
“It wasn’t difficult to get a kiss and more from you before. You like me. I can tell, I like you too,” Teegan said, eyes darkening and meeting her own.
“No,” Tallia said laughing again. “You have to earn it. Take me out. Tell me about yourself and my ancestors. Did you sleep with one of my great- great – female relatives?”
“Don’t you feel like you’re burning up inside? I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t . . .” he said approaching Tallia, following her as if she were prey. “I slept with the first of your ancestors I knew, she was my . . . my woman, for a while. But she died and we never had a child.”
Tallia backed away from Teegan smiling, wary but turnedon at the same time. He was irresistible and Tallia found herself trapped against a wall. She laughed more as Teegan stripped off his shirt and unbuckled his belt. Her mouth ran dry seeing his finely sculpted body. He grinned and grabbed both her hands, holding her hands above her head. Tallia whimpered and Teegan chuckled.
“I’m not, I’m not a one night type of girl and you’re . . . you smell so good. But you’ve lived so much longer than me, what could you possibly see in me,” she murmured.
“You’re not one night Tallia. I was thinking many many and I see you’re beautiful and gifted; you’re also intelligent.You didn’t immediately trust me.”
“Okay . . .” Tallia began but Teegan’s lips roughly met hers and she gasped as his tongue invaded sliding against hers. His hands were everywhere beneath her shirt and bralette. Then her shirt and bralette were gone and his mouth was there and she couldn’t contain her cries. “Oh no . . .”
He removed his mouth breathing hard, “Stop?”
“Oh please no!” Tallia said.
He chuckled and continued loving her with his mouth. “Teegan . . .” she whispered, feeling her body melt into his.
He pulled off the rest of her clothes, kissing her slightly round stomach and turning her around to kiss Tallia all over back and to her surprise, over her hips and bottom. His fingers found her center and rubbed below, circling her sweet spot, his thumb pressing against her.
“Please please. . .”
Teegan kissed her bottom again and turned her around so his head was level with Tallia’s belly button. He kissed her stomach before thrusting two fingers into her core, she shook and nearly screamed. It hurt but it was okay because the pleasure of his fingers going in and out of her was intense. She wailed when his fingers took her over the edge.
He kissed her, his lips and tongue centered on her core. The sensations Tallia felt were indescribable. Teegan was teasing her, he knew she need to come again but wasn’t letting her; he was making her wait for him. Teegan removed the rest of his clothes and gently lifted Tallia’s body onto the counter. He pushed both his fingers inside her again, adding a third.
“I’ve never . . .” she whispered suddenly shy.
“At your age? I’m flattered, no one values that these days,” Teegan whispered.
Tallia flushed, “Well it’s complicated. It’s gone but, I never had sex.”
“What do you mean?” Teegan asked stopping. His voice sounded grim.
“Don’t stop, don’t,” Tallia begged.
“Okay, but I will kill whoever did it to you,” he promised.
Tallia believed Teegan, he appeared dead serious even though they were having sex.”It’s fine,” she mumbled. “It was a university party. I was too drunk and fell asleep and he was there sometime. When I woke up he was gone and I hurt,” Tallia admitted anxious for Teegan to continue loving her.
“Are you okay, are . . .”
“Please don’t, don’t stop. Please I need you.”
Teegan nodded, understanding. “You’ve got me,” he replied.He guided himself to her entrance and gently pushed inside.
“Good, more.” Tallia said gripping his sides until Teegan was completely inside her. It stung and hurt but it was also the best feeling she could imagine when he began to move. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he whispered dirty things in her ear, all the things he wanted to do to her.
She felt his rhythm increase and her own body released again, more powerfully this time. She felt the final pushes of him in her body as he came. Teegan breathed heavily, holding Tallia and kissing her forehead.
Then, Tallia was crying, amazed tears were falling down her face. But Teegan gently hushed her and kissed her tears. It was hard for her to believe Teegan could ever be an evil monster. Tallia needed to know more about his past, when he was ready to tell her; she hoped it was soon.
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.
Jared was the kind of man who made any woman who saw him stop and stare. He was classically handsome, with blond hair and blue eyes; he was told he resembled a thirty-five-year-old Brad Pitt.
Jared was blessed, but he didn’t realize how much. He owned his dream company, made tens of millions of dollars early in his career, had mansions all over the world, cars of various makes and models from classics to brand new, as well as, any toy he desired — skidoos, motorcycles, dirt bikes, (etc).
Yet, Jared was alone in life. He had no emotional relationship with any woman he dated. He felt many women and men were worthless beings, wasting their life focusing on helping others and building relationships which, ultimately, ended.
Jared believed he was “better” than other people due to his wealth, prestige, and attractiveness. He knew he needed a partner, a woman who had similar qualities to him. He also knew it wouldn’t be a love match for he had no love in his heart.
One night at a charity reception, a hideous girl named Ali approached Jared. She carried with her a basket of the most delicious looking apples.
People were drawn to their ruby shine and many people begged Ali to have one of her apples. Yet, they cringed at her repulsive faces and body, ravaged by burns and disease.
Ali’s form was bent and crippled and she dragged behind her a club foot. Her eyes were beady and when she opened her mouth, she revealed rotten teeth with many missing. Her basket of apples, in fact, was the only attractive quality about Ali with exception of her beautiful golden hair. It was thick, lustrous, and reached her waist.
Jared was appalled when Ali approached him but he noticed her mouthwatering basket of apples. As with everyone, he was drawn to them. But Jared didn’t understand why Ali carried the apples around, not willing to give them to anyone, despite offers of large sums of money and contacts for proceeders to alter her appearance.
“What do you want?” Jared asked Ali, gazing down on her in her repulsive ugliness.
Ali laughed. Her voice deceivingly youthful, “I can give you anything you desire with these apples. What you want the most will be yours with only one bite.”
“Yeah right,” said Jared. “Why would you give me a bite of one of your apples? And for free? You’d be stupid to do that.”
Ali giggled,”I didn’t say I’d give you a bite for free. Nothing’s free in this world as you well know.”
Jared peered again at the apples which called to him, a sirens song from forbidden fruit,”What’s your price hag?”
Ali smiled and her rotten teeth and foul breath made Jared take a step-back. He knew what the ugly woman would request, but for some reason, he let her ask for what she wanted.
“I want a kiss. A real one,” Ali said.”For a kiss I will give you one apple. Perhaps, then, you will find the woman who will truly be your other half.”
Jared gasped, afraid the horrid woman could read his mind. He nodded to her and said: “I accept your bargain.”
“My names Ali,” she said and drew closer to Jared. She stopped for a moment,”This will only work if you truly desire a partner to love, with a pure-heart.”
Jared brushed Ali’s words aside, “My intentions are honourable enough.” He tried not to gag as Ali’s mouth drew closer. But he stared at her gorgeous red apples and imagined an apple in his mouth; it was how he managed kissing Ali.
Her lips were dry as they rasped against his. Ali’s tongue dove in his mouth and when she groaned, he felt as if he might throw-up. She bit his lip and she laughed when he cringed.
When Ali stopped kissing Jared, she stepped back, her mouth in a mischievous smile. She drew a beautiful ruby apple from her basket and presented it to Jared with gnarled fingers.
Jared grabbed the apple, greedy for its taste. He gorged on it as if he was Eve and the apple, the forbidden fruit in Eden.
Suddenly, both Jared and Ali began to glow with white light. While Jared withered, developing scars and burns all over his skin, Ali became stunningly beautiful. She became a curvaceous and breath-taking woman in her prime. She attracted the crowd in the room to her presence.
Jared’s hair had fallen out and his expensive clothes hung on him as his muscle tone disappeared. In minutes, no one recognized Jared; he was as ugly and as repulsive as Ali had been. His only remaining attractive feature were his bright blue-eyes.
A beautiful golden haired goddess stood before Jared. She sighed, grasping his scarred hand.
“I told you Jared. You had to want what you desired with a pure-heart. You had to be ready to love the perfect woman for you; but you love no one but yourself. I was the perfect woman for you, but you loath me. You called me a hag.”
Jared laughed, “You were disgusting and now you made me disgusting too.”
Ali let go of Jared’s hand, offering the basket of apples to him:
“Only, give an apple to the most loathsome and disgusting person you can find on the earth. Remember appearances are not everything and under the most beautiful and sometimes successful people, hides a monster,” Ali warned.
“You’re a monster Jared, but you have been given a chance to redeem yourself. To learn to love and be human, until you find the most terrible woman and find the smallest glimmer of hope inside her. She will either become your true–love and save both you and her, or become as you have, taking your place. You will return to your former privileged life and body, but with a changed heart. You will know when you find the right person and will wander the earth until then.”
Ali dropped Jared’s hand and disappeared into the crowd. No one noticed him for once. They only noticed Ali who had become his philanthropic sister. She became owner of all his wealth, company, mansions, and life, when he disappeared.
Jared wandered the earth an evil gnarled old man for years and years. Some say, he still wanders today. No one knows if he’s changed.