A little girl lingers in one of the guest bedrooms, she looks outside and sighs to herself, wanting to explore the outside world instead of sitting inside and doing absolutely nothing. “How I wish I could go outside...” A servant girl collects laundry clothes in a large wicker basket behind her-
“Yes, it is a beautiful day out...*grunts under the heavy weight of the basket* Too bad I have to put up with THIS drudgery!”
“Ma'am...I can help you with that!”
“Oh no m’dear, u just set. Go outside, it’s a lovely day-
“But my mother, won't allow me!”
“What nonsense! Why ever not! Just stay away from any alliess, or strange men.”
“I do not know the way around the city.”
“Oh that is such a shame, I hear there’s a carnival coming t’day! They say they’ve got fire eaters and lions and dancing gypsies, and a hypnotist, and a mermaid, and all sorts of things. In the square...where the large fountain is, you know!”
“Your nurse took you there yesterday.”
“Oh! I remember! Thank you nanny!” she cried hugging her tightly. Nina was a young servant from Yorkshire, but Alice still looked upon her far more fondly than her actual governess and and had taken to calling her ‘nanny’. Her new baby sister Abigail could not pronounce Nina’s name the right way and so ‘Nonny’ grew to ‘Nanny’ and this stuck.
So Alice began to run off and go to the fountain in the town square. Excitedly romping about, all the hustle and bustle of the carnivale exciting her, she felt the urge to dance about but she was much too proud. ‘I’ll let my toes dance in their shoes for me-and then when I get back home, perhaps if I am not too tired, I’ll dance a little there.’ After buying some spun sugar candy and a lemonade she walked down to the performers where a large bourgousis of people have gathered. “What is going on here?” A plump woman bent down to her and smiled sweetly. She had an enormous feather hat and it tickled Alice’s fancy to imagine a great big badger sitting on it, or some kind of skunk attacking a goose of some kind.
“Its a musician and his wonderful dancing bear!” Alice watched the man and his pet. She was not impressed at all.
‘Poo poo!’ thought Alice aloud. The man trying to ignore her, claps his hands, and the bear gets on his front paws and does a headstand.
“…I can do a headstand!” remarked Alice to the man. The truth was she hadn’t ever done one but she was quite certain that she would do so had she ever wanted to.
“oh really? ><” he snarled folding his arms. The bear had begun to breakdance onstage. “Well then! Can you do THAT, little child? Perhaps you'd like to show us???”
Bemused grownups began to stare down at her beside them. Surprised at her own boldness, Alice got up on the stage.
“Alright, then I shall!” Alice struggled with her top weight, as her legs pivoted in the air. Her dress falls down over her top, and her stockings show themselves to the audience. Everyone gasps, and then start to laugh hysterically. A few mothers shielded their children's faces. Alice turned red and fell onto her face. “OH!”
“…perhaps next time you'll behave yourself. >~<;” Ignoring the audience, Alice ruffled out her dress and rubbed the top of her head in consternation. She was about to go when she felt a soft warm heavy nudge from behind. It was the bear which was staring at Alice in silent contemplation.
“ O.O” The bear made no move at all, it simply stared at Alice with its big sad black eyes. ‘You poor gentle creature!’ thought Alice pityingly. Soon she was reaching out to stroke its muzzle, trembling only the slightest bit (it did afterall have a lot of sharp teeth. “…Well-it goes to prove I can tame bears after all! Won’t they be scared silly back home when I tell them!” she exclaimed proudly to herself, when she had begun to scratch the end of his nose. The audience had for the most part, grown restless and bored, and were about to leave the area, but a few had grown soft towards the charming bear and the little girl and were cooing with delight. Just then, the man innocently reached for a whistle round his neck and blew it, making an ugly sound for the bear, using it to frustrate him. The bear snarled, not directly at Alice, however it seemed that way to the crowds.
“GRAAA! :O”Startled out of her wits, Alice fell onto her bottom and people either laugh in sadism or scream out of fear.
“HELP ME! HELP ME!” The man clicked his fingers together-and the bear stood up on its hind legs and bowed down to her. He offered his paw like a gentlemen and the audience gasped in anticipation. The man nods ina gesture to Alice to take the bear’s hand, and after a long tentative paused, she did. The instant she did so, the bear pulled her up into a great big hug.“AHHHH!!! PUT ME DOWN THIS INSTANT!!” she screamed. The bear set Alice down, and stares at her with a solemn look. There was some applause, and the trainer bowed.
“Thank you, thank you! You are all too kind!” The bear just stared at Alice with sad soft brown eyes.
“What is wrong, Sir Bear?” The bear bowed his large head and the crowd starts to diminish, as the man waves them all goodbye, thanking them.
“You? You're still here? Shoo! Shoo now!”
“But sir...that bear is not right.”
“Now now, come along,” he said shoving her offstage. The bear’s eyes followed her, staring at her quietly.
“Oh but please sir...”
“Jupiter has had enough of your shenanagins...(Jupiter was the name of the bear) “But, but, but-“ The bear groaned anxiously.
“Quiet!” barked the man. Whining, Jupiter crawled towards Alice slowly, but the man took his cane out and stalked him back. The bear growled and reared on his legs, and roars. The man screamed and backed away, holding onto Alice in terror. The bear falls back onto his forelegs and snarls hungrily. ”><.....grrrrrnnn.”
“BAD Jupiter! DOWN boy!” The bear walked towards them both slowly, as the man held onto Alice tighter for safety.
“Don’t. Move. A single. Bit.”
“…does he always act like this, sir?”
“Hush >< See how you have upset him!?”
“I did nothing of the sort!” The bear cameup to Alice, and stared her nose to nose.
“E-easy now...Jupiter, sit!” As the man realeased Alice, Jupiter sat down, still looking at Alice solemnly. The man sneaks around back, and ran to fetch a leash. “Dear god...” The bear suddenly lay down and yawned lazily.
“^~^;” Putting his face down on his paws, Alice bends down to look at him.
“You arent a bad bear after all. Just listen to you purr! Why you sound just like Dinah. Poor thing rest her soul. How I do hate horse carriages these days!”
The man sneaks up from behind and gives the bear a tranquilzer shot. The bear howls weakly as 2 men drag the bear backstage.
“Are you STILL here? Goaway, the show is over!” Alice tried to protest but the man simply ignored her and went backstage.
The area is quiet and the sky is darker, rain clouds loom above but its still sunny, so shafts of golden light shine down in darkness. Alice gloomily gets off the stage and starts wandering about in the now desolated square.
She could hear strange tendrils of sound, a crowd applauding but not nearly as enthustiastically as the previous one. In the distance a master of ceremonies calls out:
“Give it up for Kubala, the Inferno!”A tall black fire eater bows and walks respectfully offstage, girls oggle after him, he's real handsome. The crowd is smaller b/c of the presences of rain to come, mostly made up of teenagers, about the servant girl’s age. After the short performance, the fire eater takes a coat and walks off stage past the crowds, he comes by Alice, and tips his hat, smiling warmly.
“G'day to you. ^_^ Shouldn't you be with your mother?” he said in a Yorkshire accent. “It's going to pour rather soon. :-)”
“I don’t know where she is.”
“Oh dear. :-( Well, good luck to you. Be careful! Here-*gives her his umbrella* I already have a second one, my lady gave me ^.~Good day!” The man walked on, slinging his coat and sack over his broad shoulders, humming contentedly. Alice drew nearer to the stage. A man was holding a woman by her shoulders. Alice soon noticed that not only was the woman extremely large and ugly, she was also asleep, and she was snoring a light noise that sounded like waves crashing on a shore.
“And NOW ladies and gents, I will need another volunteer-a SMALL volunteer please-...hmm...” Searching through the crowds the man looked without success.
“Are there no little ones here today? Oh dear, it appears I shan't be able to finish the act! There MUST be a small person somewhere! Lets see.”
Alice looked on in silence anxiously. The man was tall and thin and wore a velvet crimson suit and a large cravatte. He was very clean featured and very young and handsome however he had a cool and professional air like older adults. The handsome young man took notice of Alice standing in a ray of sunlight, which picked her apart from of the crowds, despite her size.
“HA! A child at last! YOU must be my second volunteer!” The man pointed a long gloved finger at her face. “Come on up here, and give us a hand!You look like a strong fiesty thing-you think you can hold up our Drizella here?”
“Oh no sir. I'm not a bear.” The crowd laughed at Alice’s sharp tongue and Alice was a bit sorry for him, but he appeared delighted by her sarcasm.
“o ho ho! She's adorable-come up here!”
'Adorable, my arse!' thought Alice as she got up onstage. The man began towalk away from Drizella. She started to fall backward, the crowd cried out as he rushed to grab her shoulders, and lay her down gently very very slowly on the floor.
“MMMMMMMMMMMMMppphh O~O!! Wow, she IS heavy. ^^;; *crowd laughs* But our voulunteer will certainly be able to lift her!”
“I BEG YOUR PARDON?!”
“Yes! LIGHT as a board! STIFF AS A FEATHER! or something like that... I'm really not sure. ^^;”
“Nonsense! She will crush me flat!”
“What? you don't think you can do it, my volunteer? You know that ANYTHING is possible. :-)*smiles gently at her* Pweeez? *makes booboo face*”
‘This man is making an ass out of me...’thought Alice, staring down at
the huge bulk of Madame Drizella lying asleep on the stage. “Alright.”
“Splendid! this'll only take a moment-*to the audience* Using the power of the subconcious mind, our little volunteer here will have the strength of fourteen men and be able to not only LIFT Madame Drizella-but with ONE HAND. O_O...oh cmon folks, IM SERIOUS! ~_~;
“You MUST be kidding me -.-“
“No, I AM NOT! REALLY CMON!” The man blanched as the audience laughed at him cruelly. His craft at the time was still not well understood except among other men of his trade, and the schools of his teachings were for the most part a mockery of science.
The man spoke back to Alice gently. “Just ignore the crowds, they're just closeminded apes. ~_~;;;What's your name, child? :-)
“Alice! Wellnow, Alice, have you ever thought you could do something unbeleivable, something incredibley wonderful, and beautiful and u've had some foolish grownup who did not even KNOW any better tell you that you simply could not do so?”
“Yes, many things..can't cook, can't clean...can't sing, can't dance, can't act. She says I'm nothing but a simple girl.” While Alice was talking the man took out from his pocket a long thin silver chain, with a lovely large crystal on the end.
“Why ever not? :-( Are we BORN actors? Are we BORN dancers, cooks, are we ANYTHING that is not already inside of us?”
“No, we're made. Aren’t we?” Someone in the audience coughed.
“EXACTLY. Today, I shall REMAKE YOU, Alice. I shall make you take use of the inner strength, the inner power of FOURTEEN MEN, ladies and gentlemen, the locked up power within your heart and you will have the strength and courage that will dazzle the audience before you!! *speaking melodramatically and theatrically, but doesn't blow over anyone in the audience much*
“With just that necklace?”
“~_~...sigh. *gets down on one leg so that he is level with her face* Yes. With just this. See? *swings it back and forth in front of her face* It's not much to look at I know, but IT IS pretty...my grandfather the great Bambino the famous traveling magician
who fought the barabarians in the East gave it to me long ago when he...bla bla bla....”
“…belonged to...a great...bla bla bla...strong and horrible giant who...*someone in the audience checks their watch and coughs, man’s voice gets more and more distant and harder to pay attention to, out of boredome and fascination alice just stares at the crystal.*
A chill went through her. Her face started to feel as if it were lead and suddenly their flashed a glimpse of on the crystal’s reflection she saw the bear's eyes looking back at her somber and sad.
“Jupiter...” Alice's vision grows more and more blurred together, she felt sleepy
and peaceful. It was a familiar feeling, one of great content, it reminded her of one particular hot summer day by the brook, not so long ago…she was sitting beside her sister…making daisy chains…and she came upon a…a white…a white something or other. Was it a white cat? A white mare? Was it a bear, or a stag? No something smaller…what was it? A little mouse perhaps…Alice’s eyelids drooped and fluttered.
“I am too late.” she said, in a monotone before all fell tumbling into blackness.
* * * * * *
When Alice finally opened her eyes once more, the crowds were all gone. So were the streetlamps. So was the stage. Instead of a bright stage light shining down into her face, a shaft of sunshine beamed down on her face through the trees. She was lying flat on a big rock in the middle of a big green hillock, and the Cheshire cat was grinning down at her in it’s usual complacent manner.
“Well, look what the Dog dragged in!”