Love Hurts: Ch.1-Severus. ( A DarkAlice fiction)(prose)

Chapter 1: Severus

‘Pity, Severus’, said Alice with authority, ‘is far worse than hate or fear.
It’s the one thing that possesses the true potential to actually kill you.’
Severus started back at her, eyes wide.
Alice leaned toward him confidingly, causing him to wriggle uncomfortably.
‘All that other stuff hurts for a while, don’t get me wrong. But pity? Pity runs you through like a sword, and it’s a wound that never fully heals. That shit right there Sev’? It will fuck you up well hard.’

She looked down at the gurgling baby in the black stroller. His..mother, (she presumed), had parked him next to Alice, who was sitting on a bench outside the store, with a negligent air of ‘here, mind this’, without really looking at Alice very closely. She had simply assumed that a smallish girl reading a book.. an ‘actual paper book’, on a public bench must be fairly harmless.

So Alice had kept an eye on him, despite having formed an instant dislike of his mother, dubbing him ‘Severus’ after the character ‘Snape’ in the Harry Potter books, and set about instilling in him all the advice she felt Snape would have eventually gotten around to giving to Harry, had he been given the opportunity of more than one ‘final speech’.
But we all only get one, and Snape had chosen his as he had seen most fitting.

‘So, Sev’, baby..’ she smirked, laying on her favourite pun, ‘that’s about it really. Oh, and stay away from girls with…’
‘Hey, what are you doing? Get the hell away from my baby!’
Alice was leaning partly over the stroller, about to bid Baby Sev’ farewell, when his mother had returned, and getting a fresh look at Alice, who was dressed in her usual ‘day to day’ ‘up the street’ wear, a mix of conservative Cybergoth mixed with BrownCoat from Firefly, and decided she didn’t like the strange/ unusual get-up this weird girl was in, especially leaning over her child.

Alice went to push the stroller away from herself, towards the woman who was bearing down on her at full steam. ‘Don’t touch that stroller!’, the woman almost screamed, ‘or so help me, I will slap your skinny little ass into next week.’
‘Skinny little ass’, Alice mouthed silently, taking in the woman’s appearance, quickly realising from her loud commands, business styled dress and hair, as well as carrying a bit more height than the usual female, that this woman was ‘a ball buster’.

However, Alice smiled to herself, most probably the kind of ball buster that was unaware of the 3” soles adorning goth boots, and akin to a bird, that many blended layers could easily billow out, making you seem larger than you were. And when combined with an absurd sense of melodrama, which Alice had buckets of, well…

Alice succeeded in judging the timing just right. The woman had almost reached her, and started another line of, ‘I swear, I will..’

Just as she got to them, Alice stood abruptly, right in front of the woman, and with ‘juuuust’ a touch of Scottish brogue, swayed towards the woman, projecting loudly, with almost a hiss in her words , the brogue giving her voice a nice extra rich growl, ‘YOOOUUUUUUU, annd WHOOOOOOSE FUCKIN’ ARMEH?’ While giving the woman her best practised ‘evil and menacing’ stare.

The woman backed up, startled by Alice’s unexpected height and ferocity. Alice shrugged her arms, letting her layers of cloth start to flutter out and shift forward, making it look as if she was growing larger.
At this point, the woman grabbed her baby up and, at almost a run, hurried off up the street, presumably to find the police or someone, just, leaving the stroller there.

She looked up to see the shop assistant from the store that the woman had just been in, standing in the doorway of the shop watching and smiling broadly. Her smile indicated that the woman hadn’t been the easiest customer.
Alice wondered how much she had seen..
She gave the girl a wink. The girl grinned wider, before returning inside.
Alice recognised her from school. She wasn’t ever particularly very nice , but then again, she couldn’t recall her ever being particularly mean. That seemed to be the way it had been at school, hate Alice, or ignore Alice, only a rare few tried to be friends with Alice.

She scowled, as that thought essentially brought her back around to where she was warning Sev about pity.
Then , having done nothing wrong, sat back down and resumed reading.

(Cont…)

Cast Down. (Prosaic whimsy)

Cast Down. Part 1. ( A DarkAlice Novella)

Just as Alice was beginning to grow ENTIRELY even MORE bored, the ArchAngels reappeared.

They had been gone rather a long time, Alice thought to herself.
Although to Alice, any span much greater than the time required to spin completely once around, was rather a long time.

They had waited just long enough to tell her to ‘WAIT HERE’, before vanishing, leaving her standing alone in the middle of a large and rather featureless chamber.

But now they had returned , from where-ever it was they had gone, and had taken up their previous positions behind the lecterns at the front of the room.

Or was it the back of the room?
The large ornate doors by which one entered the room were the only real decor of note, and certainly a good candidate for claiming the status of ‘front’ of the room. So perhaps…

Alice tilted her head back until she could see the doors of the chamber, a task made easier by the fact that she was sitting on the floor.
‘Waiting for Angels makes your feet terribly sore’, she had thought grumpily.

She tipped her head forward again to look at the lecterns, then back over her head to consider the doors, back and forth, again and again, until she started to grow rather dizzy.

“ALICE”.
A voice boomed from the front of the room, and startled, she fell backwards with a shriek, sprawling on the floor, legs in the air.
She thought she heard a chorus of sighs through her skirts, which were now halfway over her head.
A brief struggle ensued, and eventually, but not quite as triumphantly as she had hoped, she managed to untangle her skirts and scramble to her feet.
She was glad she had decided not to take her shoes off after all, although the hole in one of the toes had perhaps played a larger role in that decision.

She couldn’t decide which of the ArchAngels had spoken, as they all sounded the same to her. When they spoke, she couldn’t tell if was out loud like regular people, or directly into her head, which was rather rude if so. It was she eventually decided, a glass half full and a glass half empty, which made perfect sense to her, as they went hand in hand, unsure why it deserved a saying.

‘They look the same too, for all in tents and porpopises’. She thought, gazing at them.
Although what dolphins wanted with camping equipment was beyond her, as were many of the ‘sayings’ she had collected.

She supposed it had been Gabriel, his being the only Angel name she could remember, and that was as good a reason as any to label him thus.

‘Yes, your majest…er…worsh….. ahh…Sir?’ She tried to look respectful , and tried not to think of chubby little kids with wings and bows.

‘THOSE, ARE CHERUBS’, the center-most Angel spoke.

‘Sorry’, she said, not really sure she’d done anything wrong.

‘QUITE ALL RIGHT’.
Was it her imagination, or did the ArchAngel sound…embarassed?

‘I didn’t mean’, she started., remembering the mental image, ‘that is, I’m sure yours is bigger than that.’
She turned red, desperately trying not to think ‘tiny winkies’. But, as when someone tells you not to think of a purple elephant, that’s the only thing you CAN think of.

The angels looked confused, and she giggled, wondering if they were reading from her jumbled mental images of purple elephants with tiny winkies, or perhaps tiny elephants with purple winkies..

After processing for a moment, Gabriel made a dismissive motion with his hand, and Alice’s head was quite clear and attentive, which she considered rather unfair, and much akin to cheating.

Gabriel continued, getting straight to the point, as one might expect.
‘THERE HAS BEEN A…MIX UP.’ He looked even more embarrassed than before, if such a thing were possible.

Alice waited, confused.

‘WE CANNOT FIND YOUR FILE, YOU DO NOT SEEM TO EXIST.’

Alice blinked.
‘What?!’

‘THERE IS NO RECORD OF YOU HERE. WELL, ANYWHERE, REALLY….’

Silence, then she asked slowly, as she tried to figure it out, ‘So what does that mean’?

Gabriel shifted uneasily.
‘WITHOUT A RECORD, WE CANNOT PROCESSS YOU. YOU ARE.. FREE TO GO.
TRY NOT GET YOURSELF KILLED. AGAIN’
He tapped his wrist pointedly.

‘Is it because I’m a Glassian’? she asked, feeling angry. ‘You won’t let me in your stupid heaven ‘cos I’m a Glassian?’

The ArchAngels looked at her blankly.

‘A Glassian!’, she elaborated. ‘A believer in all things through The Looking Glass’.

The Angels conferred briefly, before one of them asked.

“IS THAT LIKE AN ATHEIST? OR A PAGAN?”

‘Arrrrrghhhhhhh!’.
Alice screamed and stamped her foot.
‘Listen here, you Castiel wannabe!’ she said sternly, ‘My talking rabbits and infinite Tea Parties are just as real as any of your implausible teapots, purple unicorns or invisible sky daddies’.

‘ALICE’.
The tone was cautionary.

‘And you know what you can do with that book? Why you can . . . .’
Gabriel gestured hastily, and the world went black.

Alice sighed, and opened her eyes.
She looked down at her blood soaked dress, and freshly healed scars.
Not having burned in Hell aside, it seemed things were worse than she had thought.

Apparently she didn’t even exist…

“Good One Alice’, she said to the air, sitting forlornly on the ground in the middle of what appeared to me some kind of meadow. She didn’t recognise her location.
‘Now, you’ve really gone and done it..’

(to be cont..)

Next! ( prose sketch)

‘Have faith, Alice, and everything will be alright in the end…’

Alice looked over her left shoulder, squinting into the setting sun as she briefly appraised the figure beside her on the ledge.
She looked back to the right. The train was still some distance off, and would slow as it reached this stop.
Her plan was to jump on top of it, as she has done many times, not in front of it.
But there was no need to tell the Angel that.

‘New, Huh?’, she asked, sliding down and leaning against the low wall.
There was still a few minutes to waste.

‘I am, yes, to your case at least, not to Guardianship.’ The melodic voice paused, then added ‘I have had quite a number of wards.’
Alice nodded, pulling out a toothpick and sucking on the end. She wasn’t sure what that was all about, but it looked badass on TV.
She got peppermint flavoured ones, cos if you’re gonna chew on a bit of wood, you might as well end up with fresh breath.

‘Had’. She said, ‘Where are they all now?’
She knew where they were, there was only one way a Guardian Angel took on a new ward.
‘Well, dead, naturally..’ The Angel started..
Alice laughed. ‘That’s reassuring’

She stood up and climbed back onto the outcrop of broken wall that allowed her access to this otherwise forbidden area overlooking the rails.
She was good at finding these sort of places.

‘What I mean is’, the Angel was fumbling to explain, ‘is that when a previous ward dies, even peacefully of old age, we are assigned a new ward to look after.’
The train was approaching the station, slowing down for its stop, to let passengers on and off.
‘That’s kind of like the deal I have’, Alice replied, turning around to face the Angel, her back to the now darkened sky. ‘I’ve had a few Guardian Angels, but they keep assigning me new ones’.

The hiss and clatter below signified the train was practically at a stand still. It wouldn’t stay that way long.
‘That’s unusual,’ the Angel frowned, ‘what happened to the previous ones?’.
Alice let the toothpick drop from her lip and flicked it deftly out of the air as it fell.
She’d spent forever practicing that move.

‘Some died. Most quit’, she said, touching her hand to her forehead in mock salute.
She stepped backwards, dropping off the ledge into the darkness below.

‘Oh dear’, murmured the Angel.

Checking In. (prose)

‘And how are things with you these days, Alice?’, inquired The Cheshire Cat.

‘Well’, she answered, ‘You know that feeling when everything seems to be working out?
Your chickens have all come home to roost.

There’s a glorious sunrise, and finally, life is good’?

‘No’, replied The Cat, ‘ I can’t say that I do’.

‘Oh’, said Alice, thoughtfully, then after a little while, rather sadly, ‘Me neither’.

all I ever do (prose)

‘You’re doing it again, Alice’.
The Caterpillar exhaled swirling purple smoke as he nodded solemnly.

Hi ‘And YOU’RE doing it again, Absolem’, said Alice, distractedly. Her board game, in which she was playing all four of the players, was coming to a critical stage, and she wasn’t entirely sure what any of the others of herself might do next.
‘Doing what?’, asked The Caterpillar, puzzled.

‘Precisely!’ She exclaimed, not entirely certain what her point had been, but quite confident she had scored on that round.

Absolem just puffed silently on his hookah, staring at her.

Alice concentrated fiercely on her game. However, she was so determined on ignoring him that she did nothing but ignore him, and consequently lost all track of her game.
Eventually the suspense became too great, and she threw down the pieces in exasperation.

‘Fine!’, she snapped , ‘what am I doing, apparently so amazingly well, that I don’t know I’m even doing It!?’

‘There’s much you can offer the world.’
Absolem was frustrated, and beginning to grow angry.
‘You have gifts, Alice, and you’re just….’
He paused, searching for the right words.

‘Fucking things up?’.
Her eyes watered and she rubbed at them angrily.

‘YES!’, snapped Absolem, his temper breaking.

‘Well I thought you would have expected it by now. Because I do that, you know….It’s..’
Alice’s voice finally cracked, and hot tears rolled down her cheek.
‘…It’s all I ever do’.

Letter to the editor..

Dear Alice,

It is with great indifference that I write to inform you of the death of your soul.

You may, by now, have noticed feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, anxiety and similar sensations, to a persistent and overwhelming degree.

Nevermind, it’s not as though you were using it in the first place.

Regards,

Alice.

hypomania (prose)

‘Really Alice?.. Now?’

The Cheshire Cats’ voice was admirably sarcastic, but that was nothing unusual.

‘Piece of cake Chesh’, Alice beamed, holding the defunct headset and giving it a shake, as though the broken wiring might rattle loudly, just for the occasion.

‘All I have to do is take the casing to pieces, strip some wires, resolder the connection, and sure as cupcakes, these headphones will be back on me, mixing beats before it’s time for tea…again.’

She paused, sucking her lip thoughtfully.

‘Is it just me, or does it seem, more than less, on the larger part, that it’s almost always time for tea?’

The Cheshire Cat sighed. ‘ Then I’m sure you’re aware its already well after midnight?’

Alice nodded absently, turning the headset over. ‘There’s no accounting for the unexpected timing of a well brewed pot’.

He rolled his eyes, ‘You know quite well what I mean’.

She gestured in what she imagined to be a reassuring manner.
‘It’s a simple procedure….in theory..’
She eyed the headset suspiciously, as if her statement might suddenly cause it to act otherwise.

He said more firmly, ‘and you haven’t had even the slightest amount of sleep in over two days now, Alice.
Are you sure your judgement is sound?’

She put the headset back on the desk next to the wide array of mostly unnecessary tools.

‘I’m engaged, as is oft’ the case, in a conversation with a talking cat.’ replied Alice.
I’m not sure why you would have reason to suspect ANY of my mental acuity is even remotely sound’.

She picked up a small prybar and leaned over the plastic casing.
‘Just like a lobster at lunch’ she said, reaching out…

‘ALICE!’
Cheshire’s voice was quite stern.
‘You may, perhaps, recall, that’s an expensive headset you’re about to….pry out of it’s shell?’

‘Yes Chesh. I know that.’

‘You may also recall, that your knowledge of electronics is entirely self discovered….
And you should well remember… what happened last time you attempted soldering..’
His tone was loaded with meaning.

She stared at him without expression.
‘I’m not sure I see your point.’ she said flatly.

The fire had been almost entirely an accident.

She pushed down with the prybar.

The headset split open at the seam with a rather satisfying “Crack”.

‘Wow!’
She shone the light into the cavity,
‘Look at those wires…

They’re REALLY THIN!’

Cheshire sighed again , sounding rather resigned.

‘It’s ok Chesh, I saw this once on a TV show….you always cut the blue wire.’
She paused.
‘Or is it green ..?’

Cheshire coughed.
‘It’s a headset Alice, not a bomb’.

She grinned, reaching for a small screwdriver.
‘ Well then, there’s nothing to worry about….’

…. Half an hour later she made a contented noise, and put the reassembled set down onto the desk.

She looked at it warily.

‘Why do you suppose,’ Alice said to the now sleeping cat, ‘that there are always all these parts left over……?’

what goes up.. (prose)

Alice hummed happily, sketching away on her notebook.
She had met nice new people, and was enjoying making art.
She thought it was nice to be happy for a change.

Happy…
The thought paralyzed her.
Ice flooded through her veins, and a shadow loomed above her.
“That’s right Alice, you forgot the rules”, came a voice.

“No”, begged Alice, “I wasn’t, I mean, I was, but just a little bit, and I thought maybe…”

“THERE IS NO HAPPINESS ALLOWED HERE”, the shadow hissed at her .
“THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES”.

“No, please, I don’t want to, not again “..

The infinitely black hands reached down inside her, finding all the small fragments of joy that had begun to form, and casually tore them apart.
Overwhelmed by pain and sadness, Alice barely noticed as she was lifted like a rag doll and cast into The Hole of Shadows.
“WHAT GOES UP, MUST GO DOWN, ALICE”.

She fell forever…

“Never again…”
Falling endlessly downward, Alice didn’t know which of them had whispered the words…

Perfectly Clear (prose)

‘It isn’t so much as what it never was’, said Alice, awkwardly attempting to adopt a stance and tone of voice approximating what she imagined a university professor might assume, ‘but rather, what it wasn’t ever in the first place’.

She paused, trying to follow her own thoughts.

‘For example’, she attempted to clarify.

‘If you break this tea cup..’

She picked up the nearby object and dropped it to the ground, adding a small flourish for effect, but it merely bounced, several times, then rolled to a stop, defiantly intact.
She glared at the offender, then stomped on it furiously until it was only small pieces.
“Like so..”, She announced.

‘You not only destroy the many cups of tea it might have been, but also the many cups of tea it never was.’

‘Aren’t those the same thing?’, asked the Dormouse, who was the only one really paying attention.

Alice frowned, not entirely certain, but unwilling to appear wrong at this point, drew herself up importantly.

‘Decidedly not!’ She declared.

Apples & Fish (prose)

a creative writing exercise..

‘Do you suppose, Chesh, that sometimes fish are people too?’
Alice threw another apple into the pond, gazing absently at the resulting microcosm of radiating waves.
She looked over at the Cheshire Cat, who had been asleep underneath a nearby tree for most of the afternoon.
‘And they say there’s no such thing as a stupid question..’, the cat yawned lazily, before promptly returning to what appeared to be an attempt to sleep soundly through the entire day.

Alice shrugged. It didn’t matter if no one was listening.
Picking up a nearby apple, she nibbled it as she continued her thought.
‘What I mean to say is…’, she said ‘do you wonder if fish sometimes wish to be someone else?’
‘It seems normal, when feeling awfully rotten, to wish you were somewhere else, or rather, some one else. For me anyway.’
She scrunched up her face as the strong memory of doing just such a thing swept over her..
‘But.. If I were somewhere else, I would still be myself, simply in a different place, and well, I don’t think that’s the problem in this case. As they say, wherever you go, there you are.’
She eyed the apple she was holding, inspecting it for rot, before hurling it violently into the pond, where it floated, bobbing about with the others.

‘So if I were to be someone else, I would most likely be somewhere else as well, otherwise there wouldn’t be much room where I am standing.’
She looked down thoughtfully, then took a step to the side, just in case.
‘Two pigeons on the other side of the fence’. She laid a finger alongside her nose knowingly.
‘That being the case, if I were to be someone else, it wouldn’t be very long before that someone was me anyway.’ She counted on her fingers, trying to work out how to calculate ‘instantaneously’.
‘Not veryyyy long, anyhow’. She scratched her nose.
‘And me, myself, as someone else, would, with my luck, be just as unhappy and just as likely to be someone who wishes they were someone else as well!
No, that just won’t do’.

She cast her eye over the fallen fruit, looking for a likely candidate.
‘I suppose, when you look at it contrarywise , it’s more a case of wishing not to be myself, or be anyone really, rather than wanting to be another me.
Is it such a preposterous proposition to ponder that a fish may well wish to be other than its own woeful watery self?’
She gathered a few of the ripest apples on offer.
“To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core…’, she quoted absently.
‘What if EVERYONE EVERYWHERE feels this way!?’. She her eyes unfocused, and she felt almost insulted by the notion.
‘What if all this time, not a soul has been happy being themselves, and JUST PRETENDING!’.
She stamped her foot! To imagine! The sheer nerve of them!
Her brow furrowed, she was down to the mystery now.
So…everyone that smiles, and says ‘as you please’, and tells you to behave, and not to rub apricot jam on your baby brother, why they just did it so that…that..so that you’d do the same!
She knew it!
‘It’s all a cabin-ski’ She announced uncertainty.
‘Co-pirate-ski?…Oh, well.’
‘Regardless, if no one wants to be themselves, and it seems I was right about that, and everyone is all full up anyhow, no vacancies, then what am I to do’?

Alice sank to the ground and buried her hands in the cool soil, surrounded by apple trees and the buzzing of industrious bees.
‘I can’t stand it, Chesh’, her voice was barely a whisper. ‘The endless…me’.
Nothing is here that wants to be here. Nothing should be here.
I’m not particularly fond of anything I find, inside or out.
The world is like a washed out water painting, and the only things that bear upon me to take notice, oh, they hurt, Cat, they hurt so much’.
She blinked, then laughed, a bleeding, savage laugh.
‘I can’t even cry. There’s not even that now!’

She got up, two ripening weapons of choice in hand, and walked towards the pond.
‘I’m stuck inside myself, with nothing, not even hate! And surrounded by liars and fakers’.
She screamed.
‘HATE! FAKERS! LIARS!’
Then, ‘SPINACH!’, just for good measure.
She spun furiously, sliding the apple at the water, imagining it to be a rock that would smash into the surface.
‘Splosh’. It somewhat anticlimactically joined the rest.
Alice stood on the edge of the water, and stared at the moving trails of light sliding over the deep water.
She swayed slightly as she recited;
“…Like as the waves make towards the pebb’d shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before..”

‘Can’t be me. Can’t be not-me. Why be anything at all?’, Alice muttered to herself, mezmerized by the water.
”Oh Alice, look what you’ve done!”, they’ll say, and take my things away again…They took that mirror away soon enough, after things got bloody, but I kept telling them, it was HER, not me’.
‘I should just throw myself into the pond!’, she DECLARED,
‘Better to be nothing on purpose than nothing because of some STUPID COSMIC JOKE’, she shrieked!
She stared at the water, watching as it rocked gently back and forth, thinking it seemed calm and deep, somewhere she could sleep.

‘Well, on second thought’, she said, biting into her apple.
‘I’d better not disturb the fish. You never know if fish might be people too’.


Time to come down. (prose)

I smelled her before I heard her.
The smell of ozone, and freshly cut grass.

She stood quietly behind me, watching as I teetered along the edge of the rooftop, eyes squeezed shut, singing as gleefuly and loudly as I was able;

“Singin’ Radiohead at the top of our lungs,
With the boom box blaring as … ”

I stopped, thought for a moment, then spun neatly on one foot to face her.

“Do you suppose”, I pondered aloud, “That p’raps I should be singing Radiohead at the top of my lungs, instead of singing at the top of my lungs about singing Radiohead at the top of my lungs?
It hardly makes much sense to sing about singing about something, when one may just as well sing it to begin with!”.

I nodded, satisfied, as I wobbled slightly on the narrow ledge. It was perfectly marvelous logic.

“Alice”, she said gently “It’s time to come down.”

“It’s alright”, I waved my hand around like a proud performer, “I shan’t fall off, its…at least somewhat partially safe”.

She looked at me reproachfully; “You know what I mean, Alice.”

I pouted. I knew exactly what she meant.
“I’m sure no one would mind if I stayed a little longer…”
Hopeful…

“You’ve been up for over two weeks now”.
It sounded accusatory.

“Yes! Two glorious weeks up!”
I grinned. “It’s been simply wonderous”.

She frowned at me. “Alice. You know how this works.”
Silence.

“Alice..”

“Fine. It was getting boring anyhow”, I lied.
It was never boring.

I stepped down onto the roof as she held out her hands.
Coated in the blackest of black.
Blackness so dark it was more like an absence of light than a physical substance.

She look at me with a strangely sad expression.
“Brace yourself Alice, I’m afraid this one is going to leave a mark.”
She leaned forward and put her hands inside my head…

I screamed.

Across the table, my mother looked up from her dinner plate.
“Did you say something, honey?

Alice?!”.