Story [1]

Since my main interest lays in literature and science fiction… I sometimes try to write stories myself. If I do, elements from classic literature cross my mind. Not always I can avoid to use them too… meant as a compliment to the genius of the original inventor only.

When I wrote this introduction, there was something going on in my mind… of course. Let’s see (in this little clearing of my personal jungle) , if it finds a way out there ­čśë

Never mind the grown-ups in this story… they are only here, because a little child should never be left alone. Also, if you detect any similarities to actual living (or dead) persons in my fiction… incident or accident, who knows.

The steampunk feeling is intended. Have fun…

January 19th, 2016

 

Another Wonderland

 

The Attic (Chapter I)

When she entered the stairs to the dusty attic, little Angie shortly thought about teatime. Her family would not be amused, if she came late and with dust on her shiny shoes. But curiosity was much stronger now, since she had been warned. Things were stored under the rooftop, for generations. Every piece had a story, not all of them with happy end.

She knew her desire exactly: a white rabbit was the only thing she had seen, when she was up here with her uncle. They stored the decorations from christmas in front of all the old furniture, filled with memorabilia. On a shelf, between boxes, big blue eyes had looked out of the darkness. A little pair of roundrimmed glasses failed in trying to make them look happy.

On tiptoes she tried to avoid to smear her shoes with the dirt of centuries (it seemed to her young mind). Carefully she took the toy with both hands at the long ears, and shook it softly. Small puffs of dust emerged the white fur, which was surprisingly clean. Almost blending in the shadows of the hour.

„Time?“ Angie heard a voice like an echo of her thought, someone calling from downstairs perhaps. Automatically she had pressed the back of the rabbit’s head against her belly, so she felt it, when muffled sounds escaped her fingers. The Rabbit fell down (she feared the long front teeth), and a loud and clear „Outch“ was what she could hear then. „Pshhht!“ she whispered, picked up the furry thing from the ground again, wondering. Absently she brushed the new dust off the toy. Children have their own way of daydreaming, a talking new friend is not the strangest thing in a child’s mind.

„Time, that was my question. What time is it?“ the white rabbit with the huge blue eyes asked now, whispering too. „And please, would you mind to let me down on my own feet, dear mistress?“ Ah, another person with a strictly structured agenda, and his own will, like the adults. She set him down asking:

„What’s your name? I am Angela, but everybody says Angie…“ While he walked back to the boxes, he mumbled only „Hilly is my name, Billy Hilly. And I still don’t know the time… Hmm.“

She giggled „Hi hi hi, Hillybilly, it’s almost teatime. And I have to hurry, if I want to come there in time, you know?“ Busily searching one of the boxes, he answered seriously:

„Okay, then I need my white leisure suit, the black shoes and tie… or. Hmm, decisions everywhere. A rabbit of class like me, alas. By the way, the name I gave you is just a pseudomym, the long list of my real names would only irritate you… Hillybilly will do fine.“

Angie, who was really irritated enough, only looked at him. The boxes he was rummaging through had text on them, but she couldn’t read the old letters. School was a month away, she already couldn’t await to learn more than the letters of her own name. Exitement took over, finally being a schoolgirl, imagine. Suddenly she felt pretty old. She looked to the stairway when she heard a loud call, this time definitely from downstairs: „Girl, wash your hands. And come in the garden then, please.“

When she turned back to Hillybilly, he was still snow-white… but in the meantime he had dressed himself,┬á in an elegant evening gown, with acessoires all in white too. A golden chain ran from his pocket to a front paw, where he held a golden clock. „I am ready. Please, let me sit in your arms. And it will be better, if I stay silent now. Let’s have a tea party, my dear.“

 

The Garden (Chapter II)

Summertime made the countryside a beautiful place to be, and this jewelbox of a wild garden with flowers everywhere was Angies own paradise on earth. In the center her family gathered around a big table, the complete furniture out here was in whitepainted metal and seemed to float weightless in the green from her point of view. A path of flat stones led to the group, Angie held her new friend in the arms and followed it.

She took her place (climbing) in a kind of metal-sofa, where a big seat-cushion helped her to reach the table, and her tea. In the edge now Hillybilly leaned at her side, eyes wide open. None of the big ones (she was the only child of a bigger family, cousins of mum and dad often lived here too)… no one lost a word about her white toy guest. Aunt and uncle changed a quite uneasy look, they had warned their niece. But the rabbit seemed to be harmless.

The girl lived in her own world most of the time, parents and grandparents seemed more like landmarks to her. Mobile perhaps, but steady in their presence. She had to fear nothing, because she was never really alone. Only… what she missed a bit: a friend in her own age. Or size, she thought, trying to catch grandmothers eye (not easy, when your own eye has the same level as the table-decorations). Ha, the next thought was natural: Who knows how old Hillybilly was, alas (Angie loved this new word). But he was definitely not bigger than her, a good thing to begin with.

When she thought about her family (and her size), she always ended up with grandma, who was the tiniest old woman she had ever seen. Grey curls surrounded a face filled with wrinkles… sharp grey eyes… (and every time she looked at Angie) a friendly smile. The features of a loved face. The little girl often wondered, if she would perhaps stay small too. One day she had asked the old Lady, who shrugged and said: „What will be, will be, my dear. First enjoy your childhood, play as many games as you want. While you do so, growing big is happening all by itself, you’ll see. And some will grow more big than others. I think it’s for the tailors… with all those different sizes in confection… they will never get bored.“

Must be true, Angie had thought… remembering the models that were drawn in her mothers magazines. The ones about dresses and gloves, shoes and handbags. All those models looked alike, fragile fairies with long arms and legs. Thin bodies pressed in the form of a sandglass. She knew about the „pressure“, because she had seen, what mom did to shape her body, before everything was hidden by a colourful outfit. Underneath the colours was a sort of cage for the belly, resulting in a figure like a wasp, in an invisible shield… the girl shuddered. Her mother was a slender woman, and in her opinion did not need this. But, what adults needed or not… that’s mostly a riddle for a little girl.

Meanwhile, over all these memories, she had finished her sandwiches and jasmin-tea. Mother and the aunts began to clean the table. Dad took plates to the house, he would soon be sitting in his studio (mom’s name for his home office). There he studied the newspapers and smoked cigarettes, half hidden behind an antique globe on his giant ebony study table. The walls behind him were filled with old books and other papers on shelves, which gave the room an individual smell, combined with the aromes of sweet tobacco smoke.

He never smoked, when she was with him, even out here in the garden he didn’t touch a cigarette then. A fresh and cool breeze reminded her of time again. Grandma came back from the kitchen and discovered the white bunny, she seemed not very surprised: „Oh, this gentleman toy still exists… and you have found it. Of course, who else?“ „You know him? How old is he?“ Angie forgot to close her mouth. „When your mother was a little girl, do you remember the album… ? We bought her this white rabbit, and he came with a few boxes, filled with wardrobe and other properties. But my daughter never loved Sir Goodhill, that was his name, if I remember it correctly. The military equipment for him has never been unpacked, and soon he went to the attic.“ Angie frowned. What if Mom didn’t like her playing with a toy that was once her own, loved or not?

„Angie, if you now go to the bathroom and make yourself ready for bedtime, I’ll get the rabbit’s properties for you. Best we put them in your playroom, before I tell you the bedtime-story.“ „Oh, Thank you! Grandmother, you are my best!“ She grabbed the rabbit by his ears and slid from the cushion on the lawn. With the dancing jumps of a little girl she made her way to the house. The mother of her mother watched it, softly smiling. An hour later, when the adults had a small summer-evening meal… Angie was dreaming, while Sir Goodhill had found a place in a bed that was made for a princess doll. What had found no place in this bed were his ears. But, he was softly snoring.

 

The Dream (Chapter III)

Let me tell you a secret: When a child and a white rabbit sleep in the same room, they share the first dream.

And, as Angie took the doll’s bed from the playroom to her bedchamber… she did not know this. All she knew was, that her new friend, who closed his blue eyes when he was layed down on his back, should not sleep alone. None of her other toys was able to talk, and a lot of them lived in the playroom, where she had a dollhouse and boardgames too. In front of a window was her „school of puppets“. Rows of little tables, dolls sitting on small chairs, looking to Angie’s blackboard.

Of course she was the teacher here, only now a sleepless princess doll had to stand there at the blackboard. Princess was the only one with a voice here, she was a modern type of doll who had a phonograph in her torso. Pulling a ring between her shoulders activated it, and short sentences came out… like: have some tea? let us play. brush hair? change dress. have a meal? brush teeth. No real ability to talk, but perfect for a doll teacher.

Angie entered her school of puppets, put an apple on her desk and turned to the blackboard. Princess had just wiped it clean, put the sponge aside and went away to the dollhouse. On a small bench she sat down, the other side was occupied by Sir Goodhill. Two spectators, Angela had a strange feeling that was new to her. She was nervous, without knowing why. Princess was motionless again, as usual. Sir GoodhillÔÇŽ had changed clothes, he was wearing a dark blue collection with his golden clock.

Which he checked now, to look up and ask: ÔÇ×Little Miss, perhaps I can show your students some science? You must know, I am a doctor. My whole equipment is over there.“ He pointed a paw to the other side of the dollhouse, where his boxes were stapled in form of a pretty big pyramide. Because this was only a dream, what the girl wasn’t aware of… she could miraculously read, what was written on them.

– Warranted High Quality Toy – Educated And Educating –

– Meet The Astonishing Sir Goodhill – Let Him Entertain You –

To be entertained seemed a quite good idea for Angie, so she just nodded. „Alas, as I see… I need your assistance here, your size is better for this task.“ He looked up to the top box, and she saw his problem at once. Quickly she took the boxes, and arranged them in a long line for him. On the top lids she could read (but not understand totally) what they contained. The one he opened was labeled: Laboratory.

The girl saw glasses and bottles, a white lab coat and instruments a lot. One he took to her desk, and when he turned a switch, a lamp began to glow… first only a spark, then brighter. „Here we have energy. We need it for almost everything today“ He turned the switch off again. Next came some wires, the white rabbit connected them with the first apparatus, and took another out of the laboratory box. This one looked like a box itself, black outside with metalrimmed holes for more cables. Two more wires were fixed to it, without comment this time. The rabbit looked around and asked: „Anyone interested in seeing his dreams fulfilled? Perhaps you, my Dear Princess… Would you mind to come over for an experiment in higher science?“

While Princess walked to the little teacher’s desk, Sir Goodhill put a sortiment of silver rings in different sizes on the desk. They had cable fittings too, and after he took the little golden crown of her head, he put the silver ring with the same size in it’s place instead. After connecting the ring with the wires coming from the black box, the white rabbit operated a kind of dial on the box, until he was satisfied with the settings. „Now, when I turn the switch at my source of energy… please think about the thing, that is your greatest wish in the world, my Princess.“

The lamp flashed on, slowly went dark and then again bright. In the light of it stood… a black unicorn, very beautiful with brown eyes (in the background of those eyes was a shimmering red reflection). Princess ran to it, the silver ring fell down unnoticed. With porcellain arms she hugged the unicorn, which obviously liked her too. And now, something marvellous happened: Black wings spread from the unicorn’s shoulders, Princess climbed on it’s back. The glass wings of the window above opened up… and off the two of them rode… into the star-sprinkled night sky.

 

Day Two (Chapter IV)

When Angie opened her eyes, she felt a tear running down the cheek… her Princess was gone. Oh… and the chaos next door! Mom would be upset about all the toys on the ground. So she shortly used the bathroom, dressed quickly and entered her playroom. Openmouthed (again) she stopped at the double winged door, which connected it with her bedchamber. No trace of the latenight school lesson in sight. The rabbit’s boxes stood as before, to the left of the dollhouse. The small garden bench was empty now. Her little dolls were in their class, looking at: Princess! Yes… a big stone rolled down from her heart. She could almost hear it thumping on the ground.

Or, what did she hear? It thumped again, louder now, behind her back. Turning around Angie saw Sir Goodhill in pyjamas, jumping up and down, spreading his legs and arms, the next jump he stretched an seemed to catch the clouds. This impression matched: his pyjamas had the colour of the morning sky and a cloud pattern. On the breast pocket she could see the embroidered image of a white rabbit head. „Morning sports… the best start… for a good day.“ he puffed out of breath „Very healthy…┬á you should… try it too.“ and he jumped on, long ears flapping.

„Looks tiring“ she answered, going to the window. There she climbed a bench that stood in front, stretched herself too, and opened the window, to have a look at the weather and the garden. „Better you get some fresh air with your morning sports“ she smiled. „For me it’s time for breakfast now. Shall I bring you some crackers, or perhaps a slice of bread, when I come back?“ „Please, water first, crackers later. Thank you my dear.“ He now ran on his place, rising his big bunny feet pretty high with each step.

Angie had to think a while. Water from the bathroom, no problem. But how to serve it to him, the glass of her toothbrush was much to big and heavy. Oh, there still was her set of china for the princess doll: tiny cups for little paws. So she took the whole set on a tray from the playroom to the bathroom, filled the teapot, and brought it back to him. „Here is your water. Have to go… I see you later.“ She left the white rabbit, who was jumping again, only now after every second jump he was kneeling down.

For breakfast the child was allowed to have some „tea for grown-ups“, her own name for Earl Grey. And she loved the taste, with buttered toast… it was her own best start for a good day. Mother had tried to feed her nourishing porridge in the mornings. Slime, and salted, Angie had thought, and refused to eat enough of it. So she got buttered toast, with marmelade or cheese. When her plate and cup were empty, she took them to the kitchen, where her grandmother already worked at the big old hearth. Peeled oranges waited… soon they would be cooked (with sugar and tiny pieces of the peel) to another load of delicious marmelade. Here the toasts have been roasted too, this center of the kitchen inventory was as hot as hell.

„Mmh, do you have enough sugar? You know, Grandma… the marmelade was not so sweet today.“ Angie remarked, smiling. And she got the usual answer: „Marmelade has to be bitter, so we never forget… life can be bitter too, my little girl.“

She already knew, not every wish could be fulfilled. But she had one more desire, so she said: „I see. May I have some crackers then? I wanted to care for my flowerbeds… in the garden. Afterwards I am always hungry, Grandma.“ „Naturally, work produces hunger. Your mother is already out in the front garden, with her roses.“ The old lady took out a tinbox and gave it to Angie.

The box was painted with bright colours, nature scenery with funny little animals in search for wild food. On top was a tiny white bunny, eating a carrot.

to be continued . . . . .

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