My seventh story in the series of those not accepted by journals for publication is about… Well, you will discover.
Cenessa in Aliceland
As she trudged down the alley, Cenessa saw a small white rabbit disappear into a building-side storm drain.
Cenessa fumbled for her smart phone then selected a contact number. After three rings, a girl voice quoted, “But I don’t want to go among mad people.” Cenessa tapped the disconnect button then tapped the contact button again. There was a pause. A message played in baritone, “Dr. Hatter is out of the office for the day. Please leave your name with a number where you can be reached and a brief statement of need.”
An electronically generated voice echoed inside the storm drain, “Isn’t it great, that now it’s you who are late.”
Cenessa stepped toward the storm drain from where she’d heard the voice. The opening faded and was replaced by weathered red brick and gray mortar matching the building wall.
Confused, she ran. The brick walls closed in on her. She ran faster. I’ll make it to the end of the alley, and this will be over. The harder she ran, the faster the walls squeezed together.
A voice echoed in the man-made canyon, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” I don’t see Red Queen. Why can I hear her?
Cenessa stopped. The squeezing walls did likewise.
She turned toward where she’d entered the alley. I’ll go back. Maybe the alley walls will too. She trudged back to where she’d seen the open drain and the alley widened. It looked as it did before, then the face of a grinning cat appeared in the drain. Cenessa screamed, “How do I get out of here?”
The cat’s answer was, “Do you mean this place or your mind?”
Glaring at the opening, she shouted, “I don’t know! I just want out!”
She knew the Cat’s answer was a paraphrase. “If you don’t know from what you’re running any road can take you there.”
Fearing to run and experience closing walls, she trudged into the street where she’d entered the alley. The words of Alice echoed in Cenessa’s mind, “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
Someone picked Cenessa up from the street where she’d fallen, saying, “That’s amazing – you didn’t even spill your mocha when you fell?”
As my octogenarianism continues, my mind wanders as I wonder.
Or could it be that my mind wonders as I wander?