Nov 22, 2019 4:10 PM
Dante in Wonderland
Permalink

It was a few minutes after the bell had rung for the end of the day and Dante was just leaving school premises.

He frowned a little, sighing. He'd been excited for school this morning, had some kind of ineffable feeling that it'd be different for once. He wasn't sure what in particular – maths had gone by normally, computing was boring as ever, French was okay but – as ever – a bit tiresome what with the small class size, and chemistry wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

He really thought today might've been different.

A left after going out the school gate, he continues until the hedge ends and walks a couple of blocks, then heads through a park on his way home. It's very green, lots of trees.

He likes how pretty it is, especially on days like these.

Total: 207
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

Peaceful, too.

That is, until a large white rabbit comes hopping past, dressed in a bonnet and apron and babbling to itself in panic.

"Oh dear, oh dear, I'm going to be late!" 

Permalink

He blinks and looks after it, then runs to catch up with it.

"– I'm sorry, what?"

Permalink

She darts a look over her shoulder at him, but doesn't slow down.

"Can't stop, going to be late!" 

She keeps running, bouncing along at a surprising pace. 

Permalink

"You – are a rabbit –?"

Permalink

 

"Wha – um, yes?"

Still not stopping, although she has now slowed down a little. 

Permalink

"Rabbits do not talk!"

Permalink

Her ears flick down, and back up. 

"Um, sorry?"

She's half turned around to talk to him, but is still hopping forwards, and looks in danger of bumping into something.

Permalink

"Animals are not known to talk! You don't need to apologize, just –!"

He is still trying to keep up with her, seems to be looking behind her in case she hits something.

Permalink

"Sorry?" the rabbit replies, half apology and half confusion.

"I don't really have time to explain, I need to get back –"

She gestures vaguely in front of her.

Permalink

"– Can you just – show me where –?"

Permalink

"Oh, here it is!"

Half-hidden under the hedge is a large hole in the ground. It's far bigger than a rabbit needs, big enough that Dante could fit through it, although it would be a little bit of a squeeze. 

The rabbit hops up to the hole and makes to jump down it, holding on tightly to her bonnet with one paw, and her basket with the other. 

Permalink

He dashes forward to try to – grab her, follow her, maybe just make a dramatic gesture to get her to pause – and trips over his own feet, falling towards the hole.

Permalink

He falls in at almost the same time as the rabbit, tumbling down a slippery spiral which goes far deeper underground than it appeared from the surface.

Strangely, he does not seem to be falling particularly fast, although the benefits of this are somewhat reduced by the fact that he is travelling head-first, and is therefore less able to see where he is going. 

Permalink

He – he would not like to scream, that would not help, he would like to be able to see around himself without hitting himself against anything but he doesn't know if that's possible – can he twist around?

Permalink

Somewhat, although it's difficult, and he can get a better look around at what he's sliding past. At one point there's a set of fine china in a display cabinet against the wall. 

Pretty soon, the spiral slide vanishes from under him - unexpectedly, since he still can't see where he's going - and he finds himself falling through empty space, although not as fast as he might expect. The rabbit pulls out a parasol from somewhere and opens it, slowing her own fall even further. 

Permalink

Dante does not have a parasol and would like to – not hit his head on the ground, not fall head first.

Is the empty space actually empty or does it have a colour or – what?

Permalink

The walls seem to still be the same packed earth as before, but they're further away and more cluttered with objects and picture frames and tapestries. He's falling slowly enough that he has time to appreciate the decor as it goes past, and can now turn himself the right way up if he pushes off something. 

Maybe this conveniently placed chair sticking out sideways from the wall?

Permalink

He does! Convenient chair helps!

Permalink

Then he will continue to drift downwards, right-side-up.

The rabbit is falling somewhat slower, and begins to lag behind.

One of the portraits on the wall, a plump, smiling nun set at a 45-degree angle, waves at him as he passes. 

Permalink

… He waves back and tries to keep his expression less obviously confused.

It doesn't work very well.

Permalink

Below them, the ground begins to come into view, although it's still a long way off. 

They are falling towards a massive chessboard, where the squares are fields and woods, and the borders are roads and rivers. A massive palace rises in the centre, built of shining dark stone. Its grounds are encircled by a dense labyrinth. 

Permalink

What and why – okay he's going to try to keep track of what square he's in, orientation, that sounds possibly important –

Permalink

As he watches, the village in the top-left square vanishes, replaced by an empty field of corn, and reappears down towards the bottom right of the board.

Other squares also seem to be swapping places, although less obviously.

The palace and labyrinth remain constant. They seem to be falling towards a square off one corner of the labyrinth.

Permalink

Oh, convenient, he's being placed near somewhere likely important, okay. He was really not expecting this, he really wasn't expecting this whole thing except insofar as he expected something, but okay.

Can he see a path through the labyrinth, an overground maze that he can memorize a rule of – he doesn't know that he has much time and he'd really rather not waste it.

Permalink

By the time he thinks of this, they've drifted too low for him to be able to trace a path through the labyrinth. The ground is steadily approaching. 

They seem to be landing in a lightly wooded square devoid of any man-made structures. There's a river bordering it on one side, with a bridge in the centre of the square's edge. The other edges are a dirt track, a fence, and a hedge.

Total: 207
Posts Per Page: