The Rabbit's Path
Under the blanket of gray swirling dull clouds, inked between the blue sky and the muddy spring earth was a young man. Alexander Hartt was walking through Little Creek Park; he had walked this same path at least three times a week for the last ten years. Alex had moved into this metropolis by the sea two years after his birth, he could not remember why or from where exactly. He did know it had been a move that spanned countries. His parents both worked as ambassadors for foreign nations. They never stayed in town long, in fact, until he was fifteen he had seen baby sitters come and go more often than his own mother and father. This day was just like all the rest before, the sky was in the middle of cloudy and clear. The wind brushed through his reddish brown hair after caressing his hallowed face.
Alex placed his black and white checkered book bag down on a bench, pulled out his sketchpad and sat down to draw his favorite sculpture. It was as tall as he was, a masked figure emerging from a vaguely heart shaped wall. The stone person had managed to get its foot, its arm, its whole head, part of its torso and most of its leg out as if it was leaning into a new world it had never known existed. The clouds grew restless and threatened to storm. A small stream trickled at the bottom of the man-made hill. Flipping the pages with one hand he shuffled through his book bag with the other until the lone pencil found his skinny fingers.
He drew till the halogen park lights turned on. After staring for too long at his constant subject he grew bored. Alex ripped out one his sketches and placed it on the ground, returning his pad to the checkered book bag. The tearing noise made his mind wander, like it had so many times in school. He thought of the process that his jeans might have gone through to look ripped in just the right way. A gush of wind surged by taking all the loose papers from his bag on a wild ride, he turned fast catching a few of them. As he chased the paper whirlwind his newest sketch caught his eye. It was balling itself up like a baby rabbit that had just come into the world. Alex stood there befuddled, staring with his cold blue eyes, as the origami rabbit stood on its hind legs.
Something in his mind clicked, deep in his gray matter. He had seen such things when he was an infant, but with such a long span in the knowledge of such unearthly events the ideas had just turned into childhood fantasy.
It shook its ears and twitched its eraser mark of a nose then bolted toward its birthmark, which was one and the same as Alex Hartt's favorite subject. The sketchbook paper rabbit jumped through the center of the sculpture disappearing. Every muscle in Alex's body went against his questioning brain. He let go of his papers and ran as fast as he could jumping into the center of the sculpture, his body was in control, his mind was blank as slate, and his heart was pounding like a broken clock. Face first his long strong track trained legs shot him into a new metallic world of wonders and oddities. Across the cogs and chains of space, down into the blackness so dark color could be seen again, then up again, he finally emerged falling flat on his ass.
Alexander Hartt looked around at his new surroundings. Off to the south west, buildings scraped the sky, in mountains of bustling civilization; the ground vibrated underneath his feet, as the sound of an entire civilization hit his ears; horns, bells, voices, booms, and noises he had never heard before. Even from here the noise was massive. Behind him was the rear end of the sculpture he had jumped in through. Beyond that was nothing but a steep cliff. Alex looked down to find the city was in the center of a great void, no land, no water, there was sky above it but nothing around or below. His senses were being molested by his new surroundings. The smell of excess pierced the air, along with the sound of thousands of rolling tongues. As the paper rabbit hoped along its path it grew, its limbs stretched out to that of a small child. Finally color started to fill in its shape, when suddenly it jumped behind a pair of silhouettes. They were human to the say the least, heavy on the bottom and pear shaped on the top. They were dressed in maroon and gold stripped uniforms with little gold badges on their chests. One had a bobby stick attached to his belt, the other a gun.
"Why, Sir, are you standing so unsure of yourself?" said one of them.
"Yes Sir why?" said the other in a mimicking voice.
"I'm kind of new to this place."
"All the more reason to look confident, make a good first impression." said the second.
"Confidence is the key to looking like royalty after all" said the first.
"I'm confident in the fact that I'm not sure where I am."
"Well it's a start, you are in the Wanderland, Gate-E, and we are two of the finest Wonder Police." The first stood at attention.
"Sorry to correct my fellow officer but this is the Wonderland, Gate-E, and we are two of the finest Wander Police." The second stood at attention and saluted.
"Exactly." said the first "Then Who, Why, Where, When, and finally How."
"You just happen to be addressing yourself to Mr. C. Who" the second one said and bowed a little "and Mr. C. How." The first one bowed even deeper.
"No" they said in unison "We do not talk about him or the others in fact they kept calling us dumb and dumber. Said all we were good for was twiddling our thumbs."
"Oh Mr. C. Who doesn't forget they thought we could also twiddle our pinkies pretty well as well." The first one said mockingly.
"I'm kind of sorry I didn't just keep walking."
"As if we would have let someone like you keep going without escort." The first one moved to one side of the path.
"No one should go alone down the path of doors."
"Doors" they said together. "It's locked for the most part and it would take forever to find the right door for your path on your own. We shall assist you along your way, if you don't mind that is?"
"I guess that's all right, I was just following this paper of mine."
"The rabbit, oh well, then good idea better be running after it then should we not we?," the second one said.
The three took off down the path that the paper rabbit had taken. The path twisted going directly west, and turned, sometimes leading over or under itself again. Alex was stuck running in the middle of the two which at certain points he wasn't sure was a good idea.
"But then again" he thought to himself "I'd have no clue where to go without them".
Soon they reached a path that split into three doors. One was classically Victorian, white, prim proper and stuck up as all hell; the next a set of double doors like a warehouse, and the third appeared to have once belonged in a fun house. They each tried a door. Alex went to the double doors, while Mr. C Who picked the Victorian, and Mr. C. How grabbed the knob of the funhouse. The fun house door opened with no trouble in Mr. C. How's hands.
The first room had a door for each color of the rainbow within, so the trio split up. This time it was Mr. C. Who, whom opened a red door, the lock clicking open. Room after room themes changed along with colors and styles of doors, none of them opening for Alex. Finally after about thirty rooms Mr. C. Who opened a door into a room with only one simple wooden door on the opposite wall. There was an emblem above it, a black raven. The two misters let Alex open it.
There before him was a mirror reflecting him into a cog garden. Behind him in this mirror was the twin of the sculpture Alex had leaped through.
"Who's that?" He turned to the two police officers as the mirror Alex turned to an old man.
"Hilarious joke young sir that is you" The police said at the same time, then laughed nervously.
"Then why don't I see a place like that when I turn to face you two, why aren't you two in the mirror?"
"Oh. Well Brother you tell him." Who nudged How.
"No Brother, be my guest and inform our friend with what he inquires." How bumped Who. They started shoving each other harder, back and forth mumbling under their breath. They turned away from him and whispered to each other, then turned around and spoke in unison.
"The mirrors here are obviously intensely different, they do not show what you should see but what you must see, and obviously you must see your grandfather, as far as we can guess. When we look into mirrors we see our self captains of the Wander Police instead of just simple guards." The words slipped out of their mouth like a wet fish. Alex took this with a grain of salt. They had not landed on his good side and weren't getting there any time soon. He closed the door again.
"Ok, whatever. Where do we go from here then if that's just a mirror? Was this whole trip just to see me and some old man in a garden?" The two of them turned around and whispered again. One pulled out his gun while the other took out a bobby stick. Alex took off toward the door. He learned it had relocked itself as he fumbled the knob in his hands.
"You're coming with us Alex." They spoke differently now, their words and actions had lost their ridiculosity. "Just come over here and let us put you in cuffs. Come easy and we will not have to make things hard for you." Alex had no other way out. He walked over to them slowly, when something caught his eye, the door had reopened itself. The image beyond it had changed to that of another room.
He took his chance and rushed for it, the gun firing behind him as they yelled. A bullet skimmed his right arm, another grazed his left leg. He jumped in; the door slammed shut. On the back of it was a painting of a masked man, half his face black, half white staring into him, for a second it seemed as if the man's eyes were alive. If there had been any color to the sculpture he had known in his own world and knew to exist at least once in this one, then it would be colored like this. No flesh was exposed, no human quality, if you did not count those penetrating smoky blue eyes. The door vanished but the painting stayed. He didn't really feel the need to stay around with the possibility of the door coming back. Blood trickled out of his wounds; he tore the fabric from his jeans below the knee. He wrapped one piece tightly around his arm and the other around his leg.
"Thank god I bought them preripped" he thought to himself.
This new room had a small circular glass table in the center and a curtain on a small portion of one wall. He walked over to the maroon curtain to check for another door out. There was a very small door behind it with a very small knob and a very small keyhole.
"Wow. Really this is not what I need right now." He said to himself and looked back at the table. He noticed a key and two vials. One read "THIS" the other said "THAT".
"I guess I'd rather this exit then that one" He said to the empty room. He pocketed "THAT" and downed "THIS". His arms started tingling while his mind began to reel. His vision grew blurry while his legs went numb. Alex's mind shouted now that "THIS" had been a bad idea. The room became huge around him as he watched the key fly up with the glass table. He limped over to the door that now fit him perfectly. Its handle would not budge without the key.
"Now how in the world am I supposed to get up there to get the key?" Alex yelled knowing no one was listening. Behind him he heard a click and the sound of hinges. He turned around and the door was wide open. He didn't feel like he had wanted or really needed to ask. He desperately wanted his journey to separate from this piece of art that was haunting him. He finally left the room closing the door behind him and turned to examine new surroundings.