Not The House I Went Out Of

Reads: 61  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two interconnected stories inspired by Lewis Carroll's 'Wonderland'.

Cover image: Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash.

Barred!

When I walked out of my door this morning, locking it behind me, it was the same door I always use. Black metal, frosted glass, a bit on the grubby side because writing is so much more fun than doing chores, but it was exactly as it has been countless times before.

The problem is when I return. Not only does it stand ajar, but it’s solid wood. This is a door that is well cared for by someone, for it shines and the brass gleams from a fresh polishing. Not my door, that’s for sure.

I backtrack, for surely I have taken the wrong path. No, this is where I live, I know it is. I’d recognize the building anywhere. Apart from the door. Perhaps I won it or something, but you’d think the builders would wait to install it. Still, at least it’s open; I’ll go inside and sort things out from there.

Except I can’t. There’s a man standing there, barring my way. Who on earth is he? He’s dressed in some kind of smart uniform and seems puffed up with an air of his own importance.

Excuse me,” I say. “Would you please let me through?”

He shakes his head. “There are no visitors expected today. If you’re a tradesman... err, woman, please use the back entrance.”

I narrow my eyes at him. “Now, look here! Whoever you are, I’ve had enough of this joke. Kindly remove yourself out of my way... And take your door with you!” Okay, so patience isn’t a strong point and I aim a kick at the wood. I did not mean to kick this Footman in the shins, but he insisted on putting himself between my foot and the door.

It must have hurt because I see him wince. Well, good enough... How dare he try to block my way back inside MY OWN HOUSE! I’m starting to see red again, but he takes the wind out of my sails with his next proclamation.

I think, madam, that you are mistaken. This is the home of the Duchess.”

Duchess? Seems to me that he’s in the wrong country. Although thinking about it... could it be...? “Is Duchess a dog, by any chance?”

She can be a bit of a b...” he begins, but then seems to remember to whom he owes allegiance. “Most certainly not. The Duchess is a fine upstanding woman.” He sniffs for so long I wonder how much bigger his nose is than it really appears.

Obviously I’m not getting anywhere with the Footman. Quite honestly looks like he has stepped out of some fairy tale, and I wish he’d just hurry off back there. “I tell you what,” I say, finally thinking of a solution, “I’ll just go and get my neighbor. He’ll soon sort you out.”

But, wouldn’t you know, the neighbors are out. All of them. My hopes of any sort of back-up have failed. I begin to trudge disconsolately back towards the house before another idea winds its way into my head. It could work... if I can manage to pull it off. I need to think back to my days of drama training.

Instead of approaching the house from the front, I cut across the lane, haul myself over the garden fence, and I’ve got to admit that I’m relieved to find myself in familiar surroundings. All this fuss was beginning to make me doubt my own sanity.

I sneak along to the side of the house. Can I remember how to project my voice? It’s rather crucial that I do if we are not going to bump straight into each other. Well, here goes. “Footman! Oh, Footman!” I try to assume a posh voice for that’s what the Duchess would have.

I can hear footsteps, thankfully moving away from me. “Coming, Duchess,” he answers.

I make myself wait to the count of ten, and then I run along the side and around the front of the house. Just as my hand reaches for the door, I see him trotting back towards me, his face flushed with anger from being tricked.

I aim a casual wave at him, pull the door closed behind me, and find myself in somewhere that most definitely is not my home.

 

 

Cooking With The Cook

You must be the new kitchen assistant,” the woman says. I’m guessing from her headgear that she is the Duchess. Her dress is long, and probably at one time quite fancy, but now it is dusty and dishevelled, a bit like the house I am in.

Now, I know I have said that I’m not one to go over-board with the cleaning, but in comparison to this place my home is like a scrubbed palace. There’s a real air of squalor to these surroundings, made more so when a chicken comes dashing through a door, clucking and fluttering her feathers.

Catch it! Quick, catch it. That’s our dinner on the run!”

I stoop down and pick up the panicked hen, holding it under my arm and gently stroking the top of her head. To say I’m angry is an understatement, but I try to rein in my temper for the sake of the quivering bird.

I poke my head into what should be my kitchen, and although it looks a bit different there are enough similarities for me to feel more sure of what I’m about to say. The cook beats me to it.

Hurry up and chop its head off. Then get it plucked.”

There will be no bloodshed in my kitchen,” I say, quivering with anger almost as badly as the bird is quivering with fear. “This is a MEAT FREE zone!”

The woman, flush-faced and flustered, turns and puts her hands on her more than ample hips. “Your kitchen?” she shrieks. “This is my kitchen.”

It’s not, you know,” I say, suddenly turning and making a dash for the door, only returning to the kitchen when I know that the hen has got safely away.

What did you go and do that for?” She puffs up with anger and then sags, putting me in mind of a balloon that is leaking out air. “Chicken casserole, that’s what’s on the menu. Now what am I going to do?”

Okay, call me soft in the head if you want, but I can’t help feeling a tiny bit sorry for the woman. She is clearly lost when it comes to vegetarian food. “That’s simple,” I say, looking around for more vegetables. They make for a pitiful sight for they must be at least a fortnight past their sell-by date. They’ll have to do. “We are going to make no-chicken casserole instead.”

I open a couple of cupboards, half afraid that my stocks of tins and spices will have vanished. When I see them all sitting there, I breathe out a sigh of relief. I feel more grounded now, less unsure, and I might be imagining it but I am sure that the cook, the Duchess and the squalor are beginning to fade.

It’s with an unusual enthusiasm that I set about peeling and slicing, dicing and chopping, for I’m not someone who enjoys to cook. A can of this and a can of that, until all that’s needed is a healthy sprinkling of pepper, then into the oven it goes.

Voila!” I say, turning around, except I’m all alone inside my own kitchen. I guess I’ll be dining well tonight!

 


Submitted: February 09, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

Excellent tales, Hull

Tue, February 9th, 2021 7:19pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Mike!

Fri, February 12th, 2021 8:42am

Joe Stuart

So, all's well that ends well. An intriguing couple of stories, Hully.

Tue, February 9th, 2021 8:37pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Joe. I've got a few more Wonderland inspired pieces to post sometime soon.

Fri, February 12th, 2021 8:14am

Facebook Comments

More Fantasy Short Stories