Chapter 5:

The Spiral


♠ ♠ ♠Bookmark here

Zuria took me to her home so we could discuss the incredible nonsense she threw at me in a private place. If you ask me, a desolated flower and mushroom field should have been private enough, but, whatever.Bookmark here

She walked a few steps back with me through the field and showed me another hole in the ground, telling me that’s where she came from. Bookmark here

I thought that, because of the rain, Wonderland residents had taken to the underground to live. To me that’s what made sense. Bookmark here

But then she explained to me why that was not possible.Bookmark here

She said that, unlike my flat world (I didn’t correct her on the “flat” thing because it was funny as hell), Wonderland was actually shaped like a spiral; rather, a conical spring, starting from the wider side which was the flower field we were on and from there it spirals down until who knows where. Bookmark here

Digging down the dirt deep enough to create a sizable home would only lead the hole somewhere else in Wonderland. Bookmark here

Just like how Earth’s roundness is too big to perceive, the same could be said for the shape of this land, although the way the holes worked made absolutely no sense to me.Bookmark here

The residents use different holes through the land to reach different places on the spiral, and you always go down a hole, even if you’re trying to reach a plane further up from where you are, like magic. Bookmark here

Beyond the land there’s nothing but a vast sea. I wasn’t entirely sure I could picture it without a reference, so she said she’d show me a map once we got to her place.Bookmark here

The geography of the place wasn’t really important at this point, but it would be, once the giant crystals appeared and whenever we had to travel somewhere else.Bookmark here

I experienced this first-hand when we made the trip down the hole to Zuria’s home.Bookmark here

We fell down at an incredibly slow pace, as if we had invisible parachutes attached to our backs. Bookmark here

The walls around us weren’t made of dirt; they had bookshelves as far down as the eye could see. It made me wonder who even had the time to climb up and find a book under these conditions. Bookmark here

It was stupid as hell.Bookmark here

When we reached the bottom, a cozy room awaited us. Bookmark here

It looked like the inside of a cabin, which reminded me of the last place I was in before coming here.Bookmark here

A nice, lit hearth was gently crackling in the middle. A faint smell of vanilla filled the air, and I could hear a teapot brewing from behind a slightly open wooden door to the side—probably where the kitchen was. Bookmark here

It was all illuminated by candles and some dim lamps that sort of looked like distorted clocks—as if someone had grabbed a clock made of dough and shaped it in the form of a lamp. That’s the best way I could describe them.Bookmark here

Near the hearth were two armchairs with thick cushions, and a small table with some open books and an empty tea cup separated them both. Bookmark here

Zuria gestured towards one of the chairs. I sat down and glared at her as she took a seat on the other one.Bookmark here

“...Okay. Explain to me once again this ‘become Alice’ shit. And why do we have to be all secret about it?”Bookmark here

She adjusted her glasses a little flustered at how quickly I broke the question.Bookmark here

“Um, well...first of all, would you like some tea?”Bookmark here

“No.”Bookmark here

“O-Okay, then. Tea snacks?”Bookmark here

“No!”Bookmark here

“You’re my guest, I insist.”Bookmark here

“We’re not friends, bunny girl. I’m not here for a tea party. I want to go back home!”Bookmark here

She looked away in silence. Bookmark here

Ooh, that made me so mad.Bookmark here

“Did you hear what I said!?” I slapped the armrest. “HEY!!Bookmark here

I could tell she was startled.Bookmark here

“...I’m sorry. You just...”Bookmark here

“What!?”Bookmark here

Without turning her head towards me, her gaze followed me from the corner of her eye.Bookmark here

“...You just look so much like her…”Bookmark here

Ah.Bookmark here

I deflated into the back of the chair, crossing my arms.Bookmark here

“..Yeah, well. We’re twins. That’s usually how it goes.”Bookmark here

“And that’s precisely why I think this might work…”Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?”Bookmark here

She straightened herself up before speaking again.Bookmark here

“If we convince people you’re the real Alice, we could go through the land gathering the other Spades while we look for the real one in the meantime. We don’t have much time to waste before the next Downpour…”Bookmark here

“What the hell, man. No one’s gonna believe I’m my sister!”Bookmark here

“You look the same…”Bookmark here

“Hello!? You’ve met her, right!? She’s nothing like me! Plus, she hates me! She hates me so much she dyed her hair blond so we wouldn’t have the same hair color and people wouldn’t immediately know we’re twins!”Bookmark here

“That’s not true. She would never do that.”Bookmark here

“Well, what other reason could there be!?”Bookmark here

“Girls don’t need a reason to dye their hair…”Bookmark here

“They don’t, but my sister sure as hell didn’t do it just because!”Bookmark here

Zuria sighed.Bookmark here

“I can see talking to you about her doesn’t really go anywhere. You have quite a skewed view of Alice, after all.”Bookmark here

“Oh, shut up. You only knew her for a year. I’ve known her all my life. I think my opinion of her is way more valid than yours.”Bookmark here

“You’re free to think that, Allen.”Bookmark here

I looked away, huffing.Bookmark here

I hate it when people say my sister isn’t a bad person. They don’t know her like I did. She always got our parents’ attention over me because she was manipulative as hell, and it felt like no one ever realized except me.Bookmark here

“The Alice Spade,” Zuria said, “is usually beautiful. The White Rabbit Spade assigned to Alice that decade is the one that chooses them, and once the choice has been locked in, they reveal a picture of the new hero in the middle of town for all to see, and to hopefully get other Spades interested in joining.”Bookmark here

“...So that means…”Bookmark here

Zuria nodded.Bookmark here

“That means people already know what she looks like, yes.”Bookmark here

“Shit.”Bookmark here

“...Manure, yes.”Bookmark here

I uncrossed my arms and leaned forward. Bookmark here

“So that’s why you want me to pretend to be her.”Bookmark here

“You’re the only one that could, Allen.”Bookmark here

...Ugh. I hated that she was right. Bookmark here

More importantly, I hated that I was considering this. Bookmark here

I scratched my head, sighing.Bookmark here

“I just gotta pretend, and you swear no one will ever find out? ‘Cause that shit’s embarrassing, y’know.”Bookmark here

“Oh, of course no one will find out! We can’t afford to have anyone know! It would be all over! I don’t like that I have to lie like this, but if it’s for the good of Wonderland, I don’t see any other choice.”Bookmark here

Huh. The fact that she was willing to keep my secret and help me keep others from finding out who I really was actually made me feel better.Bookmark here

But she was avoiding eye contact. Bookmark here

And fiddling with her ears like she did last time before spilling the beans about this. It made me think there was still something she was keeping from me.Bookmark here

“...What is it, now?”Bookmark here

“...Um…”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“Well. It’s true no one should ever know, but there is one person we have to tell, no matter what.”Bookmark here

“What!? Who!?”Bookmark here

“...Well…”Bookmark here

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.Bookmark here

Zuria looked at me with some guilt for a second, before standing up to go get it without answering my question.Bookmark here

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