HorrorAddicts.net Press presents…
Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.
Edited by Emerian Rich
Cover by Carmen Masloski
Laurel Anne Hill
With Foreword by David Watson
A Room for Alice
by Ezra Barany
Alice woke on a cold floor. Candlelight flickered, throwing more shadows than light. She lay beside a metal table. Dried, splattered blood covered the walls. Clocks big and small hung their heads upon the walls. They ticked and clicked, wringing their hands at different hours. Some second hands spun fast as if racing to get away from the present, other hands twisted time backwards.
Where was she?
Skies and stones! She tugged on her clothes. These weren’t her pajamas! She sported a white tunic, a black corset with brass ringlets down the front, black shorts, and black and white striped knee socks. The only thing that was hers was her choker, but she never wore it to bed. Someone must have placed her choker around her neck. Someone must have dressed her. Her gut sank at the thought. A woman in a black dress lay on a mechanical table near her.
Stones! Was the woman even alive? She looked pale, fastened to the table by two metal neck-braces, one just under her chin, the other just above her shoulders. What kind of machine was it? Alice held her nauseous belly.
Flies buzzed nearby. A huge severed head of a rabbit perched on a tall pedestal. The dry thin flesh of the lips receded into the gums, baring its teeth into a twisted snarl. One black marble-shaped eye posed open. The other eye wore a cylindrical monocle fastened with leather straps. Beside the head rested a tiny blue vial. Behind the head on the wall hung a huge clock, bigger than all the rest, spanning from floor to ceiling.
Alice’s stomach coiled sick. She had to get out. She ran to a metal door along one wall and tugged on the handle. Locked. She pounded on the door.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” she yelled.
“Yes, Alice,” a man’s voice boomed.
Her heart thu-thumped. She scanned the room to see where the man’s voice came from. She peered through a small hole in the wall beside the door and sucked in a breath, surprised. Another eye squinted at her from the other side.
She bolted backwards and tripped on something, landing on her backside. She had tripped on a walrus puppet.
“Careful. I don’t want you to hurt yourself,” he said with a scolding tone. “That’s my job.”
“Who are you? What do you want?” She scrambled to her feet, eyeing the wall.
“Call me D. I have orders from the Queen of Hearts to behead the Queen of Spades and replace her head with the rabbit’s head.”
“You’re joking.” Alice eyed the poor woman on the table. “That’s the Queen of Spades?
“Yes. Relax. She’s dead already and won’t mind the removal.”
“What does that have to do with me?” Alice tried to swallow, but her mouth was dry.
“I don’t wish to mess my hands with such business. You’re here to complete the task for me.”
“What? Never!” Alice spun, looking for another door.
“Alice, listen carefully.” The man’s voice commanded attention. “Before you woke, I fed you a poison. In three minutes you’ll have a stomachache. In five, a headache. In ten, your heart will beat rapidly, fighting to get more oxygen to your blood. In fifteen minutes, it won’t matter, because your lovely body will lie dead on the floor.”
Oh, no. Alice’s belly already clenched with pain. Was the pain just a phantom sting in her imagination? The horrible man didn’t sound like he was bluffing.
“You have the antidote, right?” Stones, she hoped he did.
“Actually, most of the antidote is in the room with you.”
Flickering shadows teased glimpses of toys and clothes.
“See that blue vial on the pedestal? It has the main ingredient to render your poison inert, but it’s completely useless without its catalyst. The catalyst to activate the antidote is with me. Do what I say in under fifteen minutes and you’ll get it.”
“What do I have to do?” Alice clutched her stomach, wincing at the immense pain. The pain was real, not just her imagination. She had been poisoned.
“You must behead her.”
Alice gazed at the poor Queen of Spades. Dead or not, cutting off the woman’s head was an impossible task to bear. But if she had to, what would she use? There was no saw in the room, though the corners of the room were too dark to be certain.
“I don’t have any tools to behead her.”
Alice approached the peephole and stooped to look in.
“Are you still there?”
The door beside her screeched open. A thick man with a balding head trampled in.
“Don’t hurt me!” Alice scampered to the back of the room.
To read the full story and more Clock-inspired, Alice Horror, check out Clockwork Wonderland.