Inspired by Prayers at Bedtime
'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
And with these words, Elinor tucked a ribbon in to mark the page and closed the book. "That's all for tonight, little one. Now it's time for bed."
"Mommy? Can I go down the rabbit hole too, like Alice?"
Elinor smiled at her daughter's request, always amazed at the innocence of her child. "You can go anywhere you want in your dreams my little one. Now close your eyes and get some sleep. Tomorrow we're going to visit your Auntie Llola. It's her baking day and we're going to help her." Then she pulled the quilt up tight under her daughter's neck, picked up the lamp, and left the room, closing the door behind her.
Jayme opened her eyes after her mom had left, slipped out of bed, and opened her door slightly so that her cat, Tami, could come sleep on her bed. Then she crawled back into bed to wait for her furry friend. It wasn't a long wait before the little striped kitten jumped up on the bed. But instead of lying down and going to sleep, Tami stood up on her back paws and looked down on her. "Come on, time's a wasting and we have lots to do!"
Jayme's eyes shot wide open and she sat up in bed with a shock. Tami was talking to her, not meowing or purring, but actually talking! Everyone knew cats couldn't talk, and yet, hers was!
Tami reached out with her upper paw, which was remarkably soft and furry, and took Jayme's hand in hers. "The Queen is waiting and we don't want to disappoint her by being late! Lets go! Ili dug a new hole in the back garden for us!"
Confused, she asked her cat, "Who's Ili?"
After giggling for a second, Tami put on an exasperated look. (Jayme was surprised that cats could both giggle and have facial expressions.) "Iliana, the purple rabbit! The official digger of the rabbit holes!"
She nodded, pretending to understand and got out of bed, looking around for her clothes. "Oh, don't worry about those," said the cat. And then, with a quick waving of her paws, some sparks, and a popping sound, Jayme was dressed in a white sequined jumpsuit with matching knee-high boots.
They quietly crept out of the house so as not to wake anyone, slipped out the back door, which for some reason didn't squeak like it usually did, and trotted into the garden to the blueberry patch. (As Jayme found out later, purple rabbits have a fondness for blueberries.) There, wearing an iridescent purple tuxedo and top-hat stood a furry grey rabbit holding a pocket watch. "Oh good, you're just in time. The tart party is about to start! Let's go!" Jayme wanted to ask where they were going, but before she could, the purple rabbit shoved her into a remarkably large rabbit hole she was sure hadn't been there before. She was about to scream when, with a soft "whoofing" sound, she landed in a very large and comfortable chair.
"Oh look, a little girl ... Off with her head!" shouted a rather regal looking woman in a crown who was sitting in a similar chair just across the table from her. Confused, Jayme looked around and found herself to be in a formal dining room, seated at a very large table surrounded by cats, mice, birds, rabbits, and a few odd looking humans. The room was lit with what seemed to be a thousand candles, and the table was stacked high with an endless assortment of pies and tarts.
As she looked to the right, she saw an odd looking and very short woman wearing a bowl of fruit somehow attached to her head and waving a plate of pie in her left hand. "Pay her no attention, she might be Llola, the Queen of Tarts, but I'm Arwin, the Mad Hatter and I'm her official executioner. I'm taking the day off so you're safe until tomorrow. Here, have some custard cream pie." She was about to take the pie, to be polite, when she felt a tugging on the other side. Turning to her left, she saw her cat chewing away on a slice of what looked like pumpkin pie.
With a very full mouth, Tami mumbled, spitting crumbs everywhere, "I wouldn't if I were you. You'll likely become as mad as she is. Here, have some pumpkin catnip crumble."
Jayme decided that perhaps it would be better if she didn't have any pie when a small contingent of mice scampered across the table in front of her carrying a rather tasty looking lemon meringue pie with a fork in it. From behind her, a large sexy hare in expensive looking lace lingerie took her hand and guided it to the fork. "Oh, I'd not disagree with Mistress Trybil -- the August Hare. Better have some of the pie," whispered the Mad Hatter to her.
Everyone around the table was nodding and looking at her expectantly as she took a big bite of the absolutely best pie she had ever tasted. Without needing any more persuasion she settled in and ate the rest of the pie until her tummy was about to burst. Around her everyone was happily eating, telling jokes, and chatting merrily.
Tami told her of a magical place called Venustus where nobody seemed to wear clothes while Arwin described her collection of cages. Trybil put a collar and leash on her (for that's what good girls wore) while Iliana played music and sang songs. It was a lot of fun and the pie was sooooooo good, but it made her feel a little sleepy. Just as she was about to nod off, Queen Llola lead her to the royal bedroom and tucked her into a magical cat basket with a big fluffy blanket. All cozy, Jayme drifted off into a deep pie-filled sleep.
Elinor drew back the curtains letting sunlight fill the room. "Wake up Jayme. Time for breakfast. Put on your new summer frock because we're going to visit Auntie Llola after we eat. Your cousin is coming to get us in his buggy." Jayme decided not to tell her mom about her wonderful adventure the night before.