She hadn’t really been paying much attention to her surroundings as she walked, too upset to notice anything. Then there was a movement, something caught the corner of her right eye, and a rabbit hopped into view. It stopped and looked at her, shook its head making its ears flap, and turned away. I almost looked like one of the chocolate Easter bunnies her grandparents had given her when she was small, a very pretty milk chocolate colour. It looked at her again, flicked its ears, and started hopping away.
She had stopped to watch it, but suddenly she decided to follow it. She started walking, going at a faster pace than before. It crossed the meadow and entered the thinner part of the forest. It seemed brighter there, and when Misty entered, it was almost as though the sun was shining.
The rabbit hopped along, and Misty followed, watching the rabbit, not the path. Suddenly in one hop, the rabbit seemed to fade away. Misty was so intent on the rabbit that she didn’t notice the bath ended in a sharp drop, and in the next step, she was falling. She gasped, grabbed the umbrella with both hands and drifted down and out, like a falling leaf.
After a long time or no time at all, her feet touched the ground, and she was in a sunny meadow bright with a wide variety of flowers. She stood where she was, absently closing and rolling up her umbrella as she gazed around. “I’m not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” she whispered. “Not that I have ever been to Kansas,” she added aloud. “But where am I?” She looked around again, and saw the rabbit sitting up among the flowers, looking at her. As soon as her eyes rested on it, it flicked its ears again, and started hopping away. “Hmmm…well, it isn’t a white rabbit, and it isn’t wearing clothes or carrying a watch, but maybe I’m in Wonderland. I guess I may as well follow it, one direction is as good as another when you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.”
She headed off across the meadow, enjoying the bright blossoms and the lovely aroma that rose from them. They crossed the meadow and entered a path that wound between tall growths of some kind. At first Misty thought they were trees, but when she looked up, she saw that they were giant flowers. She was puzzled about that. How had the flowers become so tall so quickly? ‘I wonder if maybe I’ve shrunk, she thought, ‘like Alice did. But I haven’t eaten or drunk anything, so how could it have happened?
They travelled on, the rabbit pausing occasionally to see that she was still following. At last they turned a corner, and the plants became normal size again. ‘This is really weird!’ Misty thought. ‘Maybe I should have remembered that saying – be careful what you wish for.’ She giggled, enjoying the adventure too much to worry.
They traveled on, and finally came to a palace. The grounds were beautifully laid out with trees, flowering bushes and fancifully laid out flower beds. There were people walking along a path and the rabbit headed right for them, with Misty following. Before she knew it, she was facing a Queen, all in red and gold. ‘It’s The Red Queen!’ she thought, awed.
The Queen stopped and looked down her nose at the rabbit. “What have you brought now?” she asked. The rabbit turned and hopped back to Misty, and nudged her with it nose. She moved forward, until she was right in front of the Queen. She curtsied, and waited.
“Why did you bring me this ragamuffin!” the Queen asked. “Wasn’t that Alice enough trouble? You bring me another girl from the other world, what do you expect me to do with her? Those people are no use here.” She turned to Misty.
“Who are you?” she snapped.
“I’m Mistalia Moretta Merriweather, Your Highness,” she curtsied again.
“What a fancy name for such an insignificant creature! And what possible use can you be to me?” the Queen asked haughtily.
“I don’t know, Ma’am,” Misty replied. “I can cook and clean, sew, do laundry, ironing and mending, set tables and serve meals, and look after children.”
“Hmph!” The Queen gave an elegant snort (if snorts can be considered elegant). “I have many people who do all of that, and I am sure much better than you can.” She turned to a handsome young man behind her. “Take her away, and off with her head!” she ordered, and turned away to continue her walk. Misty’s heart skipped a beat, and she stood frozen in fear. This adventure wasn’t nearly as much fun anymore.
He said “Yes, Majesty, right away, Your Majesty. “ He walked to Misty, took her arm and led her away down a side path. Once they were out of sight of the Queen, he said “don’t worry, Mistalia, I am not going to take you to the headsman. Come with me and I’ll see you on a path away from here. We only obey the ‘off with the head’ order now if the person is a real criminal. Anyone else we help get away. We’ve been doing that ever since Alice’s escape caused such havoc.”
He led her through the garden, across a manicured lawn with croquet hoops here and there around it, and back into the area of tall flowers. “Follow this path, turning left, then right, all the way to the forest edge. It will become misty, and get mistier as you go, but keep making the turns left and right, and you will come out at last, possibly in your own world, but perhaps not. I cannot guarantee that you will not end up in another fairy world; it depends on what you wished for before you arrived here. Good luck.” He shook hands and turned and walked away.
“Thank you,” she called after him. He looked back and smiled, and continued back across the croquet field. She looked around, sighed, and started walking. With the tall flowers all around, and their scent drifting by on a slight breeze, she wondered ‘where will I end up? I did wish to be anyplace other than home.’ She plodded on, thinking perhaps bickering was better than being lost in some fantasy world, after all.