• A dark sky started to brighten, sending a pale light over the many wild plants tangles over jagged and oddly shaped trees and rocks. It crept into corners and illuminated even the deepest of pits in the world of Wonderland. Animals stirred quietly, gathering up their energy needed for the days bit of mischief. Flowers opened up the instant the light reached them, and broke out in a relaxing morning song. Mornings in Wonderland were always delightful, that is until you reached the edge of the forest.

    Just behind the gate that lies in between a row of tall hedges was a large yard, decorated with an odd assortment of chairs all neatly placed around a long table. On top of said table were brightly colored teapots, tea cups, and saucers of many shapes and sizes. The house that stood in the bad of the yard was peculiar, but grand. The three story home didn’t seem to be level at any point but the foundation. Watches, clocks, rings, light bulbs, silver wear, and other gadgets dangled from the roof, doorknobs, and the small second floor balcony. Most of the objects were hung by colorful strings, but then it seemed the wonder of this house ran out and just used whatever he could find, including ribbons, elastic bands, and even rubber snakes. While looking around this place, despite all of the chaos, the bright colors and decorations made you think that whoever lived here was indeed very creative and happy. But looks can be very deceiving, in Wonderland especially.

    * * * *

    As the sun peeked in between the closed curtains of the second floor, a very a tall and thin man sighed and rolled out of bed. He walked over to the windows and pulled back the dark red curtains and let the light tumble onto the floor, to search the rest of the room for dark corners. The man then drug himself over to a wooden armoire and pulled out his daily attire: a pair of faded black trousers, a long sleeved purple coat with a black collar and cuffs, and striped socks, then set them aside. Undressing from everything excluding a black nightshirt and of course his undergarments, he changed into the clothes he had laid out on his bed. The young man smoothed out his dark hair that stuck out at odd angles anyhow, and feeling satisfied enough, headed out of his bedroom down a twisted staircase that entered the living room. Waiting for him by the front door were his shiny black button up boots. He put them on accordingly, and to pull of his look, he grabbed a large purple top hat off of the coat rack and placed it snugly on his head so that it tilted over his eyes.

    The man opened the door and headed towards the Lotus Forest for a stroll. As he came close, the flowers stopped their singing abruptly.

    “It’s him!” They whispered frantically to each other. “The Mad Hatter is here!”

    They then would close their petals and hid until he was gone, then once the coast was clear, they continued their songs. This would happen every time he went anywhere near the creatures that inhabited Wonderland. The Mad Hatter wasn’t his real name, but he had been called that for such a long time, he completely forgot what his real name was. The reason they called him Mad, was because he was an inventor. He would create all sorts of strange and often dangerous creations. In fact, the last thing he ever invented was the cause of his unhappiness.

    The previous Queen of Wonderland was celebrating her birthday. Because this event was much more special than an un-birthday, the Mad Hatter decided to invent something extra memorable. He spend the whole night before making a box that would shoot bright exploding light into the sky whenever it was her birthday. He was certain she’s love it. And she did!

    The Queen of Diamonds was so excited to see what would happen when the box was activated at night. The celebration continued with dancing, croquet, and other festivities suitable for the Royal Banquet. Everyone anticipated the light show that was soon to come. Finally, the Queen began to open up her gifts. If seemed like forever until she got to her last vibrantly wrapped present. All got quiet when she announced the special gift that was made especially for her. The Mad Hatter had explained how the invention worked, and then told everyone to stand back while he activated the small device. It rattled and sparked for a few seconds, and then did nothing but smoke. The Queen looked at the Mad Hatter questioningly. He laughed nervously and told her to wait a moment. It was sure to work, and it had to.

    He walked over to the smoking box and began to push buttons and wound a few springs on it. The package began to produce more sparks, and the Hatter moved away quickly and said it was ready. Everyone applauded as the sparks grew larger and flew higher. A smile spread across the Queens face. She was very pleased with her gift. Suddenly, the box jerked and crackled and the smoke flowed out heavily. Before the Hatter could see what was wrong, the box exploded, putting everyone in a frenzy. The guards and many people rushed over to the Queen, who was severely injured. She had terrible burns and her face was left disfigured. How could she run Wonderland in such a condition? Why, she absolutely couldn’t! Someone else would have to take her place, and it was all the Hatters fault. The Mad Hatter was immediately banished from the palace and was made to live far away so he could no longer wreak havoc upon the Kingdom. The Queen was eventually replaced with her sister, the dreaded Queen of Hearts. Unlike her sister, she had little or no mercy on her people, or servants rather. Another strike against the Mad Hatter for making everyone in Wonderland live in fear, and thus began to fear him as well. For if they got too close, they thought, they would be blown up as well!

    The Mad Hatter touched the scar on his face, one of the small injuries he had received on that dreadful day. Shaking the memory from his head, he continued to search the forest. What he was looking for was happiness. He figured that if he lost his happiness, he could find it again if he looked hard enough. So every morning he walked through the Lotus Forest and made sure to look around every corner and in every hole, hoping to find something that would make him happy again. But like every other morning, his searching was deemed unsuccessful. Sitting down on a rock, he sighed and leaned his face on the palm of his hand. Can things ever go back to the way they were?

    Just then, there was a faint sound of someone shouting for him. He looked up to see the March Hare, his only friend, running towards him at full speed. The Mad Hatter stood up, but before he could say anything, he friend grabbed him by the arm and began to drag him back in the direction of his house. The Hatter followed while they ran into his backyard and slammed the gate shut with a loud ‘clang’.

    “What on Earth are you doing?” asked a very confused Hatter.

    The March Hare brushed his brown messy hair out of his dark blue eyes. Despite his name, he wasn’t a Hare at all. It was just a nickname due to the way his nose was squished back and his buck teeth, and it made him look similar to a rabbit. March was added to the beginning because he figured that if he was going to have a nickname, he might as well add the name of his favorite month to it.

    “What am I doing?” The March Hare repeated in an astonished tone. “Why, today is your u-birthday! IT’s a good thing I remembered, or we wouldn’t have had time to celebrate!”

    He began to break out in an un-birthday song and shoved a piece of cake into his friends hands. The Mad Hatter gave a weak smile and poured himself a cup of tea.

    “Thank you very much, my friend, but I’m afraid I’m not quite in the mood for a celebration.”

    “Nonsense!” The March Hare shouted. “Have more tea!”

    Just as he was going to protest, they heard the gate creak open. They both looked up to see a young lady with blonde hair wearing a sky blue pinafore peeking in. She looked terribly distressed. The March Hare jumped up and shouted at her.

    “Nope! No vacancies, out you go!” He got up to shoo her away, and the girl became quite frantic.

    “W-wait! I need some help!” She cried. “I’m afraid I’m lost, and when I heard someone singing, I thought—“

    The March Hare jumped up into the air. “Wait!” he interrupted. “You heard my singing?”

    “Yes,” she replied. “It was a rather lovely song.”

    A proud smile swept across his face. “Weeelll then, have a seat! I’ll get you some tea!”

    The Mad Hatter rolled his eyes. They were still hidden out of sight by his hat, but they were rolled just the same.

    The girl nodded and sat down in a large, heavily padded chair that made her seem shorter than made her seem much taller. It wasn’t until then did she notice the man sitting at the other end of the table, slowly stirring sugar into his teacup. The girl suddenly jolted upright and extended her arm towards him, remembering her manners.

    “How do you do? My name is Alice.”

    He hesitated, but took her hand and shook it. “I’m fine. You may call me the Mad Hatter.”

    The March Hare walked over and handed Alice a cup of tea. “It appears she knows her manners!” he said respectively. “I am the March Hare,” he said, shaking her other hand wildly. “How do you do?”

    Alice shrank back in her sat, remembering why she was here in the first place.

    “Oh…well you see, I’m afraid I am quite lost, and when I heard you singing, I felt relieved. I was hoping that you could help me find my way.”

    The Mad Hatter frowned a little, and the March Hair chuckled.

    “What’s so funny?” asked Alice.

    “I could only imagine her face if she heard you say that,” the March Hare said joyfully. Alice became curious.

    “Who’s face?”

    “The Queen of Hearts,” said the Mad Hatter darkly. “It’s either her way, or off with your head.”

    This made Alice feel uncomfortable. The Hatter noticed this and decided to try and get her mind off of the Queen.

    “So how exactly did you get lost?”

    Alice twiddled her thumbs and started from the beginning. She told them of how she was sitting in a tree with her cat, trying her best to listen to the history lesson her older sister was teaching her. She told them of how her cat jumped away from her, and where she followed the animal. As she got to the part about seeing a white rabbit, exclaiming he was late, her tone became more anxious.

    “And so I tried to catch up with him, but he went down a hole. And as I was looking down the hole, I accidently slipped and fell down, and now here I am!” Alice calmed down a little, and then continued her story. “Even though all of the strange creatures here were very exciting, after a while things became too confusing, and I still haven’t found the White Rabbit!”

    The Mad Hatter and the March Hare had long since finished their tea, and showed great interest in the story of Alice’s journey. Sitting up straighter in his chair, the Mad Hatter cleared his throat.

    “That was a very intriguing story, Miss Alice. You should tell us more of where you came from, if you every get the chance to stop back.”

    He stood up and pushed his chair in, then walked over to the gate. He looked down the street and then back at Alice. “Now, you say you were looking for a while rabbit, am I correct?”

    Alice jumped from her seat and clasped her hands together in excitement. “Oh yes! Do you know where I should find him?” Curiosity and excitement sparkled in her eyes. The Mad Hatter hitched a thumb to the path that went left.

    “As a matter of fact, I have seen him. He works at the palace and is always scurrying down the road early in the morning, complaining about how late he is. It causes such a racket in the morning.”

    Alice hurried over to the gate and began shaking the Mad Hatters hand. “Thank you so very much!”

    She stopped shaking his hand and opened the gate. Looking back at the march Hare and the Mad Hatter, she thanked them once more. “I was starting to think I would never find my way around here. I’m sure that once I’m done with the White Rabbit, I’ll come back and tell you how things went.”

    She closed the gate and pointed down the street. “Now, you say he is at the palace in this direction?”

    The Mad Hatter nodded. “Yes, but I must insist that you be extremely cautious. If the Queen finds you, she’ll think you are up to no good. It will be am immediate death sentence.”

    Alice nodded her expression became more serious. “Don’t worry, sir. I won’t get caught. I’ll be just fine, and I will come back to visit!”

    The Mad Hatter smiled and waved. “Until next time, then.”

    Alice smiled politely back, then turned and ran down the path, golden strands trailing behind her. The flowers that surrounded the road watched in awe and envy at the lovely child. The same budding flower that the Mad Hatter couldn’t look away from until she disappeared in to the woods.

    The March Hare walked over to him and looked after the girl as well. “She seemed rather nice.”

    “Yeah,” the Mad Hatter replied distantly. “The first person that hasn’t run away from me for the longest of times.”

    The Hatter’s friend shrugged. “Who knows? Perhaps one day she’ll become your friend.”

    The Mad Hatter said nothing, but something about that thought made his heart flutter with what could be mistaken for happiness. The March Hare grabbed his friend by the arm and pulled him towards the table that was being occupied with whistling tea pots.

    “Come on!” he said. “We still haven’t finished our celebration!”

    The Mad Hatter smiled a real smile and followed, his spirits lifted. Now was a perfect time for a party, indeed.