"Off with their heads!" A feminine voice thundered throughout the cold stone palace.
Its only sign of life was a small white rabbit that hopped throughout its halls in search of the voice.
It searched the rooms left and right and upside down, but not a slight whisper could be heard.
And then, over the sheer quiet of the palace, rang the call of a madwoman, "Off with their heads!"
The rabbit jerked to a halt and listened closely to the voice.
A chill ran down his furry spine as he examined it.
It evoked a faint feeling in him that he had heard it many times before, in dreams of happier times.
An image of a small girl with sun-kissed hair floated unhindered into his mind, her smile a bright token in the darkened reign of the Queen.
The fate of the child was as unknown to the rabbit as the fate of his insane comrades.
They had all disappeared from their mad tea party over night, leaving teapots and cakes scattered about, and kettles blaring with heat.
In fact, almost all occupants of Wonderland had disappeared, leaving their homes in disarray, their dinners untouched.
Not even the sneaky Chesire Cat's smile could be seen floating around.
As the rabbit leaped over fallen furniture, he flipped open his golden pocket watch.
It flicked shut with a snap not a second later.
The rabbit's steps quickened. "I'm late! I'm late!" He whispered to the empty halls.
"Late for what?" He couldn't help but wonder. What lies ahead of me?
And above the sound of his pattering feet and constant whispering, was the consistent intervals of "Off with their heads!"
The rabbit clambered over some more discarded furniture and stopped to examine a fallen portrait.
It was one of the many, many pictures of her Royal Highness, the Red Queen. This painting was different, however. It had been slashed from frame to frame seemingly with a knife. The face of the Queen was barely seen through the multiple slices, and the only reason the rabbit knew it was one of her paintings was because of the gilded red frame.
The rabbit shuddered to think of what the poor fool's fate had been. Nobody disfigured the Red Queen's possessions and lived to see the next sunrise.
He sadly shook his furry head and continued on his way.
After climbing over even more displaced furniture, the rabbit came to the gallery reserved for the Queen's portraits.
His mouth dropped open. All of the paintings were slashed and sliced up like the first.
There was no way the culprit had made it out of the palace alive.
"Who would dare do such a thing?" thought the rabbit.
He mournfully shook his head once more before continuing on his way.
The madwoman's call continued to ring throughout the bleak castle at constant intervals.
But the rabbit skittered on.
The closer and closer he came to the courtyard, the louder the booming insanity of the voice became. And the further he traveled, the greater the damage to the Queen's possessions became.
There were chunks of marble busts that used to be shaped in the Queen's likeness thrown about. Many had smashed nearby vases and other furniture.
He stumbled forward in complete shock, keeping to a clock that everyone but him had forgotten.
"I'm late! I'm late!" He called out to the empty walls and glassy eyed paintings. The ones that had been spared, that is.
And then, just before he had finally reached the remote courtyard, the persistent yelling of the madwoman, the "Off with their heads!" came to an utter standstill, and nothing was left but silence.
The rabbit froze in place. The courtyard ahead was cloaked in a complete and masking silence. Nothing reached his keen ears.
He continued on, though. He was late after all, and had to reach the courtyard.
When he finally stepped into the door way of the courtyard, he once again froze like a predator had spotted him.
The courtyard was awash in blood. The once black and red banners were coated in the gore of hundreds. The once almost quite cheerful place was filled with the pain and fear of thousands.
And the smell...It smelled like a few hundred corpses had been allowed to sit under the noon day sun and rot for a week. It had the rabbit almost doubled over with disgust.
He took a brave step forward and walked into the courtyard.
Once inside, he swilved towards one of many of the Red Queen's thrones. Instead, his gaze was caught by what lay at the foot of it all.
It was the severed heads of everyone he loved, everyone he worked with, everyone he had ever talked too. In fact, almost all of Wonderland's citizens had found their finally resting place.
The rabbit choked on his breath as a sob savagely tore from his throat. "I'm late." He whispered under his breath, hoping the familiar phrase would bring a small relief to his raging heartache.
Then his eyes finally took in the Queen's throne and it's only occupant.
Her golden hair and light blue dress broke something in him that would forever be beyond repair.
"Alice," he whispered before the darkness swallowed him, and he fell to the blood soaked floor.
Off With Their Heads!Short Story
A small white rabbit has been running late! But when he finally reached his destination, he discovers not a single soul is present! The Red Queen's castle is completely empty. But the rabbit is very busy and has a schedule to keep, so embarks throug...