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Book V. Prodigal Aberrations

“Lillibeth Satin was a woman known far and wide within the kingdom and beyond. Talented, charming, and a patron of fine art, her beauty was unmatched, prowess as undeniable as the black ink that flowed through her veins right to the center of her shriveled heart.”

  • Brief Description: In a Wonderland prior to madness, there is one patch of darkness in the otherwise peaceful land. As the holder of part of the Everlocke, an ancient item of limitless power, Lillibeth Satin’s anger has changed the world permanently as she searches for the one child who ever bested her. A case of mistaken identity puts Alice in her sights as the tendrils of her madness reach into our world.
  • Includes: 4 short stories. (Lillibeth Satin, Diskreten Wahnsinn, Quiet Lunacy, & Sarut de Sirena)
  • Genre: Fantasy, Horror
  • Word Count: 47,226
  • Price: $.99; for the month of July, 2012 this is currently free!
  • Download: The Smashwords page is here
  • Excerpt from Diskreten Wahnsinn:

He knows, Alice thought, then immediately banished it. No one knew. No one but her and them.

“How positively amusing.” The feline voice echoed.

She returned to the vanity, a scowl on her face. “Save your opinion. I told you to let them alone.”

The three-panel vanity had been an heirloom wedding present from the dowager baroness. It had been all too quickly sullied by uninvited and unwanted visitors.

An eye appeared in the left and right sides, the wide middle panel was filled with a smile of equal size; large white teeth chattered in mockery.

“I didn’t do anything.” The Cat evaded. “But I cannot say so for others…”

“I’m through with it.” She whispered. “I’m through with the lot of you. You’ve brought me no good. Not from the very first.”

Alice. It was another voice. She tried to ignore it. She blew out the candle on the vanity table, but the body-less –faceless– creature still taunted her from the mirror, eyes and mouth spinning like light on a sundial.

Alice. It said again. You are so very late.

“You know I have nothing to do with this. I’ve brought you nothing good or bad.”

“Yes, well, you aren’t necessarily on my side either, are you?”

“Perhaps,” the cat speculated, “You should listen this time.”

She threw the drape cloth over the vanity; it would stop was she saw, but never what she heard. Her hands flew in a general gesture, “I’m through with that most of all.”

“It’s no fun if you don’t play the game…”

“I’m too old for games, and I didn’t play for this. Not since the rules changed.”

“The rules,” the words were too smooth to be a hiss, “were never the issue.”

“They were always the issue. There is no point without them.” She spared a glance at the covered mirror, “You should have stopped it. Everyone listens to you.”

“I prefer not to form a bias. I am only the interested observer.”

A cat saving its own skin. Alice felt a real smile threaten her lips before she could stop it, the words coming forth with more affection than censure. “Coward.”

“Perhaps.” Amusement without insult, “But you were the one who threw the first bone. ‘Ned’ and ‘Nan’? What positively delicious names. How could anyone resist?”

With that mocking statement, she felt the cat leave, a slight shimmer to the curtains that was absorbed in shadow.

She let out an empty breath with some difficulty, hand clutching at her chest as a cough welled up. Alone again, save for the one-

Alice…

She was still hearing it, still imagining the child-calls lodged in her memory. The voice of the shades that hid out of her vision.

Perhaps it was her fault after all. If she hadn’t fallen in love with Alenford, desired with the dreams of a normal girl to be his baroness more that she desired to find her place in Wonderland… maybe….

The thought had merit, but Alice knew better. No matter the excuse, as long as she left that place behind, there would be trouble.

Alice had almost forgotten, almost been a normal woman until the day the constable had called on her to deliver the news of Victor’s death, the horrible coach accident that had plunged her life into a downward spiral.

“I’m sorry my lady, but it appears the cause was faulty driving. Baron Alenford apparently had been driving for a time while standing upright, one leg on the seat.”

“Upright?” Alice had asked, weakly.

It was in another memory: “I can do anything on one foot with the other behind my head. I can hold a million tea parties in such a way.”

“Oh, how funny!” The younger girl replied. “I shall have to see it someday….”

Ever since then, she had been aware of the changes one the estate, had tried to stem the contagion before it reached the house, but it found her anyway. Who knew what else lurked in her chamber, watching with silent chortles, commenting on her mundane life as though they could offer something better? She knew what they offered, and she wanted no part of it, had wanted no part of it the moment she had vowed herself to Alenford and became a mother.

Alice shut out the light so she wouldn’t see, couldn’t see whatever else had taken room with her. The cat came and went as it pleased, an almost comfortable constant in her rapidly deteriorating world.

Alice….

She crawled into her bed, pulling the covers high over her head as she burrowed beneath, as though she could escape it all if she just hid away.

She was too old for such silly games, but when she spoke, she sounded like a weepy child, “Please, please, go away.”

Oh, Alice… how could you ever leave me? Such lovely children, they are, Ned and Nan. Such fun we’ll have…

“No, no!” It was a desperate whisper now, “Leave them be. They have nothing to do with this.”

But Alice, they have everything to do with our game. Don’t you see?

She didn’t want to see. That’s why she shut out the light, covered the vanity in drape-cloth, destroyed all the other looking glasses. She wanted to stay safe in her house, away from the taunts and the jabbering, and the utter nonsense she wanted to believe she left behind.

“It could all be a dream,” she muttered, “A fanciful imagination.”

The flowers twittered in their corner, “Imagine that! Leaving us here with no water. What do you think she’s doing, Rose?”

“I don’t know, Rosie. Maybe she’s gone around the bend?”

If only it were that easy.

Alice fell into a familiar, fitful sleep, the image of a lingering, large smile pasted inside her lids.

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