What If: Hope In Wonderland
What If…
What if a Tyler Twin fell down a rabbit hole, and wound up in a world that was just wrong/mad? Follow Hope's journey through a nightmarish Wonderland.

Hope was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and having nothing to do. Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what's the use of a book,' thought Hope 'without pictures or conversation?'.

The truth of it was that Hope was already asleep. In another fever dream. Her mind sleepy and hazy, making her feel quite slow and stupid. Trapped in one of her favorite novels from her youth — and why not? Her hair was now blonde, the hospital gown a lovely shade of blue to match the headband she's been known to wear. Alice, in every sense, except she was not.

Just as she began to consider making a chain of flowers from those by her bedside, a small puppy with a pink collar ran by. "Oh dear, oh dear! I shall be late!" (When she thought it over later, it occurred to her that she really ought to have wondered at this, but it seemed perfectly natural at the time); but when the puppy took a watch out of its waistcoat pocket, she was up on her feet and chasing after it. Through the hospital it ran, and through the hospital she followed. She ran and ran until they came upon a laundry chute. The puppy opened it and dove in, and Hope with a cry of, "Oh, please wait!"

In another moment down went Hope after it, never once considering how in the world she would get out again.

Out of a world just… Wrong. All of it wrong! Angles slightly off, measurements all wonky and… With Susy Sunday already waiting for her. Along with a team of impish little helpers. Susan Baker as Mrs. Santa? Cause that's the picture Hope falls into, a sweet, cozy family kitchen with Susan dressed all in white and reds (including white-red striped heels) just taking a wonderfully red and white cake out of the oven, icing sparkly like winter snow. She might wonder at some point if the image was inspired by an AVL poster she once saw, for helping Susan are two small creatures while the vampire is giggling along with one of her friends. Above the stove there's a huge, wavey clock tick-tack-ing away, in time with Susan's click-click towards the long, long table, stretching well beyond the kitchen. "My my, aren't we late. Time's a-wasting. Oh dear oh dear oh dear, who shall we have for tea today if everyone's late!"

Either the chute was very deep, or she slid down it very slowly as she had plenty of time to look around and wonder where she'd end up. First she tried to look down to make out what she was going to land upon, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides and noticed that they were covered with cupboards and shelves of books. Here and there she noticed posters hung on the wall.

"Well," thought Hope to herself, "after such a fall, I shall think nothing of tumbling out of bed. How brave they will think me back home! Why, I wouldn't even say a thing if I tumbled down the stairs!" Which was all rather silly, as she's generally very careful on the stairs.

Down, down, down she fell. "I wonder how many miles I've fallen now. It must be at least four thousand miles, as it's getting quite warm therefore the center of the earth must be nearby. Though I wonder what Latitude and Longitude I've rea—"

The thought cuts off abruptly as she's suddenly in a sea of white and red. "Curiouser and curiouser…"

"Oooh…!" There's a chorus of excited cheering from Susan and her band of odds and ends as suddenly an extra chair is occupied, though it's one well away from where they are standing. Perhaps that's why there's a lot of heel clicking and red and white pettycoated skirt swaying before Susan bows over Hope now, the widest smile on her face, teeth extended a little with her excitement. "Isn't she cute!" The vampire reaches out and pats the blonde on the head like she were a little child. Niece, probably. "How much you've grown little Hope. And just in time for cake and tea and biscuits too, wonderful!" On the table the cake agrees, chuckling along with, a trickle of red syrup leaking from it's icing mouth - with two little pointy teeth sticking out.

The large armchair that she finds herself in is suddenly springing cuffs, and locking her in place. Oh, the blonde Tyler twin can still use her feet, but there's not a chance she can lift the chair up with her legs and scurry away from the demon before her. "You should learn not to make personal remarks," Hope says, "It's rude."

While facing this nightmare image, she is doing her utmost to remain calm. "Wake up, Hope. This is merely a dream. After all, cakes do not have teeth, nor do they chuckle." The calmness lasts for only a few seconds before the struggling begins. "Begone, foul demon! He with the light will be here soon, to cast you out of the flower garden!" There is no flower garden in sight, but she knows the talking flowers must be somewhere.

"Aw…" the vampire pouts prettily, hand over heart, "And after you traveled such a long way to join us too." She looks over her shoulder where the little pink dog has now seated himself and the little imps are hovering with forks over the cake - who's no longer chuckling. Maybe aware of his impending doom. "But of course, light!" Brighter now, Susan claps in her hands, twice and a cabinet opens all by itself to allow an elegantly curved chandelier to jump out - and hang itself from a hook on the ceiling, which looks far away and impossibly close at the same time. Three candles follow the chandelier and once they've settled themselves with content little sighs into the holders, they burst into flame. No sigh now, just three brief shrieks. Followed by drawn out, continuous ow-ow-ow's. "Light!" Susan now beams at Hope. "Makes you feel right at home, you little rascal you."

Wrists twist everywhich way as she tries to break them free from the cuffs holding her in place. "You really shouldn't kidnap people and force tea upon them, it's rude. Vampires cannot even drink tea!" Hope does not allow the chandelier to distract her, nor does she worry of the poor shrieks of the candles, except to murmur, "Oh, you poor, poor dears!" Finally, she stands up, bolting to her feet. The chair lurches forward, crashing into the table, taking the girl with it.

Until she is quite literally ass over tea kettle. The back of the chair flat against the table, having squished the small toothy cake. Eyes now forced to look upon the closeness of the ceiling, trying to grasp it to no avail. "That is not the light I want." There is a poem. She knows there is a poem. It won't do her any good if she cannot recall it though.

"Owh…" This time in chorus from the impish kids as they see their favourite cake squished to pulp. And as for Susan… Sue is no longer smiling. "Tsk tsk tsk," she shakes her head, arms folded neatly and one foot tap-tap-tapping on the floor. "This won't do. This won't do. At. All. No missy, you're here and here to stay so you'd better behave like a lady should and give up such nonsense. Look at yourself, you've got blood all over you now? And the tea wasn't even hot yet. Oh dear." Click-click-click go the heels again as the red and white image steps away to fetch herself a little China cup. Click-click-click again when she returns. Never in the blurry speed associated with vampires though, rather the opposite, every movement with exagerated slowness, irritatingly so. Susan leans in to fill her cup from a puddle of blood resting in Hope's neck. Blood pooling from the deceased cake.

"Blood?" Hope cringes in horror, trying to brush the stick substance off of her. Her chair remains upon the table as she does so, and the vampire is getting dangerously close to her neck. "You should draw your blood from elsewhere, for I take silver capsules, and you'll just explode in a horrific mess…" There is no being ladylike now. There is only survival.

"Who ever heard of a blood cake anyhow. It is rather gross, when you think about it. Now a nice jelly cake would be lovely, if only I could get out of this chair and enjoy some."

"Why, what do you make of blood oranges then?" Susan wonders with a melodic giggle. She lifts the filled cup to her lips and sips, pinky lifted. "Ooh, just ripe enough… Dig in boys!" With that, she click-click takes a step aside and the two little kids jump on the table to scoop up some of that delicious sticky red with their hands, pretty soon they are mnom-mnomming away. The vampire in the meantime has gotten hold of an orange she plucked from the tree growing besides the oven and she squeezes until the skin bursts and a steady flow or red runs down her fingers, over her arm where she licks it up with a delighted chuckle, "See? Now why would you want jelly over this ambrosia. You're practically filled with it sweetheart, why not love your own nature." She tilts her head just so, tapping a clean finger to her lips in classic thought. And next she shrugs and the cuffs open.

"Blood oranges are not filled with bl—" Only it would appear in this world they are. Hope cringes, covering her face to avoid being splattered with even more blood. Then she blows at the imps, trying to force them to back away from her. The chair is then rocked abruptly to the side and she starts to recite, "You are old Father William, the young man said, and your hair has become very white… no, no, that is not it at all." Flipping the chair off of the table, using it to protect her like a tortoise shell, she begins to crawl along the ground.

"Jelly is far sweeter, and human blood… actually blood of any kind… should not be a delicacy… it is disgusting. You are a demon. When the church hears what you are up to…"

"Naughty, naughty…" Comes Susan's giggle accompanied by the clicking of heels, yet again. Following Hope's progress actually, on the other side of the table. "You'll learn to appreciated the finer tastes in life," she continues, "Just like your sister did. Now there's a lady who knows her tea and biscuits. Oh my, yes!" One by one the imps jump off the table to crawl along right besides Hope, seeming to think it a wonderful little game. "What do you think boys, is her temperature right? Who has the thermometer today. Hurry hurry!"

"Who's temperature? What thermometer?" Hope takes great pains to roll the chair to the side, in order to squash the imp. "Get away from me. Where is that puppy? Hello? Hello?" There is a hitch of panic in the young woman's voice, and she once more struggles to her feet. With everything here trying to eat her, she's much surprised that the chair has yet to join in. "My sister would never, ever do that. He wouldn't let her. When He gets His hands on you, you will be sorry. The world will know what dirty, evil creatures you are."

Once Hope can see over the table again, she'll find Susan standing on top of it, daintily sidestepping the jar of suspiciously burgundy cream. "Oh, but didn't you know, little darling? He and I are BFF's." She bends from the waist and giggles behind a hand, "We play strip poker every saturday - but don't tell Faith! She'll be all jealous…" One of the imps appears on Hope's shoulder, proudly presenting the thermometer. "Quickly!" Susan urges all excitement and clapping hands. Even hopping from foot to foot. "Stick it in her, stick it in her!"

"Why on earth would Faith be jealous of God?" Hope would scratch her head at that, but with her arms still stuck in the chair, she's quite unable to. So she does the only thing she /can/, and that is run. Run past the table as fast as her feet can carry her with the chair upon her back. Run past the oven.

With each step comes a word of a prayer. "Surround me with your Holy light, God, and penetrate the very depths of my being with that light. Let there remain no areas of darkness in me or in my family members, but transform our whole being with the healing light of Your love." This saying is repeated over and over again, as though a mantra to scare away the demons that are after her.

As she runs, she trips over a "bull" frog — that is, a bull with large frog legs, and a tongue that sticks out for miles.

"Oh deary me…" Susan watches how Hope runs away, disappointment painting a pretty pout on her red stained lips. "And I was so looking forward to a little cup of Hope Tyler… And she hasn't even tasted the cupcakes yet." Tenderly, like a mother hen seeing how her young are doing exceptionally well, she smiles at another impish kid taking a tray of stirring cupcakes from the oven. A little more than stirring in fact, the cakes are trying to devour each other.

Meanwhile the bullfrog hick-ups, his tongue bursting from his mouth, wrapping around one of Hope's ankles. The cuffs had loosened many minutes earlier, but now she can slip free from the chair - if she wants to.

It may not do for the vampire, but it does just well for Hope. The run continues, as does the prayer. Until she notices a nice break in the trees. "I shant be going back there," she mutters to herself. "That woman is quite mad you see." The run has stopped, though there is still the issue with the chair. "Do let go of me…" Not that the chair will listen to her. But she finds herself falling again, without the chair. The chair falling alongside her. It even manages a deep grumbly "HULLO" as it passes.

Hope tries to scramble through the air to get away from it, though it's not as if she really wants to wind up in a vampire tea party again as the main course. Just as she realizes this, the bullfrog's tongue snatches her about the ankle and pulls her back up. "Lovely! I'd ask for ruby slippers, but I don't think Dorothy had this many troubles…"

"Oh, but I have some nice heels you can borrow?" Susan's giggle sounds altogether near, though the woman is nowhere in sight. "Would do wonders for your figure. Stirs the blood, so to speak?" There's the ghost of the vampire's smile larger than life between the trees for a moment before it fades again. "Oi!" A voice from somewhere below. "Cwan ah haw mah fong bwagw!"

Eyes squeeze shut against the looming visage. Hope frowns deeply. "No it's ruby slippers or… oh bother. How /did/ Alice do it?" So busy is the young woman, mulling over an escape plan, that she's quite forgotten about the frog tongue. It's not until there's a call from below that she squeaks, "Quite right, my apologies!" Her fingers go to unloop the tongue from her ankle, and she dusts herself off to go on her merry way. "Hold your tongue," she calls to the bullfrog down below. "Who cares for you," she says to the face that has faded away. "No one, that is who."

"Thank you, quite kindly," the bullfrog answers relieved, only just remembering to keep his mouth closed when another hick-up bursts. He decides to hop along right with the blonde girl. "It was most, most inconvenient, if not to say a tad embarrassing." Susan's smile doesn't show again. "And you're quite right, you know. Spot on the mark. Nailing the head. Bull's Eye, if you'll forgive me the pun."

"Think nothing of it," Hope says to the frog, looking down at him as he hops along. "Do /you/ know the way back home? I daresay, I am quite lost and I should really like to get back home. Serenity will need out, you see." The girl stops in her tracks as the frog keeps talking to her. "I should hop along with you were my leg not atrociously injured. It was a wolf, you know. Awful thing that. You should run before it comes for you as well."

The bullfrog hick-ups a chuckle and shakes it's head wisely, "Oh no, dear child, there's not a wolf that would dare come here. The Queen of Bleeding Hearts wouldn't allow it, it's simply not done. But maybe she knows how to get you home. She's really quite lovely when you meet her on a good day."

"Bleeding hearts? I do not think that is at all something I wish to run into." Hope continues along, moving a creepy branch from the path as she ducks under it. "I should simply wake up." She stops near a pond, peering into it. "See? There I am! Asleep." She points to the image of her in the hospital bed. "Hope, oh Hope, do wake up! You need to wake up so that we can get out of here. It's really quite atrocious, you see. There is too much blood. Very blasphemous to the church. If you cannot wake up, at least make the sun come up. If the sun were up things would be so much better."

"With most…" the bullfrog tells her cryptically. "The sun helps with most." He clears his throat and stares at the girl in the bed for a long time. "Maybe if you were less scared, m'lady? You seem so stricken at the thought of blood, while it's your very essence of life. It's a gift, not something you should run away from. Look at the Hope in bed. She's at peace and the blood is at peace inside her. It completes it's cycle and starts anew. That, dear lady, is the wonder of life." He cracks a smile and hops away, calling at her over her shoulder, "Jump in the water and swim to yourself, maybe that will work?"

"It is not the fear of blood that has me trapped, it is the fact that mad woman wishes to suck it from my body." Hope makes a face. "Parasite." No love of vampires, not even in her dreams. "The sun! Quite right! That is the poem then. Thank you, Mr. Frog. I appreciate it." There is no jumping in the water, as it would mean that the pool will turn into a violent stream of blood or some such. She cannot risk it. The poem first, and should that not work then the water.

"Oh Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me. Oh Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, hiding behind the tree. This little person is asking you, to please come out so she can play with you, so Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!"

Her prayer is answered! For out of the sky, out from the canopy of trees comes one, golden ray of light, slowly wading through the woods in her direction. And it's -almost- entirely for her. For at that moment a woman steps through the trees into the small clearing, dressed in a flow of golden silks and satins, her short blonde hair a radiant halo around her impish face. The ray of light glides over her, kindling a warm hearted spark in Susan Baker's eyes while her skin… It quite frankly glows, sparkles. Then the ray continues, leaving the golden apparition to continue quite surely to Hope, while the vampire remains where she is, smiling her encouragement to the brave Hope Tyler.

The sun comes, and for a moment, the topsy-turvy world is set right again. Hope can bask in the glow of His warmth. This image, this safety, is shattered quite quickly. There is a freaking /sparkling/ vampire standing before her. The madwoman. "Oh, no. That is not right. Not at all. Vampires combust and melt in the sun. That is why they need to meet the sun. So that God can forgive their trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us." She is not talking to anyone in particular, however. She dives into the pool, trying to swim for pond-Hope's ear, yelling, "Wake up! Wake up! WAKE UP!"

There's is but one thing following her, words spoken with a soft, gentle, melodic voice. Susan's. She says, "We're all God's children, child. Remember that. He works in mysterious ways and has a plan…" The golden vision chuckles and fades like the rest of the twisted, wonky world.

Such a curious dream. The last spoken words do not linger with her though, as Hope finds herself abruptly awake, having simply fallen out of the bed. "We shall speak of this to no one. No one needs to know what a horrific place there lurks below the surface. Surely, the center of the world is not filled with bloodthirsty demons, though I do suppose that is much like what Hell should be like, and if I ever find myself there again…" With a yawn, she pulls herself back up onto the bed and forces herself back into a much quieter and peaceful sleep.

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