It took me two years but these eventually turned into ‘An Aura of Chaos’.
I poked at my laptop as I continued ignoring the professor’s psychology lecture. I opened up Roller Coaster Tycoon and started focusing on that. I glanced up as the door at the front of the room was thrown open. A woman that looked as if a preschooler with only a black and purple makers had colored in a werecat. She strutted up to the professor and handed her a paper. She must have just transferred in. I saw the group of monster girls in this class, ‘The Herd,’ as I call them, mumbled nervously to each other. I watched the holastarus, weresheep and large mouse shift nervously while their stoic centaur leader stared at the purple cat. The hakutaku rolled her eyes, “Take a seat and pay attention.”
The cat scanned the room with a smug look on her face. As her eyes panned over each friend group of humans and/or monsters, they recoiled as if her gaze alone would bring about something terrible. Her eyes stopped, her grin growing even wider as she settled on me, sitting alone. I blinked at the purple cat had vanished. I started to sweat as some deep rooted sense of dread came over me. I saw eyes were on me and I started to sweat. I felt a large paw like hand grab my shoulders shaking me, “BOO!” a voice shrieked into my ear.
“AH!” I shouted as my heart skipped a beat. I turned around to see the purple cat behind me, laughing loudly.
“Ms. Sophia,” The professor sighed, “When you are done tormenting poor Anon, could I please continue my lecture uninterrupted?”
The purple cat nodded and materialized in the seat next to me. She kept chuckling like a lunatic as the professor continued her lecture. I ignored her and went back to my computer with a scowl on my fave. The purple cat gently grabbed my shoulder and shook me a little bit, “Oh, come on! Your reaction was really funny!” She chuckled. I shook my head as I started to build a roller coaster. I glanced back at her, she was wearing a short purple and black checkerboard patterned dress with a black bow with a brass bell on her neck. Her shoulder down and knee down were covered by soft looking purple fur. Her short purple and black hair had a large bow on the back of her head. Her ears twitched as she started to relax. Unlike most other monster girls with paw-like hands and feet, she actually wore shoes, black heels with purple bows on them, “Sophia,” She held out a hand for me to shake. I inspected her fur covered hand carefully, “Oh, come on. I have SOME mercy in my body.”
I gingerly put my hand in her as her wide grinning face stared at me, “Anon,” I shook her hand. Her fur was surprisingly soft.
“What’s that?” She pointed at my computer.
“Its just an old Dell laptop.”
“Not the computer, dummy! Your game!”
“Roller Coaster Tycoon. Ancient game but a lot of fun,” I was happy to share my favorite game with someone. She silently watched me build roller coasters for a while.
After another thirty minutes of lecturing, “Okay, class!” The somewhat exasperated hakutaku clapped her hands once to get everyone's attention, “Break into pairs and give interviewing a try!”
The purple cat grabbed my shoulder, “Dibs!” I looked at the apologetic looks of the rest of the class and shrugged. I turned back to the cat after closing down my laptop, “Name?” She asked first.
“Anon,” I folded my arms and crossed my legs.
“Ah, closed posture, eh?” A frown flashed across her face for a moment before a small grin returned, “Anyways, tell me about your home life.”
“You want to start with such a personal question?” I asked, frowning.
“S-sorry,” She chuckled, “What’s your major and minor?”
“Better. Business major with a psych minor.”
“Ooooh, sounds tough. Now do you wanna talk about yourself?” She seemed genuinely interested in me.
“What do you wanna know, purple cat?” I opened up my posture, inviting more questions.
Me calling her that made her chuckle, “Can I know about your home life?”
“Fine. I grew up in an entirely human household, mom, dad and two younger sisters. I went to human only schools until college. I’m in my third year of this hell,” She nodded as I spoke, taking in every word I uttered.
“So, you don’t have much experience with monster girls. What’s that funny smell on you-- not funny ‘haha,’ but funny weird?”
“Oh, this,” I rolled up my sleeve and showed her the mana ward on my wrist, “Parents want me to marry a nice human girl and have human babies,” I sighed, “Makes it kinda hard to make friends.”
“How about you and me be friends? I just moved into town and it doesn’t bother me much!” Her eyes sparkled at me.
“A bit casual for an interview,” I scolded jokingly, any anger I felt towards her earlier melting away at her cute smile. All memories of people telling me to stay away from monsters, no matter how cute and innocent they seem, came rushing back to me. I felt awful saying no to her. I hadn’t felt the warmth and joy of friendship in a multitude of years.
“Are you alright, Anon?” She put a concerned hand on my arm. All the training and teachings beat into me over the years caused me to yank my arm away instinctively. She looked at me, small grin turning to hurt.
“I’m sorry, I’m just--” I quickly tried to explain, “I’d like to be friends,” I admitted.
“Switch interviewers!” The professor called.
“Your turn,” The purple cat told me, a wide grin returning to her face.
My mind was still racing at a million miles an hour, “Ah, uh, uhm... What’s your name?”
“Sophia,” She smiled, opening her posture.
“If I may, what kind of monster girl are you?”
She looked at me, a little confused before realization spread across her face, “You don’t know much about monster girls,” The grin returned to her face, “I am a cheshire cat.”
“Thank you. What are you majoring in?”
“Psychology. Not sure on my minor yet.”
“Anything interesting about your home life?”
“I was born to a werecat mother and have a werecat sister and a brother, I am the youngest.”
“Any interesting talents?” I asked, genuinely curious what a teleporting purple cat could come up with.
“A few! Here!” She held out a deck of cards for me, “Shuffle,” I examined the cards, a regular 52 card deck. I shuffled them, “Can I ask you something?” I nodded, “Have you ever been friends with a monster?”
“No, like I said, the ward keeps them away. Usually. You’re something of an enigma. I’m not even sure you’re real. Shuffled,” I handed the cards back.
“I can guarantee you that I’m real. Pick a card!”
I did as she said, the king of hearts stared back at me, “Okay,” I put the card back in the deck.
“Now, observe!” She furiously shuffled the deck for a few moments, “What was your card?”
“The king of hearts.”
“I have taken your card,” She drew the top card, “and turned it into the four of clubs!” She laughed as class ended, four of clubs in her hand. I sat in shock before laughing as well at her ridiculous game. I stopped laughing and looked at her smug grin, “I’ll see ya later, Anon. Thanks for being such a wonderful audience,” She stood, bowed and disappeared into thin air. I got my things together and headed out, my spirits a little higher.
I got back to my dorm, my thoughts clouded by that mischievous grin. I sat at my tiny desk as I worked on my homework. I wanted to see Sophia again. Really badly. I gently sat my pen aside as I sighed in frustration. I could not focus on my work. I swung around in my chair and nearly had a heart attack. A smug smile gleamed at me in the darkness of the room, “Sophia?” I called as I reached for the lamp. I turned a lamp on to see nothing illuminated by the light. I frowned, deciding that I must have been thinking things. I went back to my laptop only to see it was gone. I jumped up, more confused now.
I turned to see Sophia sitting on my bed, my computer on her lap, “Anon, is something wrong?” She asked smugly with a grin plastered across her face.
“N-no, you startled me, is all,” I sighed as I sat back down, “What are you doing here?”
“Well, you’re my only friend right now... I thought you might want to... hang out.”
I shook my head, “How’d you get in here? There should be numerous wards keeping monsters out!”
“Oh, these?” She revealed human made charms that she held in her hands, “Pieces of junk that your family paid too much for. They let me find you, Anon!” She laughed. I reached for them only for her to pull her hands away, “Let me get rid of these before a sabbath member smells them and takes you for some powerful wizard and breaks in.”
I frowned, she seemed genuine but I didn’t know whether to believe her. I was on my own now and I had no one to ask for advice, “Fine. Do it.”
“One moment,” She vanished for a few moments before reappearing, thin cardboard box in hand, “Pizza?”
“Yes please,” I warily took the box from her. ‘Bob’s Pizza Parlor,’ The box read, “I’ve never had pizza from this place before,” I sat it on my tiny table and opened it up.
Sophia sprang out of the box, “BOO!”
“AH!” I screamed and fell on my ass, bashing my head on the wall.
I held my head in my hands as I groaned from the pain. Sophia’s laughter died instantly as she knelt by my side, “Are you alright? I-I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m really sorry, Anon,” She spoke in a panicked tone.
I looked up at her, tears in her eyes, “I’m fine, Sophia,” I started to laugh, “That was a good one.”
She started to laugh, slowly and nervously at first, then erupting into something loud and boisterous, “Don’t scare me like that!” She gave me a playful push.
She stood and offered me a hand up, I took it. She helped me up with surprising strength, “Thanks. Did you bring actual pizza or was that just a prank?”
“I brought actual pizza from my grandpa’s place!” She told me proudly as she took a slice. I followed suit and took a slice for myself. I took the peperoni off while Sophia gave me a disgusted look, “Dude, what the fuck?”
“Just think of it as more peperoni for you, Sophia,” I chuckled nervously at her glare.
“Well... I won’t say no to that,” She held her mouth open. I put the stack of peperoni in her mouth. She put her lips over my fingers and sucked on them sensually for a few moments while giving me a lewd look. She pulled away, grin reforming on her lips, “You make the best faces!” She laughed before taking another bite.
I chuckled nervously, pitching a tent in my pants, “Y-yeah...” I ate the pizza slowly, only able to think of the lewd look she gave me.
She kept looking at me and chuckling as she ate. When we were both done, she sat down on my bed, “Can I ask you something?”
“Yeah,” I sat in my chair.
“Can you help me with my math homework?” She gave me a pleading gaze as she pulled a binder from her backpack.
“Of course. You did feed me after all.”
She took to the math well enough, got frustrated easily by some problems but she kept at it. What frustrated her the most was the fact that I wouldn’t just give her the answers, “Just tell me the circumference of the cylinder, Anon! I KNOW that you know it!”
“But then you won’t learn anything, Sophia,” I chuckled. She let out a cry of anguish, “You’re almost done, come on.”
“Yeah, yeah...” She punched the numbers into her large calculator, “13.84?”
“You got it right.”
She punched the air before writing that number down, “Okay, last one... Use SAN to find the angle.”
“Easy, you can do that.”
“R-Right,” I watched her punch the number into her calculator, “38.9?” She asked me.
“Looks like you did it right. You did a really good job, Sophia.”
She looked at me, red in the face, “I-I did?”
“Uhuh,” I pat her head without thinking, her hair was incredibly soft. She let out a gentle purr.
“C-can you pat me again?” The humor was gone from her face as her needy whimper reached my ears.
I remembered this from my human school teachings. This was like foreplay for monster girls. But, the way she whimpered and purred at me was getting through my iron heart. I slowly remembered why I was here, living in the tiny, shitty, dorm rather than my lavish home. A slight anger and a feeling of defiance returned to me, “Yeah. Come here,” I hopped on my bed and outstretched my arms invitingly. She looked at me with wide eyes before scrambling onto me. She clung to me as I started to run my hand through her hair. She purred loudly as I placed my other hand on her back, nuzzling into me with her face. I glanced at the clock, it was nearly 11, “Sophia,” I whispered.
“Hm?” She gripped my waist.
“You should head home, its late. If someone catches you here I’ll get kicked out.”
She frowned at me for a moment. A sudden grin spread across her face, “Alright, Anon. I’ll see you tomorrow!” She stood and spun around, teleporting away.
I sighed and got in bed, the warmth of Sophia firmly ingrained in my mind.
I started to awaken, sun shining on my face, “Okay!” A nice voice started, “Three, two, one!” The sound of a pleasant voice was drowned out by a cacophony of noise. A band around me began to play loudly. I shot up in bed, covering my ears. I was outside on the football field as the marching band was doing their morning practice. I looked around confused as the marching band circled around me, playing loudly. I was tackled by Sophia, “GOOD MORNING!” She shouted over the band before laughing loudly.
I looked at her, a chuckle escaping my mouth, “Can we put my bed back?” I said quietly.
“What?” She shouted over the noise.
I was working on homework when it happened. Home alone, trying to write a dumb psychology paper. I took a quick break before going back and editing it all. I slowly opened /monster/ on my phone looking for more cute art. The only thing I saw was ‘ITS HAPPENING.’ Confused, I opened the thread. News clippings of mysterious rifts opening in Japan and weird beings coming through. That was for sure a manticore. Oh lord. I broke out into a cold sweat. I scrolled further down to see pictures of anons with their waifus. Dare I step outside to try and claim my own? Rifts were opening across the globe, some even inside people’s homes.
I got dressed quickly before dashing out of my room and slamming my door shut, taking the steps downstairs two at a time. I ran through the living room heading for the kitchen. I stopped before entering the kitchen. Scorch marks on the floor and the smell of ozone. All the doors and windows were still locked. Someone was in here. I heard a noise upstairs. I slowly made my way upstairs, heart pounding, sweat pouring down my brow. I climbed the stairs, clutching the handrail. The door to the first room was open. My room. I peeked into my room. I didn’t see anything. I walked in slowly, peeking around the corner. Nothing still. I walked to the edge of my bed. It was unmade though I thought that I had made it this morning.
I felt something brush up against the back of my neck. I froze. Too nervous to move. Large hands clamped down on my shoulders. They leaned in close to me and breathed on my ear. A fluffy tail rubbed against my ankles. I couldn’t will myself to move, “Cat got your tongue?” She asked with a nervous laugh.
“Uh- uh-” I couldn’t form words. She turned me around gently. I stood face to face with a cheshire. Her two shades of purple were much more muted and dull than I would have expected. I would have thought that cheshires would be covered in bright, gaudy shades. She didn’t have a huge shit eating grin on her face, more of a nervous smirk. Her hands rested on my shoulders gripping and letting go slowly. I looked down from her bright yellow eyes. She was naked except for her natural fur. Her round breasts looked melon sized, her plump thighs shook nervously and her tail swished from side to side.
“I-I’m going to rape you now,” She stammered. I nodded, accepting my fate. I started stripping solemnly, “No!” She shouted suddenly. I stopped, “I-I’m supposed to tackle you and tear your clothes off and um... Make you love me...” She trailed off. I stared at her expectantly as she blushed and looked down. This wasn’t going at all how I expected. She let go of my shoulders and rubbed her face and slapped her own cheeks, she said something silently to herself and clenched her fists. She took a deep breath and looked up at me again, a new determined look on her face. I gave her a smile as she gently pushed me onto the bed. She grabbed my shorts and tried to pull them off to no avail.
“Belt,” I told her, finally speaking.
“Huh?” She looked up, face red again.
“I’m wearing a belt. You gotta take that off first,” I reiterated, lifting my shirt up. She nodded and fumbled with it for a few moments before gently pulling my pants off. She paused, staring at my crotch. I was already at full mast. I sat up a little bit and pulled my shirt off.
“J-just take his underwear off... just take his underwear off...” She told herself. I waited patiently as she slowly grabbed the top of my underwear with both hands. Her soft fur and claws gently grazing my skin. She took a deep breath and pulled them off. Her eyes got wide as she stared at my man parts. She froze.
“Are you okay?” I asked, trying to sit up to console her.
She pushed me back down, “Its just my first time, okay?” Anger flashed across her face for a moment as she climbed on top of me. She straddled me, wet pussy pressed against my shaft, “Are you ready?” She asked me. I was going to make fun of her but stopped myself. This was supposed to be a rape, at least she wanted it to be. I nodded. She got up a little bit and grabbed my member, holding it straight up to enter her. She hesitated for what felt like a minute. She let go and sat back down on me, he face held low in shame.
“You’re doing great,” I told her with a smile, doing my best to encourage her.
“This isn’t how this is supposed to go,” She said darkly. She wiped her face with her wrist. Tears welled in her eyes.
“Hey, come on. I can struggle if that’s what you want,” I offered, I sat up and put my hand on her shoulder.
She shook her head, “I’m supposed to bust in and confidently pin you on the bed or against the wall and tear your clothes off. You struggle as I ride you, forcing you to shoot your baby batter in me. You panting for air as I nibble on your ear, and then we cuddle all night and you tell me that you love me,” She was trying not to cry.
“I-I’m sorry,” I didn’t know why I was apologizing. She looked down at her hands, contemplating, “You can get me to love you other ways.”
“Who could willingly love me?” She started crying.
I stared at her. I just wanted to stop her from crying, to see her smile, “I can.”
She looked up at me with anger on her face, “You’re lying, just like everyone else!” She vanished instantly.
I lie still on my bed, wondering what to do now. I sat up and put my clothes back on, “Guess I blew it,” I didn’t know whether to cry or be happy that I would probably make it to wizardhood now. I chose the former, tears welling up in my eyes as I rolled over in bed. I sighed, trying to stop myself from crying. Even if she had been acting a little strange, she was so pretty and cute. I just wanted to hold her and tell her everything would be alright.
“You’re winning me over with your charms,” I smiled. She just looked at me, confused. I got up and grabbed a blanket from under the bed. I wrapped it around her and put my clothes back on, “Do you want any food or clothes or anything?” She still didn’t speak. Her wide yellow eyes watched me move around the room, “A game? A nap?” I was just hoping she’d say something. She still watched me silently, I just wanted to know what she was thinking. At least she had stopped crying. Just seemed confused now. Poor thing. I threw my closet open and grabbed a large shirt, “Here, if you decide you want to wear something.”
She nodded, “Thank you,” She put it on cautiously, “Why are you being so nice to me?”
I hesitated, girls don’t like it when you act desperate but I felt the need to be honest, “Because I see a little bit of myself in you. Being sad and desperate for love and all. We both deserve love, you know? Maybe we can find it together?” I wanted to punch myself for how cheesy I was.
“You’re funny Anon. I’m Sophie by the way,” She smiled at me. It made my heart beat faster. She got up and made a small trunk appear at her feet. I got a nice look at her butt as she dug through it. She put some purple shorts on and sat back down on the bed, “Can I rest my head on your lap?”
My phone started to ring, I looked at the caller ID, it was my mom. I answered it, “Hello?”
“Anon? Thank goodness you’re alright! None of those demons hurt you?” My mother asked. My heart sank. I should have realized this would happen.
“No mom,” I was technically telling the truth.
“We’re coming home early, we’ll be back tomorrow around noon. Don’t go outside, okay?”
“Okay mom, bye,” I stopped the conversation quickly and hung up. Sophie was asleep with her head in my lap. The stress of teleporting and then our encounter had drained her. I didn’t know how to explain my mother being weird, not to mention the rest of my family. It was only two in the afternoon so we’d have time to figure something out. I pat her head, her earls flicked in response to me running my hand past them. Her hair was just as soft as her fur. I wanted to touch her ears, but knowing cats shed probably get mad. I touched her face gently, hoping to bring some warmth and color back to her pale face to no avail. I gently picked her up off my lap and got off the bed and headed to my computer. I stepped over the small trunk that Sophie had brought with her as I went. I suppressed the desire to search it. I needed to turn my assignment in.
I sat in front of the blank screen and moved the mouse, the machine whirred to life and the light of the monitors washed over me. I felt a weight in my lap, looking down I saw Sophie’s head on my lap. She had teleported to me in her sleep. She was kneeling on the floor and resting her arms and head on my lap. I ran my fingers through her hair again. I completed my paper and turned it in. I turned my attention back to the exhausted cat. I picked her up and put her back on the bed. I took another look at her, she wore one of my shirts and a comfy looking pair of loose shorts. Her body was slender except where it mattered, her butt seemed nice and firm. She didn’t seem too muscular, but I was completely sure she could over power me. She was a bit under six feet tall, a bit shorter than me. I was about to lie down on the bed with her when she stirred. She yawned and stretched. Her eyes blinked open slowly, she gave me a small smile, “How long did I sleep?” She rubbed her eyes.
“About three hours,” I told her, “You gonna sleep more?”
“No. Wanna chat?” She rolled over onto her back.
“Yeah...” I sat back down on my computer chair and looked at the purple colored cat on my bed. I could hear chaos outside my window but I don’t think I could have cared less about that. She had bags under her eyes, “Are you alright?”
“You’ve been so honest with me so I’ll be honest with you,” She teleported so she was now sitting on my lap, “I’ve just been really down, no jokes, pranks, nothing to laugh about,” She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around my neck, “I’m sorry.”
“What? You don’t need to apologize to me for being depressed. Hell, I’ve been down as well,” I squeezed her tight in a hug.
We sat quietly, holding each other,
I sat in the back of the lecture hall, typing on my laptop. I was in a math class, the second day of it and I was doing my best not to pay attention. I knew that I SHOULD be paying attention, since I was paying for the class and all. But, the most interesting thing about this owl mage’s lecture was the way her massive breasts bounced around as she excitedly talked about circles and spheres and cylinders and whatever other shapes came to her. I already understood what we were going over, but The Herd--a group of monsterized farm animals that I had so lovingly nicknamed--seemed to be eating it up. I frowned and shook my head. I opened up Roller Coaster Tycoon to entertain myself for the next two hours. I looked up as the door to the classroom opened. In walked a girl, monster girl. She looked a lot like a werecat, but the colors were off, like a preschooler had colored her in with only a purple and black marker. The Herd mumbled nervously to each other, the holastarus visibly shaking in her boots while their centaur leader stared stoically at the catwoman.
I reached into my backpack and pulled out an old book, ‘Monsters, you and what to do.’ I thumbed to the cat category as she handed a paper to the professor. I found an entry that matched her description physically, a cheshire cat. I read the short blurb about them, this book being so old and it claiming cheshires to be so rare that it doesn’t have much about them. ‘Mischievous, energetic, peppy and smug, these monsters have the ability to teleport, turn invisible and destroy the very laws of reality around them; all to play a few pranks or have their way with you.’ I tilted my head, that didn’t sound so bad. In large red font the book practically screamed at me, ‘AVOID AT ALL COSTS.’ I scratched my head, I had never seen anything like that in the book, not even when speaking of manticores.
I looked back up and noted the dull purple fur on the cheshire as well as the very modest white dress she was wearing, her tail drooping behind her and she solemnly nodded at the professor as she was told, “No funny business!”
She turned to the seats and shrunk back when she noticed that all eyes were on her. The professor continued her lecture, nearly all eyes returning to her. The cat walked up the ramp on the side of the room and sat in the back row five seats from me, there was no one in between us. She glanced at me and I gave her a small wave and a smile before getting back to my game.
After an hour of lecture, worksheets were handed out, two pages. We were instructed to break into pairs to do the class work. I stretched and looked at the only other person in the back row, the cheshire. She leaned over her paper, scratching her head. I looked at her perfectly sized, perky breasts and her adorable, pale face. I disregarded what the book had told me and picked up my things and moved next to her. She looked up in surprise as I plopped down. I saw nervousness and a tinge of fear in her eyes. I stopped myself from greeting her with a joke and a grin, “Hey, I’m Anon,” I gave her a kind smile.
“S-Sophie,” She stammered as she began poking at her pencil.
“Wanna work with me on this?”
“You... Want me to work with you?” Her face became red and her ears twitched. She “I would love to work with you,” She gave me a big grin showing off her pointy teeth, “Can you walk me through some of this?”
“Of course. You have this side and this angle, and need to find this side. Use this equation to get it.”
Sophie punched it into her calculator. She apprehensively looked at me, “Five point eight?”
“You got it. Do the same thing here but use ‘sine’ instead.”
“Done!” Sophie smiled at me as she looked over her paper.
“Good job,” I praised her as I began packing up my things, “Think you can do that stuff on your own if you had to?”
“Yes!” A bit of vibrant color returned to her fur and skin, “I feel like you’re a better teacher than--” She glanced to the front of the room where the owl mage was snacking on seeds.
I laughed a bit, “Thanks. Glad I managed to hammer it in.”
“Do you live around here, Anon?”
“Nah, I’m pretty far from home. I just live in a tiny dorm room. You must have just started here, huh?”
“Yeah I did,” She frowned, “My family just moved into town and I couldn’t bear to be so far away from them so I moved as well and switched colleges.”
“Can’t cheshires teleport?” She shrunk away from me, “Surely it must have hurt to leave behind all your friends,” She mumbled something quietly, “What was that?”
“I can’t teleport easily and I didn’t have any friends back home,” She glared at me, tears in her eyes.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you,” I quickly apologized.
She wiped her eyes with a sigh. She was silent as she packed up her things, leaving me in suspense, “Its okay,” The once semi-vibrant colors had faded back into the dull, muted purples.
The professor suddenly stood up and waved her wings, “Class dismissed! Make sure you hand in your work!”
“Do you want to--” I turned back to Sophie just to watch her sadly get up and grab both of our work and quickly turn them in as I scrambled to get my things together and go after her. I put my bag on and sped out the door. She was already gone. Defeated, I trudged to my dorm room, cursing the mana ward on my arm. Usually I was avoided by monsters because of the accursed ward. My parents were heavily anti-monster, wanting to return to life before they came through the portals all those years ago. Being the rebellious young man that I was, I chose to attend a university with a high monster population.
As I entered my dorm room, I pushed the warding charms aside that dangled from the ceiling. Even if I was fine with monster girls, I was opposed to one breaking into my room in the middle of the night and tying me up before having her way with me. I frowned as I looked around the room, remarking at how dim and depressing my room seemed. I had a small bed, a desk with a chair, a dresser, a little fridge, a counter with another two chairs, a microwave and a tiny tv. Nothing adorned my walls besides the aforementioned charms. I sat on my bed, distracted by the thought of Sophie. I had never felt this way about a girl before, human or monster. I suspected she might have cast a spell on me with her wonderland magic, some kind of charm making me fall for her. I frowned, I had resisted sabbath magic before thanks to my wards, how could a cheshire so easily tear through it? Was I being tricked? I was sweating and my heart was fluttering. I shook my head, I needed to do something else to distract myself. I turned on the TV and plugged in some video games. I looked at the coupons I had been sent in the mail, trying to decide what I wanted to eat. A new pizza place had opened up, simply called ‘Pizza Now.’ Six bucks for a medium pizza and two liter was a pretty good price. I called into the place and put in an order to be delivered around six thirty. Taco pizza and a coke. I returned to my seat, controller in hand and did my best to relax for a few hours before my food arrived.
I eagerly awaited my pizza, it was getting close to seven and I was getting hungry. I was getting distracted by my stomach growling while I tried to play some old games. A knock on the door roused me from where I slouched lazily. I hurried to the door, wallet and coupon in hand. I opened the door and nearly shouted in surprise. Before me stood a cheshire, Sophie. She was looking down at a receipt. She wore a plain white shirt with the Pizza Go logo stretched across her breasts and khaki pants. She put on her best fake smile, “Your total is--” She gasped as she looked up at me, nearly dropping the pizza, she tried to stabilize it, causing her to drop the coke. The coke exploded, showering her in the dark liquid. She stood still as the sugary drink dripped from her. I had no idea what to say, it was almost humorous. I would have laughed if she hadn’t looked like she was going to cry. Mixed in with the coke, tears started to flow from her eyes.
Even if my brain was screaming at me to not do it, I couldn’t stop myself, “Come in, let me get you some new clothes,” I took her by the arm and pulled her inside, closing the door behind her. She offered no resistance as she started to cry. I took the thankfully untouched pizza from her and set it on my desk. Sophie sat on the floor and started sniffling. I pulled out a large shirt and a pair of sweats for her to wear and got a bath towel wet so she could wipe herself down. She was staring at me with her big golden eyes as I moved around my small dorm.
“Why are you being so nice to me?” She mewled as she took the towel from me.
I hesitated, not wanting to sound like a loser, but honesty sounded like a good idea, “I don’t have many friends either. I had a good time with that hour we talked today.”
“Even though I snapped at you?” She wiped her face off.
“Yeah. I’ll uh, stand over here and face the wall so you can change and wipe yourself off.”
“There’s no bathroom in here? How do you live like this?” I could hear her start to strip.
I chuckled, “Its just down the hall. I make it work.”
She finished changing, “I’m very sorry about the soda. Can I do something to make it up to you?”
I turned to her and thought for a few moments. She was making sad kitten eyes at me. I smiled, “Yeah. Have some pizza with me, friend.”
She blinked at me, her confusion slowly turning to a grin as some color returned to her form, “Okay!” She sat at the counter and I pulled up my desk chair, “Oh! I’ll be right back!” She hopped up and dashed out the door. I sat and stared at the door, unsure if she was coming back. She was back in five minutes, “Here,” She handed me a bottle of Pepsi as she panted, “They didn’t have Coke at the convenience store.”
I looked at the bottle, “Did you just sprint across campus just to get me a soda?”
“Mhm!” She had a bottle of Code Red for herself.
“How much do I owe you for the pizza?” I asked her as I opened the box and took a slice.
“Nothing. I nearly ruined your evening. Grandpa should understand.”
“Oh shit, your grandpa owns that pizza place?”
“Yup! He’s great.”
“You have to get back to work, don’t you?” I inquired sadly before taking a bite of the pizza. It tasted wonderful, the crust was perfect, the sauce, cheese, meat and other ingredients all came together perfectly.
“Grandma and mom will understand,” She frowned and looked at the floor, “I hope.”
I reached to put a hand on her shoulder but pulled it back as I hesitated, “If you gotta go, thats cool.”
“Thanks Anon. Can I have that big slice?” I nodded and she gleefully picked it up. She shoved the slice in her mouth and happily ate it, “Woah, is that a Super Nintendo!?” She pointed to the TV on my dresser along with my small collection of consoles.
“Yeah. Did you wanna play it after we eat?”
“YES!” Her eyes sparkled at the very idea of getting to play the ancient console. Her fur was the most vibrant I had ever seen it, her pale skin became peach colored as she quickly ate her fill of delicious pizza. I let her play Super Mario World as I finished eating. There was a beeping from Sophie’s pocket. She picked up the phone and looked at the screen. She went pale and slowly answered it, “H-hey mom... Yeah, I’m fine... No, the guy I delivered to was one of my classmates and I spilled his soda all over myself,” She chuckled, “He invited me in and--” She paused, listening to what her mother was saying, “No, I’m not lying I--” The color faded again as she got an earful from her mother, “I’ll be home soon. Bye.”
I frowned as she hung up the phone, “Gotta go?”
She nodded at me, “Yeah. Thanks for having me, Anon. I’ll give you your clothes back in class, alright?”
I got mad, this was my fault. I snatched the phone from her, “Hello?” I interrupted the older woman’s rant. I stopped myself from snapping at her, “Please don’t be mad at Sophie, I asked her to stay.”
“Oh! I thought she was lying again,” She laughed, “She has a tendency to stretch the truth to get out of her duties!” There was an awkward pause, “Anon, was it? Are you... Single?” The question hung in the air for a few seconds. I had no idea what to say.
I decided quickly. I just hoped this wasn’t a bad idea. I laughed nervously, “Yes. Here’s your daughter,” I quickly thrust the phone back into Sophie’s hand, not wanting to let her ask me more questions.
She listened to her mother for a few moments, her face lit up red, “M-mom! Why would you ask him that!” Sophie shouted, “I’m hanging up! I’ll probably be home tonight!” She quickly tapped the red hang up button and buried her face in her hands, “I’m so sorry.”
“Its fine. Wanna play two player? You can be Mario if you want.”
“Yes...” Her color came back a bit. I smiled, just glad to see her happy again. She took her turn, skillfully and easily navigating one of the levels. When it came to my turn, she looked around the room, “Hey, what's with this wall art?”
“Oh, my warding charms? They’re supposed to repel monsters, but obviously they don’t work,” I shrugged.
“No, I can feel them, but I can ignore that pretty easily. That mark on your arm is a ward too, right?”
“Yup. That 's made it hard to make friends. I hate this shit,” I grumbled.
“The goombas that aren't actually goombas?”
“No, no, the wards. Its part of why I got out here, away from my family. I couldn’t even make friends with The Herd and they’re TOO damn friendly.”
“The Herd?” She echoed, “Are you... Are you talking about the holstaurus and friends in our math class!?” She laughed loudly, “That’s amazing!”
“Oh, come on. Its not that funny,” I smiled.
“I wish I knew good jokes and could make people laugh,” She sighed.
“At least you’re fun to be around,” She blushed and hid her face, “Your turn, by the way.”
“Oh, right,” She got back to the game, “I, uh, did your parents force you to have all this warding stuff?” I nodded, “The ward on you smells pretty nice to me.”
“Really?” I was shocked. I had been avoided by monsters for YEARS because of this ward.
“I’m sure your natural energy smells even better,” She stared at me, a hunger in her eyes. She didn’t turn her eyes back to the screen until she heard the death jingle as an enemy wandered into her, “Oops! Your turn, Anon.”
I laughed nervously, “Maybe I should get it removed, then,” I couldn’t stop myself from humoring her.
“That would be cool,” We were quiet for a while, only speaking about the game in short sentences. Sophie was really hot and bothered, panting when she looked at me sometimes. As soon as I noticed she wasn’t wearing a bra and her nipples were poking through her shirt, I was pretty bothered too. She saw me staring, “D-do you like what you see, Anon?”
“S-sorry,” I quickly looked away.
“Anon,” She stood up and stood over me, a nervous smile spread across her face. She sat down on my lap, facing me, “Do-- Do you-- Am I pretty to you?” She quickly got off of me and sat back in her seat. Her face was completely red as she stared at the floor, completely embarrassed of herself, “I’m sorry, I’m being irrational.”
“I think you’re really pretty,” I admitted quickly, “Do you like me, even though I’m kind of an ass?” I asked as my own nervousness came out.
I stared at the floor, ready for her to tell me no. I received no reply. A soft hand caressed the side of my face gently, “I, um, think you’re really cool and handsome, Anon. We should hang out more,” She was nervously sweating. I looked up at her causing to pull her hand away as if I was going to bite her.
“Does... This make us boyfriend and girlfriend?” I wondered aloud, “I don’t know standard dating practices for monsters.”
“You want to... DATE me?”
As a quick heads up, the formatting in this story is a little weird because of some strange ideas I had for it. Hopefully its still easy to follow along with and enjoyable!
This story incorporates a lot of characters from my previous works. You get enough info on each of them from this to enjoy this story even if you aren’t familiar with the characters. If you’ve read my stuff or you just wanna read this, feel free to read on. If you feel like reading these characters’ backstories, the main ones to read are: Bridgett Means Fire, Little Dragon Girl, The Black Cat, andStriped Samurai. I hope you enjoy!
A red car coasted down a lonely road on a sunny Saturday morning. It was barely ten o’clock with scarcely a cloud in the sky as soft rock played through the car’s stereo. Sitting in the passenger’s seat of the car was a weresheep with cream colored wool and bright green eyes. Covering her motherly body was a deep purple knitted sweater and form fitting jeans. She turned to face her husband of four years, her waxxed horns glimmering in the sunlight, “Theodore, darling, are we really going to leave the kids with… Maxine?” She had an unsure frown spread across her lips.
Theodore scoffed and glanced at her from behind his blacked out sunglasses, “Of course! We haven’t had time to ourselves since we met. This isn’t like when Mother babysat them all for a night. Kimiko is there! She’s the most responsible person we know!”
“I liked it when grandma baby sat me!” Their daughter, Bridgett, a young dragon girl with green scales, blue eyes and black hair grinned. She was wearing a yellow dress.
Gwen grimaced as she remembered how her adoptive mother had spoiled her children rotten. Bridgett had drank so much caffeine she couldn’t sleep all night and kept waking her parents up, “Well… right. But…”
“You worry too much!” Theodore laughed, “Plus Maxine said she needed Bridgett’s help for a special project. Everyone on the Hamilton estate has their eyes on the witch. Nothing bad will happen.”
“I’m still not sure.”
The man sighed at his beautiful weresheep wife, “Come on, I got us a reservation at your favorite restaurant, two tickets to that new movie you wanted to see, and an afternoon to ourselves.”
Gwen gave him a tiny smile, she really did want to do those things, but she was a little wary about leaving her children in her somewhat reckless friend’s care. With a glance behind her, she looked over her precious children. The dragon was nearly ten now and her twins were three. Like usual, Ross and Samantha were both asleep, “Alright, alright. But, Bridgett, if anything strange happens you find a phone and call us.”
“Okay!” The dragon girl bounced excitedly in her seat. With how big she was now, she could easily be mistaken for a young teen.
Theodore snickered quietly to himself as he refocused on the road, “I remember a few years ago when my little girl was terrified of Maxine.”
“Maxine!” A voice cried.
The cat witch groaned as she put her book down, “What is it, Svetlana?” Her green cat eyes blinked as she adjusted her short sable hair and long, black, billowing robes.
The kikimora appeared in the doorway with her own child in her arms. A one year old kikimora with grey hair that matched her mother's, “I hope you have not forgotten about the playdate you scheduled for your children. They should be arriving any minute!” She scolded.
“Of course I had not,” She scoffed, rising to her feet and putting her wide brimmed, conical hat atop her head, making sure her pointy cat ears stuck through their allotted holes, “My precious Sophia needs her time to bond with Ross at a young age. The two are destined for one another.”
“You keep saying that…” Svetlana sighed, “What about Kimiko’s children or my daughter interacting with him?”
“Nothing will come of that,” She assured her best friend with confidence. The two strut down the halls of her wing of the Hamilton manor. Her parents and sister had control of the rest of the abode, but a sizable chunk was under Maxine’s care along with her husband, Richard. Svetlana’s family along with Kimiko, Maxine’s body guard and trusted friend lived on the wealthy family’s property, “Besides, I have more important things to do while the children nap,” The witch had done little decorating in her area. There were a few paintings that her mother had put up for her, but other than that every room was form over function. A room for magical paraphernalia, a personal library, a personal room for her husband, a room for learning martial combat and a few rooms dedicated to her children. Maxine had two now, Sophia, the older at a little over three years and Marcille who was around seventeen months old, “Did you summon Kimiko like I instructed?”
“Of course. Her and her litter of three are prepared for the play date. Why didn’t you offer to take Daisy or Ruth’s children too? You seem intent on giving your children ample play dates with others their age. Ruth had boys, in fact,” The kikimora points out.
Maxine grimaced, “It is not that I do not like our friends’ offspring. My two, your one, Kimiko’s three and then Gwen’s three might as well be five with Bridgett involved. It is merely just a lot of children in one place for you and Kimiko to watch.”
Svetlana sighed, “Yes. Right. You still have not explained what exactly it is you have planned for your favorite dragon.”
“All in due time,” Maxine purred with a devilish smile, “It is nothing for you to worry your precious little head over."
She rolled her eyes, “Good. Worrying was never my forte, afterall,” The kikimora shook her head, “Best left to people like you and Kimiko.”
“Exactly. Where is she anyways? It is unlike her to be tardy,” Maxine frowned as she glanced out one of the front windows to make sure that her wool covered friend wasn’t there yet.
“Probably at her little pond,” The kikimora gestured to a window up ahead, “She is so large, I assume you could see her from here.”
“Ah, I think I do see her…” The witch muttered, squinting her eyes.
The tall tiger woman sat at a small pond surrounded by a modestly sized zen garden. Kimiko was on a large rock with a trail of smaller stones leading to it as to not step in the carefully raked sand. The area was surrounded by a small wall to keep the breeze, children and animals from messing with the jinko’s carefully manicured bonsai trees. If that protection failed, the magical runes that surrounded the area would protect it. She breathed deliberately as she meditated to the sound of running water over smooth stones.
She stirred and flicked her tail as she heard someone approaching, “Kimiko?” A man called out to her from behind the walls of her zen sanctuary.
“Yes, dear husband?” She replied as she stood to her full seven feet tall stature. Her white kimono with a silvery, flowing floral pattern on it billowed slightly in the soft breeze before she tightened the sash around her waist.
The man, Calvin, cleared his throat, “Theodore and Gwen should be arriving at any moment. I was asked to summon you,” His tone was formal before he grunted out the next thing he had to say, “And you left your sword lying around again and one of the kids got it. You know how I feel about that. They could really hurt themselves.”
Kimiko sighed and rose to her feet, “Perhaps I needed to clear my mind more than I had initially thought,” She mused aloud. She put her usual eyepatch over her bad eye and stepped across the stones toward her husband on long, elegant strides.
“I just want you to be more careful, Kimiko,” Calvin said, the annoyance in his tone had dissipated.
She nodded, “I understand,” She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead, “My mind has been clouded as of late. Maxine is up to something… wicked.”
“She’s a witch. That’s what she does,” Calvin grunted as the two went back to their modest home to collect their children. He adjusted the katana on his hip before handing a katana in a golden decorated sheath to his wife.
Kimiko nodded, taking the sword and agreeing with him, “She generally can be mischievous, although usually benevolent. A force of good. But this is something else.”
“The road to evil is paved with good intentions and all that,” He opened the front door and held it open for his wife, “I’ll be around to make sure she doesn’t mess with any of the kids while you keep an eye on her.”
“Good,” Kimiko smiled as she heard the sounds of numerous little feet running across the floor. Of the three, the two largest were Haruki and Mitsune. Both had cinnamon colored fur on their arms, legs, tail and cat ears with black colored stripes. They both ran into their mother’s arms while the smallest of the three, Aika, leapt into her father’s. The runt had white fur with black stripes, and along with her sisters, all three had orange eyes that matched their mother’s, “My precious children!” The elder jinko chuffed as she kissed both in her arms on the forehead as they both shrieked and giggled about all the play fighting they did, “Quiet down. You have friends arriving soon. Aika, are you sleeping again?” She giggled as she looked toward her husband where her white haired daughter was already napping, “Well, Calvin, bring her, would you?”
“Yeah,” He grunted back as he adjusted the child in his grip.
“Oh! I can see Kimiko!” Bridgett shouted excitedly and pointed as her father’s car approached the Hamilton manor.
“She’s pretty hard to miss,” Theodore snickered as he spotted the tiger woman before she vanished behind the building, “Look, Maxine’s here to greet us,” He gestured to the front as he pulled his car around a small fountain that spewed water of ever changing colors. From blues and greens to hues of red and orange.
The witch waved with her free hand, the other gripped her staff tightly, “Yoohoo! Greetings, friends!” Svetlana stood a little behind her and to the side.
“Hello, Maxine and Svetlana!” Gwen called as she stepped from her vehicle, “You are looking a bit less ragged than usual. Did you dress up just for us?” She teased as she grabbed her still snoozing son from the backseat.
“I have merely been saving my energy for the arrival of your little bundles of energy,” The witch shot back with a snicker, “Look at them. Just as wild as ever! Hello, Theodore. You look well.”
“Thanks,” He had Samantha in one arm and Bridgett’s hand in the other, “Thanks for doing this, by the way.”
“Of course. I have many others to rely on when I need a break, but you two deserve one as well.”
Gwen sighed as she reluctantly handed Ross to the witch, “Just no funny business, please. We’ll come pick them up at ten.”
“Funny business? Oh, Gwen! It wounds me that you would think I could harm such bundles of joy!” She chuckled. Kimiko appeared from the house, “Ah, Kimiko, wonderful timing,” She carefully gave the boy to the jinko.
“Please keep a close eye on them,” Gwen muttered to Kimiko.
“Aye. I will, Gwen,” She gave the sheep a little bow.
Svetlana gladly carried Samantha who snored quietly, “She’s just so cute!” The kikimora giggled.
“Come along, Bridgett. Your parents have a very relaxing day ahead of them,” The witch said as she waved her over.
“Bye, dad! Bye, mom!” Bridgett waved to her parents as she stood by Maxine’s side.
“Be good!” Gwen chuckled nervously as she anxiously got back into her husband’s car. She couldn’t take her eyes off of her precious children, she worried about them, she always did, but this was so intense a worry and her nerves so strongly rattle that she could hardly focus.
The weresheep jumped as Theodore touched her arm, “Hey, you alright?”
“Just worried about my babies…”
“They’ll be fine, come on. We’ve got plans, remember? At least try to have a good day with me!”
“Right…” Gwen sighed and leaned back in her seat as the car pulled away from the manor.
“I was beginning to think she would never leave,” Kimiko murmured as she watched the car go.
Maxine nodded and clenched her staff, “First thing is first, come along,” She gestured for the others to follow her. Bridgett giddily skipped down the elegant hallways as she followed the three adults, “Are the men keeping an eye on the children right now?”
“Yes, Maxine,” Kimiko nodded, “Calvin has joined Richard in watching the children.”
“My husband should be getting lunch prepared currently, I shall join him soon to help get everyones’ meal prepared by noon,” Svetlana declared with a smile.
“What are we having?” Bridgett asked excitedly as she was led into a room full of toys for younger children. Blocks, cars, a few board games, dolls, and, of course, a large and overly expensive toy kitchen. The dragon’s brother and sister were sat down where they continued taking their nap. Maxine’s two children and Svetlana’s one sat with Richard as he read to them from a picture book. As usual, Kimiko’s two more rambunctious children were play-fighting with one another while their white haired sister demanded that their father play blocks with her.
“Well, macaroni for you children, I believe. I believe you like yours with hot dogs in it, hm?” Svetlana mused. Bridgett’s eyes sparkled as she nodded in agreement. She knew that Svetlana made the best mac and cheese around and was very excited for lunch, “I shall return after I check up on my husband,” She gave a small curtsey to Maxine before leaving.
“Everything seems to be in order here,” Maxine said to herself as she stepped in, picking up Ross and placing his still sleeping form next to her daughter, “Now then. Come along Bridgett, I have something special I require help with.”
“Maxy,” Richard stood up and set the children around him aside, “Why do you need Bridgett for this?”
“You need not worry as to why,” The witch brushed him off quickly and turned to leave.
Kimiko blocked her escape, “Maxine. I am worried as well. I have been tasked with the young girl’s safe keeping. Explain what you have planned.”
Maxine groaned, she didn’t have time for this. She simply snatched Bridgett’s hand and waved her staff above her head, easily teleporting herself and the young dragon to a room specifically made for magic. The young girl felt her head spin from the magic for a few moments as Maxine strutted to her work area and began preparing various magical ingredients. Prisoner fruit peels, a few jub jub feathers and a little purple bottle of what has been known in the mage community as ‘baphwater.’
Bridgett tilted her head as she picked up the discarded jar from a table behind Maxine, “Cheshies’ Bath Water? Do not drink?” She read aloud before staring wide eyed at the purple haired cat woman on the label.
“Shoot, I forgot you could read proficiently,” Maxine muttered under her breath, “It's a magical reagent, Bridgett. Like mana salt or… dragon scales. Remember when I used some of your discarded scales?”
“Yeah, you did that to protect Richard. But why do you BUY some cat lady’s bath water when you could just use your own? You’re a cat too and you’ve got magic! Is this Cheshie magic like you?” She pointed out, feeling rather smart.
Maxine’s bright green cat eye twitched, “Puh-lease do not compare my most masterfully crafted magic to the wild, reckless abandon of a cheshire’s magic!” Her ears perked up as she heard footsteps approaching the door to her study. With the flick of her wrist the door was locked with a little click as the deadbolt rotated into place, “Now please sit on the couch while I prepare this magic spell,” The witch began to murmur her magic words as Bridgett plopped herself down on the couch to watch.
The dragon watched with wide eyes as the competent magician threw a handful of mana infused salt into the stone bowl she was using. Her hand circled the top of the dish, slowly and magically mixing the ingredients together into a sort of paste. Maxine ignored the jiggling of the door handle as she continued her spell, although she did decide to forego a few words of safety just to speed up the process.
“Maxine!” Kimiko called through the door, “I can hear you in there!”
“Maxine? Should I let Kimiko in?” Bridgett asked.
“No! No, I mean, she’ll spoil her surprise!” Maxine fibbed before going back to her spell.
“Bridgett!? Unlock this door!” Kimiko hollered again. She knew better than to force the door open.
“I, uh, can’t hear you!” Bridgett shouted back with a little giggle. The aetheric winds of Maxine’s magic made her clothes billow and her hair blow into her face.
“Unbelievable,” The jinko growled to herself before reaching into her kimono and retrieving a simple set of lockpicks. As she quickly took hold of her emotions, she used a long and curved piece of metal to push up all the pins into place so she could rotate the lock with an angled piece of metal. She turned the handle and threw the door open. Maxine turned to her wide eyed, her form, as well as Bridgett’s were both illuminated by a large purple-red portal on the stone wall of the room, “Maxine!?” Kimiko growled as she stomped over to them.
“Surprise!” Bridgett shouted.
Maxine cleared her throat at the enraged jinko, “K-Kimiko, as your employer--”
“I am enraged at you as your employee but more as an associate of Gwen and Theodore,” She scooped up the dragon and held her under her arm, “Looking to send this young girl through your damned portal to who knows where? You had better explain yourself. Now.”
“Look, look,” Maxine glanced at the portal and then at Kimiko, “I need something that only Bridgett can get.”
Kimiko’s scowl softened slightly, “Go on.”
“It's in… Wonderland--”
“Wonderland!? You refuse to go to that hellscape yourself! Why do you think you can just send this little dragon for you?” She hissed. Bridgett folded her arms and mimicked Kimiko’s cross look.
“She is ten. At that age, she is immune to the madness of Wonderland. Its inhabitants will not bother her much, they will most likely even try to help her. I just need a few mushrooms that only grow there for something I’m making for Richard!” Maxine explained, “Bridgett can go in and find some nearby then come right back!”
Kimiko set the dragon down, “What if she wanders off?”
Maxine rolled her eyes, “Then we’ll use this,” She reached into the sleeve of her flowing robes and began to pull out a very long length of rope, “Secure one end around the child and another to something heavy.”
“And you are quite sure this is safe?”
“Of course! I have done much research on this, Kimiko,” Maxine assured her quickly, “Perfectly safe for her.”
“Bridgett?” Kimiko looked down at the dragon, “Do you want to do this?”
“Well…” Bridgett didn’t know anything about Wonderland.
“I will give you whatever you wish, within reason,” Maxine offered quickly.
Bridgett’s mind nearly burst at the possibilities of what she could ask the all powerful witch for, “Okay. I’ll do it,” She picked up the length of rope and held it up for Kimiko. The jinko nodded and tied it to her then the other end around her own waist.
“Tug three times if you need help,” Kimiko nodded at her, “I will pull you back. Good luck.”
“Alright,” Maxine used her magic to create an illusion of a golden colored mushroom, “This is what I need. I need a handful of small ones or just one big one. Can you do that?”
“Yeah!” The dragon’s mind was still on the things she could wish for. She thought of her birth mother, but quickly pushed that from her mind. Maxine sure had a lot of money. Maybe she could buy Bridgett some food? She wondered if she should ask Gwen what she should ask for. The portal offered little resistance to Bridgett as she walked through it; the swirling purple and red vortex acted like a tunnel that she wandered down for an unknown length of time.
When the portal spat her out with a loud FWOOMP! Bridgett found herself in a forest standing on a path that stretched out in two directions, north and south. Overhead, the purple and red canopy of the strange trees with dark brown bark offered some shade against the purple and orange twilight or dawn sky. Bushes of similarly colored foliage lined most of the path and dotted amongst them were smaller plants like orange weeds and a few mushrooms of various colors, “Gold mushrooms. Gold Mushrooms,” She reminded herself. This was going to be an easier job than pulling weeds with her dad!
Bridgett scanned her gaze over numerous mushrooms. Each one that looked kind of golden was a lot more yellow upon closer examination. Besides, these were tiny, she needed something bigger and better to appease Maxine. As she searched, she heard a noise, like the bubbling of water on a hot stove. Curious, the young dragon pushed past the foliage and walked into the woods. There she spotted a massive mushroom, this one of a pink color. She frowned, knowing she had not yet found her prize. Sitting on top of the mushroom was a woman colored a light and pleasant shade of blue. The bubbling water came from some glass bottle with a tube that she would stick in her mouth and blow out an assortment of clouds of various shapes and an array of colors.
Bridgett gathered all of her courage and approached, remembering everything about manners that her father and mother had taught her. Bridgett smelled something sickly sweet as she tiptoed closer and began to cough quietly as she accidentally breathed in some of the smoke from the woman’s bubbling tube. Upon closer inspection, the blue woman was actually some form of caterpillar girl like the green worm in her grade. She wore a blouse and a blue overcoat. Two figures sat at the base of the mushroom the worm lounged on, a man in green army fatigues and a snoozing pink colored harpy who was definitely not wearing enough clothes by Bridgett’s standards. The dragon girl wondered if she was impoverished and couldn’t afford clothes. She turned her attention back to the worm and cleared her throat, “E-excuse me?” She mumbled in the most polite tone she could muster.
The worm put down her pipe and looked at the young girl that had so politely interrupted her, “Hm, a dragon?” She mused, “What can I do for you, dear?” She asked as she buttoned up her shirt to hide some of her cleavage.
“I-I was wondering i-if you knew where I could find a gold mushroom. P-please. A big one! Like this big!” The dragon spread her arms out wide to emphasize the word big.
“Hmm…” The wonderworm stroked her chin and idly took a puff of her pipe.
“What about the duchess?” The man in green fatigues asked, “You’ve said that--”
The worm shut up her husband by draping her long worm body off of the mushroom and covering up his face, “Yes. The duchess of the land,” The worm nodded, “She should have what you desire.”
“How do I find this duch… duchess,” Bridgett didn’t like how this new word felt in her mouth.
“It's simple. You walk down the path.”
Bridgett nodded and turned to go, “Which way?”
“Well, that way,” The wonder worm pointed in both directions by crossing her arms.
“W-what?” The dragon tilted her head.
“All roads here lead to the duchess's castle, well, except when they don’t! Just start walking and you will eventually find it.”
“Thank you, uh, ma’am,” Bridgett forced a small and weak smile for the blue worm woman.
“Hear my warning, child,” The wonder worm started to speak again, stopping Bridgett from leaving as she politely turned back to listen, “The road will be long and you will be tested by various Wonderland denizens. Keep your chin up through all of it and you will find your prize. Oh, and when you see the duchess, tell her that Pam says ‘hello’.”
“Uh, okay,” Bridgett nodded, “Thanks, ma’am,” She smiled and left the clearing, easily making her way back to the path by following the length of rope tied around her waist. She stared at the portal for a few moments before picking a direction, the north, and wandering down it, skipping and humming as she went.
All the trees looked the same to Bridgett. The path was some kind of compacted dirt that the claws on her feet easily dug into as she skipped. The canopy overhead had opened up and she could more easily see the sky. She loved the sunset but she wondered when night would come, or if it ever would. Or maybe it was morning? The dragon wondered. As she was lost in her thoughts, she nearly ran into a long bright yellow with black stripes... thing that blocked the path in front of her. Without another thought, she went to crawl under it to get past.
“Hey!” A gruff voice shouted, making Bridgett jump back, “You can’t go UNDER the palisade!” Looking to her right, she noticed a bright yellow building which the palisade was attached to.
“W-why not?” Bridgett asked, staring into the toll booth at the obfuscated individual inside.
“Why!? Y-- Buh-- We--” The figure groaned before grabbing the window she hid behind, her large purple claws stretching the window larger so she could climb out as if the once wooden structure was now made of rubber, “Because them's the RULES!” The woman growled, standing to her full seven foot height. She put her claws on her hips, her purple scales and horns glimmering in the evening/morning light. Her torso was covered by a fancy, lilac, dress shirt with a black tie and a deep purple coat over it. Her legs down a little past the knees were covered in a black skirt and on her head sat a little bowler’s hat. She had a bright pink sash around her waist and over one shoulder that read ‘PORTAL MONITOR.’ Her tanned skin was blemishless, her messy magenta and plum hair was done up in a bun with her bangs covering most of her forehead and her glaring purple eyes were staring at Bridgett from behind a pair of glasses as she out stretched her small, leathery, purple wings.
Bridgett recognized the woman’s species from a book she had gotten from Maxine about dragons last year; she knew this was a jabberwock, but the child was too nervous to bring it up, “C-can I go around it?” Bridgett timidly asked.
“Wha-- No!” The large woman groaned, “You can’t go under or around!”
She gave Bridgett an exasperated look, “Look, kid--” The jabberwock paused for a second, “What’s your name kid? I gotta put that into my log book,” She explained as she pulled a cartoonishly large leather bound book from her back pocket. Even Bridgett was quick to notice that without ridiculously large cargo shorts, there was no way she could be carrying that book like that.
The young dragon frowned, unable to see if she really WAS wearing cargo shorts underneath that frilly dress. The jabberwock cleared her throat, expecting an answer from the smaller, green dragon. She cleared her throat, “Uh, Bridgett. With two t’s. And no E at the end.”
“That’s a cute name,” The jabberwock gave a little smile as she wrote it into her book with a pen.
“Yeah, it means fire!” Bridgett blew fire out of her mouth, coughing as the smoke started to come up, “What’s yours?” She asked as she recovered, trying to be polite.
“Mine?” She paused for a moment, “It's Susan.”
“Susan, huh? Well, Susan, how do I get past this thing?”
Susan put her book away, “If you wanna get past, the palisade has to be up. If you try to do anything else, I’ll stuff you in the prisoner fruit wiggler,” She gestured with a thumb to a big metal box at the back of her little toll booth.
Bridgett shuddered with fear at the menacing metal box. She had no idea if she could fit in there, “I don’t wanna go in the wiggler,” She whined, doing her best to not cry in the presence of the intimidating metal box.
The jabberwock felt a little bad about yelling at the little dragon girl, “Look, kid. Just stay on the path and you’ll be fine.”
Bridgett wiped her face and nodded, “How do I get past by following the rules?”
“Well, you--” The purple scaled wonderland dragon stopped, her face going completely blank as she looked at the palisade, “I-I don’t know… I-it didn’t open when I put your name in! I figured that would be the answer! I don’t know, Bridgett!”
“You don’t!? Then why are you here!?” Bridgett demanded, her being the one shouting now.
“Jabberwocks guard portals into Wonderland. But… No one ever makes it this far. Usually men wander into here and they get rap--” Susan turned to the young dragon and bit her tongue, “Get led on alternate paths by, uh, cheshires or captured by the trumpart, the Red Queen’s guard.”
“But what about kids like me?” Bridgett asked as the jabberwock leaned on the palisade.
“Well, due to a more recent decree, kids can do whatever they want, as long as they don’t get on the Red Queen’s nerves,” The big purple dragon leaned more heavily on the palisade. She examined her claws and glanced back and Bridgett, “You, uh, in school?” Bridgett nodded, unsure how to proceed on her quest, “That’s cool. Stay in school, alright? Don’t be like me,” She removed her hand from the palisade to throw both of her arms into the air, “I’m thirty two, husbandless, and I can hardly make rent!” She angrily slammed her hand back down on the yellow barrier, snapping it in two and sending the jabberwock to the dirt ground.
“Look! The barrier’s gone! Thanks, lady!” Bridgett hurried past the jabberwock, skipping as she went.
Susan sighed and propped her head up on her hand with a smile, “Good luck, kid.”
Kimiko breathed deeply and gradually exhaled, pausing before she repeated the process. She sat on the floor with the other side of Bridgett’s rope tied around her waist. Her meditation kept her calm and occupied as she tried not to worry about the young dragon.
Maxine sat on the couch, her face buried into a book as she tried to stay busy. Her tail flicked back and forth and her foot tapped with impatience as she waited for Bridgett’s return. She slammed the book shut as she finished it, “Where is she? She should have returned by now.”
“Perhaps she is struggling to find what you wanted?” Kimiko offered as she tried to keep meditating.
“Bridgett is smart. She should have finished by now…” Maxine’s worry was obvious.
“Did you not say this would be perfectly safe? Why do you worry so?” Kimiko grunted, “I have made a mistake in trusting you.”
“N-no you have not!” Maxine insisted, “Everything is fine! I am in control!”
A knock on the door interrupted Kimiko before she could respond. The door opened and Svetlana poked her head in, “Hello~” She quickly glanced at her two friends then the portal, “Uh… Where is Bridgett?”
“In the portal,” Maxine groaned, “What do you need, Svetlana?”
The kikimora frowned but decided not to press it further. She collected herself, “Lunch is nearly prepared, can you… please recall Bridgett? Girls her age need to eat lunch every day.”
“Yes, yes,” Maxine gestured at the jinko, “Bring her home, would you?”
Kimiko nodded and stood, relief washing over her as she started to pull on the rope. She pulled and pulled, Bridgett only offered a tiny bit of resistance. It took a minute or two, but something was pulled through the portal with a FWUMP noise.
All three women gasped as they gazed upon the mamano that had been yanked through the portal. A plump, pink harpy with no clothes on stood up and dusted herself off. She looked around the study at each of the women, “You’re not cute boys!” She whined. The rope was tied around her waist, “Cute boys are supposed to be ‘at the end of their rope!’ I can’t believe that--”
With a snarl, Kimiko grabbed the jub jub. The jinko bared her fangs and claws at the pink harpy as she grabbed her neck, hardly keeping herself from choking her, “Where is she!?” She hissed.
“Huh? Who?” The jub jub asked as she tilted her head.
“Bridgett! The dragon!”
“I don’t know anything about a dragon. But I know a jabberwock! She’s a nice lady!”
Maxine scowled, “Hold her Kimiko,” The witch mumbled some magic words to herself and touched the still jabbering jub jub’s forehead. Green light came from Maxine’s eyes as she delved into the harpy’s memory. She only used the spell for a handful of moments before pulling away as if in pain, “Ah!” She shouted, grabbing her temples.
“Maxine!?” Kimiko grabbed the jub jub and threw her back through the portal like a grocery store employee roughly handling a bag of potatoes, “Are you alright?” The jinko asked as she moved to attend to her ward.
Svetlana quickly realised what was happening, “I’m getting Richard!” She ran off down the hall.
“Svetlana!” Maxine cried as she slowly got over her acute Wonderland madness, “That rat!”
“Sit and relax, Maxine,” Kimiko helped her onto the couch, “How can I find Bridgett?”
“You will not be able to alone,” Maxine grunted, “And I dare not attempt to scry her through magic. The Red Queen would not be pleased with that. You and I will go in together and track her. She could not have gone far!”
“I’m coming with you,” A man’s voice sent a shiver down Maxine’s spine.
Her ears sadly flattened on the top of her head as she saw her husband giving her a cross look, “R-Richard…”
“What happened?” He asked as he began to rifle through his bag. He nodded as he found his sword and pulled it from the bottomless bag.
“I sent Bridgett into… Wonderland,” Maxine mewled, guilt ringing out in her voice, “I-it was supposed to be easy. A quick little trip. Children have diplomatic immunity there, so I thought she would be in and out. M-maybe a cheshire decided to lead her astray?” Richard nodded, the few tattoos of his that were visible under his polo glowed slightly with magical energies, “Richard, I can handle this. Trust me.”
“I do trust you. Kimiko too. But I want to help. Those kids are driving me up the wall,” He admitted quietly, “Svetlana, give Calvin a hand, would you?”
“Of course, sir,” The kikimora nodded and bowed before stepping down the hall.
“Well?” The man looked expectantly at his wife.
She nodded and finished preparing her things. Kimiko sighed, “I hope that girl is alright…”
Bridgett very happily skipped down the path without a care in the world. The sky was still purple and orange, the trees were still weird and purple, but Bridgett didn’t really care. She had seen green, sometimes orange, trees her entire life and was glad to have a little change of scenery. As the dirt path underfoot turned to stone, she knew she must be going the right way. The young dragon quickly came to a stop as she looked down at the path. The path split into two identical looking, parallel paths. Without really looking around, she started skipping down the left path, not daring to leave the path even if the bright green grass was tempting her. She hummed to herself as she went. It was ‘Ventura Highway,’ one of the songs her father would play his guitar to. After a few minutes of traveling, Bridgett found herself at another fork. The second path had vanished and now she faced two parallel paths once more. She frowned, they looked suspiciously similar to the ones from before but this time she went right. She kept an eye on her surroundings this time. The forest had become more sparse, the grass of the forest and the vegetation was all more visible now as she saw that there were pairings of trees together with ample space between them before another pairing of trees would crop up. Pairs of mushrooms and bushes littered the sides of the paths. Bridgett frowned, unsure what to make of it, but soon enough she was back to staring down two identical paths. She stomped her foot and spewed smoke from her mouth in frustration.
“My, my,” A giggling voice suddenly purred, “Doth the child finally give in to her anger?” It echoed and sounded like it was coming from all around her.
“W-who's there?” Bridgett demanded, puffing out her chest to make herself look larger, fire building in her throat, ready to throw it at whoever was taunting her.
“Stay thy flames, child,” The voice scolded, now sounding like it was right behind her. Bridgett turned with all the speed she could muster, terror making her blast the flames in her mouth toward the voice. All she hit was some shrubs to the side of the road, “Tsk, tsk. Thee would do well to listen to thy elders.”
Bridgett turned again, not blasting fire this time. She was almost eye level with the woman that had been giggling at her. Bridgett was about five feet tall as was this woman. A cat girl with bright purple hair that messily fell on her shoulders stared at the dragon with grinning yellow eyes that matched her toothy grin. The cat girl wore dark purple slacks and a pink button up with a purple, heart covered tie. Like a lot of bestial monsters, her hands and feet were covered with fur, hers being violet with deep purple stripes along with a similarly colored tail that rose into the air behind her, “W-what do you want?” Bridgett asked meekly.
“O, mine desires? None that thee would find comprehensible!” She laughed loudly, “Well, mine purpose is that of a wanderer. Wonderland changes its own shape quite often and mine task is to document.”
“Okay…” Bridgett eyed her suspiciously, not trusting the strange aura that the woman exuded.
“If thou cannot tell, thee hast been returned to thine starting point twice now. Can thou ascertain as to why?”
Bridgett took a few minutes to think, she didn’t mind helping the strange purple cat lady, “Only one me and two paths?”
“Almost!” The cat woman purred with delight, “Put thine eyes upon the scenery. What changes can thee ascertain?”
“Two of everything?”
“Precisely!” Her grin somehow widened further, “Thee hast a good head on thine shoulders, dragon! Now, we hast a new problem. I cannot pass alone and neither can thee.”
“We have to go together?” Bridgett assumed.
“Wonderfully deducted~!” The purple cat giggled, “Come, dear dragon. Our travel shall be short!” The woman looped her arm into Bridgett’s and pulled her along, taking the left path as she skipped along with Bridgett, “O! Look at the foliage! Does Wonderland not look beautiful this time of year?”
“It is nice,” Bridgett murmured, her mind once again focused on her task.
“Thy mind is sharp and focused. Good. Thee will need that to cross the rest of the land,” She let Bridgett go as the two paths split from one another, one to the left and one to the right, “Thy goal is to the left, Bridgett,” The woman explained as she skipped the gap between the paths and headed to the right.
“H-how did you know!?” Brigdett asked.
“As a cheshire, I am a guide, young dragon! It is mine job to know things!” She giggled like a lunatic as she disappeared, only her grin and yellow eyes staying behind for a few more moments before she ran off, laughing and giggling the whole way, “Good luck in the Familiar Forest, young Bridgett!” The far off, echoey voice called.
Bridgett shuddered, but she trusted her guide. She had no reason not to, she decided as she began to take the left path and head deeper into the now much more dense woods, the rope still tied around her waist and dragging along the ground.
FWOOMP! FWOOMP! FWOOMP!
The three stepped into Wonderland, the portal closing behind them, “I shall reopen it when needed,” Maxine explained as she clutched her staff with a white knuckled grip, “We cannot allow the Wonderlanders to spill into our world.”
“Aren’t there natural portals back and forth?” Richard wondered aloud with a shrug before he adjusted the sword on his hip.
“Do not remind me,” Maxine hissed as she looked around. She squinted at the unnaturally colored foliage and shuddered. She imagined this was what hell was like, and the Wonderland denizens were the insane demons and devils which resided within. Her mind was still obfuscated from herself due to the pure, concentrated insanity she had seen when viewing the jub jub’s memories. She had caught a glimpse of Bridgett within the insane harpy’s mind so she believed they were at least on the right track. The path before them spread out to the left and right, the dirt ground in either direction looking exactly the same. Kimiko smelled the air but could smell little more than the sickly sweet scent of the strange haze around them.
“Which way?” Richard asked, eager to get moving.
“South,” Maxine said.
“North,” The wondrous and most wise Maxine declared regally in a commanding tone.
Richard gave her a strange look, “How can you tell?”
Her wondrous and loving husband, Richard, nodded in agreement, knowing better than to argue against his most doting and caring wife. After all, a happy wife is a happy life! “As you say, Maxy!” He smiled a heartwarming smile that made Maxine’s heart pound just a little faster with happiness.
“Um,” Kimiko frowned. She sensed magic most vile and wicked on Maxine. She swore that the witch was looking less black and more… purple, but it was only a tiny tinge of it.
Richard put a hand over his mouth and rubbed his jaw. The memories in his head and what he had said didn’t seem to line up. His tongue felt strange as did his mind, “W-what? Did I say that?” He muttered to himself as a cold sweat formed across his body.
A strange feeling had come to Maxine. A sort of… premonition. A view of the past, it seemed. A vision that consisted of words on a page that she knew to be true. One she did not call upon with her magic. It was an odd almost out of body experience unlike anything she had ever felt. To be honest, it was uncomfortable, but that was most likely just the remnants of the jub jub’s insanity in her mind, “Yes. North,” She restated with a modicum of confidence.
“How do you know?” Kimiko asked with a frown and folded arms.
“I-I saw it in a vision. The word ‘north.’”
“That’s the best bet we have,” Richard sighed and shook his head as he shook the strange and almost sickening feeling from his mind, “Are you alright, Maxy?”
“I am fine. Still reeling from attempting to view that damned pink demon’s mind,” She explained quickly before taking off in the direction she described. Kimiko and Richard followed without any protest, deciding that the witch’s magic and wisdom could be trusted. She was normally quite strange in both Kimiko and Richard’s eyes so her new weirdness was just a small quirk to them, “Strange,” Maxine muttered, “I see the sides of the path here are littered with the mushrooms I asked her to collect. Why did she wander?”
“We’ll ask her when we find her,” Richard said, “I’m sure she had a good reason.”
Kimiko eyed him then her employer as she kept walking down the path, hoping that nothing major would impede their progress. She slowed to a stop as the three rounded the bend and came across a building. A woman stood near the building, it was a toll booth with its palisade down and the purple colored woman was quickly identified, “Jabberwock,” Maxine whispered.
“Should I be worried?” Kimiko asked with a hushed tone.
Maxine shook her head, “They are merely gatekeepers. She is here because of my portal, but she should not be a problem. I will handle this. Ho! Gatekeeper!” Maxine called to the purple dragon.
Susan finished duct taping her broken barrier back together just as another visitor arrived. Lo and behold, it wasn’t just one this time, but three. Two cats, non cheshires surprisingly, and a man. The smaller one clad in robes approached her, “Hello, travellers,” Susan replied as she grabbed her big book. She glanced at her now crooked, duct taped together palisade and frowned, hoping that it wouldn’t just break this time, “How can I help you?”
Maxine opened her mouth to speak but Kimiko was faster, “Have you seen a dragon with green scales pass by here? About this tall?” The jinko asked as she put her hand at about five feet in height.
“Who wants to know?” The jabberwock asked as she pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose.
“Her temporary guardians. Please, we just want to know if she came this way,” Kimiko pleaded, “She’s a long way from home and must be terrified by now.”
“Well, if you mean Bridgett, she seemed quite alright when she passed by,” Susan grumpily grumbled, her wings flapping slightly and her long tail flicking from side to side like an annoyed cat, “Quite happy even.”
“Yes! We do mean her!” Maxine exclaimed, “May we pass your barrier, ma’am? We need to catch up to her and bring her home!”
“Names?” The jabberwock asked as she opened up her large tome and readied her pen.
“Maxine, Richard and Kimiko. Do you need last names?”
“No, that will do,” Susan grunted as she finished putting their names in.
“Can we pass now?” Richard inquired, getting a little antsy.
The jabberwock took her time very neatly writing the date, the time and the threes’ names into her book. The date and time was pretty much random, Susan didn’t own a watch. Or a calendar. But she did own a colander for when she made macaroni and salads. She looked at them and then at the gate, “I don’t know how to open it.”
“You’re the gatekeeper… and you don’t know how to open it?” The man gave her a skeptical look, “I’m just gonna go around it.”
“I’ll throw you in the prisoner fruit wiggler if you do that,” Susan warned, “Stay on the path. Them’s the rules.”
“Do NOT threaten my husband, you harlot!” Maxine hissed at her.
“It was not a threat. It was a promise,” The jabberwock put her book away and folded her arms.
Kimiko’s hand instinctively rested on the hilt of her sword, “How did Bridgett get past?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” The territorial jabberwock was much too embarrassed to admit what had actually happened. She suddenly wished she was at home with her colander and making macaroni. Susan loved macaroni.
“I do NOT have time for this,” Maxine declared before vaulting over the palisade.
“HEY!” Susan shouted as she stopped thinking about macaroni and ran to the palisade, “Come back here!”
“No!” Maxine stuck her tongue out at the jabberwock, “Richard! Kimiko! Come along!”
Richard glanced at Susan. She looked like she was about to pop a blood vessel as she tried to figure out how to get past the palisade while not breaking the rules of the land, “Maxy, I don’t think you should have done that…” He warned quietly.
“Oh, I pray you do not wish to scold me about rules like this plum colored dragon!” The witch groaned.
Kimiko sighed, “You would be wise to listen to your better half.”
Maxine rolled her eyes, “Fine. I can see that being lawful is more important to you than finding Bridgett. I will find some way to open this barrier for you.”
“I don’t wanna be put in the fruit wiggler!” Richard protested, “Look at it!” He pointed to the imposing metal box in the little guard house.
“Perhaps you should get past this barrier the same way Bridgett did?” Kimiko suggested to the flustered jabberwock, fully intending to follow her lead to get past it herself. She was unsure if she could take the jabberwock in a fight, but with Maxine’s help she might be able to, though she’d much rather avoid conflict if possible, “Surely she got past you by following the rules?”
Susan grumbled and looked down, “Well, she did but I... uh, can’t. Well, I don't want to. I just gotta figure out how to get past this thing… in my own way.”
Maxine felt the same feeling as when deciding which direction to go. A premonition in the back of her mind, along with a madness waiting in the wings to take hold of her psyche. In only a few moments, she decided to give in to it. She looked down at her robes and saw it turn a little more purple with strange designs starting to form. The latent insanity in a caster, especially a witch, was not wholly unfamiliar to her. But this… the insanity of Wonderland only compounded it. She tuned out her husband, body guard, and the jabberwock as she used her magic to bolster the strange premonitions she had been getting. A grin spread across her lips and a giggle emanated from her throat. She had gone totally mad. But there was power in this madness, a terrible and limitless power that she had yet to understand. She--
Maxine, as beautiful and regal as she was, did feel the need to lift a finger to aid these poor peasants before her. She struggled chose not to look into the words of the past like she had before. Instead, she chose to control the jabberwock with this new power.
“Oh, gatekeeper,” Maxine called out, gloriously rolling her R’s as she spoke, “Perhaps you are able to just lift the palisade?”
“I doubt it,” Susan replied, “That’s not how these work.”
The dumb, smelly jabberwock, that the author had foolishly dubbed ‘Susan’ as he for some reason found giving Wonderlanders mundane names humorous, nodded at Maxine’s gorgeous form, “Duh, yeah, Maxine. I will use my big dumb dragon strength to lift the palisade. You sure are smart!”
Kimiko frowned and clutched her forehead, the sudden change of character from the jabberwock was jarring, to say the least. Something maddening was at work and all of her years of mental training were not enough to save her. But at least the jabberwock did manage to just lift the palisade without much difficulty, allowing her and Richard to pass through. Richard frowned, Maxine couldn’t roll her R’s like that. But, the path was clear so he and the jinko walked through.
“Hey!” Susan realised as she snapped out of it. She took a few steps toward Maxine, ready to put her into the prisoner fruit wiggler and dish out her due punishment, “For breaking the rules set by our duchess, I sentence you to five minutes in the wiggler!”
“Wow, Maxine!” The stupid jabberwock grinned ear to ear, “Thanks for helping me figure that out! I think I’ll take a nap now and cry myself to sleep about how alone I am!”
Jeez, that was a little harsh, Maxine.
It was your idea to write such an annoying character who dared to step into my path, Mr. Author!
It would be pretty boring if you were able to walk from point A to point B without so much as a challenge or interruption, Maxine. Think of the reader, and their enjoyment! How is someone supposed to get engaged if you’re just handed everything?
And? While I am honored someone would be so inclined to read about me, well, not really, they should be honored they have the privilege of reading about such a powerful and beautiful wizard! Putting obstructions into my path is quite rude of you.
I knew I should have made this a Bridgett only story… She would have been nice to me, at least.
Giving me these powers wasn’t your only mistake it seems!
ANYWAY! Where was I? Right.
Susan slowly came to . She felt exhausted for some inexplicable reason and most definitely did not want to cry herself to sleep on account of being single. She looked around, still hellbent on putting that witch in the wiggler. Unfortunately the witch, the man and the jinko had all bolted off while the jabberwock was dazed. Susan clenched her fists and her teeth. She would catch that damn cat even if it was the last thing she ever did. She eyed the toll booth and climbed back in before grabbing the prisoner fruit wiggler.
Bridgett stomped down the stone bricked path, swinging her arms as she went. The Familiar Forest was what that cat woman had told her this was, at least she thought that’s what she said. Bridgett frowned, it wasn’t like she didn’t like familiars, she just found their whole sabbath thing kind of weird. Bridgett wanted to grow up, being an adult sounded cool! She could drink wine like her parents and she’d go to work and have a cool job and maybe find a husband. Being a kid forever, or at least acting like one, would mean she couldn’t have any of those things. But some of those ninja sabbath that Kimiko and Calvin were friends with looked kinda old. Bridgett could never pronounce their leader’s name but she had wrinkles. Or at least Bridgett was sure she did.
“Ohayō Gozaimasu, Bridgett-chan~!” A familiar voice greeted her accompanied by some cheery and quiet percussion. Bridgett was roused from her thoughts quickly. An old, lolibaba baphomet sat on a stump at the side of the path in a purple kimono with a sword on her hip. She had a xylophone on her lap and was gently tapping away at it. Although she looked strange, still Bridgett did recognize her as the leader of the ninja sabbath, “Nice to see you.”
“Ah, yeah, nice to see you too,” Bridgett said as she looked her up and down. The grey haired baphomet’s horns looked strangely pink.
“Headed to the duchess’s castle? Should be a fun time. Oh, could you--” The elder baphomet stopped as her xylophone started to ring, “Ah, I shouldn’t keep you here much longer. Move along now, young dragon,” She brought the xylophone to her ear, “Moshi moshi?”
Bridgett moved on quickly as the older woman started to have a conversation with someone. That couldn’t have been the real person, could it? Maybe that had been the ‘familiar’ that the name of the forest referred to? But could they shapeshift? Bridgett didn’t know a whole lot about magic, but it seemed entirely possible, “What was it that Ruth likes to say? Dang magic isn’t worth the effort of learning or learning about?” Bridgett did her best imitation of the hellhound’s gruff tone. She flinched as she heard loud gears turning and the loud clanking of metal. Before her was a large metal set of stairs that led into the sky. One set rolled upwards, ready to carry whoever stepped onto it toward the canopy of the trees and the other cascaded downward at a slow and steady rate, “Oh! An es-cav-lator!” Bridgett declared with a smile, she could use this to go up like at the mall! But she had no idea where it would take her since she was in the woods.
“Yo! Lil’ Bridg’!” A gruff voice shouted from behind her. Turning she saw a friendly face. A tall hellhound stomped over to her in large work boots, dark purple jeans, a black t-shirt, a bright purple safety vest with matching hard hat, along with a fully stocked tool belt, “Hey, hey! Good to see ya!”
“Hi, Ruth!” Bridgett grinned at the hellhound.
Ruth’s eyes burned a bright purple, which was definitely strange but so was this whole place, “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, ya know. Operating the escavlator like usual. Here, I’ll ride it up with ya,” She grabbed a big metal crank from her belt and stuck it into the side of the ‘escavlator’ and cranked it, making it move at full speed before gesturing to the dragon to follow her. Both got on the stairs and started to ride them up.
“What are you building?”
“Ah, well, we’re building a natural reservitory for aviars,” The hellhound explained cheerfully.
“Oh! A big bird filled house thing!” Bridgett repeated, “Aviars really need more homes. Once, I saw this huge werecat down the street catch like three harpies at once and rough them up!”
“Yeah, I know who you’re talking about. Princess, I think. I’ve gotten into a friendly scrap or two with her,” Ruth chuckled as she leaned on the railing of the ‘escavlator.’
“So where are we going?”
“Forward, lil’ Bridg.’ Always gotta be moving forward, ya know? Up and over the bad stuff.”
“Look, we wanna keep this story lighthearted, alright? We don’t need some emotional stuff in this story. Even if the story is named after you,” The hellhound grunted.
The insane Wonderland meta magic went in one of Bridgett’s ears and right out the other one, “What?” She shook her head and decided to drop it, “Oh! Where’s Daisy? She’s always with you!”
Ruth pointed to the down escalator. A familiar, well, somewhat familiar kobold wearing athletic wear jogged in place as she rode the ‘escavlator’ down. It was obviously Daisy, but the fur covering a lot of her body was a dark purple instead of a brown like usual. In her hand was a smaller xylophone which she held up to her ear and spoke into. She gave a small wave and kept riding it down, “See? There she is. Stop’s comin’ up,” Ruth warned.
Looking around, Bridgett noticed they were suddenly underground in a brightly lit area with the ‘escavlator’ bringing them to the surface. Soon, Bridgett and Ruth were above ground and the dense ‘Familiar Forest’ left behind them. They stood on the very edge, “Thanks Ruth!” Bridgett gave the hellhound a big smile which disappeared as a thought crossed her mind, “Say, are you the… REAL Ruth?”
The hellhound shrugged, the purple flames in her eyes burning brightly, “Who’s to say? Are you the REAL Bridgett? Maybe you’re just as mad as the duchess!” She giggled as she started to fade away, “Be careful, Bridgett! The duchess may not be what she seems!”
“I will!” Bridgett waved, “Thanks, weird Ruth!” She watched as the entirety of the hellhound disappeared with her flames going last.
“See ya around, Bridg!”
Bridgett turned back, looking beyond the forest at the vast purple plains before her. Far off, obscuring the purplish orange sky was a large castle surrounded by a nice looking town and a few farms and orchards beyond it. The young dragon put her hands on her hips and nodded. That had to be the duchess’s castle. It had taken a lot longer than she had originally imagined, but she still had the rope around her waist so she had to still be doing fine. If Maxine wanted her to return, she would have pulled her back or come to collect her. She started skipping again as she headed down the stone path toward the town.
Richard glanced at Maxine. She had turned a vivid purple at this point. Kimiko was looking… mostly normal but there was a crazed look in her eyes that he feared, the magical runes that dotted his covered skin must be protecting him, he figured. He had no idea how many he had or what exactly it was that they did due to Maxine crafting most of them in the dead of night without his knowledge. Even then she claimed to not really know what exactly they did, "So are we still going the right way?" He wondered aloud.
Maxine nodded, still diligently trudging on as she wondered what these new powers meant for her, "The path has not split once. She is a good girl and I doubt she has left the path at all."
Kimiko chortled to herself, "That may be the most sane statement you have made all day."
"Sane? Me? I cannot say if I have ever been as sane as I am right now!" Maxine giggled, her green eyes glowing slightly at her bodyguard.
"Surely you are making a jape," With a grimace, the jinko looked away from her employer.
"I can wholeheartedly assure you that I am quite serious! In fact, I--"
"Maxy, hush," Richard warned as he noticed the scenery changing around them. The path split into two identical paths with a thin line of grass between them. Every plant, stone, fruit and even blade of grass had a partner it sat close to, "Huh…"
"Bridgett came this way," Kimiko declared as she pointed to a recently burnt bush, it was still smoking and smoldering due to the flames it had been bathed in, "Dragon fire obliterated this bush."
"No sense in staying here then," Maxine decided as she picked the left path and started walking. Her husband and jinko servant both followed close.
Kimiko wanted this nightmare to end. Maxine had been corrupted and she could feel herself careening toward the edge soon. The extensive training she had received back in Zipangu, in the old world, had not prepared her for this ordeal. Her only hope was that Maxine’s mad babbling would cease and Bridgett could be found before it was too late, “Is… That the same bush from before?” She gasped while looking around again.
“It seems so,” With a nod, Maxine hastily examined the burnt bush, “Scorched by dragon fire, just like you said,” She also saw that before them the path split into two once more, “We have been sent back to the beginning, it seems.”
The man groaned, “How do we get past?” Richard was already getting annoyed.
“Should we take the right path?” Kimiko asked, eager to move on, “Perhaps going through twice will--”
“No need. I shall look into the past and divine the path,” The witch declared as she grasped her staff, the crystal on the top turning pink as it started to glow. As terror overtook her, Kimiko put her hands over her ears to block out any of Maxine’s poisonous words.
‘Bridgett in Wonderland.’ Maxine read the story title to herself. The words came to mind and she quickly skimmed through. As she glanced through paragraph after paragraph, she found herself disapproving of how she was described. She considered going through and changing what the author had written to something more to her tastes.
...To something much more eloquent and lovely for such an eloquent and lovely woman. She was a woman of culture, a paragon of what all monster girls or even all women in general should strive to be. But, she found the task of reworking numerous paragraphs of dialogue and description completely unworthy of her time as the reader had already gotten past it, her effort would be completely wasted. She had much better things to do with her time like correct and berate the Author she was dealing with. She wondered how she could get to him. It was impossible for her to pass into his world as for him, she was merely words on a page. Then a most wonderful idea came to her, she called out to the reader of this very story and asked them, very politely in a manner that they would be swooned just by her words and looks, that they may send him a ‘direct message’-- whatever that is-- to the author and tell him that--
Maxine’s monologue was cut short as a sudden burst of forbidden knowledge entered her thoughts. As she got past the disappointment of how she was written, she started to read the words on the metaphysical pages in her mind, “, hardly able to ignore the words that irked her so much. But she pressed on, reading word after word until she got to what she wanted. She began to read aloud to the others but mostly herself, “‘If thou cannot tell, thee hast been returned to thine starting point twice now. Can thou ascertain as to why?'” She read from around the midpoint of the story. Kimiko could hardly maintain her sanity as Maxine’s unholy magic was given life again. The words pierced her ears despite her hands blocking them. It was driven like daggers into her mind, each one bringing more pain and insanity as the witch mimicked both people in the dialogue to an unsettling degree. She continued reading from a few scraps of paper that had materialised in her hands, “Bridgett took a few minutes to think, she didn’t mind helping the strange purple cat lady, ‘Only one me and two paths?’ ‘Almost!’ The cat woman purred with delight, ‘Put thine eyes upon the scenery. What changes can thee ascertain?’ ‘Two of everything?’ ‘Precisely!’ Her grin blah blah blah they skipped merrily down one of the paths then took the left road at the fork.”
With her well manicured hands, Maxine flipped back to the beginning page and looked at the title again. ‘Bridgett in Wonderland.’ She scoffed at it and decided it needed to be changed. She couldn’t trust the author to pick a better title. She paused for a few moments, using her near limitless intellectual prowess, she chose a much better title. ‘Maxine’s Wondrous Adventure in a Most Peculiar Place.’ With a satisfied nod, and the flick of her wrist, the title of the story she was a part of changed. You may continue, I have improved your reader’s enjoyment of this story at least ten fold!
After she put the pages away in the depths of her cloak and looked at Kimiko who had curled up into a ball. Her once orange fur seemed like it was starting to turn purple starting with her hands and feet. Richard was reeling as well, his face was looking the most vile shade of green as the wards protecting him began to fail. With a sigh, she quickly chose between the two, “Richard, come on. We have a dragon to catch.”
The man scowled at his wife, “And we’re just going to leave Kimiko here?”
“We do not have a choice. Kimiko. I wish for you to remain here. We shall collect you on our return trip,” Maxine ordered.
Kimiko, her body shuddering from chills, didn’t respond. Richard frowned, his face still mostly green, “Alright…” Using his enhanced strength, he moved the jinko to the side of the road, propping her up against a tree. He looked at Maxine who tapped her foot impatiently. He didn’t even feel like he recognized who she was anymore. This purple bastardization of his wife’s form was someone else entirely. He grit his teeth, right now finding Bridgett was his highest priority, he was worried about her. After that he’d need to figure out what to do with his wife, “I’ll come back for you, Kimiko. Just stay strong, alright?” He took off his jacket and put it over her shivering form, “Let’s go, Maxy.”
Maxine felt strange as something was blocking her from using her new, strange magics. She pushed it from her mind and focused on the task at hand. She put her hand in his and pulled him down the left path, “Having fun?” She asked with a little smile.
“I’m looking for my good friends’ daughter so they don’t get mad at my wife. So no. I’m not really having fun,” He admitted. He bit his tongue and stopped himself from commenting on how purple she was now. It was like Maxine had given in and completely become a cheshire cat where she was exemplifying all the worst traits of one.
Maxine frowned, she wished her husband could be enjoying himself despite their task. But, she understood, or at least believed she did. Even she had to admit that some of her people skills had deteriorated somewhat. Before she knew it, the two had exited the area where they had to go with two people and were now headed into the dense Familiar Forest as they took the left path.
Bridgett skipped merrily down the path. The sun or moon was out and the dawn or dusk sky was still the most beautiful shades of purple and orange. It was strange to the little dragon that it felt like time hadn't moved an inch since she had arrived. A pink colored stream ran parallel to the path with flowers of wildly different colors, sizes and shapes were planted along the sides of the path. There was a temptation to pick a few to take home to Gwen, but with all that talk of the rules, and especially the threat of being put in the prisoner fruit wiggler, she didn’t dare try. But she couldn’t stop herself from leaning down and smelling a particularly large and vibrant pink flower that stood tall above the others. It smelled strangely like the fruit snacks she would take to school in her lunches.
“Hail, traveller,” A nearby voice called out to her.
Due to being startled, as well as the pollen now clogging her nose, Bridgett sneezed violently, spraying flames on whoever it was that startled her. After one puff of flames, the young dragon stared at whoever it was that had snuck up on her. Large dark grey wings unfurled around two smaller forms as the wings turned to a lighter shade of grey. It was still close to asphalt in color but a lot less so. The large leathery wings folded behind the largest of the three creatures. The wings were like big arms with the leathery webbing attached and ended with large hands that only had three fingers plus a thumb. Each’s skin was a different shade of grey and each was of varying height. The tallest had long black hair that was pulled back into a simple ponytail and a single horn that was off center to the left. The medium sized one was a light almost marble like grey with silvery hair that fell onto her shoulders with two small, sharp horns. The smallest one had no wings but had large, curling horns and blonde hair with her muddy grey skin, “You scared the snot outta her!” The smallest scolded the tall one. Each girl wore matching armor with red hearts and diamonds painted onto the chest of each. They neglected to wear leg armor, instead opting for all black, shiny bike shorts. Not only because they were aerodynamic, but because all three thought they looked good in them. All of them gave toothy, apologetic smiles that showed off their wildly different fangs.
Wings? Horns? Big sharp teeth? With wide eyes, the young dragon stared at the three. She was a little taller than the shortest one, but she couldn’t really tell what they were, “Dragons...?” Her hands covered her mouth after accidently saying that aloud.
The middle one smirked, “Ah, not quite, young dragon.”
The tallest piped up, “Perhaps an introduction is in order, dear sisters?”
“Yes! I love this part!” The smallest one screeched.
The three got in a line, the smallest right in front of Bridgett with the middle and tallest behind her in a single file row, smallest to largest. As if descending from the heavens; distorted, electric guitar filled butt rock began to play loudly. The smallest of the three struck a pose, both arms in the air like a ‘Y’ and standing on one leg, “I’m Gail!”
The biggest put her arms straight up then bent her elbows at a 45 degree angle, making a sort of O as she showed off her muscles, “I am... Rachel!”
The middle sized one stepped to the side and turned around, spreading her legs and leaning her torso down to see through her legs, “And I am the illustrious Caaaptaaain… Goyle!”
All three shouted at once as the music crescendoed, “We are… the Goyle Force!”
Bridgett clapped as pyrotechnics went off behind the three gargoyles. She didn’t really understand, but they were SO COOL, “Wow!” Bridgett finished clapping as the shredding guitar faded and the three Goyles stopped posing.
“Make sense now?” Captain Goyle asked as all three stood in a row, hands on their hips, “We’re usually five strong, but we split up to search.”
“Yeah, I think so!” Bridgett nodded.
“Where are ya headed, little girl?” Rachel asked with a little frown.
“I’m going to the duchess’s castle! I’m on a mission!”
“So are we!” Captain Goyle exclaimed as she put her fist in her other hand. She did this with her wing hands as well, “Show her the picture, Gail.”
She nodded and grabbed a wanted poster from her bag, “Have you seen this lady?”
With the unfurling of the paper, Bridgett stared at it completely blank faced. It looked like Maxine but with purple hair and robes. She had a weird grin too, and Maxine was neither purple nor did she grin like that. The young dragon shook her head, “Nope!”
Captain Goyle stomped her foot in defeat, “Drat. But the Goyle force will not be dissuaded!” They all quickly posed again, “We may have failed to locate all seven of the Jabberwock-Balls that we read about on CheshireChan, but we will not fail in our task of tracking down this rule breaking cheshire! But now we have a new task! Sisters! We will see this child safely to the duchess’s castle!”
“Yes, Captain!” Gail and Rachel gave her a salute.
“Really!? Thank you!” Bridgett grinned as the three sisters gestured for her to follow as they made a formation around her.
“Of course! The duchess has been waiting for you, Bridgett!” The captain returned the smile as the four skipped down the path way together. Bridgett was excited now. She was to be a guest at the duchess’s castle! She hoped there would be food, maybe a buffet like in those movies! She was excited, this had already been a great adventure, but it was only getting better in her mind!
Maxine and Richard stepped into the dense forest. Maxine had read more of the pages she had materialised and saw that this was called the Familiar Forest. She knew better than to expect familiars in the forest. If Bridgett’s trek through here was a good example, then this should be easy enough, all she had to do was NOT think about things she didn’t like, “Richard, dear,” Maxine turned to her husband. He glanced at her. He was still looking and feeling standoffish but Maxine was pretty much unable to pick up on that, “Please do not think of anyone foul. The last thing we need is for someone like… Oscar to show up and--”
“M’lady Maxine!” A nasally voice shouted as a pudgy form ran toward the witch. It was Oscar. The bane of her existence.
“RICHARD!” Maxine hissed as she stared daggers into her husband.
“You mentioned foul people and he’s the first thing I thought of, sorry,” Her husband shrugged.
Oscar stared right at Maxine, “Oh, m’lady Maxine! How I have yearned for your return! I had escaped from that maximum security prison just to see you again!” With a nervous shift, he continued, “A-as your humble suitor, I-I have but one r-request of you…”
“Oh, Maou, give me strength,” The witch groaned.
“I request that I be allowed to touch and perhaps even be blessed with the privilege to touch and maybe even kiss your wonderous feet.”
Maxine was stunned, partially in disgust that this abomination of a man would dare speak to her like that, “WHY IS HE ASKING ABOUT MY FEET!?” She shouted to her husband who was unable to contain his laughter.
“He looks like a foot guy! Just look at that awful mustache!” Richard wiped the tears of laughter out of his eyes, “Just be glad he isn’t asking to smell them.”
“Oh, I would love that too!” Oscar announced loudly.
Mortified, Maxine nearly fainted. Fury formed in her mind and heart that was directed at her husband.
She did not blame her husband for this, no she once more blamed the author of this story for impeding her progress with such a wretched creature. She vowed to get back at him in some way. But for now, she had something else to deal with, “You know, dearest husband,” Maxine growled, “A lot of folks were quite disappointed that you did not slay Oscar at the end of the third act of ‘The Black Cat.’ You wanted to show you were better than him, but perhaps it would have been what he deserved after everything.”
Try as she might, Maxine found herself unable to control her husband’s actions or thoughts due to some of the protective runes that she herself had placed upon his body. It was strange that it had worked earlier but it was like the rules had changed or some of the runes had reactivated. But, lucky for her this author she had begun to hate so much had a bit of regret about that as well so he decided to play along.
A pain was felt in Richard’s chest, the spot where he had been stabbed all those years ago still burnt and in himself he too felt a little regret, “Yeah, maybe I should have,” He grunted to himself as he drew the same sword he had used to defeat Oscar all those years ago, “Not as good as the real thing, but I’ll still cut you down, foot lover!”
“YOU!” Oscar shouted with an outstretched, accusatory, and pudgy finger, “I will not allow you to get in the way of my totally legit wedding this time! Have at you!”
Oscar was as quick as he had been before but Richard had been training. The fat man’s rapier was easily knocked away before Richard went in for the kill. Due to it being little more than an illusion, his sword cut right through him, giving him little satisfaction as he faded away, “There. Can we move on now?”
“Of course, my love. This way,” Maxine gestured to him before starting down the path again.
Although he felt a little better now, Richard was still wary of what Maxine had become. He started to wonder what his wife’s mother would think of what she had become. As soon as the image of Lady Hamilton came to mind--
NO! NO, NO, NO! We are NOT bringing my mother into this! I will not suffer humiliation again at the hands of this forest!
Maxine’s mother gave her a cross look--
LALALA the reader can’t read what you’re writing if they are reading what I am writing! We are moving on! Maxine and Richard exited the forest after having a very uneventful walk. Both felt relief as they went from dense woods to the sprawling country side. Way off in the distance they spotted the duchess’s castle. The lovely and powerful witch known as Maxine nodded as she glanced at the surrounding farms and hamlet, “That is where Bridgett is,” She explained, “We must be moving, wonderful husband of mine.”
END SCENE. MOVE ON.
Bitterness and resentment exuded from Susan’s heart. The witch had gotten away along with her two companions. She felt no anger towards the jinko or man, but that damned cat needed to go in the wiggler for a few minutes. Her claws stomped across the stone surface of the path until she came to a familiar sight, two parallel paths right next to one another. A groan escaped her mouth, she didn’t have that cheshire to help her this time, but she still needed to figure out a way past.
“How did those three get through…?” The jabberwock asked herself quietly.
“Maxine and her husband simply walked through,” A voice with an exotic accent grunted. The large jinko woman revealed herself from within a group of trees that were almost on the path, “I am stranded here, unfortunately. I tried both paths alone and got nowhere.”
“Well, this path needs two people in a group to let them pass,” Susan explained as if Kimiko was just a baby in need of guidance, “Them’s the rules.”
With a scowl, the jinko crossed her arms, “Yes, but why?”
With a shake of her head, the jabberwock sighed, “That’s just how it is here. Now, if you don’t mind, I need a partner to help me get through this path.”
Kimiko sighed back but nodded in agreement, “Aye. I need to catch up to Maxine. Shall we be off?”
Susan gave her a little, almost delighted smile, “Yes. This way,” She started down the right path.
“But Maxine and Richard went to the left…”
“Are you CRAZY? Do you want to go through the Familiar Forest?”
“Is it particularly dangerous?” Kimiko asked as she followed the well travelled jabberwock.
“No. Not at all, really. It's all just illusions,” Susan explained. She finally gave the jinko a look. Her once orange and black striped fur was now looking purple. On her eyepatch was a bright yellow eye that kind of looked drawn on. The hair on her head retained its usual brown color. Susan had seen this once or twice, visitors going mad and turning into various wonderlanders, but the jinko seemed to be handling it well enough so she decided not to bring it up.
Said jinko rubbed her chin with a big purple paw before staring down at it in disgust. She knew she was changing but through rigorous meditation she had managed to stave off most of the madness for now. Kimiko’s mind wandered back to the forest that the jabberwock was so distrustful of, “If it is harmless, why can we not go that way?”
“It takes things, people mostly, from your memories and manifests them how you see them. If you see your husband, assuming you have one, as a big tough guy, even if he really isn’t one he’ll look like one,” Susan explained, slowly warming up to her new travel partner, “The problem is if it gets to one of your traumas.”
Kimiko immediately prayed that Bridgett hadn’t seen her deceased mother. She couldn’t fathom what kind of magic related madness Maxine could have summoned for herself. What about Richard? He had been slain at the hands of Maxine’s suitor and brought back to life, would that manifest in horrid trauma? She shuddered, “I think I understand your point.”
“Still wanna walk through it?”
“N-no. Can we bypass it?”
“Of course. There’s a second path that’ll lead us into town that doesn’t go through there. That’s how I got here even if that damned cheshire wanted to take the Familiar Forest path. I’m not about to endure that,” Susan scowled as she thought of that adventurous cheshire, “How do you know this Maxine woman?”
“I was hired by her mother as a sort of bodyguard. I was hired on the spot after saving Lady Hamilton from an attempted assassination at a public event I had been hired to do security at. The attackers were human supremacists from some tiny far off country. I do not remember the exact reason why it happened but the ten of them were no match at all for me and my trusty sword,” Kimiko smiled as she reminisced, “Ah, my glory days. Now I’m a mother and well… It feels as if Maxine no longer sees me as a friend but as nothing more than a tool or common servant. She has always been selfish and eccentric, but I always thought of her as a person trying to be good.”
“Sounds rough,” Susan gave a little apologetic smile.
“It is not all bad. My days are quiet and I’ve had more chances to sneak off and check on my husband. He helps tend to the grounds and watches our precious children.”
“That’s something, I guess,” The jabberwock frowned, her lust for a man of her own flared to an almost painful degree.”
“I must say… I never caught your name,” Kimiko admitted.
“Yes, Susan. You are much more… sane than I imagined the denizens of Wonderland to be,” Kimiko felt more at ease than she had in Maxine’s presence.
Susan smirked, “You won’t get this from most, so don’t expect it.”
“Are those the rules too?” Kimiko playfully jabbed.
“Eh, well… maybe,” Susan shrugged sheepishly, “Hey, we’re out of the duo path bull crap. This way,” She started down the right with Kimiko taking a few moments to curiously stare into the Familiar Forest before hurrying to catch up with Susan.
The Wonderland town was surprisingly normal to Bridgett. It was a little more like something out of one of her dad’s old fantasy books, movies, or games, but it was still relatively normal. A few wonderland denizens were out and about doing chores like sweeping, collecting water, and there was even a cheshire out helping a man install a satellite dish on her house. Bridgett assumed that was for a TV. Despite the houses looking like they’re from the middle ages, she saw a few modern amenities like light bulbs and telephones which contrasted the water wheels and an entire black smithing set up.
She saw a very peculiar sight, a small, but very modern looking hospital just sitting in an otherwise ancient looking town, “Are the doctors in this town nice?” Bridgett asked, just trying to make conversation with the Goyle Force.
Captain Goyle adjusted her armor, “Well…”
“They’re nice, but for some reason the only Wonderland monsters that bother to get a doctorate are cheshires,” Gail explained with a grimace, “If you get a human male, it's fine but…”
Rachell nodded and picked up the explanation, “I went in last week for a check up and the cheshire doctor came back with the results and she told me that I had ligma. Whatever the hell that is.”
“I got deez,” Captain Goyle groaned.
“Ma for me,” Gail sighed, “I think she brought up someone named Mike too.”
“Those all sound kinda serious. How bad was it?” Bridgett wondered.
The Captain looked the dragon up and down, “How old are you, Bridgett?”
“I’m almost ten!” She cheerfully said, very excited for her age to be double digits.
“You’re nine!?” Gail gasped. She was nearly shorter than Bridgett, “When did they start making kids so damn-- darn big!?”
“She’s a dragon, Gail,” Rachell reminded her, “They get big like jabberwocks.”
“But what’s ligma? And ma? Who is Mike?” Bridgett started to impatiently ask.
“Ask your parents,” Captain Goyle ordered curtly.
“Oh, look! We’re here!” Captain Goyle interrupted as the little group arrived at the gates of the duchess’s castle. Bridgett hadn’t even noticed that they had gotten onto a drawbridge. The Captain nodded to the two funny looking card ladies that flanked the large gate that led to the castle’s inner courtyard. The trumparts stepped aside as the gate raised up. The young dragon rushed ahead and she started to look around at the sprawling private garden. Past the lush plant life was the main castle, it was honestly quite small compared to the tall yellow colored stone walls that surrounded it.
The main castle was yellow and had two large purple banners with wheels of yellow cheese on them. The plant life was somewhat normal, recognizable trees with large purple leaves. Bridgett got closer to examine them and saw the ‘fruit’ on them, “Cheese?” The young dragon gasped as she picked a whole cheese wheel out of a bush.
“Aye, the duchess loves her cheese,” Captain Goyle smiles, “Don’t dawdle, Bridgett. She’s expecting you.”
“Uh, right,” She put the small cheese wheel back the best she could before following the three gargoyles. She spotted her quarry soon after, a cluster of massive golden mushrooms sat together in a disused corner of the garden. She nearly ran over and grabbed one, but she was raised to ask permission before taking things, even if the person who had it didn’t seem to care about whatever it was she wanted.
The four stepped through a set of massive oaken double doors and into a main hall. Even inside there was more imagery of cheese. Instead of busts of heads, portraits of important people and random other decorations, all of the sculptures were cheese shaped or paintings of cheese, “Which way was it?” Gail wondered aloud.
Rachel bonked her on the head, “Would it kill you to put something other than 80’s TV reruns in that big dumb head of yours?”
“Nope! I never will!” She poised to retaliate against the larger ‘goyle.
“Can it, both of you,” The Captain ordered, “Over here,” She led the other three through another set of smaller oak doors on the far side of the foyer beneath a dual set of stairs that led to a second floor. The next room was a giant dining room with a long table. About 24 people could sit at it and at the far end was a small woman with two large round ears on the top of her head. She wore grey pajamas with yellow and red cheese wheels printed across the cloth.
“Oh! A mouse!” Bridgett exclaimed as she gazed upon the empty, dark brown, and glossy table then back to the duchess.
“Ho! Duchess!” Captain Goyle called with a raised hand in gesture, “We have brought the dragon you were expecting!”
The duchess, who Bridgett saw was asleep, said nothing as she snored softly. The Goyle Force and the young dragon stood around waiting for something to happen. With a lot of drowsiness in her voice, the duchess mumbled something, “...cheese…”
“So be it,” The captain nodded in agreement as Bridgett gave both a bewildered look, “It seems you are to be the guest of honor in the duchess’s feast today. You are lucky, I wish me and my Force could join you both but we have much to attend to. Jabberwock-balls and cheshires to catch. Good day.”
“Bye...” Bridgett called before slowly taking a seat to the right of the duchess. Soon enough, trays stacked high with food were brought out by chefs and servants as other guests began to arrive. Posh looking Wonderland denizens sat around talking politics, banking, and golf with one another. The excited grin fell off Bridgett’s face and turned to a modestly happy smile as she realised she hated the conversations going on around her, “At least I have food. Should be better meat than that dad makes,” She joked to herself. She was sorely disappointed as each tray was revealed to be carrying nothing but cheese. Her stomach rumbled, she was hungry and fancy cheeses weren’t any good to her. Bridgett looked down at the rope tied around her waist and gave it a tug. She found there was no resistance. Hope drained from her soul as she pulled the entire length of rope to herself. She slouched in her seat and glanced at the duchess.
The dormouse was still sleeping and every so often she would mumble something, “...four…”
“I agree, lady duchess,” One party member nodded. It was a mad hatter, “I too yell that during golf.”
“Such a silly thing,” The man next to her agreed.
Bridgett had no idea how to leave politely or how to even make it home if she could get out. With a sigh, she grabbed some cheddar and had a few bites along with some ridiculously dry crackers. She wanted to go home.
Maxine pulled Richard through the sprawling fields along the stone path. The yellow colored castle and village in the distance were getting closer and closer. The two walked side by side next to an orchard that produced fruits of various and wildly varying colors. Maxine examined their shiny surfaces but didn’t dare eat any of them. She knew better than to eat anything from this land without being offered it by a denizen, that was one of the rules, after all. She looked to her husband who quickly looked away with folded arms. Maxine had no idea what his issue was. Suddenly, two creatures descended from the sky, flying fast as they had found their quarry, the two beings kicked up dust and dirt as they crashed into the path, ready to apprehend the criminal they sought. “Witch! You are wanted by the duchess’s court! Do not resist, you are no match for the two strongest members of the Goyle Force!”
The two gargoyles looked around. The woman they thought they had spotted from the air was nowhere to be seen. Neither was the man that had been with her. The most beautiful and powerful witch in Wonderland: Maxine held one hand over her husband’s mouth to keep him quiet as her invisibility spell would end if either of them made a sound.
The two gargoyles, Justine (AKA: Juice) and Burmy scratched their heads, “I thought I saw them!” The taller of the two, Burmy cried. She was bigger but had only two little horns on the top of her head with short curly black hair and dark grey asphalt colored skin.
The other gargoyle, Justine shook her head, “I knew I shouldn’t have let YOU use the scanner!” Justine growled angrily, her long white hair flowing down her back with three horns jutting from the crown of her head. Her skin was more of a reddish clay color, “Gimmie, that!” She snatched the small device from the taller one’s face and put it on her own. She used it to try and detect the power level mana of anyone around.
Unfortunately for the two members of the Dunce Force, the scanner was now out of batteries due to the larger and incompetent one leaving it on overnight and not plugging it in, “Dammit!” Justine spiked it into the ground out of anger, “I’m going to the Captain and I’m telling her how incompetent you are!”
“W-what!? You bitch! Not if I get there first! You forgot YOUR scanner at the Goyle Force base!” Burmy shouted back before taking off into the air. Justine went after her, determined to find the Captain first.
The witch released her husband and stopped focusing on the invisibility spell. She stopped holding her breath and wiped her brow of sweat. Her husband stood up straight and folded his arms at her, “How the hell did you know those two were coming?” Richard demanded.
“I read ahead,” The wondrous Maxine replied as she showed her husband the papers titled, ‘Maxine’s Wondrous Adventure in a Most Peculiar Place,’ “I just saved our skin, my dear.”
Richard frowned, “I guess I should thank you. You know, it's kinda weird to see gargoyles here. They’re rare in the first place but to see two of em…”
“Well, due to this author’s head cannon, gargoyles are natural Wonderland denizens so I am sure we would see more if we were to look. I believe the author got it from another author he is friends with.”
“...What are you talking about? Author? Head Cannon? Maxine, this is real life, not a… a… a story written by some guy with too much free time!” Richard shouted, finally hitting his limit with her.
“But that is just it, it is! I have seen beyond the veil, into the magic that makes up the universe and I have seen this author!” Maxine reached into her robes and grabbed her phone, “Look! I even pulled up his website! You know, for someone calling themself ‘Medusa’ he sure seems to like gremlins a lot. I mean, look at these images on his site!”
Apprehensively, Richard took the phone from her and scrolled through the site on a page called ‘Art I’ve Commissioned’ a bit, “Well… There’s you, Gwen, Bridgett, and Ruth. Wow, he likes this gremlin a lot. Oh, Kimiko’s in here too,” He felt ill again. He looked at the purple witch in front of him.
“I’m not sure what this means for us, I’m still struggling to wrap my head around all of this. Is he real or are we real? Perhaps both? Here, we should go so I may return to my study. I need to focus on this!”
“And just leave those two here!?” Richard was shocked. Maxine opened her mouth to speak again, “I don’t even know who you are anymore! You never would have just left Kimiko behind if you were the REAL you! I look at you and I can’t even recognize you anymore! You’re not the woman I fell in love with anymore,” Maxine felt physical pain as her heart shattered into a billion pieces and her once loving husband pushed past her and started down the path again toward the castle, “I’m gonna find Bridgett myself and go get Kimiko. Do whatever you want.”
Maxine… now less wondrous and now more… depressed and aimless. She fell to her knees and dropped her precious staff and let the pages she clinged to be carried away by the wind. The insanity finally left her mind, all that remained of it was the purple in her hair and robes. What had happened to her? It only took a few moments before she finally realised it but did not want to admit it. Her flaws had become all she was. She knew what she wanted and was competent enough to get it, but the selfishness and self centeredness she had within her had become all that she was, like an all consuming fire she had let the good parts of herself die and let this maddened cheshire form take hold. She knew she could do better, her husband and friends knew she could do better and even the author and you, the reader, knew she could do better. What was she to do, she wondered… What am I to do, Mr. Author? Assuming you are still here and I did not run you off like I did my own husband.
Well, you need to give up these powers somehow. Extract them from your body and return to semi normalcy. And give me back my control over this story.
Normal… I understand. Wrenching this portion of me from myself will require vast amounts of mana. I will need my husband. But how can I expect him to aid me when I have been nothing but horrible towards those around me?
Just go apologize to him!
I know not if I have the strength to do so.
With a sigh, the Author took hold of the story. Maxine rose to her feet and grabbed her staff, disregarding the pages of the story she had been editing with green text and hurried to catch up to her husband, “Richard!” She shouted as she ran to catch him.
“What is it?” He grumbled as he turned back to the witch. Neither said anything as she panted to catch her breath. Richard stared into her face and saw the fear and guilt in her eyes along the tears running down her face that she couldn’t hold back, “Maxy?”
“Richard, I need you. I’m so sorry!” The witch wailed as she dropped her staff to the ground.
The man sighed as the witch cried before him, her pride usually kept her from having emotional outbursts like this, especially in public. He gently hugged the witch and let her cry on his shoulder, “Maxy…” He stroked her now purple hair, slowly calming her down like usual, “What am I gonna do with you?”
Maxine sniffled and wiped her eyes, “I do not expect you to forgive me, but I must ask for your aid.”
“I must separate this madness from my mind, I cannot do it alone. I understand if you do not love THIS me, but I want to be the old me again, the version of me that is not… whatever I am now!”
Richard frowned, “But what can we do? What do you need from me?” He picked up her staff and put it in her hands.
“I-I need you to trust me,” The witch meekly asked, “A-and I need mana. Enough mana to cast something on the fly to remove this from me.”
“Mana? Alright. I’ve done this one before. Where should--”
Maxine grabbed his arm and yanked him off the path and into the dense orchard, “Remember the night of our wedding?”
“Of course I remember our first time. But…”
Maxine pulled Richard to her and kissed him on the lips, “I want to have a moment of passion just like that with you,” Maxine pressed herself against a tree in a secluded area and pulled up her robes to reveal her now purple heart print panties, “I am hot and eager for you, my dear,” She licked her lips at him.
Richard kissed her back before grabbing her hips and hoisting her up and pinning her against the tree, the two of them rubbing their loins against one another, “Do you really feel like we were never passionate again? I know I’m really busy working for your mom, but…”
The witch wrapped her legs around him and put one arm around his shoulders, the other hand gripping her staff, “Do not fret about it,” With the wave of her staff, her panties and her husband's underwear and pants were both teleported off of them, their privates rubbing up against one another, their bodies shuddering from the sudden sensation of pleasure. The two rubbed against one another, panting and gasping as their privates grinded against their spouse’s. The witch was already horny, her clean shaven pussy was already glistening with her love juices. Richard was quickly erect, even if he was upset with her he still found her to be a beautiful woman with a wonderful body. It was hard for him to stay mad when she was teasing him between her legs. He might have been disappointed in himself for giving in so easily if it didn't feel so good with foreplay alone. With another wave of Maxine’s staff, her husband’s member pierced her. She moaned loudly, “Ah, darling~!” She cried as she took her husband’s manhood.
Richard grunted as he started to thrust, pushing deeper and deeper into his wife with each thrust. He took what frustration he had left towards her out between her legs as he slammed his hips against hers. As she took her husband’s dick to the hilt, Maxine cried out loudly in pleasure and her legs tightly wrapped around her husband’s waist. As a firm smack hit her rear, Maxine began to whimper as her husband’s thrusting got more vigorous and rough. The witch knew the time was nearing, mana was starting to fill her body. She needed to be ready to use the over flow of mana from her husband’s spirit energy. She started to concentrate and use her hands to cast but she lost it as her husband started to kiss her neck passionately, “R-Richaaaaard!” She cried out as she suddenly orgasmed, her body convulsing while she shouted loudly into her husband’s ear. Her hat fell off her head as her eyes rolled up, her concentration fully broken by her husband's ravaging of her body and mind.
With a grin, Richard slowed down and gave her a chance to calm herself and regain her senses, “Good girl,” He cooed into her ear as he stroked her hair.
Maxine started to cast again, “Cum in me, Richard. Give me your energy,” She panted and started to chant her magical words. Her husband gave her a nod and started to thrust again, his manhood continually going down to the hilt with loud, wet and lewd plapping noises echoing around the orchard. Pressure started to build in Richard’s loins, and though he wanted to continue he found himself wanting to fill his wife with his love more. He could feel the love juices from Maxine’s pussy start to run down his thighs, some of it even sprinkling his belly. Even with Maxine chanting her magical mumbo jumbo in his ear, he knew he couldn't hold on any longer, he was going to erupt soon. His penis throbbed as he orgasmed, cumming inside the witch and giving her the spirit energy and in turn the mana she desired.
Maxine’s body rumbled as she used her magic; the spell drained her mana, spending it as soon as she got it as she began to remove the madness from her mind and spirit. As her husband continued cumming inside of her, the madness manifested as a sort of purple mist around them. With the last of her energy, the last of her husband’s baby batter, and the last of her madness leaving her body, something was--
I was formed.
Maxine and Richard collapsed to the ground, smiling at one another as they spent a few moments laying in their shared after sex warmth. The witch giggled, feeling quite warm and cozy as she gave a contented sigh, “Wonderful,” She mumbled to her husband before kissing him on the cheek. She glanced to the side to catch her breath only for a moment and her heart stopped. She saw the visage of a woman standing nearby, a woman with short, messy, purple hair and a devilish grin on her face, a purple tail flicking back and forth contemplation and amusement. A cheshire. A cheshire that was naked and had her face.
Richard looked where she was looking with such a strange, almost fear filled look. He saw something, if only for a moment, but it was a figure that looked like Maxine. As soon as he had processed what was before him, the purple cheshire version of his wife vanished, “M-Maxy? W-what…?”
“We shall not speak of it. The evils of this land are not to be trifled with. I am such a fool for causing all of this,” The witch groaned as she put her hat and panties back on. She looked down at her robes and saw that they were once again completely black, “How do I look?”
“Like yourself,” Richard smiled before lifting up her hat to kiss her on the forehead, “I’m glad to have you back,” He suddenly gave her a stern look, “But after everything you put me, Bridgett, and Kimiko through, you’re in so much trouble when we get home.”
The witch sighed, “I accept that. I will take my punishment in stride,” She used the last of her mana to clean up both herself and her husband with the wave of her staff. She took him by the hand again and led him back to the path, “We need to find Bridgett and I have a feeling she’s over at the castle. We just need to sneak over, and--”
She had only taken a few steps back onto the path before she was cut off and the ground shook violently, “Aw, shoot,” Richard scowled at the five gargoyles that had landed in front of them. They all made poses that Maxine considered foolish, even by Wonderland’s standards, as butt rock screeched out from the heavens.
The light of the world went out black as pitch, like someone had flipped the switch of Wonderland’s sun off. All five shouted in unison, “We are, the Goyle Force!” Pyrotechnics went off behind them, lighting them up with colored smoke behind their poses, afterwhich light returned to the world.
“Do something,” Richard begged Maxine in a hushed voice.
She shook her head, “Whatever was that purple cat, she took what little mana I had left.”
“You! Witch!” Captain Goyle pointed dramatically at Maxine, “By the decree of the royal duchess, you are under arrest!”
“Come quietly or be destroyed!”
Maxine put her hands up, “Fine. She lives in that castle right?”
“Bridgett might be there,” Richard said quietly to himself while putting his hands up, “We’ll go quietly, Goyle Force. Just don’t hurt my wife, please.”
“Wise choice. Come on.”
The Goyle Force formed around the two captives and started to skip down the path. Maxine and Richard gave them confused looks, “You have to skip!” Captain Goyle ordered, “It's faster!”
“That’s the rules!”
“Ugh, fine. I will skip if I HAVE to!” The witch hissed, starting to skip along with the five gargoyles. Richard followed suit. He couldn't really sense a difference in speed, but the castle did seem to get a lot closer.
Soon, the group of seven was skipping through the town and then up to the castle. Once more, the trumparts opened up the gate and let the Goyle Force in. Maxine took a quick glance around the garden, her mana was slowly regenerating and she needed to figure out an escape route. She wasn’t sure if she’d have enough to make a portal home, she would probably have to get mana from her husband again for that. The only exit seemed to be the gate they came in. Her husband was a good swordsman, but there was no way he could fight all five of the ‘Dunce Force.’ Next they were brought into the main castle and into the large, grand dining room.
“Wow, she REALLY likes cheese, huh?” Richard snarked as they’re brought before the sleeping duchess.
“Oh! Hi, Maxine! Hi, Richard!” Bridgett called from where she sat, relieved to finally see a way home, “You met the Goyle Force too!? They’re SO COOL!”
“Bridgett is acquaintances with the two rule breakers?” Captain Goyle frowned, “Duchess, what should we do with the two rule breakers?”
The dormouse snoozed still, “Mph… guillotine…”
“Guillotine? Off with their heads? As you wish, duchess. The red queen would be proud. And what of Bridgett?”
“As you wish. She will be put to the cheese themed guillotine.”
“What!? Do children not have protection anymore in this mad land!?” Maxine shouted as two of the goyles grabbed her. Two more grabbed Richard while the Captain grabbed Bridgett’s shoulder. She looked pale and scared, but Captain Goyle could only give her an apologetic smile.
“We… have to do as the duchess commands,” The Captain Mumbled to the witch, “Bring them to the courtyard.”
Kimiko and Susan stepped into the town surrounding the duchess’s castle, “Now what?” Kimiko asked as she looked around at all the Wonderland denizens. Her hair had turned purple finally. She struggled to keep herself somewhat sane, though even with her extensive training her mind was no match for the maddening powers of Wonderland. The town was abuzz with excitement as if there was something in the air or an event to look forward to.
“Find the witch, right?” Susan grunted as she too looked around town, “Maybe the duchess would know where they are.”
“Where would we find her?”
Susan gave her an annoyed look before pointing at the yellow colored castle walls, “There, maybe?”
“Ah. Right. Can we just waltz in, or…?”
“Probably not. We’ll have to figure something out.”
“Can you not just fly over the walls?” Kimiko asked, knowing that her traveling companion was a jabberwock.
“Do you see these wings? They’re… too small to let me fly,” With a sigh, she fluttered them for a short time.
Kimiko frowned, “I am sorry. I assumed there was some rule that allowed you to fly even with such small wings.”
“Yeah, well, there isn’t,” Susan hissed. Kimiko was unphased, “Maybe someone around here has seen any of those three. Over here,” She wandered over to the general store.
“Susan. Look,” Kimiko wandered over to a telephone pole and tore off a flyer. Three familiar faces stared at Kimiko drawing in some kind of marker or crayon. Maxine, Richard, and even Bridgett were all set to be executed by guillotine, “Oh no.”
Susan huffed, “What? I am amazed that the duchess was so quick to--” She gasped as she saw Bridgett was on the chopping block too, “She can’t do that! Children have immunity! Now even the duchess is a-a-a RULE BREAKER!”
“Well, she is. We need to get into the duchess’s castle and put a stop to this. I will scale the walls if I need to. I need to save the three of them.”
“I thought you hated Maxine now?” Susan asked as she tried to stall Kimiko a bit.
Kimiko turned with a furious expression on her face. She gripped the sides of her head, her claws digging into her skin slightly, “Even if I am angry at her, she is my ward. It is my task to protect her and Richard. Bridgett does not deserve this. It matters not how I feel about Maxine right now,” She lurched forward, grabbing Susan’s neck and shoulder, “Now tell me how to get into that castle before I lose my temper and crush your windpipe!”
“Okay, okay! I-I… look, there's a secret entrance that I know about. But to get to it… we have to stray from the path,” Susan quickly explained. It was obvious to her how much stronger the jinko was and with her body being the way that it was now with the madness there was no telling what she would do.
Kimiko lost it. The madness took hold, “Why does this land have such arbitrary rules that restrict passage to such simple paths? Why must it be so difficult to traverse this area and I assume even harder to live here? I cannot even fathom the daily struggles of just living in this purple tinted hellscape!”
Susan stopped, “W-well--”
“You cannot stray from the path momentarily to stop a LITTLE GIRL from getting decapitated!?” She shouted in the jabberwock’s face.
“B-but if we break the rules, we’ll get necked too! I can’t live in Wonderland if I’m a rule breaker!”
Kimiko tore off Susan’s ‘Portal Monitor’ sash and tossed it aside, “Then you are coming to my world when we are done! Take me to that secret entrance. NOW.”
Susan blinked. She ran through the idea of going to the ‘real’ world through her head. She didn’t like that idea. She was much more comfortable in Wonderland and she knew her role as a portal guardian and--
Susan loved the idea. She would have much better chances finding a man once she was in the other world. No cheshires, trumparts, jub jubs or any other crazy girls would destroy her chances at a husband and happiness.
“Alright. I’ll do it. The voice in my head says this is a good idea,” The jabberwock was slowly released, “Come on, slow poke!” She started skipping down the path. Kimiko, not knowing what else to do, started skipping as well.
Gwen and Theodore rode in the man’s red car back to the Hamilton manor. The two were a little sad that their wonderful day together was over, but Gwen was relieved to see her children again, “I hope the kids behaved,” She mused aloud.
Theodore nodded and turned down the radio, “I’m sure they did. Aren’t you more worried that Maxine didn’t behave?”
“Do not remind me, darling,” The weresheep sighed, “I just hope everything went smoothly.”
“I’m sure everything was fine. Bridgett will tell you how much fun she had and Maxine will say the toddlers slept nearly the whole day!” He laughed, “Don’t look so glum,” The car pulled up to the front of the manor and he shut the car off, “Look, the manor hasn’t burnt down or anything! Everything is fine.”
“Alright, I suppose you are correct,” The weresheep let out a long sigh as she finally felt a little relaxed. She got out of the car and took her husband’s hand as the two stepped up to the regal doors.
Richard used the big knocker and waited. Eventually, they could hear footsteps clacking across the stone floors of the foyer. The door was opened and the two were looking at Svetlana, “Ah! Good to see you both!” The kikimora curtseyed to the two. Gwen could immediately tell that her maid uniform was a lot more ragged than she ever let it get, “Please, come right in!”
“Thank you,” Gwen gave a little smile, “How are the children? I hope they were not any trouble for you!”
“Oh, heavens no! Little angels, your two. Kimiko’s triplets gave me a hard time, but Ross and Samantha were great.”
“What about Bridgett?” Theodore asked.
Svetlana went pale, “W-well… admittedly, I did not manage her much today. Maxine, Kimiko and even Richard went on an… errand and Bridgett went with,” Her heart pounded and she was nearly about to break down from the stress, “A-all the kids were put down to sleep about an hour ago. H-hopefully they return soon!”
“Well, we are a little early. We can wait for a little bit,” They were led to the room where all the children slept in sleeping bags or on air mattresses. Calvin slept in the corner in a rocking chair, completely exhausted from managing all the kids.
“Of course. Let us go to the study, shall I prepare some tea for you both?” Svetlana asked, quickly taking them away from the children’s room.
Maxine, Richard, and Bridgett all stood in the middle of the duchess’s garden on a raised platform. A crowd had formed, eager to watch the macabre show. The dutchess, still asleep, sat on a sort of throne with a good view of the guillotine that was painted to resemble cheese. A sharp, steel blade hung from the top of the guillotine showing the three that these people meant business. Next to the execution device was a muscular man in all black with a hood concealing his face and an axe in his hands. A few trumparts surrounded the platform to make sure no one would try to be a hero.
“What do we do?” Richard asked quietly. All three had their hands bound behind their backs and a trumpart nearby held Richard’s sword and Maxine’s staff and hat.
The witch’s ears were drooping sadly, “I-I do not know,” She did have a wand hidden in her robes, but she couldn’t cast with her hands bound like this, “I am so sorry, both of you. This is all my fault.”
“I just… I can’t believe this is it,” Richard mumbled as they listened to some kind of bishop say their last rites, “Bridgett?”
The dragon said nothing. Something was building in her. As the bishop finished their little sermon, the executioner walked over to grab one of the three, “I’ll go first,” The young dragon said bravely as if another voice entirely had said it. The executioner nodded and took her by the shoulder. Her head was put through the bottom of the guillotine and the emotions that she had been holding back finally started to burst. The executioner grabbed the handle and pulled. In that instant, Bridgett let out a loud roar and started to transform. The scales across her body hardened, shattering the steel blade of the guillotine on impact. She grew in size, more than quintupling her mass as she turned into her bestial form which easily shattered the execution device. Her claws, wings, body and tail all grew to a tremendous and powerful size. The crowd screamed in terror as the large dragon roared again, rearing back and billowing flames into the air with a mighty roar that shook the earth. The executioner brought up his axe to attack the dragon from behind but was cut down by Kimiko’s lightning fast swordplay.
“Kimiko!” Maxine shouted happily, quite relieved to see her bodyguard was doing well despite the fact that she too had turned into a cheshire. Silently, the jinko cut the two of them free, “Kimiko, I am so sorry for all of this. I put all of you through all of this and--”
“We can talk about forgiveness later,” She grunted as she slashed through a trumpart with her demon silver blade. Richard slammed himself into the trumpart holding their belongings, snatching up his sword and his wife’s things which he quickly tossed to her.
The Goyle Force jumped in front of the dragon and assumed their poses, “Halt!” Captain Goyle shouted, “Due to the duchess’s fourth decree, no little girl may grow to massive size! You have broken the rules and--” Bridgett backhanded all five of them in a single swipe, sending them flying through the gates of the castle. All of them hardened their skin in response, which may have saved their skins, but it turned them into man-sized bullets, easily blowing the gate down like five cannon blasts. She huffed to herself before her eyes fixated on the golden mushrooms.
The rank and file citizens all ran from the castle grounds as did the trumparts who all failed to pierce the thick scales of Bridgett’s hide as she completely ignored them. Kimiko and Richard fought off the rest of the trumparts together until all of them were downed with the demon silver weapons, “Duchess!” A voice boomed at the sleeping dormouse. Susan stomped over to the royal duchess, the jabberwock towering over her drowsy form, “By the power given to me by the Red Queen, and due to your breaking of one of the Queen’s most precious rules, as judge, jury and executioner I sentence you to 30 minutes in the prisoner fruit wiggler without parole!” She lifted up her skirt, revealing her cargo shorts and pulled the massive metal box from one of the big pockets and set it up in a few moments. The box began to vibrate loudly, sending fear into Maxine, Richard, Kimiko and Bridgett. The jabberwock grabbed the dormouse and stuffed her into the box. The duchess still slept, snoring loudly as she was put into the prisoner fruit wiggler to atone for her crimes. Susan dusted her hands off and nodded, “That’s that.”
“Can we go home now?” Bridgett asked, one of her big claws was full of the large mushrooms, “I’m hungry.”
“I need more mana,” Maxine frowned. The five of them were the only people left in the castle it seemed, “Perhaps Richard and I must--”
“No need,” A voice giggled as a form materialized next to the witch. First the large grin, then the eyes and finally the rest of the monster. She looked exactly like the just as gorgeous Maxine but there was a wild look in her green eyes. Her hair was lilac and messy, herher witch’s hat a shade of deep purple. Her robes were like a dark wine color coated with each suit of cards from vibrant violets to muted mauve clubs, hearts, diamonds and spades.
“Maxine?” Richard gasped as he stared at the spitting image of his wife.
Kimiko brandished her sword, “What foul trickery is this?”
The purple witch giggled, “No need to be so feisty, Kimiko. Let me aid you,” Kimiko couldn’t respond before the purple cat teleported to her and jabbed a finger into the jinko’s stomach. All of the madness and craziness drained from Kimiko’s body, letting her grunt out a relieved sigh as the voices finally stopped. The wondrously plum colored witch took all Wonderland energy that had built up in the samurai and used it to tear open a large purple portal, “Run along now.”
“I do not understand how you were formed, but thank you,” Maxine gave a small smile to… herself. Bridgett, still in dragon form, along with Richard, Kimiko and Susan all stepped through the portal with loud FWOOMP noises, “Who… are you?”
The purple witch poked her counterpart’s chest, imbuing her with a little Wonderland magic for the road, “Hm… I believe Cheshine will work for now.”
“Not too creative on the author’s part, but it will do for now,” Maxine said, realising her maddening Wonderland powers were back, albeit in a limited capacity.
“He never was one for names, hm?” Cheshine stared at Maxine for a few moments, “Perhaps we will see one another again? I will be a bit busy as I take the role of duchess of this land seeing as the last one broke the rules, but swing by any time.”
“I will. How do you know you will be duchess?”
“Other than the Red Queen, not many Wonderlanders have magic beyond innate abilities. Witchcraft plus Wonderland madness as you saw is… well… tremendously powerful. Put what little you have to good use,” Cheshine explained, “I will use mine to reign in the people here. And to change this horrible decor!”
“Ah, I see. Well, so long for now, Cheshine.”
“So long, Maxine,” The witch watched as the other witch stepped into the portal, closing it behind her.
The manor rumbled as there were five loud FWOOMP noises. Books shook and the fine drinking ware rattled and splashed out some of their contents. Svetlana, Gwen and Theodore all jumped up and hurried toward the noise. The three burst out of the back door toward Kimiko and Svetlana’s homes. Illuminated by the moonlight and rising to their feet amongst the well manicured garden. Bridgett’s dragon form was obvious right away along with Maxine, Richard, Kimiko and a purple dragon woman that Gwen didn’t recognize, “Look, Maxine!” Bridgett shouted in a booming voice that set off a few car alarms, “I got the mushrooms you wanted! A whole bunch of em!” She dropped some golden mushrooms that glimmered in the moonlight.
“Yes, yes, thank you, Bridgett. Now please turn back into a little girl before your parents come home so Gwen doesn’t gore me with her horns!” Maxine pleaded.
“I… Hi, mom!” Bridgett waved as her powerful dragon eyes spotted her mother.
Gwen stomped up to Maxine whose ears sheepishly flattened on her head, “Maxine. What is going on? Why is my daughter in her dragon form and-- who is this?” She pointed to the jabberwock.
“Why the hell are the bushes green?” Susan asked, “What an ugly color.”
“That’s… Kimiko, why did she come with us?” Maxine in turn asked the bodyguard.
“Because she broke the rules to help me save you,” Kimiko grunted, “Susan here was of great help to me in helping save your daughter and our… FRIEND,” Maxine received a cross look.
Gwen stared in horror, “What!? What happened?”
“I had such a fun time!” Brdigett giddly said with a big grin on her face, “Maxine asked me to get some golden mushrooms so I went to Wonderland! I went on a really fun adventure and I was only scared at the end where the mean duchess wanted to chop our heads off with a… guilla-- geeoo--”
“Guillotine,” Kimiko corrected.
“That! I met nice people and was at a feast and I saw Ruth and Daisy and they were kinda funny lookin’! Can Maxine watch me more often, mom? Please!?” Bridgett begged, bringing her large dragon head down to her mother’s eye level, “I wanna go on more adventures!”
Gwen pinched the bridge of her nose before patting her daughter’s nose, “Maxine.”
The witch started to talk quickly, “Gwen, I can assure you that she was never in any danger. She just happened to wander off and her being put on the chopping block was entirely my fault. I am so sorry all of this happened. I am so sorry to all of you, everything that went wrong was my fault. I was just afraid of going to Wonderland and Bridgett was immune to the insanity and I just figured everything would go to plan like it usually does for me. I--”
“Maxine. I have never seen Bridgett so excited and happy like this. I have to thank you for that,” Gwen admitted, “But sending her to Wonderland unsupervised!? How can you be so short sighted!?”
“In her defense,” Susan piped up, “Children have a sort of diplomatic immunity due to a decree from the Red Queen. She was completely safe until the duchess decided to break the rules.”
“Exactly! I did my research and planned and…” Maxine sighed, “I am in the wrong. I am sorry. I will not try to excuse myself further. Richard, I am ready to accept my punishment.”
“Right,” Richard sighed at her, “Hand over your staff.”
“W-what? I-- Yes. Alright,” The witch gave it to her husband hesitantly.
“And your wand,” He ordered. Without a word she gave that to him as well, “You’re out of magic for two weeks. Kimiko deserves a break so you’ll be doing whatever she and Svetlana need.”
The jinko’s shoulders slouched, “A vacation at Maxine’s expense sounds wonderful.”
“...I will do as I am told,” Maxine meekly replied, her pride taking a massive hit as her husband took her witch’s hat as well.
“Good,” Richard gave her messy hair a few pats, “Gwen, on behalf of my wife, I’m also really sorry this happened. I should have been more wary.”
“I am glad she is receiving a punishment beyond a simple slap on the wrist,” The weresheep glanced at Bridgett who had finally turned back into a little dragon girl. She yawned from her exhaustion of playing all day, “I am also quite happy that my daughter is so elated… perhaps I should let Maxine watch her more often. They are both children after all,” She chuckled, “Come on, Bridgett, time for bed.”
“Watch my children tonight, Maxine,” Kimiko ordered, “I wish for an evening alone with my man,” She licked her lips and stomped into the manor, looking for her husband.
Maxine stared at the ground and sighed. Richard patted her shoulder, “I’m proud of you,” He admitted, “Owning up to your mistakes is quite a big step for you.”
She looked at him with tears in her eyes, “Y-yeah,” She wiped her eyes, “I am just glad that everyone does not hate me. At least it seems that way.”
“Yup. How about you go talk to Svetlana? I’m sure she needs help with the children.”
“Right. Now what to do with you?” She turned to Susan who simply stood there, staring at the plants.
“We need someone to watch the gate house, right? We know she can do that!” Richard laughed.
“As long as you tell me how to open the gate I can do that!” Susan clenched her fist and gave them a smile.
“I’ll get her set up in the guest room. See you when you’re done with your chores, Maxy!” Richard gave his wife a wave as he left with the jabberwock in tow, “Don’t look so down. You’re gonna look adorable in a maid’s uniform, Maxy!”
“Yeah, yeah,” The witch sighed and folded her arms before slowly making her way to the manor toward her best friend, Svetlana, who was more than eager to give her the orders for once.
The beautiful and powerful Duchess Cheshine put the book down. She had a little smile on her face but there was one issue with the story, ‘Maxine’s Wondrous Adventure in a Most Peculiar Place’ was such a horrible name! Could you, dear reader, imagine trying to sell someone on a story with that title? Absolutely dreadful! Cheshine wondered for a short time as to what to change the title to. Although the author had originally planned for this to be a Bridgett centered story, it had sort of spiraled out of control due to Maxine and admittedly my own interference. Eventually she settled on a name: ‘The Witch’s Guide to Wonderland.’ She nodded and scrubbed out the green text that was Maxine’s title and wrote the new one in bold pink letters. Now satisfied, she returned the book to the shelf of her study.
“I hope you enjoyed yourself, dear reader. I know I did. Now, you may be asking, ‘Oh, Cheshine! How gorgeous and powerful you are! Will I ever see you again?’ Perhaps not in person, but perhaps through this thin wall of our realities. Perhaps not, I am a very busy woman. But, until then, so long.”
Abby furiously wiped her hands off on her apron after handing the pizza to the customer. ‘Pussy’s Pizza Parlor’ it proudly read in bold letters that were somewhat covered by flour. Her apron was purple and black to match her dull colored purple and black cheshire cat fur. Her hair was primarily black with a natural purple stripe or two in it. Her arms from the elbow down were covered in purple fur with a few black stripes each. Both arms never had the same amount of stripes but they seemed to increase or decrease at random intervals. Her legs were the same from the knee down, “Mom!” She called into the back, “I’m gonna be late!”
Abby’s mother stomped out of the back, the lunch rush finally over, “Abigail Nermal...” She sighed at her daughter before a proud smile stretched across her lips. Abby sighed at her mother using her first and middle name together, “My little girl is finally going off to college!” She grinned as she put her hands on her daughter’s shoulders. Abby’s mother was a were cat with grey hair and fur in the same places as Abby. Her apron was red and white, the normal colors of her pizza parlor. Abby’s was only purple because it matched the color of her fur. Her mom had thought of it as a cute gesture, but it really only served to embarrass the cheshire, “You’re gonna open your own pizzaria some day, I know it.”
Abby put on a wholly fake grin, “Yeah... Mom. My own... Pussy’s,” She chuckled.
“What did we used to joke about you calling it?” Her mom mused aloud, “Toxo-pizza-mosis?” She laughed at her ancient joke. Abby smiled, even if she had heard it her entire life.
“Here, honey,” A small personal pizza was thrust into the cheshire’s hands. Her dad smiled proudly at her. He had an apron that matched his wife’s, “Out of community college and right into real university!” He beamed, “Figure out your major yet?”
Abby shook her head, “I’ll figure it out soon, dad.”
“Well, you better get going,” Her dad smiled, “I’ll take over up here.”
“Here, Abby,” Her mother put something else in her hands as she put her personal pizza under the heat lamp, “Pass these out to all the friends you’ll make!”
Abby’s heart sank as she looked at the coupons in her hand. It screamed ten percent off a large pizza and a two liter soda. She smiled, just wanting to go, hardly interested in advertising the pizza place, “Sure... I’ll give it to any friends I make.”
“Good!” Abby's mom kissed her cheek, “Go get changed, honey. I hope you have a great day! Make sure you come back once you're done to help us close up with your sister and brother!”
“Alright, mom,” Abby smiled before disappearing into the back room. She quickly changed out of her work clothes and into some clean jeans and a t-shirt that said ‘Big Burgers’ on it on the chest. She smiled as she looked at herself. Even if her mom didn’t understand her struggle in regards to friends and school, she was at least sweet.
First day of REAL college, Abby thought to herself. Her heart was pounding in her chest, almost feeling like it was ready to burst out. No more of that baby stuff, community college was hard but this was the real deal! She told herself, hyping herself up. No more screw ups! She had her latent powers in check! She clenched her fists and glanced to her left. A young man was walking towards an arachne. Both of them were minding their own business, he was staring at his phone and she was fussing over her hair in a mirror as her spider legs carried her down the hall. Abby felt something within her spirit. A weird pang as she watched something phase into reality. Banana peels. One for the man and two for the spider woman. In unison, they hit the peels before Abby could try to warn them. The two were flung into one another, the man ending up on his back with the arachne flailing to catch him as she ended up on top of him, her breasts in his face and her hands behind his head, holding him there. He looked up at her, the embarrassment plain on his face. The spider’s own nerves quickly subsided as she licked her lips and gave him bedroom eyes with all six of them. Abby looked down at her hands, seeing right through them, thankfully. She sighed with relief at the fact that she was invisible as the arachne dragged the man into the bathroom.
Abby had no control over these abilities. ‘The aura of chaos’ as she called it would do all sorts of wacky and goofy things to those around her, completely out of her control. At least the invisibility seemed to come whenever she really needed it. She usually managed to keep it under control in her parent’s restaurant, but the stress here was getting to her. She was in an old building that had a few shelves holding old looking computers that Abby couldn’t name. The building and computers were definitely from before when mamano came to this world. Most buildings on campus were just as old as well except for the dorms. Each one had been updated at some point. All the rooms were now single person and soundproofed. Even if the rules say that girls aren’t allowed in the mens’ dorms and vice versa, the soundproofed rooms were for exactly that scenario.
Abby’s invisibility wore off just in time as she walked into the classroom. First up was math. A small classroom, thankfully it wasn’t packed. The professor was an older man with grey hair. Abby made her way to the back of the room like she always did and found a seat. Class started quickly. Unsurprisingly to her, all the mamano and humans in the room gave Abby as wide a berth as possible. She had a little smile on her face, she was used to this. In fact, she preferred it. Less times for her chaos aura to harm people. She was too anxious to eat. She would just microwave the pizza whenever she got hungry, she decided. The lecture was boring, of course. It WAS math, after all. The professor quickly sped through the syllabus before starting on the geometry lecture. About an hour into it, Abby began to feel the familiar feeling within her body. Her latent magic was at play but she had no idea how. As calmly as she could, she glanced around the room as she searched for what was happening.
The entire class’s focus seemed to shift to the board at once, “Hm?” The professor glanced to the other side of the whiteboard. A drawing of a cat had appeared over something he had written at the beginning of class. It was a long, strange looking cat sitting on its rear haunches with its head high in the air. He turned back and gave the class a confused look before taking an eraser to it. The face, ears, tail and every other detail of the cat was easily wiped away while the body remained. It looked like a penis drawn in permanent marker. The class erupted into laughter and Abby sunk in her chair, trying to not be noticed. Thankfully, the rest of the class passed without much issue.
Second class, Abby thought to herself, already disheartened after her first class. Perhaps psychology would be better? The seats were stacked down the room, sloped down towards the front of the room, each chair a little lower than the one behind it. The seats were not packed and there was more than enough room for Abby to sit in the back by herself. She sighed with relief, it looked like no more cartoonish shenanigans would happen. Leaning back in her cushioned seat, Abby put her bag on the floor and started eating the pizza her dad had given her. Anchovies, pineapple and barbeque sauce on a salty, cheese stuffed, pretzel crust, her all time favorite. The bitter and salty taste of the fish combined with the zesty barbeque sauce and the sweet fruity taste of the pineapple was just wonderful. At least to her pallet. She finished the first slice and let loose an elated sigh as the food hit her stomach.
Pausing for just a moment to breathe, Abby looked around again. There was a young man sitting a few chairs down from her, the only other person in the back row. His eyes were sharp and his face was a little long, he looked as if he had a constant shifty look about him and was always up to something. For now, he stared at his phone, paying no mind to the cheshire. Abby pushed thoughts about him out of her head. She didn’t have time for it. As he glanced at her, she quickly looked away, looking down at her pizza that she once again started eating.
“Welcome class!” The professor called as she stood at the front of the room. A few people echoed her greeting with hellos of their own. The professor was an owl mage. Her body was covered and fluffy feathers and her arms were wings that ended in little talons that could hold things. She had a big smile that spread across both of her rosy red cheeks on her face, “Welcome to your first day of interpersonal relationships!” She announced, “In this class--” She stopped herself, “It would be better for us to start by breaking into groups. It looks like...” She looked over her clipboard, “We have an equal number of boys and girls! Everyone needs to find a partner of the other gender to be partners with for the term. Yes, I mean it! I don’t need to deal with the fallout of two boys alping again!” She groaned as people started looking for others to buddy up with, “You don’t have to pick someone you think you’ll fall in love with! Just someone you might be able to make friends with or want to.”
Abby’s heart sank. Groups? She didn’t want to be put into a pairing with someone, how could she want to? It was only a matter of time until those close to her got affected by whatever magic haunted her. Maybe it wasn’t too late to drop the class? Before she could rise and leave the room, someone plopped down in the chair next to her. She was trapped now. Slowly she looked at the man next to her. It was the man she had glanced at earlier as she devoured the pizza. Abby quickly wiped off her face with a napkin, praying she didn’t have any sauce or grease on her face, “H-hello,” She stammered as she put on her best customer service smile. Despite the smile, she was betrayed by her nervousness.
“Heya,” He smiled, definitely just as nervous as the purple cat, “You’re one of those... Wonderland cats, right?”
“Faggot cat-- I mean, cheshire cat, yes,” Abby corrected him.
“Ah, you’ll have to forgive me. I grew up in a town that doesn’t have any monster girls in it,” He frowned, “I was wondering if girls like you were okay with being called that,” Abby shrugged, it was just a nickname for her kind that the internet had come up with.
“It seems as if everyone has a partner!” The owl mage announced. Looking around, Abby could see numerous young men forced to be partners with more aggressive mamano like oni and manticores. They held their partners-- soon to be life long partners-- under their arms, “Go ahead and introduce yourselves and just tell eachother an interesting fact or two!”
“Well, I’m Abby,” The cheshire mumbled, her fur and hair looking particularly dull.
“Brady,” He replied
“Use your full names! No nicknames yet!” The professor shouted above the commotion.
Abby groaned audibly, making Brady give her a confused look. She glanced at him with her big yellow eyes, “I-its Abigail... Nermal...” She muttered her middle name with an obvious fist full of disdain, “Cook.“
“Brandon Joshua Johnson,” Brady corrected himself, “So... Nermal?” He gave her a strange look, doing his best not to crack a smile.
“Yeah...” Abby groaned, “Like the grey cat in Garfield.”
Brady chuckled, “Well, it could be a whole lot worse. You could be Abigail-- Abby Heathcliff. You’d never hear the end of it, from me at least.”
“H-Heathcliff?” Abby stammered.
Brady sighed, “I don’t even know what to call it. Its another dumb orange cat comic. Except its even more unfunny.”
“O...Kay...” Abby blinked at him, “Oh, we’re supposed to say something about ourselves, right?”
“Yeah, well... I grew up in one of the last remaining mamano free towns in the world,” He shrugged, “I guess you could say I got sick of it and came here. Ya think human ladies would be a little nicer considering they’re a dying breed,” He looked away from her and to the floor, “Pussy’s Pizza Parlor?”
Abby jumped as he uttered the name of the family restaurant, “W-well... I guess my thing I’ll say is that my family owns a local pizzeria. Pussy’s Pizza whatever,” She laughed nervously, hoping he didn’t think it was dumb.
He looked at the grey cartoon cat girl on the box below the ‘Pussy’s Pizza Parlor’ on the box, “Are you, like, THE pussy?” He held back laughter.
She laughed, “No, my mom swears up and down that its not her, but it totally is.”
He let his laughter out, “I like that.”
Abby smiled, laughing along with him, ecstatic to have actually met someone who was friendly with her, “Here, mom told me to pass these out to anyone I could,” She gave him a few of the coupons.
“Hey, thanks a bunch,” He smiled back.
“Alright!” The professor shouted, quieting down the room, “You’ve had enough time to get to know one another. Just keep learning about them all year, you’ll be doing a presentation on them! I’m not asking you to marry them, but I can see some of you are already planning on that. Please turn your attention from what you girls may call ‘fresh meat’ and focus on the lecture please.”
Abby picked up her bag, going for her spiral notebook. Brady did the same, looking for his laptop. She froze, suddenly feeling the pang in her soul. Something was happening, her aura of chaos was starting to activate. Her eyes darted around the room, furiously scanning for where it could be happening at. Her gaze shifted to Brady, just a second too late as he unzipped his bag and opened it wide. She gasped as a cream pie was flung from the darkness of her new friend’s bag. There was a dull, wet squishing noise as the pie struck his face. He sat still, shocked for a few moments before slowly peeling it from his face.
Abby’s lower lip quivered, she had ruined her only chance, she thought. There was a dull hum as a few tears rolled down her face. As the cheshire blinked, she found herself in a familiar area. A dark and dull purple colored flat plane. Her own little dimension to cry in. And cry she did. Abby cursed her species, the cheshire cat, all of Wonderland, and pies everywhere. She curled into a ball, holding the bag to her chest as she bawled over being unable to control her abilities.
Abby’s eyes opened slowly. Her face was wet and she felt exhausted. She picked herself up off the floor and glanced around. She had no way of knowing how long she had spent in that pocket realm, but class was definitely over. No one was in the room. She looked at the clock, she had a few minutes to make it to her second class. She wiped her face off and dried her eyes. She had another class to get to even if she was in awful shape. A low level computer science class was next, more general credits like this psychology class was. Ironic, considering most mamano took classes like this to hook up with boys who need the credit as all science majors required it. Abby sighed and started to trudge to her next class.
“Hey, Abby!” Abby looked up as her big sister Danny greeted her. She had come in through the back employee door of the pizza parlor like she usually did. Her sister had dark black fur and hair like their father’s and mom’s blue eyes. Abby smiled weakly at her, still in a lot of pain after what happened on her first day of college. Danny frowned as her little sister tried to walk past her. Wrapping an arm around her sister’s shoulders, she walked with her, “Hey, what happened? Something wrong?”
“Danny...” Abby trailed off, unsure what to say as her sister stopped her.
“Come on, talk to me. Or, I’ll make you talk to mom,” Danny threatened as Abby shook her off and went to the fridge.
She looked for something to eat, comfort food was what she needed right now. She grabbed the jar of pickles and turned back to her stern looking sisters, “I messed it up, Danny.”
“What? Expelled again?”
“No, this isn’t like that time in highschool!”
“With the principal, that centaur, and the clothes destroying acid? Oh! Oh! And the metric shit ton of whipped cream!?” Danny laughed loudly as she remembered the principal’s tomato red face, “At least you got him to confess to his crush!”
“While he was naked! And she was!” Abby screamed, “I didn’t even do it on purpose!” She was getting teary eyed again.
“Hey, hey calm down little sis’. I know it wasn’t on purpose,” She shook her head, “What happened? It can’t be that bad.”
“I ruined my one chance at friendship,” Abby grabbed a jar of peanut butter and started to spread it on some soft bread.
“Oh come on. There’s tons of other girls out there to make friends with and--”
“With a BOY, Danny! I FUCKED it up!” Abby shouted as she put pickle slices in the sandwich, “The one boy who WASN’T afraid of me. The one guy who talked to me like I was a person and not a horrible, raping, eldrtich horror! He opened his bag and got a pie to the face!” She started to break down, crying as she ate the pickle and peanut butter sandwich. It did a lot to kill the pain. Her sobbing turned to quiet mewling and whining as she stuffed her face. Her purple fur had turned nearly black as her emotions spilled forth.
Danny put her hands on her sister’s shoulders, “Come on. Its not that bad. It was just a pie. You didn’t kill him with an anvil from the sky or make him fall into the breasts of some massive girl.”
“I made that happen earlier,” The cheshire mumbled.
“That's why everyone called you the matchmaker in highschool!”
Abby gave her a murderous look, “I’m going to drop the class. I’ll take it some other time.”
“No you aren’t,” Danny folded her arms, “Not until you know for sure that he hates you.”
“What would mom say?”
Abby sniffled, “To tough it out.”
“And you already like him. Maybe he’ll be understanding or not mad with you.”
“No problem, sis,” Danny wrapped her arms around her sister for a quick hug, “Go home and rest. You need it. I’ll take care of closing up here. Robert and mom will understand.”
Abby nodded and hugged her sister back quickly before just as hastily finishing her comfort sandwich, “Don’t tell mom about the boy, please. You know how she gets,” Danny nodded then watched as her little sister left the way she came.
The werecat sighed, “What am I gonna do with you, Abby?” She mumbled to herself with a chuckle, “Robert!” She shouted at her brother. He had their mom’s grey hair and wore it short. He was the youngest of the three siblings.
“Huh?” He called back from where he prepared a pizza.
“We’re closing tonight. I sent Abby home.”
“But--” He scowled, but simply frowned at his big sister, “Fine. But you owe me. I’ll be late for my game.”
“Yeah, yeah whatever. You and your dumb table top nerd shit. Finish up and get the mop.”
Abby struggled to keep herself calm. After a night of sleeping, her room always looked like a mess. The few family photos she kept around had gotten switched out again. Every person in the photo’s faces had been switched with Nicolas Cage’s again. The original photo was just behind it like it always was. Her desk was somehow affixed to the ceiling as if gravity had been reversed for it. Abby started to clean up. The cleaning of her room usually calmed her a little bit. Clothes pulled off the walls, the old poster was taken off the ceiling and put back where it went, and lastly the desk was carefully brought down and put back in place.
She went to the closet and sighed as she threw it open. Balloons spilled out of various colors doing not much more than annoy her. She took a claw to each one, popping it and scooping up their rubbery remains into a trash can. She threw on her clothes and did a quick tally of the stripes on both arms. Only one on the left but five on the right. She shrugged, unsure what it meant. The color of her fur was as dim as it always was, perhaps even dimmer than usual. With a grunt, she left her room to prepare for the rest of the day.
Abby’s heart pounded as she walked towards her second class. It felt like a death march as she stepped to the psychology class door. With a deep inhale and long exhale, she opened the door. Carefully, she stepped into the room. No one gave her any funny looks-- well, any more than usual as she walked to her desk. She plopped down into her seat and sighed, not spotting Brady anywhere. She frowned, wondering if he had left the class. Abby took her seat and wrung her hands nervously in her lap. Her mind started to race, preparing for the worst as she assumed he wasn’t going to show up.
“Hey, Abby,” Brady greeted as he plopped down in the seat next to her, “I took notes for you after you vanished yesterday.”
“Y-you did? Y-you’re not mad at me?” Abby mewled, already feeling on the verge of a breakdown.
Brady gave her a confused look, “What? Why-- Oh!” He laughed, “So the pie thing was you, was it?”
“Y-yeah... It was...” She gave him a confused look as he gave her two sheets of paper covered in notes.
“Don’t worry about it. That lemon cream pie was great. Free food always tastes better, plus you gave me those coupons. How could I complain?”
“Yeah it was!” An oni a few seats forward called, “Got any more for us, Abby?”
“Uh... W-well...” Abby stammered nervously.
“Ah, Abigail,” The professor approached the cheshire, “I heard you teleport out of the room last class after Brandon here received a pie to the face. Are you quite alright?”
“I-- I have no control over my abilities,” She explained, “I-I didn’t mean to do either of those things.”
“Where did you teleport to?”
“Some sort of pocket dimension. I don’t really know.”
The owl mage brought her wing to her chin, “Interesting... Well. I will keep my eyes open for any more shenanigans that happen. Brandon, keep an eye on her if you would.”
“I’ll take notes for her if she disappears again,” He smiled as the teacher walked off, “So... Cheshires can just do this stuff naturally?” Abby nodded. Brady rubbed his chin as a sly smile spread across his lips, “Infinite pies? Teleportation?” He asked himself quietly, “We’ll figure something out,” He grinned mischievously at the cheshire, “I’ll just have to figure out what else you can do.”
She laughed, “Well, once I figure out how to control any of it, I’ll be sure to give you all the pies you want,” She had a big smile on her face, probably one of the biggest in her life as she looked at the young man next to her, “H-hey, are we friends?” The smile turned a little more nervous.
He blinked, “Friends? I don’t have many friends, especially here, so I’m down for that,” Brady smiled sadly.
Awkwardly, Abby put her fluffy hand on his shoulder, “Me neither,” She admitted, watching the color return to her purple fur. Not completely vibrant, but the color had come back somewhat. She slowly removed her hand from his shoulder.
“Class is starting,” Brady mumbled, “Lets see what kinda pie I get today!” He threw his bag open and frowned as he saw no pie fly out of the bag into his face. He shrugged, “Oh well.”
Abby couldn’t keep her laughter in. She stopped from worrying about what the future held for her and her friend.
“What are you up to tonight?” Brady asked as he and Abby sat on a bench, basking in the brief sunlight that the campus got. “I gotta work tonight,” Abby sighed. It had been about a week of the two hanging out and studying together for classes in the library. Neither had make many strides on learning about the other person, both were too busy with work and classes, “Maybe we’ll get to hang out sometime soon?”
“Come hang at my dorm whenever,” Brady shrugged, “Not like I’m doing much,” He held back a sigh, trying not to let his sadness flow.
“Don’t look at me like that!” Abby chuckled, patting him on the shoulder. Both jumped as something in the cheshire’s hand buzzed. They both glanced at her open purple colored palm. There was a buzzer in her hand affixed with a band of leather. Abby and Brady both laughed at the absurdity of it. As a drop of something wet fell on her cheek, she quickly wiped it, afraid that she was crying.
“Looks like its raining,” He grumbled as the dark clouds rolled in, “Man. Bullshit that the sun won’t stay out for more than a few minutes.”
“Too bad my magic can’t change the weather, huh?” Abby shrugged as she picked up her bag, “I better go to work. Have a good one, Brady.”
“Text me on break, would you? I’ll need a break from studying,” He smiled before throwing his bag open, “Damn. No pie again. See you around, Abby.”
Abby left her only friend with a small smile on her face that she knew wouldn’t last too much longer. She dreaded work and dealing with her mother.
“Danny! Where is that peperoni with olives!?” Abby called from the front.
“Right here!” Her sister slid it through the service window.
“Whew,” Her dad grunted as he returned from a delivery, “Huge party.”
“Things are calming down here at least,” Robert, Abby’s younger brother grunted as he started wiping down the counters, “Two more pizzas right?”
Abby frowned as another delivery order came through. She hated working delivery, but she was the only one who could other than her father. It was the dinner rush and it was just finishing up. As the pizzeria was located in a college town, most of their sales were for parties and other get-togethers with those students, “A large meat lover with some soda?” Three or four people she figured, “Where’s it going?”
“To the dorms of your school!” Her mom called, “You go, Abby.”
“Moooom,” She whined.
“Abigail Nermal,” Her mother scolded, “I know you didn’t pass out any of those coupons. But maybe you’ll know this person?”
“Doubt it,” She huffed as she took her apron off and hung it on a hook. She grabbed a hat, purple of course, that she put atop her short hair.
Her mother sighed, “Abby... Have you really made no friends at school?”
She didn’t dare bring up Brady. Her bringing up a boy was asking for all sorts of trouble, “No. You know no one likes cheshires. Everyone is scared of me.”
“Sweetie... Don’t say stuff like that,” The old werecat tried to grab her daughter’s shoulders to comfort her but the cheshire shook her off and backed away, “Abby...”
“I’m going. I’ll be back whenever I’m done,” Abby said in a defeated tone before taking the pizza and soda and sulking towards her car.
The campus wasn’t too far away, but the thought of having to see one of her classmates was what was eating her up inside. It was painful enough having to work which was making her grades suffer already and had been even in community college. She didn’t blame her parents for not being able to completely pay for her to be able to go to college, she just wished circumstances were different. Working thirty hours a week and taking four classes was affecting her negatively. She was tired, stressed and the only thing she could think of was Brady wrapping her in a tight hug and kissing her on the forehead. She had no idea if he even liked her, but his friendship gave her a little bit of warmth when everything else felt bleak. She wanted to do something nice for him, but couldn’t think of what to do.
She pulled into one of the parking lots and stepped out of her car. There was a light up sign attached to the top that screamed ‘Pussy’s Pizza Parlor’ in bold lit up red letters. Abby sighed and tried to get into her ‘customer service’ mentality as she started towards the dorms. All of the rooms in this dorm were connected by outdoor walkways, “Room 304,” She muttered to herself as she started towards the dorms, pizza in one hand and the soda in the other. She kept her head down, trying not to be noticed in her bright purple short sleeve shirt and jeans.
Smile and be friendly, she thought to herself. Pray that there's not a picture of her ass on the pizza again, she grimaced at the thought. She climbed three flights of stairs and quickly located the room she was looking for. She set the soda on top of her pizza bag that kept it warm and knocked on the door, grabbing the receipt and preparing to face the customer. She stared down at the receipt, quickly grinning fakely as the door opened before her, “Hey! Your total is--” Abby stopped as she stared at a familiar face.
“Hey, Abby!” Brady grinned at her from the door.
“B-Brady!” Her heart started to pound, making her lose her balance. She grabbed the pizza with both hands so as to not drop it.
“I didn’t expect to see you doing deliveries!” Brady laughed, “How are you doing? Hope work hasn’t been too hard on you.”
“Oh, its been great, hold on let me--” Abby gasped as the two liter of soda fell off of the pizza box. She could only watch as the soda hit the ground. It landed straight up, thankfully. A little shaken up, but fine. She started to laugh with relief as Brady stared at her, confused. In that moment, the cheshire’s chaotic aura activated. There was a loud pop as the top of the bottle shot off, spraying the sticky carbonated beverage all over Abby. She stood still staring down at herself. She was drenched. She felt tears welling in her eyes, horribly upset over embarrassing herself in front of her friend. She wanted to go home and lay in bed to die. She could feel herself slipping into her lonely pocket dimension.
“Abby!” She was yanked from the brink as Brady grabbed her shoulder, “Come in, let's get you cleaned up.”
“O-okay,” The defeat was obvious in her voice.
“Here,” She was handed a towel, “Showers in the bathroom back there. Hopefully my soap and shampoo works for you. Use as much as you need to.”
“T-thanks,” She whimpered before stepping towards the bathroom.
Abby sat on the floor of Brady’s tiny shower, letting the hot water flow over her body. At least the water hides my tears, she told herself. She didn’t want to go back out into Brady’s dorm to face him. She knew she had to. She had to be strong, but couldn’t find it within herself to be anywhere near as strong as she needed to be. With a sigh, she wiped off her face and grabbed some soap. Bringing it to her nose, she took a quick whiff. It was definitely the soap Brady used. She nodded, delighted to have the opportunity to smell like his soap. She quickly soaped up and rinsed off before going for the shampoo. It smelled like him too. Abby felt a little bad about the amount of shampoo she would need to use, but he did say to use as much as she needed to. After another round of soaping up and washing it away, the cheshire turned off the water and stepped out of the shower.
A stool had been set inside the bathroom. On top of it was a change of clothes and Abby’s underwear. It looked like Brady had tried to wash them by hand and used something else to dry them. Did he iron them? She wondered. She quickly snatched up the clothes that had been left for her. A short sleeve shirt with the name of an absolutely ancient band on it that had almost been wholly washed away. The shirt was a little big for her, but hey, it smelled like her friend. She took a long whiff of his scent and as a reflex, a long, happy sigh escaped her lips. She again pondered the nature of her relationship with that man. She knew she was crushing on him, but what did he think of her? She didn’t dwell on it much. She was probably going to fast anyways. She picked up his basketball shorts, “Oh my god,” She mumbled to herself, obscured by the over head fan, “His DICK has been in these,” Almost salivating, Abby brought the shorts to her nose, making sure to huff the front. She caught the faintest whiff of his musk, “Ohhhh,” She moaned quietly, “Oh fuck, what am I doing?” She muttered to herself as she made a conscious effort not to get turned on. She slipped them on and took a few long, deep breaths to stay calm.
She stepped from the bathroom and into the main room of Brady’s dorm. He didn’t have much. A twin sized bed sat in the corner. There was a desk with a chair in another corner, a couch, a tiny coffee table that doubled as storage and a dresser that doubled as a TV stand, “Hey, Abby,” Brady got up and approached the depressed cheshire, “You feeling alright?”
“Oh, yeah... I--” She cut herself off and shook her head, “I’m not alright.”
“Come on, take a seat,” He waved Abby over to the couch and plopped down on the coffee table. He grabbed a slice of pizza from the box and started munching on it, “What’s up?” He asked with a mouth full of cheese and meat.
“What's up? What’s up!?” Abby snapped at him, “I just had that soda blow up on me because of my stupid magic!”
Brady was unphased. He calmly blinked at her, “I’m not mad or anything, Abby. Is it because I laughed? I’m sorry I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“No...” Abby sighed, “I’m sorry,” She whimpered as she took a seat on the couch, “I’ve got no friends, I argued with my mom today, I’m so stressed out. I just-- I don’t know what to do, Brady,” She started to break down, crying on her only friend’s couch.
“Abby,” Brady moved to the couch with her, “I’m your friend, right?”
“Of course you are!” She quickly tried to comfort him, her hands gripping his shoulders, terrified that she would lose him if she let go of him, “You ARE my friend! You’re... The only friend I have,” She started to cry again as she stared at her friend, “I don’t know what to do,” She sobbed as she put her head on his shoulder.
“C-can I do anything for you, Abby? Do you need anything?”
She stared at him with her big, yellow, tear soaked eyes. She knew exactly what she needed, “Hug me,” She demanded in an uncharacteristically firm voice.
“Uh... Okay,” He reached out his arms awkwardly, unsure how to hug another person.
Abby leapt into his arms, forcing them under hers as she hugged him around the neck, “Braaaadyyyyy...” She wailed as a wave of happiness flowed through her.
“Take it easy! You’re gonna choke me!”
Abby found it tough to let go, but eventually she stopped crying and got off of her friend, “Sorry...” She mumbled as she put her hands on her knees.
“I-its fine,” He tried to hide how much he was blushing and grabbed the pizza box to hide his boner. Her breasts are huge! He thought to himself as he thought about how close they were to his face.
Both of them sat still, breathing heavily from the excitement. Abby glanced at him as he started to eat a slice of pizza, “S-since I spilled your soda, can I make it up to you in any way?”
“You uh... wanna split this pizza with me and just hang out? I-if you gotta go back to work, I understand,” He smiled sheepishly, “I’ve got some cans in the little fridge so don’t worry about the two liter.”
“Well, its not my favorite kind of pizza but I’d love to hang out with you,” She had to fight with the instinct to cuddle up against him after she grabbed a slice of pizza.
“Hey... Your fur,” Brady noted. Abby gave him a confused look, “Its looking really vibrant. Did my shampoo do that?”
“Hm?” Abby found that he was right. Her light purple was vibrant, pretty even. The usual black was now a nice complimentary dark purple, “I-I’ve never seen this before...” She laughed to herself, “Thank you, Brady.”
“Oh yeah... Of course,” He chuckled nervously, “For what?”
“Being my friend,” He stared at her, dumbstruck, “Come on! Stop looking like that. Aren't we gonna eat this pizza?”
Abby set down her controller and sighed, “This is bullshit, man.”
“I told you! Mario Two is a load of crap!” Brady laughs.
“I wanna go back to playing Mario World!” She whined.
“But I love this game!”
“You just told me its crap!” She cried as she lightly punched his shoulder. He laughed back at her and downed some more of his soda, “You play it. I’m out. I’m not dying to that damn mouse again.”
“I thought cats could beat mice easily?” He teased. Abby gave him a look that could kill as he brought the soda back to his face.
She gasped as the soda shot out of the can into his face, “Are you okay!?” She cried.
He laughed and nodded, “Did you do that on purpose?”
“Of course not. I don’t have any control, remember? But... I was glaring at you when it happened. Maybe I did do something,” She shook her head, “I’m not really sure. She grabbed her phone to check the time.
“Who’s that?” Brady asked as he glanced at her lock screen.
“Oh, my mom, me, and my sister.”
“You’re the only cheshire while they’re both werecats then, I assume.”
“You assumed right. I don’t know the exact details of my being conceived, but as I’ve guessed so far, my parents took a honeymoon to Wonderland. One thing led to another and poof! Here I am!”
“Huh,” He pondered for a short moment, “Have you ever been back to Wonderland? I don’t even know if that would do anything.”
“I haven’t been there, no. Should I go? Wouldn’t that just make things worse for me?”
Brady shrugged, “I don’t know. Aren’t you cheshire cats like, guides or something for Wonderland? That has to be in your blood.”
“Well...” Abby frowned and stared out the window. It was completely dark out now, the restaurant had to be closing down soon, “How do you know all this, Brady?”
“Uh,” He swallowed nervously, “This, I guess,” He opened up a drawer of the coffee table, leaving Mario Two going unpaused. He retrieved a dusty tome from the back of his sock drawer, “Here. This was made pretty quickly after Mamano came to this world,” He handed the book to her.
Abby thumbed through the old pages carefully. He was right, the book was pretty old. While she had expected pro monster girl propaganda in the book, she found the opposite. Harsh, exagerated and overblown criticisms of nearly every monster girl species she could think of. Avoid the oni for their alcoholism and brute strength. Mice girls are timid and sweet so they should be tolerated. Soldier beetles are good fighters that will wholly devote themselves to a man, engage with at your own risk, “Where did you get this?” She gasped. The book was interesting, to say the least. Full of completely wrong information, called hellhounds a form a demon and numerous other errors from humans that didn’t know what they were doing.
“Parents. They bought a few of them way back when. Followed it religiously then gave me one to follow just as religiously. I tagged the cheshire page,” He helped her open the book to the correct page. She skipped down the page, wanting to see what it said. Avoid at all costs it said in big red letters, “Never said I actually follow it at all,” Brady grinned, “But here, it says that cheshires are some kind of guide of their own hellish dimension. I assume that's Wonderland.”
“But...” She frowned, “Maybe. Almost everything in this book is wrong. I don’t know...”
Brady sighed, “Not like we have anything else to go on, right?”
“Yeah, but--” Abby went silent as her phone made a loud noise. It shook as a phone call came through, “Huh? Oh, my mom’s calling,” She quickly answered it, “Mom?”
“Oh, thank the heavens,” She sighed with relief, “Where are you!?” She snapped.
Abby shrunk away as her mom shouted, “I-I’m at--”
“Come back to the restaurant right now. I don’t want your latest excuse as to why you’re slacking!” She hissed.
“You better not have lost the payment again, Abigail Nermal, or its coming out of your pay.”
“O-okay, mom,” She hardly even finished speaking before her mom hung up. She wanted to cry again.
“Abby?” Brady frowned at her. He had heard everything.
“I-I have to go,” Abby mumbled as the vibrant colors left her fur.
“Here. I haven’t paid yet,” Brady handed her a coupon he clipped out of a local paper and more than enough money to pay for the food he had ordered.
“I-I can’t take it. I spilled your soda.”
“You just owe me for next time, okay? I don’t want you mom to yell at you any more than she already has,” He gently took hold of her wrist and forced the money into her hand, “I’m sorry I kept you here so long.”
“I had a great time, Brady. I just wish it could last longed,” She sighed. She looked at Brady as he silently offered her another hug, “I shouldn’t. I’ll never leave if I take it.”
“Ah... Alright,” He sighed as he walked her out, “Uh, get home safe and text me later?”
She smiled sadly as she stood on the walkway, the cold of the night nipping at her skin, “I will. See ya on Monday.”
“Yeah...” Brady had a big frown on his face as he watched Abby slowly sulk to her car. He sighed as he watched her climb in before slowly leaving the parking lot.
Abby parked and slowly made her way into the rear entrance of the pizza parlor. Just like she suspected, the restaurant was closed down for the night. The cheshire pulled the door open, noting how dull her fur looked now. With a sigh, she walked into the restaurant, “Mom?” She called into the dimly lit building.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end as she heard her mother stomping towards her. Although she only wore soft sandals, the sound of them slapping against the bottoms of her feet made Abby shudder, “Young lady, where have you been!?”
“M-my friend’s dorm,” She meekly explained.
“Abby,” Her mother sighed, “I’ve been worried sick for HOURS and you’re going to come back and LIE to me about where you were.”
“I-I’m not--” Abby started to mewl.
“Save it,” Her mother hissed holding out her hand sternly. Abby turned off her phone and put it into her mom’s hand, wondering when she’d get it back, “Where-- What happened to your uniform!?” She groaned, “Abby, did you lose it again? Did you steal some poor person’s clothes too? Again?”
“I spilled the soda on myself.”
“Abby...” Her mother trailed off once more with a long somewhat angry sigh.
“H-heres the money for the pizza,” Abby gave her the money and coupon that Brady had pressured her into taking.
“At least you did that right,” She sighed.
“I didn’t ask to be born like this!” Abby snapped, shouting at her mother, “I don’t WANT to be like this! I want to be normal!” She sobbed.
“DON’T call me that! Why did you have to name me that as some kind of sick joke!? Its done nothing but hurt me.”
“Abigail!” Her mother snapped. Abby turned to look at her, the sadness completely obvious on her face as well as the pain of heartbreak, “I’m going home. Do the dishes then do the same.”
“Mom,” Abby tried to call out to her as she felt a pang of guilt. She only watched her mom walk past her, both of them with tears in their eyes.
“I-I’ll see you when you get home. L-lock up when you’re done,” Her mother reminded her as she choked back her own tears.
Abby slumped to the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. There was a humming as she closed her eyes. When she opened them, she found herself once more in her own dimension. Lonely and purple, that's all it was to her. The manifestation of her loneliness and sadness. She sobbed on the ground, hugging Brady’s shirt close to herself for some form of comfort. It helped, even if it was a little bit.
Abby walked through the front door of her home. She still wasn’t sure how long she had spent crying, just that her face was stained with tears and that they still flowed, “Yo! Abby!” She heard Danny call as her sister came running from the kitchen to the little entrance hallway.
“Leave me alone, Danny,” Abby murmured before going up the stairs to the second floor. Danny followed her up the stairs at a safe distance, watching her little sister retreat into her own room. Abby carefully took Brady’s shirt off and placed it over one of her pillows before changing into her sleeping clothes.
“Abby?” She heard her sister call again which she promptly ignored and climbed into bed, hugging the pillow covered in her friend’s scent.
“Is she in her room?” Abby heard her mother ask quietly.
“Let her rest,” Her mom sighed before sulking off.
Abby thought of her friend-- Her crush, as she sobbed in bed, crying into his shirt.
Abby stood at the front of the pizzeria. She had a smile on her face but inside she felt nothing but pain and agony. She had no phone now, so she couldn’t even contact her only friend to comfort her. She had been getting earfulls from her mother all weekend over the smallest things. Maybe they were just small nitpicks, but Abby was not taking it very well.
“Abby?” Danny called out to her sister. She didn’t respond, “Come on, you don’t need to act like this.”
“Leave me alone, Danny,” Abby hissed quietly. Danny’s ears flattened on her head and she stomped away, not wanting to deal with her sister’s bad mood if she wouldn’t speak to her without snapping.
Abby gripped the edge of the service counter as she tried to maintain some semblance of composure. Her thoughts quickly turned to ‘how much force does it take to destroy this counter’ and ‘would I get away with it?’ She stared at the wooden laminated counter and focused on her breathing. She hardly noticed as another customer approached, “Oh, sorry, what can I get for you?” She glanced up at the customer, “Oh! Brady!” She grinned as she gazed upon her friend.
He smiled sadly, “H-hey... I just brought these for you. You left ‘em at my place,'' He placed a plastic bag on the counter. Abby quickly checked the bag. It was her uniform that she had spilled soda onto on friday, “I-I’ll see you at class,” There was some obvious pain in his voice.
“Brady?” Abby felt hurt as he turned away.
“D-Did I do something wrong, Abby?” He asked as he turned to face her.
“You haven’t responded to me all weekend,” He glared at her, “I’ve been torn up all weekend over this shit.”
“Brady, my mom took my phone on Friday after she yelled at me,” Abby quickly explained.
Brady gave her a dejected look. He couldn’t believe her, “You’re in college and your mom still takes away your phone when she’s mad? I get lying to your mom, but lying to me? I’ll see you around,” He huffed as he stormed away.
Abby watched him go, carefully taking the bag of clothes and putting it behind the counter. She couldn’t let herself cry while on the clock. She quickly glanced around. No customers nor her family had noticed. Her anger quickly ebbed away and was replaced with an intense sadness, “That was it,” Abby told herself aloud, “I messed it up. There goes my future...” Her daydreams of making Brady her man dissipated. She sighed and looked around again. She had to make this right. She couldn’t have him now, but there was no way she could live with him being pissed at her. She shook the sadness away, a new determination burning within her as she fixated on her job.
“I’m going on break!” Abby called as it started winding down in the pizza parlor.
Her father came to the front, “I’ll take over for you, dear,” He smiled, “Hey, are you alright? I know your mom’s been hard on you.”
“I’m fine,” She said, hoping her dad would buy her lie.
He didn’t seem to, “She just wants you to succeed. I really don’t think how your mother is handling this is right. But...” He trailed off, “I wish I could help you with these powers you have. I’m really proud of you for keeping it under control at the restaurant at least.”
“Thanks dad,” She faked a little smile for him and hugged him back. She walked as calmly as she could into the back and stepped into the little staff room. It only had a couch, some tables and a few chairs. Abby knew she needed to get into the little cubbies by the kitchen. Her mom’s purse would be there and her phone had to be in it, “Invisibility,” She mumbled to herself, “Think, Abby. How do you turn it on usually?” She pondered for a minute, trying to recall the most recent time she became invisible. Did she say something as that guy ended up between the arachne’s breasts? Maybe she was feeling something? Embarrassed? Like she WANTED to be invisible?
Abby stood in the break room for a few minutes, staring at her hands as she willed herself to become invisible. Despair and sadness swirled in her mind as she tried to figure out another strategy. She thought about how cheshires were usually depicted, goofy, joking and happy. She was happy once with Brady and she made something happen to him. Abby groaned as she tried to be happy. She struggled to make herself happy even while she thought of Brady. She returned to willing herself invisible. Eventually, she found success, “It was as simple as being happy and willing it?” She asked herself as she saw through her hands, “Well, as simple as being happy and cheerful can be,” The invisibility started to wane as her good emotions did. Hastily, she brought her good mood back. She thought of those pranks that her powers had been pulling. People slipping on banana peels and getting pies to the face. She DID find it funny, afterall. Even if at the time it happened she wanted to die. She giggled as she thought of Brady getting pied and then excitedly eating and sharing the pie with those around him.
She needed to use her invisibility now, she reminded herself silently. Hurrying, she quietly stepped out of the break room and made for the cubbies. Everyone was busy cooking or cleaning so they paid no mind to what little noise she was making. She reached her hand into her mother’s purse and felt for her phone. Too afraid to pick the whole bag up as it might turn it invisible along with her. She managed to fish it out and duck back into the breakroom. Now, how to teleport? She wondered. She was still in a good mood, she had grabbed the phone without incident. She didn’t have a clue how to teleport. She visualised herself in Brady’s apartment, maybe in his arms, cuddling with him, holding him. That's where she desperately wanted to be. She heard a quiet humming noise.
“Oof!” Abby heard someone cry, making her eyes fly open.
She rolled off of Brady who was laying on the couch and landed on the floor, hitting her forehead on the carpet, “Ow!” She yelped.
“Abby?” Brady cried as he curled up on the couch, startled by the cheshire’s sudden appearance as she phased out of her invisibility.
“Brady!” She cried, getting up.
“Why are you here? Going to ruin this night too?” He hissed. His eyes were puffy and red and there was junk food strewn across his coffee table.
“No, I’m here to make amends,” She turned on her phone and gave it to him, “I swear, I didn’t see your texts. My mom treats me like a baby because of my powers. I just wanted to come here and make things right between us.”
Brady glanced down at the phone and watched as it received numerous texts he had sent her over the weekend, “I’m sorry, Abby,” He sighed as guilt wracked him.
The cheshire smiled sadly, “Even if I fucked it all up between us, I know I did, don’t lie and say I didn’t, I couldn’t live with you being mad at me,” She explained, her fur changing to a light and pleasant purple as she felt a little better.
“No, I screwed up. I refused to believe you,” His lower lip quivered, “It's all my fault.”
“No! No, no!” Abby got on the couch with him and curled up against him, hugging him tightly, “I get it. It's okay, I’m not super trust worthy. You were just upset with me.”
“Yeah, but...” Brady trailed off as he hugged her back. He scratched the back of his head as he deleted the texts he had sent off of Abby’s phone. He was too embarrassed of his little melt down to let her see it, “I’m… Kinda glad you didn’t see my texts,” He chuckled nervously.
Abby smirked at him, finding his embarrassment charming. She opened her mouth to speak but stopped as her phone cried out in a jingle. She picked it up and brought it to her ear after she saw Danny’s name on it, “H-hello?” She mewled. Brady had a hand on her shoulder as he tried to give her some of his own strength.
“Abby!?” Danny shouted, her aggravation was obvious, “Where the hell are you!? I can’t-- I WON’T keep covering for you! Especially if mom is gonna shout at me instead!”
“I-I--” She stammered, the color from her fur fading fast.
“So she did steal her phone! Give that to me!” She heard her mother shout, “Abby!? I can’t believe this. Stealing your phone and leaving! What the hell are you doing? Abby, why aren't you here?”
“I had to fix something. I was just about to come back. I--”
“I don’t want to hear your excuses, come back RIGHT now. I am so mad at you!”
“Abby!” Her mother snapped, “Come. Home. Now,” She hissed again. Abby couldn’t even defend herself before her mother hung up.
Abby curled up on the floor, the tears quickly flowing from her eyes as the humming returned to the air. Frustration and anger as well as sadness made her begin to cry. She felt herself teleported to that lonely realm again, free to cry at her own leisure. Of course Abby cried, just like she always did when she was here. Something seemed to be different this time though. She heard something, rousing her from her sadness, “Abby! Abigail!” Someone shouted.
The Cheshire leapt up, “Brady...? Brady!?” She called as she wiped the water from her face, “Where are you?” She cried out.
She glanced up as she desperately searched for her friend. Brady floated in the air above her, desperately trying to swim in the air. He attempted butterfly strokes in the air, not accomplishing much other than spinning himself in confusion, “Brady!” She cried. She reached up to the boy, but he was just out of reach. She leapt up and managed to grab his foot, bringing the both of them crashing to the ground. The two lay on the ground, catching their breath before laughing together, “Brady, what are you doing here?” She asked as the two sat up. The cheshire touched his face, making sure he wasn’t hurt.
“Where are we?” He asked, “This place is really... Purple,” He noted as he stared around the seemingly infinite plane, “Reminds me of you, because of the colors, I mean.”
“I-- I come here when I get really upset. I don’t do it on purpose. B-but... How did you get here?”
“I grabbed your wrist when you started to cry, Abby. I... don’t know how I got here with you, really. I knew you had some magic, but this is insane! I-In a good way, of course! If we got a couch, some games and maybe a little fridge this would be pretty cool.”
“Why can’t anything go right for me, Brady?” She asked quietly as the two sat together, completely ignoring his awkward joke, “Why doesn’t anything good happen to me? It'sIts not like anyone likes me either. I should just stay here and vanish.”
“Abby,” Brady had an obvious hurt look on his face, “I like you! What about me? What am I going to do if you vanish?”
“You’ll find some other friends that are way better than me,” Abby huffed.
“No!” Brady cried as he jumped to his feet, “Abby, what the hell are you saying? You thank me for being your friend and then you decide to up and leave? Why does what I want not matter to you now? I WANT to hang out with you! It's not just you that has no friends, I have no friends! I just have you! I don’t even have my family any more!” He wiped his eyes as he tried to keep himself from crying, “Abby, are you really just going to abandon me now that I need you?”
The pocket dimension around Abby shattered. Her and Brady were in his apartment again. Abby looked at her dejected friend, “I thought you wanted nothing to do with me! I thought you hated me! I still want to be your friend!” The two looked at one another, tears on their faces. Both slowly started to chuckle, realising how ridiculous both of them were right now. The chuckle slowly built to boisterous laughter as they wiped their own faces, “Oh, god,” Abby giggled as she shook her head, her fur a vibrant purple now.
“We’re both idiots, huh?” Brady laughed, “We cool?”
“Yeah, we’re cool,” She smiled back before giving him a quick hug. Abby glanced at her phone after releasing him, “I need to go back to the restaurant. I’m gonna get yelled at and I’ll probably be stuck at home for a long time. Just... I’ll see you in class, okay?”
Brady grabbed her hand as she turned away, “I’m coming with you.”
She shook her head, “I have to do this on my own.”
“No you don’t,” There was a fiery determination in his eyes, “Abby, you can’t do this on your own. Things are going to keep getting worse unless you let someone help you. Please, let me help you.”
“Brady,” She smiled at him, “Thank you. I want to apologize in advance in case my mom makes you walk home.”
“It's not THAT far,” He chuckled, “Don’t worry about me.”
Abby took a deep breath as she tried to teleport them back.
Abby opened her eyes and looked around, “A breeze?” She glanced up at the sky. It was purplish and orange as if it was dusk or dawn. They definitely weren’t in Pussy’s Pizza Parlor. Strange looking trees rustled in the breeze with leaves of the deepest purples and pinks and bark of matching hues. Strange heart shaped and juicy looking fruits glimmered with their rosy and damp skin. A babbling brook lazily flowed by, carrying oddly red and pink water.
“Abby?” Brady squeaked, “Where are we?”
“I-- I don’t know,” She mewled, just as nervous as he was. Brady reached up and easily plucked one of the heart shaped fruit from the tree. He dug his fingers into the fruit and pulled it apart. The inside was soft and sweet smelling and was an appealing milky white color. With curiosity overwhelming him and the sweet and delicious scent tempting him, Brady slowly brought the fruit to his mouth, “No!” Abby shrieked as her instincts overcame her. She slapped the fruit from his hands and dragged him to the brook to wash his hands off, “If you take and eat the Wonderland fruit on your own, you’re going to be trapped here forever! Anything you eat has to be given to you by a Wonderlander.”
“W-what? Wonderland? Is that where we are? How do you know that?”
“I don’t know! I can just feel it. It's in the air, the plants, this weird pink grass. Can’t you hear it? That laughter all around us?” She looked around as she heard snickering again.
“No? Can we just teleport out of here?” Brady asked, “I’m really hating being here.”
“Of course. Here,” She grabbed his shoulder and closed her eyes again. She visualised herself in the restaurant along with Brady. She opened her eyes and was still amongst the purple foliage, “Why isn’t it working?”
Brady sighed, “We gotta find another way out then?” Abby nodded sadly, “Well. You’re my guide, right? Let's get the hell outta here.”
“R-right...” She trailed off and offered Brady her hand, “Stay close to me, alright? We need to find a road and get outta these woods.”
“Okay,” He put his hand in her’s, “I trust you.”
Abby took a deep breath and took one step in a seemingly random direction, she felt it was right somehow and started to skip. Brady followed her, walking quickly behind her, “Skip!” She demanded, “We can’t just WALK through Wonderland!” Brady groaned but started to skip in sync with the cheshire. Abby could hear a song, she wasn’t sure if it was in her head or around her, “Do you hear that?” She asked Brady.
“I-I think so. Abby, I wanna go home,” He whined. The music sounded discordant and strange like a jazz jam session that was going so wrong it was sounding like rock mixed with classical.
“It sounds wonderful,” She smiled as she sped up her skipping. She was heading directly toward the music, much to Brady’s displeasure. She hummed along to the song as if she had heard it before. Brady couldn’t feel what Abby did, she could feel them almost bending the space around them as they skipped, as if they were literally skipping over chunks of land as they headed towards their destination. To him, all these trees speeding by were the same. He just felt ridiculous. Abby stopped skipping as they neared a clearing, making Brady stumble, “I have to talk to the jabberwock.”
“I-I’m not really sure to be honest. Shush,” Abby quieted him down. She stepped out of the underbrush, still clutching her friend’s hand so as to not lose him. The two approached a wooden tollbooth with its placard and strawberry red barrier down. The music was coming from there. Two monster girls, a teal colored worm lady, and pink harpy stood outside the tollbooth playing instruments. The harpy played the sax and the worm played a standing bass that seemed a little too tall for her. Inside the booth was a type of lizard or dragon girl with dark red and purple scales that played a piano. It was large enough for her to sit at, but didn’t look like it should be able to fit inside the booth. Brady struggled to stay calm as the music that pained his ears so was played. Abby cleared her throat, “Hello!” She called into the booth. The monsters playing music stopped and stared at Abby, “Could you please let my friend and I pass your gate, please?”
“Hmmm...” The dragon trailed off, disinterested.
“I dunno if we can let you pass,” The worm girl grinned, “Maybe for a trade?”
“I won’t give you my friend,” Abby hissed.
“Even if he IS really cute, that's not what I meant,” She smiled almost devilishly.
“Abby,” Brady whispered, “Let’s just walk around this thing,” He gestured to the side in the grass where the tollbooth didn’t block the path.
“Oh? You wish to stray from the path?” The dragon woman growled as she climbed out of the tollbooth. She squeezed out of the window, a feat thought impossible when Brady saw her stand at her full, near gargantuan height. She towered above the boy at around eleven feet tall and muscular, “Boys who stray from the path get their pelvises bruised violently,” She warned with a threatening tone and a bit of hunger in her eyes.
“Either that or the Queen of Hearts will shriek ‘off with your head!’” The worm lady giggled coyly.
“N-no, of course I’d never stray from this wonderful path!” Brady hastily squeaked, seeming to shrink under both their gaze.
The jabberwock puffed air out of her nose. Satisfied with his answer, she stretched the window open like it was made of rubber and stepped back into her booth, “That’s too bad, I really wanted to put someone in the prisoner fruit wiggler today.”
“T-the what?” Brady whimpered in fear. His gaze was directed to a machine full of the heart shaped fruit he had almost eaten earlier. It jostled the fruit to and fro in a mech container that hardly looked like it could fit him. He was sure the massive dragon woman would find a way to cram him inside anyway.
“Naughty boys get put into the prisoner fruit wiggler every now and then,” The worm giggled.
Abby put a paw in front of him defensively, “You said you wanted a trade? What can we do for you?”
“What we need,” The worm girl kept smiling, “Is a drummer!”
“A drummer! Yes-yes!” The harpy squawked as she approached.
“Yes,” The dragon from inside the tollbooth nodded, “Ever since we got these instruments we’ve been looking for a drummer,” She gestured to some underbrush that moved aside revealing a full drum set.
“Me?” Abby mewled weakly, “I don’t have any rhythm...”
“Well, until you bring us a drummer--”
“I’ll do it,” Brady stepped forward, “I played drums in middle school. I’m only doing one jam session then you let us through, alright?”
“If I like your music, then maybe,” The dragon girl huffed as she returned to her piano, “You, cheshire. Sing.”
“M-me!?” She was shocked.
“All good bands have a singer-musician!” The harpy announced.
Brady sighed as he got on the drum set. He gave Abby a weary smile, “Here goes nothing,” He started to drum, the rhythm slowly coming to him as he tried something jazzy, a 4/4 time signature with a simple fill every so often. The girls joined in, their music a little less discordant than it was before, but it still sounded completely random to Brady. Abby swayed with the rhythm and sung quietly, finding it in herself to sing.
“Sing with your heart, not your brain,” The dragon ordered. Abby nodded and blushed as she started to sing about ‘a boy’ in her life and how much he meant to her.
All in all, the jam session lasted about ten minutes but to Brady it felt much longer. He grimaced as he twirled the drumsticks in his hands, “I’m not bleeding from the ears right?” He grumbled at Abby. He hadn’t been able to control the flow of the band at all and each of them had done their own thing.
She laughed as did the other band members, “You play a mean-angry beat-beat,” The harpy squawked happily.
“You sure you don’t wanna stick around for more?” The worm asked.
He shook his head, “We’ve gotta get home.”
“I almost forgot!” Abby cried, “I forgot we have to get to Pussy’s Pizza Parlor! My mom’s gonna kill me! How long have we even been here!?” Brady shrugged in response.
“You two better skedaddle,” The dragon huffed sadly as she opened the gate, “Oh, take the drum set with ya, why don't you?”
“Not like any of us can play it,” The worm giggled.
Abby and Brady both shook their heads, “I insist,” The dragon growled before stretching the window open, stepping out and loading every part of the drum set in Brady’s arms. Amazingly, he could carry all of it. Carefully the two stepped under the barrier as it was raised. The dragon closed it behind them, “Come back and jam with the band some other time, alright, kid?”
Brady grunted as he struggled to carry the heavy instruments, “Sure, if I ever make it back.”
“Brady, we need to hurry,” Abby warned as she took his hand and led him along the path. The two waved goodbye to the Wonderland Jazz Band and skipped quickly to their next destination, the drums and cymbals pounding and crashing as they went, “This has to lead us somewhere,” Abby mumbled before stopping for a short moment to help Brady dump the heavy percussion instruments into the undergrowth on the side of the path. It was slowing them down and they didn’t have time to spare. The two hurried along, both now in a good mood as they continued to skip over the path. Eventually, they came to another roadblock.
An ornate table was set up in the middle of the road with three people sitting at it. A woman in a tall purple hat wearing a gaudy outfit that was just as purple as her hat, a pink rabbit lady with incredibly fluffy legs and a sleepy looking mouse girl all sat at a table. The two wakeful ladies dashed back and forth, sitting in different chairs as they sipped on tea and ate cookies. The mouse girl was face down on a loaf of bread using it as a pillow while she slept. “Are you sure it’s today?” The rabbit asked.
“Of course it’s today! It’s nearly every day-- Unless…” The hatted woman gasped, “You don’t suppose today IS her birthday, do you?”
“Excuse us,” Abby interrupted.
The rabbit and the woman in a hat turned to face the cheshire and her friend, “You’re not Alice!” The woman cried.
“Yes, yes, we’re waiting on our friend Alice to celebrate her unbirthday party!” The rabbit girl whined, “Quite rude showing up to a party uninvited.”
“Yes, rude indeed,” The hatter huffed as she poured herself another cup of tea.
“Rude!” The mouse girl shouted as she woke up for a moment, revealing that she had been nibbling on the bread she was using as a pillow. She glanced around for a moment before thumping her head back down onto the table, fast asleep.
“But--” Brady started.
Abby swiftly put his hand over his mouth, “Oh, my apologies for being so rude, but you see, it's OUR unbirthdays as well!”
“Oh!” The hatter smiled, “Well, then you simply MUST sit down with us!”
Brady gave Abby a tired look but she still made him sit down with her. She sat in a plush chair and he sat in a flimsy wooden folding chair, “So, uh...” Brady trailed off, “The tea smells nice,” He mumbled.
“You think I smell nice?” The rabbit laughed and blushed before sipping more tea.
“Here, darling, have some,” The hatter placed a cup on the table and picked up a kettle. She poured the tea between her cleavage and let it pour out of her sleeve into the cup in front of Brady, “And some for you~” She did the same for Abby.
Brady looked completely confused but Abby merely smiled, “Thank you very much,” She gladly sipped on the sweet tea. Brady didn’t want to drink it, but not wanting to be ‘rude’ he brought it to his lips. In a flash, he noticed his cup had been swapped out for an empty one. He glanced at Abby who gave him a sly smile and a wink.
“You! Boy!” The mouse suddenly woke up, “Eat!” She demanded as she pushed a dish of cookies to Brady, using all her body’s length to get it there before falling onto the table, zonked out once again.
“Uh,” He frowned as he looked at them. Everyone at the table looked at him expectantly except for the mouse who was snoring bubbles into a teacup she had landed in.
“Here,” Abby picked one up and offered it to him, “I’m offering to you so you should be safe.”
He smiled nervously, “Alright, but only because you offered it,” He took it and nibbled on the cookie, “Uh, tastes good.”
“Oh, but you haven’t even tasted me yet!” The horny rabbit giggled, hiding her blushing face.
Brady shuddered violently, “I feel kinda... Weird,” Abby watched in awe as her friend got taller, maybe a few feet taller and crushed the flimsy chair under him. He sat on the ground, staring down at himself now about nine feet tall, “Uh...”
The hatter, the mouse and the rabbit all howled with laughter at their little prank, “It’ll wear off,” The cheshire explained with a little giggle at his expense.
The tea party continued. Abby sipped on the tea that Brady found to be scarily questionable as he just sat around. He was a normal size now-- mostly, it seemed like he had gained an inch or two. He still refused to eat or drink anything else. Abby looked at their hosts, “If you don’t mind, my friend and I need to get going.”
“You’re leaving?” The hatter whined, “You’ll be late for tomorrow’s unbirthday party!”
“Well, I’m sorry but we simply must be going,” Abby stood to leave, “It's getting quite late.”
“Late?” The rabbit mused as she pulled an oversized clock from her pocket, “Huh, my clock doesn’t say it's late!”
“Your clock is wrong, dummy. You must have had cock on your mind instead of ‘clock’ when you last reset it,” The hatter huffed.
“Cock!? Oh, I must have set it to cock o’ clock!” She laughed as she threw the clock over her shoulder, “Well, I think yours is wrong. If you’d stop huffing tea like it's going out of style, maybe you would have it right! I can’t read your clock's hands from its feet!”
“Well! I never!” The two started to argue while the mouse continued to sleep.
“We should go,” Abby grabbed Brady’s hand. He nodded with relief.
Everyone froze as they heard a whistle, “Oh, shit!” The mouse cried, her head shooting straight up from her teacup, “It's the fuzz, cheese it!”
Abby and Brady looked into the woods as a line of playing cards walked out. They quickly encircled the table, “Act calm, we’ll be fine,” Abby told Brady.
He watched as armored women stepped out of each card. Each girls’ uniforms were themed on the suit of card they came out of; their height and age depended on the number of the card they stepped from with twos being the shortest and tens being the tallest. One stepped forwards, a seven of hearts. She cleared her throat and presented a scroll which she unfurled. It was comically long, at least thirty or so feet, “By order of the Queen of Hearts, those that block the paths of her kingdom without a permit will have their heads removed post haste!”
“W-well, you see--” Abby looked for the hatter, the rabbit and the mouse. Each had vanished in an instant, “It's not our party!”
“Nice twy, cwiminal shcum,” A two of clubs huffed, barely standing up to the cheshire’s waist.
“No one here but you two!” A four of diamonds pointed at them.
The seven of hearts puffed out her chest, “Well, what about your litter?” She held up one of the cymbals from the drum set, “That earns you at least an hour in the prisoner fruit wiggler!”
“Abby,” Brady looked at her with fear in his eyes, “I don’t wanna be put in the wiggler! You’re the guide, what do we do!?”
“Come quietly,” One of them ordered.
Abby looked at the table. The cookie Brady had nibbled on was still on the table. She snatched it up and quickly downed the cookie. She suddenly hoped that eating all of it was safe. The trumparts all stopped as they watched Abby shudder and shake. She grew to a massive size, knocking the table and many of the card ladies aside. Most started to shriek and panic, unable to fight the massive cat. Abby purred as she played with her prey, batting them around as she scared them off. They screeched and screamed as their spears did nothing to pierce the playful and smug purple cat’s hide. Eventually, they dispersed, their morale broken and most of them crying.
“Nice one, Abby!” Brady smiled at the twenty five or so foot tall cat.
“Looks like the fruit wiggler wasn’t… in the cards!” Abby snickered at her own joke, earning a groan from Brady. She reached down and plucked him up in her hand, letting him sit in her palms, “You’re so small!” She laughed before moving him to her shoulder, “Hold on,” She started to skip down the path, doing her best to not knock any trees down.
“Where are we going?” He asked her, “You seem like you know.”
“The factory, I think. See it?” She pointed out on the horizon where a few smoke stacks billowed weird colored smoke.
“That... Looks a little out of place,” He tilted his head at it.
“Don’t think too much about it. It's what we’re here to see. I can feel it.”
“Well. You are my guide. Let’s get over there, I guess.”
It wasn’t long before Abby felt herself start to shrink. She hastily removed Brady from her shoulder and set him down. Quickly, she shrunk to her normal size, just a little bit shorter than her friend, “Okay, come on,” She took his hand again and started to skip in sync. Brady panted as they arrived at the factory, “Are you alright?” She asked him.
“A little winded is all. All this skipping is hurting my legs,” He huffed and puffed as Abby took a curious glance into the window. She saw a factory line making numerous pies and placing them into boxes. Mamano of various races worked tirelessly on the conveyor belt. Every so often, a girl would pick up a pie and throw it at another sparking a massive pie fight that only died down once there were no more pies, “What's all this?” Brady asked as he joined her.
“Those are the pies from my pranks,” Abby mumbled, “I-- I just know it is. Look, the banana peels,” She points to a group of monkey girls with pink or purple hair all pulled bananas from an endless supply, unpeeled them, ate the bananas and put the peels into other crates, “The source of all my problems,” She mumbled to herself as she saw the joy buzzers, water sprayers, and other various practical --or impractical-- joke products being produced, “I-I just have to burn it down and I can be normal...” She told herself, her vibrant fur turning dimmer and dimmer with each passing moment.
“Abby?” Brady frowned at her, “You are normal. You’re you!”
“No I’m not. I’ve been a freak my entire life. It's why my mom yells at me so much and why I mess up all the time. I’ve had no friends because of how I was born,” She stared at the factory. ‘WONDERLAND ACME FACTORY’ it read on the side, “I’ll burn it down. I’ll burn it all down.”
Brady grabbed her as she started to unconsciously phase into her pocket dimension, “Abby, don’t say stuff like this!” He begged as they stood in the purple void.
“I’m just a freak, I’d be better off gone. You’d be better off finding another girl and putting babies in her,” She started to mewl.
“You’re not a freak! For fuck’s sake, Abby. I know I’ve been whining all day, but I’ve had such a good time with you in Wonderland and back at home! A-and what you sang during that jam session. I-I know you mean everything you said. I--” He got choked up on his tears, “Don’t you get it!? I wanna marry you! I love YOU Abby. I love the YOU that I see right now. If you torch this shit you’re not gonna be you. You can do all these amazing things, things even casters wish they could. You have wonderful and fun powers that I’d hate to see you lose them.”
“I wanna... Marry you and put babies in you. If you still want to disappear or stop being you still, I’m going to disappear with you,” He offered the purple cat his hand.
Abby took it, staring into her friend’s eyes as he tried and failed to hold back his tears. He pulled her gently close to him before she wrapped her fluffy arms around his neck, “B-Brady,” She stammered before breaking down again, “I love you too,” She pulled back from him, just a little bit to look him in the eyes. His arms were wrapped around her waist as her big fluffy hand touched his face. Her instincts took over. She grabbed the nape of his neck and pressed her lips to his, forcing him to the ground as she assaulted his mouth with hers. Both of them hardly noticed them warping back to Brady’s apartment, plopping onto the couch as the cheshire continued her assault. Her hips grinded against his as she tasted his tongue.
Brady once wondered if the rough tongue of a cat would be unpleasant to kiss. He found himself enjoying the ticklish feeling. He pushed Abby away from him as her grinding was bringing a pressure in his hips to a breaking point, “Abby!” He cried as she desperately tried to kiss him more, “Y-you’re gonna m-make me...” He trailed off nervously.
“C-cum? Do you want that? Y-you can cum anywhere you want on me!” The perverted purple feline moaned, starting to undo his pants.
“I-I want to wait. U-until we’re married.”
“What if I just touched you? M-maybe I can just watch and encourage you? You could blindfold me and I could just smell it, I-I’ll even clean up after you!”
Brady shook his head, ignoring the throbbing member in his pants, “A-as much as I want you to, I’m sticking to that.”
Abby sat on the couch, leaning against him. She withheld every bit of her horny for a few moments as she touched his face, “Of course. I’ll try to restrain myself.”
“Thank you for being patient with me, Abby,” He kissed her on the cheek, making her start to pant again and blush beet red.
“C-can you touch me at least?” She begged, “I-If you don’t want me touching you that's fine but I NEED those hands one me,” She panted, “J-just kiss me and play with my breasts, please!”
“A-Abby...” He trailed off nervously.
“I’m sorry... I’ve just been daydreaming about this for so long now. I’ll try to calm down.”
“Thanks,” He gave her a little smile and tried to relax.
Abby laid herself across his lap, “W-will you rub my tummy at least?” Brady sighed and nodded, not really seeing anything wrong with it. The cheshire purred loudly as her friend rubbed her bare stomach. In repayment, she scratched him under the chin and caressed his face, “So... Are we... Dating now?”
“I guess so,” He laughed, “Otherwise that kissing would be a little weird.”
Abby smiled at him before kissing him again, “I’ll get in those pants one of these days and make you my husband,” She threatened, “But I’ll wait till you’re ready. How about--” Abby leapt up, “The restaurant! Oh fuck, how long has it been!?” She grabbed her phone and checked it, “O-only twenty minutes!?”
“How!? We were in wonderland for what felt like an entire day! Maybe a week!” Brady shouted back. He shook his head, “That doesn't matter! We gotta get to Pussy’s!”
“Pfft,” Abby laughed, “Pussy’s.”
“ABBY!” He cried.
“Okay, okay,” She grinned before kissing him again, “Let’s go.”
Abby’s mother wiped down tables in the seating area. She was fuming at her daughter, but she had no idea how to reach her. She hadn’t ever acted out in the past, but all of the sudden she was getting worse. Usually something would happen that inconvenience everyone, but now Abby seemed to have some kind of intent on what she was doing. The old werecat sighed and wiped her eyes, “What happened to my little girl?” She asked herself, “Where did I go so wrong?”
She nearly jumped out of her skin as there was a somewhat loud humming noise. Hiding behind one of the tables, she watched where the noise was coming from and soon someone appeared from thin air. It was her daughter and-- A boy? The two materialised in the middle of the dining area, both falling over as they landed, “Ah!” She yelped as she hit her head on a table.
“Abby!” The boy cried as he rushed to help her, “Are you hurt?”
“No, I’m fine,” Abby grumbled as she was pulled to her feet, “But... Could you kiss it? Right here?” She pointed to her forehead.
The boy sighed but nodded and swiftly kissed her on the forehead before giving her a hug, “Okay, what's the plan?”
“I dunno... We just go back there and talk to my mom, I guess,” She shrugged, “Hopefully she’ll believe me now. But I don’t think anyone will ever believe us about our Wonderland adventure.”
He nodded, “I’m with you, alright?” He gripped her shoulders and smiled at her.
Right before her mother’s eyes, Abby’s dull purple fur brightened, almost to a bright purple with the black turning to a dark violet, “Thank you,” She sighed, taking his hand, “I just hope-- Hi, mom,” Abby chuckled nervously as she quickly spotted her mom. She dropped Brady’s hand.
“Abby? Who is this?” Her mother asked as she carefully stepped towards them.
“Oh, you must be Abby’s mom,” Brady nervously stepped forward and offered his hand, “I-I’m Brady. Nice to meet you. So you’re the, uh, Pussy on the pizza box, right?”
She laughed as she shook his hand, “No, I am not. It's just a generic cat on it.”
“Really? But the- the P-Pussy is so cute! L-Like y-you and--”
“BRADY!” Abby shouted, shutting him up as he started to embarrass everyone.
“Why so embarrassed, Abby?” Her mother asked as she laughed at the boy’s awkward attempt at flattery.
She quickly tried to change subjects, “I haven’t been lying to you mom,” She insisted.
“She spilled soda on herself on Friday when delivering that pizza and I gave her my clothes,” Brady added, “I brought her uniform back to her today.”
“A-and he was mad that I never responded to him this weekend since you took my--”
“Sweetie,” Her mother interrupted her, “You never told me you had a boyfriend!” She laughed.
Abby felt a rage burst forth. “You wouldn’t have listened to me!”
“Abby,” Brady grunted at her, “Calm down. You’re not gonna make anything better by shouting at her.”
“Abigail,” Her mother sighed, “I’m sorry. I should have believed you. I’m just so hard on you because you know how your grandparents are. They were so hard on me just because they loved me and wanted to see me succeed. I just wanted the same for you, really.”
“I forgive you, mom,” Abby smiled as she hugged her mom. The two both sighed with relief as they seemed to make peace with one another.
The two split apart and Abby was looked up and down by her mom, “Look at my little girl. All vibrant and happy now. Who knew all you needed was a boyfriend! A really cute one too!” She laughed as she pinched Brady’s cheek. He grumbled quietly but didn’t fight against her, “You working, Brady?”
“Working? N-no...” He frowned, “Struggling to find a job.”
The old werecat hurried to the front counter. Her other daughter, son and husband were all staring at the three of them, “Back to work! Stop staring! I want to be out of here on time!” She snapped at them. They all quickly disappeared into the back. Brady and Abby both followed the werecat in confusion, “What size are you? Medium, large?”
“Uh, a large one just to be safe?”
He hardly caught the red apron and red shirt that was tossed at him, “You seem like a nice guy, but if you’re gonna date my daughter, you gotta work in the family business. I need another pair of hands around here. Plus, you’ll get to work with my lovely daughter. I’ll be able to give Abby here a few less hours so you have more time for school. You start Tuesday. Wear slacks or jeans for bottoms.”
“You better agree,” Abby warned him, “She’s not a person to turn down.”
He sighed, “Alright. I-I’ll try my best. But I want this in purple.” He held up the apron and uniform, “Y’know, to match?”
She nodded, “I’ll get you one or two. Don’t worry about how you’ll perform. If Abby can do it, anyone can!” She laughed.
“Moooom!” The cheshire wailed in response to the teasing.
“Alright, alright, I’ll calm down. Why don’t you two go back to Brady’s? I wanna see some purple grandkids before I die!”
“He wants to wait, mom,” Abby explained timidly.
“Then go back to his place, and start planning your wedding! We gotta get in talks with Brady’s parents and figure something out quick.”
“I’m... Not on the best terms with them,” He stared at the floor, “I don’t even know if they’ll show up.”
“Oh, sweetheart. You poor thing,” She touched the boy’s cheeks and smiled softly at him, “Well, plan for them anyway, you never know! For now, we’ll be your family. Abby! You better take care of him!” Her mother wagged a finger at her, “I made him sad so take him home and cheer him up any way you need to. Danny!” She shouted into the back, “Get these two some bread sticks and one of those cookie brownie things!”
“You got it!” Danny cried as she started getting them ready.
“I’ll help clean up while we wait,” Abby tried to walk past her mom.
“No, take Brady with you and go home and get some stuff for the night,” Her mother ordered.
“You want her to crash at my place?” Brady asked, a little taken aback, “I-I’m not opposed! But I’ve never seen a mother so adamant about this.”
“Oh, sweety, you don’t know many monsters, do you? It's what my parents did with me and it worked,” She shrugged.
Abby offered Brady an outstretched hand with a mischievous smile on her face, “You look like a bonafide Cheshire cat with that smile, Abby,” He chuckled.
She dropped the smile, “D-do you not like it?”
“It suits you. You look cute when you smile.”
“Aren’t you two adorable!” The old werecat beamed.
“Okay, mom be back soon!” Abby hastily grabbed Brady and teleported both of them to her room.
Brady collapsed onto the bed and panted wearily, “That went better than I expected,” He smiled, “Got a job and I get to keep you. Glad your mom seems to like me too.”
“Sorry if she’s being really pushy. She’s so controlling,” Abby sighed as she threw some clothes in her backpack and grabbed her school stuff.
“She cares, Abby. More than my parents do. I’m kinda jealous.”
“You won’t be jealous for long. She’ll start doing the same to you.”
“Maybe I’ll just get her to fret over me instead of you.”
“Go right ahead, you’ll regret it,” The cheshire warned. She got up and kissed his forehead, “But thank you. Better you than me,” She took Brady’s hand and teleported both of them back to the restaurant.
Her mother was waiting for them with the food in her hands, “Here,” She gave them to Brady, “Guess you don’t need the Pussy Wagon anymore, huh?”
“I guess not. I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on this teleportation stuff,” The cheshire smiled, “It's the family’s Pussy Wagon anyways.”
“Abby,” Her mother smiled, “I’m proud of you. My little girl got herself a cute boyfriend, does good in my restaurant and gets good grades! When I was your age, I could only do one of those things,” She laughed, “Anywho. You two have fun tonight. Feel free to grab a soda, Brady, since my clumsy daughter spilled yours and all.”
Brady nodded and grabbed one right before Abby teleported them again to his apartment, “Oh thank god it's all over,” She cried as she fell onto the couch.
“Are you tired from using your magic?” Brady asked as he started digging into the breadsticks.
“Not really. Just emotionally taxed. Can I play Mario again?”
“Play anything you want,” Brady sighed as he leaned back to relax, feeling just as taxed as her, “Oof!” He grunted as Abby plopped down onto his lap.
“You make a good chair, Brady!” She giggled as she started playing video games, “I love you!” She reminded him as she settled in.
“Yeah, love you too,” He sighed.
Abby thanked a customer as she took their payment. She sighed, content with the work she was doing, “Abby!” Her mother called as she came to the front with four pizzas in hand, “Got an order for you to deliver!”
Abby nodded, “Got it! You’ve got things under control up here?” She asked a small kobold. She was her little brother’s girlfriend and had quickly started working in the restaurant after they had started dating.
“Of course, chief!” She nodded with her tail wagging violently.
Abby stepped into the staff room where her husband was working on his laptop, “Hey, I’m stepping out for a bit. You alright?”
“Just thinking about college again. It's been four years since we met, remember?” He showed her a picture taken shortly after the two had started dating. Brady’s first day on the job.
“Reminiscing, hm?” She sat with him, “You’re supposed to be doing the accounting.”
“On break,” He smirked, “Wonderland delivery?”
“It's band night, remember? They still ask about you,” Abby giggled, “They wanna put you in the prisoner fruit wiggler!”
“Well, now I’m definitely not going. Tell ‘em I said hello, alright?” He smiled, “And good luck, dear,” He gave her a kiss for the road and adjusted her dark purple colored marriage collar for her. She grabbed the necklace she wore with his wedding band on it and adjusted it.
“Be back in a few,” She smiled and kissed him on the cheek before leaving. With a deep breath and a hum, Abby vanished and appeared in the now familiar Wonderland. She appeared near the factory, the one that made all the practical joke products. They were going through renovations, a smaller building was being set up nearby. Onis and other tall mamano unloaded gear from a delivery truck with a baby bottle and a binky on the side. Abby touched her stomach. She wasn’t swelling yet, but she knew she would soon. With a few skips, Abby made her way to the Wonderland Jazz Band’s building and toll booth. She passed the mad hatter, the excitable march hair and the sleepy dormouse. Each had their own husbands now. All six at the table, which was now sitting off the road, waved at Abby as she passed. Abby arrived at the house where noise streamed from every crack in the foundation. The Wonderland Jazz Band’s jam session was in full swing. The jabberwock, wonder worm and jub jub all played their instruments while three men played alongside them, “Heyyy!” Abby called as she entered the band room.
“Heeeeey!” They cried back in friendly greetings. The men were the three girls’ husbands. Abby had led some of them here herself. She was glad they didn’t resent her for it, even if one or two of them had gone into the fruit wiggler.
She placed the pizzas on the table for them which were quickly examined for errors, “Looks good,” The wonder worm smiled before paying the cheshire.
“You ever gonna bring your hubby back here?” The jabberwock asked as she picked up her personal large pizza. “The wiggler’s open.”
Abby shrugged, “We’re both super busy. Sorry. I’ll talk to him about a vacation here at least. We’re overdue for one.”
“Come visit-see us if you do!” The jub jub grinned before the cheshire left, “I’ll try to make sure he doesn’t go in the wiggler-shaker!”
Abby easily teleported back to the pizza place. She plopped onto the couch next to Brady. At one time, that would have startled him, but he was almost immune to it now. Abby leaned on her husband and wrapped her arm around his, “Shouldn’t you get back to work?” He chuckled.
“Nah, on break,” She smiled and cuddled up against him, “Love you.”
“Love you too,” He settled in, letting her use him as a heater before she went back to work.
“Have you put any more thought into my mom’s offer to help us make our own Pizza Parlor?”
“I have. Maybe when we have kids we could. Are we going with toxo-pizza-mosis for the name?” He smiled at her.
She laughed, “Cheshire’s Cheezey Pizzey was what I was thinking. We’ll ONLY call it pitza and we pull a roulette for your toppings whenever you order. You don’t get to pick,” She smiled.
“That sounds like REAL hell,” He groaned.
“And our slogan would be ‘the CHEESIEST pussy around!’ Whadda ya think?”
“A-Abby...” He sighed, glad he only had one cheshire to deal with-- at least for now.