Hello everyone and welcome to part two and to the second character of my brand new series After Ever After! Thank you so much for continuing to be here, and as always I hope you enjoy this little place on the internet that’s mine!
After Ever After: Part Two
Matt made it to work just on time. His commute was easy enough, a hurried walk to the station, two trains and a speedy dash to the store. Matt worked in Melbourne Central, a place crawling with a seamless blend of boutique shopping, multi-cultural street food and swanky cafes.
Matt was once the Mad Hatter. He still remembered his old life, but it was like a distant memory covered in glad-wrap. He knew who he used to be, his storyline, the places, the people. In this new world, he was living a different life. He looked completely different and acted completely different.
Matt was now a twenty-something-year-old with orange hair (apparently a social disadvantage in this land), skinny pin legs and an appetite for women and danger. It was his way of perhaps coping with the transfer. Back home, in Wonderland, there was treachery and sorcery and nonsensical things. But here … well, here, Melbourne was the most nonsensical place that there ever could be. Women were a mysterious breed, abundant in riddles and conundrums that both hurt and frustrated his brain. The way this land operated, with its traffic lights and strange customs and bodily functions, was enough to make even him go mad. Or madder, for that matter.
And so, Matt worked and Matt played.
He put his black apron on and made himself a cup of tea before his shift started. Working at T2 reminded him of home. The black backdrop full of teapots and teacups and an endless amount of tea to drink almost soothed his confusion; working here calmed his inability to grasp this world.
Granted, yes, they were given an initiation package and a brief welcome (with an accompanying video) from Godmother, but Cindy was really the true support for him. And now he had Rorie too. Checking his phone quickly before he had to begin, Matt discovered he’d received a text from Godmother sometime since he last looked.
Matt shook his head at Godmother’s persistent, yet harmless jokes at her infatuation with him, briefly wondered how she discovered the emoji tab on her iPhone, and digested the meaning of her text. Another roommate, a final roommate, she said. It did sound exciting.
As his tea brewed, Matt watched fascinated as the tealeaves turned the clear water into a dark brown. The glare from the light above, the fingerprint smudges on the clear glass that he made he tea out of, the smell of generated warm air from the heater; everything was so real.
“Why were we brought here?” He recalled asking Cindy on their taxi ride to their apartment, the paperwork that detailed his new life in his lap.
“I wish I knew.” Cindy gulped her takeaway coffee, locked her new phone and put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, at least we’ve got each other.”
Matt poured a few drops of milk into his tea, his mind on the night before. A girl. The girl. With willowy white blonde hair, smoldering dark sapphire eyes that gleamed like frothing jewels and a nightmarish personality. He remembered seeing her for the first time – she was like a vision at club Asylum, with hot bodies enveloping her, a halo of strobe lights and thick artificial fog back-dropping her outline.
She knew his name, he couldn’t remember exactly how, but she did. And she pressed herself up against him and slipped something white and fizzing into his mouth, and before he knew it he was both seeing fireworks under his eyelids and welcoming her tongue to lock with his.
The rest of the night was a blur.
Matt’s shift went by fast, pouring tea for others, wrapping up a few tea pots, and when he finished at 12:30pm he slung his leather jacket over his shoulders, put on his black hat that he had found in a discount bin at Savers, and made his way out of the store. At the front of the store, he was momentarily taken back by the woman that looked as if she were waiting for someone. For him?
At first he thought he was hallucinating, he had to be. But upon further inspection, she appeared to be real. She just had to be real.
“Hey stranger,” she said, her voice both spikey and smooth. Solid, but melting, like hot wax.
“It’s you,” he said, maneuvering past a crowd of shoppers to get to her. “But how?”
“You don’t remember?” She rolled her eyes and pulled out a packet of cigarettes. “C’mon, let’s go for a dart.”
On their way out, they got two takeaway drinks, a chai for him and a triple shot soy latte for her, at the kiosk out front and made their way through an open alley and up onto the side street.
In the harsh light of day, Matt feelings had not changed – his mystery girl was the one. Yet, she looked a different to what he remembered. Her curls were now lank, her roots oily. Her eyes were ringed with dark circles. Her skin looked thirsty, her eyes were red.
“How did you find me?” Matt asked, taking a drag of the smoke that she had given him.
“You told me where you worked, stupid,” she said. “The Mad Hatter works at a teashop. How fitting,” she said, her laugh turning into a slight cough. She brushed a bit of fallen ash off of her white cotton dress.
“You know who I was?”
“Yeah? We talked about it in the chat room? Remember? You wanted to ‘chase me,’ you’re the ‘mad hatter’, we would meet up at a club and go on a ‘trip’ together. Geez, you’re such a pussy,” she inhaled, “couldn’t even handle one little pill.”
Matt turned around, walking backwards so she was walking toward him, and stopped her in her tracks. “Could I handle you?”
“Smooth.” She raised her eyebrows and took the smoke right out of his mouth. “You could handle me all you want.” She took out a little Hello Kitty zip lock bag and shook it. “Want another?”
“Sure,” Matt said and leaned in to kiss her. She placed a thin blue pill in her mouth. He wasn’t sure if it was her tongue or the thing that was on it but he was flying. High. Soaring. It was as if he had leaped up and was circling the city square.
“Meet me at Kingdom Come tonight,” she removed her lips from him and sneered.
“Sure. My friend works there. She could get us free drinks!” Matt grinned like a proud puppy, his pupils dilating.
“Great,” she said, her tone cool and flat. “Meet me there.”
Matt nodded eagerly. “I think I remember your name now. You told me it was—”
“Rabbit,” she said and leaned in. “Maybe if your lucky enough,” she blew a lungful of smoke into his eyes, “I’ll let you down into my rabbit hole tonight.”
- After Ever After: Part Three continues next Monday the 01st of February, 2016.
- Creative credit for this incredible image of Matt Hatts/The Mad Hatter goes to Lina Zabaleta, whose tumblr you can check out at linapoligrafia.tumblr.com – thank you SO much Lina for this unbelievable illustration!
- This narrative was edited by my wonderful editor: Kayla Marie Murphy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries.
- Subscribe to The Knight Life today! Enter in your email via the side panel [for desktop users] or scroll down [for mobile/tablet users].