Alice sighed and turned, her heavy dress swaying around her ankles. She hated the weight of the fabric, but she couldn’t change it now. It was the day she had been waiting for for a while. It was the day she was to meet him again.
Another girl who looked just like Alice sighed from her seat on the couch. They had the same long, black hair, the same pale skin, the same odd-eyes rimmed with dark lashes. The only difference between the two was the outfits they wore. The girl on the couch seemed to be wearing rags compared to Alice’s fancy dress. The girl sighed again. Alice didn’t listen. She had been told too many times that it was too late; she already knew.
Without any word, Alice walked by the girl on the couch, the small table which the girl had her feet rested on, and the lamp in the corner. She pushed her way through the beaded curtain and out of the small room. All around her she could hear people playfully yelling “Goodnight” across the hall. Alice ignored this and kept walking. Several times heads poked out of the beaded curtains that lined the wide hall, but Alice ignored them. The faces then called to Alice, “Where are you going?” and “Have you gone mad?”. Alice ignored all of this knowing that everyone else would be too afraid to follow her and instead focused on the long hall ahead of her. Everything in this house seemed to be connected by long halls. It made it hard to get around, but there was nothing to be done about it.
After making several turns, Alice found herself standing in front of the mysterious mirrored door. She smoothed down her bangs while looking in the mirror before gently laying a hand on it. She expected cold glass but instead felt warmth. She swallowed her dread and pushed open the door. Before she could stop herself she was running down the hallway beyond it. She had to get there before it was too late, before her doubts stopped her, before anyone noticed him. She rushed by plain wooden walls and paper portraits. The painted faces stared down at her disapprovingly as she ran; even they knew it was too late for her. She wanted to slow down; she wanted to look at the portraits, admire the faces, change their expressions, remember the places, but it was too late. It was always too late.
When a metal door came into view, Alice tried running faster. Her necklace slapped against her chest as one of her heels caught in the fabric of her dress. The sound of ripping fabric and thread filled the hall, growing louder and louder, echoing more and more, only stopping when Alice’s face slammed into the ground.
Alice lay still for a moment in a daze before she groaned and pushed herself into a sitting position. Her face burned where the coarse carpet had dragged across it, and her ankle was throbbing. She winced as she tugged off her delicate velvet heels, leaving them in a pile in the corner. She lightly felt her ankle, and upon feeling that is wasn’t broken, only a little sore, unsteadily pulled herself to her feet. She placed her hand on the wall for balance as she looked at the ripped hem of her dress. A wave of anger washed over Alice and she ripped off the rest of the hem, leaving a jagged edge behind. She no longer looked presentable, and she was sure her hair was now sticking up in several places in addition to the ripped dress, but at least her clothing was a little lighter now. Besides, he wouldn’t care how she looked. He just cared about her getting to him in time.
Leaving her delicate shoes behind, Alice pushed open the metal door, finding herself in a wood and metal dining room. The table was set with mouth watering dishes: roast turkey, fresh fruit, sautéed vegetables, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, glazed ham. Glasses of wine sat in tall goblets at set places. Gold spun mats set the places and golden silverware sat beside them. For such a simple room, the table was extravagant. Alice would have stopped to eat but there were a few simple problems, the first being that the food was always there, day in and day out, never touched. No one knew how it got there, and no one dared to touch the food that never seemed to rot. Alice tried not to gag as she walked past it. The food itself wasn’t the only problem, however. It was now far too late. It was too warm in the room. The cheerful voices that usually filled it had gone quiet. There was no noise from behind the two other doors, which were a metal one that led farther into the house, and a wooden one led to the lower level. Usually the person sitting closest to the doors would open them for anyone wanting to go through them, but it was too late for that. It had been too late the second she laid her hand on the mirrored door.
Ignoring the mysterious food, Alice crossed the room to the wooden door. A golden placemat fluttered into the air as she passed. It really was too late. The glass doorknob was warm to the touch, and it squealed in her hand as it turned. It seemed to be telling Alice to turn back, to return to her room with the girl who looked just like her. Alice ignored this warning and stepped through the doorframe. Beyond it was a wooden balcony. A metal rail ran around the edge, and a patio set with a yellow umbrella sat to the left. It was a great place to sit and have tea. Alice smiled at the thought and turned to the metal rail. She stared off into the distance and felt herself relax slightly as her pale fingers wrapped themselves around the smooth metal. She was staring at a picturesque sunrise: the candy colors were spreading out over a lush green landscape. Wildflowers dotted the hillside, and towering pines swayed in the breeze. A man stood on a raised white platform inches from Alice’s face. His hands were pressed against a glass wall that separated them. Her smile faded and the tension returned. As she tried yelling that it was too late, he simply smiled and waved at her as if he thought she was yelling hello.
His name was Jake. Last time she went out beyond the glass to the hillside she had met him. They had talked for hours and agreed that today would be the day they would meet again. He wore the same pure white suit he had worn before. A silver sash was tied around his waist and medals of various metals and fabrics clung to the breast of his jacket. His black bowtie shone with silver lines, as did his blue eyes. His dark hair glowed dully in the dawn. His smile persisted as he bent down and grasped at the base of the glass wall. Alice yelled at him again, but he didn’t hear. She wanted him to stop, but he couldn’t hear her. She wanted to collapse onto the floor; she wanted to pretend she wasn’t there; she wanted him to turn and run. It was far too late.
A loud creaking suddenly filled the air. Alice’s eyes widened and she leaned over the railing, trying to look around the house. What she saw was a giant walking towards a padded platform. The giant was here earlier than usual; Alice had known that today was a special day for the giants, but she had no way of contacting Jake before this. She whipped back around and slammed her fists on the glass. Jake didn’t look up; he didn’t hear. Alice almost fell over the edge of the railing, so she stopped hitting the wall and collapsed onto the balcony floor, trying not to be noticed. She hoped he would finally notice something was wrong and run, but if she couldn’t stop Jake from getting noticed, then she wanted to at least save herself. There was no sense in them both getting hurt.
Even though Alice and the others co-existed with the giants, it was certainly an odd living arrangement. Alice and her kind were used as playthings for young giants during the day and were allowed to live their lives at night. This was because the older giants used to kill Alice’s kind when they knew they were alive. The older giants seemed to have issues with coping with the idea that tiny people can be just as coherent as big ones. Thus, in order to stay alive, the older generations of Alice’s kind had all agreed to stop showing the giants they were alive. This went well until one day a young giant decided that Alice’s kind made perfect playthings. Being much smaller than the giants, they had no choice but to comply. However, the newer generations of giants never found out that the small people were alive, just as the older generations had agreed upon. The giants never found out, that is, until Alice tried to save herself, one sudden movement just a hair too late.
The giant, distracted from their task at the padded platform, moved over to the glass. A dark shadow loomed over Alice; she tried to stay as still as possible while the giant poked her and mumbled about Alice moving. The giant was trying to be gentle as she picked Alice up, but Alice screamed in pain as her arm was twisted backwards. The giant screamed back, pushing a wave of foul, hot air into Alice’s face. Alice coughed and screamed again as the giants hands loosened around her waist. A sickening crunch filled the air. Jake finally looked up, but it was too late.
A young girl was roughly shaken awake. Her nanny was pointing to the floor, talking about a screaming doll between sobs and apologies.
The girl yawned and rubbed her eyes. She pulled herself out from under the covers and lazily stretched before getting up and crossing the room. The polished hardwood floor was warm; the heater came on at dawn today since it was her birthday. The girl walked up to her towering dollhouse and opened it. It spread out like an accordion before her. She could see into every room. She looked into each one and noticed her favorite doll was gone. Perplexed, she walked around to the other side of the dollhouse. A small pile came into view on the floor. The nanny’s eyes widened and her hands shot up to cover her mouth. The girl knelt and screamed. Her favorite porcelain doll was shattered; it’s dark hair mixed with creamy white chips. Her dress was ripped and her shoes were missing. The girl pulled the broken pile to her face, sobbing. No one seemed to notice the other doll at the window, his face contorted in a silent scream, crystal tears on his cheeks.