Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.
Edited by Emerian Rich
Cover by Carmen Masloski
Laurel Anne Hill
With Foreword by David Watson
by K.L. Wallis
Alyssa squinted up at Nelson’s statue on the pillar high above the square. She clutched her London Travel Guide in her hands as pigeons clambered at her feet. A couple flitted into the air and landed on her head and shoulders. She giggled as the birds coed all around her.
“Nina!” she called. “You have to—”
Although Nina had been standing beside her only moments ago, Alyssa struggled to pick her out amongst the fray of people and pigeons. Her phone rang just as she rummaged through her bag for it. She scrambled to pick it up before it rang out.
“Alyssa. Where are you?”
“I’m just heading over to Charring Cross. You’ll see me if —”
The phone was knocked from her hands as a stranger in a long black coat and a top hat barged passed her. She bent to pick up the pieces of her shattered phone.
“Excuse me!” she called after him.
“I’m sorry. I really must be going. I’m running rather late.” He glanced over his shoulder at her as he hurried down the steps.
Something fell and bounced along on the ground after him as he walked. The sunlight glinted off the object. Alyssa shoved the pieces of her phone into her bag and took off after him, picking up the thing he had dropped. It was an old, golden pocket watch.
“Excuse me,” she called while she struggled to keep his pace. “You dropped something.”
He shook his head. “I don’t have time. I’m late. She hates it when I’m late.”
She held out the pocket watch to him. “Judging by that get up, I’d say you’re very late.”
“Pardon?” he asked, pausing for the first time since he’d crossed her path.
“You dropped your watch —”
“I did not.” He snatched the watch from her.
“I thought you might want it back. But maybe I should have kept it. You owe me a new phone, by the way.”
He scowled beneath the dark rim of his hat. “I saw you carrying no phone. Why would you? That would be a dreadfully heavy thing to carry. As for my watch, you must have stolen it when I bumped into you. Yes, so you see, if anything, you are a thief and you owe me an apology.”
“I’m not a thief. I—”
“Accepted, but you really ought to stop following me. My train is sure to arrive any moment.”
Right on cue, great plumes of smoke and steam swept into the station, parting to reveal a big, black steam train. Its whistle pierced the air as it rolled to a stop on the track before them in stark contrast to the square, electric trains which sat by the other platforms. Everyone on the platform was dressed differently, as if from another time. Even the platform had changed. Gone were the fluorescent lights of the twenty-first century. Instead, bulbous gas laps lit the station. On the walls were advertisements for soothing syrup, milliners, and rat catchers.
She turned back around just in time to see the strange man board the train. Alyssa raced after him, just reaching the train as the station master blew his whistle. The great four-faced clock crested above the platform chimed one-thirty in the afternoon. Aside from the light of a few green gas lamps set upon the walls of the carriage, it was dark inside the train. As Alyssa walked after him, she saw the man glance at his pocket watch and mutter under his breath.
“I’m supposed to be there by half past…” He veered left and took a seat by the window.
Alyssa swooped in and sat opposite him. He removed his top hat and set it down on the seat beside him.
“What are you doing here?” Beneath the hat, he was younger than she thought. Handsome blue eyes set beneath a heavy dark brow.
“I don’t know.”
“I did warn you my train was due. You shouldn’t have followed me.”
The women around her were dressed in full skirts which skimmed the floor and cinched in tightly at the waist. Alyssa felt the eyes of them on her blue jeans and khaki rain jacket.
“Where am I? Where are we going?”
The man continued to look out the window and shrugged as he responded.
“I don’t know. My guess is that you followed me when you stole my watch. I am on my way to my sister’s party. She will be very displeased with me for being so late.” The inflection of his tone implied he blamed his encounter with her for his tardiness.
“What is your name?” she asked.
“Albert. Albert Hare. And you are?”
“My name is Alyssa.”
“Well, do you mind if I call you Alice?”
“Yes! I do. My name is—”
“Alice, there is another train at half past midnight. I strongly suggest you do not miss it.”
“And until then?”
“I’m sure my sister will tolerate you for the afternoon. I think you’ll find she can be a wonderful hostess when she chooses to be.”
The puckered faces of the women sitting nearby unnerved her. She turned her head away from them and gazed out the window. As the train sped by, Alyssa caught glimpses of a series of strange creatures; horses with tiger stripes, cow-like animals with large curved horns, and grotesque birds with neon feathers. The flora stood out in fluorescent rainbow hues against the murky dark grey sky.
To read the full story and more Clock-inspired, Alice Horror, check out Clockwork Wonderland.