When Alice opens her eyes she is lying on her back in the long grass. Her body is covered in a thin sheen of sweat, her heartbeat is slowing and her breath returning to normal.
She lies there for a few moments just being still. Listening to the soft rustle of the blades of grass in the gentle summer breeze. The occasional insect buzzing passing.
Experimentally she sits up. A pleasant buzz flows through her. A small voice in the back of head says, “I’d like to do that again.”
“Hmmm,” she looks around. Her eyes, still slightly dazed, are just at the level of the top of the grass.
A butterfly floats by, silently fluttering it’s wings.
Alice watches it for a moment, then lifts her eyes further to gaze across the top of the rippling grass. The green sea of grass stretches serenely to the horizon.
After a while she stands.
She looks around but the grass plain is as featureless as ever. Even the grass where she has just been lying has maliciously sprung up and is indistinguishable from the vast expanse that surrounds her.
She takes a step.
The blades of grass still tickle her legs. But do nothing more.
She takes another step.
Her legs brush through the grass that is now merely knee deep.
She steps again.
The grass slides across her skin, a pleasant enough sensation, but not what she was hoping for.
She is slightly disappointed.
The grass seems satisfied with just being grass for the moment.
Alice hears a sound. An exuberant laugh carried on the breeze.
She looks around, trying to find it’s source.
She hears it again, but can’t really tell from where it is coming.
She takes half a step forward, and tilts her head to one side in order to hear better.
She hears the laugh again, this time more distinctly. She looks up and off in the distance, on top of a low hill, she sees two boys playing with a kite.
She looks around once more, but the low hill with the two boys on top is the only other distinguishable feature in sight.
“Well,” she sighs. “Let’s see if these boys will also disappear on me.”
And she turns slightly to face towards them and starts walking again.
Pushing her legs through the tick grass is difficult enough, and she has to walk a good ten minutes before she feels the start of the hill under her feet. She finds that the small hill the boys are on top of is far more steep to climb than it at first looked. As she makes her way through the grass and up the hill each step takes more and more effort. Soon she is breathing quite hard and sweating from the exertion.
Then she realises that the grass is no longer brushing against her legs as she walks through it. The exertion of walking up hill has quite preoccupied her mind and she has not noticed the grass is growing shorter and shorter. And as the grass shortens she finds that is also becomes thinner. With each step the grass recedes down her legs and even thought the hill is still quite steep each succeeding step is that bit easier to take. Soon the grass is below the level of her knees and her calves barely feel is as she takes long strides up the hill.
As she approaches the boys she feels more confidant. They seem most intent on their kite flying and show no intention of moving from the brow of the hill. However as Alice closes the gap between herself and them she begins to feel that there is something strange about them. It’s not just that they are exerting an inordinate amount of effort on their kite. For even though there is just the lightest of summer breezes both boys are pulling with all their strength on the kite string. There is something else about them that seems out of place.
As Alice approaches them the two boys don’t notice her at all. But she can see them more clearly now. They are both about her own age, maybe a year or so older. They are both about the same height and build and both have short hair, one blond the other dark brown.
Alice wonders briefly if she should shout or call out to them to alert them of her approach.
But the two boys are totally engrossed in their kite flying. They hang onto the kite’s string, pulling and tugging and tripping over each other as they try to control it.
“It is a very wayward kite,” observes Alice.
And then she realises what is bothering her about the two boys.
“They are dressed like Christopher Robin in those old pictures of Winnie the Pooh,” she says. “They have those old fashioned T-shirts with collars and cuffs and shorts with knees socks.”
Alice smiles as the two boys trip over each other. They almost tumble to the ground, but both catch their feet and neither looses his grip on the kite string.
Their erratic tug of war with the kite has brought them over to the side of the hill where Alice now stands and observers them.
“Nobody wears knees socks anymore,” Alice states. “Not even little girls.”
“What did you say?” the dark haired boy calls out to her, then gasps as the kite surges away from him.
The blond boy shouts,”Hey!” as he is swept away by the kite.
And the dark haired boy lunches after him and caches hold of the kite string, dragging both boys and kite to a temporary halt.
The kite seems to have a life of its own. Swooping across the sky, swinging down low across the ground and charging up high above the trees.
“Trees?” Alice looks around puzzled. She looks round and sees that the hill is in fact surrounded on all sides by trees.
One of the boys cries out and Alice looks around to see the boys once again being dragged across the top of the hill by their kite.
At first Alice is amused by their comical attempts to control the kite. But gradually she becomes concerned. She fears that they might do themselves an injury in their attempts to tame their wild kite.
It seems only proper that she should lend a hand.
She approaches then gingerly. For they are swinging around all over the place as the kite soars this way and that all over the sky.
Alice reaches out to take hold of the kite string.
One boy steps on her foot and the other trips over her leg, leaving Alice with a sore toe and a bruised shin.
Both boys tumble to the ground leaving Alice holding the kite.
The kite immediately swoops across the sky, pulling Alice several steps away from the boys.
Alice pulls back on the kite. Which immediately swoops back in the opposite direction, almost knocking Alice off her feet.
Alice stumbles after the kite, pulling hard on the string, both in an effort to control it and in an effort to keep her balance.
The two boys sit on the ground and make no effort to come to Alice’s aid despite the trouble she is having controlling their kite.
Alice is about to bring this point to their attention, but just as she opens her mouth to speak the kite lunges across the sky again, dragging Alice with it.
Alice digs in her heels and brings the kite to a halt once more.
“Wow!”the blond boy points at her, “Look she’s going commando.”
“Commando?” Alice is watching the exhilarated kite sore overhead.
The other boy looks where his friend is pointing.
“Commando!” Alice’s eyes opened wide; the wind, her skirt, and she is not wearing any panties. “Oh, my god!” they are looking at her naked bottom.
“I thought she was wearing a thong,” the blond boy continues, “but look, she’s not wearing anything at all!”
Alice grabs hold of the hem of her too-short skirt and pulls it down as far as she can. Which is not very far at all.
But one hand is not enough to control her wayward skirt. Nor, she discovers as the kite zooms over head, is one hand enough to control the kite.
Alice hesitates a moment, one hand holding her skirt, one hand holding the kite.
“No!” the dark haired boy shouts. “Don’t let go of the kite!”
“Damn their kite,” Alice is not going to display herself to them.
The boy jumps up and starts to run towards Alice.
“Give it to me,” he shouts, “But don’t let go!”
Alice lets got of the kite and grabs the hem of her skirt with both hands. She turns to tell the boy what he can do with his kite.
But before she can open her mouth the ground drops away from under her feet. All that she sees is the astonished expression on the boy’s face as he cranes his neck to follow her as she flies straight up into the air.
Alice, for her part, is also astonished for she has never flown straight up in the air before.
“It violates all the known lays of physics,” she states.
And her stomach, considering the drop she feels in it, would that rather she that stayed on the ground as well.
Alice does not have much time to consider her stomach’s reaction to her sudden, law breaking, flight, for a thick fog has enveloped her.
It swirls and swirls and swirls, thickening and congealing, surrounding her in a grey wall that blocks both the sky and earth from sight.
Soon Alice feels like she is in the centre of a vortex, “Or a tornado even.” As the fog twists tighter and tighter she is twirled around and around, faster and faster, until she is quite giddy.
But she is not alone in this vortex. There are all sorts of flying objects accompanying her on her journey.
There goes a bale of hay, next a strip of fencing and even an uprooted tree floats by.
“And animals too,” Alice watches in amazement as an unconcerned cow drifts by.
Then a house flies by.
“Or rather half a house,” Alice observes, as the house rotates to show that only the front half seems to have been sucked into this vortex.
An eerie voice calls out, “I’m going to get you deary.”
Alice looks over her left shoulder.
“And your little dog too.”
Alice looks over her right shoulder.
But truth be told Alice is spinning around so fast that looking over either shoulder shows her nothing more than she can see just by keeping her head to the front and allowing her spin to display the world around her. Except that her world is filled with floating cows and flying trees and broken houses.
Then Alice thinks, “My little dog?”
She looks up and sees a grey image of a caricature of a witch riding a broomstick.
“Or is she cycling a bike?” Alice squints, but everything is swirling around her head much too fast for her to sure of anything.
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