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... decided that it might be a good idea to open her eyes so that she could look around.

 

To her dismay, she found that opening her eyes didn’t help her one iota.

 

All around her, all that she could see was darkness.

 

‘Why,’ she thought, ‘the harder that I look then the darker everything seems to be.’

So she sat up and took stock of her situation.

 

The darkness, in fact, was quite oppressive and Alice could still feel the bed covers pressing against her body whenever she tried to move.

 

‘And it is certainly very dark down here,’ she thought, as she looked around.

 

‘Why, it is darker than a damson plum and even blacker than the best boot blacking.  I wonder how I will ever find my way to wherever it is that I should be going?  Assuming, that is, that I am going anywhere at all,’ she added, and she burrowed through the covers just that little bit harder to make sure that she was actually going somewhere.

 

‘It is so difficult to tell with all this darkness,’ she sighed. 

 

‘Not a single familiar landmark to speak of!  Why, I might be staying in exactly the same place while everything else goes on around me.  Just think if that was the case!  I would be lying here without actually going anywhere.  Then they would have to put a sign over me saying “HERE LIES ALICE”,’ and she stopped for a moment to consider this possibility.

‘But I don’t lie,’ she said, in a hurt voice.  ‘I always tell the truth even when it gets me into trouble.  At least, I always try to tell the truth which is nearly the same thing and, anyway, actually lying is quite different from actually trying to tell the truth.

‘But what would happen,’ she asked herself, ‘if I told a lie that I thought was the truth?  And what happens if something that isn’t true becomes true after I have said it?  And maybe I can turn lies into the truth by making them true?’

This last idea intrigued Alice and she paused for a moment to think it through further.

‘Why,’ she said, ‘what if I could take all of the lies in the world and turn them into the truth?  That must surely be a good thing to do as they wouldn’t be lies anymore!’ and she congratulated herself on this thought.

‘That way,’ she continued, ‘if my sister says that I have pulled her hair when I haven’t, then I could pull her hair to make it true and everyone would be happy!’

This seemed perfectly reasonable to Alice, so she went on.

‘Just think how much better the world would be because of my discovery!  I could become famous and they might even give me a medal. “TO ALICE: FOR SERVICES RENDERED IN THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH AND HAPPINESS”,’ and she giggled.

‘Why, they might even introduce me to the Queen, and she would say, “Alice, this is a grand thing that you have done,” and then she would give me a keepsake.’

 

‘I would like that very much indeed,’ she added, as she returned to the present, ‘but right now, I am still here in limbo and I need to make a plan to get somewhere or I will never have the opportunity to meet with the Queen!

 

‘Now, Alice, my girl,’ she continued, in a stern voice as she took charge of the situation, ‘you need to think hard.  This is not an ordinary predicament that you are in and you will need to come up with quite an extraordinary solution to get out of it.  You will need all the cunning and resourcefulness of a cat to get yourself out of this one, young lady!’

 

Alice drew a sharp breath.

 

‘That is it!’ she said to herself.  ‘All that I need to do is to find Kitty and she will help me.  She went on ahead of me under the bed covers so must be around here somewhere.’

 

So Alice started crawling around under the sheets and calling out to the kitten as best she could.

 

Now, the thing about cats, Alice was forced to admit, is that when they don’t want to be found they can be the most difficult of creatures to actually locate.  And Alice knew that, of all Dinah’s children, Kitty was the most difficult one that there was.

 

Why, just recently, Alice remembered, Kitty had gone missing for three whole hours while Alice had searched high and low for her.

 

When Alice finally found her, the kitten was curled up asleep in the airing cupboard and Alice had scolded her most severely for being so headstrong and wayward.

 

The kitten had just looked at her with such big round eyes that Alice wasn’t at all sure whether the kitten was actually listening to her or just laughing.

 

Either way, Alice was not standing for any nonsense and she had let the kitten know in no uncertain terms how displeased she was.

 

‘Now Kitty,’ she had said, ‘this is just not good enough.  I really don’t know what to do with you at all,’ and she had continued to lecture the kitten for quite some time until the young cat had finally fallen asleep again in her arms.

 

In retrospect, Alice wondered whether she had done the right thing by scolding her so severely, for the kitten was now nowhere to be seen and she was certainly not coming when Alice called for her.

 

‘Oh Kitty,’ she cried, ‘I do so wish that you were here to help me and I really don’t think that you are all that far away.

 

‘But what might you say if you were here?’ asked Alice.  ‘For you might not be as pleased to see me as I would be to see you.  “That Alice,” you might say, “Lost again and looking for me to help her!”  How awkward it would be if ...

To be continued next week 

“Lost again and looking for me to help her!”

j u s t a l i c e @ i a c t l t d . c o . n z

 

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