Congratulations again to the winners of Michael’s excellent short story competition. It was themed on an Alice in Wonderland picture, and it’s worth checking out the winners on http://thecultofme.blogspot.ie/2015/08/july-short-fiction-contest-winners.html?showComment=1438589210314#c1008629174686263190
A wonderfully diverse set of stories.
Here is my own humble submission to whet your appetite …
Soar Like an Eagle
My real name is Sours like an Eagle, but everyone just knows me as Alice Clearwater. That was my grandfather’s nickname for me: Alice; like the little girl in the book. People said that grandfather was blessed by the spirits and could see into the future, but I always thought him a crazy old goat.
Now, I’m not so sure.
The wind buffets my summer dress, and for once I feel alive. I’d been away from the reservation too long, and I’ve forgotten how my people climb the mountains to commune with the spirits of the earth and air.
Standing on the top storey of a skyscraper, I now understand why.
I have a strong urge to leap off the edge and sour like an eagle. I want to cast aside my earthly body and be reborn, if only briefly, as that regal bird.
I feel tiny, standing amongst these giant concrete monoliths.
A piece of paper flutters annoyingly in my hand, taunted by the breeze. I cast it skyward and watch it dance with the spirits of the air. The meaningless words are lost upon the eddies.
It is with regret that we announce … company restructure … create a new vision for the future …
The words are as much a vision of madness as the story of Alice, but one word stands out: Redundant. I have become redundant. After twenty years of hard work I am no longer useful. Unwanted. How they make you feel small.
Strange, I should feel angry, sadness, or loss, but in fact I’m a little relieved. I’ve been feeling lost for some time now. My world has become like Alice’s. The characters she met on her adventures are all around me.
The Mad Hatter: that is surely Jeff, the mail clerk, running around the office each day, bringing a moment’s insanity to the otherwise humdrum day.
The hookah-smoking caterpillar is certainly David, the janitor. He spends his life in a haze, avoiding reliving his past while dancing on the edge of madness.
What will happen to them now? Will they end up on a ledge somewhere, assessing their futures?
The Queen of Hearts is my supervisor; a right bitch if ever there was one.
Below me, I see the blue and red flashing lights of emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. Tiny people gather around and crane their necks towards heaven; towards me. I feel like a giantess looking down at them. The coyotes will be so disappointed. I didn’t come up here to entertain them.
I came here to find myself again.
It’s ironic. I hadn’t even realised that I was lost …Until now.
Slowly, I raise my arms and flap my wings, letting the wind caress my fingertips. In my mind I fly and am at one with the eagles.
“Ma’am!” a gentle voice asks. “Are you alright?”
I look around at the young police officer, and smile. “I’m fine,” I reply. “I just want to go home.”