I Am Alice

Flash Fiction by Kathy Stauffer

Riders on pale horses—black coats flapping in the wind, dust billowing behind hooves—cross the horizon. Sage brush scuttles on the flatlands, Joshua trees hover near a singular small broken-down cabin.

I scurry to this shanty, creep inside, bolt a splintered door. Thunder shakes my surroundings; wind whistles a mournful cry. A large stone fireplace, an empty cupboard slanted, and a broken chair occupy the room. Feeling already captured and hopeless, I sink to dirt, throw my head back, and plead with whom I know not. I am a fugitive. Pounding rain drops and horses’ hooves match my pulse. The massive chimney catches my eye. Crawling in, I look around, find a handhold, and scramble up. As death rattles the bolted door, I lose my grip and plummet amongst the coals—somersaulting through a sooty rabbit’s hole like Alice in Wonderland from a long-ago fairy tale.

I am not a seven-year-old girl; my age no longer matters. There are no white rabbits, Cheshire cats, or queen of hearts. I get a foothold and stand. A white stallion, already saddled, paws at the ground, considers me—ragged, soiled, tear-stained. Tentatively, I approach him, stroke his neck, and place a foot in a stirrup. He nuzzles my leg; I pull myself up using the saddle horn. His power and sense of direction surge through my thighs and into my core. We gallop through fields of white and purple clover, buttercups, and swaying grasses. Ahead, a castle with turrets and glistening windows waits.

My time has come!

Fairy tales are so much more than they seem

Is it truth they show, or only a dream?

—Bobbie Grob

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