Alice is babysitting her grandmother's house while her parents make funeral preparations. And abruptly, to use Dorothy's clichéd expression, she's not in Kansas anymore. Uprooted and taken to a world where magic is the norm and the ground she walks on is made of clouds, Alice struggles to exist in an enchanted world without very much extraordinary talent or power. It's made a little more challenging as her grandmother has left her with more than a house. She's left Alice with a reputation that proceeds her. Proceeds her so much in fact, that magic is twisted to use against her. But who is the dangerous person? And how will Alice survive this with no magic whatsoever in a place that runs entirely on power, whispers, and outright lies.
She picked up the pen. She used a color that she had not used in a long time, a deep gem-green the color of the sea when there is no land nearby and fine stones laid in rings for Gemini. Her hand halted, hovering above the paper like a snake about to strike.
What on earth was she to write?
Part of Mary Alice had to hold back a grin. She knew herself well. She had given herself time to have all these inner conflicts and screaming matches inside her head. She knew herself down to having to remake the choice all over again. But how to write this in words? No sane person would believe anything she would put down, and Alice, though a little less colorless than her father, was definitely not crazy. Think. What was important? What must she do? How can this be explained?
The answer was that it couldn’t be. It had to be seen.
She did not write in lines. If you were to have looked over her shoulder, you would have thought her senile or mad. The stalk-like words began straight and blossomed into curls, into waves. They started in the center and worked their way out, a green snowflake bleeding onto thick off-white paper. Radiating from the center in a pre-determined pattern that Mary Alice new well. Ending in a ring. All together, perhaps one would think it looked like an intricate wagon wheel full of words and symbols and whirls and blotches.
She put the pen down and flexed her hands, knowing she was about to take up a precise motion that her mind had long since forgotten but she was certain even her old bones would remember. She pulled out the drawer of the vanity. It had the usual things. A giant puff of a makeup brush, perfume bottles, necklaces. And a pair of sharp shears with mirror reflectiveness that almost sang with the pull of a sword when the light fell on them, they were so sharp. This may not have been normal.
She concentrated hard, thanking what ever powers that be and her own sense that she had left herself the time. She cut slower than she ever would have, but she gave herself a break. She had not picked these scissors up in 73 years. Still the lines were true. And when she was finished she no longer had a square piece of paper, but a circle with loops and swirls cut out of the middle, like lace. It most definitely resembled a wagon wheel now, silhouetted against the eerie dark light of her bed room. She carefully folded it. Half. Quarters. Eighths. Until it looked like a little slice of paper pie. Only one readable word was visible among the green runes and curls. Alice.