My piece for Writer’s Island - this weeks prompt is “If only”…
The wizard wrapped his arms protectively around the flimsy pen and ink illustration of Alice, kneeling down so that she became almost hidden within the folds of his midnight blue robe. Despite the fact that she was only paper, he could still feel her emotion bubbling against him.
“Take me back, please… I don’t want to be here any more,” Alice pleaded frantically in a thin voice that could have slid under the door… if there had been a door to speak of. Despite the thinness of her wails they were perfectly audible to every one, as the whole room had become silenced - all the camera men were standing around not knowing what to do, waiting for Tim Burton’s instructions. The director himself stood staring helplessly at the original Alice, his eyes switching nervously back to Tabitha, his actress playing Alice. The original Alice continued to cry as if she were trying to drown herself once again in her own tears. “If only I’d never stepped out of my book… if only I’d stayed just a pen and ink illustration! I don’t want to be real… it hurts to much, it drives me quite mad!”
“Shhhhh, don’t cry… everything’s going to be alright,” Bartholomew said soothingly, stroking the little girls dark hair. “I know everything feels so strange… but nobody’s going to hurt you, don’t worry.”
Tim Burton cleared his throat awkwardly, fidgeting with the collar of his black shirt with thin, nervous fingers. As his expression remained serious… touched by a slight guiltiness.
“Hey now… listen, Alice… I’m sorry, I feel this is all my fault - I really didn’t mean to cause you such distress you know,” the director said in a low voice. His American accent very obvious, and it jarred against both the presence of the Victorian illustration and the wizards - even though Elvira and Bartholomew were contemporaries. Tim Burton spread his hands wide in a helpless gesture as he took a few steps towards the crying Alice, but still made no movement to try and touch her… for his fear kept him at bay. “why are you so upset though? This is the twenty-first century… you can’t possibly expect to remain un-changed all these years you know - it’s ridiculous. I’ve simply used the original Tenniel illustrations as the basis for my version of Alice, who’s nothing like you I’m afraid.” The black figure stroked his shoulders helplessly. “That’s just the way it is, I’m afraid.”
The flimsy figure continued to sob, though muffled by Bartholomew’s robe it was still audible.
“But I don’t belong here… this is nothing to do with me! I want to go home, I don’t want to have anything to do with these modern versions you’re so fond of.”
Looking slightly irritated, Tim Burton folded his arms and gave a loud tut.
“You’re quite happy to remain just a book illustration then, are you? Just a figment of Tenniel’s imagination… or was it Lewis Caroll’s, I don’t know. Any way one of those Victorians.”
Bartholomew glared at the director, holding Alice tightly to him.
“That’s quite enough from you, I think Mr. Burton… leave her alone. You’re just confusing her with all this modern stuff… she doesn’t know anything about films, remember.”
“Well, that’s hardly my fault is it?” snapped Tim Burton fiercely. He seemed suddenly to loose patience with all these things which were going on, all these strange characters appearing out of nowhere and talking about nonsensical things. “You should remember who your talking to, any way… don’t tell me what to do or I’ll have you thrown out of here. I’m the boss, remember… not you or Alice or any one else - me, Tim Burton.”
The young wizard straightened up very slowly, giving a contentious laugh
“So you’re going to throw me out, are you? I’d like to see you try, Mr. Burton… just try.”
Beside him Elvira drew her wand slowly, moving closer towards her comrade.
“And I think you’ll have to throw me out… if you happen to do such a thing,” she said softly, “for we wizards stick together, you know.”