Surrounded by treats, Alice doesn’t know which one to try first. “Which one do you recommend, Mr., um, I beg your pardon, but may I ask you your name, Sir?” The spiffily dressed man jumps up onto his chair, removes his hat, and taking a bow announces “I am the Mad Hatter--welcome to my tea party!” He lifts his head and looks deep into Alice’s eyes with a crazed expression. “Why don’t you try a little of each?” he says, leaning in toward her smiling. Alice picks up a small cake with blood red icing and takes a bite. She looks down at her blood covered hands, and looking around she is suddenly in the midst of a gruesome scene. It is dark with just slivers of light leaking into the room through the curtains. The walls are splattered with a generous amount of blood and there is a mound in the middle of the floor. Alice bends down to investigate, and reaching out her hand she takes a sip from the tea cup the Mad Hatter has offered her. “This will go quite well with the cakes.” he says with a smile. “Thank you very much. I’m having such a lovely time.” Alice says cheerfully sipping her tea.
“We must have presents!” the Mad Hatter exclaims clapping his hands. The March Hare brings him a package, which the Mad Hatter hands to Alice. “This young lady is our special guest, so she gets to open the first gift.” “Open your gift, Alice. I made it myself” says the March Hare. They all look at her in anticipation, as she tears off the wrapping. She opens the box and peers inside. Blinking a few times she looks out from under the water. In a panic she struggles to lift her head to take a breath, but is pushed back under. Flailing her arms and legs about, Alice fights against the hand keeping her under. Finally allowed to come up for air, she violently gasps for breath looking in horror at the figure in white hovering above her. “Don’t you just love it?!” “Why yes, it’s beautiful! Thank you ever so much!” Alice exclaims pinning the broach to her dress.
“Tell me Alice, how did you come upon our little tea party?” “Oh, well, the white rabbit invited me. He seemed to be in quite a hurry, and said that it was very important that I attend.” “I see.” the Mad Hatter replies, taking notes. “Yes, he seemed to be running away from something.” Alice explains. “He mentioned that he was afraid of what the Queen might do.” “What she might do, or what she did?” inquires the Mad Hatter. “She has an awful temper you know.”, Alice says in a hushed tone. Alice kneels down and turns the mound over. She gently brushes the long strands of blond hair off the disfigured and bloody face. “I saved some cake for you, Alice. I wish you could have been there--it was ever so much fun.” “Reina . . . Reina, it’s Dr. Hattenburg. Can you hear me, dear?” The Mad Hatter comes in close to Reina’s ear and whispers “Stay with us . . . we’re all mad here.”
Photography by Steven Palty