Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 43 of 48

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"Alice, you can't be serious!" Helen Kingsleigh wailed.

Alice ignored her mother and continued to tie her bonnet on her head. It was a favorite of hers, being one part sedateness of a London wife (thus not making her seem terribly out of place) and one part her husband's bold creation.

He had made the headpiece before they had left. It was a typical summer straw bonnet but had been decorated in his usual, beautifully chaotic style complete with plum colored ribbons and bright blue forget-me-nots. She was glad now that Tarrant had slipped a few more lively dresses into her baggage without her knowing.

She was going to need something bright to lift her spirits today.

"How could you possibly think to go to a lunatic asylum on your own? What good will it do?" Alice whirled around to face her mother.

"I have to see for myself how Hamish is. It's my fault he's in there in the first place. I owe him this!" She put her hands on her hips and glared at her mother's worried visage.

"Darling, I just don't see how any of this is your fault. It's not like you actually disappeared down a rabbit hole and somehow landed in your husband's country!"

Alice bit her tongue to keep from correcting her mother.

Now was not the time to tell her that was exactly what had happened.

"Whatever has happened, I am involved and I will help." She took a quick step forward and kissed her mother's cheek.

"Tell Tarrant I'll be home for tea when he wakes."

Alice may or may not have slipped a sleeping concoction into his morning tea. Middlesex was not a place she wanted him to see, let alone be in. The place would listen to a single sentence from him and try to have her poor hatter committed!

She sprinted out of the house and hoped in the family carriage. After knocking on the roof, they were off. Alice settled back against the squabs, praying that the three hour long ride would prove fruitful.


The great brick building that loomed above her was not what Alice had been suspecting.

In truth, she had been envisioned an old converted castle with crumbling stones and overgrown gardens. The neatly trimmed hedgerows and sprawling flower beds were not what her gothic mind had concocted.

She took a deep breath and pushed through the great wooden doors. The front entrance hall was sparkling clean and bright enough that Alice had to blink several times to clear her vision. A low murmur of voices could be heard coming from the various corridors that extended from the cavernous room.

"Can I help you ma'am?"

Alice stopped gawking to see a white capped nurse looking at her curiously. She cleared her throat and smoothed her skirts nervously. She was out of her element here, she knew that. This wasn't a battlefield or a tea room or a board meeting. She wasn't a champion, a little girl, or an apprentice to a successful company while she was here.

Here in this world, she had to the most terrifying thing of all.

She had to be wealthy London matron.

Fates preserve her …

"Yes, I'm here to visit one of your patients. I've only just returned from traveling to find he was here and I am most anxious to see to his wellbeing."

The nurse looked her over carefully, noting the expensive cut of her dress and the glint of the diamond and pearl earrings she had happened to wear this morning. Putting two and two together, the young woman nodded and motioned for Alice to follow.

"Who would you like to see my lady?" She asked politely.

Alice didn't correct the girl's use of the title, knowing she shouldn't give up such an advantage.

"Lord Hamish Ascot."

The young nurse's mouth opened in an "o" of surprise briefly but she didn't try to dissuade Alice. Instead she bowed her head and began to walk down one of the far corridors. Alice kept pace behind her, looking here and there as they walked.

The doors in this corridor were all painted white and were solid except for the small viewing windows at eye level that had thin metal bars across them.

White washed prisons … Alice thought darkly.

It was no secret that many who occupied these asylums were nothing more than the men and women whose families no longer wanted or could handle.

"Here we are ma'am. Let me call for one of our more … trained caretakers before you go in."

Alice looked at the girl in alarm.

"Has he gone that far around the bend?" She asked worriedly. The dreams had never given her any feeling that Hamish's mind was truly compromised but if he was, her task would be all the harder to accomplish.

"Only when they try to sedate him ma'am and that's only for his regular checkups. Doesn't like needles that one."

Alice nodded, remembering how when they were younger Hamish had thrown a fit when their mothers had decided it was time for them to get the smallpox vaccines. Alice was thrown from her reverie when a surprisingly large male nurse came down the hall.

He said nothing as he unlocked the door and beckoned her through. Alice entered cautiously.

The room was padded and white washed as she recalled from the dream. A bed sat in the corner and a wash basin rested against the other wall. Alice noticed the mirror on her right and felt another flash of recognition.

"This is not possible." Alice scanned the room for the source of the agitated yet hopeful voice.

And there he was.

Hamish Ascot stood in a far corner of the room wearing what appeared to be a set of light blue sleep wear. His hair was not carefully groomed as she was so used to seeing it. He had dark circles under his eyes which made his already pale complexion waxy and sickly looking. But it was his posture that struck a chord of sadness in Alice's heart.

The Hamish Ascot she knew had always carried himself with pride, his back ramrod straight and weak chin held high. The man before her wasn't the proud member of the nobility who had not even slouched when proposing to her all those years ago.

This man was cowering and trembling before her, pale and weak, ready to sink into the ground away from her.

Alice cleared her throat and reached up to untie her bonnet.

"Actually it is quite possible. Haven't I always told you to believe in six impossible things before breakfast?"

Hamish started trembling harder than ever.

"Alice?" He whispered. She reached out her hands to him and found she was trembling just as badly.

"I'm here Hamish."

Hamish was in front of her within seconds. His hands sought hers and they both sunk to the floor as he wept on her shoulder. She stroked and rocked him as though he was still a little boy and she his only friend in the world.

Memories of their shared childhood flashed in her mind's eye as they rocked on the cold stone floor.

"So it's true then. I really am mad." Hamish cried into her shoulder.

Alice pulled back and made him look her in the eye.

"No Hamish you're not mad. You are probably the sanest person I know and that's saying something!"

Hamish laughed weakly, tears still streaming down his face.

"How now Alice, what's this? I saw you disappear down a bloody rabbit hole and you've been gone for months. By God you're even married now! Who the hell disappears down a rabbit and then comes back married I ask you?"

Alice wrenched her hands away only to grab his shoulders and shake him. Hamish Ascot was a gentleman and for him to curse in front of her was beyond alarming.

"Hamish! For the love of God, tell me what happened!"

"I saw you. The day you were supposed to leave for whatever adventure had caught your fancy. You weren't supposed to be at the house so – so I followed you. All through the gardens and up to that old tree on the hill. Before I could question you – you – you went down that damn hole!"

Hamish's fear and anger was causing his face to turn a familiar shade of red. Alice almost smiled at it. She had experience calming red haired men, so perhaps she could calm this one. Her hands gently came up to cradle his jaw.

"Hamish. What you saw was real. I did go down the rabbit hole and yes, I have come back married. You aren't mad!"

Hamish stared at her blankly.

"Alice … Alice what you say can't be true. Normal people don't just jump down rabbit holes." He said slowly. Obviously he was beginning to think she should be locked up in this place with him.

Alice rolled her eyes at the notion.

"Well it's a good thing I've never been considered normal and I didn't jump down that rabbit hole, I pushed myself down it!"

Hamish continued to stare at her, still disbelieving. But little by little, hope crept into his face. Eventually he smiled at her.

"That's better." She smiled at him in return and helped him to his feet. "Now, I need you be patient. I must return home, but tomorrow I will go see your father and we will get this all straightened out. You have my word."

Hamish shook his head.

"Don't make promises you can't keep Alice." He told her seriously. Alice picked her bonnet up off the floor and brushed it off before tying it back beneath her chin.

"I would never do such a thing Hamish, especially to a man I consider a friend. I'll get you out of here. Soon. Can you be patient for me?"

Hamish sighed and nodded, so Alice turned to go. She paused in the doorway and looked back at him. He had settled himself on the bed to watch her departure.

"I saw Claire. She's terribly worried about you. I owe this to both you and her. I'll see you soon Hamish."

He smiled sadly at her, the hope already ebbing from his face.

"Goodbye Alice."

Alice walked as quickly back to her carriage as she could without giving the impression of running. The ride home was stifling. All she could think about was the lost look in Hamish's eyes. She knew the image would haunt her for the rest of her days.

When she returned home, the house was quiet. Her mother must have decided to take tea with her sister today. Alice sighed and made a mental note to ask Rollins to bring her up a tea tray later. As she disrobed she began mentally preparing her argument to bring to Oliver tomorrow.

She fumbled for the hat wrack blindly, cursing her foolishness for not lighting a lamp.

She cursed herself even more when someone grabbed her arms and she let out a terrified and completely un-champion like screech.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 43 of 48

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