The White Queen
The White Queen
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A Demented, Twisted, Darkly-designed Wonderland Horror.
- Alice in Wonderland Dark Reimagining
- Horror, Abuse
- Mad Hatter Wants Your Soul
- All The Trigger Warnings
- Drink Me
- Abuse of Power
- Corruption of Innocence
“Dripping with darkness, chilling with its utter terror. This one had me transfixed and glued to the page!” -Book Haven Book Blog
Lucifer owes the Hatter a favor…
And the devious Hatter knows just what he wants for his prize.
Yet to collect, he must corrupt sweet Alice. Corrupt her or he cannot claim her. For even the most covetous of demons cannot steal a soul that remains untainted. That is... unless an innocent offers it of her own free will.
THE WHITE QUEEN is a tale of pure horror by USA TODAY bestselling author Addison Cain. There is no white knight, for the twisted Hatter lurks in these pages… ready to devour your soul and haunt your dreams.
Intro into Chapter 1
Intro into Chapter 1
Every childhood memory, every last horror I suffered over the years held one object in common: a stuffed white rabbit. The snowy toy sat on a shelf above my reach, high atop the nursery’s sprigged walls. I had many playthings I was not allowed to touch lining that shelf, the china faces of dolls with golden ringlets like mine in plenty. I expressly recall my mother telling me to only look, never touch—that like me, these dolls were expected to remain immaculate and beautiful.
There were many rules in the nursery: I was not permitted to dirty my frock or pinafore, nor was I ever allowed to muss my hair. I was to be always clean, starched, crimped, and expressionless—my overlarge blue eyes lowered in a demure position should someone address me. It was never phrased so bluntly, but even as a small child I understood that, like the jewels of my nursery, my purpose was to serve as a pretty item for others to enjoy.
Often, I was put on display.
When Mama and Papa would throw their soirees, our house transformed into a fairyland—flowers, exotic foods, extra staff bustling about our London brownstone. After dark, the magic of music would seep upstairs, above the crowds of gentlemen in their dress coats and ladies stuffed in taffeta and ribbons. My nanny would spend the entire day preparing me to be seen for five minutes.
In a fresh dress, scratchy lace at my throat and spilling from cuffs of my sleeves, she’d take my hand and lead me down the twisting staircase to where my proud parents waited.
If it were near Christmas or my birthday, all eyes on me, mother would give me a new doll to add to the collection on the shelf. Like clockwork, my arms would reach out and the new toy lain upon them. Always I would thank her for her generosity, tuck the doll carefully under my arm, and then to be sent right back upstairs.
The doll with its cold china face would be taken from me the moment I was restored to the nursery, and placed upon the shelf with its myriad counterparts. I never minded the loss of the bauble. My favorite toys were my miniature porcelain tea set and the worn rocking horse at the foot of my bed.
Though I’d smiled as expected when my mother handed me the cursed thing, truth was the dolls’ fixed expressions frightened me.
They judged me.
They had no compassion.
For if they had, why did they permit the stuffed white rabbit to nestle within their ranks?
Right there, at the end of the polished shelf, it lay in wait.
I could not tell you how long it had been up there, or who had given it to me. I could tell you nothing about it.
But I could tell you this—the dolls with their dead stares could be ignored. I could pretend they were not there. The same could not be said of that snowy furred rabbit. Black glass eyes followed me wherever I played, when I napped, dressed, did my toilette. I was always watched... and there was no getting rid of it.
One autumn morning, I had scrounged up the courage to climb atop my bureau and reach for the cursed thing. I threw it in the fire before my nanny might notice, and I watched it burn.
That afternoon, for the first time in my life, I had felt whole. I had not been afraid of the glass eyes or what they would bring when the house was asleep.
But, when I had returned to my nursery after the daily, elegant tea with my parents, my short-lived bravery died. In fact, I think a part of me died, sank right out from my toes and into the floorboards. The drip, drip, drip of my soul slipping all the way down into the musty root cellar to be lost in the dirt forever.
The rabbit was back, on the shelf innocently sitting, tucked between the dolls that looked like me. The white of its fur was pristine. There was no soot or rips. The glass eyes had not melted; they shone under the lamplight, glowering at me in malice.
One look at the thing, and I had screamed my head off. My nanny had come running, and in the end, I’d earned a whipping for my noise. Like all good children, I was to be seen and never heard.
For the hundredth time, I’d begged her to take the white rabbit away.
My pleas fell on deaf ears.
Every few years, months, weeks... I would pluck up and again try to make my move against the rabbit. I had thrown it out my window and into the street to be run over by carriages and made dirty by the dust and shuffling of strangers. Other times, I had hidden it someplace else in the house: locked it in cabinets, buried it in the attic, set it upon the bed in the surly maid’s room. The rabbit always came back.
I don’t know why. I never know the why of anything.
Night after night that rabbit would infect my little nursery with evil. Tucked into my bed, alone, the house would be soundless save the ticking of the grandfather clock downstairs: tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, louder and louder. No steam engine could have roared through the halls as furiously as that screaming timepiece.
Covers to my chin, wide blue eyes would dart to and fro. Though the noise was wretched, I longed for it to continue into eternity. I would rather feel it vibrate through my bones than face what came when silence cut that screaming racket like a knife. When evil came, that cranking cog of noise vanished, leaving the ears ringing and sense unhinged. Then I would be trapped in deafening silence, with only the sound of blood racing through my veins to warn me danger had arrived.
Silence was unsafe.
The dark was a living thing, monstrous. The thin slice of moonlight cutting through the curtains offering no succor. Casting the shape of my window’s panes against the papered wall, that scant light illuminated a single horrid thing.
If I let my gaze stray, peeked just a little to the right, I would see something that should not be.
The rabbit’s stitched head had turned, those flat glass eyes staring right at me. And then they would come.
The first time I’d seen her grace my nursery, I had been very little—so very young. The apparition was naked, slender—a young woman, her shoulders hunched forward in the shadows. Long hair, tangled and matted, hung messy to her waist. Every bit of her bared body was covered in dripping blood. Before her, she’d rub her slippery hands together, pacing back and forth, a terrible clicking coming from her throat.
One sight of her, and I had wet the bed.
Hours stretched by, her dark eyes shining behind the wet tangles of blood drenched hair, watching me, waiting. The monster’s prowl endless, I cowered in sodden covers, tracking her every step.
In my heart I knew that to place even a toe from that bed, to consider running for my nanny, would be the end of me. I didn’t dare breathe. I knew that naked, bloody woman wanted badly to hurt me.
At daybreak, when my nanny arrived to prepare me for the day she scolded me soundly for dirtying the sheets. I was marched in my soiled nightdress before my parents, intruding upon their private breakfast so that they too might echo the castigations.
I had tried to tell them that there had been someone in my room. I tried to make them hear me. My father had scowled, his waxed mustache twitching in anger.
Tantrums and melodramatics were not to be tolerated. I had earned myself a spanking and a day locked away in my room, made to lie on the same wet bed, where every time I closed my eyes, I was certain bloody hands would slip from some dark corner to strangle me.
Even after a sleepless night, even with the safety of the sun bright in my room, I could not find rest. It was too wet and cold, my blankets smelled, and I was ashamed of myself.
It was not until twilight that the maid came to change my sheets and dress me in a clean gown for sleeping.
She should not have bothered.
The tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, of the grandfather clock crashed through the house so loud, so very loud I was certain the whole city must have heard that drumming.
Before I was fully prepared, before my childish prayers to Jesus were done, all went quiet.
Swallowing, I cut a glance where I should never have looked. Up high on the shelf, moonlight showing the perfect white fur, the rabbit had once again turned its head to watch me.
The woman was coming back, I knew it. She was coming and she’d figured out how to rip open my throat.
But then there was no wet slap of her sodden feet on the floor. No chesty, clicking breaths.
All was quiet and I began to breathe easy. It had just been a bad dream; the rabbit must always have been facing my direction. My papa was right; I was just a silly little girl full of nonsense.
I was so very wrong.
There were worse things than the bloody woman.
In the silence, I heard a pair of soft, childish giggles. Spider-like hands crept up the side of my bed, fisting my covers.
Something was under my bed!
With a terrible yank, my blankets began to be dragged under the mattress, the childish laughter growing mean. I tried to make a grab for my only defense, but whatever was hidden beneath me was so much stronger. In vain, I toppled to the floor. Before I might clamber back up, hands shot out from the dark space under my bed, encircled my ankles, and yanked my little body across the floor.
Next thing I knew I was stuffed under my bed, prodded and scratched by the unseen nightmare.
Unlike the evening before when I had kept silent, doing my best not to draw the red woman’s attention, I screamed. No one heard, no one came to save me. Scrambling to claw my way free, I fought and I kicked. My gown was ripped, white ruffles torn right off. I got myself to the nursery corner. Pressed my boney shoulders into the tasteful wallpaper and stared around the room, knees knocking together.
My arms smarted, my legs. I had been scratched so badly there were bleeding cuts all over me.
Then I saw them.
The first one leapt upon my bed and began jumping. The other took my sheet, threw it over his head, and ran about the room like a shrouded ghost. Two little boys... they were just two little half-dressed, emaciated boys.
Chortling as he bounded up and down on my mattress, the cruel-eyed waif grinned at me. His teeth had been filed into points, sharp and sinister. Looking at my wrist, I could see the bite marks those teeth had left behind—little puncture wounds that did not bleed much, but stung so badly my eyes watered.
His cohort was exactly the same.
The remainder of the night I spent pressed back against that corner. Sometimes I think the demented pair forgot I was there, or they had grown bored of me. They would play their vicious games. Turning their claws and teeth on one another, the scamps crashed about my room—knocking toys from shelves, breaking things.
When they would pull apart from their fighting, again they would turn their beady-eyed stare at me.
Snarls turned to giggles. In seeing my terror, the boys had found a new game to play. Trying to trick me, the pair of them worked in unison to sneak, to make a grab at my hands or feet, to drag me back screaming under the bed. My knees were bruised, elbows too, from all the times I had fallen trying to break free and hide from the pair of devils.
They were more cunning than one tired little girl.
After hours, I grew too shattered to fight back. Powerless, they took me by the ankles, and rolled my body in the sheets. Tangled in dark, I could hardly breathe. They were trying to crush me, giggling in their work as I groaned and begged them to stop stomping on my back.
When my nanny came to rouse me, I was still twisted in my blankets, crammed under the frame of my bed.
My room was a wreck. Standing meekly, I told my nanny that two boys had done it all. She did not believe a word.
I got the strap and no supper.
Night came. I had another visitor, and the next night, and the next—all of them dangerous, all of them horrid.
I never knew rest. While London found the peace of sleep and sweet dreams, I was awake and plagued.
No matter the lessons I was taught every Sunday in church, no matter how hard I’d silently prayed to God, nothing changed.
The older I grew, it was easy to grasp that God could not possibly exist. Either that or he hated me.
My singular desire in life was no longer for toys, or sweets, or even the attention of my parents. All I wanted was sleep.
In the daylight hours, I would sneak to my mama’s bed. I would crawl under the covers while she was gone, bury myself behind the pillows where I might not be noticed. The household always found me. I was always tugged out of the soft nest, my dress and pinafore straightened.
Then there were lessons. I had to go to all my lessons.
How else would I learn to be a lady?
Letters and numbers, the inky curl forming each mark was of utmost importance. Mama loved to see my little writings; the more elegant they grew the more she would praise me. Then there was the harp. Every day for three hours I was at the mercy of a mean, old crone with a walking stick she wielded like a switch.
I would inevitably start to doze during each lesson. Almost daily, I earned three smacks across the palms from that blasted cane.
It got to the point that her smacks no longer provoked so much as a whimper from my throat. They were nothing compared to what might wait for me once the dark came and the rabbit turned its head.
The bloody woman was a regular visitor. She paced, she clicked, and so long as I watched her, she could not slip nearer. If I closed my eyes, if I accidentally dozed, she would edge just a little bit closer.
I had to stay awake.
There was another one who came often. Unlike the bloody woman, he did not have to be watched. Unlike the horrible little boys, he didn’t scratch or bite. He never tried to take my covers. The man with a paunch like my father would do nothing but sit in the room’s distant rocking chair and creak the thing back and forth, laughing so loud I had to cover my ears.
Lumpy face pinched, maniacal in his tone and cadence, on and on he would shriek peels of unsettling mirth.
He stared at me the whole time. He pointed at me... laughing and laughing and laughing.
With all that racket, the rocking chair, the cackles, I could not sleep no matter how hard I tried. Little hands pressed to my ears, I would rock in time with him, unable to keep my thoughts clear, feeling as if I were growing ill.
More often than naught, I’d vomit.
Even though he turned my stomach, I didn’t mind him nearly as much as I hated the boys. The dirty pair would play the cruelest jokes. Their laughter was different from the fat, old laughing man. The boys, they sounded so innocent but were so very corrupt.
Over the years I saw more and more of them, their rotted teeth on display behind grins of mischief. And as I grew taller, they grew more violent.
They liked to bite.
They loved to scratch.
They left marks on me that I was punished for the next morning. Good girls were not supposed to itch themselves raw in sleeping fits. Good girls were always to be tidy.
Of all my nightly visitors, I hated the boys the most.
Night in and night out, while I waited for the rabbit to turn my way, I would lay there and wonder. Would it be the bloody woman, would it be the laughing man... would it be those horrid boys?
How many bruises would I have to explain away? How much more would my nanny hate me? How many more disappointed looks would I get from Mama and Papa when they were told of how I’d wet the bed, or torn my nightclothes, or marked my pretty face—that face, with high cheeks and long lashed eyes... it had to be intact.
It was my only significance in this household.
My mother loved my face. As I grew more troublesome, I think it was the one thing about me she did like.