} LISA IN WONDERLAND
} Chapter 1: The Search for Spot
} It was a sunny day, and little Lisa was traipsing along the road,
} chasing her little cat, Ellwanger, who was called "Spot," because of
} his fine stripy coat. She had wandered down this road many times
} before -- had explored the sunny meadow to one side often -- knew every
} hollow and hiding place in the woods on the other side. She could not
} see Spot anywhere, and was very much annoyed by this turn of events,
} for what is the use of a cat which is out of eyeshot?
} Lisa arrived at the point where the road met the main lane to
} London, and was much perplexed, as Spot had never run this far before.
} She scrunched her nose for a moment, and turned around. But what was
} this? Lisa had never seen the likes of this before, for there, by the
} side of the road just as it curved, was a large oaken door, with a
} handsome brass knocker. Lisa had seen such doors many times before --
} why, there was even on her very front door at home -- yet never one
} quite so peculiar as this, for all the other doors she knew were
} attached to frames, with frames attached to houses. But this was a
} large, lonely-looking door, unfettered by anything in the world, on the
} edge of the wood along the road. She pondered the door for a moment,
} and stepped forward to open it, but it would not budge an inch, which
} vexed Lisa very sorely. She walked around behind the door, and found
} the back of a large oaken door, without a handsome brass knocker, but
} with a little brass latch, which was latched. Lisa unlatched the door,
} and walked through, whereupon she found herself beside the road, across
} from the sunny meadow which she knew so well. Lisa was much nonplussed
} by this turn of events, and turned around to behold the door behind
} her. It was closed -- her governess had trained Lisa well in the art
} of door-closing, which many Helpful Mnemonic Poems to help her, such as
} Lisa's favourite poem:
} The fly which buzzes all the year
} Is joy qua joy for all to hear.
} But birds, which only sing in Spring
} Are loathed; thus we have bird-hunting.
} which always helped Lisa to recall that she should close doors behind
} her -- but Lisa soon reopened the door and passed through from the
} Lisa soon regretted her governess' fine job of training, as after
} she subconsciously closed the door behind her this time, she found
} herself in a very dark place indeed.
} Chapter 2: The Undiscovered Country
} This turn of events perplexed Lisa greatly, particularly as she
} could not find the door-handle again when she turned to look for it.
} She had no match, nor candle nor Zippo, so she merely grappled in the
} dark for a while, becoming increasingly petulant as her search remained
} fruitless. "Oh, dear, I'll never make it home for tea _now_," she
} "So have some here," called a voice behind her. Lisa whirled
} around to find a smartly outfitted table, illuminated by an elaborate
} candelabra of the best faux crystal, set with tea and biscuits. Lisa
} was once more perplexed by these happenings, firstly as there was no
} one at the table by whom she could have been called, secondly as she
} was quite certain that the table and lit candelabra had not been there
} just a moment before, and thirdly because there were no biscuits, but
} instead a particularly (somewhat disgustingly so, Lisa thought, and
} rightly so) soft white bread.
} Lisa decided to talk to her companion. "Where are you, Mr --"
} "Pack. But you may call me Malcolm." Just as these words were
} spoken, an enormous rat (who proved to be the speaker of them) emerged
} from the darkness around the table. He was clothed in the finest
} fashions of the 1850's, and thus would have been singularly out of
} place at either the Congress of Vienna or that of Berlin, which Lisa
} immediately noticed. Her governess had, of course, taught her the
} famous couplet about aristocratic European fashions of the 1850's.
} "Please be seated."
} Lisa obeyed -- she did not know how improper it was to take
} orders from rats like Malcolm -- and soon began to inquire after where
} she happened to be. "Mr Rat Malcolm," she began, "where might I
} happen to be?"
} The rat Pack seemed somewhat taken aback by this query; he
} narrowed his eyes and finished chewing his bread before responding,
} "Why, in Kinzleria, of course."
} "I see," said Lisa, though of course she did not. Her governess
} had not been very proficient at teaching Geography, and all Lisa could
} remember of Kinzleria was that it was somewhat near Deliria. "Thank
} you for your hospitality; it was most kind, but my Governess has told
} me never to stay too long at tables frequented by unwashed
} plague-carrying vermin, or that I might someday find myself married to
} a Tory." She grabbed a considerable quantity of the spongy-looking
} bread, stuffed in into her pockets, curtsied as prettily as she could,
} and walked back off into the darkness.
} Chapter 3: Degenerations
} As she walked farther and farther from the table where she had
} tead with Malcolm, Lisa noticed that there was an increasing spring in
} her step. At first she thought that was due to something in the tea or
} bread, but then she recalled that she had not consumed either, and that
} it therefore could not very likely have been something she ate.
} Nevertheless, she found herself (rather to her chagrin) bounding higher
} and farther with every step.
} "This is a damned nuisance," she said, using a phrase she didn't
} understand but with which her Governess frequently used, mainly to
} describe her.
} Shortly, though, she noted, high in the darkness above her, a
} doorway, and although the door was closed, the doorjamb was made with
} sufficient imperfectness that streams of light were visible. In spite
} of all her jumping, she still could not reach even the very bottom of
} the door.
} "Oh, dear," said Lisa. "I'm not bounding nearly high enough.
} Whatever shall I do?"
} She tried jumping from one leg, and two legs, and using her hands
} as well as feet to push off from the ground, and every trick she could
} think of to propel herself higher, but all was in vain. Though she
} sometimes came quite close, she still could not reach the door.
} Lisa thought a bit, and wondered if there might be, somewhere in
} the darkness around her, a tree like the one in the front garden of her
} home; for that tree was wonderful for climbing, and, Lisa thought,
} would be quite large enough to take her even as high as the door was.
} After a brief search, she indeed found a suitable tree, and began, with
} great delight, to climb.
} She was not yet halfway to the door, however, when her foot
} landed upon a very strange feeling branch indeed. The branch squealed
} agonizedly beneath her foot, and suddenly was revealed to have a large
} cat sitting on it, when the cat burst into a rage of phosphorescent
} grandeur. "Why don't you look where you're going, young lady?" it
} snarled, in a surprisingly sultry voice.
} The cat looked terribly ugly and frightening to Lisa; part of
} her revulsion was due to the sickly green pallor of the cat's glow, but
} the larger disgust was wrought by the horrible ugliness of the cat's
} face. It reminded Lisa strongly of the face of the horrible fishmonger
} Mr Kelly, would lived down the road and who always made strange and
} lascivious noises and gestures whenever Lisa and her governess walked
} by. The horrible effect was made the more strange by the head being
} squished sideways by Lisa's foot.
} "I'm frightfully sorry, little cat," said Lisa rather
} perfunctorily, "but I'm trying to get up to the door, and --"
} The cat smiled at this, and Lisa stopped at the hideousness
} before her. For the cat's smile was odd: sharp and irregular, and
} strangely pointed.
} "Don't let me hold you back, my dear girl," purred the cat. "But
} perhaps I should point out that the way up is sometimes best reached by
} going forward." With that, the cat's feet lost their luminosity, and
} the effect was spreading up its legs.
} "Oh, dear, cat," quoth Lisa. "You seem to be darkening."
} "Indeed I am," said the cat, still smiling, "and I think I may
} take you down with me." The disappearance was accelerating to an
} alarming pace, and the cat's body was all but invisible in the
} "Good heavens, you are an opaque little feline! Whatever do you
} mean by that?" said Lisa, rather alarmed.
} "On the contrary, I am quite transparent," said the cat, and
} proved in by becoming entirely invisible but for that sickly, sideways
} smile, which hung as though suspended for a moment before disappearing
} With it disappeared the tree to which Lisa had clinging, and she
} found herself falling to the ground below.
} Chapter 4: The Wrath of Khandai
} She landed, much to her surprise, on some parquet -- she was
} surprised both because all the other realms beyond the door had been
} floored with the creamiest of linoleum, and because the parquet was
} under a blazingly bright light, which quite blinded her for a moment.
} Once she recovered her sight, she discovered that she was not alone in
} the Parquet Room; rather, there were two men in varying states of
} inactivity with her. One sat cringing in a corner, speaking constantly
} to himself in soft, fast, rhymed couplets; the other sat slouched in
} the middle of the room, who was sporting a Maxwell's Equations t-shirt,
} a loincloth, and elevator shoes and eating some pasty white bread, not
} three feet away from Lisa.
} Lisa was rather perplexed by this odd pair of characters, and was
} going to ignore them completely -- a fate they clearly deserved -- when
} she realized that that would make this chapter awfully short and
} deviate from the precedent so foolishly created in past allusions to
} Doyle and Austen. She turned to the one nearest her and said, "Excuse
} me, but could you tell me where I am?"
} The figure sneered contemptuously and went back to its studious
} slouching. Lisa, fearing she had made some sort of faux pas -- her
} governess had always warned her about something having to do with geeks
} wearing lifts -- and retreated toward the corner, to speak with the
} other fellow. Once there, she decided not to make the same mistake,
} and so introduced herself by saying, "Hello. My name is Lisa. I live
} upstairs from here. Haven't I seen you somewhere before? Anyway, I
} was wondering if you could tell me precisely where I am." to which the
} little sniveller surprised her by responding,
} O maiden young and lithe and fair,
} You are approaching Orrie's lair.
} Lisa didn't exactly know what "lithe" meant, but it sounded like a good
} thing, so she continued the conversation.
} "So, who is this Mr Orrie and how do I get to his lair?"
} Orrie's better than them all;
} To find him just go through this wall.
} He pointed to a nearby wall as he spoke, but his meaning was still
} "You know, I'd really think you'd be a more effective
} communicator if you'd quit talking like that."
} I know, miss, but I must slog or he'll
} *ZOT* me for not speaking doggerel.
} "What?!? You're not making any sense!"
} Orrie said, "Zadoc, do not
} Quit rhyming or you'll get a *ZOT*."
} Lisa rolled her eyes. This fellow was clearly just as crazy as
} the other. She turned to look for an exit. While looking, she heard
} the mysterious Zadoc character mutter, "*You* try coming up with a
} coherent rhyme for 'doggerel,'" which was followed by the most
} horrendous noise Lisa had ever heard. She whirled around to find a
} pile of ash being all that remained of Zadoc, while the slouching
} fellow seemed utterly nonplussed by the turn of events. Lisa was
} sorely vexed by the whole situation, until she noticed a hole in the
} wall in front of which Zadoc had previously been cowering. Two birds
} having been killed with one stone, she crawled through the hole.
} Chapter 5: The Final Frontier
} Once she emerged in the other side, Lisa found herself in a
} tremendous chamber painted all in white, replete with a woman and man
} dressed all in white. The woman was standing haughtily, and shouting,
} but just at what she was shouting was a mystery to Lisa, for it did not
} seem to be the man, who was cringing in a manner strangely reminiscent
} of how the Zadoc had. Due to the size of the chamber and its poor
} acoustics, Lisa could not make out at all what was being said, so she
} approached them.
} As she did so, however, the woman turned towards her, let out a
} shriek, and said, "A spy! A spy!"
} Lisa, not being the brightest bulb in the chandelier, turned and
} looked behind her. Seeing no one, she turned back to the Woman in
} White and asked, "Where?"
} The Woman's countenance grew even more sour at this question, and
} Lisa was rather afraid that the Woman might suffer an apoplectic
} stroke. But instead, she asked, "Who dares to approach and speak so
} casually to the Princess of the North? Matthew!" The man leapt to
} attention at this. "Find out who the spy is and who sent her."
} Matthew turned to Lisa. "Who are you, child?"
} "I am Lisa, sir."
} "And who sent --"
} "MATTHEW!" interrupted the Princess of the North. "Are you not
} going to tell me who she is?"
} "B-but of course, your majesty. She is Lisa."
} The Princess of the North fumed at Matthew. "You insubordinate
} little fool! Don't you know I have excellent ears? I heard her very
} well, and you needn't repeat everything she says!"
} "Oh, but my dear, sweet Kimberley--"
} "Quit your snivelling! There is no excuse for such conduct!
} Keep it up and tonight you must once more face my Siberian huskies. .
} .and believe me, they're feeling quite husky today!" The Snow Princess
} growled at Matthew, who blanched and shrank from her.
} Lisa was utterly befuddled. "Whatever is going on?" she asked.
} The Princess of the North's fury was turned back towards Lisa by
} this question. "The Spy! So you came back, eh? And I see your
} pockets are loaded, no doubt with valuable treasures! You shall regret
} that! I find you guilty of espionage, theft, burglary, and treason!"
} Lisa was taken aback. "Do I not even get to be tried by a jury
} of my peers?"
} "A jury of your peers? But my dear child, we established clear
} back in the beginning of chapter two that you had no match," the shrew
} countered, "and how could one who has no match, and therefore no equal,
} have peers? That is quite the lexical tautology. I sentence you to
} ten aeons in The Machine."
} Matthew gasped and fainted.
} Chapter 6: The Voyage Home
} The Princess of the North stamped her foot, and a snow-white
} trapdoor opened. Two ghouls dressed all in white emerged, bearing what
} appeared to be a large snow-white box, but it was rather hard to see
} what was going on with everything being so very white.
} "Timm! Choo! Get back in your dungeon!" cried Princess
} Kimberley, and the two ghouls retreated to the nether regions from
} whence they came, thoughtfully closing the trapdoor behind them. Lisa
} wondered for a moment whether her governess had also trained them,
} before her attention was diverted by the Princess telling her to enter
} the Machine.
} Lisa protested, "But how am I supposed to do that?"
} The Princess was furious at such insolence. "By opening it up
} and walking inside, you addlebrained addlepate!"
} Matthew was somewhat brought back to consciousness by the noise,
} and sat up partways.
} "Oh. Before I go, I'd like you to know that I think your accent
} is really annoying," said Lisa, and opened the Machine, preparing to
} face a near-eternity of anguish. As soon as she had pulled open the
} latch which barred the Machine closed, however, the door popped open
} and out came a stately middle-aged gentleman wearing stylish purple
} robes emerged.
} "Deus ex machina!" cried Matthew, before fainting once more. "The
} Oracle came out!" cried The Princess of the North, before
} she was fried to a crisp. Then, suddenly, there was a blaze of light,
} and Lisa found herself back on the road near her house, and little Spot
} rubbing against her leg.
} Lisa was beside herself with joy. "Oh, wonderful Mr Oracle!
} However can I repay you for saving me?"
} The Oracle smiled. "Just wait a year or two; you shall
} adequately be able to thank me then, once you are a little more grown
} up." Lisa hugged him tenderly, and he disappeared as mysteriously as
} he came.
} Lisa sighed after he left. "Come along, Spot, I have some bread
} in my pock -- well, where did it go? I know I had it a moment ago!"
} But the fluffy white bread had not teleported with her. "Oh, well. At
} least I shall be able to tell Governess what a good girl I am."