When she opens her eyes for the first time is a day called the 20th of July in a world distant and un-linked to any part of hers, a separate storybook never to converge with the one she plays a role in. She opens her eyes and sees nothing but pitch-black darkness and faint, fleeting globes of golden light, though it is not until after some time that she learns that the colors are called black and gold respectively.
Then, suddenly, she realizes that she is called “Alice.” No, she remembers—she suddenly remembers a number of things. Someone calling her Alice, whispering sweet nothings, apologizing, praying, singing, humming… And Alice looks around and discovers that that person who carried her is with her no longer.
But another being, her other half, who was with her from the moment her soul indwelled what was but a mere bundle of cells before, she is there. And for the first time in her life she registers a color she later learns to be called “white.”
“Hello,” she offers.
“Hello,” her pale half answers back.
“I’m Alice, too.”
So they are Alice together. They find two stuffed rabbits that are actually one, and immediately decide they love it. It does not speak, not like them, but they can feel the gentleness of its gaze and the love in its heart. They also find a figureless, voiceless being who can apparently make everything happen in the dark place they inhabit. The being seemed to take on an especial liking to the white-haired Alice, and sometimes dwells in her body. They all think it’s delightful.
And as they spend time in the deepest, most central part of the Abyss, bits and pieces of another world separate but connected to it trickle in. Sometimes they can even see what goes on in that world, and the twins are fascinated. Upon some prodding, they learn from the nameless being that they can cross over. The dark-haired Alice, always more adventurous and a tad bit too rash compared to her pale-haired counterpart, makes up her mind right then and there to go.
Her nameless friend pleads with her not to. It is not entirely capable of verbal communication, but she can feel what it tries to convey to her: “Don’t go, you’ll be safe here with us, with me. That world is dangerous, you will end up hurt and broken. Stay with me.”
She goes anyway, because nothing in the world can stop her when she sets her mind to something. The flame of curiosity burns so bright in her that she feels like it will consume her if she doesn’t sate it now. So she goes… and exits through one of the five gates to the Abyss the House of Baskerville owns, greeted by the sight of two sets of violet eyes just like her own.
In the other world Alice learns that her friend was right. There is so much pain and suffering after she came into this world. Her other half slowly loses her grip on her sanity and isolates herself more and more, increasingly unresponsive to her shouts and pleas. Their nameless friend grows more frantic, controlling and possessive by the day. Her new friend who she loved so dearly, who played the piano for her and taught her how to dance, betrays her in the worst way and uses her sister and her rabbit (Oz, now) to spill so much blood, including that of her uncle, and destroy everything that ever meant anything to her. Oz is terrified and begging for everything to stop. She is forced to slash into her own throat to save what is left of her world, and the blades of scissors are blunt and the fatal cut puts her through a slow, agonizing death. Her sister is heartbroken and in unending tears. She loses her memories, returns to her birthplace, and sleeps for a long time. When she wakes and crosses over once more, it hurts all over again. Confusion and frustration, the pain of repeated loss… and in the end, she must walk into her death once again.
In the other world Alice had also learned, however, that her friend was wrong. In her final moments, she remembers. She remembers Oswald, after whom she named Oz, bringing her meat and watching her dig in with warmth shining in his eyes. She remembers Oz taking her hand and telling her that she’s perfect just the way she is. She remembers Raven’s amazing cooking and the affectionate way he ruffled her hair, and she remembers the clown's startled expression when she declared a friendship between them. She remembers sunlight, laughter, hugs, roses, tea parties, and the blinding gold nebula that unfurled before her after the Abyss was restored to its original state. Finally, as she feels her consciousness dissolving into nothing, she remembers a distant song speaking of joys of the daylight, shadows of the starlight, sung to her with so much love for a world she wasn’t even born into at the time.
You were right that I would be hurt, Alice thinks, but you didn’t know that all the hurt would be worth it.
As everything dims, Alice takes one last look at her nameless friend. I hope you’ll find that it’s worth it, too.