Taking a deep breath, you spin around, expecting the door to bang open, but instead there is no movement from the stairs, and you stare at the closed door, puzzled.
Suddenly, there is a tap on your shoulder and you jump into the air automatically. You would scream too, if it was not for the white-gloved hand that now covers your mouth.
You struggle, at first, but then you realise that the person who has got you has no intention of hurting you.
Slowly, you turn around to see the wild-eyed man with huge, frizzy red hair, which you get the feeling is actually a wig. His eyes are both blue and green, and he is wearing long oddly-fitting trousers and a top (which are both made out of odd, mismatched material), and a floor-length red tailcoat. There is also a tiny brown hat perched on top of his wig, battered and tatty but full of character- just like the man himself.
“H-how did you get there?” You finally manage to say, after the initial shock of such a person standing in front of you sinks in.
The man lets out a laugh, waving his hands around in the air above him.
“I took the stairs…” He says, and you notice that his voice is odd as well, filled with a variety of ever-changing accents.
“Yes,” you stammer, “But you didn’t go through the door. I would have seen you.”
“Did I say I took the door?” The man replies instantly, “No, but I took the stairs.”
You shake your head in confusion; this man is as full of riddles as you should have expected from looking at him. Indeed, even his clothes are full of riddles, and, surprised, you spot the shapes of a few question-marks in one texture.
As you look up from gazing at the man’s clothing, you notice that he has been staring at you too. You feel your blood chill slightly.
“You’re in grave danger staying here,” he mutters, suddenly shaking his head, as though the previous jolliness he displayed was a lie.
“What do you mean?” You eye the man with doubt as you start to get your confidence back. He is rather like a drunk clown, you imagine, and a smile slips over your lips.
“What? Did I do something…amusing?” And, with that, the man does a back-flip. You gasp as you expect him to fall off the tower, but suddenly he is behind you.
Clapping and laughing you turn, completely bewildered.
“Who are you?”
“I’m the Mad Hatter, I am,” says the Mad Hatter.
“Mad Hatter…” You say (marvelling as you do so at the craziness of those words), “What do you mean in saying that I am in danger? Where am I? How do I get out?”
“My dear, my dear, you are in your mind, the most dangerous place one can ever be. As for getting out…well, we will see!”
“What do you mean?”
“There are other things to say, to tell you,” but the Mad Hatter pauses, looking deeply troubled again.
“What?” You impatiently urge him to say more.
“But it’s not safe here,” he continues. “I mean, apart from the fact that either of us could fall to our death at any moment. You see, my friend, there are ears in every wall. Oh dear, I shouldn’t be saying such things. I need to get away. You need to follow me this instant!”
You hesitate, frightened at the eccentricity of the man.
“Trust me,” he says.
What do you do?