How the pieces were set

He was trying to figure out, and it was a matter that required some figurative thinking, whether he had just seen what he believed to be an insect, small and white, in the corner of the looking-glass. When, upon an inspection on this side of the glass, there was merely a white chess king - and not an anthromorphic one obviously.

   And so, he looked at the mirror again, this time merely to amuse himself - to play with the idea that he was looking at a room more alive than the one he currently sat in, when he saw something else.

   A shadow, in the centre of the rug. When, again with an inspection in the room he was residing in, there was nothing on the ceiling or the rug that could create such a shadow, and indeed there was only light-laden fabric.

   "Curiouser and curiouser" he mumbled spritely. And so, he sat in front of the looking-glass again, now with a happily expectant expression. He saw this time what surprised him the most. The clock had a face.

   And, yes, all clocks have faces and hands. But not like this. The clock above the mantelpiece at the other end of the room, while perfectly blank and normal on THIS side of the glass, was sticking out its tongue (it had a tongue now), spinning its eyeballs around like a cartoon (and eyes), and waving its arms (these arms used to be hands, until hands appeared on the end of them.)

   In bewildered fascination (though oddly calm for  a man in such a bizarre situation), Mr Liddel came to the conclusion that it was no use looking at objects on his side of the looking-glass, when clearly all the commotion was happening on the other side.

   And so, he placed his fingertips on the glass and, whether through the sheer will of his belief, or through some dreamy delusion, they quite passed through.

   This was a happy surprise. Of course, he immediately realised that he must be dreaming, but if so, he thought what a delightfully real dream it was, and so - being a dream, and unafraid of breaking the objects that would mean something to him in real life, he hopped onto the mantelpiece that held the mirror, shoved aside any picture frames and small vases, and crawled through.

   It is a very odd experience to crawl out of a room, and find yourself in the same place facing a different direction. But, of course, this wasnt the same place. He noticed immediately, that all around the room there were little chess pieces, alive and running away from him, vanishing out of the door. The shadow itself, he now realised, was caused by a lamp. At least he assumed so, otherwise there would be no explanation for it - but then, it was a dream.

   The clock, upon realising that the strange man who had been the object of his carefree mocking could, in fact, crawl through the mirror, suddenly assumed that he would get a strict telling to, and immediately felt guilty.

   The man, however, was smiling at the clock.

   "Hello, my dear clock. How you've changed."

   The clock was silent.

   "Before you were rather expressionless"

   Drawn in by the man's light pitch and friendly tone, the clock smiled too. The smile was immediate and bright.

   "I've ALWAYS been one of the MOTHT exprethionfulletht people in the room!" he boasted, "I suppothe you've only ever seen my other"

   "Your other?"

   The clock nodded (an odd thing for a clock to do). "But you managed to climb through the tunnel! Normally you never notith uth, but... I watch over them you see, um, you lot"

   "Us lot? On this, er, the other side of the looking glass?"

   "Yep. Although mothtly I jutht make faces and laugh. You can never thee me, you know!" he chuckled.

   Mr Liddell was beginning to feel that this was an oddly realistic sort of dream to be having.

   "And where am I?" he asked.

   "Chethland." replied the clock.

   "Chethland? I've never heard of it, and I was taught geography at school you know".

   "Oh you mutht have heard of it, it'th juth nektht to Wonderland. We're twin kingdomth! We..."

   Suddenly the clock hesitated. His face turned droopy again.

   "Or, at leatht we were."

   "What?"

   "Oh mithter, I realithe, or remembered why I wath made, why I wath watching over you, so if one of you were to path through, like you, then I could."

   Mr Liddell looked hard at the clock with glistening, beady eyes.

   "Oh mithter, I need you to do thomething for me...."

   It was at that very moment, while Alice and Edith were crawling down a hole in the ground, and their father was undertaking a quest from a timekeeping device, that a nearby tree opened up like a hole, and two men stepped out. The taller wore a tall green top hat, and a mismatched suit of various colours. He spoke through a bushy moustache.

   "You see! I always knew it would work!" he declared.

   His friend, a hare, casually smoking on the wrong end of a pipe, and wearing a tweed jacket commented "Oh quiet, it was my idea anyway. Now, you heard her highness, we have a queen to find!"

   "Nonsense to her majesty" the hatted man shouted, "I have a much better plan."

The End

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