"Megan? It's time to wake up, darling. You can't swim asleep," my mother says as she brushes my hair away from my face.
I slowly open my eyes. "What's going on? Where are we?"
"Look around," she says as she gestures with her arm.
I slowly sit up, my arms crunching in whatever is on the ground. I look down and see crystal fragments beneath me. I reach down and scoop some in my hand and let it run through my fingers. I look around and see crystals all around, dimly reflecting the moonlight. A sound I didn't notice before suddenly picks up, the sound of water washing up against a grainy shore. The Crystal Pond. The Red Queen didn't destroy it?
"Care for a swim?" my mother asks softly, helping me to my feet.
I shake my head. "No. This water is supposed to have certain properties that alter the physique of the person who swims in it if they are destined to rule. I will not, I'll stay the Lady of Clubs."
My mother wraps her hand around my arm in a vise-like grip and drags me to the edge of the water. "This is your destiny, our destiny. You need the water so our suite can regain rule over Wonderland. You don't have a choice, Megan!"
I plant my feet firmly in the crystalline sand and try to shake her hand away from my arm. “I do have a choice, and I refuse to follow this pathway! I will not sacrifice myself to try and satisfy your dreams!”
“You are nothing more than a selfish, arrogant, spoiled girl, Megan Club. Your father and I raised you to dream big, and what could be bigger than being Queen of Wonderland?”
I look away from her pale grey eyes, trying to block out her words and the stinging effect that their barbed tips have.
“The only reason you were born was for this reason, Megan. If you refuse, your father and I can simply start over. We can have another child who can rule.”
I fight back tears and shake my head. “Even if you had another child, they wouldn’t be born with the mark, it goes from suite to suite. The chances of you having another child born with the mark are as slim as me willingly going into that water.”
My mother’s thin lips curve up into a malicious smile. “Willingly? There are more ways to tease a jabberwocky, my dear. You can go in that water awake or unconscious, it makes no difference to me.”
I look up at her, knowing that she’d carry out her threat, yet my mind is made up, no matter what she does to me. “No,” I say finally. “I will not help you in this crazy plan. It will only mean the death of the Club Suite. Are you willing to have that as your legacy?”
Anger flashing in her pale eyes, she reaches down and picks up a chunk of crystal. Before I can duck or react, she hits the side of my head with it. I remember vaguely feeling her drag me to the edge of a small cliff and push me over the edge. My housecoat acts as an anchor, taking on water and pulling me down into the depths of the cool waters as everything slowly dims and fades to black.