Bogleech.com's 2017 Horror Write-off:
Too Many Queens
Submitted by Beecreeper
It was warm outside, despite being so late at night. Alice rubbed her eyes. She had never been up this late before. Luckily the moon was very bright so it wasn't too dark. Not that Alice was scared of the dark or anything; she just thought it was nice to see where she was walking.
Her mother held her hand as they walked out into the field. Six other grown ups followed them. They were dressed in white too, but the candles they were carrying were black. On the far side of the field were some big rocks that Alice liked to climb on sunny days. Mother asked Alice to stand in the middle of the circle of rocks while the others put their candles around the edge. Alice's mom kneeled down next to her, putting her hand on her shoulder.
"Are you ready, sweetie?" she asked in a whisper. Alice nodded.
"Yup. Though I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do."
"You're going to stand very still and be very brave and then you're going to meet the King."
"That's who's going to make you a queen."
"And all I have to do is stand still?"
"That's right." Her mother pointed to a spot on the grass that had been burnt away. "Just stand exactly right there."
They gave her some tea out of a big brass cup that tasted like grass and made her tongue feel tingly. Everyone went and stood behind one of the candles. She never learned the names any of her mother's friends, but she remembered them by the masks that they wore when they came to visit. Her favorite one had pink glass circles for eyes and two long pointy ears. Alice thought it looked like a rabbit.
Everyone in the circle was saying things, but it must be hard to talk through those masks because Alice couldn't understand a word of what they were saying. Tiny shadows danced on the hems of their long white robes in the flickering light. It was a little darker than it was before. The moon wasn't as bright. In fact, one side of it was even a little red. Was that because it was so late? Did the moon always turn red late at night, after Alice was usually asleep in bed? Goodness, she certainly wished she was in bed, but she knew that she couldn't lie down. Mother said to stand perfectly still -- right in that spot! She couldn't lie down, no matter how heavy her eyelids felt or how much her knees wobbled.
All of a sudden, Alice was falling. But it didn't feel like regular falling; it felt like she was falling upwards and downwards and backwards and sideways all at once. She was falling all ways. But that doesn't make sense, does it? Up until that point, Alice was certain that a person could only fall one direction at once, but now she supposed she must have been wrong. Her vision blurred with colors she didn't recognize and couldn't describe. It made her feel kind of sick, so she tightly closed her eyes to wait until the falling stopped. Her nose, mouth, and ears were all plugged like she was deep underwater.
Then, as suddenly as she had started falling, she stopped. She didn't appear to have landed on anything, but in any case, she no longer felt like she was falling save for a slight unease that bobbed in her stomach like a buoy on a lazy sea. She tentatively opened her eyes.
Her mother was gone. Everything was gone. The sky, the grass, the boulders, the candles -- gone. Alice saw nothing but blank white in all directions. It wasn't blinding white, like looking too close at a light, nor was it soft white like the clean linen dress that Alice herself was wearing. This was an empty white. She wondered where the person she was supposed to meet could be, much less anything else. They certainly couldn't be hiding anywhere.
"Hello?" Alice called, presuming it would be rude if she didn't at least try to find them.
Though she didn't hear it, she felt an answer. The nothing, the emptiness around her filled with the answer, intangible yet everywhere. It was confused. Maybe she should introduce herself properly first.
"I'm Alice," she said, attempting to curtsy despite not knowing which way was up or who she was curtsying towards. "Is the king here?"
Again, the nothingness around her responded. It was even more confused, maybe even a little angry. Or was it scared? It was pretty hard to tell for sure. Alice hoped that she hadn't accidentally been rude. She certainly didn't want to embarrass herself, even if it was in front of nothing. What would her mother think if she knew that Alice was making such a fool of herself. Her mother had trusted her with such an important job and now here she was, nowhere at all and talking to no one. She would never be queen at this rate.
"Alice?" Came a voice from behind her. Alice turned around, stomach jolting as she did. Her mother was standing in the nothingness twenty feet away. Alice tried to run towards her, longing to cling to the hem of her skirt like she used to when she was scared, but her feet ineffectively slogged through the emptiness like it was molasses. "Aaaalice?" her mother asked again in a voice that was slow and choked, like it was being pieced together one one sound at a time. Alice paused and cocked her head to the side, noticing that her mother was standing crooked. Her mouth moved without the rest of her face. In fact, now that Alice was looking closely, it was also much too wide and much too flat.
"What... is... Alice...?"
"Don't... don't you know me?" Alice asked, though she was growing somewhat certain that this wasn't actually her mother.
"What....is.... an Alice...?"
"An Alice is me, ma'am. I'm Alice."
"Are you the king?"
Alice shook her head, though it made her a little dizzy again. "That can't be right, ma'am, because I'M Alice." Of this fact, Alice was very certain.
"I'm.... I'm Alice..."
Alice was getting very confused and a little frustrated. This thing was only probably not her mother, but it was definitely NOT Alice. But when she looked at it, it did sort of look like Alice. She was dressed in a long white dress, with a wreath of daisies, dandelions and willowbark in her hair. Must be kind of itchy.
"Hello... I'm Alice?" said the Alice, still slowly, but less so than before. "Who are you?"
What an odd question, she thought. I'm the Queen. Just look at my crown! But if I'm the Queen, then who's Alice? The Queen looked around. She saw a field of green with a large willow tree, a pink moon that dripped with wax onto the ground, and a rabbit that walked up on two legs, but no Alices.
Where's Alice? I need to find an Alice. It's very important; someone has to be an Alice. Someone has to find an Alice. Rabbit! Oh Rabbit! Go fetch me an Alice, and do be quick about it.
What's an Alice?
Alice was wearing red.
Alice was wearing black.
Alice was wearing red again. Oh my, now that was going to get confusing. There was already plenty of red. Would you like to try something else?
Alice was wearing pink. Now that's a little better than red.
Alice was wearing blue.
Alice was wearing yellow and orange and purple and green and all sorts of colors.
Alice was wearing pajamas covered in cartoon ponies. She met the Blue Queen and the Yellow Queen. She had tea with the Pink Queen and jam with the White. She even became queen herself! The Queen of Ponies -- doesn't that sound grand? But if I'm the Queen of Ponies, then where's Alice?
There has to be an Alice. There's too many queens.