*Cont. from Hat of Dreams, pt. I
‘Hello? Is anybody there?’ the little girl shivered and pulled her cloak closer. White smoke lingered in the air as warm breath left her lungs. She put her little fists to her lips, but found to her astonishment they were in no need of warmth; her skin was warm and so was the air. What is this place, she thought as her eyes adjusted to the icy grey and endless black. Goosebumps popped up along her arms, yet, with a quick uptake of breath and a fearless stride, the girl began walking.
The shuffling of her feet across tree roots followed her like a shadow; the echo of her ‘ompfh’ repeated itself into the thin air as she tripped and fell. Marsh grass had slithered into her path and tore at her ankles.
God, what place is this. How did I get here? Oh, that’s right. The old lady… How rude of her to send me here…she must be a right witch!
‘Catching on slow are you?’ the little girl jumped at the strange voice interrupting her trail of thoughts. She looked around feverishly, seeing nothing but clouds of drifting smoke.
‘Who’s there? Show yourself!’
‘I’m right here,’ the voice sighed. The little girl spun around, yet saw nothing but what she had seen before. Nothing, but perhaps… Those blue lights…What a beautiful blue…
‘Thank you…I suppose. Don’t worry, you’ll have a pair soon enough.’
The little girl gasped. As the voice spoke, a face appeared to be framing the two glowing blue dots; the smoke took shape of a little blue eyed girl about the same age as herself.
‘You’re a – wait, I’ll have my own pair – wait! You can hear my thoughts?’ the little girl took to her head, swayed and leaned against a rock so she would not stumble and fall over. The other girl merely raised an eyebrow, crossed her arms and tapped her fingers impatiently.
‘Which answer do you want first?’
The little girl glared open mouthed before she shook her head and gathered herself.
‘Who are you?’
‘I was Carmilla Hogsworth,’ the girl answered bluntly and straightened the rim of her dress.
‘No, you’re not.’
‘You might have been, but, whoever you were, you’re not anymore. What was your name?’
‘Lizzie…Elizabeth Jane Norman…pleasure to meet you,’ Lizzie stuttered and held out her hand. Carmilla merely looked at it, back at Lizzie and lifted her eyebrow even higher.
‘What place is this?’ Lizzie asked and retracted her hand.
Carmilla rolled her eyes.
‘Did you say something?’
‘It’s the others.’
Lizzie’s brows moved into a questioning frown. Carmilla motioned towards the shadows behind them. As they moved, Lizzie saw a boy’s silhouette take form, although, he looked much weaker than Carmilla; like a fading projected image.
‘Who are you?’ Lizzy asked the boy. His head barely lifted, the twinkling blue lights twirled around in the sockets of his eyes, and his head dropped back to his chest. Forget me not.
‘He’s forgotten. Most of them are.’ Carmilla said from behind. Lizzie stood up and looked around. All around them were children sat like lifeless dolls; their heads dropping, their arms and legs in disorder.
Lizzie gasped ‘The children’s laugh…that was you wasn’t it? All of you!’
‘We all fell in the witch’s trap, isn’t it obvious?’
‘What can I do to help them?’
‘There’s nothing you can do. You’re a girl. Us girls don’t do anything but wait for a knight in shiny armor.’
‘Well, then I simply won’t be a girl anymore.’
Carmilla shrugged. ‘You soon won’t be anyone anymore.’
‘What do you mean?’
That voice… she looked around, searching through her memory for whose voice it could be.
‘ Lizzie? Lizzie, are you down there?’
‘Mother…It’s my mother! Oh Mother, I’m down here!’ Lizzie began running after the voice, passing one shadow child after the other.
‘Lizzie?’ A male voice followed the female.
‘Come on, Carmilla, it’s my parents!’ Lizzie squealed of joy; her eyes widened as a stream of light flooded into the darkness from the distance, ‘Mother! Father! I’m here!’
‘Oh, sweetheart, there you are,’ Lizzie’s speed haltered as she registered the words, ‘We were getting worried!’ Lizzie’s smile faltered. She was here, but they were not.
The sudden light sparkled like a treat from further and beyond. She kept on running until she reached the mirror’s golden frames. A soundless scream escaped her lips as she stared back at her own reflection. Carmilla arrived after taking her own sweet time, her expression unsurprised. Lizzie’s reflection grinned gleefully towards them both. Two adults walked up behind it and put their arms around its shoulders.
‘Are you ready to come home, sweetheart?’ They whispered tenderly.
‘Yes, I’m coming.’ The other Lizzie said.
The Lizzie back in Forget-Me-Not put her palms to the mirror surface ‘No! I’m here! That’s not me! Mother! Father!’ Tears rolled down her cheeks. Mrs and Mr Norman turned and walked out of the mirror. The other Lizzie made a last grin – the Witch danced in her eyes – and followed put.
‘No! That evil-! She can’t do that! She’s pretending to be me!’ Lizzie turned to Carmilla for help. The girl sent her nothing besides unsympathetic looks.
‘Yet, you’re not you.’
‘No!’ Lizzie turned and punched her little fist into the mirror. It’s image broke and shattered into many small blades. Carmilla gasped. Her gasp echoed. It echoed into voices chanting.
‘Forget me not.’
‘Forget me not.’
‘Forget me not.’
They looked around; shadow children surrounded them. Blue eyes glowed like never before. Their bodies as clear as paper.
‘What did you do?’ Carmilla murmured beneath her breath. The girl, not so little anymore, looked at her; clasping a blade in her bleeding fist.
‘Forget me – I’m Lizzy no more. She can’t get us home…but I will.’
Michael Ghamloush for his what if question asking “What if the girl is trapped behind an invisible barrier, within this hat, where she cannot be seen, cannot be heard, and slowly, her parents come down into the tree, to see if she may have wandered in.”
Tamsin Bunny Ford for her characteristic “The land of forget-me-nots”
Hege Beate Staurnes for her what-if-question asking “What if the character is opposite gender, gender queer or non-gender conforming”, this was the most challenging input and one I did not feel I could do justice due to being unable to relate to such a character and thus did not want to insult by attempting to portray one. It will be intriguing, even for me, to see if I can keep working on this input in later posts.
Would you be intrigued to see how your input may affect the story? Join in on the WP: Hat of Dreams by posting:
– A character name
– A short line of (Character) description
– A short “What if Question”
in the comment field below. Maybe your input will be selected to affect Hat of Dreams, pt. III (release date: tbc) !!
*Hat of Dreams is an interactive social Writing Project started by Christina L. Qvam, author of the blog One in A Minion a.k.a. The Wandering Humanitarian. It is unknown how the story will develop as it’s purely driven by the input of its audience and knitted together – during breaks from her own writing – by Miss Qvam. The general idea of the writing project is to unite the social world and reignite the old passion for reading and storytelling on an online platform.