Dan stared at the table, that was gunmetal grey and had roses intricately carved into it, he was in awe of what he saw. The elaborate candelabra were hung from the ceiling and each of the chairs was high backed and had skull patterns on them.
A tall man with pure whit e hair walked up to the head of the table and bowed to them all, he looked for all the world like Dante from Devil may cry that Dan had played many times but he wore a white tuxedo with tails, a black tie and waistcoat and white trousers.
?Nice to see you again Alice, it?s?. always a pleasure. And I see you?ve brought a guest? he said gesturing toward Dan who was wondering why he had a really bad feeling about the Madhatter.
?My names Dan? he said
?As is obvious dear boy? the Madhatter smirked ?Come servants? at his very command a line of serving girls entered carrying silver platters and placed them in front of each person at the feast table.
?Now everyone, eat and be merry? the Madhatter said, and the servants took the lids off each of the platters.
When Dan looked down he was nearly sick as he saw a plate of raw meat oozing with blood and maggots all over. He stood quickly from his chair knocking it to the ground and looked over to see Alice poking at hers with a fork then looking up at him puzzled,
?Is there something the matter?? she said looking a little upset, he just gagged and ran out of the marquee into the forest.
Dan ran until he didn?t have any clue as top where he was, he knew he was lost and hadn?t waited for Alice?s explanation on what he had just seen. Vaguely he heard the trickle of water from a river but a metre away and the crunch of footsteps coming toward him,
?Hello?? he said into the grey half darkness
?Hello we..? said on of the twins
?Are Flora? said the other
?And forna? When forna finished the sentence as though they were one person he noticed the moth eaten cream bridesmaid dresses the little girls were wearing. The decay on the dresses wasn?t all, if you looked you could see it on the girls themselves, which wasn?t made any better for him when they lifted their decapitated heads off and held them in their hands by the blond curly hair.
?ALICE!!!? he yelled feeling physically sick at the sight of their gruesome necks.
Alice appeared beside him with a skeleton mouse in the palm of her hand, which seemed to be alive,
?Now why did you have to eat my cake?? she said tapping the mouse on the bone nose, It squeaked at her and she picked it up by the bone tail ?I know you did so don?t tell tails?Oh? she had just noticed the others stood there and dropped the mouse to the ground ?Shoo? she said and it scuttled off.
?Alice?? the twins said in unison.
?Flora, Forna?Dan you called?
?First he..? they said together
?Must answer? Forna said
?Our riddles three? Flora held up her head in her head to show the anger there as she spoke to Alice.
?Then do so but I reserve the right to help him? Alice said threateningly.
Dan couldn?t make head nor tail of the situation except that Alice was trying to help him.
?Ask then? he said confidently, the twins looked at each other and Alice alked over to the river.
?How deep is that river?? Flora said, at least he thought it was Flora anyway, she pointed to the river that Alice was leant over.
He racked his mind trying to think of the answer, the pressure getting to him as he tried harder but couldn?t seem to think of it, how could he know how deep it was.
?What happens if I get it wrong?? he asked, Forna turned sharply swinging her head.
?Do not answer a question with a question!?
?They will collect your head as theirs was so long ago,? said Alice, although it was true she was only trying to get his attention. Alice picked up a stone and dropped it into the river then winked at him. A thought sprang to the forefront of Dan?s mind.
?The river is as deep as a stone will sink? Dan said and was reassured when Alice smiled at him.
?Correct though you?
?Still have two more?
?So ask away then,? Alice said dusting off her hands, Forna struck out hard with a backhander and hit Alice hard enough for her to sink to knees and keel over.
?Without your help. We did not agree to your terms? Flora said, Alice lay unmoving but they ignored her,
?Your second is this?
?If a person has everything what is it that they will never have??
Alice coughed and lifted herself up off the ground,
?The answer is that they will never have freedom because freedom is just an illusion,? Dan said calmly having heard the riddle before.
?Correct again? Flora said,
?Now for our last? Forna said,
?How old is Alice?? They both gestured to Alice who was staggering to her feet and picking up her top hat, she didn?t look pleased to say the least. She held up a hand to silence Dan but he answered anyway.
?As old as time allows? he said, the twins looked at each other and put their heads back on their necks.
?You?re free? Forna said
?To go as you? Flora said
?Answered correctly? Forna ended,
?Girls?? Alice said sweetly behind them, they turned to face her and she backhanded them both in one powerful hit. Their heads fell off and rolled along the ground ?How dare you strike me!? Alice yelled at them.
?Can we go now?? Dan said a little nervous and covered in dirt. He looked over at Alice and thought he saw fangs but in a second she had gone back to her pleasant self and told himself he had imagined it.
?But of course. Hmm better get you cleaned up on our way? and skipped over to pull him by the hand,
?Wait, first I want to know why??
?The feast was as it was because that is what you believed it would be and so it was made to be true? He knew it was true because that was what he thought would be uncovered at the time.
?Just follow me, silly bean,? she said walking off through the forest?