I chewed my lip anxiously. The trumpet was growing louder, and my first thoughts were of running. Well, I did run, but not in the direction any sensible person would have. But then, I’m not very much like any sensible person. I ran around the back of the house. I cleared my mind, and stiffened my body. Instantly, and if I’m honest a little too suddenly for my liking, I shot into the air. I grabbed hold of the window and swung through. Unfortunately, the window was not the kind that opened. I flew right through the glass, did a forward roll, and landed in the centre of the room.
“Oh my god! Hatter!” Queenie yelled. “What the hell are you doing?”
“I needed to get in,” I muttered. Chess burst into laughter.
“There’s me thinking you were gonna have a subtle entrance!” I grinned.
“I aim to please!” I stood up, bowed, and fell over again. Chess and Queenie burst into laughter. I stood up, my face as serious as possible.
“Okay guys, we need to get out – NOW.”
“Right,” Chess nodded.
“Right,” Queenie said.
“Where’s Rabbit?” I asked hurriedly.
“Over here!” a muffled voice came from the other end of the room. Rabbit was perched on a chest, nibbling something.
“Rabbit,” Queenie asked warily. “What are you eating?” Rabbit looked up.
“Cake!” she held up a square ginger cake with white icing. “Want some?” My eyes widened.
“Obulgritchin,” Chess whispered.
“Okay, now we REALLY need to get out!” I backed away slowly.
“Hatter? What’s happening to me?” Rabbit was growing larger, at an alarming rate.
“RUN!” I yelled. Chess and Queenie ran to the door, and I (of course, I’m not the most sensible person in an emergency) dived back through the window where I’d entered. I was falling for a few seconds, then remembered, stilling the air while I hung just millimetres above the ground. Eventually, my arms got tired, and I collapsed on the ground. Gasping, I looked up, and to my surprise, Tarrant was stood in the exact place I’d left him.
“Tarrant, have you even moved since I left?” he looked over at me.
“Have you moved?” he askeI grunted, and stood up. Chess and Queenie came running out of the house, along with the Duchess.
“Oh great,” I said sarcastically. “Couldn’t we have let Rabbit crush her?” The Duchess laughed, but her eyes told a different story. I looked around. Tarrant, Chess, Queenie, Esmerelda. Was I missing something? I didn’t have time to think, because Rabbit’s arms smashed through the windows. She was getting bigger and bigger. We all stepped away from the house, and Rabbit’s head crashed through the roof.
“HELP!” Rabbit yelled. Chess gasped. Queenie bit her lip. And I did the most inappropriate thing possible. I started laughing.
“Hatter? What’s so funny?” Rabbit snapped.
“I’m sorry! It’s just- I” I burst into laughter again. Chess rolled her eyes. My outbursts were quite common. Rabbit struggled in the house, but achieved nothing except destroying more of the roof.
“My house!” The Duchess cried indignantly. I was still laughing.
“Little help guys?” Rabbit asked nervously.
“Nah, I think you’re doing marvellously on your own!” I yelled. Queenie giggled, a little nervously. Rabbit gave me the death stare, and continued to struggle. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, until trumpets bellowed behind me.
“Eep” was all I could manage. All that time we could have been running for our lives, and we’d been stood, gawping at a now 30 foot high Rabbit. Queenie and Chess were stunned into silence.
“Maybe we should have got out earlier,” Queenie muttered.
“Good lot that’s gonna do now,” Chess moaned.
“Shut up, cat girl!” the Duchess snapped.
“Oi!” I bared my fists at the Duchess, who stuck her nose in the air.
“Maybe now isn’t the best time for fighting,” Tarrant muttered.
“Huh,” I uttered. “That’s the most sensible thing you’ve said all day!”
“One can go sane with a lack of tea.” I smiled. I stopped smiling as I felt something sharp jab me in the back.
I sighed irritably.
“Stayne,” I grunted. I looked over to Chess, who was being bombarded by guards. “Maybe I should start carrying a gun.”
“A GUN?!” Queenie shouted. “You’re mad!”
“I think we’ve already established that, Ella.”
“Who asked you frogface?” I retorted. Stayne scowled.
“Who’s holding the sword?” he smirked. I turned around in a flurry, so fast the sword tore my jacket, and grabbed the sword.
“I am!” I yelled triumphantly. A hundred guards pointed there spears at me. “Oh, hello…” I waved shyly. “Perhaps that wasn’t the best plan…”
“Drop the sword, Harriet.” Reluctantly, I dropped the sword. Stayne picked it up and pointed it at my back. I gulped.
“My,” I remarked. “now I know how Pirelli felt.” Chess spluttered.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please! Do you wake every morning with shame and despair to discover your pillow is covered with hair?
” Queenie sang.
“What ought nought to be there?"
” Chess finished. “Well, ladies and gentlemen, from now on you can waken at ease! You need never again have a worry or care, I will show you a miracle marvellous, rare.
“Gentlemen, you are about to see something that rose from the dead!
“On the top of my head!
” I bowed and pulled off my hat. Queenie, Chess and Tarrant laughed (Rabbit was in no mood for laughing). It may have been a trick of the ears, but I thought some of the guards laughed as well.
“Enough of this nonsense, we must be on our way.” Some of the guards grabbed us.
“WAIT!” Chess yelled.
“What now, cat-girl?” The Duchess snapped. I glared my Death Stare at her.
“What about Rabbit?” Queenie asked, staring up at the enormous girl.
“HELP!” Rabbit yelled, clearly not enjoying herself.
“Oh my,” Stayne uttered. “She has
“Stayne, if that had come from anyone other than you, that might have been funny.” I mocked. He scowled at me.
“I can be funny any time I like!”
“Tell me a joke then! Wait! On second thoughts, don’t.” Stayne scowled again, and peered up at Rabbit.
“Well, luckily we have an expert with us! Sid!” A newt in a chimney sweep sort of outfit scurried out of nowhere. He inspected the struggling Rabbit, and then whispered in Stayne’s ear.
“There’s nothing else we can do!” Stayne announced. “We must burn the house down!”
“NO!” We all yelled.
“I suppose you have a better idea?”
“Oh! I do!” Out of nowhere, Tarrant pulled out a small glass bottle, a bottle I instantly recognised from previous adventures (or misadventures, whichever way you look at it).
“Pishtrinken?” Stayne raised his eyebrows. “Where on earth did you get that?” Tarrant said nothing, a wild look in his eyes.
“We need a way to get it up to rabbit…” Queenie said thoughtfully.
“We ain’t getting up there,” Sid said. “We’ll have to burn it down.”
“I can get up there!” I piped up.
“Nobody asked you!” Stayne snapped. I stuck my tongue out.
“Well we’re not letting her burn!” Queenie said irritably. “And Hatter or Tarrant are the only ones that can get up there.”
“None of us are leaving without her!” Chess yelled.
“You’ll have to kill us!” I snarled. Stayne was silent, and I smiled triumphantly.
“You can’t do it. You need us for some reason. You need to make a decision Stayne, either way, one of us is going free.” Stayne mumbled something under his breath, and all of a sudden I was released. I stared at Stayne, trying to read his thought. But he merely stared back, waiting for my actions to take place. I sighed, and marched over to the house. I sighed again as I rose into the air. Somebody in the party below me gasped, it might have been the Duchess, it might have been a guard, who knows. I whistled a song as I ascended, then let out a short laugh.
“What’s so funny?” Stayne asked. I sat on the roof, close to Rabbit’s left arm.
“Just thought of a song that reminded me of you,” I called.
“What?!” Chess yelled.
“We're rascals, scoundrels, villans, and knaves, Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho. We're devils and black sheep, really bad eggs, Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
” Queenie and Chess began laughing hysterically.
"Yo ho a pirates life for me!
" They shouted from the ground.
“KNAVES!” Chess spluttered. “That’s a good one!”
“It won’t be when you have no head!” Stayne yelled. I rolled my eyes, and continued up to Rabbit’s head.
“’ello Hatter,” she greeted, smiling.
“How’s life treating you, Rabbit?” Rabbit rolled her eyes.
“I’m here to help, listen, drink this.” I held out the bottle, and then grimaced, realising how much smaller than Rabbit’s mouth it was.
“How am I supposed to drink it?” Rabbit asked.
“Oh no,” I wailed.
“Just open your god damn mouth…”
Rabbit reluctantly opened her mouth. I shivered, and edged towards her.
“What’s she doing?” Chess asked. Queenie craned her neck to see.
“I’m not sure…wait – Oh no! Eugh!”
I peered into Rabbit’s open mouth. I’ve seen the inside of a mouth before, but God, It’s far, far worse magnified. Rabbit let a sigh escape from her mouth, and I cringed as hot air hit my face.
“God Rabbit, your breath stinks!”
“Hey! I haven’t brushed my teeth in 2 days!”
“Phooey I can tell!”
“Shut up and get on with whatever it is your doing!”
“Hold still then!” Holding my nose, I poured the clear liquid down her throat. I quickly stepped back as Rabbit swallowed, fearing she’d snap my arm off with her now enormous teeth. Slowly, Rabbit began to shrink. I grabbed her hand, and when she was back to normal size, I hauled her onto the roof next to me.
“Thanks,” she sighed in relief.
“No problem!” I smiled. “Alice wasn’t the only one who could deal with situations like this.” Rabbit laughed.
“Right!” Stayne announced. “Sid! Now
we burn the house down!”
“WHAT?!” Chess, Queenie, Rabbit and I yelled. Stayne smirked and waved his hand. The lizard came forward with a huge flaming torch.
“Stayne!” I roared. “You churlish guts-gripping moldwarp!”
“Hatter!” Rabbit yelled.
“Have fun, girls!” And with that, Stayne mounted his horse, and the guards dragged Queenie, Chess, Tarrant and the Duchess away. Sid threw the torch at the bottom of the house. Flames appeared at bottom of the house.
“This is not good,” Rabbit wailed. “Not good at all!” The flames rose rapidly. Rabbit and I huddled together as the fire licked at the frame of the house, eating away at the aged wood. It roared and licked its lips, hungry for barbequed Rabbit.
“We need to get out of here,” I stated.
“Could you carry me out?” Rabbit asked desperately.
“I’m not sure; I’m still feeling weak from our first escape. If we risk it, we could both end up burned to a crisp.”
“Right. Then there’s only one thing for it. We’re gonna have to jump.”
“Quickly, there isn’t much time!” Rabbit edged over to the edge of the roof. She gasped as the flames flared up to her left. I crept after her, making my way around the crumbling roof.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
“No, but let’s go along with the plan like I am.” Rabbit smiled weakly, took a deep breath, and jumped. I gasped as she disappeared over the flames.
“Over here!” I looked over, and gasped. Rabbit stood, completely unhurt, at least 10 metres away from the house.
“Blimey how did you jump that far!?”
“I don’t know! Now get your butt down here before your hat catches on fire!” Suddenly panicking over the safety of my hat, I stiffened my body and rose over the flames, and down to where Rabbit stood.
“That jump…was…CRAZY!” I yelled waving my arms around in the air.
“I don’t know what happened!” Rabbit shouted, also waving her arms around in the air. We stood, waving our arms in the air for no apparent reason, for about 6 minutes. I finally collapsed on the ground.
“I’m knackered!” I sighed. Rabbit lay down next to me, panting. I rolled over and watched in wonder as the fiery claws savaged at what was left of the Duchess’ house.
“When you’re not being swallowed by the flames, fire is such a beautiful thing,” I said dreamily. Rabbit laughed.
“Does this amuse you?”
“Hatter, you and I both know what a pyromaniac you are, now what do you propose we do?”
“Gaze at the fire until it dies out, then dance on the ashes,” I muttered darkly, my eyes gleaming wickedly. Rabbit pushed me playfully.
“Don’t go all dark and mysterious on me! That would be a good plan if our two best friends, a woman we despise, and a man I’ve known for two days…”
“don’t forget, he’s a man I’ve known for a whole year!” I interrupted, my eyes never leaving the picturesque scene of the fire demolishing the Duchess’ house.
“You know what makes this fire even more special?” I said.
“I can pretend The Duchess and Cook are inside.” Rabbit laughed, and then snapped her fingers.
“Of course!” she yelled. “That’s what’s missing!”
“The Cook! Where did he go?”
“Maybe he perished in the blaze,” I said dreamily.
“Shut up!” Rabbit said. “He wasn’t in the house when I grew. But where could he be?” Rabbit rolled onto her back thoughtfully.
“I don’t know,” I said, not fully concentrating.
“Well wherever he is…it doesn’t matter. We need to get to s..ss….”
“Salozem Grom,” I corrected.
“Yeah, there – to rescue Chess, Queenie and Tarrant and”
“Don’t even say it,” I warned. Rabbit sighed.
“Do you know the way?” Rabbit asked.
“Yes, but first, there’s something I need to get something.”
“What?” Rabbit asked. I grinned.
“It’s at the tea party.”
“Isn’t it a bit risky going back there?” I grinned.
“Taking a risk is like taking a bath, sometimes you can have a relaxing and pleasant experience, other times you to late realise there is something dark lurking in the waters, and all you can do is scream and cling to a plastic duck.” Rabbit laughed.
“I wish I’d read enough Lemony Snicket to have to faintest idea what you’re talking about.”
"So do I. Now, are we heading off or what?"