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  • Holly Morrissey

I want your heart

When Celia fell down the rabbit hole, Wonderland got a lot more interesting. The skies shifted to blushing pink, the grass bleeding red. Trees crumpled and in their place rose sugar cities in valentine colors. The change was a signal to the resident Wonderlandians that someone new had arrived.

As Celia, poor Celia, struggling to rise to her feet while being swallowed by red chiffon, the White Rabbit hopped over to her.

“Oh dear, oh dear! Are you quite alright Queen of Hearts? That was a terrible fall!”

Celia glared at the rabbit, whose ears drooped spectacularly at her venom.

“What is this madness?” She spat.

“Madness, my Queen? I do believe you’re conflating me with another hare! In any case, we really must be going to the castle, we’re already running terribly late!”

Confused but intrigued, Celia let herself be guided by the rabbit through the newly-rebirthed Wonderland. The breezy jaunt passed the mad tea party,  which had soured due to overly sweetened tea, and the caterpillar, who was doubled over hacking, his hookah smoke turned perfume.

The castle greeted the pair. It was a sweeping palace and courtyard of marbled vanilla and churro steepling, the centerpiece being a towering fountain with red velvet wine in place of water. Celia wanted to stop and take it in, but the ever impatient White Rabbit tugged her along to her throne, made of gold and rose quartz with the seating crushed velveteen. As she rested on her seat, the rabbit spoke to her again.

“Now please, my Queen, let us waste no further time. What is your deepest heart’s desire?”

Celia paused for a moment, contemplating. She struggled to think; her head buzzed with possibilities. She couldn’t stop herself from saying what she had always wanted to say.

“I want their hearts. Everyone’s hearts! No more hatred, no more confusion, no more fear. Their hearts belong to me. I deserve them! I deserve to be loved!”

Her words thundered, and a loud quiet rocked the land. Then the people, the cards, flamingoes, mice and hares, the hatter and the duchess and her cat, the clubs, the diamonds, and the spades, they all came, marching up to the Queen on her throne, coming as called. They all kneel to the throne, every last beating heart in Wonderland, and place a hand to their chest, which sinks through their skin as easily as breaking water’s surface, pulling out heart after heart. The air grew heavy with blood mist and, through the castle’s doors, a river wider than the Thames poured out in red. Hearts piled up high around the queen’s throne. And the Queen cried. Seeing this, the White Rabbit, now firmly stained pink, asked his queen why she wept.

“We don’t understand your highness, we gave you what you wanted.”

“Why should I have it!” The Queen yelped. “What good is love if it is forced? This is worse than being hated! Worse than being ignored!”

And the pink rabbit responded, “We were not forced! You simply exclaimed what you truly wanted! And we, your subjects, every one of us, we willingly gave it to you!”

The Queen wiped her tears. “Why? Why did you give me your hearts then?”

And the rabbit exclaimed. “Because we love you. My Queen, may I ask, why do you think you are undeserving of the most basic need in the world: love?”

And the Queen, in all her wisdom, could find no answer at all.


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