Wonderland

Fiction by: Suriya N., Grade 12

The sun had risen, shining brightly in the distance. The crumpling of leaves could be heard as I took a step into the field. Fall had just arrived, which meant the spine-tingling, cold wind front also returned. I could almost believe that a whip of the cool breeze brought along the scrumptious smell of freshly baked waffles in the mornings. Yet this town was different. The sense of early dew was predominant every morning, along with the smell of smoke from the industrial factory miles away.  In the distance the local steam train could be heard with its loud whistle as it made its way towards our town. The town seemed very isolated as it was positioned in the center of an enchanted forest. A cool, slightly white sheet of fog remained at all times at the foot level of the town as if it rose above a bed of clouds. The town had a dark tone; it was always quiet. Even its inhabitants remained silent in their monochromatic clothing in shades of grey.

Carrying my loaded bag, I strolled through looking about for my new home. As I walked by I could feel the striking gazes of some people around me, each of them appalled and disgusted at what seemed to be my appearance. I proceeded with my flashy neon green shoes and multicoloured apparel. The town had an eerie sadness towards it.  I for one felt out of place.

Something about the town didn’t seem right. A few children walked about; there wasn’t the usual cheer in any of their faces. A boy looked up at me; he wore rugged and tattered clothes, his face was expressionless. He quickly looked away and walked off. The houses nearby had a dull appearance; almost all of them were covered in vines and rusty handles, the doors were painted a dark monotonous blue, and many windows were cracked. It was atrocious. It was as if the town had been abandoned for decades. However, people still lived here. I clenched my wrinkled duffle bag tighter at the sight of this.

As I walked further I arrived at the town’s main junction but there was no one in sight. At that instance I felt a cold chill run down my spine, trying to force me to turn back, but I  resisted. There, in front of me, rested the town’s welcome board. It lay on the ground in front of me as if it were a typical news flyer. It was made of plywood and had several cracks. The heading on it was handwritten in what seemed to be childish writing. I was appalled by what was written. The board read: Welcome to Wonderland. The population count of 12 000 was crossed off to display a shocking number of 20. At that moment I was determined to uncover the secrets of the town, whether or not it caused a threat to my own life.

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