Nightmares: River
Friday, June 30, 2006

The first in a series of ficlets exploring the dark places the mind goes while one sleeps. As the title states, this is River's.


The usual disclaimer: They're not mine, (though I wish Jayne was), and I'm making no $$$ off of this.

Feedback is greatly appreciated!


River found herself in a long hallway. She looked around, trying to figure out where she might be. Every door was numbered, and had a wire holder attached to it that contained a file. It looked as though she was in a hospital. She walked around until she came across a desk, but there was no one there. In fact, the entire building seemed deserted.

Then she heard it. A faint cry emanated from somewhere behind her, and she spun around to try and locate the source. There were three different corridors to choose from, so she waited quietly to see if she could pinpoint which one to take. After a few minutes, she heard it again, and headed off to the right.

River crept down the hall, propelled by a need to protect that overcame her in waves. She paused and listened at every doorway, peeking into the thin windows, but so far the rooms were all empty.

"River, help me!" The voice was plaintive. She stepped up her search, recklessly throwing open doors looking for the source of the pleas. With frustration she noted that the hall didn't seem to end, instead stretching out longer than she had realized. A blood curdling scream echoed from one of the rooms, and River caught herself matching the scream as she became more frenzied.

She clapped her hands over her ears as tears ran down her face. "Must gain control. Have to save her." She murmured this over and over until her breathing slowed.

She concentrated for a moment, working out in her head where the scream had come from, and noticed two big swinging doors amidst the rank of the smaller ones.

It had come from there, she just knew it. She began to run towards the doors, but noticed that the closer she got, the larger the doors seemed. When she finally reached them they towered over her.

She struggled to push the nearest one open, and finally managed to slip inside.

Before her she could see a dais with two thrones. Her mother sat ramrod straight in the one on the left, her father meekly in the right, both dressed in lavish costumes that she recognized, but couldn't remember from where.

In front of the dais was an operating table flanked by the Blue Hands, holding down a child wearing a little blue dress and white pinafore, with white stockings and black patent leather shoes.

Hovering over the child was a feral looking rabbit, his brocade waistcoat and white fur spattered with blood. The little girl looked at her, and she found herself staring into the face that she remembered seeing in the mirror when she was six years old. Little River screamed as the rabbit plunged its paws into her, and came up with a length of intestines, which it began to gnaw upon. The Blue Hands grinned maniacally as they struggled to keep the child still.

Her mother stood up, "OFF WITH HER HEAD!"

The rabbit nodded and reached for Little River's head. With a horrible rending sound, he tore it off and held it aloft.

Her mother nodded in approval, "Very well, I believe it's time for tea."

River screamed, and all eyes turned towards her. The Blue Hands licked their lips lasciviously as they began to walk towards her, leaving the headless little corpse twitching on the table.

"Time to go down the rabbit hole," a quiet voice near her said, and she looked over to find a cat with Simon's gentle smile floating in the air above her. Suddenly the floor opened, and she found herself falling...falling...falling.

She finally landed with a thump, and found herself in a long hallway. She looked around, trying to figure out where she might be. Every door was numbered, and had a wire holder attached to it that contained a file. It looked as though she was in a hospital. She walked around until she came across a desk, but there was no one there.

"Oh God no!" she cried, "I can't do this again!" She heard skittering behind her, and turned to see who was coming.

"I'm late! I'm late!" the white rabbit exclaimed as it came running towards her.

She shrieked and tried to move out of its path, but it felt as though her feet were glued to the floor. The rabbit's little pink eyes glowed with evil, as its face changed into one that she was all too familiar with. As it got closer, it reached for her with its gore spattered paws.

"SIMON! HELP ME!" she screamed, and suddenly she was jarred awake, eyes blinded by the light over her bed. Simon was there, holding her tightly as she cried hysterically into his shoulder.

"Shh mei mei. It was just a dream. Just a dream," Simon reassured her. As he calmed her down, he looked quizzically at the book on her nightstand. When she'd finally cried herself back to sleep, he reached for it.

He read the title and smiled, remembering how they used to read it together when they were children. It had always been one of her favorites. He cracked it open to chapter one...

"ALICE was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?'

So she was considering, in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" (when she thought it over afterwards it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but, when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again..."


Thanks also to Lewis Carroll. Didn't want to say that in the disclaimer, and give everything away.


Friday, June 30, 2006 11:33 AM


I loved it. As unlikely as it may seem sometimes I am infact a big fan of Alice in Wonderland.

River is the perfect example of a modern day Alice. Her mind went tumbling down the rabbit hole when they started playing with her.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 1:13 AM


This was brilliant, poor River! I particularly liked the way the story seemed to be stuck on repeat with River falling and finding herself back in the tunnel but this time before the white rabbit got to the throne room. Great work, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 12:54 PM


Oh I love this. Very realistic for River to have a nightmare about that story. Nicely done again!

Sunday, October 22, 2006 3:41 AM


good job mate I think you did better then the actual Alice in Wonderland book but I never really liked it, but urs is great. Also did you know that the guy who wrote it was aperantly a mathomatician ( thats what my da says and hes a mathamatician too)

Saturday, January 20, 2007 9:27 AM


Smile! You've been reviewed by Firefly Talk


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