Down The Rabbit Hole- Chapter One

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Down The Rabbit Hole- Chapter One

I stared at the clock’s digital display. The neon red color of the number kept blinking at me. Each flash slowly drained away my sanity as I tried to adjust the time. The constant hypnotic flash. I threw myself back against the bed while holding the clock above me, continuing to stare at the face before I finally chose to swing my arm to the side of the bed with a sigh of defeat. The fan at the foot of my bed hummed as I looked down the length of my arm at the silver body of the device. 


I could almost make out my eye in the reflection of its surface. A banging came from the front door of my apartment. 


“Alice!?” I heard a frantic voice call from the hallway. 


With a sigh, I let go of the device that had become the bane of my existence and set my feet down on the cold wood floors of my bedroom. The morning sun was peaking through my curtains. As I stepped into my living room, I could feel the cold air radiating out from the front windows. I grabbed the black jacket I had strung on my bar stool chair the night before. 


“Alice?” The voice called again. 


I reached the front door and the face of my next-door neighbor was trying to look into the peephole from the other side. 


“Hi, Mrs. Yale,” I said as I opened the door. “Is everything okay?”


She stood at the front door. Her face had the look of being both tired and worried. She was the elderly old woman on the floor so I had always taken the time to try and help her when I could. Her white hair was a little disheveled. 


“Alice! Oh, thank goodness!” She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards her apartment. “I need your help. My clock on my stove is blinking and I don’t know how to change the time.”


The moment I stepped out into the hall, the brisk air caused goosebumps to appear on my bare legs. I had barely enough time to fully make sure my door was unlocked for when I got back before I was out of the door completely. She was patting my hand as she pulled me along. Her initial worried tone had become a significantly happier one. 


“It seems that the power outage last night affected the whole building, huh?” 


“Yes, deary. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to fix my stove clock.”


“Lucky you. That one I do know how to fix. It’s alarm clocks that seem to be my downfall.”


I followed her to her apartment door and I could smell the unique smell of lavender and vanilla. Her apartment always reminded me of my grandmother’s house. She had the lights out and the floor was carpeted, unlike my apartment. She tugged me further into her apartment and led me to the stove where I saw the blinking red lights appearing on the digital display. 


“See! I’ve tried everything. Please help.”


I immediately got to work with fixing the display. She happened to have an old clock on her wall that was battery-powered and wasn’t affected by the power outage so I was able to compare the time to that. I even acted like it was a tiny bit difficult to make her feel a little bit better about her original try at fixing it. Afterward, I hopped up at sat on her counter like all of our usual talks. 


“All fixed, Mrs. Yale.”


I gave her another look over to check on her. She had recently come out of the hospital and didn’t have anyone else to check on her. She became incredibly reliant on me during this time. Especially when it came to picking up anything with any little extra weight. Her eyes widened as she smiled. 


“Thank you! I couldn’t do it myself. I’m so sorry to drag you in like that. Here let me grab you something.”


“No, I don’t need anything.”


“I insist.”


“No, Mrs. Yale. I’m truly okay.’


“Alice, you’re going home with cookies whether you want them or not.”


The stern look in her eyes always caught me off guard but this was a part of our song and dance. She looked past me and began opening cabinets. She reached over and swatted me off the counter before opening a couple of her silverware drawers and pulling out all of her weapons of choice. 


“Can I at least help you bake them this time?” I pleaded.


“Hunny, sit. You already do enough. How’s school going?”


I reluctantly found a seat by her dining room table. 


“It’s going, well. Just one more semester before I graduate. It’s been difficult trying to find the time to study and go to work.”


“And eat, apparently.”


I was a little taken aback by that. I looked down at my arms and legs. I would admit that I have certainly felt like I’ve lost a little bit of weight but I didn’t think it was that noticeable. 


“I eat.”




“Yes, food.”


She looked at me incredulously. I looked away and put my head and rested my elbow on the table. She looked back to what she was doing. This was the beast in the kitchen that I have come to know and love. Once she stepped behind the stove she always turned into a completely different woman. I also have to admit. Her chocolate cookies truly are delicious. 


“This is why you get cookies.”


I looked over at the clock. I had an hour before I had to be on my first shift. 


“Mrs. Yale, I need to run back to my apartment and start getting ready for work. Can I come by and pick them up on my way out?”


She looked over at the clock, then back at me, and nodded. I ran out of her apartment as fast as I could and reached mine. Movers were crowding the hallways. A new neighbor was moving onto our floor. Normally I would be more curious but I had to get ready as fast as I could. I made it inside my apartment and ran to the bathroom. I threw on the shower and grabbed two towels from the closet. My toothbrush was in my hand as I jumped into the frosted glass cubical. I rushed through as quickly as I could. Making sure I at least met the standards of the bare minimum of clean. 


I finished and opened the door to the now-steamy bathroom. I wrapped myself in a towel and threw my hair into one to dry before placing my toothbrush back into its holder. In my closet was the uniform that I’ve come to abhor so much. The one thing I could seem to find the more I looked around was my phone. Which, I realized I had left it in the kitchen the night before. Stumbling over my bed, I rushed to the kitchen and realized at the very last second I left my front door open. The sudden realization came as I was now face-to-face with the new neighbor. His arm reached up to knock on the door frame, and a huge grin across his face. 


“Hi, I’m Jack.”


A great start to the story! I’m already hooked and can’t wait to see where this goes :D

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