We’ve lost a piece and without it we’ll never be able to fix them. We’re searching the room for it and I catch a glimpse of what looks like the Mad Hatter scurrying away. He looks back with the famous face of Johnny Depp and I see he’s holding the piece I need in his hands.
“Hey!” I run after him and he turns to flee.
I feel like Alice in Wonderland chasing after the white rabbit.
Within moments I’m by his side. His jittery behavior reminds me of Edward Scissorhands. “He took it.”
I follow his pointing finger and see another man running away.
“He was trying to steal it. I stopped him, but he still got it.” Depp tells me. “Don’t worry, I’ll get it back.”And with that, he’s off again.
I try to keep up, but he’s surprisingly fast. I call out and in a blink I’m running with him. Only something is different.
The man we chase, looks at me in horror and I wonder why I would be so intimidating to him. It’s then I catch a glimpse of my hand as I continue to chase him. It’s not my hand.
Stopping, I look down. I’m dressed like the Mad Hatter. I feel my face and my fingers trace the strong jaw of Johnny Depp.
“Why did you stop! Keep going.” I turn to look at myself. Somehow I’ve left my body behind. I don’t have time to think what this could mean. The man’s getting away and I need what he has.
I rush forward. Surprised at how familiar I feel in this new body.
Within moments I’m on the man, tackling him to the ground. I manage to snatch the object out of his hands. I punch him and he goes down. Out cold.
“Here,” I stand next to me, breathing hard, my arm outstretched for the piece I need, blue eyes pleading. “I’ll take it. Thank you.”
How am I standing next to myself. I’m still me, but I’m not in my body. I’m Johnny Depp. I know I’m Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. But I am still me.
I’m still trying to sort out the oddities when the man rises to his feet, grabs the object from my hand and whips an imposing arm around my throat. Her throat? No my throat, I’m just not in my body. But then, who is?
He’s cutting off my – her – circulation and her face is going red. “Don’t try to follow me Jack!”
I take a step forward anyway, wanting to protect myself. Her. Whatever.
There’s a sharp intake of breath and I see the metal touching her/my neck. I swallow, almost feeling the cold of the steel, but stand apart, watching from a distance as Johnny Depp.
What the hell is happening?
The man moves away and around a corner.
I hesitate but then follow. I have to. He’s got me, and some how I’ve got to get back inside my own skin.
By the time I turn the corner, the man is shoving me – her – into the back of a carriage. It looks like something from Cinderella and somehow I’m now in a ball gown. I mean she’s now in a ball gown. As blue as a robin’s egg.
The man jumps in behind her and the carriage jerks forward, the white horses rearing before they take off down the road. Passersby glance toward the commotion before going back to whatever brought them out.
And I’m left watching the carriage carry me – her – away. Headed toward the White Road. My blood turns cold. I’ve got to reach the carriage before it leaves the village behind for good.
There’s a chestnut mare that’s been tethered to a pole nearby. A bright white star on her forehead. I run toward the horse, unlatching her from the post and mounting in one motion. With a quick kick she’s off, thundering hooves. A force to be reckoned with.
She’s a good horse, and I know we’ll catch the speeding carriage.
But by the time we catch up it’s too late. We’re already deep into the White Woods.
I can see the white-painted bodies and red blood eyes of the Prowlers hiding in the white trees. One grabs an ivory vine and swings, landing on the carriage as it passes by. The mad man attacks the driver and the two wrestle on the bench.
I need to help, but I’m still twenty feet away.
I blink and feel teeth tearing into my flesh. My arms wrestling someone off me, the hard wood of a bench beneath me. My eyes flash around me, trying to take in the scene.
Somewhere I hear myself, my real self, screaming. A flash of Johnny Depp, now dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, rides about fifteen feet away from me.
I’ve become the stage coach driver.
And something like George R. R. Martin’s White Walkers with flashing red eyes, instead of the ice blue eyes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, is gnashing his sharpened teeth above me.
Wet warmth drips onto my face. It smells metallic. Blood. I’ve been bitten.
I’m still struggling against the White Prowler, but my heart squeezes inside me. What happens to me, if I die in someone else’s body?
I finally manage to plant my foot against the Prowler’s stomach. I hurl him off and sit up. Taking in the horses still thundering away, carrying the carriage further into the White Woods. Unmanned and wild. My arm is bleeding from the bite.
Turning, I see the canvas top of the carriage has been ripped open and my face – her face – looks up at me in terror. A White Prowler is ripping her way down into the carriage. But the man who took me/her is fighting the Prowler off.
The She-Prowler’s high pitched war call comes seconds before she smashes her hatchet into the side of his head.
Blood sprays on my/her robin egg blue ball gown.
Two more White Prowlers swing through the air toward us. I can’t fight all three. And more are coming. I’ll need help.
Johnny Depp, or Jack Sparrow is still trying to catch up. I catch his eyes and hope he understands by the jerk of my head what I plan to do. He nods and I reach for the reigns that slap against the white rocky road. It’s a stretch but somehow I manage to clasp them. I pull on the reigns, slowing the horses enough for Jack to jump from his mare and onto the carriage.
I turn my attention back to the horses. I’ve got to get us out of here.
I blink. My feet are balanced on the wooden frame of the top of the carriage as a White Prowler swings into me. I’m Johnny Sparrow. Or Jack Depp again. Who knows. Everything is getting muddled.
I use the Prowlers momentum against him and he lands roughly on the white road instead of his intended target. But I’m not quick enough for the other Prowler swinging toward me, and again I find myself wrestling. A hatchet brushes against my temple. Just missing.
I’d forgotten the She-Prowler beneath me.
I roll myself toward the edge of the carriage and a Prowler tumbles off the top, followed closely by the one I’ve been wrestling. I roll back and catch the She-Prowler off guard. Snatching her raised hatchet as she hovers above me. Her.
Swinging the hatchet in a wide arc, it buries itself into the back of her skull. Her body convulses before crumpling to the floor of the carriage.
I look up at me. I mean, she looks back up at me. “Thank you.”
“We’re almost out!” comes the voice of the driver.
The assault of the White Prowlers stops. More evidence that what he says is true.
I/she, reaches underneath the fallen Prowler to the body of the man. She/I haven’t forgotten about what started all of this. She lifts the piece she needs, now covered in crimson.
She stares back up at me. As if she knows we still face a crisis. Our eyes lock. We ride like that for a while. Me balancing on the bones of a once proud carriage, her/me looking up at me, clutching the object to her breast.
The only sound the beat of hoofs on rocky terrain and every once in a while the slap of leather against the flesh of horse.
How am I going to get back into my body?
The carriage jolts and I find myself lying in the dark.
It was only a dream.
I clutch my pillow, smiling in the dark. What an awesome dream! I want to write it all down. To capture every detail. But what to call it and how does it finish? I force myself to allow sleep to find my again and miraculously it does.
I’m soaring through the sky, like an eagle or camera, coming closer and closer to a grey, formidable castle. I can just make out a group of figures on the top of a castle wall, they seem to be preparing for war behind their parapet.
As I get closer, I begin to make out more detail of the people. Johnny Depp is there. So is the stage coach driver. Someone with long flowing hair has their back to me, as faceless guards line the rest of the parapet.
I’m close enough to reach out and touch the someone with long hair, when she turns and I see it’s me. She stares straight at me. As if looking straight into the camera and answers my question.
There is no familiar buzz of an alarm calling me away, instead I come awake with my own voice ringing in my head. What would I call it? Ubiquitous.