"What's wrong Auggie?" Elaine asked, disturbed by the look on the rabbit boy's face.
"The fish are swimming away..." Auggie said sadly and somewhat worriedly, looking between them both. "They wouldn't tell me why."
Elaine looked at the pond, then looked at Auggie. "Something is coming perhaps?" she question, standing up. She looked at the fields, looking for any sign of movements. Maybe her mom's self defense karate classes would come in handy after all?
Tanner frowned and stood up as well, looking around slowly as he replaced his hat on his head. He hugged Auggie close to him and narrowed his eyes, then gasped when he saw a flock of birds suddenly flying over, all of them obviously spooked.
Elaine watched, then sighed. "Great... either of you know how to put up a fight?" she asked. She saw something moving up ahead in the fields, what looked like cards. At least those were real.
"We only know how to elude, dear Elaine. Not fight." Tanner frowned, hugging Auggie closer. He then grabbed Elaine's arm. "Head back to the doorway. We can avoid them yet." He turned and Auggie clambered up onto Tanner's back, clinging to him as he knelt and swooped up Jorge and pulled Elaine along towards the doorway that had been opened through the house of cards.
Elaine ran quickly, and never slowed her pace, even when she looked back. The card soilders were running after them, but they weren't really running. The metal beings were just clambering over eachother as they raced one another to get to the group, which only slowed them down.
Tanner pulled Elaine through the doorway and as they reached it, pushing Jorge into her arms and letting Auggie jump from his back into the room of his house. Before the card soldiers could make it through the doorway, he turned and threw a kick at the house of cards they'd built, effectively closing the door and keeping them on the other side. He sighed and watched the rest of the cards flutter and float to the floor, then looked at Auggie and Elaine. "Well.. that'll stop them for a little while."
Elaine managed to nod slightly. "What should we do now?" she asked, stroking Jorge's fur gently, since he was so startled from being picked up like that in his sleep. She herself could feel her heart pounding away in her chest from running.
Tanner shook his head, taking off his hat and dusting it off a little before replacing it. "We may have to seek asylum elsewhere.." he said sadly, looking around his house. With a wave of his hands, the cards picked themselves up and stacked themselves into twenty neat piles of fifty-two cards each. He then looked at Elaine and Auggie. "Auggie, get dressed."
Auggie nodded with a serious face and turned, disappearing down the hall and into another room. Only seconds later, he returned with his usual waistcoat and trousers on, his shoes tight on his feet and his hat on his head, tucking his pocket watch away. "We must hurry." he said seriously. "That won't keep them at bay for long."
Elaine nodded. She grabbed the book from where she had left it, and since that was all she had besides Jorge, she was ready to go. "Wait, what about Dodo?"
"Dodo never sticks around the same place for long. He's probably already long gone." Auggie explained with a shrug and a small smile. "He'll stay out of trouble. He may be a little loopy, but even he knows when it's time to turn tail." he said, pointing at his own fluffy tail as he turned to head out.
Tanner nodded in agreement, though his face was serious. "Where shall we go, though, Auggie? The hare is at the Red Queen's castle... so he's already a prisoner of hers for the time being... at least he's safe from these goons." he grumbled. "But where will we go?"
Elaine thought. "Where do you think would be the safest place?" she said, then remembered something in Alice's book. She whipped it out and started reading. "..... Forest of Shadows, where the Pool of Tears is...." she said and looked up. "Alice wrote that it was the only place Red wouldn't go, because she's afraid of the dark." she said with a little bit of a grin. "The card soilders have trouble navigating the forest, since the trees despise them." she nodded. "Sounds like a plan."
Tanner seemed to think about it for a moment, then smiled and nodded. "Camping? Sounds good to me." he chuckled, tapping the top of his hat. It would provide everything they needed. He offered his arm to Elaine "To the Pool of Tears then?"
Elaine smiled and took his arm. "Sounds like a pretty good plan to me, but first I need something that Alice said was necesarry so the trees won't attack us." she said. "It's odd, but apparently it works." she said and walked over to Tanner's closet. She looked around a bit, then reached in and started feeling. Sure enough, her hand came across it, an invisible umbrella. She pulled it out and opened it up, pointing it at Tanner. To him, she had dissapeared.
"Ah! My invisible umbrella! Poor thing hasn't seen the light of day since Alice was here.." Tanner smiled and moved forward, his hand finding the umbrella easily and he brushed it off. Once behind the umbrella himself, he could see Elaine again. "Good plan." he smiled at her.
"Thank Alice." Elaine smiled. "Her and the book." she said. "It's so the trees won't see us I guess, and when we step over their roots, it'll feel like an oversized bug to them."
Tanner nodded in understanding and wrapped his hands around Elaine's on the umbrella's handle, smiling as he closed it and tucked it under his arm. "Very well! Let's be off! Auggie! Lock the front door!" he chimed. Auggie chimed back and ran back into the room once it was done, smiling at them both and waiting for something to happen.
Elaine blushed lightly and smiled, walking slightly ahead. She didn't have her gaurd up, thinking the card soilders were far away. However, every time something chirped, squacked, or moved, she'd look in that direction, making her look paranoid. She yelped as a hedgehog crawled near her foot. If she hadn't seen it in time, she probably would've kicked it, but luckily, she just jumped.
Tanner laughed a little at Elaine as she jumped at the hedgehog and he simply tipped his hat to the creature in greeting before walking alongside her. "A little jumpy, aren't you?" he laughed teasingly and Auggie, who was on her other side simply smiled up at her.
Elaine looked at him with a slack jaw, completely surprised. "Well no duh I'm jumpy! Did you see how fast those card soilders moved?! I'm not getting caught, that's for sure." she said and shook her head. "No way."
"No, you won't get caught." Tanner chuckled, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and hugging her closer, as if comforting her. "We closed the door on those card soldiers in that other world. It'll take them hours to find another way around." he smiled. "They'll have to travel by foot, after all. And even if the Red Queen sends out more soldiers, they won't know where to look for us without that first group's report." he chuckled. "So in other words, we have a good few hours lead on them all. By the time they figure everything out, we'll be safe in the Forest of Shadows, lounging beside the Pool of Tears."
Elaine nodded. "Right." she said. She knew the Pool of Tears was her only other way home, but she wasn't planning to take it, not yet at least. She let out a soft sigh and took out the book. She flipped through and started reading about the Red Queen. "Hm... she has to have some kind of weakness.."
"Yes, her massive ego." Tanner laughed.
"Oh her massive butt." Auggie shrugged and they both burst into laughter. Auggie then started to sing a little chant, Tanner joining in loudly. "Down with the queen! The woman all in red! The day we all cheer for her is the day she loses her head! OFF WITH HER HEAD! Off with her head! There'll be heaven on Earth when the Red Queen is dead!" they sang, laughing more.
Elaine chuckled lightly. She was feeling a little cranky herself, since she pretty much quit smoking cold turkey. She started to think out loud. "Hmmm... that would make a pair of my skinny jeans her worst enemy I guess..." she said more to herself. She heard a meow from next to her and picked up Jorge, since he was tired of walking.
Tanner and Auggie laughed lightly as Tanner began to dance a little as he walked and Auggie bounced around. Auggie then brought himself to her side and took her arm with his hand, smiling up at her. "You have a cute kitty."
Elaine looked down at him and smiled. "Yeah, he's pretty cute... except when he's chewing up my pillows." she said. Thinking still out loud to herself, she added softly. "I'm sure my mother is too drunk to notice either of us gone..."
Auggie pouted when she said that. "Is your mother really that bad of a person?" he asked as they walked. Tanner had now picked up what they were saying, and fell back to join in on the conversation.
Elaine sighed slightly. "Well... Ki- errrr... It's hard to explain really." she said, scratching the back of her head. "She's got a nasty drinking problem. She's had it ever since I was born I guess... I was never told why she picked it up. It got worse when Dad left." she said.
Tanner frowned as he listened. "So that would explain why you seem to hate her?"
Elaine shook her head. "I don't hate her, not exactly. I'm more upset with her than anything." she said and stroked Jorge's fur, earning soft purrs from the little cat. "The only one that seems to care about me is my brother Dylan and his roomate Tony." she said with a slight chuckle.
Auggie grabbed the sleeve of Elaine's jacket suddenly. "You have us too now!" he said, the look of determination on his face was adorable.
Tanner wrapped his arm around her shoulders and smiled. "Auggie is right, you have us as well." he said with his crooked smile.
Elaine looked at them both and smiled. "Thanks, I really appreciate it." she said and ruffled Auggie's hat with her free hand. They walked together like this for a while, through the mushroom forest, and through the flower field. Just three friends on a hike to the forest of shadows.
<--- Wonderland Mishaps 6