This post is a full excerpt from Alice in the Upside Down©:
Day two in this upside down world.
I had just opened my eyes to the morning when my new friend, Butterfly Blue perched on my finger. He was opening and closing his wings repeatedly as if he was stretching and preparing for the day.
The ground I slept on was a soft patch of vibrant green moss. It felt like my favorite fleece blanket that I missed so much back home. Nature had a funny way of making me feel at home here.
I wasn’t sure where Alice was. She had yet to appear. I stood up to stretch my tired limbs and Blue joined with one last flutter of his wings before he took to the breeze and began flying around as if searching for something. My face felt damp from the morning dew. Tiny droplets covered flower petals and the ground around me, they were glistening in the sun.
Just then, Blue told me he would be right back and he flew up into the tree tops. I watched as he picked a leaf bigger than his whole body and let it go. The leaf gently floated down and as I reached for it, I noticed how big it really was, like a bath towel. The blanket sized ones that makes you feel warm and cozy after a shower. The color of the leaf changed every time the sun’s rays hit a different angle. It changed from dark green to light green and then to blinding yellow and finally, fiery orange. Autumn was well on it’s way, just as Alice had promised.
I could see every vein inside this magnificent plant. It was incredible to study. Blue flew down to tell me I could use the leaf to dry my face and prepare for the day. Somehow, I knew this was another trick up mother nature’s sleeve. This world was unreal. Blue told me where to meet him and left me to tend to myself.
I had no idea where it had come from but lying on the moss where I had slept was a beautiful dress. It was amethyst purple, the deepest shade, with black lace covering every inch. There were no shoes, which made sense. Alice was always barefoot. I figured if this was her doing, she was trying to get me to try out her ways. Grounding was one of the main things she lectured me about on the first day when I met her.
Once dressed and refreshed, I made my way to the path we had been walking on. Ahead, Blue was dancing under and over and between the sun rays as they stretched through the trees. When he spotted me he shouted, “follow me!” I looked around. Still, no Alice. Maybe Blue knew where she was. I was going to ask but before I knew it, he was flying away. I sprinted to catch up, marveling at the day already. The air was warm with a swift breeze. The clouds in the sky looked like cotton candy, bright white with the slightest shades of peach and pink. The sky was the deepest blue I had ever seen. Like the ocean, but so much more.
Blue lead me to a wall. It was covered in vines and those vines were covered in more vines. Morning Glories were strewn all over them. Blue ones. Purple ones. White and pink. Perfectly camouflaged in the middle was a door. I spotted a brass door knob with a sign above. I brushed the dust away to read the words:
Remove all cobwebs within your mind. Enter at your own risk.
I looked at Blue and with a quick nod, he flew up and over the wall.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you over there…” I laughed nervously, turned the knob, took a deep breath and opened the hidden door within the vines.
As I pushed the heavy door open, the creaking seemed to echo throughout the whole forest. The sound boomed like thunder. I couldn’t help but feel like it was a warning.
The first thing I noticed was how dreary everything around me had become. I imagined a breath-taking secret garden but what I got was a run down cemetery with cob webs strung across every inch. I stood in the doorway, my feet were planted in the ground. I was frozen and I felt frightened. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to go through that shit. Hell no. I can’t.”
Butterfly Blue was nowhere in sight. I didn’t understand what was happening. Where was Alice? Why hadn’t I seen her since last night? And where did Blue fly off to?
The air was chilly. This view was nothing like the upside down world I had come to know so far. I heard crows, they were perched in the dead trees; something else was rustling in the skeleton like bushes. There was fog, dense enough to blur my vision. It seemed to run on a timer, I can’t explain it. Fading in and out, the fog only controlled so much. This place was something… straight out of my nightmares.
That’s when I saw her. Alice was standing on the other side of the cemetery. I could see the forest continuing behind her, it was bright and sunny over there. She was standing where I needed to go. She was showing me the way out. But there was no way around the spider webs. There was no way around all the headstones. I would have to find my way through the mess and the madness.
This place was so dark and twisted. Tree branches were mangled together and their roots seemed to be the only things holding the ground together. The headstones were old, chipped and falling apart and from where I stood, I couldn’t make out any words. I didn’t want to walk through this. Especially not alone. I looked her in the eyes, as best as I could, and even from far away, it hurt. I shook my head at her and I reversed direction.
The door slammed behind me and I ran.
I was getting nowhere way too fast and I was no longer in familiar territory. The sunshine had been smothered by dark grey clouds. It was quiet and all the plants and flowers and trees were no longer beautiful. Everything surrounding me was eerie and dull. There was no color. There was no life.
Sometimes quiet is violent…”
Twenty One Pilots
Out of breath, I stopped running and slumped to my knees. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. What was I running from? Why did I feel so afraid? I saw Alice. She was there. All I had to do was walk through…whatever that was. A cemetery? For who? All I knew was that it was cold and it radiated vibes I was not ready to encounter again. The feelings of death and past life were all I drew from that place.
The door within the vines had been so misleading. There was so much beauty that flashed across the outside of that wall…so, where was the beauty on the inside? This whole world in general had been so vibrant and colorful thus far. But now everything was black and white. Why was the upside down now so…dead?
All I could do was lie among the wilted ferns. I was all alone and it was deathly quiet. Like the calm before a storm. If I was going to figure this out, I needed to get my mind right. What a perfect time, I suppose it was.
I stared up at the sky. Past the tree tops, all was cloudy; all was dark. Lightning bolted from one cloud to the next as if fairies were playing hopscotch in the sky. I felt the rain coming before it even hit me. In slow motion, I watched as each droplet of moisture formed and fell to it’s fate… to water the earth.
The first splash of rain against my skin was like ice then the next drops felt lukewarm and then ice again. Back and forth, the temperature changed. When I felt warmer water fall from the sky, I became comfortable lying there in my misery. But with a sudden shock of icy water on my skin, giving me chills, I kept being jerked back to reality. I wanted to find shelter and wait the storm out but something told me that I needed to go back to that cemetery instead. I sat up and let the cold rain of acceptance wash over me. It seemed to water something that I thought had died inside of me long ago. Tears began to swell in my eyes. Before I could choke back and swallow the sadness, I let the tears fall. I cried harder than I had in a long time. After a few minutes, I took a some deep breaths, wiped my face and I spoke out loud. I don’t know who I was talking to. Whoever was there? Whoever would listen, I guess.
“I have spent lifetimes, it seems, being afraid and running away. Always giving up too easily…causing me to hurt people; causing me to hurt myself. Not one of us ever deserved that. And let’s be real here…have I ever really faced myself? Saying I owned up to my shit is one thing…doing it though is a whole other game that I’m not sure if I’m ready to play. But I need to. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know what happened over the last 2 days. But, there is a reason I fell down the rabbit hole. There is a reason I spotted that little fox…what ever happened to that little fox? I suppose there’s only one way to find out…and maybe I’ll find myself and some answers in the process.”
I stood up and started to walk back to the wall Blue had lead me to earlier.
The rain wasn’t as cold anymore.
The rain began to pour from buckets in the sky, it seemed, so quickly. The wind picked up and all that remained of the trees and grass blew sideways. I walked straight into the storm, pushing my way through and grabbing anything sturdy I could hold on to. I was drenched and I soon began to feel defeated. But, something inside of me told me that I couldn’t give up. I felt my soul being drawn towards a calmer sense of mind.
“Just a little bit further…” I heard in the distance, whispering with the wind.
Alice. Or was it?
We all hear things when we want to, sometimes.
But…I held on to the hope that it was her.
Though the wind had not yet let up and the intensity of the rain still remained, the water against my skin was comforting and refreshing. I felt as if my sins were being washed away. I felt as if the guilt I had been carrying was now a puddle on the muddy, forest floor. The further I walked, the lighter I felt. I was being carried away with the wind.
But then reality hit me once more and I fell back to the ground.
The upside down world was flooding. Freezing cold water surrounded me. It rose higher and higher as I waded through. For a brief second the wind died down and though it was still pouring buckets, a clearer view of what was ahead was shown to me. The door hidden within the vines was close. If I could just make it a little further…
The wind then came back with a vengeance and just like that, my clear view was blurred.
Everything stirred violently around me. The trees, all the beautiful flowers, everything was being destroyed and I could no longer see two feet in front of me. The heavy weight of pain began to take me down the moment I felt a shadow creep behind me. It was growing taller and taller. The upside down went completely black and then it crashed. I was underwater. I was falling so deep underwater.
Rip tide. It took me as its prisoner. I struggled to gain control but I refused to give up. I picked a direction and I swam, parallel to the waves. I could see light shimmering, giving me view that the surface was not far from reach. That’s when everything went black again.
Deep in my lungs.
Suffocating my body.
My lungs have no air.
Give me air.
I need air.
Demons are standing on my chest, with their gnarled fingers wrapped around my neck.
Water in my lungs.
I can’t stop coughing.
Get off of me.
Please, let me breathe.
Demons laugh at my struggle, getting off at my pain.
Please stop choking me.
I can’t breathe.
Water in my lungs.
GIVE ME SOME FUCKING AIR!
The demons let me go.
Angels with torn & tattered wings
Water draining from my lungs.
I am choking.
I am awake.
I’m the violence in the pouring rain…I’m a hurricane.”
Water spewed from my mouth as air found it’s way back into my lungs.
My eyes fluttered open but everything was a blur. I couldn’t make sense of anything. And there was so much pain. My entire body felt as if I had been beaten to a pulp.
When my eyes finally began to focus, I saw the upside down just the way I had remembered, before the storm. The flowers were no longer dreary looking; once again all was full of life. Colors strewn around me, I was back in familiar territory.
Droplets of rain fell to the ground, off the tree branches and their gigantic leaves; with every leaf painted with such delicacy. Astounding colors such as dazzling oranges and reds and yellows, it seemed that the storm had brought with it the Autumn Equinox.
The air felt different which I believed to be change…
I felt that inevitable sense of change.
My dress was dripping wet. Where was Butterfly Blue when I needed him to fly up to fetch me one of those amazing leaves? Nonetheless, I needed to get myself together and head back to the vines.
I sat up and felt a head rush which kind of froze time for a minute and I had a chance to gather my thoughts …the best that I could, anyways. “What the hell was that, really?” I said to myself.
It was as if I had said those words out loud when I heard that familiar voice I’d been hoping for…“That was quite a show, wasn’t it?”
I didn’t expect to miss a voice so much.
I turned around to see her standing behind me, looking fierce as always…like she was the storm that had just blown through.
I felt relief in an instant.