How she wished the hour of truth would soon end.
As for Carolus, he now lived in a small room in the Queen’s garden, waiting for his pills to calm him down every few hours. The rest of the time he kept reading that scary book called Alice in Wonderland. Oh, how it gave him a headache. He understood nothing of it and ended up looking forward to finding a way to put an end to this Lewis Carroll someday.
The truth brought nothing but headaches to him, so he gave in to sleep.
In the streets of London, the Cheshire had locked Jack in a basement while he strolled out, jumping from body to another.
The Cheshire used those people’s bodies to do horrible things. The least of which was using the body of a ninety-year-old woman and lighting a car on fire.
But whatever he did, something was missing. What? It was simple. The Cheshire longed to know who he really was. Sure, he was a cat many, many years ago. But cats don’t have names—no really, people make them up and think that the cats care.
In the hour of truth, the Cheshire realized that he could be anyone he ever wanted, except one: himself.
Farther and farther, Tom Truckle still kept the secret of his identity, which wasn’t that hard to figure out, but most people just didn’t notice. And to make sure he wouldn’t feel the need to tell anyone, he locked himself up in the VIP floor of the asylum, now that the Pillar was gone.
But if the hour made him realize anything, then it was his utter loneliness in this world. His children didn’t love him, nor did his wife, and hardly did anyone else.
Tom ended up talking to his best friend in the world. The flamingo, which turned out to be a perfectly lovable animal.
In the few last minutes of the hour of truth, he told the flamingo who he really was. The flamingo’s eyes widened, wondering how no one ever noticed.
Epilogue Part Two
Oxford. The Hour of Truth, between 5:30 PM
Alice, at the hour of truth was a bit off her rocker. She was about to kill the lights in the Inklings when she saw Lewis Carroll sitting on one of the tables.
“I’m not imagining you, am I?”
“No,” he said, resting one leg on another, his hands gently set on his legs. “It’s one of the privileges of the Inklings. Sometimes I can pass through and meet you in this world.”
“So what are you? Dead?” Alice stood frozen.
“It’s complicated, and I don’t have much time to tell,” he said. “I’m here to thank you.”
“Thank you!” His funny, curious rabbit peeked out of his pocket.
“For not killing me—Carolus, I mean.”
“Yeah, about that,” Alice said. “How did you let that happen, Lewis? I can’t believe something so evil could come out of you.”
“It’s a long story. Now is not the time to talk about it.”
“Then what do you want to talk about?”
“That you have to stop worrying if you’re the real Alice or not,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s you.”
“Yes, sure,” she said reluctantly. “But how can I be sure you’re real in the first place? How can I be sure anything is real?”
“How can anyone be sure, Alice? People walk in a haze all day. You think they’re sure of anything? The trick isn’t to be sure.
“Then what is the trick?”
“The trick to believe.”
“Believe things are true no matter what?”
“No. Believe in yourself.” He stood up. “I really need to go now, so again, thank you.”
“By the way,” he stopped before disappearing. “You never asked me why I was grateful you didn’t kill Carolus.”
“Isn’t obvious? So you don’t die?”
“Everyone dies, Alice,” Lewis said. “I thanked you because if you have killed Carolus, I’d never have known if I could beat him myself”
Alice considered it for a moment. It was a good point of view. “Wait. I just realized you’re showing up in the hour of truth. Does that mean you’re real?”
But then Lewis was gone and the lights went out.
Epilogue Part Three
The Hour of Truth, between 5:43 PM.
In the Vatican, Fabiola sat alone in her private room in the back.
She was about to take off her white dress and fold it next to the Vorpal sword on the table.
Slowly, she began unbuttoning her dress. From this day, she was not going to be a nun anymore. It had only been a matter of time.
She stared at her arms and shoulders, and almost closed her eyes. They showed traces of her past in the most unusual ways.
Fabiola changed into a modern dress, jeans and a t-shirt, took her Vorpal sword and opened the door.
She stopped by the children from Columbia. The children nodded understandably. They knew what was going on, and they liked it.
Then Fabiola walked past the people who loved her and cherished her.
Smiling at her followers, she cursed the Pillar under her breath. She cursed him for so many things, but mainly for reminding her she was no nun. That no matter how she tried to hide it, she was a warrior. And World War Wonderland was only a week or two away.
Some of her people cupped their hands on their mouth, staring at her arms. Was this the nun they had loved and cherished all along?
But Fabiola had no choice. Black Chess surfaced. The Inklings were gathering. The prophecy had proven to be right. The girl was the Real Alice, even if she didn’t always seem apt to the mission.
She stepped out of the church, asking to be forgiven, for she was about to stare darkness in the eyes, hoping she’d be as strong as Alice and not get stained like in the past.
She turned and said goodbye to her people, still staring at her hands and shoulders covered in tattoos. She knew it was shocking, even to herself after all this time. But she could not escape who she really was. The Pillar made sure she’d return to her old self, and she hated him for that.
Throughout the piazza, walked the White Queen, gripping her Vorpal sword, wearing the tattoos that mostly said:
I can’t escape yesterday because I’m still the same warrior now.
On the other side of the world, the Pillar was sitting on a bank in Oxford University when the hour of truth came. He’d managed to resist the truth for half an hour. But it was no use. Whatever this curse of truth was, it was madder than fiction.
He was fiddling with the key when the hour’s effect empowered him. There was no going back now.
He pulled out an envelope and tucked the key in.
Slowly, he walked out of the university to the nearest post office. He borrowed a pen and wrote on a small piece of paper:
Here is the first key. Alice has another, so you have two out of six now. As for me, mission accomplished. I’m done and gone. None of you will ever see me again.
The Pillar slid the piece of paper into the envelope and licked it to a close.
He borrowed the pen again and wrote on the back of the envelope:
To the only woman I’ve ever loved.
Then he wrote the address on the back: The Vatican.
While trying to slide the envelope into the box, his glove stuck in a nail sticking out from the side. He took off the white glove, just for a moment, and found himself staring at an old heart-wrenching memory. He was staring at the two knuckles missing from the fingers on his right hand.
Alice will return in Insanity 5
Thank you for purchasing and downloading this insane book. I’m so happy, and grateful, to be able to share this story with you, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed lying to you!
Hookah is a special episode in the series to me. It’s a stepping stone, where I realized the series isn’t just about Alice and the Pillar. I realized how every character was slowly coming alive, villain or hero, whether I liked it or not. How Lewis Carroll created such rich individuals is beyond me, but I’m chugging my way into who they could really have been.