A piece of flash fiction by Ellie Rose McKee based off fractured fairytale writing prompts.

Bored of the Mad Hatter’s tea party, Alice started looking around her, hoping for a means of escape.

The front and rear entrances seemed to be blocked off, and she thought she’d entered the clearing from the right, which made left the obvious way to go, except the woods out that way seemed dark and cold.

Looking up, she saw a huge beanstalk and was awed by its size and girth.

Swallowing, Alice steeled herself and slipped away from the table to find a hole in the wall she could just about squeeze through. Once free of the clearing, she used the beanstalk as a landmark and kept walking towards it until she could she the dark vines and leaves at the base.

Should she climb it? Probably not, but what other options did she have? Maybe from up there she could see a way out of the labyrinth and find a path home.

Just as she reached out to see if the branches were steady or slippery, she heard a voice call out to her. “Hey, you! Stay away from my beanstalk!”

Alice bolted back a few feet and looked up once more. Squinting her eyes, she could just about make out the silhouette of someone sitting about halfway up.

“Who are you?” they asked at once.

“I’m Alice,” said Alice, but the silhouette said nothing, he – she thought he was a he, but it was a bit hard to tell – began climbing down to her.

Once on the ground, Alice could see the person was a boy of around her own age.

“Jack,” he said, holding out his hand.

Flustered, Alice took it and introduced herself again. “What are you doing here, Jack?”

“Minding the beanstalk, of course,” he said in a shrug. “Wanna come look?”

Convinced her day couldn’t get any weirder, and in lieu of any better offers, Alice climbed the beanstalk with Jack. From the top, they could see the Taj Mahal. So they set off for that, not knowing what lay in wait for them as they crossed the misty Mountains of Mourne.