Malice in Sunderland

The Rabbit Hole

Volume One, Prologue

The story begins one Friday afternoon in Sunderland, around 1987 or so. Several disparate individuals are inexplicably drawn to a covered over well by the docks, most with nothing in common other than that at one point in their lives they were snatched away from the workaday world, and whisked off to Arcadia the world of dreams, Fairyland. Each in turn through many twisting paths fraught with peril returned to the waking world, but was changed fundamentally and forever. These strangers, drawn as by siren song converged together on the site by the docks- a shabby doctor, two junk men with a big, mean looking mutt, a personal trainer, a sharp dressed professional, a sneering young football hoolie, and an aging circus strongman (the most strictly human one of the lot).

Drawn further into the docks, the group began to acknowledged one another as they climbed down into the foundation of a demolished warehouse. As they approached the pit, the sky began to run like watercolor, and once they reached the foundation floor, looking up the world outside seemed to be rendered in crayon.The group looked around curious, as a crack opened up in the floor of the foundation. One of the junkmen, Owen a changeling wreathed in flame summoned a tiny fire and had it explore the crack in the ground in hopes of illuminating what lay below. The crack then began to expand rapidly, dropping the floor out from under the group who were thrown into the pit below.

The group fell strangely slowly once inside the pit, and the small fire followed them. They had time then to regard one another. The shabby doctor was only a thin mask for a gruesome composite body, stitched from many others. One junkman as mentioned, was wrought from living flame, while the other sharply recalled a dog, or a wolf. The businessman was made all from the pages of a book, with script written in blood, and the personal trainer from wax, with translucent wings, and shifting hair made from a hive of bees. The football hoolie mask, slipped from the young woman whose blue skin and tusks recalled an Indian demon. The strongman, a strapping whitehaired giant in his 50s seemed to be just as he appeared. At this point the trainer’s watch manifested a small face and asked if it was teatime. She turned the watch over and took the batteries out. The watch grew quiet and began to cry small mercury tears. The wolfish junkman took the watch and put the batteries back in to stop the crying. It again began to ask if it was time for tea.

They noticed things falling slowly alongside them. Nearby there was an old rolltop desk, and a gameboy. A blue ribbon snaked around the strongman’s head and tied itself into a pretty bow. The trainer sprouted whiskers from her cheeks, The flaming junkman began to breathe out smoke rings with every breath. The junkmen also manifested wooden swords and matching caps. A spinning tophat settled itself on the doctor’s head, but the flaming junkman burned it up. The dog became larger and more fierce, evoking the bandersnatch.

The doctor and the trainer fall to bickering, and the cantankerous old physician lashes out at her with his cane. The trainer gets out of the way and the doctor opens the cavern wall, inadvertently splitting it open. Seeing this he pulled a hidden blade from his cane and continued to rip the cavern wall, from which organic chewing sounds began to emerge. The hoolie, Baruni snatches the gameboy and sees that it is loaded with tetris, but instead of blocks the game shows falling contorted bodies. The book man, Morgan takes hanging files from the old desk after the wolfish junkman, Benji tears the lock off. They are labelled Alice, WQ, RQ. Baruni then snatches a map floating down, and unfolding it, sees that it is labelled a Metroid map of Sunderland. Morgan, the paperman takes a large book out of the air, and opening it sees that it is writ full of nonsense. The noises from the walls begin to get louder, and crinkle like tissue paper. Benji, the wolfish junkman nicks some ballpoint pens from the desk, and then tears it apart with his claws. Owen snatches up a pearl bracelet with a charm from his position above the desk, and Morgan grabs a miniature painting of a young girl as it drifts past him from the torn desk.

As the walls crinkle it becomes clear that there are thorns behind the walls of the cavern. Melissa, the trainer tears into the walls with her long stinger like nails and pulls herself into the wall, entering into the Faerie Hedge. The thorns there are made of rebar, nails, and industrial detritus. The rest of the group follows her, and something secret works its way into Trevor, the doctor’s, pocket. The tiny flame follows them as well, shadowing Owen. Morgan, the paper man however, was lost in the deep Hedge, and never heard from again

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