Sunday, March 08, 2009


Alice followed along with the masked man with the pistol. What was the alternative? Alice was far too sensible to give into histrionics and after all, she was discovering that kidnapping did not have to be the end of things.

It was rather shocking to consider how frightened she had been the first time, Alice reflected as they walked through the gloomy and decrepit hall that provided an entrance to the strange villa. A world-weary air of pride filled her. It was quite easy now to assume that she would be rescued.

At the very least, she found it possible to anticipate being kidnapped by a competing interest. It suddenly struck Alice that one might circumnavigate the globe simply through being kidnapped by a variety of ruffians. She looked at her latest captor and considered voicing her thoughts aloud. It was difficult to suddenly realise one knew the proper use of a word like 'circumnavigate' and not have the proper chance to demonstrate that ability.

However, her current kidnapper's demeanour seemed more than a little disparaging, so she wisely kept such thoughts to herself as they ascended the rather dusty stairs to the next floor.

Continuing down a long hallway, Alice found herself aghast at the state of things. Having spent most of her short life under the stringent order of Mrs. Perkins and much of the rest on board the spic-and-span decks of the Bonny Read, she found it easy to be censorious. Such filth and no doubt, she was going to be asked to dwell her for an indeterminate time.

One really ought to have more of a say about where one spends one's captivity, Alice sighed.

At the end of the hall, the mysterious man unbolted a door and indicated that Alice should enter it. "Here is where you will be staying. A meal will be brought to you very soon. Do not attempt to escape."

He bolted the door behind Alice and she stared at it while listening to his retreating footsteps. A candle would have been nice, she considered, but acquiescing to the facts as they were, she turned to regard her prison.

It was a fairly large room. In a nicely kept villa, it would have been pleasurable indeed. While some feeble attempts had been made to remove the worst of the dirt, cobwebs remained in the corners of the room. The bed had been freshly made with what appeared to be clean linens, but the pitcher next to the bowl was filled with water long gone chill.

Mrs. Radcliffe could make much of a room like this, Alice thought.

Alice walked to the window and looked out curiously. The grounds of the villa were in similar disrepair. Mr. Radley would doubtless weep at the carnage. There were brambles overgrown through the hedges and a wild profusion of vines everywhere. Alice perked up somewhat when she realised that it was possible to see a very dramatic-looking waterfall in the distance, which must have been the direction in which they had arrived.

It wasn't much, but some sense of direction was helpful, if only to give a false sense of security.

Turning once more to regard the gloom of the room, Alice was delighted to spot a shelf of books. At last, entertainment!

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