Death of the Mad Hatter: Excerpt One by Sarah J. Pepper

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The Queen of Hearts kissed the King one last time before the Joker ripped his head from her hands and tossed it alongside the rest of his body. The queen’s personal guards picked up the pieces and clumsily carried the dead king out of sight.

No one spoke. Only the sound of a ticking clock interrupted the stunned silence of the night. Standing next to the pool of blood, the queen let a love-letter the king had written slip through her fingers.

Appearing out of thin air, a Cheshire kitten, affectionately named Chez, who was distinguished by his white and blue stripes, playfully pawed at the letter. Extending his claws, he shredded it while the queen did nothing. When the Joker bent over and reached for the remaining pieces of the letter, the kitten bit him, drawing blood. Chez’s hair stood on end as he guarded the letter.

“If you want to play dirty, may I suggest a play date, Chez?” the Joker asked, inspecting the bite mark. His voice was as innocent as a child, but the look in his beady eyes was that of a psychopath’s. “I have all sorts of modified toys collecting dust in the dungeon.”

“Don’t antagonize the Joker, Chez. He is a bit of a schizoid,” Hearts said, picking up the kitten. She stared at the pieces of the love-letter for so long that her eye twitched. “Burn it so that no one finds out that the king loved a seamstress.”

The Joker picked up the pieces and fisted them. The recipient of the letter showed through his fingers: Dearest Genevine— He held his hand up to his mouth and blew. Pieces of the letter flew into the air and burst into flames. They flickered and fell to the floor in a pile of ash.

“I’m required to scold you for leaving your sharp toys scattered all over, Joker. It’s a pity the king had to pay for your untidiness,” Hearts said, glancing at the guillotine that was drenched in the king’s blood.

“Then I shall only take out my biggest toys when you order me to do so… again,” the Joker said and winked. “Since this is a hush-hush operation, I assume you don’t want me to kill the seamstress? Oh! Or perhaps she could have a misfortunate accident as well?”

“No, that would be far too coincidental,” the queen said, as a matter-of-factly. “Keep her alive. Isn’t it fitting that she must live, knowing her lover is dead? Oh, and see to it that she never leaves Wonderland. Everything considered, she is still the most talented seamstress in the court, and I’ll need someone sew me a black dress to wear at King Edward’s funeral.”

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Visit Sarah J. Pepper’s website to learn more about her unique retelling of the classic Wonderland tale, right here at: http://www.peppersreadingcorner.com/.

Also, check out her special Facebook interview here.

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.