by Adam L. Bealby
I’ve always had a bit of Alice in my life.
That’s why, when I saw the call for HorrorAddicts.net’s Clockwork Wonderland submission call, I thought one of my weird horror stories would be a perfect fit.
But in the end my Alice didn’t fit.
Not with the other Alices at least, as marvelously punked as they were. She stood apart, gazing at them with contempt from across the room, cultivating an air of enigmatic disinterest at the end of a menthol slim.
Or locked away in her room with her Cure CDs and subverted memories.
Or running wild in the dark, clammy fingers pawing at the back of her neck.
You can have your cosy anthology, she thinks. I don’t care. I don’t play well with others anyway. Even when I try.
But when HorrorAddicts.net invited her to a solo gig she was secretly pleased, just as I was not-so-secretly pleased, to accept their invitation.
When I was at University the first book I ever bought my future wife was the collected Alice works. I penned a loving dedication on the first page. “May this book bring you wonder.” Twenty years later and I’ve got that book in front of me as I type this – and please, I’m struggling here. I’m not usually the gushing, sentimental sort. I’m much more familiar with tenebrous passageways and blunt trauma.
Twenty years later, and I’m dedicating another story to my wife, but one I wrote this time. “Alice’s Scars” is the first in what I understand to be a series of Horror Bites, coming at you from the kennels rabid and hotly snapping, courtesy of your twisted friends at HorrorAddicts.net.
And I’m dedicating it to Julia, my Alice. Sometimes I think she saved me from going down the rabbit hole.
Adam L. Bealby writes fantasy, horror and weird fiction for both adults and children. His short stories and comic work have been published in numerous anthologies, including Spooked (Bridge House Publishing), Pagan (Zimbell House Publishing), Darkness Abound (Migla Press), Once Upon a Scream (HorrorAddicts.net), Sirens (World Weaver Press), World Unknown Review Vol. 2, rEvolution (MiFiWriters) and Murky Depths magazine. He lives in Worcestershire, UK with his wife and three children, and a harried imagination. Catch up with his latest ravings at @adamskilad.