jacqueline & maixent
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Posted: Jun 18 2015, 01:29 AM
I'm one of the invisible living among the notable. Day after day I hear doors shut, stumble over slurs, and bump into the man who nods yes, yes, but isn't listening.
Intense — Clumsy — Prickly — Archivist — Bullheaded
Kiki is ambidextrous
Entry 12, after noon.
Sometimes people forget the little things. Inconspicuous details, forgotten faces. Did you know in the human fable - the recounting of the Liddell visits - many Wonderlanders became famous simply by proximity? Even if a number of tales from the book were fabricated or embellished upon, those names became legend. Everyone knows about the white rabbit even though he wasn't much of a political figure before Alice found her way here. At least, not that I can remember. And I certainly didn't know there was such thing as a "mock turtle" before the stories were mass-produced.
I may have ambled off tangent. Let me try again. There has always been more to Wonderland than the rose-hued window pane through which Alice viewed us. Before the curse rendered us all human I didn't have a name, not one such as you might expect. My family and I didn't communicate in spoken language. While we often wrote misleading signs or drew beautiful works of art, speech wasn't exactly our forte. Often we were overlooked, only noticed when someone cursed our knack for confusing directions. I warranted no more than a cursory glance from Alice, and that's fine. I didn't mind the anonymity. At the time I didn't know much more than what I could create with my own beak. There was never a need.
Unfortunately, that all changed the day I flew through the portal.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I say flew. Fell is probably more accurate, accidental though it was. It happened early in 1941 just before the war. Stories travel like wildfire through the realm but they're often garbled or misshapen by the time they reach the other side of the Tulgey Wood. I hadn't realized Alice caused such a commotion, nor did I know she died, until long after the fact. When I heard of the news—I didn't care. I barely retain the memory of seeing her, and only because I drew a few doodles on rock faces after her appearance, burning her into memory.
When tales of going into her world emerged, I discounted them. Stupid, the idea that there was another world beyond our own. I barely registered the knowledge. It wasn't until I traversed to the edge of the wood that I found the stories were true. Of course I had to see this "portal" for myself. There was a line half a mile long it seemed, queued up to cross over. Invisible as always, I flew right over them. Point of fact, I stood no more than eight inches in height if I stretched at the time, and creatures like me were as discounted as a bread-and-butterfly. We didn't speak, and therefore weren't considered sentient the way many other creatures were.
I perched on the pack of some beastly thing with talons and sharp teeth – don't ask me to recreate it, I'd probably have nightmares for a week – and peered at the glass. Gilt framed it may have been. But it looked so plain. Boring, really. I saw my reflection clearer than I ever had in a pool or shiny rock. My pencil tip freshly sharpened, gray feathers running amok down my spine. Fitting, to see my bland reflection in a bland surface. Well, I'd seen what I needed. I'd taken a peek at the portal and received less than I expected, which wasn't much in the first place. I'd flapped my wings and prepared to depart but it startled the beast, who hadn't noticed me until I began to move.
He lurched to one side and the world tilted. I plummeted, tail flicking in panic, toward what I thought was the floor. Something spilled down my feathers like oil or slimy muck from a still pool. It was cold and disconcerting, sticking to me with a vengeance. When I finally hit the ground I rolled to shake off my feathers.
Instead I smacked my head against a wall.
Truth be told, I can't really describe the place in which I arrived. For a number of reasons, the most prevalent being I was too disoriented the first time through and too rushed every other time after that. Have you ever woken up in the morning a tiny pencil bird with lackluster, blue-gray feathers and a wing-span of just under two feet, then by tea time found yourself naked with toes and fingers and – by all that is holy – a mouth with teeth? Little known fact, pencil-birds have mouths. Of course we do, how else should we eat? But they come equipped with a sliver of a tongue and a diameter just big enough to stuff food into.
I've never seen a relative dissected – thank goodness – so I can't say for certain, but I've always assumed we don't have vocal chords. I don't think I've ever heard one of us make a sound before becoming human, in fact. So to hear my own voice, my own vocal chords, ripping out a keening whine nearly caused me to faint. And then the fingers and the toes – we went over this. Strange, unwanted appendages. It took two cards to calm me down long enough to explain what happened. You know what else I've always wondered? Why is it I understood speech, having never used it before? But then I used to write in English, too. Must be something I subconsciously learned as I grew up.
I was an unprecedented arrival so they didn't have anything to hand over to get me through this new world other than some ill-fitting clothes. Oddly enough, even as a human-sized creature, I was still quickly forgotten about once I stopped making a fuss. They left me on the floor to dress – that was one interesting debacle, might I add – and didn't look at me again. They didn’t bother explaining I'd need a name and money and other such important things. I lay abandoned on the floor, staring at this strange compilation of flesh and fabric for what must have been an hour. The mirror had reflected my visage back at me and the first time I saw myself I didn't recognize it. Humans looked the same to me for the first ten years or so back and forth between realms so I didn't have any mental markers to relate my new body to my new appearance.
But I fear I'm wasting your time, now, aren't I? Skip ahead. No one forced me back through the portal so I simply left. I walked right out the door as I'd seen a number of other human-creatures do. And I've got to tell you, nothing in either world could prepare a hapless bird for the cacophony of sounds and smells and people. I stumbled around for hours, terrified and fascinated in equal extremes. I couldn't speak, my throat and mouth felt wrong and I didn't know how to make words. I was an insignificant mute, falling through the cracks of the city streets. And no one gave me a second glance.
It was amazing and one of the most frightening experiences I've ever endured. I was hooked.
I know what you're wondering. Why, if I was born in Wonderland, and clearly arrived in London, is my name Seol Eun-ki? I should be a Patrick or a Nathan, with a properly forgettable namesake. Admittedly, I lived a few years with one of these whitewashed western European names until I happened upon a family of Koreans fleeing the occupation of Japan and the resulting chaos amidst the Soviet/American pissing contest. Is it strange to know that my facial composition rekindled some fond memory in them? I looked like the woman's brother, a Hyung-woo. Died rebelling against the Japanese, if I remember correctly. In fact, I just looked it up. Yes, he was shot in the street.
She began speaking to me in this rapid garble and I could not for the life of me figure out what she was saying. I kept trying to placate her in my slow English – I'd only traveled between realms for a few years. For a Wonderlander, that's a very short amount of time. Finally her husband calmed her and spoke in his own heavily accented English. I knew nothing of what had been happening to their people, not a damn thing. The English didn't exactly emphasize the suffering of an impoverished nation across the world and I certainly didn't read up on world news.
Ji-yoon, the woman, began to weep. I spent the night with them, hearing all about their lives – he was a farmer, she a woman who spent time as a…well, let's just say the men were enslaved as soldiers for Japan and the women were equally enslaved in places "befitting their station". Two of their daughters had died young in Seoul and they were born half Japanese. I engrossed myself in their lives, their suffering, and a first-hand account of a land I'd never even heard of before. They didn’t stay in London long—this was around the beginning of the world war. Westerners don't always know the difference between Korean and Japanese.
But I spent as much time as I could with them, learning everything about them and keeping a number of journals. I took down their entire lives, their family, their genealogy, even the type of rice they farmed. They were the beginning for me. The beginning of who I would become. Yes, I was a nameless creature from another realm, but I found this overwhelming determination to learn everything about this new world and what I might be able to do with it. My visits became more frequent and I spent an entire year in Paris learning from the professors. I've never learned to speak Korean, if you're curious. And I changed my name about three months after that family relocated; for many reasons, all of which are my business alone.
I traveled all over the world for the next thirty years or so, studying and learning all I could. I have a fascination for architecture and all things grandiose and ancient. When I was in Wonderland, I worked with a number of the citizens obsessed with creating a 'city' like London within our borders. I began to draw up schematics for buildings, water lines, bridges. Roughly one-third of the structures in the Royal City bear my mark in some small fashion, not that I need the acknowledgement. In fact, I'd rather let the earlier works rot where they stand, uneducated as I was.
I became so infatuated with my human world form I took for granted the body I was born with; and so when the muchness bled dry and we all woke up human, I wasn't nearly as upset as most. With a mouth I could better communicate, human hands I dirtied and scarred and scrubbed clean again. I was able to assist in the construction itself, a feat I never dreamed possible. We were able to build and develop the Royal City much faster with more able-bodied humanoids working. And I could read books in my own realm. That doesn't sound very exciting, I know, but you've never tried to read A Tale of Two Cities with only clumsy talons to turn the pages.
It seems I've begun to run out of space. How quickly the pages fill up. Admittedly, I've always preferred notebooks with hard spines; they last longer and I'm less likely to lose important notes. Anyway, until next time.
Summer-ish 2015 Human Era,
taylor — twenty-two — mountain time — pm — Achilles, Pierre, Bailey
Posted: Jun 26 2015, 03:45 AM
welcome to the site! i love the way you portrayed eun-ki here, i must say i am very excited to see him around! now onto claims c: