He sat on a mushroom, a hookah by his side, and a philosophy in his eyes, humming as the smoke enveloped the two.
Mushrooms lined the path, varying in sizes incredibly small to impossibly large. Ryan was sure he had been walking for hours and had become quite tired. He walked over to a gigantic red and white mushroom and leaned against it's thick trunk. Sighing, Ryan thought to himself, was he going mad? None of this made sense, the grass, the birds, the disappearing boy. Ryan wished he could have asked Spencer more questions about Wonderland, he had heard of it before, but only as a fairy tale. And what had Spencer said about Alice and getting lost? He let out a groan, squeezed his eyes shut and pulled his knees to his chest. He didn't even know where he was supposed to go. Ryan began to hear a sudden rustling sound, but looking up he saw nothing but the peculiar environment that surrounded him.
Then he saw the rabbit.
A white-as-snow rabbit, with tall, slender ears and round, red eyes hopped from behind neon green bush. It hopped a few feet in front of Ryan and turned it's head so it's small eyes stared intently at him. Mesmerized by the seemingly normal animal, Ryan followed it as it gently hopped away. He began to run after the white rabbit when it gained some unusual speed, he wandered from the thicket of mushrooms to a vast forest of the fungus. Large ones, small ones, blue ones, yellow ones. His eyes widened in awe and for the first time since arriving he let a smile grace his lips when he took in the beauty that was the forest surrounding him. Along with the mushrooms, there were some unbelievable flowers that sounded as if they were humming a hymn and swaying along with the wind. He didn't know where the rabbit had taken him, and when he searched for the creature it was not where to be found. Ryan looked around and under for the white animal, but couldn't seem to find him.
"Where did that pesky rabbit go?" Ryan asked himself aloud, crinkling his nose as he smelled a strong smoke.
"He was late... he had to run off." Ryan turned looking for a face to match the smooth voice, but looking around he saw no one, only the trunks of over-sized fungi. The voice let out a sigh,
"Up here." Ryan looked to see smoke hovering over a large mushroom and the top of a very large hookah. He hoisted himself up onto a smaller mushroom and then onto the one containing a man and a peculiar pipe.
"Sit." Was all the man, who was cross-legged on top of the large mushroom, said. Ryan stared at the man's limbs, one minute it looked like he had four and the next minute he had six. He took a peculiar glance at his curled, golden, satin slippers.
"Sit." The man said again, opening his eyes, Ryan nodded and did as he was told. He stared at the man taking in his clear brown eyes, young appearance, soft brown hair and what looked like the beginning of a scruffy beard. Smoke began to envelope the two, swirling around them, it's wispy ends reaching out and brushing Ryan's skin. He blinked hard as he stared at the figure before, his image changing from the young man to the dark blue shell of some incredibly impossible thing and back to the man again.
"Hello Ryan," the man spoke as he pulled the hose of the hookah to his mouth, and began to inhale, "do you mind explaining to me who you are?" Ryan stared at the man, mouth agape.
"Well, I'm Ryan... how did you know that?" He stuttered, the man's brown eyes bore into him and a smirk danced at his lips.
"Well, dear boy, you see a cat told me." He grinned, "But enough about that, explain yourself. Who are you?"
Ryan thought for a moment, his mind racing to try and answer his one simple question, but he couldn't seem to do it. "Uh, I don't know. I guess I never really thought about who I really was..." The man passed Ryan the hose from the hookah, and he stared at it not sure if he should take it or not.
"Don't be afraid, it will do you no harm, but it will help you find yourself." Ryan took the pipe and put it to his lips, inhaling the unfamiliar, sweet smoke. "You're trapped, Ryan. Under the haze of your old life. This will help you see things the way they really are." As the smoke engulfed Ryan, he saw familiar faces pass through his vision. His aunt and uncle, once sweet and nice, he now sees them as an adulterer and a crook. His favorite teacher, so studious and honorable, now a pitiful liar. Along comes his father, the frightening monster to Ryan, is just a wicked old man, cursing the world for his own faults. Then the too familiar face with the honey eyes, soft brown hair and chapped, pink lips turned down in a frown. He watches as the pain that radiates in his eyes turns slowly to self loathing, as the aubergine bruises start to form around his eyes and along his sunken cheeks. He realized then just how frail and hollow he had become, how his father and the rest of the world had provoked him to hate himself with their beatings and merciless taunting. Seeing himself collapse into what he had become caused him to shake and wish away the vision, he stared helplessly at the boy in front of him looking for guidance.
"Now, who are you?" He spoke in his smooth voice, with his intense chocolate eyes rested upon Ryan. The younger boy lowered his head and placing his shaking hands on his thighs.
"...I'm broken." Ryan spoke barely a whisper. The man nodded his head.
"Now you understand, Ryan. The world you were living in broke you. And the only, fragile, un-shattered piece left...is here. But you have to find it..." He looked down and mumbled "before she does."
"What?" Ryan asked, unable to hear what he had said last. Soft, brown eyes dimmed when they looked to him.
"I said that you must be one your way. There is a man in a hat who wants you to join him for tea." He said, playing cool, and starting to stand.
"Wait! I don't even know your name? And-and how do I know where to find this, uh, man?" Ryan quickly shouted, grabbing at the man's soft, blue hoodie, which made him stumble and the hood that was precariously placed atop his head fall.
He shushed the young boy. "I have been known by many names, but you can call me Jon." He smiled and continued. "All you have to do is follow the rabbit." Ryan looked to Jon, looked all around the large mushroom, and then back to Jon.
"But, I don't know where the rabbit went." Jon sighed and pulled the boy up to stand.
"Right beyond the bend," Jon pointed to a curve in the trees to their side, "is a lovely patch of flowers that the rabbit likes to eat. Poor dears. Seeing their family getting eaten up only to know they are next. Oh, but you will need this first." He pulled a small mushroom out of his pocket and handed it to Ryan. "Eat it once you get to the bend, lest you scare the off the rabbit again, you're a big too tall for him."
Ryan had climbed down and Jon assured him they would meet again. As he reached the curve in the trees, he heard Jon calling from behind.
"Don't forget the mushroom! Oh, if you find the mock turtle you must introduce yourself, he gets quite lonely!"
"What?!" Ryan had not idea what Jon, had said about graves and a turtle but he pulled out the small fungi, and popped it in his mouth. He began to feel very strange, and his vision seemed to blur as he felt a rapid pull to the earth. His head had gone numb and he wasn't sure what had happened but when he came to it the vibrant yellow blades of grass that once barely passed his ankle were now to his waist. Feeling confused he looked towards Jon, who simply pointed towards the forest, and so Ryan obeyed going off in search of a rabbit who would lead him to a man in a hat, with a pot of tea.
A/N Sorry, just editing.