Chapter 1: Alice in Wonderland
Zach, 16

           The door looks like an Irish decoration. Green and orange. It needs a fresh coat of emerald paint to replace the patches of bright rust that consume it. That’s the thing with rust: it only takes a small amount of it to start somewhere
before it begins to spread like a plague forever changing whatever it is eating away. The door is all beaten up, scratched, marred. I feel somehow I can relate. Each dent seems to symbolize my pain and confusion. I think to myself that the last time I was in this park my ex-girlfriend threw a Slurpee at me.
           Why do I keep coming back here?
           I know why. It’s what’s waiting on the other side of that door. The beginning of something amazing, or the end of everything as I have come to know it. Or both. A wonderland awaits where I will experience everything that has
been rushing through my mind for some time now. Wonderland.
          As I look down at my powder blue shorts against my brown legs all I can think is, “I always found myself to be a lot like Alice, a dumb blonde who looks great in powder blue.”
          Children run by, startling me.

          Breathe. They don’t know why you’re really here. The kids run out of sight onto the soccer field.
          I realize my hands are so tightly clenched that at any moment my nails will break skin. Unfortunately, I can’t
ease my intensity.
          The sun is hot. It beats down on me with a harshness. You would think being a descendent of the desert would make me immune to the sun’s wrath, but in this moment I don’t know if the heat is coming from the sun or from inside myself. Every second I stand outside this door the temperature of my scalp
increases exponentially. The blaze within my mind is fed by the string of deceit I have created. A trail of deception that carefully shrouds my impending double life. 

         The only way I could start my double life was to start a fight with Michael. I told him he’s the ugly twin, even though we are identical. Twenty-seven minutes my senior, we could be mistaken for conjoined twins because we are closer than close, but something in me is changing. I am the one who is starting to feel different and look different. I am the one who is becoming some kind of monster. I am the one who is slightly heavier than Michael. Slightly. No matter what he says. I am not the fat twin. Alice is not fat. Although just the thought of having to slide down a rabbit hole does make me feel more like Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in a tree looking for honey than a petite little thing running through nature with not one grass stain on her white stockings. But the time has come. It’s time to step forward and to experience Wonderland is to follow this bunny hiding in the bathroom. I better hop to it.
        As I advance toward the door, my knees quiver, my thighs twitch. My entire body is numb. I could be mistaken for a statue that someone delivered and left at the door. A statue like the David. Except with a little more marble around
the middle.
        I feel as if I am on the verge of a stroke. Perhaps I have already had one?
        Why else would I be standing here about to do what I know I am about to do? As I start to vibrate I think, “Shit! I really am having a stroke! I’m about to go down.”
          I quickly realize that it’s not a stroke, but a text coming from my powder blue shorts. As I pull my vibrating phone from my front pocket I wonder, “Would it be more fun to keep this in my back pocket?”
         The text reads,
         “U coming?”
          Well here’s hoping.