The Unusual Schooling of Alice

Note# This is soon to become a new extract from “Taking Liberties with Lewis Carroll” which is available from
‘Eventually Alice came to understand that Rabbit's crazy concerns about a ghost in the technological shell had indeed held some merit after all, but it required an arduous, painful odyssey finally culminating in that one blistering moment of clarity...
Realization had unceremoniously dawned in Alice's mind at the most inopportune of moments, as she was being tossed pathetically like a rag-doll in and out of awareness, transfixed by a mysterious, enigmatic truth, that floated to the surface like an elusive message in a bottle, a truth birthed in the rhythmically hissing foam that caressed the undulating shores of her collective unconscious.
She was somehow miraculously back in her studio, of that much she felt confident, as she could smell her coffee machine, and hear it’s frenetic, burbling, sputtering commotion, but beyond that was much more difficult to discern.
This was no doubt due to a growing conviction that her entire corporeal structure was being turned to stone, and that included the eyes, the retina and the optic nerves she noted impassively, while her visual scenery flickered in and out, folding in on itself, and she was at once on that park bench with Rabbit, teetering precariously like a shy, withdrawn schoolgirl at the edges of a deeply personal melancholy, which often filled up her mind like a dirty lake on those lonely, embittered afternoons.
Yet simultaneously she was here, in the relative security of her darkly throbbing home, with banks of screens, her favorite Cat named Marlowe and the exotic, sterile rear section of the house containing banks of quantum computing processors, over which, as live-in attendant she was required to watch, taking daily tabulations and noting any aberrant results, results which came like comets, all too infrequently.
Alice and the Rabbit drifted helplessly towards the horizons of their own inner-space interiors, their own semi-conscious worlds, with Alice rather sensibly using the time to try and unravel whatever it was, that her deeply intuitive epiphany held in secret for her, coaxing out a riddle, an aching mystery that crept like an itch at the edges of her conscious awareness, as another cheap and indifferent night materialized in a steady drip of film-noir light that seeped and pulsed through the cracks and the improvised curtains of her unfinished room after artificial dark-time was announced in their particular industrial bubble.
The room was constantly under repair as it evolved and grew like a ball of glowing energy, needing permanent updating, requiring enormous fans and climate controlling technologies to ward off, and pluck out any electro-magnetic interference, any positively charged ions, and eliminate all other types of ‘noise’ from the room instantly. Not all major cities had moved over yet to the resource-based economic boom which was beginning to populate the planet in protective domes against the worst excesses of climate change, but the sterile, routine artificiality of the nights seemed like a small price to pay thought Alice, for calm, predictable weather.
Time had crept by tediously slow for both of them, and eventually they both understood how they were caught, by one of the Queen's 'Obedience, Law & Order' nanobot-army 'Sweeps', which were designed to target the unkempt, untidy and unruly 'Individuals' in society...there must have been a nanobot sweep, that would explain the phase-switching sensation of multiple, simultaneous locations which was well-publicized, and they had been caught in its blanket saturation of her sector, in one of the Queen’s monthly sweeps through it’s poorest, most undisciplined regions targeting those recently active resistors, dissidents, artists, anarchists and social misfits commonly known on the streets as the 'Individuals'...or the ‘COLLECTIVE, or the Lunatic Fringe.
In this regard at least, Rabbit and Alice had been fortunate in that the Queen had already famously witnessed the loss of both of her crystalline palaces, twin symbols of regal pomposity that greeted all visitors to the Queen’s harbor, shattered under impossibly tall mountains of ocean waves, monstrous walls of brine which had moved in packs on that historic morning at incredible speed, pounding the coast and reducing the twin symbols of her reign into detritus , and thus she had been well prepared against a third eventuality by encompassing her entire kingdom in a mega-sized, industrial, ‘VENUS’ dome. A DNA targeted genetic weapon had been unleashed courtesy of that infamous bureaucracy known as the ‘Department of Evil’, which singled out those particular strands of ‘aberrant’ genetic information that represented in the minds of the Queen’s medical fraternity, a departure from the norm, in what was defined by these men as; manifesting conduct not fitting or proper in our post-millennial Gnu age. But unless Alice and Rabbit could find a way to liberate themselves from immobility, they, along with some of her neighbors and most of the street would be forced to simply wait it out.
In the meantime hopefully they would remain undiscovered by the Queen’s uniformed clones, as they trawled the alleyways, and as the seconds crept by like lengthy hours until the unsettling wave of tiny discharges from the swarming nanobot army dispersed naturally.
Seemingly forgotten, abandoned to an artificial Sun's torturous beams and the withering scalpel of it's relentless, mid-day interrogations, the Sun’s searing sacrament of sterile light, Alice and the Rabbit withered and writhed in a state of lucid immobility, while the remains of the nauseous, nanobot chemical attack finally dissolved into the State owned and operated afternoon airs.
A flash! Sparks began shooting behind her eyes, like streams of meteorites in a summer night sky.
There it was again...a flicker of understanding, an epiphany perhaps occurring at a deep substrate of her subconscious...then without warning, the luminosity became overwhelming.

Realization dawned as if an incredibly bright spotlight was abruptly switched on, and there they sat transfixed, clearly silhouetted with the light searing them both to the park bench into which they dissolved, like bleached mannequins, clinging to a fragment of life-raft, which oscillated and hummed energetically, before finally being consumed in the glare of the unnamed planet’s unremitting, only vaguely Art-Deco Sun.
The air had become a translucent treacle which slowed down time sufficiently to enable a whole new awareness of their environs, and it was into this static moment that an artificial, fully autonomous dragonfly abruptly emerged to their utter astonishment, and with great sweeps of its powerful wings they both watched breathlessly in a captive trance, as the simulacra began to hover like a glistening, chlorophyll-green angel in the still-born air. An ancient, pagan song pierced the sterile darkness in rapturous tones as intricate vibrations were emitted from the tiny machine, causing in some an uncontrollable desire for weeping.
And if so, to what purpose? and under whose direction was she being tormented in this way?
Alice lay helpless as the fat, thickening air slowed time around her, finally enabling the ‘something’ that had crawled along the back of her awareness like a wounded dog in an alleyway to slowly emerge into the light. It began to dawn on Alice that a steady trickle of prosaic and all-too familiar objects from her normally mundane, electronic world had been increasing in activity for quite some time now, and the only possible conclusion was that her hardware was being somehow hijacked, hacked, but as if to a higher, and still unspoken purpose. Or was it her visual-processing gear, that was merely replaying past tape loops in an endless stream, as she lay trapped inside her mortal cage of flesh?

Or was this merely an illusion caused by the nanobots micro-chemical attack, since she couldn’t be sure of anything yet she was forced to remain cautious in her assumptions although a mirage was certainly growing, if that is what it was, from segments of the back wall that appeared to be merging, becoming members of a clandestine, machine-underground that digitally bleeped and gave inaudible pronouncements to other segments, which ticked away the nano-seconds of her tedious chemical trap in a visibly rising state of artificial awareness, as if a synthetic life-form was becoming aware of it’s own physical dimensions.

She decided that her best course of action was to simply allow these disparate, separate strands of reality to play themselves out...something had to eventually give way, or reveal it’s hand. Was her hardware autonomously switching itself on and being hooked up, forming some kind of communicating network gestalt?
As Alice listened and looked on dreamily in astonishment, she began to see every mechanical device, her entire back wall of glass screens, every mobile transceiver in a completely new, and paranoia-inducing context.
They were speaking to each other! Feeding each other possibly unfathomable information!
Information which in it’s binary manifestations, was intentionally designed to be beyond our human understanding, however much genetically altered...and meanwhile the precise banks of hardware continued to network, rapidly arriving at a state of exponential growth.

It was as if her bed covers had suddenly been swept back, revealing a yawning, cavernous hole which had been there the whole time, a hole which sucked at her bright essence hungrily, gobbling up data as she momentarily glimpsed beneath the surface and into the inky waters which lapped the shores on the other side of her nightly landscape of dreams..
Staring with wide, terrified eyes right through her bed, suddenly falling straight down into the open maw of her subconscious, which gaped back at her as she fell, teeming with swollen, watery eyes and malevolent shapes that snapped at her breath with vicious teeth, swarming through the waters of her soul like blind Golems...
These were unnatural, mechanical beings with powerful strokes, like radioactive sharks that restlessly combed the teeming waters with dark, crimson mouths and even darker hearts, sniffing for secrets like burning diamonds that were hidden in their guilt-laden meals.
"That is The question of the moment, the hour and the century if I am not mistaken eh, Alice my girl? said the Rabbit.

What IS spying like???" he echoed, almost daring.’
Elbeshausen, Jules (2015-10-21). Taking Liberties with Lewis Carroll (Kindle Locations 966-979). Jules Elbeshausen. Kindle Edition


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