Alice sighed and put the pizza box down. The kitchen trash was now ridiculously overful, and she knew her boyfriend wouldn't be taking it out to the trash cans any time soon. She opened a new bag and filled it with the chinese takeout cartons, the pizza boxes, the burrito wrappers, and couldn't help but wonder about the last time they had cooked dinner.
She banged the back door open, carrying her two bulging sacks of garbage, and tried to open the trash can with her pinky finger. She dropped the bags and grabbed the lid, and only noticed then that it had been torn open. There was a deep gouge in the metal can, aluminum shreds torn to scraps about it. There was also a man lying on the ground, moaning in pain.
"I...you...Stay Back!" was all she could stammer, and he just grimaced with pain.
"Don't worry, darlin,' I'll be on my way," he was able to groan out, as he rolled over, revealing a bloodied gash in his side. Her concern for herself opened up momentarily, and she offered him help, but he just shook his head.
"Don't be ridiculous! I'm calling the Paramedics," she let out as she ran back in, dialing 9-1-1 and calling aid for the man. When she went back outside, he was gone...
It was the police, not the paramedics, that answered her 9-1-1 call. "Evening, ma'am, we received a report of a bleeding man and some 'claw marks' in your driveway, is that correct?"
Alice was confused, but responded. "Yes, he was injured, so I called for an ambulance. Is something wrong?"
The police officers loomed and their tone of voice grew dark. "Are you aware of the penalties for aiding a wanted criminal?" She missed the threats in his voice and continued to protest that she was only seeking medical aid for a wounded man. "Have you had any dealings with this man before? We may need to take you in for questioning..."
She was on the verge of denying everything when alarum sounded on their radios calling all available units to a nearby street. She didn't hesitate to not tell them that the nearby street was just over the fence behind her house.
She strained to listen for activity beneath the wail of the sirens, but all she could hear was gunfire. She went to sleep clenching her eyes shut and covering her head with a pillow...
In the months that followed, she found herself clipping newspaper articles. Anything about a missing person, a disappearance, an All Points Bulletin, vandalism, animal attacks, would catch her attention. She gathered it all, trying to piece together what was going on - who that man was and why the Police were so hostile to her.
Sometimes she thought about burning her notebooks, and sometimes she did. But eventually, she always heard someone or something crashing out by the trash cans and she would grab her flashlight - and her gun, and investigate - try to find a clue to satisfy the growing doubt that she had the slightest clue about what was going on in the World.
This is the World of Darkness. Terrible things loom behind every corner, and the shadows conceal only more shadows. A little bit of knowledge shatters a world of ignorance, and the constant unknowing doubt may be your undoing. But you cannot go back. You cannot unlearn what you have learned, you cannot suppress the curiosity that consumes you.
There is no leaving Wonderland, Alice. There is no blue pill.