This excerpt comes from our Alice-in-Wonderland inspired anthology, BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT and is written by popular YA author Charlotte Bennardo.
Alice, through the Wormhole
It was seedy, even for a bar; dim enough to hide the dirt, smoky enough to blur faces, and loud enough not to overhear the illicit trading. Drinks were overpriced and watered down, but for making deals that were best kept secret, this place was golden.
The scariest aspect was the clientele. Murderers, slave traffickers, drug dealers, and mercenaries – all in a mix of worse scum. Keeping one hand on her blaster was a justifiable precaution. It also let anyone who looked her way know she wouldn’t go without a fight.
An Oryctolagian, a species resembling a white rabbit once popular on the now-dead Earth but here as big as a human, hopped past, his gravity boots clunking heavily on the stone floor. She had no use for the creatures. Sneaks, thieves, and liars, they fit in with these bottom-feeders. The only good Oryctolagian was a stuffed one – on the dinner table.
Alice rolled the grimy glass between her hands. No way would she drink it. Everyone knew that consuming anything in this place carried a certain risk. One never knew what might happen. Bartenders could be bought off to slip something in that would knock you out, alter your appearance – or kill you. But to not buy anything would insult both the bartender and the mysterious owner who’d appear by hologram to remind you that you hadn’t purchased a beverage or worse, a dish, from this fine establishment. It was safer – and cheaper – to order the swill. As always, before she left, she’d “accidentally” spill it onto the table sticky with previously slopped libations and leave a generous tip to cover the housekeeping expense.
She looked at her chronometer again.
Her dealer was late.
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