Chaos, a Prelude to Denial
Date: 1864 – Night of the Fire – 1st Person Camera
Nothing is real. This is a timeless place of numb shock. Incomprehensible. Incommunicable.
We see quick snatches through a blurred lens and hear voices and shouts from a distant, muffled place. An impossibly long hallway filled with fire and smoke. Fire roars, wood beams snap and crack. Heart pounds deafeningly loud.
A hand small hand clutching a white rabbit frantically claws at a door handle. Blink.
Mother: “Save yourself Alice!” A crash of broken glass. Blink.
Suddenly looking up at the stars. A meteor streaks across the sky with a distinct roar like a dragon. Blink.
Faces peering downward.
Fireman: “She’s badly burnt. She needs a doctor!” Blink.
November 4th, 1864
Days after the Fire – 3rd Person Camera on Alice. 13 years old. Gaunt and bent in a tattered hospital robe. Player has basic movement and view control – forward and look-around. Moving forward causes the hospital to shift and morph through time – sets and actors changing – Alice able to see herself in each scene but unable to interact in any way. Like a ghost.
A hallway through the hospital. Alice on a rail of memory recalls events since her arrival.
Day 1 – Doctors look down at Alice on a bed, converse, “She survived the fire, Doctor, but her loss…” “Entire family gone…” – fiery flash and distant screams.
Ahead there’s a flash of white scurrying across the hallway.
Day 2 – Nurses peering at her, “Hasn’t said a word.” “She just stares. Matron says it’s a ‘psycholic breakdown.” – “SAVE YOURSELF, ALICE!” and a roar of flames as Alice sees herself, white rabbit in hand, on a black plane running towards the fire but moving backwards.
Looking up there’s the White Rabbit standing at the center of the hallway. Patients and nurses walk around it as if it wasn’t there. Alice moves forward…
Flash to a dark room. Faint creaks from the shadows. Moving forward – sudden reveal of Dr. Grantham hung from the rafters by a rope.
Day 3 – “Like to see the back of her, creepy little git.”
Doctor, St. Bart’s Managing Director, enters Alice’s room, approaches her bed; she’s supine, motionless. He’s angry, waves a file, and rants:
“ You’ve made no progress Alice. You refuse to even try. Grantham was a good and decent man. And what did it get him? “Bedlam’s the place for you, Alice; you’ll fit right in with maniacs and hopeless reprobates warehoused there.” You’re a raving lunatic. Bart’s cannot cure your craziness. We certainly can’t afford it. Your money is exhausted. You refuse to improve. You ruined Grantham’s career and caused his demise. You won’t ruin mine. I’m a professional. I do not fail. Heal yourself, you wicked girl.”
The White Rabbit is near now. Looks up at Alice anxiously and points.
Hospital Orderlies grab Alice roughly from behind and drop a bag over her head. Darkness.
November 11th, 1864
Alice again in 3rd person watches as a stretcher is rolled into the Rutledge. Sees herself strapped to the stretcher with white rabbit doll under her arm. Eyes wide with fear.
Smoke and fire engulfs the scene. Mother screams, “SAVE YOURSELF, ALICE!”
Another hallway. This one filled with moans and shouts. Bedlam. The asylum. White Rabbit stands at the end of the hall. Alice moves forward.
Passes rooms containing patients, nurses, and doctors. Applying leaches, performing “surgery,” administering injections, and so on. Forward movement slowly explodes the asylum walls, floor, ceiling, revealing a backdrop of smoke, flame, and darkness. The White Rabbit leads Alice through this towards a distant room which, by the time we arrive there is the only thing we see inside the smoke and flames.
Alice peers in on herself rocking back and forth on the bed.
“They must be gone; or they’d come to visit; on holiday without me.” “What’s wrong with me?” “Was the fire my fault?” “Who’s to blame—if not me?’ “Did they save me and lose themselves” “Why did I survive?” “Did Dinah escape?” “Where is that Cheshire Cat?” With each new question the fire outside grows more intense. Screams, shouts, words remembered from the night of the fire flood the atmosphere along with a dense smoke and hellish glow. This is Alice’s private hell and she’s been here far too long.