Oooh, a good question! :) I’ve been tossing up a few ideas in my head ahead of time, for some of the girls, and Rebecca was one of those.
Given her love of early film and desire to act, I’m sure Rebecca would be as much into movies as books; I think her favourites might possibly be ones she could picture herself playing the lead. One particularly popular children’s story for being put up on the silver screen was, and always has been, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There’d already been 2 movie versions by 1914, and a third, much bigger one was due the very next year.
And I could honestly see Rebecca being cast to play Alice even, as directors tended to cast older children to play younger roles (even more so in the early days than now, actually…). So yeah, I think the classic childrens’ story - already nearly 50 years old by the time Rebecca reads it - would be one of her favourites, and she might dream of portraying the heroine on camera someday soon. :D
After lunch Alice was escorted back to the interview room and continued to tell the two Agents tales about her life at Wonderland. How life after she’d been ‘matched’ didn’t really change. She just continued to go about her day to day duties with Marnie, Becca and the other residents.
Ally revelled in the importance that being matched to Lewis gave her, the other residents always smiling at her, looking up to her. Lewis had told her that they all knew that she was the one who was going to lead their children through the fall of the world. Alice still didn’t get to go to the meetings that the other elders had though. She wouldn’t be allowed into them until she was nineteen. She didn’t know how Lewis and Marnie came to decide that someone could be matched at sixteen but not involved in important camp decisions until nineteen, but she accepted it as Gospel. Like she accepted everything else she was told.
The only difference between life before being matched and life after was that Lewis would come to her on certain nights, Marnie helping her strip her bedsheets and wash out the blood after the first time. “You’re a woman now,” she’d told her, stroking a lock of Alice’s hair back.
Lewis would come to her every full moon without fail and during these times, he wouldn’t use any protection. Any other time during the month he would, but not when it was a full moon.
“Our children, the leaders of the future world, were all conceived under full moons. Just like you were.”
He’d shown Alice a lunar chart, dating back years. If she calculated when her parents had probably conceived her, it had in fact pointed to a full moon, so she happily believed him and allowed him to have his way, even enjoying it. Her children, they were going to be important, they were going to be saviours.
“And you never once fell pregnant?” Agent Rossi raised his eyes to Alice in question.
“Is my sister still out there watching this?” she asked, glancing to the mirror.
“No. Agent Hotchner has had them escorted home. Your sister…. She got upset during lunch and we thought it best she return home,” Spencer told her.
Alice nodded. “Yes I fell pregnant. I fell pregnant three times and miscarried each time, a few months in.” Her eyes flickered between the two Agents and then back to the mirror on the wall, staring at her own reflection for a moment.
“I’m sorry to hear that Alice, that must have been very hard for you.” Rossi’s gentle tones filled the room.
“I’m not sorry. So please don’t be sorry on my behalf.”
Dave glanced at Spencer, a message passing between the two.
“Ally, we need to ask about the bodies. Why did these people end up dead and why were their bodies dumped.”
“Because we killed them.”
Alice’s statement hung in the air.
Not they. We.
“Ally. Can you explain?”
Ally had turned nineteen a month ago, and was finally getting to sit in on her first meeting. She sat nervously next between Rebecca and Marnie, watching Lewis address the room of adults. Not all of the camp were there. They didn’t all need to be there, Lewis had told her when he’d explained years ago how things went.
There was a group of fifteen to twenty people who made all of the decisions in camp, Lewis having the ultimate power to overrule which he said would eventually fall to her when the time was right.
Today they were discussing a fellow camper who went by the name of Thomas. Alice knew that wasn’t his actual name. She’d found out not long after she and Rebecca first came to Wonderland that many people checked their actual names at the door, choosing something different in order to escape their previous life.
“Do we have to change our names?” she’d asked Marnie at breakfast one morning, when they’d joined the rest of the camp in the big hall rather than eating in their own house. Lewis was at the other end of the table, speaking to the men who were in charge of general security at the camp, making sure the wall was maintained and walking the perimeter at night.
“Not when you have such a pretty name like Alice,” Charlie had told her, grinning widely before continuing. “Ultimately, it’s up to you. Some people change theirs because they don’t want to be associated with the life they had before they came here.”
“Charlie, how did people find out about this place?”
“Well I know that when it first started Lewis and Marnie had made contact with an already existing ‘family’ who lived down Utah. They found them through a newspaper I believe, and exchanged correspondence via letter before they decided to set up a new camp together. There were about twelve of them, Sarah, George and Matthew all came from that group. Once it was established they used their contacts to regroup other members, and then around ten years ago, a web page was set up giving details of how to contact us.”
“But how did they… Me and Becca were blindfolded? How did other people get here?”
“Ahhh, yes. Mom and Dad set up the site although we have to go into town to check it, we can’t get decent enough signal this far into woods. That’s one of the reasons we go into town so often, to use the computers at the library. Although we alternate who goes and which library in which town. We pick up any messages that have come through the site and bring the details of the people wanting to join us back to camp for the elders to discuss. Once Lewis and the others have decided if someone can join or not, then we tell them where to wait and when.” Charlie switched between referring to his parents as Mom and Dad and their given names. It confused Ally sometimes as she genuinely forgot that he and Eric were the leaders sons. It confused her even more after she and Lewis were matched. Was Charlie her step son? It seemed so odd.
“How many requests do you get?” Alice was intrigued as in the two months she’d been there she’d not seen any newcomers.
“Not many. But it’s only a few minutes out of each trip, and we have to come into town to get certain supplies and to do business anyway. Before you and Rebecca the last new people were seven months ago.”
“There’s a website?” Rossi’s’ eyes widened at this new information.
Alice nodded, “I don’t know the name and I never got to see it. I was allowed out of the compound eventually, but never back into town. Lewis told me I was too important to risk anything happening to me.”
Spencer and Dave both knew that Hotch would be outside telling Penelope to find this site and find it quickly. If anyone could do it, it was Penelope Garcia.
“Alice, tell us about Thomas,” Dr Reid coaxed her gently.
“Thomas isn’t recovering at all. I think he might be too far gone for us to help him.” Molly, one of the elders had taken the stand, speaking to the group of people that were assembled, Ally taking a place between Lewis and Marnie at her first meeting.
Molly had been a nurse in her previous life, and she and Oliver, an ex doctor, presided over the small building that had become the infirmary. The supplies they had at the compound were limited but they worked well with what they had. Ally had been in the infirmary multiple times, as had everyone on the compound. Once a month, everyone was required to visit to donate blood for storage, a procedure Ally hated. Because of her blood type, O negative, she was often asked to go in twice as she was only the second person on the camp to have that type, the other being Lewis. Since she’d turned seventeen, she’d found herself in there more often than she liked due to her miscarriages, although she was generally segregated from any other ill residents. Alice had found herself in the medical supply room accidentally one day, and although she’d been told that supplies were short she was surprised to see how many drugs and equipment they did actually have. But then again, she was finding herself surprised a lot the older she got.
Lewis looked between Oliver and Molly. “You’re saying Thomas is beyond our help.”
Oliver nodded, removing his glasses and cleaning them on his shirt.“We can’t do anymore for him here. And he’s draining our supplies.”
“We’ll see to it tomorrow. Alice can assist, it’s time she stepped up to her duties.”
Ally felt her partner’s hand squeeze her thigh and she looked around, seeing the other elders nodding at her. She was confused. What was she assisting with? She looked over to Rebecca who just shook her head at her. Being older and matched to Eric, Rebecca had been invited to a few of these meetings already. She refused to share any details with Alice though, claiming she wasn’t allowed to.
“Now, onto the next point, Sarah and Sam’s daughter has asked….”
The next evening Charlie came to the main house and collected her, interrupting her evening chores and telling her that it was time. He looked at her sadly as he led her down past the infirmary and through the gates to a locked garden that Alice had only been in once or twice before. It was where all the plants and herbs were grown, a lot of them were used in cooking and in the infirmary but some of the plants were grown for specific purposes, such as poppies. The poppies were a source of income for the camp for a reason it has taken Alice a while to realise. As such, the garden was kept locked to keep out the children.
Alice was still constantly amazed at how far the compound stretched and how the residents here had achieved so much building wise and still managed to remain hidden. It was due to mixture of good planning, well thought out ideas, and bribery that kept the majority of the area hidden from any walkers who did stumble by. She was astounded even further when Charlie led her into a hut which she didn’t even know existed, one of the pick up trucks they used for supply runs parked outside.
Lewis, Oliver, Eric and Rebecca were already there, gathered around a low bench where Thomas lay.
He’d been in the infirmary for four months, coming down with a sickness that he’d not been able to shake. Ally hadn’t seen Thomas in a while and was shocked by his gaunt and pale appearance. He was shaking on the bench and as she ran her eyes over him she was concerned to see that his wrists were bound together with rope.
“Why he is tied up?” She was confused, looking at Charlie and Lewis. Only Lewis met her gaze.
“To make it easier for you, my love. This is your first task as one of the elders of the group.”
Ally had thought they’d be taking Thomas into town, perhaps dropping him close to a hospital if not actually taking him to one. That’s what they did with the sick people right? The residents who went into the infirmary with an illness but didn’t come out. They took them to be taken care of?
At least… This is what she’d been told by Marnie when her friend Anna had been taken ill six months ago. Pneumonia, they’d told her, Anna’s parents not meeting Alice’s eyes when she came to enquire about how her friend was.
Oliver handed Lewis a covered platter, removing the cloth to reveal a small pistol, one of the many Alice had been trained how to handle by Bill, the expert marksman and ex marine. Everyone went through gun training when they came of age. It was important, they needed to be able to survive. Some could barely grasp the gun and point, others like Alice and Rebecca had had surprisingly good shots, impressing Bill with their attempts to mark the targets they’d trained with.
Lewis stepped forward and held out the platter to Alice and she realised what was happening here.
“No. No no no no no. That’s Thomas. You can’t, I can’t…. Why?”
“We’ve all had to do it Alice,” Lewis spoke carefully to her.
“I haven’t, not yet,” Becca piped up and Alice heard something odd in her voice. Something that sounded like resentment.
“Oh god… Why? Why can’t we take him to the hospital. Please….. Let me take him.” She didn’t know the way but she’d find it, she would.
“Alice you know why. If we take him to a hospital then there’s a chance he’ll tell people about us.”
“So… Let’s treat him. We have drugs, medication. I’ve seen them… ”
Lewis spoke again, “Alice, he’s a liability to us. He’s not going to get better, he has cancer.”
“People survive cancer all the time.”
“Not out here they don’t. And even if they did, we can’t risk him relapsing. We need healthy, strong people here. Healthy and strong people to produce the children of the future. Thomas won’t be able to do that. It’s the only way.”
Thomas hadn’t said a thing the whole time, his eyes were closed but Alice could see tears leaking from them.
“Alice, Thomas understands. So does Laura. They’ve said their goodbyes. They’ve come to terms with it.” Laura was his wife, they’d come to Wonderland together, four years before Alice and Rebecca had.
She looked around the room again, feeling herself starting to shake.
“Remember what I’ve told you. You’re a leader Alice. My leader, these people standing beside me, they accept that. You will lead them when I cannot and you will walk besides their children when the world falls. As a leader, you have to make decisions and doing this was one of the decisions the group has come to. We cannot have weaklings, we cannot have liabilities, we cannot have such a drain on our resources and we certainly cannot have someone who could be a risk, set free into the world. You will have to make these decisions too. Now take the weapon and show this man mercy from his suffering. It is for the good of everyone, Thomas included.”
She turned and ran from the hut, not making it to the gate before she heard the sound of a single gun shot.
Down the Rabbit Hole: Visiting Bauman Rare Books Part 1 of 5!
Members of the UISpecColl team took a trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference and stopped by Bauman Rare Books to chat with Rebecca Romney about books, life, the universe and everything. Rebecca Romney appraises rare books on the TV show "Pawn Stars“ on the History Channel.
In this video we look at Alice in Wonderland as illustrated by Salvador Dalí, discuss the public domain, interpretations of Alice, and the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Part 1 of 5. We will release one video per week for the next 5 weeks.
Hi Taylor it’s julia! I want to thank you again for following me back it May! I was ridiculously happy! I was in balling my eyes out, freaking out not believing that it actually happened! It was the most amazing feeling ever knowing that my idol decided to personally follow me!
I was hoping you could follow these lovely people because I know it will make them just as happy as I was💓