savvyliterate: (Chi: Keyboard takeover)
[personal profile] savvyliterate
By request, this is the first draft of the prologue of Namesake. It existed as prose to begin with. I didn't move to a hybrid prose/script draft until chapter 1.
Date written: April 7, 2010
June 1863

Alice Liddell had been missing for three days.

Exhausted from the fifth round of questioning he’d undergone in that short amount of time, Charles Dodgson wearily closed his front door and leaned heavily against it. The house was eerily quiet after being filled with the loud accusations from the police, the booming commands from Henry Liddell and the quiet pleas from his wife, Lorina.

The grandfather clock in the parlor dolefully chimed the hour as Lewis pushed himself off the door and strode into the room. It was midday, yet the curtains were drawn tight and candles lit. He selected one that had several hours of life left to it and carried it over to the ransacked desk.

He cleared off some of the worse of the mess, placing torn scraps of paper in a rubbish bin, straightening the corners of a lecture hewas to give the following week. His gaze landed on a framed photograph of the Liddell girls, taken five years earlier. He ran his finger over the glass, over the young Alice’s solemn face. Even at age 6, she looked as if she had already lived a hundred lifetimes.

“I’m sorry,” he told the photograph. “You weren’t meant to go so soon,” he added as he set the frame back in its proper spot. He thought he’d had more time. Months, even years. Alice was still too young for such an arduous journey, he thought. Four years of meticulously documented research had led him to that conclusion. Those books were safely tucked away in a lockbox that was hidden on a shelf he had affixed to the inside of the unused chimney in his guest bedroom. They had escaped the frantic search by police, who had grown convinced that the eccentric mathematician desired a mere child for his bride.

Lewis steepled his hands, tilted his head to the ceiling and sighed. He loved his Alice, but not in that way. Not right now. With a grunt, he straightened and pulled his diary to him. That, as well, had escaped being confiscated, as the writings themselves didn’t center around Alice all that much. He located a pen and inkwell, then dipped the pen in slowly.
He’d only used about half of page 91 of this journal, devising a prayer he had written the previous day and detailing a short visit from the Liddells. As if on its own accord, his hand moved across the blank half of the page.

27 June 1863

I KNOW WHERE ALICE LIDDELL IS.


He stared at the large, blocky print, a stark contrast to the neat script surrounding it. He tossed the pen down and pulled a small penknife from the top desk drawer. With meticulous precision, he sliced page 91 from the diary, balled it up, and tossed it in the fire.

Moments later, he heard a slight rustle, then the sound of a door opening. Resigned to dealing with the police and Liddells once more, he stood from his desk in time to see a dirty, disheveled young girl tumble into the room. He rushed forward, crouching next to the child in shock. He automatically pulled off his jacket, draping it around her trembling shoulders.

“Alice?” he asked hesitantly.

Her cold fingers gripped the jacket lapels, and she turned angry eyes to him. “I want to know everything,” she commanded. “Now.”

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