Death of the Mad Hatter

Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah Pepper Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah Pepper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Pepper
person, ever ,” Alice Mae said. “It’s really difficult to follow your thought process. First, you don’t want to discuss family matters, and now, you seek me out like some scoundrel and demand that we discuss him.”
    I wanted to shake the answers out of this girl. “What do you know about him?”
    “ Who?”
    “ My dad!” My fists were balled up by my sides.
    She covered her eyes and shook her head. “So I’m privileged enough to speak his name now? Oh dear, Vida Maude was right. You people change your minds more often than not! I’ve only talked to you once, twice if you count the very rude, interrupted conversation we had in literature class, and yet you’ve changed your mind in the matter of a single day.”
    “ How do you know him?”
    “ He lit Zola Maude’s hair on fire,” Alice Mae said as a matter-of-fact. And then her expression changed from Miss Smarty Pants to a halfway-scared look. “I swear to the Queen of Hearts that if you come at me with a match, I’ll kick you in your man bits.”
    “ I’m not going to light your hair on fire,” I said, even though the idea sounded appealing. “Why would I set you on fire?”
    “ I don’t know how you people think,” she said, looking over my shoulder. “I really should get going. I do believe a hall monitor is making his rounds. It’d be a crying shame for you to get another pink slip on the second day of school.” 
    How did she know I got the first one? “Us people?” I asked, refusing to get distracted with the possibility of detention. It was what she wanted. How she knew I had gotten a tardy didn’t matter. She was trying to throw me, which meant I was onto something. I stepped closer so I towered over her, hoping she’d be intimidated.
    “ I can’t quite follow Otherworlders thought processes anymore,” she said, and then trailed off like she revealed too much information. “You’re an odd duck, you know that?”
    The feeling was mutual.
    She suddenly looked on top of the lockers like something had caught her eye. The soft echo of a cat’s meow resonated. It was so faint I had to have imagined it, until I saw Alice Mae’s eye twitch. Did she hear it too?
    “ What do you want now?” she said, not bothering to hide her annoyance.
    Seriously? We were back to the beginning of our conversation again. I was getting a tension headache just from talking to this girl! Apparently migraines came with the territory. A hissing sound echoed in the hall. Since I saw no cat, the only logical explanation was that the school’s pipes were malfunctioning.
    “So Hearts did like the photo that Mr. Ruth delivered?” she asked.
    Trying to follow the conversation detour, I said, “The photo that wasn’t of me?”
    “Precisely,” she stated absent-mindedly. It was like she was having a conversation with someone else. Maybe her invisible friend? When she finally looked back at me, she wore a bored expression. “I hate to cut our unproductive conversation short, but I must go at once. I’ve been summoned and don’t like to keep people waiting, especially the Queen B. I don’t trust her around Mr. Ruth. They have a bad history,” she said, and then slit her throat with her finger.
    “You’re not going anywhere until I get some answers.”
    “Let me know how that works out for you,” she laughed and expertly turned on her heels.
    “Answers. Spill!” I grabbed her arm. A whimper escaped her throat. My stomach dropped at the sound, but I pretended it didn’t crumble my heart.
    Her tiny hands were clenched so tight I actually thought she was going to backhand me. But she didn’t move; she was frozen still. I could see the hardened look of pure anger in her eyes. Time was irrelevant as we had a staring contest. “Next time you touch me, you’d best be better prepared.”
    I smirked . “Better prepared? For what?”
    “For me,” she said under her breath and stepped closer so that our shoes were touching. “Because I fight dirty and

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