The detective escorted the parents through the mortuary. “I’m so very sorry for this. I have to warn you, this will be a rather large shock. You need to prepare yourselves.”
He led them to one of the metal drawers and pulled it open, revealing a small body wrapped in white material. “Are you ready?” he asked. Slowly and reluctantly, they nodded. When he pulled aside the sheet, the woman fell down to her knees, crying and retching. The husband lowered himself to her level and buried her face into his chest, squeezing his eyes shut in a failed attempt to remain stoic and calm for his wife. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He cleared his throat and quietly choked out a few barely audible words. “That’s… that’s her. That’s our girl”.
On the table lay a small child, around the age of 8. Her face, arms, and shoulders were half eaten, with tiny rodent bite marks scattered across her skin. Stiff white hairs littered her torn dress and matted blonde curls. On the half of her face that remained intact was a joyful, delighted smile, frozen for the rest of time.
“H-how?” gasped the man. His wife continued to bawl into his shirt, soaking it with her tears.
The detective hesitated. “We… we pulled her out of a sewage pipe. One arm was pinned to her side, the other outstretched. And her face and shoulders… Well, you can see.”
The man stared blankly at the detective, who slowly continued.
“We’re not sure what animal was responsible for this, but forensics said it might have been rabbits. We’re not sure why rabbits would act this way. Especially while the girl was still al-” He stopped himself from continuing.
“Why did we name her Alice,” the mother sobbed hysterically into her husband’s shoulder. “We could have named her anything else, anything in the world”. As the man began to sob as well, he placed a hand on his wife’s head. In his other hand, he held a tightly crumpled note with an untidy, childlike scrawl that read:
“I’m going to find my rabbit hole.
I know you’ll miss me, and I’m sorry.
But don’t be sad…
I’m in Wonderland.”