‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #25 New Image Prompt! – Following the White Rabbit

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Alice bounds into the library, just in time to see the tails of Mr Rabbit’s coat disappearing through the closing door.

“Mr Rabbit,” she cries, “Oh, do wait for me, Mr Rabbit.”

The door hesitates, and then slowly swings back open.

A quivering nose peers around the edge of the doorframe, followed by a pair of pink eyes behind wire-rimmed spectacles.

“Alice, is that you, dear girl? How wonderful to find you in the library? I was just passing through the secret door into Wonderland. Would you care to join me?”

“Oh, yes, thank you, Mr Rabbit.”

Alice bolts across the floor and slips through the doorway between the numerous volumes of leather-bound books into a world of fantasy and imagination.

Alice looks around. She is not in a dark hole, tumbling down, down, down, towards the centre of the earth; she is in a large hall.

On one side of the room stands a bank of computers. Children sit in front of the blinking screens with their eyes riveted on the flickering figures in front of them. Headphones cover their ears, making them look like aliens from outer space. Although dozens of children sit in front of a similar number of machines, no one speaks, there is no discussion or banter, each child is focused solely on their own game. The only sound is the soft movement of the many mice across the mouse pads.

“Wow,” whispers Alice, “look how immersed the children are in their games. They are completely transfixed.”

“Yes, they are,” agrees Mr Rabbit, “they barely take the time to blink.”

A happy murmur of voices attracts Alice’s attention to the other side of the sizable hall. A large group of small children are gathered around a central teacher who is reading to them from a large book. Every now and then the teacher pauses, holding up the book so that the children can see the illustrations. The soft babble is the children admiring the pictures and asking the teacher questions. Bookshelves line the walls, and this side of the hall is happy and welcoming, filled with bean bags and relaxed and smiling children.

Older children look through the books on the shelves, carefully removing a book and reading the blurb, before either returning it to the shelf or walking over to a bean bag and sitting down to read. Alice watches as an older girl explains a difficult word to a younger boy.

Mr Rabbit stands in the middle of the room. In one hand he holds a computer mouse and in the other, a bookmark.

“One side will grow your comprehension, reading skills, empathy and imagination,” he says, “and the other will shorten your concentration span and reduce your ability to cope, socialise and deal with stress. Choose carefully, Alice, as your choice will change you forever.”

You can join in this prompt here: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/11/13/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-week-25-new-image-prompt-join-in-the-funiartg-flashfiction-writingcommunity-writingprompts-pursoot/

Here is a song for your to enjoy that relates to this prompt:

51 thoughts on “‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #25 New Image Prompt! – Following the White Rabbit

  1. Absolutely Love this tale Robbie… I wonder just how many realise they are already in the classroom, being asked to choose their books???
    Great analogy of the choices facing every single one of us right now..
    Sending tons of Hugs from the UK Robbie… I disappeared down my own rabbit hole for a time, but feeling much healthier now…
    Lots of love your way ..
    Sue ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No books may come about because of other reasons like costs and saving trees, although trees for paper are grown for that specific purpose. I only buy select books now, even though I prefer a proper book, because of space issues.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carla, I have noticed that kids go through phases in their development. Mine are both teenagers and fitting in with their peer group is vital. Books are out and music and computers are in. I believe they will return to reading later in life, as I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Robbie, thank you so much for this timely and thoughtful take on the challenge. I was on a citybound train about two years ago and seated across from a group of young teenage girls. I was stunned to see them all sitting face to face and knee to knee and talking to each other on their iPhones. It made me shudder to see how socially distant they were. Thanks again for taking part. I have just had the pleasure of sharing this. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved the way the room with kids on computers looked like a dystopian nightmare. Sure many kids would choose screens over books, but they would also choose chocolate over broccoli. That is why you and other good parents don’t let kids make all the choices when they are young and need to learn to read. Your boys are established readers even if now they aren’t immersed as they once were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I was a strict parent about reading. They both had to read a set amount every day before they were allowed any other forms of entertainment. Gregory doesn’t read during the school term (other than setwork books) but he does read during holidays when he has the time. Michael still has to read 30 minutes every day except during examination periods.

      Liked by 1 person

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