Character Development: Alice

There’s a wild part in every woman’s heart.

Alice Summer Wright started her life in Katoomba, in The Blue Mountains, an area west of Sydney.

Her parents, Felicia and Felix, had been born on the same day as one another, the same year, the second of February 1975. They were both psychic mediums and shared a business in the family home.

They planned Alice’s birth around their shared birthday and yes, improbably, she was born on the second of February as well.

They all lived in one of the original homes in the area, an ancient, creaking house with an impressive herb and vegetable garden that wrapped the home in a blanket of green.

Alice grew up surrounded by mystical people; psychics, channellers, mediums, wiccans, pagans, witches and warlocks. None of it impressed her.

Alice’s younger brother, Edgar, named after Edgar Cayce, came into the world quietly and without a fuss, twenty years after Alice, and impossibly, also on the second of February.

Her parents didn’t believe in restricting children, controlling them or pulling them into line. They raised Alice accordingly, and she was a wild child who was thrown out of two preschools before she was three years old.

At school, Alice excelled in almost every subject. Her favourites were maths and science, which confused her parents who had been doing spell-work since she was conceived to try and produce their own special Indigo Child.

She ruled the playground from kindergarten through to year twelve, but she wasn’t hated for it. She led her minions in a matter-of-fact way, never asking more than she knew could be given.

She ate whatever she wanted from anyone’s lunch box and the other children were happy to share with her. She always found it a little odd that people followed her so easily, after all her parents hadn’t taught her a thing about being in charge of others.

She’d always been bigger than the other girls, and the further through school she went, the larger she grew. Her mother was always buying her new uniforms, the next size up.

Somehow, in spite of her size and what that usually meant in schools, all the freedom they’d given her had instilled in her an almost limitless self-confidence, and self-belief. Somehow, a life without boundaries had taught her how to be the one who set the rules.

It wasn’t until high school that someone told her that everyone was dead scared of her parents and their home. Everyone, from kids, to parents and teachers.

Rumours abounded of heathen rituals, candles and black magic, blood sacrifices, naked midnight dancing around a fire. Most of it was true.

She always thought Felicia and Felix were seen as harmless kooks. Apparently not. It made her laugh.

Moving to the city when she got into a Sydney university, Alice decided she’d go by Ali, it sounded more adult somehow. Her dad had sorted a job for her, in a pagan bookshop, and there was a tiny flat above where she could live for some exchange arrangement between her dad and the owner.

Uni was another world, and Ali threw herself into her studies, her job and a busy adult social life. She went through boyfriends and girlfriends quickly, none of them her true love.

That was until she met Lily at their uni graduation ceremony. They were both sitting there, unimpressed with the pomp, one person between them. Lily had pulled out a tube of the reddest lipstick Ali had ever seen, and applied it to her already perfect lips. She’d noticed Ali watching her and held out the lipstick to her. Ali had laughed and refused it.

After the ceremony was over, Ali found Lily and asked her out for drinks. They’d stuck like glue to one another ever since, turning the tiny apartment over the shop into a real little home for two.

Lily was already working in a very junior role at a publishing house, and was able to get Ali a job there as well. Give us time, they’d said to friends and family, and time along with hard work and talent had paid off for each of them.

Saving and penny-pinching had them able to make a deposit on an only slightly bigger apartment, needing improvements but their very own.

They called it their little nest.

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