Alice had spent the majority of her childhood following rabbits and trying to walk into mirrors because she was sure that if she wanted an adventure, then that must be the way to go about it. It worked in the books, didn't it? And since her name was Alice, then she ought to get even more adventures that other people simply by virtue of being an Alice. All she ever wound up with, though, was a dirty jumper, the occasional terrified rabbit, bite marks, and quite a lot of broken glass.
By the time she was ten, Alice decided that whoever was in charge of dishing out the adventures wasn't doing their job, and that she didn't even want to have one anyway. So there.
Then one day, during class, she'd said something. Later on, she wouldn't remember that bit. What she would remember, however, was what her teacher had told her after.
"Knock on wood," said Mrs. Morrison. "It's so you don't tempt fate."
Of course, if Mrs. Morrison had actually taken a moment to remember who she was talking to, she would have rearranged the sentence so it didn't so much resemble a dare.
From then on Alice made a point never to knock on any wood, at all. She used the doorbell instead, or kicked doors if a doorbell didn't present itself. Surprisingly enough, Fate never seemed to notice this. At least, it never showed up and told her to stop. Once again Alice was forced to accept the fact that the universe simply didn't have any adventures planned for her, and she moved on with her life.
She still never knocked, though. Mostly out of a force of habit.
One summer when Alice was sixteen, she found herself staying with her grandmother who lived in a rather large house up north. It was still California, but rather than the California she was used to (the one consisting of sprawling suburbs and tall-ish buildings) it was California filled with empty fields, cows, and people who spoke with southern drawls despite being north.
At the moment, she was at a garage sale. On weekends, it seemed, garage sales were the only things that motivated her grandmother enough to draw her out of the house. She walked carefully through some ramshackle shelves covered in glass vials while her grandmother haggled with the owner. Near the back, right up against the garage door and hidden behind piles of boxes, she found a particularly odd looking bottle.
It was long, and the base was covered in sequins. The glass was tinted green in the body, but the screw-off cap was purple. It looked like there might've been something inside. Glancing around to make sure no one would yell at her, she picked the bottle up and began shaking it. There was a sloshing sound.
Seeing no other reasonable option, she unscrewed the cap.
Purple smoke trickled out the top. A deep laugh resonated from the bottle- she could feel it reverberating through the glass. A small, pointy face peered out from the smoke still pouring out of the bottle. A surprisingly deep voice boomed,
"Mortal! You have released me!"
She peered around the shelf and looked around. Her grandmother was still on the other side of the drive way, arguing with the owner over some curtains. She turned back to the face.
"I am eternally grateful!"
She nodded. The face looked up expectantly.
"Well?" said the face in a much more normal voice. "Usually you guys jump on this sort of thing."
"Oh. Uh. I don't know- "
Her cell phone went off just then. A pixilated version of Lady Gaga's 'Just Dance' began to play.
Without a second thought, Alice slammed the cap back onto the bottle, jamming it on and breaking the screw mechanism and squashing the face back inside. She tossed the bottle back into the box and then answered the phone.
"Oh, hey Lori. Yeah? No. Just garage sailing with gramma. Yeah? No way-"
"Alice!" called her grandmother. "Come on! There's still a few more on this block."
"Kay! What? No, not you, Lori. Talking to gramma."
She headed for the truck, still chatting.
"Did you find anything you liked?" said her grandmother, tucking the newly acquired curtains into the back seat. It was set between the box of old paperbacks and some porcelain figurines they'd gotten from other sales that morning.
"Nah," said Alice. She hung up the phone- Lori's mom was calling her. "Nothing interesting."
All the same, she couldn't shake the feeling she'd forgotten something.