“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”
“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”
“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”
“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”
“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Out of Body, Out of Mind’!”
[The curtain rises on the woodland set of Steampunk Sherwood, dimly lit and fog-machined. Having been shot back in Act 15,Will Scarlet as the Mad Hatter lies on the floor, while his shadow – one that looks like little more than cat-like eyes and a massively wide grin, bright as a crescent moon – dances around on the smokescreen. Also on the ground is a furry cloak crumpled over a puddle of goo – all that remains of the Antichristmas Beast – and Annabelle Gray from INSPIRED as Sir Wilbur Lamb in her body. Sir Wilbur as Annabelle arrives from offstage, hefting a fair-sized mirror.]
Will/Shadow: So, you’ve made it back! But no sign of Jack. Oh, where did dear little Snow go? The Shadow knows! [demented laughter ]
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [to Sir Wilbur in Annabelle’s body ]: I expect he’s been this creepy the whole time?
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Essentially, yes. As he mentions it, though, where is Jack?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: We parted ways at the castle. He was in a hurry to get back to the North Pole and recommence his duties as the chosen Santa Claus. Fortunately, he felt he could spare a minute to tell me how to get the Shadow back in Hatter’s body before he took off. Yoo-hoo, Shadow! [holds up the mirror ] You’re still Hatter enough to want to ogle your own face, right?
Will/Shadow: Oooh, mirror, mirror in your hand – who’s the shadiest in the land? Let me see, let me see!
[The Shadow zips closer to the mirror, then – whoopsie-daisy – disappears right into the glass. The stage’s fog clears, the lights brighten back to normal, and Will Scarlet sits up with a gasp.]
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Hooray, you’re alive! How’s the gunshot wound?
Will/Hatter [surprised ]: What, was I shot??
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: I’m afraid so. By him. [gestures to puddle of goo ]
Will/Hatter [rising to his feet ]: So, let me see if I’ve got this straight. [points to self ] I got shot. [points Sir Wilbur and Annabelle ] You two switched voices. [points to body on the ground ] And the guy who shot me just melted down dead?
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Yes, yes, and yes, though as far as the third item goes, we don’t know why.
Will/Hatter: I should think it was obvious. It’s the Antichristmas we’re talking about. Nothing can take him down but a concentrated dose of Christmas spirit.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Christmas spirit? But how— Wait. [turns to Annabelle in Sir Wilbur’s body ] When you were last with Jack, did you notice anything at all amiss about his behavior?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: As a matter of fact… [face pales ] Oh, heck, tell me you’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting. That is not even Hatter’s-Shadow-level creepy. That is, like, Vashta-Nerada-level creepy!
Will/Hatter [offended ]: What’s so creepy about my shadow?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [voice going shrill ]: I’ll tell you what’s creepy about it! Your freaking Shadow switched everyone’s bodies! Now I’m Wilbur, Wilbur’s me, Jack Snow’s spirit melted the body around him, and the real Antichristmas Beast is riding Jack’s body all the way back to the North Pole where he will doubtless contrive to destroy Christmas forever!
Will/Hatter [face slack with shock ]: Jack’s… dead?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Yes, you jerk! Wilbur, rip off his arm or something!
Will/Hatter: Whoa, now! Violence is never the answer! Maiming me won’t bring Jack back any more than would flying by opening up your jacket, though at least the latter option would be more fun. Have you brought your jacket?
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Believe it or not, Annabelle is making a lot more sense than you are right now. You don’t seem aware of what you become when your body goes into crisis mode. That gunshot brought out your Shadow, as did your entrapment beneath the sky. And your Shadow is powerful, Hatter. Powerful enough to have brought a body back to life once. That’s why the Beast in Jack’s body was so keen to lock your Shadow away again: On the loose, it could bring the real Jack back!
Will/Hatter: What point in bringing back Jack’s spirit in a body that can’t hold it without melting? What Jack needs – what all of you need – is a way to completely reverse whatever it is you say my Shadow’s done. …Or, simpler still, to prevent it from having ever happened to begin with.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: How is that simpler?
Will/Hatter [grinning ]: With a TARDIS.
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“Thank you to audience members Kelton de la Cruz and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘Vashta Nerada’ and ‘flying by opening up your jacket’.”
“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”