“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: ‘To Hel in a Handbasket’!”
[The curtain rises on the TARDIS interior set. Will Scarlet as a grim, Doctor-guised Mad Hatter fiddles with the controls at the console, with Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED standing, body-switched, at his side.]
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: So Loki announces that he and Fenrir the Antichristmas Wolf are gonna kick off Ragnarok, and you tell us to retreat?
Will/Hatter Doctor [jaw tight ]: Nothing for it. Our past selves were due to reach the top of Mount Atlas at any moment. If we’d been caught loitering there when we did, it would have thrown all of time into a paradox that would make Ragnarok look like the end of the world as the ancient Norse know it.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: Um, yes. That’s what it is.
Will/Hatter Doctor: Nope. It’s the end of Christmas. And that is far worse.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Okay, so what are doing to stop it? Still fishing around in the past for someone to stop you from getting shot in Steampunk Sherwood, or what?
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [shaking Annabelle’s head ]: I fear that would do little good. Loki seemed to have all too clear a view of the big picture across time. He manipulated us all into doing as he wished before. He could do it again, rerouting any course we took to bring us right back around to where we started.
Will/Hatter Doctor: Too right, knight. There’s no going back, now – only forward. We’ve got to get to the North Pole ahead of father and wolf. And we’ve got to get its chosen Santa Claus back.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: That won’t be easy if Hel’s got him.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [surprised ]: I’d gotten the impression his immortal soul was in a holier state than that.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Mythology, Wilbur. Hel is the Norse goddess of the dead.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [brightening ]: Oh.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: She’s also Loki’s daughter.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur [moaning ]: Oh.
Will/Hatter Doctor: Nobody freak out. I’ve got a plan.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [wincing ]: If you don’t want us freaking out, “I’ve got a plan” is really not the thing for you to say, Hatter.
Will/Hatter Doctor: No, really. Step one: I go to the land of the dead. Step two: I have a panic attack, because HELLO, land of the dead! Yikes! Step three: The crisis releases my Shadow, leaving my body wide open for possession. Step four: Jack Snow rides me out of the underworld and to the North Pole, where the wedding of his Christmas spirit and my good looks will beat back Ragnarok, and – callooh, callay! – Christmas will be merry as a Brandybuck.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: What about Hel?
Will/Hatter Doctor: What about her? She only rules the Norse mythological underworld. Jack Snow’s life isn’t mythological – it’s a fairytale. That means his death will be, too.
Annabelle/Sir Wilbur: All right, then. Story expert – [turns to Annabelle in his body ] –where do dead fairytale characters go?
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle: Oh, heck, they could end up anywhere, or hang around in any form. Plants. Animals. Just plain ghosts. If his body weren’t currently alive and in the Antichristmas’s possession, it would be par for the course for his decapitated head or bones to start talking to us in riddles. I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for him.
Will/Hatter Doctor: So we don’t look. We just find him.
Sir Wilbur/Annabelle [glaring ]: Does your madness provide a method for that?
Will/Hatter Doctor: OH, yes! [cranks a lever on the console ] Next stop: The Shortcut to Everywhere!
“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.
“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!”