IF WILL SCARLET … Were a Super-Powered Plane-Hopper

A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Showed Up Out of the Blue— I Mean Red

“So, yeah,” he’d say. “I can totally just pop in and out of your head at will. Ha! At Will. Anyway, is there food?”

This would fly in defiance of everything I know and/or speculate about the relation between planes, as featured in such literary masterworks as Inspired. Not the part where Will’s asking about food. That much is par for the course. But be-bopping from the Abréal to the Réalis (as featured in Reality as We Know It, newly-released in The Toll of Another Bell: A Fantasy Anthology) just isn’t done!

“You can’t just do that,” I’d say, because, again, he shouldn’t be able to.

“Yeah, I know,” he’d say, striding into the kitchen. Getting to watch him stride would do wacky things to my lungs. It’s one thing to imagine it. Quite another to see with my own eyes. He’d pull open the fridge and freezer, looking for… well, probably pretty much whatever. “But I’ve developed super powers.”

“How?” I’d want to know. Now that I’ve either gotten over the first wave of shock or, more likely, have overdosed on it to the point that it doesn’t much matter anymore, I can begin to take an authorial interest in the how. One doesn’t like plot holes.

He’d crinkle his face at me – one eye going scrunched. “How in the deuce should I know?”

“ ‘In the deuce’?” I’d repeat. “Pretty sure it’s just ‘the deuce’, man, no ‘in’.”

“Couldn’t just let that slide, could you?”

“Could have, but didn’t. Why don’t you know?”

He’d shrug a shoulder. “Don’t know that either. I guess we could speculate. Can I have ice cream? I’m having ice cream.”

I would point out that, as long as his enjoyment of ice cream doesn’t involve him trying to force feed it to me (as is too often the case when he’s free-riding in my head), he can have all the ice cream he wants without me giving a single darn. This would result in a massive grin on his part, and probably his grabbing a spoon from the silverware drawer to shove directly into the carton of, I dunno, let’s call the flavor cookie dough.

“So,” he’d say, after sucking down a spoonful with relish, spinning around to lean back against the counter by the sink, “what could have happened that resulted in me being able to step in and out of your head as easy as crossing a threshold, but minus the imps?” Thresholder imps, of course, being a reference to another Inspired-world story of mine (which is due to feature in a super special Luna Station Quarterly thing in May. Stay tuned!).

A thought would at that point occur to me. “Wait. How do you know you can get back in? Have you tried?”

“Well, I—” He’d stop. Blink. “No, I haven’t.”

“So what if you can’t?”

“Ummmm, I’m pretty sure I can, but I mean, if you want me to try…”

“NO!” I’d say quickly. “What if you could get back in, but you couldn’t get back out? That would be a stupid waste; we haven’t done anything with you here, yet!”

“Mm, yeah, there’s a good point.” He crams more ice cream into his face, eyes trained thoughtfully toward the ceiling. “Well. What do you want to do, then? I could just stay here, indefinitely. I’m sure people in your head wouldn’t miss me that much. I mean, they totally would, but we’d still be sort of together. Like how you and I were together before I was here, sharing your plane.”

“That wasn’t the best sort of togetherness,” I’d say, already dreading the thought of things going back to normal. Because they’d have to, right? Things that are too good to be true don’t tend to last long.

“Not totally optimal, yeah,” he’d agree. His smile would change, going warmer and more deeply into me. “This is actually great. I never get to look at you, like this. I mean, I’ve looked at you, but…”

“I know what you mean,” I’d say, having observed the same sort of thing during his stride to the kitchen. “This is… we should hug again,” I’d decide. And we would. A longer hug, uncut by shock and the delivery of ponies. He’s a really great hugger. Not quite Edgwyn caliber, but definitely up there. Plus, Edgwyn wouldn’t be outside my head to compete, so Will would have the leg up.

“I am pretty sure I could get back out, though,” he’d murmur over my head. “I can tell. Like you can tell that you can, I don’t know, sing a song. A song you know, but just haven’t gotten around to singing yet, like… are there any songs like that?”

“I don’t know. I tend to sing the songs I know.”

“Well, the point is, you’re not worried that you can’t do it just because you haven’t.”

“That’s not a great metaphor, Will,” I’d break it to him. “I’ve sung songs before. So far as I know, you haven’t been doing much plane-hopping, ‘til now.”

“And how am I ever going to master my power,” he would chide, “if you won’t let me practice? Imagine a superhero movie where the guy gets a power but never tests it out because, oh no, what if he makes the face and it stays that way?! Is that how you make an X-Man? No.”

“Ally-y-yn…!” I’d wail, because I wouldn’t know how to cope with this conundrum.

“Yes?” Allyn would say, through me.

I’d point across the kitchen’s tiny space, tattling, “Will Scarlet’s on my plane!”

“Yes, I know,” Allyn-through-me would say. “He does that now, apparently.”

“That is so weird,” Will would say, because it would be – him listening to Allyn through the author filter instead of face to face, Allyn looking at him through my eyes, my eyes looking at a material Will… yeah, “weird” pretty much covers the basics. Then, “Hiiiiiiii, Allyn!” he’d call.

“Hello, Will,” Allyn would say, tugging my mouth up toward his sort of smile. “You’re very far.”

“Not so very,” Will would say.

“Feels like very, from here,” Allyn-through-me would murmur.

Will’s face would do a different sort of crinkling. A different sort of deep-into-you smile, laced with a grimace. “Aw, Allyn… Are you missing me?”

“Perhaps a little.”

“Want me to pop back in, real quick? Give you a hug?”

“No, wait!” I’d cry. “Allyn, is it safe for him to do that? Could he come back out? How is he doing this?

Allyn would answer evenly, “Yes, it is. Yes, he could. And didn’t he tell you? It’s his superpower.”

“But… but…” I’d probably wave my hands around to underscore my flabbergasticity, like one does. As of that moment, flabbergasticity would be a word. “How did he get superpowers??”

“Vat of toxic waste?” Will would say. “Multi-colored meteor of unknown origin? Bite from a radioactive spider… monkey?”

“You’re guessing!” I’d accuse. “You are completely guessing, and your guesses are getting strange!”

“Don’t ruin the magic!” Will would shout. “Also, hey. Watch this.”

And then the punk would totally hop back into my head and out again before I could die of panic from staring into the eyes of my projected worst-case scenario. Because worst-case scenarios are like Medusa, don’t you know.


“Ta-da!” he’d say with zero apology. He’s an “all’s well that ends well*, never mind that I could have inadvertently doomed us all” sort of guy. (*Or “Ende gut, alles gut,” as they say in German.) “Told you. Just like singing a song.”

“That was not a great metaphor,” Allyn-through-me would tell him. Because when I’m right, I’m right.

Will would stick out his tongue, then polish off the rest of the ice cream.

[To be continued…]

IF WILL SCARLET … Showed Up Out of the Blue– I Mean, Red

A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Could See Me Now

Of course, the great, whopping, elephant-in-the-room question behind this whole premise is, What is Will Scarlet doing in my house? Not just in my head, where he’s been ever since about this time four years ago, from which point onward he’s been gaining an ever more prominent presence, but physically here. Outside of me. On my plane of reality. That shouldn’t be possible.

Not that there’s any reason he’d be content to let that stop him.

Suppose I were to wake up one morning – somewhere in the neighborhood of ten a.m. would be about normal for me (prior to going nocturnal, that is) – and get started on living my day by hefting my Bible from its usual place atop my bedside fireproof box and onto my bed. If that morning were, for the sake of argument, tomorrow, I’d be in the book of 1 Timothy.

So there I’d be, curled double over the book, and I’d hear the clatter of the beaded curtain in my doorway. My door, partway closed, would open, and I’d look up, expecting to see my mother, maybe my sister Dianne. And it wouldn’t be either of them.

“Hey, babe!” he’d say, his smiling eyes all aglitter with excitement.

I would have a heart attack.

Not literally, I hope. I mean, yeesh, of all the inconvenient times to die, or at least need an emergency trip to the hospital. More probably, I’d make some strange choking noises as my gasp goes down the wrong way. Before that, I’d freeze – tighten up much as I do when I notice a horrific bug somewhere in my way-too-close-for-comfort vicinity. I’d get this weird and not altogether pleasant fizzy sensation throughout my body. Here’s hoping I wouldn’t lose control of my bladder. I probably wouldn’t. Let’s say I don’t.

Will!” I’m not sure how my voice would sound. Maybe inappropriately angry. I don’t always handle surprise very well.

He’d raise his brows. “Surprised? You seem surprised. I am not surprised that you’re surprised. I mean, far as you know, there is no way I can possibly be here.”

I’d want to touch him. Partly for proof, partly because Will Scarlet exudes touchability. Before I could decide whether to risk a touch, he’d have flung his arms around me. If I weren’t convinced he were actually himself, I would hate it and possibly injure him. Hugs are a case-by-case basis thing, with me. In the case of Will Scarlet showing up on my reality plane, yes; hugs are acceptable.

But that’s if he shows up in my room first thing in the morning, which is not the least creepy way he could make himself known. Let’s dial down the freak-out factor just a hair.

Suppose we’d moved past the morning. Bible, read. Online accounts, checked. Coconut oil, swished around my mouth. We’ll even go all out and say I’m wearing half-decent clothes today. Real jeans and everything; slim fit. Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, the doorbell would ring. Not the kind of ding-dong doorbell you press a button for. We’ve got one of those by the back door, but it hasn’t worked in years. Then there’s the bell by the side door that only works if somebody somewhere opens their garage or something. We’re not sure what’s up with that bell, but it’s obnoxiously startling, and over-loud to boot. The bell I’d hear, though, is the one for the front door; the one you turn like a key to make it chirpily trill. B-rrring, b-rrring! Bicycle bell-ish.

Though optimism is a hit and miss thing, for me, I’d choose to expect that the bell signals the delivery of a package. I’d try to remember if I’m expecting any new books, and would cynically remind myself, Well, we know it’s probably not Edgwyn Pony. I have completely lost track of how long I’ve been waiting for my custom Edgwyn-inspired My Little Pony doll. Part of me fully believes it will not arrive before Christ’s return.

I’d hustle down the stairs – not in any especial hurry, just rarely one to walk up or down our front stairs when I can bound multiple steps at a time and swing wildly around the corner landing instead. Upon reaching the foyer, I could vaguely see someone’s head through the lace curtain over the door’s window. Rats. I was hoping the delivery guy could just leave the package on the porch so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. On the bright side, what little I can see of the guy looks like he’s got cute potential. A little like Will Scarlet, in fact.

This is the part where my hopes would go into overdrive. Not about the delivery guy being Will Scarlet. Even I know better than to expect that kind of miracle. The kind of miracle I’d expect is that this cute delivery guy and I would somehow hit it off while I’m accepting my package – y’know, I think he’s cute, he thinks I’m cute, he’s got a sexy voice (with, dare I dream, a British accent?) – and we’d exchange e-mail addresses and start up a correspondence, and after a couple months, we’d get together in person to, I dunno, catch a movie, grab some lunch (or, dare I dream, browse a bookstore?), and the next thing you know, he’s my best-ever boyfriend, all Facebook-official, and everyone’s so happy for us, and we’re finna elope to England.

Yeah, that’s where my brain goes every time I glimpse a remotely attractive man.

So I’d wrestle with the front door’s lock for an embarrassing fraction of a minute, finally get the door open, and… wow, this guy really looks like Will Scarlet. Same coppery curls, same bright blue eyes, dat smile, wearing copious amounts of red… It’s just uncanny.

“Hi,” I’d greet him, trying to not sound like a dork, ‘cause this could be it, folks. Today, e-mail; tomorrow, England.

“Hey, Danielle,” he’d say. And that would be weird on all the levels, because one, he thinks we’re on a first-name basis, and two, his voice sounds weirdly like I’d imagine Will Scarlet’s would if he didn’t have to go through the voice scrambler of his author’s throat.

I would say “hello”, this time slow and confused.

“Don’t ‘hehhh-lo?’ me, girl. It’s me! Will Scarlet! I’m totally here! Surprise!”

Cue all the previously listed symptoms of shock and the Will-instigated hug. Holy wow, he smells great.

He’d hold up a small cardboard box. “Brought your package,” he says.

“What package?” I’d ask, still dazed and giddy.

He’d say, like it was obvious, “Edgwyn Pony, of course. It’s a day of flying pigs, up in here.”

[To be continued…]

IF WILL SCARLET … Could See Me Now

If. As in “what if?” Full of possibilities.

Will Scarlet. As in… well, once you’ve met him, you know. Likewise full of it.

And of possibilities, too.

“Har, har,” he’d say, if he were at my side. He’d also be standing in my wastebasket. Unless he were at my other side, in which case he’d be squashing my Bruno Bear. I’d rather he stand in the wastebasket.

Maybe he’d sit on the edge of my bed, up nearer my pillows*, off to my left.

(*But not on them, because I don’t deal well with people actually touching my pillows, especially with their backsides)

That would make sense: He’d be facing the mirror.

“It’s so much better, now you’ve got the mirror over here instead of in that corner,” he’d say, explosively. Most of how he talks is explosive. Exclamatory. Fireworks that explode into glowing exclamation points. “Really changes up the room. New clothing whatsit. System. We call it a system, right?”

“Right,” I’d agree.

“It’s best at night. I mean, not necessarily best, but the way the mirror catches the stars.”

He’d mean the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to my ceiling – as opposed to the stars on the dust cover my mom made for my aforementioned system. The dust cover stars are shades of blue on darker blue, reminiscent of a wizard’s robe. …Not the wizard robe that hangs from the system’s upper rack, which is gray with sky blue lining. A darker blue robe with stars, obviously.

“Y’know what’s gorgeous?” Will would say.

“You?” I’d hazard a guess.

He’d grin. “Yeah.”

And he wouldn’t be wrong.

Even so, he’d be bound to lose interest in his reflection eventually. The sound of my typing would snatch at his attention, and he’d lean over and crane around to get a look at my screen. It’s an awkward angle. He’d fall onto Bruno Bear, and Kibbitz (aka Kibbitzchen, aka Kibbitzi, aka my little fox), too.

I’d make a sound of protestation, rising in volume until he stopped squashing my stuff.

“Sorry, ugh, whatever, sorry,” he’d say – or something in that vein, plus the apology I’d make him give to my stuffed friends. “Can I see, though?”

My mouth set to “grumpy”, I’d turn the laptop around to face him.

“Scroll up a bit?” he’d request, since by now I’ve moved just far enough down from the top of the page that he can’t see it. Back at the top, he’d read aloud. “‘If Will Scarlet ’. Ha!” he’d blast, because any instance of his own name pleases him. He’d get to the part about possibilities. “Double the possibilities! Positive times positive equals a positive. Two wrongs never made a right. Double-A batteries, both with positives. One would go the other way, though, ‘cause circuits or something. Wait – positive plus positive. Triple plus? A double-positive. Is there such a thing as double-positive blood? What’s my blood type, do you think?”

Because that is how Will Scarlet’s brain works.

[To be continued…]