When Chris Colfer hands his friend Darren Criss a copy of his book, they have no idea they`re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
Follow the friends` unexpected journey through the magical land.
Action/Adventure, Cotton Candy Fluff, Crossover, Friendship, Humor Characters:
Chris Colfer, Darren Criss
April 30, 2013 Updated:
August 07, 2013
Hello dear readers,
So I read The Land of Stories a while back and I absolutely loved it. Even though I will never be able to get close to the ass-kicking writing Chris Colfer has done in his book, I haven`t been able to get this idea out of my head and I finally decided to actually write it.
This is my first fanfiction ever so reviews would be lovely. I'll personally send each and every reviewer cyber cookies.
1. Prologue by The Land Of Fiction
2. It`s Happening by The Land Of Fiction
3. Something`s Wrong by The Land Of Fiction
4. No Froggy by The Land Of Fiction
Prologue by The Land Of Fiction
This chapter is just a little prologue, so nothing big is happening yet. It's a very, very short chapter and I promise the other chapters won't be this short.
"Darren, wait up!" I call for the idiot with the pink sunnies as I spot him. He waits, indeed, until I've caught up with him. "I've got the book," I say excitedly. This morning I put it in my bag after I had taken one of the many copies I have at home. Really, I've got a stack of them. It's like porn. Okay, call me a geek, but it's so exciting to finally have my book in the flesh. Well, in the paper, but you know what I mean.
Anyway, Darren had asked me if I could bring a copy for him, so I did. I take the book out of my bag. "Thank you! I can't wait to read it," he says with childlike enthusiasm. "I've seen pictures of the cover before, but this really looks magical," says Darren as he sees the picture on the cover.
"I know," I say proudly, "the illustrations really turned out the way I wanted them to. God, sometimes I wish I could fall in this world myself."
That would be amazing. Ever since I got the idea for the book I've dreamed about it numerous times. The dreams really helped me with the story. Whenever I had a dream like that I would write down what I had seen and sometimes I used it to complete the world I created.
"Are you still with me?" Darren's voice comes through and he waves his hand for my eyes to snap me out of my haze.
"Yes, sorry, " I say, looking up from the book again to face my friend.
"Can I have the book now?" he asks, making grabbing hands at the object.
I hold the book in the air, so my hobbit sized friend can't reach it. Haha I'm taller. "Tell me you love me," I demand.
He flutters his eyelashes ridiculously at me. "I love you," he tells me in a sickening sweet voice.
"There you go," I hand him the hardcover. I can't really place it, but I think I can feel a tingling coming from the book. Probably static electricity or something. "Tell me what you think after you've finished it, okay?" Darren nods in reply. "Gotta go," I tell him when I remember I was on my way to see what ridiculous outfit I'll be forced to squeeze myself in to for the day.
"See you!" he calls after me.
It`s Happening by The Land Of Fiction
Hello lovely people,
Here I am again. I promised the chapters would be longer. This one is only a tiny bit longer. It turned out shorter than planned, but I hope you like it anyway.
In the first chapter I forgot to mention that I own absolutely nada. I made all of this up. And this story contains spoilers for the Land of Stories (shocker).
Please tell me what you think of this chapter?
Some horrifying noise brutally disturbs my slumber. "What is happening?" I mutter to myself. It's fucking 4 am and I don't know where that sound is coming from.
"Chris! Chris!" A desperate voice accompanies the horrible banging sound. I think someone is banging on the door. "Chris, open the door! I know you're in there!"
Of course. Who else could be crying out my name in front of my apartment at 4 am other than Darren Criss? "Open it!" he demands, furiously ringing the bell.
I decide to humor him, because I'm pretty sure he won't leave me alone if I don't open the door. And I have neighbours who won't appreciate this lunatic. I stumble to my front door and unlock it clumsily only to reveal Darren in his pajamas. "Darren, what is wrong with you?" I ask in a hushed voice, because I would really like to know the answer to that question.
"Your book!" he cries. "It's your book! I'm going insane!" Going? So he wasn't insane already? "You know what to do!"
What the hell is he talking about? Everyone knows how to read a fucking book! "I know what to do with it. Go home, read it and tell me if you liked it afterwards."
He shakes his head. For fuck sake, just go home, man. Why doesn't he do this to his other colleagues? "Chris you don't understand," he pleads. And he's right. I don't understand. I don't understand what is wrong with this man. "It glows! It humms!"
Did he come all the way here, in the middle of the night, to quote my book? I need new friends. "That was very believable. I think we're even now. I can quote your work, you can quote mine," I say and try to close the door, because I've had enough of this shit.
But Darren decides to push at the other side of the door and I am still half asleep, so he is stronger at the moment. And in a blink of the eye he is on my side of the door. God knows how he did that. "It wasn't a quote. It actually does those things."
"Darren," I pull the book from his hands (What is up with this book and static electricity? I got another tingle.) "you're tired. I know it's a brilliant book, but maybe you should put it aside and get some sleep," I advice him.
"I'm being serious. You have to see it!" he exclaims and takes the book from me again. He gently sets it on the coffee table and starts to (I'm not shitting you here) talk to the book. "Come on. Get back to life," he orders and pokes the fucking thing. "Do those things you did before," that's it! First thing in the morning I'm calling Ryan and beg him to write Blaine a tragic car accident. "Don't make me look like a fool," he whispers to the book.
Oh, trust me, you don't need the book to look like a fool. You're doing a grand job at it without any help, Darren. "Darren, I'm serious. Sleep, please?" I yawn. He doesn't even look at me. He just keeps staring at the book as if his gaze can magically make it do stuff no other books do. He's obviously on some kind of drugs, he shouldn't drive home like this. "You can crash here if you want," I offer.
"Yes!" he accepts the invitation rather enthusiastically. "You will see I'm not making this up! Come on!" he takes my wrist and pulls me in the direction of my bedroom.
"I was thinking you could use the guest room," I say when I see he's planning on sleeping in my room.
"You have to be in the same room to see it," he makes it sound like it is so fucking obvious. Fine, I'll humor him (again). I just want to sleep, so if he just stays on his side of the bed I'll be fine. But if he starts talking about flying fish in the room he is out of here.
I pull the book out of his hands and set it on the beside table on my side of my bed. I get in bed and rest my head on my pillow. But Darren is still sitting up straight. It's clear he's planning on staying up all night, waiting for the book to make sounds or something equally unrealistic. How the fuck did this guy manage to get himself a decent girlfriend? "Mia seems like a perfectly sane person to me. Why on Earth would she spend time with you? It can't be because you're insanely good in bed, because you're not doing anything for me here. Does she have a brain tumor in the area that controls her interest in men?" I am allowed to be mean to him, because he is being annoying. And I get a little cranky when tired.
"No, shut up," he says curtly. Aw, that's sweet, he's standing up for his girlfriend. But I'm not making fun of her, I'm making fun of him. She's a perfectly nice girl, I just don't understand why she would date a guy who shows up at others' apartments claiming to have a living book.
"Do you pay her?" Nothing but a glare. "Does she have a hair fetish?" A raised eyebrow. "A hobbit fetish?" A sassy eye roll. I'm starting to like this. "She has a Lord of the Rings fetish."
"No, none of that's true. She's perfectly normal," he crosses his arms like a displeased five-year-old.
"I've got it!" I say and he rolls his eyes already. "She's your beard!" I joke and receive a little puff of laughter from him in return.
"You're insane," he informs me, casually.
Yeaaah... no. I am defiantly not the insane one here. "Please remind me why you're here?" I ask rhetorically.
"Because your book is alive," he answers my question in all seriousness.
I raise my eyebrows at him, but he just won't pick up on the weirdness of that answer. "See, no matter how weird I am, I will always appear to be normal when you're around."
"I'm telling you," he starts again, very frustrated I won't believe his story about living books, "I'm not making this up! It's totally-" he cuts himself off, mid sentence. His wide eyes shine as if a light has been lit behind me. "Chris, it's happening again."
Something`s Wrong by The Land Of Fiction
"What?" I ask.
"It! Look at it!" he grabs my head and turns it in an inhuman angle. "I told you I wasn't making it up!"
Either he has somehow drugged me, or he isn't making it up. Because the book is glowing. It's slowly filling the room with a golden light. I can even hear the soft humming sound that's getting more intense every second. It's just like I imagined! And if that isn't a way to become wide awake, I don't know what is.
"Pinch me," I order and stick out my arm for Darren to pinch. He does and I can totally feel it, so I'm not dreaming, nor dead. "This is real. This is seriously happening," I say. I haven't decided yet what my feeling about this is. It could be positively terrifying, but it could be immensely exciting, too.
"Yes," Darren confirms my not-question. "What should we do?" he asks, panic thickly audible in his voice.
"Pencil," I mumble. If I am going to live my imagination I will find out if this book can really do the things I wrote it could. Darren obviously does not think that is a good idea. He just frowns at me. "Give me a pencil!" I say more loudly when he won't give me one. God knows when the book stops doing... this.
I open the cover of the book. The pages are glowing so brightly, they're hurting my eyes. Darren grabs the pencil that's on my other
bedside table. The one I usually use to scribble notes in the margins of the books I read.
He hesitantly hands over the pencil. "If-if this is like the Riddle journal in Harry Potter we probably shouldn't-"
I shut him up by placing the pencil on the open book. It sinks in to the light, just like I described it would. "Fascinating. Really, really fascinating," I say. Where does the book drop the pencil? Does it drop it in the fairy tale world? Does it drop it in the world of the twins? Is this a portal to another dimension? Or is it a portal to another place in this world? I have to find out where this leads to. Whatever it is, it's exciting. I reach out my hand to touch the book. "How about I-"
"No!" Darren squeaks and pulls at my arm. "What happened to your brains? I thought you were supposed to be the smart one!"
"Relax," I tell him calmly, "I wrote this, remember. It's my imagination. I know this story inside out," I assure him and watch his painful expression as I slowly reach into the book. It's just warm and tingly; nothing worrisome. Darren is still watching me as if he is watching me die. Oh what the hell, I can mess with him once more. "OH MY GOD!" I scream as I pretend to be struggling against something that is trying to pull me in the book. "SOMETHING GRABBED MY ARM! DON'T JUST STAND THERE! DO SOMETHING! HELP, IT'S- TEETH! IT'S BITING ME!" I cry out and watch him panic.
"I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO IT! PULL YOUR ARM BACK!" he says as I pretend to be pulled in shoulder deep. "NO, DON'T! YOU MIGHT PULL IT IN TO THIS WORLD! WAIT UNTIL IT ATE YOUR ARM AND PULL BACK WHEN IT'S SATISFIED!" okay, that's a weird piece of advise. "NO, DON'T, YOU'LL DIE! I'LL GET YOUR SWORDS!" he looks around, searching for my sai swords.
Oh God, he found them. I guess I should tell him I'm not in danger before he starts chopping off my arm. "Relax, I was kidding," I admit. He jerks around to see me pulling my perfectly intact arm out of the book.
He stares at my arm for a minute, expression unreadable. "Don't do that to me ever again!" he yells, furiously pointing one of my swords at me.
He looks so silly, holding those two blades. He obviously hasn't got a clue how to use them. It's a funny sight. "If I was to be attacked by a monster, your advise would be 'wait until it's satisfied'?" I laugh, not sure if I should be offended by his unhelpful suggestion. "Just a reminder: if it weren't for me, you would be unemployed."
"I panicked," he defends himself weakly as his eyes focus on the book again. It's still very much glowing and humming. "What about the book?" he asks.
The book. My book is alive. I have the chance to live my story. I don't know why, or how, but I know this is an unique opportunity. I have to go in there. If I don't, I'll regret it. "I'm going in there," I state.
"No, you are not. I'm not gonna let you," says Darren.
How can he argue with this? I've worked so hard on this story. I've put so much time and effort in creating this. Now, it's right there. I can't just let this go. I have to. "You can't expect me not to."
"Sure can, I would like to keep you around a little longer," he argues. I need proper clothes. I can't explore a new world in sweats. I quickly change in to a pair of jeans while Darren rambles on. "And I would have to decide what to wear to your funeral, write a touching speech," I don't even think he has noticed I've started preparing for my unexpected trip. I need a backpack. My Chewbacca backpack will do. "I would have to put time and effort in impressing everyone there and pretend I was your best friend," at this point, I don't hear anything anymore. Adrenaline is rushing through my veins. I have work tomorrow, but fuck work, I'm doing this! Camera, I need a camera. "And others would get jealous, because they want to be my best friend. And I would have to spend alone time with everyone. And that would result in less time for making money and I would become poor," I can't leave without shoes. Why don't I own a compass? An extra shirt and a pair of jeans. Would my phone be useful there? I don't know where I'm going, so I'll just take it with me. Sunscreen, can't go anywhere without that. And my ninja darts, because you never know. "No one would love me, because I lost all of my money because of you. And I would go to your grave every day to tell you how you ruined my life and made me unhappy," Darren is still talking while holding the swords absently. The swords! Those could come in handy. "And you would hear it and feel guilty till the end of-" I take the swords from Darren's hands. "What do you think you're doing?!" he barks when he realizes I am now in jeans, carrying Chewie and I am armed.
"I have to," is all I say before making my way to where the book is still lighting up the room. I take a deep breath. This is it. I dive head first in the blinding light.
I can feel Darren grabbing hold of my ankle. "Come back right nooooooow!" stupid move. That idiot. I'm still falling and I can still hear him. So he's here, too.
I don't know where I am. Everything is bright around me. The wind is rushing through my hair. I wouldn't know what up or down is if it weren't for the falling. But then again, am I falling down? Could I be falling up? Were am I falling to? Who am I going to meet?
I can still hear Darren's screaming. I look round. There he is. I grab his ankle and pull him closer. "WE'RE GONNA DIE! WERE ALREADY DYING!" he cries at me.
15 minutes later.
"This is getting old," Darren says after finishing another spin in the shiny air. He is obviously bored, because we've been falling for what feels like two days.
"I know," I agree. I've been trying to get in a comfortable position for ages, but that's quite the task when you're falling down faster than the fastest rollercoaster. "They could have worked on the falling part," I stretch myself and feel the joints in my back popping.
Darren looks puzzled. "Who's they exactly?"
That's a good question, actually. "Me?" I answer hesitantly. If I created this, I technically am responsible for everything that will happen to us. But it depends on where we will land, right? If we land someplace that doesn't have anything to do with my book, it wouldn't be my fault, right? I don't think I'm the one to blame anyway. When I wrote all this I wasn't expecting it to become real.
"You could have written comfortable lounge chairs in this part," he says, laying on his back and folding his arms under the back of his head. It looks weird.
But his suggestion doesn't make any sense. "Where would the chairs come from, exactly? It would be weird if there just were chairs," I say. I had no idea the twins would fall this long and it would be unrealistic if a pair of chairs would randomly float by.
"Dude, we're falling in to your book. I think I wouldn't be surprised if Elvis came by riding a giant ferret in a bee's costume," Darren informs me after cocking an eyebrow.
Honestly, I would be surprised by a statement like that, if I hadn't been spending an unhealthy amount of time around this man. I've seen him pretending to be an octopus, for fuck sake. "How do you come up with things like that?" I ask, genuinely curious if he has an explanation.
He seems to take a moment to come up with an answer. "Maybe I should have been tested on ADD?" is what he says.
He has never been tested for those kind of things? This explains so much. "Your patents never had you tested? What is wrong with them?" okay, that was quite rude, but he just shrugs because I'm kinda right.
"Sometimes I wonder how they have been able to be around me for eighteen years," Darren confesses.
"Sometimes I wonder how you've been able to live with yourself all your life," I mumble quietly.
"Falling makes you cranky," Darren says, teasingly. He knows I'm only kidding when I say things like that.
"I'm sorry," I apologize, fanning my lashes at him. He smiles at my silly gesture. "How long has it been?" I question.
Darren looks at his hot pink watch. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Darren Criss sleeps with a hot pink watch on his wrist. "About twenty minutes," he replies.
God, we've been falling for twenty minutes? Where are we traveling to? "The light is starting to hurt my eyes," I rub said eyes, because these surroundings are just so damn bright. It's like I'm floating around in a giant lightbulb.
"I would really like a drink. You should gave gone with a mini bar, too," again with the unrealistic suggestions.
"Sorry, I should have made sure the twins were comfortable while falling in a book," I say dryly. I didn't know traveling through a book was this uncomfortable.
"Did they fall this long?" Darren asks me. That is a surprisingly good question, again.
"I don't know," I answer honestly. How can I not know? I came up with the whole falling-in-a-book thing. We are currently living my imagination. I never imagined the twins falling is long. How is it that we are? Shouldn't we be experiencing the exact same events as the twins?
Darren obviously doesn't think much of it. I don't think he has gotten to read the story, anyway. "Maybe we should play a game."
Is he just trying to ruin this experience for me? I mean, I imagined to just fall and hit the ground. Now, I've been falling for almost half an hour and, in the meantime, we've been on the topic of Elvis riding a giant ferret. No, not exactly the dramatic, frightening-yet-exciting experience I had in mind. "The moment is already ruined, so what do you sugg-" I stop mid-sentence as I see our fall is about to end. "Ground!" I warn Darren.
Out of instinct I try to slow my falling down. Unfortunately for Darren, I somehow end up above him. "Oof!" he cries as he hits the dirt path. Fortunately for me, I land quite smoothly on top of his back. "You okay?" he moans, sarcastically.
"I landed just fine, how about you?" I get up and turn around to see Darren is giving me an impressive death-glare.
I stick out my hand to help him on his feet. "I think you've dislocated my shoulder," he says, making dramatic movements with said shoulder.
"I think you'll live," I say absently, because I've only just noticed where we are. This isn't any dirt path. This is the dirt path. We are surrounded by a thick, dark forest. The Dwarf Forests. Awesome.
"Where are we?" Darren questions, brushing off his clothes. Apparently, he doesn't seem to notice we're in another dimension. He probably just thinks this is a random dirt path, somewhere in America.
"We're in The land of Stories," I tell him with a wide smile on my face. This is amazing. What writer gets to walk around in his own fiction? Okay, screenplay writers, (been there) but this is different. This is real.
I'm just wondering in which book we are. Are we in my book or in the twins' book? I guess it wouldn't make a difference. Maybe the twins are here, right now. I would love to meet them. Or would their story change if I would help them (and ask them to sign my t-shirt)?
Darren? He's not so pleased with our little midnight-dimension-traveling adventure."You really are thrilled, aren't you? We're in a book! Chris, how can you be so calm? We're going to die! We will never see our friends and families again! There is so much I have yet to do!"
"Calm down! I know this book. I know exactly what we need and were we have to go to get home again. I know what's going to happen and we'll be fine," I assure him with fake confidence.
Come to think about it, it does matter if the twins have been here. It matters a fuck load. If the twins' story has already taken place, the Wishing Spell has been used twice. So we wouldn't be able to use it anymore. We would have to find another way to go home.
But what if we would be able to use it? Wouldn't that make it impossible for the twins to use it after we did? Do the twins exist, or just this world? Shit, my head hurts.
Just in time, the rumbling sound is audible. Darren's eyes go so wide with fear, it makes him look like a cartoon character. Little does he know, this is the least life threatening situation we will experience. I quickly pull him to the extra wide tree. It's not wide enough to be a good hiding place for one grown man and one Darren, so I hide behind another tree. I peak past the trunk to watch the soldiers with the apples on their shields.
The soldiers pass by and Darren asks me what that was. I tell him that was Snow White's army. The expression on his face is quite comical. Okay, next is the poster about Goldilocks. There it is. That's going home with me. I rip it off the tree and fold it neatly before putting it in Chewie.
Well, this is about the time Froggy should show up. God, I can't wait to meet him. He really should be here by now, polite and dapper as he is. He can't be human already, because the twins haven't been here. The Evil Queen is still free, why else would those soldiers be searching this land? I guess we should pay Froggy a visit. "Come on," I tell Darren, "there is someone I want to meet."
"No, we're not going in that forest," Darren says stubbornly as I start to make my way through it. I tell him I know the map of this place by heart and I know where I'm going. He follows me and I focus on finding Froggy's home while Darren says things like "Chris, my mom told me to never leave the path," and "I am so using you as a human shield if someone attacks us."
Finally, we reach the spot of Froggy's home. I search the small hill for the door that will lead us to his house, but, much to my surprise, it's nowhere to be found.
Something is very wrong.
No Froggy by The Land Of Fiction
This is not right. Froggy is supposed to live at this very spot. How can the door not be here? It has to be here, hasn't it? I said it would be here, so it should be.
"Chris, what are you doing?" Darren says gently. He lays a hand on my shoulder, but I don't stop my desperate clawing at the hill, tearing off dead veins in the process. "Maybe I can help. What are you looking for?" he asks with an expression on his face that's full of pity. My disappointment and frustration must be showing, because he's watching me like I'm paranoia.
"A door," I answer. "A big, camouflaged, wooden door. It should be here," I say, voice absolutely wrecked. But can you blame me? I thought I knew what was going on. If Froggy doesn't live here, I might be wrong about other things, too. Maybe I don't know anything about where we are. But what other explanation would there be for the knights and the poster? They were there, just like I imagined. Why isn't that stupid door here?!
"A door to our world?" Darren tries hopefully. He starts searching more enthusiastically at that thought.
"No," I crush his hopes of going home, "a door to a giant frog's house," is my answer.
"Okay, I'm kind of confused about everything that has happened over the past hour. Could you at least try not being sarcastic for five minutes?" Darren snaps, obviously irritated, because he doesn't know what's going on. But I didn't say anything sarcastic at all.
I stop my clawing at the wall. I know it's no use, the door just isn't there. "I was not being sarcastic. There really is a giant frog and he should be living here," I lean my back against the wall and let myself slide to the ground. "Why isn't he here?"
Darren sits down next to me. "Maybe he got tired of living in a hill and moved to a proper house?" he tries to cheer me up.
"He can't just move, he's living in shame," I explain. Okay, I can imagine that sounds exceptionally weird if you haven't read the story.
I can see Darren wants to ask me what I was on when I wrote this story, but he doesn't. "So let me get this straight, there's a giant frog man living in shame in a hill in the fairy tale world?" I nod even though Froggy, apparently, doesn't live here. "Can he bring us home?"
"He can tell us how, but we'll have to do most of it ourselves. I know how we can get home, I just really wanted to meet him," I answer sadly. I was looking forward to meeting Froggy. He was on my shortlist of my favorite characters. Maybe we can meet him later on, but that's not what happened to the twins.
"What do we have to do to get home again?" Darren asks, a spark of hope in his eyes when I mention there is a way to go home again.
I push the disappointment of not meeting Froggy aside and choose this moment to tell Darren about the plot of my book. "Okay, so there is this thing called the Wishing Spell. It's a spell that will grand you a wish," I explain.
"Shocker," Darren deadpans.
"So, basically, we have to collect a number of specific items from across this land and put them together. That will activate the spell, which will grant us a wish," I tell Darren the plot of my book in a nutshell. I decide to not tell him that the Evil Queen and, maybe, the twins are looking for the exact same objects.
"That's it?" Darren asks, obviously relieved. I don't really understand what's so relaxing about my explanation, because it is going to take some effort to get everything we need. "Collect some stuff? That's all we've got to do?" He says as if it's all that's simple.
I think I'm actually offended right now. He's probably not doing it on purpose, but it sounds like he is calling my story stupid. "It's not that easy," I say. "We'll have to fight people and sneak in to castles and steal things."
Darren's relieved expression changes at that. "Well, that complicates things."
"It sure does," I agree, "but we will see all kinds of epic things on our way," I say in a attempt to get him excited about this journey.
Darren raises an eyebrow at me. "I'm questioning your definition of the word epic," he says hesitantly.
How is he not grinning like a five-year-old yet? How can he not see the epic-ness of this all. I mean, we could kill beasts with Goldilocks and see Cinderella's baby and numerous other things that, to all of our friends, will sound like we've hallucinating when we tell them. "Come on, man, we're basically in Disneyworld 2.0! We can meet all the characters we've seen in the movies. And we can visit all the magical places. What's not to love?"
I know that look. That's the look I get when he knows I'm right, but he hates to admit it. "When you look at it like that, I guess it's pretty cool," he says.
"That's more like it!" I exclaim as I give him an approving pat on the shoulder. Well, now I got Darren to stop whining I can finally take care of the more pressing matters here. Soon it will start to get dark and we need a place to stay. I'm pretty sure Froggy isn't going to show up, so we'll have to find a place to stay for ourselves. And I know just the place. "First stop: Rapunzel's tower," I say (and forgive me for grinning like a maniac while saying that sentence, but I'm going to Rapunzel's tower).
"That is so weird," I hear Darren say before he follows me.
While we continue our way to the tower I decide to tell Darren some more about what we have to do, because I know we're going to need it. I tell him we have to find: one of Cinderella's glass slippers, the sea knife, a chunk of bark from Red Ridinghood's basket, the stone crown, Sleeping Beauty's spindle, a lock of Rapunzel's hair, the jewels of Snow White's glass coffin and a fairy's tear. Again, I don't tell him about The Evil Queen and The Wolf Pack. I don't even know if they will come after us.
The twilight starts to set in and the beautiful, thick forests become scary surroundings. The unsettling noises are becoming louder. Our walking has gotten faster and faster without noticing. Darren asks me about the noises, but is tell him they're being made by giant owls and mockingbirds in order to keep predators away from their nests. God, I wish that was true.
All of a sudden there's a clearing and it's quite obvious why. In front of us is the gigantic tower Rapunzel once lived in. It's taller than the tallest skyscraper I've ever seen.
"Oh my God, this is awesome! Can we climb her hair? Please, can we climb it?" Darren begs, practically radiating childlike enthusiasm.
It's too bad we can't, because we could ask her to drag us up there instead of climbing the stairs. My feet really don't feel like climbing over a thousand steps right now.
I walk towards the tower and search for the door. "Rapunzel doesn't live here anymore. She is now queen and the tower is a place she likes to visit sometimes," I explain when I spot the wooden door. "That's why they made a staircase to reach the top room." I open the door to reveal a stone spiral staircase. I look up to see the staircase going higher and higher. "Come on, we need to get up there before dark," I order.
"Why? Can't we just stay here? We're inside now, can't we just stay on the ground?" Darren asks. It does sound tempting, but for some reason I think we're safer up there.
"Darren, even though we're not in The Dwarfs Forests anymore, at night this is not the safest place to stay. So, unless you want to be eaten by some beast, you should get your ass up there."
Darren frowns, confusion showing on his face. "But you said gigantic mockingbirds were making those sounds."
"I lied," I simply say as I start to climb the stairs.
Darren is staying on the ground, though. "But those beasts can't open a door, so why not stay here?"
I wish it was that easy. "I'm pretty sure they can. They're much more humanlike than the beasts we know of. They can talk and all that," I honestly feel guilty, because I came up with those animals. But what's a fairy tale without talking animals?
Darren obviously isn't as understanding of that as I am myself. "Why would you invent super intelligent, humanlike beasts? If they can open doors they can climb stairs and they will kill us," he all but yells at me.
I stop walking. He has a point. But climbing these ridiculously exhausting stairs must be un tempting, even for a bunch of mutant wolfs. And there's an actual room up there. You know, with doors and things like that. (That and the fact that it's Rapunzel's room.) If The Wolf Pact isn't after us for a reason, they wouldn't climb all these stairs to find us. And if they are after us for a reason, we are going to run into them one way or another. "Relax, I'm sure Rapunzel was able to lock her door for when she was writing her diary, or having sex with that prince guy who climbed through her window like a horny teenager," I say and continue my way upstairs.
Darren seems to be convinced by that because he is starting to follow me up the stairs. "That's something I really didn't need to hear about a princes, man," he says.
After God knows how long we finally reach the door of Rapunzel's old room. It's a round room and everything has been cleared out. The only thing that's left in the room is some hay. The moon shines a cold, grey-blue light over the forest. The view is both spectacular and terrifying.
"We will stay here tonight and continue our journey tomorrow," I tell Darren. I just want to sleep and rise early in the morning to see all the amazing miracles this world has to offer.
Darren and I both gather some hay to make the floor a little more comfortable to sleep on. When we're laying down on our impromptu beds I can feel myself drifting off already. Who knew travelling dimensions could be this exhausting?
Then, Darren's sleepy voice fills the silence of the room. "Chris, are we going to die?" he asks. He sounds like a child asking why the sky is blue. Under any other circumstances the question would have been ridiculous, but Darren is dead serious about it.
I don't know what to say to him. I'm so tired I can't even think of the appropriate answer. "No," I tell him without further explanation.
"Are you sure?" he questions even more quiet than his first question.
"No," I answer in sleep driven honesty before I drift off.
The next morning I wake to a stray of sunlight shining through my window. I can't get comfortable on my mattress. And when did my mattress get this hard? I open my eyes to see what's wrong. Something's wrong, alright. This isn't my bedroom, that isn't my bedroom window and this defiantly isn't my bed. This is just a bit of hay on the floor of some room and for some reason Darren is here in his PJs and I am fully clothed. And I had a very strange dream about...
Wait a minute.
I look through the window to see it really wasn't a dream. The view is just beautiful by day. The trees surrounding the tower, the tiny villages.
I guess it's time to wake Darren. I awkwardly poke his side with my foot. "Darren? Could you wake up? We should get going," I say, still nudging him with my toes. And just as I start to consider actual kicking, he starts to stir.
"Mmm, Mia, I had the weirdest dream. There was a book and it- AAAHHH!" he screams when he opens his eyes. Well I'm sorry, I know my bed head isn't the prettiest sight I the world, but I think he's being a bit of a drama queen. "You were not the person I was expecting," he tells me after he has caught his breath and looks around the room in wonder. "So this is still happening?"
"Yup, not a dream. And the sooner we get back on the road, the sooner we will have all the items for The Wishing Spell," I try to motivate Darren to get his lazy ass out of bed (hay pile?) and start exploring the shit out of this universe.
He gets up and brushes the hay off his clothes. I give him the clothes I packed, so he won't have to continue traveling in his pajamas. "Okay, let's get going!" Darren says enthusiastically when he finishes changing his clothes.
"Wait, we can't go just yet," I stop Darren from leaving already. "We're in Rapunzel's tower, don't you think this is a pretty good place to search for a lock of her hair?"
"But I was hoping we could sneak in to her castle and pretend to be her hairstylists and brush it and touch it," he says, way to enthusiastically to be talking about touching someone's hair.
I don't know if this is his attempt at sarcasm or if he's just being his weird self. I'm afraid it's the later. "...No, we're not going to do that," I say hesitantly, because I feel like we're on a touchy subject here. He looks genuinely disappointed. "Okay, look for a lock of her hair. I know it's-"
"Found it!" Darren exclaims, holding up a lock of golden hair proudly. Well, that was rather quick.
"Great," I say, "one down, seven more to go."
Darren wraps the hair in the t-shirt he had been wearing during the night and puts it in my backpack. "Looks like this is going to be easier than we expected, huh?" he says, his grin is showing he doesn't have a clue what's going to happen to him.
"Keep up the optimism, young grasshopper," is what I tell him before making my exit and starting my way down the thousands of steps.
The way downwards is spent in silence. I'm mentally planning the route we will take through the land. I think about all the amazing places and people we will see. I wonder if we will meet Froggy at some point.
I'm quickly pulled out of my thoughts when we open the door at the bottom of the tower. Standing there are half a dozen of gigantic wolves.
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