The Land of Stories: Gleefully Ever After

Over the Wall

In which Chris and Darren finally run into someone we’ve been waiting to meet…

Chris and Darren hurried away from the palace, not wanting to wait around for their theft to be discovered.

“Wow,” Chris said. “You’re getting to be quite the felon. First you vandalize Beiste’s house, then you commit assault with a disgusting weapon on Emmapunzel, and now you’ve stolen one of Quinderella’s glass slippers. I hate to think what you’re going to try next.”

“Admit it – you think my bad-boy side is kind of hot.”

“Well, you did have me drooling over the gingerbread, and this diamond encrusted shoe is undeniably fabulous, but frankly I think your gum-in-the-hair trick was revolting.”

“Hey - I’ve gotten two of the Wishing Spell items so far. How many have you gotten?”

“Considering that I’m holding the satchel right now, I’d say that I’ve got two of them.”

Darren gave Chris a playful shove. “Did you get as big of a kick out of Cooper as I did?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah. I almost cracked up with the way he kept pointing dramatically.”

“Would you be shocked if I admitted that I had a huge crush on Matt Bomer when he guest-starred as Blaine’s brother?”

“No, actually I’d be shocked if you didn’t. You’re the world’s biggest fanboy. I mean, what guest star have you ever not had a crush on? Male or female – bet you can’t name a single one.”

Darren thought for a long moment. “Touché.”

Chris and Darren continued along the cobblestone road. Soon they spotted a night driver transporting a cart of pears to the northern part of the Charming Kingdom. They flagged him down and were able to convince him to give them a ride in exchange for a few gold coins. The pears were a lumpy bed, but Chris and Darren wrapped themselves in their blanket and made themselves as comfortable as possible. Eventually, the rocking of the cart lulled them to sleep.

Morning found them at the end of the cart driver’s route. They thanked him and hopped down, heading on foot for the Red Riding Hood Kingdom.

They’d been walking in silence for a while when Darren suddenly said, “Ravi Sinha Smith.”


“Ravi Sinha Smith, the actor who played the younger version of Blaine.”

“What about him? Is he here?”

“No. But I never had a crush on him.”

“What are you babbling about??”

“You said I couldn’t name a guest star on Glee who I never had a crush on.”

“Darren, he was seven years old!”

“So? He still counts as a guest star,” Darren insisted. “So I win!” And he stuck his tongue out at Chris.

“Real mature, Dare. Are you sure you’re not the seven-year-old?”

Darren got a gleam in his eye. “I’ll race you to the wall!” he called over his shoulder, as he took off in a sprint.

Chris smiled indulgently, waiting for Darren to realize that he was the only one running. But Darren was apparently oblivious to this fact, and soon disappeared through the trees. Chris made his way along at a more leisurely pace, sure he’d catch up once Darren wore himself out and stopped for a rest.

Twenty minutes later, Chris was getting worried. He could see the enormous wall that encircled the Red Riding Hood Kingdom looming up through the trees ahead of him, but there was no sign of Darren. He quickened his pace, calling out for his friend.

Darren’s voice came drifting down from high above. Craning his neck, Chris caught sight of his friend perched atop the wall, grinning down at him. “What took you so long, slowpoke? Come on up. The view from here is amazing.”

Chris looked around, spotting a nearby tree with branches that overhung the thirty-foot-high wall. He climbed up easily and joined Darren. The view was, indeed, amazing. Rolling hills of picturesque farmland stretched on as far as the eye could see, and in the distance, rising up through the clear blue sky to disappear into a few strategically placed clouds, was a gargantuan beanstalk.

“Let’s go see Jack,” Darren suggested.

“First we’ve got to find a way down from this wall. There should be a haystack we can jump into around here somewhere.”

They looked to the left, then to the right. No haystacks.

Darren got to his feet, reaching down to help Chris up. “Well, the wall is wide enough for us to walk along the top, as long as we go single file. Which direction should we head?”

“West. I’d rather have the sun at my back than in my eyes. And I don’t think it’s safe to switch places, so you’ll have to lead.”

“You’re just looking for an excuse to stare at my ass,” Darren teased.

Chris smacked the ass in question. “You’re so full of yourself.”

Darren winked at him over his shoulder.

They moved forward carefully, mindful of Humpty Dumpty’s fate. Soon they spotted a tall, fluffy pile of hay leaning up against the wall.

“You jump down first. Then I’ll toss you the satchel before I follow,” Chris said.

“Ooooh, bossy. I like that,” Darren purred, batting his eyelashes.

“You’re awfully flirty this morning.”

“I’m always a flirt. You know that.”

This was too true for argument.

Chris watched nervously as Darren leapt down into the haystack. It was a ten-foot drop, but the landing was soft. Darren sunk into the pile and emerged laughing.

“That was fun! Come on down.”

Chris tossed Darren the satchel and jumped down to join him. The hay did a good job of cushioning his fall, but it had an annoying tendency to stick to whatever it touched. By the time Chris and Darren had slid down the side of the haystack to the ground, they were covered in the stuff.

Ten minutes later, they had almost managed to pick all of the bits of hay off of each other’s clothes and out of each other’s hair, but they both still felt uncomfortably itchy.

“I hope we can find a place to have a bath soon,” Darren said.

“With any luck, there’ll be room at the Shoe Inn. I made sure to put a bathtub there, so the twins wouldn’t get too rank.”

Darren held up his arm and sniffed at his pit. “You’d think I’d start to stink after three days without a shower, but I don’t seem to have any B.O. yet.” He grabbed Chris, and took a long whiff. “And you don’t stink either.”

“Stop smelling me, Dare!” Chris laughed, pushing him away.

“And you haven’t shaved the whole time we’ve been here, but you don’t have even a hint of stubble,” Darren added, rubbing the backs of his fingers along Chris’s smooth jaw line.

“Hmm… You already had a little scruff going when you showed up at my house, but it doesn’t seem to have grown at all…. It’s like our bodies aren’t aging while we’re here…. I hope that means that time’s not passing in our world, and we’ll be able to get back to the exact same point that we left.”

“Oh, that would be perfect! ‘Cause aside from being worried that people back home might be freaking out about us going missing, I’m actually having a fantastic time here. Maybe we could stay for awhile.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. The whole thing about time not passing in our world is just a theory, and I could be wrong. Plus, now that the Evil Queen has escaped from the dungeon, she’s probably going to be searching for the Wishing Spell items, too. We’ve got to find them before she does.”

Darren sighed. “I guess you’re right. But you don’t mind if we go see Jack and the Beanstalk first, do you?”

“Of course not. He doesn’t have any of the Wishing Spell items, but he did help the twins get into Red Riding Hood’s castle, so we should definitely pay him a visit.”

Chris and Darren set off towards the towering beanstalk. Along the way they passed a sign that read Sugar Peep Family Farms. On it was a painting of a girl who looked suspiciously like Sugar Motta, dressed up like Little Bo Peep. Chris and Darren smiled at each other and kept walking.

The beanstalk was further away than it had appeared – an optical illusion created by its outrageous height. As they finally drew near, Chris and Darren could hear someone singing.

Even through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin

The voice held such longing; it almost brought tears to Chris’s eyes.

And constant craving
Has always been

“It’s Blaine!” Darren whispered excitedly, dragging Chris closer.

Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls to what's true
Or maybe it is life itself
Leads wisdom to its youth

Chris and Darren peered out from behind the base of the enormous beanstalk. Blaine stood with his back to them, chopping wood. His ax rose and fell with the rhythm of his song.

Constant craving
Has always been

“He seems so sad. I just want to run over and throw my arms around him,” Darren whispered.

Chris squeezed his hand. “I know. But it’s probably not a good idea to startle a man who’s wielding an ax.”

Ah...constant craving
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been

As the last notes of the song faded away, Blaine laid down his ax and collapsed onto the stump he’d been using as a chopping block, dropping his face into his hands.

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