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August 23, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org
FADE IN: INT. - CLOSE UP OF PAPER, UNDER THE COVERS - LIGHT OF A FLASHLIGHT Paper: folds, leafs, sheets, balls, crumpled and uncrumpled. The fibres of it. The lush qualities of its simplicity. A pen strokes across the page, ink sucked into the pores. THEO, a 12 year old boy, brown hair, sharp eyes, draws under a blanket, his concentration complete. He grows increasingly frustrated, then grabs the page before him, tears it from the pad, crushes it up and adds it to the growing pile next to him. One short breath out in frustration and he begins to draw again. INT. - ORPHANAGE DORMITORY - NIGHT - MINUTES LATER Theo hears the SOUND of CREAKING DOOR and turns off his flashlight. He holds his breath and freezes like a statue. The SOUND OF SHOES approaches too quickly and the covers whip from the bed. The orphanage lady MISS FULABREE, furious and haggard, pulls him from his bed and grabs the pad of paper from him. MISS FULABREE Give me that this minute! She rips the paper and pen from him. MISS FULABREE (CONT'D) Stealing again are you? She looks at the picture of a young woman in her hands. MISS FULABREE (CONT'D) Your mother? Doesn’t look a thing like her. Go to sleep, all of you. Thanks to young Theodore, there will be an extra hour of chores tomorrow. Everything will be extra clean for visitors. THEO You don’t know what she looked like. MISS FULABREE No one knows what she looked like. And do you know why? Because she didn’t even wait around before dumping you on our doorstep.
2 She tears up the portrait. MISS FULABREE (CONT'D) There will be no more of this pointless behaviour. Art is never going to get you anywhere. Now go back to bed. She grabs up Theo’s pens and balls of paper and storms out. Theo flops back onto his bed, staring up at the ceiling. ZEE, another member of this homeless family of children, rolls over next to him. ZEE Psst. Theo. Theo. THEO What? ZEE Why d’ja always gotta get us all in trouble? You know she’s gonna take it out on all us tomorrow. THEO Forget her, Zee. It’s worth the extra chores. Did you see her forehead throbbing? ZEE Thought she was gonna burst. THEO I'm going to get out of here Zee. My family's out there, I know it. I'm going to get out of here and find them. ZEE No one’s coming for us, man. Now stop talking before you get us in more trouble. They settle down in their beds. ZEE (CONT'D) Hey Theo. THEO What? ZEE Here. Zee throws him a new pen.
3 ZEE (CONT'D) You owe me. THEO I owe you. Thanks. ZEE You wake me up again tonight, and I’m going to have to punch you. THEO Goodnight Zee. ZEE (grumbling) Goodnight. EXT. - BACKYARD OF ORPHANAGE - EARLY AFTERNOON Theo plays away from the other kids. He has gathered up all kinds of toy blocks and is making a picture on the ground with them. JEREMY, a warm and hopeful eight year-old, stops playing with some of the other nearby children, and goes over to see what Theo is doing. JEREMY What are you building? THEO It's a picture. JEREMY A picture? Of what? THEO I'm not exactly sure. JEREMY Why are you drawing a picture with blocks? THEO Why not? You can draw pictures with anything. JEREMY I don’t like drawing, I prefer soccer, but your picture is pretty cool. ELLEN, a thirty-five year old worn-down mom, comes out of the back door and looks hopefully round at all the children playing. She sees her son Jeremy talking with Theo. She watches them
4 talking for a few seconds, then goes over to them. JEREMY Do you like soccer? THEO Yeah, I guess. JEREMY Hey mom, this is Theo. He likes to draw with blocks. Isn't that weird? ELLEN Not at all. People used to make pictures on floors with tiny blocks in ancient times. THEO Tessellations. ELLEN (impressed) Yes. JEREMY It's weird, but I like it. Jeremy runs off to play with the other children. Ellen kneels down and looks down at the picture. Theo places a few more blocks, making a little palm tree. ELLEN What’s the picture of? Theo looks up at her, then back at the blocks. THEO It's a nature scene, I think, full of animals and other things. Here's the edge of some woods, with, I'm not sure what that is ELLEN It looks like a bird. THEO I think it's a fairy. And over there, a lamb is running, jumpingELLEN Gamboling. THEO Gambling? Like poker?
ELLEN Gamboling. It means, well, running and jumping. But playfully. THEO Gamboling. Yeah, gamboling. He's just out enjoying the sunlight, eating whatever he wants to. He doesn't see the wolf, watching him. A lot of great artists did landscapes. Do you like art? ELLEN Very much. I find if you stare long enough, you always see one more thing you never saw before. THEO It's almost like it was never there, then suddenly it just sort of pops into it, like, like ELLEN Magic. THEO There's no such thing as magic. Ellen opens her mouth, like she's just about to speak when: JOHN, Ellen’s husband, steps out into the backyard, and spots her. JOHN Honey, we have to go. ELLEN Okay, just a minute. (To Theo) It was nice talking to you Theo. Theo hands her another crumpled drawing of his mother. THEO Here. I made this before, but you can have it. Ellen takes it. ELLEN Thank you.
6 JOHN Jeremy! Come on now! Ellen gets up and starts away, but turns to look back at Theo, who has gone back to his tessellation. She watches him play for a few seconds longer, then leaves. INT. - CAR - CONTINUOUS As they pull away from the curb, Ellen stares off into space, holding the uncrumpled drawing in her hands. JOHN What do you think, El? ELLEN Hm? JOHN Should we look at that other orphanage? Or keep looking out of state? John and Ellen drive by the fenced-in play-space of the orphanage. Theo looks out and catches Ellen’s eyes as she drives past. ELLEN No. No, I don't think so. EXT. - BACKYARD OF ORPHANAGE - CONTINUOUS Theo walks the edge of the chain link fence as the car disappears around the corner. As he walks along the edge, he looks down and SEES The fence, busted at the bottom, has just enough room for him to slide under. He looks around then grabs his knapsack and starts to squeeze under the fence. Miss Fulabree looks up to see Theo half way under the fence, and tears towards him. At the last moment, Theo slips out under the fence as Miss Fulabree slams up against the metal. MISS FULABREE Theo, you get back in here this instant. You are already in so much trouble young man.
7 Theo backs away from the fence. MISS FULABREE Theo. THEO! Theo bolts away into the streets and disappears. MONTAGE Theo runs through alleys and streets. He looks over his shoulder at the faint YELLING, then the sounds of SIRENS. The city gets uglier, grittier, and less safe around him. While looking back, Theo bumps into a crazed STREET WALKER, who screams like a banshee after him. The light begins to fade. EXT. - DARK ALLEYWAY - MINUTES LATER Theo enters a short, dark, DEAD-END alleyway, turning to face the street and listening for any continuing screams. He backs away from the street until he bumps up against a pile of rubbish and rubble. THE ARTIST, a mix of court jester, knight errant, and bum, rises up screaming. THE ARTIST GET AWAY FROM ME! THEO I’m sorry! Theo drops his bag, and a couple of pens and a ratty looking sketchbook tumbles out. The Artist grabs up the book. THEO Give that back! Theo grabs for his book and after a tussle, pulls it free of the old man’s wiry grip. Theo turns to leave the alley. THE ARTIST You’re an artist, aren’t you, boy? THEO An, an artist? THE ARTIST Artist, yes. We draw dreams, child. Ever had a dream, boy?
8 THEO I should go THE ARTIST Wait! THEO What do you want!? THE ARTIST Fine manners from a lowly child to one the likes of me. Maybe I won’t give it to you. THEO Give me what? The Artist pulls out a beautiful wood crafted luxurious PEN. THEO A pen? THE ARTIST Hah! A pen he says, a pen! A pen is just a pen! Business men, accountants, grocery clerks have pens. This is a Stylus! THEO A stylus? What’s that? THE ARTIST Well, it’s sort of like a pen. But magic! Theo looks at him incredulously. THE ARTIST (CONT'D) It can take you to other worlds, boy, make your dreams come to life, right before your eyes! THEO And you’re just going to give it to me? THE ARTIST Sound good to you, boy, a magic pen at the tips of your fingers? All that power, to make all the things from your imagination come to life, hmmm? No! It’s a terrible burden, terrible! Think, all your hopes and dreams, and all your nightmares too. Which will win, eh, glory or terror, triumph or disaster,
9 which will have the final say? HA! The Artist holds out the PEN for Theo to take. THE ARTIST (CONT’D) Would all those shiny knights and heroes be the victors, boy? Or would things too terrible to name gobble up your mind? What journeys would you take? And who would you find along the way? Theo grabs hold of the pen. The Artist and Theo both hold it together. At the entrance of the alley, a POLICE CAR with blaring SIRENS comes to a halt. Theo looks over his shoulder at the police car. THEO I’m sorry I have to He turns back. The alley is completely empty. It stretches far away, with traffic flowing past streets ahead. The Artist and his heap have vanished. Theo’s eyes move to his hand. To the pen still in his fingers. INT. - MISS FULABREE’S OFFICE - EARLY EVENING Theo, Miss Fulabree and two POLICE OFFICERS are standing around Miss Fulabree's desk. MISS FULABREE What were you thinking, dear, running away, scaring us half to death? POLICE OFFICER We found him well downtown, Ma’am, pretty scared out of his wits. THEO I wasn’t scared. MISS FULABREE Don’t contradict the officer, dear. POLICE OFFICER We won’t have any more trouble, will we, Theo? MISS FULABREE Of course not officer, I’ll make sure he
10 doesn’t get lost again. Thank you for your time. Goodbye. POLICE OFFICER Ma’am. The officers leave. As their footsteps fade down the hallway, Miss Fulabree spins on Theo, grabbing him by the collar. MISS FULABREE What do you think you were doing? Do you know how that makes us look? THEO Get off of me! Theo and Miss Fulabree struggle. She slaps Theo. They both stop their battle. Miss Fulabree walks calmly around and sits behind her desk. MISS FULABREE What are we going to do with you Theo? I’ve tried giving you extra work, but I think we’re both tired of how poorly you do the chores you already have. What is going to make you learn? Perhaps other traditional forms of punishment would be more effective. Miss Fulabree pulls back a felt cloth on top of her desk and reveals several nasty looking canes and paddles. MISS FULABREE (CONT'D) I’ve never had the personal experience of it, but I’m told it can be quite successful. I had to search through storage, but in the end I found a whole array of... tools. She selects a thin reed cane. MISS FULABREE (CONT'D) Come here, Theo. Right Now. Miss Fulabree lunges around the desk, Theo jumps back knocking a chair over with a BANG. The door slams open. MR. REYNOLDS, 38, the headmistress’s toadying assistant, barges in. MR. REYNOLDS Headmistress!
11 MISS FULABREE Yes? MR. REYNOLDS There’s a young couple here to see you. About the boy. MISS FULABREE (to Theo) What did you do? THEO Nothing! MR. REYNOLDS Headmistress? MISS FULABREE Send them in. You, stay over there and be quiet. Theo moves to the corner, as Miss Fulabree covers up the whipping tools, and moves from behind her desk to pick up the fallen chair. Ellen and John enters the office. ELLEN Hello Miss Fulabree, I just wanted to speak to you, oh, hello Theo. THEO Hello. ELLEN Well, I uh, well, I was coming back to ask, I was going to ask whether or not Theo, if he would like, if you wanted to come with us, back home, to come and stay with us. Would you like that Theo? THEO Yes. I would. ELLEN Good, good. Would it be alright if we came, say, later this week, say, Thursday? MISS FULABREE Well, of course! What a happy occasion. You’ll be ready to go with the nice lady, won’t you Theo? THEO Yes.
12 ELLEN Good. Well then. I’ll get going. See you soon Theo. I’m very glad. THEO Me too. INT. - CAR - DAY Theo gets into the car with his small backpack of personal possessions, and Ellen and John get in the front seat. As they all drive away, Theo looks out the window and sees Zee staring back at him from the front window of the orphanage. INT. - CAR - DAY Ellen, John, and Theo drive along through the streets of a quiet suburb. INT. - BIG COLD GREY HOUSE - MID AFTERNOON Theo steps into the house. He stands in the foyer, looking around at the living room, dining room and long staircase. Ellen and John enter behind him. ELLEN Your room's upstairs. Would you like me to show you? Ellen moves past him up the stairs and Theo follows. John follows behind him. INT. - ROOM - CONTINUOUS Theo stares around the small but confortable room, with its new but small bed. A hideously ugly drawing hangs above it. On the dresser is a small old painting of a collapsing tower under a red sunset. ELLEN I know it's not very big JOHN We thought your own room might be a nice change. Have you ever had your own room, Theo? THEO No. Thank you.
13 JOHN We'll let you get settled. John and Ellen leave. Beat. Jeremy bursts into the room. JEREMY Hi Theo! You're my new brother, sort of, and I’m yours I guess! I hope you like the room, I drew the picture there, I’m just learning, mom says you’re an artist, do you like drawing? It’s fun, but I prefer soccer. And hockey. And most sports. This used to be my dad’s office, but he moved all his old stuff to the basement. I guess you could have stayed in the basement, but it’s full of spiders. Do you like spiders? I had a pet fish once but it died. ELLEN (O.S.) Jeremy! Leave Theo alone to settle in! JEREMY Bye! Jeremy runs out the door. Theo walks to the centre of the room, and stands looking around him, lost, even in the tiny room. He puts his backpack on the bed and sits next to it. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. - FRONT OF THE HOUSE - MORNING OF A SCHOOL DAY Theo and Jeremy run and get on the school bus. Jeremy sits at the front with his friends. Theo gets on the bus, and sees Jeremy offering him the seat next to him, but walks further along the bus. There are almost no open seats. Finally, a PRETTY GIRL reluctantly offers him a place next to her. THEO Thanks. The girl looks away bored. Theo sits quietly and tries to look at nothing. A small RAT-FACED BOY stares at him unblinking from over the seat in front of him. INT. - CLASSROOM FILLED WITH STUDENTS - MORNING MISS GRAYSON, Theo’s art teacher, is up at the board. Theo draws with his magical pen a picture of a gateway with a magic land on the other side.
14 MISS GRAYSON Can anyone tell me what Perspective is? Anyone? Pespective is a way of drawing to make things look close or far away on a sheet of paper. For example Miss Grayson draw two lines of perspective on the board, and adds two boxes, one bigger and one smaller. MISS GRAYSON Who can tell me which of these looks closer. Anyone? The class is silent. MISS GRAYSON How about you, Theodore? Theo looks up from his drawing. box. He points silently to the bigger
MISS GRAYSON That’s correct. The bigger one looks closer and the little one looks farther away. Theo goes back to his drawing, as Miss Grayson drones on. Next to Theo, JOHNNY, the class bully, stares around in abject boredom. He rips out a page from his note book, and chews it up. Theo puts the finishing touch on the world behind the archway and stares down at it. For a second the picture is perfectly still, then it starts to MOVE. The world behind the archway, the trees of a forest wave in the wind. MISS GRAYSON Theodore? Theo looks up suddenly. MISS GRAYSON (CONT’D) Pay attention up here, please. Miss Grayson goes back to teaching the class. Theo looks back at the paper, but the picture is still again. JOHNNY looks over at Theo, a gleam stealing into his face. He looks around. His two sidekicks - BOLLARD and KEVIN - watch him expectantly. JOHNNY (whispering)
15 Hey, hey, hey, new kid, hey, new kid THEO Theo. JOHNNY What? THEO Theo. My name is Theo. JOHNNY, BOLLARD, KEVIN Oooohhhhhh... MISS GRAYSON Quiet back there, boys. Now we’re going to look at how perspective has been used... JOHNNY (Whispering) Hey new kid, hey, whatcha drawing there? Unicorns? Fairies? Rainbows? Kevin and Bollard laugh. Theo says nothing. Johnny swipes Theo’s drawing off his desk. They both grab for it, tearing it right down the middle. MISS GRAYSON Is there a problem back there, Theo? THEO No, Miss Grayson. MISS GRAYSON Well, maybe you should sit up here for today. Theo gets up and moves to the front of the class. JOHNNY Bye Theodore! Johnny eats the half of the picture he ripped from Theo, adding it to the wad already in his mouth. INT. - SCHOOL HALLWAYS - LATER THAT DAY The bell RINGS. As Theo walks silently to his locker, he furtively meets the eyes of a CUTE GIRL surrounded by her
16 FRIENDS. The cute one smiles sweetly, while her friends turn her away. Theo keeps walking. Down the hall, Johnny is picking on someone small, pushing the kid back and forth between Kevin, Bollard, and himself. Theo approaches and SEES that it’s Jeremy. After a particularly brutal push that throws Jeremy to the ground, Theo steps forward. THEO Leave him alone. JOHNNY What? THEO I said leave him alone. JOHNNY Or what? THEO Or I stop you. Theo steps close so only Johnny can hear. THEO (CONT'D) You aren’t that tough Johnny, you aren’t tough like I know, so stop, or I’ll stop you. Johnny backs up. Johnny PUNCHES. Theo takes the hit and falls backward. Johnny stands smugly over Theo. Theo kicks him in the balls. CROWD Ohhh!!! Johnny slumps slowly down and Theo gets up. He punches Johnny hard in the face. Theo gets on top of him and keeps beating him. MALE TEACHER Stop that right now!! The teacher pulls him off. As Theo is being dragged away, he catches the eye of the Cute Girl again. She looks at him, shocked and afraid. EXT. - THE STREET OUTSIDE THE FAMILY HOUSE - AFTER SCHOOL A school bus pulls away. Theo and Jeremy stand outside the house, staring up at the front door. Beat. Ellen appears on the front
17 steps. ELLEN Fighting? What have you two been up to? Jeremy, you’ve never been sent to the principal’s office. I wouldn’t believe the calls I’ve been getting! JEREMY But mom! ELLEN No, I don’t want to hear it from you either. Jeremy, you should have been looking after him, not getting into trouble! THEO I can look after myself! ELLEN I want you both to get inside. Go upstairs and do your homework. You’re both grounded for a week! JEREMY Mom! THEO Whatever. Doesn’t make a difference to me. Not like I have friends here anyway. Theo stalks off to his room. Jeremy follows him sulkily. ELLEN And don’t come down until it’s suppertime! INT. - THEO’S ROOM - CONTINUOUS Theo slams the door to his room. He stalks around like a caged animal. He looks at the small desk covered in his drawings and flings them off in his anger, then kicks his backpack. The magic pen falls to the floor. Theo picks it up and throws it at the dresser. THEO Magic! The pen bounces off one wall, spins through the air, and smacks off his bedroom door. A splotch of ink splashes out and runs down a crack in the surface making a broken jagged blue-black mark.
18 Theo stares at the ink drip. It FLARES gold. A ring of light FLASHES around the door frame, shining a deep ochre red. Theo moves forward slowly, touching the now dry ink. Then, hesitantly, he opens the door. EXT. - A DYING WORLD - A BLAZING RED SUNSET Theo steps to the edge of the doorway and looks out. A red and wild world surrounds him, crooked trees, and dried brown grasses. Ruins of a castle fill the distant hills. THEO Magic. INT. - THEO’S ROOM - CONTINUOUS MONTAGE Theo packs his backpack. Sketchbook, flashlight, umbrella, the magic pen, some clothes and a few other items. EXT. - DYING WORLD - RED LIT EVENING Theo steps out of the takes a few steps out which CREAKS suddenly behind Theo makes him doorway and onto the crusty dried soil. He into the gnarled dying wood around him, as a low wind arises. A CRACKLING sound turn
To see his bedroom door DISSOLVE into the black centre of a massive tree knot. Theo scrabbles to find the door and the way back. Gone. As he stands there staring at the gnarled tree stump, a LOUD NOISE approaches at a very high speed. Suddenly it's in his ear, bowling him over. NOTSO, a purple and fat blob with wings, knocks him to the ground. THEO OW! NOTSO Oof! Sorry, no time, busy, very busy!
19 Hello, hi, nice to meet you, bye now! THEO Where are you going? NOTSO Running! THEO From who? NOTSO Them! THEO Them? NOTSO Them!!! Notso points behind Theo. BLACK HOUNDS, made from sticky flowing ink, bark and growl as they barrel towards them. THEO Oh? OH! NOTSO Run! Theo and Notso tear away weaving through the forest. NOTSO (CONT'D) This way! Theo and Notso cut through a small shrubbery, over a large log. They hide beneath it and hear the dogs run by. THEO What are they? NOTSO The Queen’s Inkhounds. Nastiest things you could ever want to meet. THEO Why are they chasing you? NOTSO Aren’t they chasing you too? THEO They are now!
20 NOTSO What did you do? THEO Nothing! I just followed you! NOTSO You shouldn’t have followed me, they’re chasing me! THEO I can see that! NOTSO Sh! SHH! THEO What? NOTSO Nothing. I just want you to be quiet. I’m Notso, by the way. THEO Notso? NOTSO Notso Bright, I’m a notsprite. THEO Notsprite? NOTSO Don’t want to be confused with tiny sprites, do we? We still have wings, but ... Notso points to his tiny wings. THEO Kinda pointless then, aren’t they? NOTSO Well, you don’t have any wings at all, do you?! A GROWL right above them, and a massive black head leans over the log and peers down at them. From all around them the black, blue and red INKHOUNDS slip out from the shadows. THEO Uh oh.
21 NOTSO Hi! The Inkhounds attack. BLACKOUT. INT. - THE THRONE ROOM OF THE RUI NATION - A LITTLE LATER Theo tumbles to the ground in a large round room. He looks up. A very tall and elegant QUEEN, her beauty is like ice, cold, sharp, brutal, stares imperiously down at him. Notso is thrown down beside him. The Queen looks at Theo slowly then down at Notso beside him. Turning, she slinks onto a massive but crumbling throne. Around the room HIDEOUS COURTIERS leer at the captives. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You are Notso, of the sprites? NOTSO Notsprites, yes ma’am. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You are the one who has been heard to sing and dance, daring to mock me in the streets of my city? NOTSO Yes ma’am. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You are a very little thing. NOTSO Thank you, ma’am. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You are too stupid to even realize your foolishness of mocking me. If you were just a bit smarter, I would throw you in my dungeons and let you wallow in your idiocy, but even that is a waste of time and energy. NOTSO Yes ma’am. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Take him to the mines. Let him work until he grows old and withered. Burn
22 his bones. But bring me his wings for my wall. THEO Wait! The Queen turns sharply to look at Theo. She walks slowly over to stand in front of him, staring down. QUEEN BOUDICCEA And who are you, you small unimportant thing? BLACKDOG, the captain of the Inkhound Guard, CHANGES from his hound-like shape into a wolf-man. BLACKDOG This man-child was with the prisoner, my Queen. He suddenly appeared from nowhere. Carrying this. Blackdog holds up Theo’s PEN and his SKETCHBOOK. THEO That’s mine! QUEEN BOUDICCEA Yours? Where did you get it? It is forbidden to draw and write in this world! Theo remains stubbornly silent. BLACKDOG Answer her! THEO It was given to me. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Where? By whom? THEO By a man. In my world. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Your world? Your world? You are a traveler of worlds, child, an artist! The Queen's court roils and hisses. THEO Yes, I am.
23 BLACKDOG He’s just a pup! QUEEN BOUDICCEA You drew a doorway and came here? THEO Um, yes, I did. QUEEN BOUDICCEA (aside) Are the days of my entrapment at an end? The final days! (to the INKHOUNDS) Release him. Immediately! The guards around Theo fall back. The Queen reaches down and helps Theo to his feet by his chin. QUEEN BOUDICCEA I'm so sorry my little one, these wretched creatures don't understand who you are! An artist! But it's been so long since we've been graced with one of those here. It's been years since we've seen your kind of wonder and magic. Would you do us the honour of showing us, and make one of your magical doorways? THEO I, I don't really The Queen hands Theo his pen and a sad and dilapidated book. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Show me. Theo opens the book to a blank page and draws a door with a squiggly mark on it. A rough adobe archway with a shabby tin door GROWS UP out of the ground. The Queen opens the door. A RAGING MAELSTROM OF FIRE fills the other side. The Queen slams the door shut. Beat. QUEEN BOUDICCEA How did you get here, child? THEO I don’t know. I just sort of tripped and some ink accidentally got on my door, and -
24 BLACKDOG He knows nothing! He probably found the pen or stole it! THEO He gave it to me! QUEEN BOUDICCEA He? The Queen looks at the pen and thinks for a few seconds. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Well then, boy, you can't get home, can you? THEO No, not exactly. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Trapped, and so far from home. I understand that. Never to see your family, never to be safe, at home, in your bed. Maybe I can help you with that. Yes, I could do that. THEO How? QUEEN BOUDICCEA First, you need to prove yourself to me, that you deserve my help. I need a few small trinkets found, things stolen from me ever so long ago. If you bring these things back to me, I promise I’ll send you back. THEO Then you’ll send me home? To my REAL parents? My real family? QUEEN BOUDICCEA Don’t you know who your parents are? Beat. THEO Could you send me to them? QUEEN BOUDICCEA I can. Theo thinks for a few seconds.
25 THEO Where do I start? The Queen laughs. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Oh, but you are a brave one. Three items were stolen from me, and three must be returned before I can send you on your way. The Queen, using Theo’s pen writes in the book and conjures an image of the Forest world above them, moving and shifting. QUEEN BOUDICCEA (CONT'D) The first is on a world known to me, a world of Forests and trees, lost among the roots and leaves somewhere. A Perfect Pen. The Queen conjures an image of a beautiful golden pen, lying in the roots of the trees. THEO A perfect pen? Can’t you just use the one I brought? QUEEN BOUDICCEA This old thing? Does this one follow every yearning of your heart? The Perfect Pen is old magic. It brings wishes to life, makes anything possible. No ordinary pen can do that! The second item has been lost in a far away Ocean World. An Endless Inkwell. The Queen conjures a fuzzier image of the OCEAN WORLD, with its vast black sea. Monsters and crashing waves are barely distinguishable through of haze the image. Rising from the sea a bottle of ink appears to float above the court. THEO What’s that? QUEEN BOUDICCEA A bottle of ink that never runs dry. It can draw a million pictures and still be full to the top. With these two tools you could make whole worlds appear from the very depths of your mind. But one last element is needed. THEO What’s that?
26 The Queen conjures an image of a book inlaid with gold. QUEEN BOUDICCEA The Book of Infinite Pages. Lost for untold ages. Hidden from even the most powerful. All we know of its location is this: All doorways lead to The Book. THEO What does that mean? BLACKDOG If she knew, she wouldn’t need you, you little runt! The Queen waves off BLACKDOG. QUEEN BOUDICCEA With these three objects, You could go anywhere, draw anything dream anything and make it real, and that power, my power, will last a thousand years, forever! For that, I will reward you with a quick and easy trip back to your world. Your safe, quiet, simple little world. Now go. The Queen draws in the book and out of the ground rises an archway of wood. A dark path appears inside it. Theo gathers up his bag. THEO I’ll find your stuff. But I could use a guide. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You’re quite right. Release the notsprite. THE INKHOUNDS release Notso. THEO Him? He’s the one who got me into trouble in the first place! QUEEN BOUDICCEA We can’t go and waste someone more important, I’m afraid. Once you start to find your way, leave him behind. Preferably somewhere he’ll be eaten. And one last gift, my youngling, a way for you to get back to me, once you’ve found all of my property.
27 The Queen hands Theo a pretty red stone. It burns brightly in his hand, but settles into a low throbbing glow. Theo puts it in his pocket. THEO One more thing. Theo holds out his hand for the pen and book. The Queen stares at him sharply for a moment then gives them to him. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Do not fail me, child! There are far worse things than being lost far away from home. Theo and Notso go through the passageway. The Queen's court fades away and the path begins to fill with roots and dirt. Pushing through the tighter and tighter space, Theo sees a light at the end, and together they push through some overhanging vines and step out into the sun. EXT. - FOREST WORLD - MID MORNING Theo and Notso step free from the centre of a giant tree. The golden light hits their faces. NOTSO Wow. THEO It's beautiful. Well, Come on. Try not to get me in any more trouble would you? Trees lilt softly with a musical creak, small armies of orderly ants corral and milk their aphid cattle, soft TINKLING BELLS chime from of the leaves. Two butterflies hum on the wing, locked in a LOVE-DUET. The whole forest is a sing song cacophony, each life-tune weaving a woodland symphony. Theo and Notso walk through the wonderous wood. Theo steps between two beautiful cedars and stops frozen. He HEARS a sad but alluring GYPSY TUNE cutting through the trees, silencing the happiness. THEO (CONT'D) What’s that? NOTSO I dunno but I think I'm in love.
28 THEO I don’t know, there’s something not right. Hey, Notsprite, Notso, whatever your name is, come back! Notso head towards the song. Theo walks cautiously behind him. As they head out through the forest, all the creatures and songs behind them, everything in range of the song, scurry into hiding. EXT. - FOREST GLEN - CONTINUOUS Theo pushes back a branch and walks out into a small glen. HELENA, a radiant siren, plays a small and shabby lute/balalaika, Notso at her feet. The song she plays is beautiful and dangerous, and Theo stumbles towards her, enthralled. The grass at her feet withers as she plays. THEO Hello. HELENA Hello sweet child. Come and join your friend. What are you doing so far from home? THEO I can't get home. HELENA How awful for you. Come closer, maybe there's something I can do to help. Theo steps closer. HELENA licks her lips. THEO The Queen said she could help us. HELENA The Queen? THEO Yes. The Queen of Everything HELENA Tall, sharp, cold? NOTSO She said all she needs the pen. HELENA Now she sends a child on her foolish quest. Ah well...
29 Helena leans close to Theo's neck, smiling with razor sharp teeth. THEO I'm not a fool. I'm an artist. She hovers above Theo’s neck with her bite, then looks back at Theo's face. HELENA What did you say? THEO I’m an artist. She said I'm the only one who can find it. But maybe I'll just stay here with you. NOTSO It's really pretty here. HELENA Maybe I can help you find this pen. THEO Really? HELENA The Queen isn't the only one with powers. Outside her little world, she’s nothing more than a thief. And as it happens I know where the pen is. THEO Really, where is it? HELENA First, you must promise that once you have it in your hands, you will give it to me. I will make sure to send you THEO Back to my family, my real family? HELENA Exactly. Do you promise? THEO I promise. Where is it? Not far you, it beasts. you, my HELENA from here. But, I must warn is guarded by some determined You mustn’t let them confuse sweet.
30 THEO I'll do my best. Come on Notso. Helena leads them off into the forest, grass wilting at each of her steps. EXT. - DARK FOREST PATHWAYS - CONTINUOUS The forest almost unnoticeably shies away from Helena. Theo and Notso aren't so lucky as the path constricts around them, grabbing at their arms and legs. NOTSO Theo, if we’re no match for the Queen’s Inkhounds, what good are we against monsters? THEO Stop worrying. It’ll be fine, I’m sure. EXT. - THE SOURCE - CONTINUOUS Helena pulls apart a curtain of leaves. A stream’s Source, a gurgling muddy pool burbles up from the ground, the start of a beautiful brook that laughs and babbles away. Surrounding the source is a host of strong green REEDS. Theo and Notso step onto the bank around the Source. Helena hangs back. HELENA There. THEO Where? HELENA In the centre of all those reeds. It is hidden well, so you must be careful and bring it back to me. I know a doorway to take you straight to your family. THEO But why can’t you get it? HELENA Enough questions! I don't like the water child, and those reeds can be a nuisance. THEO Reeds? How could they possibly -
31 MAYOR OFF REED TOWN Back demon! THE REEDS make a terribly woodwind SCREECHING noise. Theo & Notso put their hands over their ears. The sound wounds Helena, her colour pales, her skin withers slightly. She backs away towards the forest. HELENA Just bring it to me, child. Don’t you want to go home? Another blast from the Reeds drives her off with a snarl. MAYOR OF REED TOWN You're lucky boy, escaping from her with the meat on your bones. THEO Uh, thank you, I guess. NOTSO Don't you like her? MAYOR OF REED TOWN What kind of question is that? Didn't you see her? NOTSO She looked very pretty to me. MAYOR OF REED TOWN You gotta look closer than that in this world boy, creature, fairy thing. NOTSO Notsprite. MAYOR OF REED TOWN No, it wasn't very smart. You should be thankful. Being eaten alive isn't as fun as it sounds. REED MAYOR’S WIFE It actually sounds awful dear. MAYOR OF REED TOWN Still, it's not an experience I'd go through twice. REED MAYOR’S WIFE Uh huh!
32 SON OF REED MAYOR Yah! REEDS (ALL EXCEPT THE MAYOR) Yes, very true, indeed, right, mhm! MAYOR OF REED TOWN Shush! The Reeds settle down. MAYOR OF REED TOWN (CONT'D) So, why are you here at all boy? Come for a song? BARBERSHOP REEDS Lyda Rose! Lyda Rose! Lyda Rose!! LYDA ROSE Oh boys. LYDA ROSE blushes white to red. THEO Um, I think I'm here for the perfect pen. REED MAYOR’S WIFE He's here for The Pen! REEDS (ALL EXCEPT THE MAYOR) The Pen! The Pen!! MAYOR OF REED TOWN Quiet! They shut up. MAYOR OF REED TOWN (CONT'D) Sorry boy, No pen here. THEO Come on. How stupid do you think I am? THE BAKER REED Pretty stupid? THE BUTCHER REED Really stupid? MAYOR OF REED TOWN Nope! No pen.
33 SON OF REED MAYOR Dad, what about that perfect MAYOR OF REED TOWN Sh! Theo looks at the Mayor like he's not going to fall for it. MAYOR OF REED TOWN (CONT'D) Well, All right. Maybe there's a pen and maybe there ain’t, but you want it, you have to search for it. Rules are rules. But choose carefully, you only get three chances. Then... THEO Then what? MAYOR OF REED TOWN Then we tell you to get lost. THEO Get lost? ALL THE REEDS (EXCEPT THE MAYOR) GET LOST!! The Reeds SCREECH. Theo and Notso cover their ears. MAYOR OF REED TOWN NOT YET!!! REEDS Sorry/sorry/got carried away/caught up in it for a moment/that was very nice George/Why thank you Sam. THEO But how do I choose? MAYOR OF REED TOWN Your problem sonny, not ours. The Reeds laugh. THEO OK. Theo wades out into the central mud of the source. THEO (CONT'D) Ugh... Theo puts his hand out and crushes one of the reeds.
34 OLD MAN REED 1 Hey!! THEO Sorry. OLD MAN REED 1 Be more careful! Theo squashes the Son of the Reed Mayor who squeaks. NOTSO Be careful, Theo! THEO Excuse me, sorry, oops, Pardon me. Oh, ow. Oh, I’m sorry. Here, just let me fix that for, ok, or not, whoops. REEDS Hey!/Watch where you’re putting that thing!/Oi! That’s me arm!/Be more careful! Theo gets to the centre. All around him are reed shaped pens and pen shaped reeds. THEO Now what? MAYOR OF REED TOWN You pick one. THEO But how do I know which one? They, they all look the same. REED MAYOR’S WIFE Pick the one that looks like the perfect pen! THEO But which one's that? All the Reeds mumble noncommittally. MAYOR OF REED TOWN Well, you see, we're not exactly sure. It's been so long since we started guarding it, we're not exactly sure what it looks like anymore. But we'll know it when we see it!
35 THEO What?? BAKER REED Look, we just watch over it. SON OF REED MAYOR Try that one near the middle. MAYOR OF REED TOWN Shush! GROCER WOMAN REED Try one of the pretty ones honey. SCHOLARLY REED It's obvious there must be some logical way to figure this all out. ALL THE REEDS (EXCEPT THE MAYOR) How about that green one?/They’re all green stupid/Well I fancy that one!/Oo! Oo! Pick me!/You remember the last time you saw it Sam?/Back in aught eight it was George/Wasn’t it right over there? All the Reeds make suggestions all at once. MAYOR OF REED TOWN SHUT UP!!!! The Reeds shut up. SON OF REED MAYOR That one! Or Oo! That one! REED MAYOR’S WIFE Quiet, dear. Theo looks around, examining each of the muddiest reeds searching for some way to tell what he's looking for. Finally he picks one tentatively. THEO Is this it? MAYOR OF REED TOWN Nope! Wrong!! The Reeds laugh. Theo studies the reeds again and picks another. THEO (cringing) This one?
36 MAYOR OF REED TOWN Hmmm... Let me see... Wrong! CACOPHONOUS FANFARE from the Reeds. THEO It’s not fair! How am I supposed to pick the right one out of all of these? I don’t even know what I'm looking for! NOTSO Oh, I’ve got an idea, Theo! THEO Oh fine, what is it? NOTSO Maybe, maybe you're not looking soft enough. SOME OF THE REEDS Oooo... good answer/that sounds like sense/hmm.../I see where you're going MAYOR OF REED TOWN Shush, Shush, SHUSH!! NOTSO It was only a suggestion. MAYOR OF REED TOWN (To Notso, then to Theo) Shush! One more pick and then you'll have to get lost. ALL THE REEDS (EXCEPT THE MAYOR GET LOST!!! MAYOR OF REED TOWN SHUT UP!!!!!! SOME OF THE REEDS (murmuring) Well you did say get lost./Sh!/Sh!. THEO Not looking soft enough... Theo looks down at the two he's already chosen. THEO (CONT'D) Soft enough... He rolls the two reeds he’s picked between fingers.
37 THEO (CONT'D) Don’t think too much, don’t look too much. Just imagine what it’s like. It's a pen. Theo closes his eyes. THEO (CONT'D) A beautiful golden pen - no, no eyes. A perfect pen. Perfect. It fits in my hand. It's smooth but not too smooth, delicate but strong. I want to hold it, it moves so lightly when I’m drawing. His hands roam over the reeds in front of him. Theo smiles. THEO (CONT'D) It tastes good when I hold it in my teeth, smells good, never drips, doesn’t leave marks, never smudges, soft and firm. It dances but goes just where I want it, smooth and graceful and perfect. Theo opens his eyes and looks up with clarity, then lifts up the Perfect Pen. THEO (CONT'D) It's the perfect pen. ALL THE REEDS YAY!! The Reeds sing and play a TRIUMPHANT TUNE. Theo climbs back out of the mud, holding the pen high. He washes himself off in the brook, which continues to babble to him. NOTSO Theo! That was amazing! I can’t believe you found it! Helena, still haggard, hops out at the edge of the forest. HELENA Good child, good, now give it to me, give me the pen. Helena reaches out for Theo, her shining beauty a distant memory. SON OF REED MAYOR Don't do it!
38 MAYOR OF REED TOWN (protectively) Shush. Helena snarls at the reeds from the bank, but comes no closer. HELENA It's time for you to go home, sweet sweet boy. Don't you want to see your family? THEO Well NOTSO Theo, I don't like her anymore. HELENA Shut up, sprite! I can send you home! Theo takes a step back away from Helena, unsure what to do. MAYOR OF REED TOWN One, two, three lads... ALL THE REEDS GET LOST!!! The Reeds' song pounds into Helena, flinging her through the air. She twists and perches on a branch, her disguise collapsing back into her true self. Helena is a HARPY, bat wings and hideous face. Helena’s first scream is one of pain. Her second is one of anger. Helena's bitter cry hits and hurts the Reeds, Theo and Notso. The Reeds weave a NEW SONG, creating a protective shield of music around the source. Helena screams again, but the magic wall of sound protects them. Unable to penetrate it, she screams, this time a call. Calls from other Harpies respond throughout the forest. MAYOR OF REED TOWN Run, boy, run! We'll try to keep them busy! HELENA Come back here you brat! I’m going to eat you up! Theo and Notso leap across the stream and dash off into the woods, harpy calls closing in around them.
39 A HARPY appears in the branches of the trees behind them, leaping from limb to limb after them. Notso falls behind, hopping and fluttering. He stumbles THEO Come on Notso! Come on! Theo picks him up, dragging him on. NOTSO Hurry! THEO I'm hurrying! Another HARPY dives out of the forest canopy. Theo and Notso leap aside, turning and running in another direction. Harpy cries ahead stop them in their tracks. NOTSO Do something! THEO What? NOTSO Draw us out of here! THEO Great idea. You remember what happened the last time I tried to draw a doorway? NOTSO Anywhere’s better than here! Theo whips out his skletchbook and opens it. THEO What do I do?! Cries, closer and closer. NOTSO Anything!! Helena hops from branch to branch, racing toward them. Theo scrawls randomly into the book. A tree bends and splits in front of them, shaping itself into a little wooden door. Theo runs over, tears it open, and sees only darkness.
40 THEO Go go!! Notso dives into the doorway and vanishes. HELENA swoops down but barely misses him. Theo jumps inside. HELENA charges the door. Theo slams it shut. EXT. - VOID WORLD - TOTAL DARKNESS There is nothing. Notso. Notso screams. THEO (CONT’D) What what?! NOTSO I thought we were still in trouble. THEO I don’t know, we might be. NOTSO Oh that makes me feel better. THEO Stand back, I'll light a match. There is the sound of a matching being lit, but no light. THEO (CONT'D) Weird. That didn't help. NOTSO Keep it away from me! I don't like fire and it doesn’t like me! THEO Hey! Watch out! A fumbling noise, a crash, and they fall into each other and onto the ground. The PERFECT PEN tinkles off the ground. A sudden squirt of dark red ink sprays onto the black. THEO Look! It is silent. THEO
41 The splotch rises up and shapes itself into a tiny red brown INKHOUND, the color of it lighting up Theo and Notso. THEO Uh oh. Uh, is that what I think it is? NOTSO What did you do? THEO Nothing! You fell into me, and the pen fell and INKLING, the Inkhound puppy, growls. Theo backs away. THEO Good boy. Nice ink, puppy, thingy... INKLING charges towards Theo barreling him over. It jumps up and begins licking Theo’s face. Little blood-red ink splotches appear on his face. THEO (laughing) Hey! Get off! Down! Heel! Hey, that tickles! Down boy, down! INKLING jumps down and barks. Theo wipes his face. THEO (CONT'D) That's a good boy, that's a good boy. Theo scratches behind INKLINGS'S ears. When he takes his hand away it's covered in ink again. THEO (CONT'D) Ugh. We'll have to keep you out of the house, I guess. INKLING solidifies his shape, appearing like a Labrador/beagle cross with long ears and an adorably cute face. THEO (CONT'D) Nice trick that, little inkling. Inkling. I like it. Hey, Notso, I can see you! Notso is hiding in a ball with his hands over his eyes. NOTSO You can?
42 THEO Yes! NOTSO Oh no I'm blind! THEO Take your hands off your eyes. NOTSO Oh. Sorry. Hey, I can see you too! THEO I wonder why we don't shine... NOTSO Maybe 'cus we're not from here. But look! Notso point to Theo's pocket. Theo takes out The Queen's stone which still glows with a red light. NOTSO Must be powerful magic. THEO Protecting us, maybe. I wonder what else I can make? NOTSO Can you make a sandwich? I'm always hungry when I've almost died. Theo draws in his book, and a sandwich appears. Notso holds it up, smiles and takes a bite. THEO Let's have a picnic. DISSOLVE TO: A red and white checked blanket, sandwiches, juice, pillows, a funny looking tree, and a host of unusual objects from a child's wild imagination: a broccoli with legs and arms runs across the blanket chased by an angry fruit mob, a banana with wobbly legs falls over, funny coloured fizzy drinks froth in strange luxurious bottles. Theo sits comfortably in a bean bag chair, Notso on the ground in front of him playing with two grape armies charging and bouncing off each other. Theo continues to draw, all the random things that pop into his
43 head appearing out of thin air. THEO Do you like it here, Notso? NOTSO Oh yes. Except for the emptiness. THEO We could stay here as long as we want, you know. Do anything we want. NOTSO Anything? THEO Anything we want, I’ll draw. What would you like to do? NOTSO It might be nice to climb the tree. THEO That's it? NOTSO I like trees. THEO Wouldn't you like to be a pirate, or a king? Or a powerful magician? NOTSO You're already a powerful magician. Notso gets up and tries to climb the tree beside them. THEO I bet John and Ellen are worried sick about me. I bet the police are searching the house, wondering if they killed me. Where do your parents think you are? NOTSO The Queen's prison. THEO What? NOTSO They're very happy about it too. It's safe in there. The Queen only locks up people she doesn't like.
44 THEO They think it's safe with those people? NOTSO Better than with the people she lets out. But I never liked it in there. THEO Why not? NOTSO No trees. Where are your parents? THEO They’re gone. NOTSO Gone? Where? THEO Does it matter? I don’t even know what they look like. NOTSO Why don’t you find out? THEO What? NOTSO You have magic, you can do anything! Theo draws a picture frame in the air in front of him. THEO Show me my parents. A picture solidifies and SHOWS his foster parents in the kitchen setting the table. Theo slashes the picture and it jaggedly shatters. THEO No, show me my real parents. He draws another frame, and again his foster parents appear but before he can destroy it, their images start to move and talk. INT. - KITCHEN - EVENING Ellen stands vigorously scrubbing dishes while John sits at the table reading a newspaper.
45 ELLEN - stay there all night. His first month at school and already I’m getting letters from the principal, angry calls from parents! Why did we do this? JOHN Because we wanted to. ELLEN And why don’t you help with him a little, I’m always the bad guy, I have to do everything. JOHN What do you want me to do? ELLEN Be supportive! Talk to him for starters, sit him down, learn about him for Goodness sake! It takes work, John. JOHN I know that. ELLEN Then why don’t you help me? JOHN I thought I’d give him some space. ELLEN Space? He’s had space his whole life! Don’t you think maybe he’s tired of space? JOHN We’re trying out our roles, El, feeling each other out. He’s never had a family, and if we barge in on his life, don’t you think he’s going to, I don’t know, react badly? He’ll come around, love. We just have to let him settle in. We just have to love him and hope for the best. Give it time. ELLEN Maybe you’re right. JOHN It’ll get better. He’ll get better, you’ll see. Jeremy sidles into the room.
46 JEREMY Mom? ELLEN Yes, Jeremy? JEREMY I just wanted you to know, it, it wasn’t Theo’s fault. ELLEN No? JEREMY Some boys at school were picking on me. I didn’t want to tell you ‘cus I thought you’d be mad, but Theo came and stopped them and made them stop bullying me so he got in trouble. ELLEN I’m sorry honey. Ellen hugs Jeremy. JEREMY It was great of him to do that. ELLEN Very great. EXT. - VOID WORLD - CONTINUOUS Notso steps up next to Theo. NOTSO They seem nice. THEO They’re not. They don’t care about me. I'm going to find the three tools for the Queen, and she's going to send me to my real parents, you'll see. I'm going to have my real family. Theo slashes with his pen to destroy the picture, but only a tiny bit of ink comes out. The picture wobbles and bends, but the image doesn't break. THEO What the Theo tries again, it only works a little. The picture barely
47 cracks. THEO (CONT'D) What’s wrong with it? NOTSO It’s running out of ink! Why do you think the Queen is looking for an endless inkwell! THEO What do we do? NOTSO I don’t know, shake it about or something! Inkling barks behind them, and they turn. All of Theo’s creations have muddled together, turning into a giant terrifying monster. Inkling barks at the mass. THEO What’s happening to everything? NOTSO If I had to guess I think everything ate everything else when we weren’t paying attention. THEO The world is eating itself? NOTSO Best guess. The huge monster begins to half roll have walk towards them. Theo knocks the pen lightly against his hand, and draws a faint doorway. It shimmers in and out violently, as if it will not last long. Theo closes his eyes and prays. THEO I need help finding the endless inkwell. Take me to someone who can help. He goes over the outline of the door several times before it becomes solid enough that he can grab the doorknob. The ball of Picnic World Monster continues its slow approach. Theo scratches on the door to draw the symbol but nothing comes out. He tries again and the very last drop squeaks out. He pulls open the door onto a cave of ice. THEO Hurry up!
48 Notso and the Inkling race through just as the door shutters for the last time. INT. - ICE BLUE CLIFFSIDE - A BRIGHT GREY DAY As the door collapses back into the cliff, it vibrates and cracks, spider-webbing out in all directions. They turn from the wall NOTSO Look out! Notso grabs Theo, pulling him back from the edge of a deep crevice. His voice echoes through the tall Mountains surrounding them on all sides. Jagged spears of ice teeter above and below. A small path leads away through the cold blue. Theo shakes the perfect Pen. He puts it away and pulls out his original dull one from the Artist. NOTSO Anything left? THEO Maybe a little in my old pen, but the perfect one? I think it's done. You ok? NOTSO Cold. I hate the cold. THEO Alright there, boy? Inkling’s paws freeze to the ice ground, but he ADJUSTS his form, turning into a small bushy-haired St. Bernard. THEO (CONT’D) C’mon. They walk out into the mountain wasteland. EXT. - THE ICE MOUNTAINS - CONTINUOUS They wander through the icy wilderness, white and still. Secret little movements hide just outside the corners of their eyes. Stalagmites move like strange hermit crabs, scuttling across the snow. Ice anemones reappear from the ground as they pass by, eyeballs on their stocks blinking at their passage. A SHADOW flits behind them, barely a whisper in their wake.
49 NOTSO Did you see that? THEO Stop playing games, Notso, it’s not funny. I’m too cold and scared. NOTSO No, I mean it. I have a very good sense for these things. There’s something... over there! Notso points to a rock-strewn corner. Nothing. Theo rolls his eyes. NOTSO (CONT'D) Well, there could have been something. THEO Notso, please? NOTSO What if I had been right? I’ve been chased by lots of things. It’s kind of my specialty. Theo and Notso turn away from the corner. THEO (O.S.) By shadows? NOTSO (O.S.) Oh, all the time. A FIGURE pulls out of the rubble, A YOUNG WOMAN camouflaged against the rocks. As Theo and Notso pass by a series of holes in the wall, ICE MORAYS leap out, hissing and snapping at them. Theo jumps back, and bumps against A ROCK covered in moss. The rock brays and nips at his leg with a turtle beak. Theo stumbles to the ground. HIS SKETCHBOOK tumbling down beside him. From the shadows, LIRA, a nimble water-dancing thief, springs forward and snatches it up. THEO Hey! She bolts away down a passageway.
50 THEO (CONT’D) That’s my book! Inkling barrels after her, Theo and Notso close behind. Lira leaps along the walls and disappears with Inkling on her heels. Theo and Notso are quickly outrun, but follow Inkling’s barking until A YELP. Theo throws out an arm to stop Notso. They peer cautiously around the rocks in front of them. EXT. - MOUNTAIN GULLY - CONTINUOUS A large and shaggy OGRE holds Inkling by the scruff, Lira trapped by an OGRE. An third OGRE OFFICER stands between them. OGRE OFFICER Thought you’d get away, did ya? LIRA No, you stupid oaf! I was just bringing the King his gift. Put me down! OGRE OFFICER Too late! It’s the maze for you luv, and your little dog too. LIRA He’s not my dog. Inkling bites OGRE 1. OGRE 1 Ayh! ‘E Bit me! Ogre 3 laughs. OGRE 1 Stupid mutt!! OGRE OFFICER Shaddup the both of you! EXT. - BEHIND THE ROCK - CONTINUOUS Theo and Notso survey the scene ahead of them. NOTSO What are we going to do?
51 THEO We need a plan. Notso starts to back away and bumps into a LARGE SHAGGY SHAPE. NOTSO Uh oh. EXT. - MOUNTAIN PATH - CONTINUOUS OGRE 3 comes out from behind the rock with Theo and Notso dragging behind him. OGRE 3 Got the rest of ‘em, Boss! OGRE OFFICER Whole little band you got ‘ere, eh Lira? THEO She’s not with us. She stole my book. LIRA See, and I was bringing it to the King! OGRE OFFICER Too Late! Bring ‘em along. The King‘ll take care of you himself. NOTSO That’ll be nice. I’ve never met a King. The Ogres laugh and lug them all away. INT. - THE THRONE ROOM OF THE ICE KING - LATER The King’s throne is carved from a frozen waterfall, crystalline beauty in tumbling ice. THE ICE KING, madness and mayhem mixed with royal magnanimity leaps from his seat as they approach, kicking at ice crabs that scuttle across the floor. The King has TWO HEADS. ICE KING 1 Ah, guests, guests, guests!! ICE KING 2 Prisoners! Bow before us slaves! Ogre 2 throws Lira at the foot of the King. They peer down with disappointed resignation and fury.
52 ICE KING 1 Lira Lira Lira... ICE KING 2 Thief, you try to escape us! OGRE OFFICER We took this off ‘er, your majesticnessity. LIRA See, it’s the gift I promised ICE KING 1 A book? ICE KING 2 A book?! A worthless book?! ICE KING 1 Might be nice to have a quiet read. ICE KING 2 No time! We have to be strong, to ruleICE KING 1 Rule! ICE KING 2 Rule! ICE KING 1 AND 2 Rule! They toss the book away. It bounces over the ledge of a crevasse. ICE KING 1 (CONT’D) I’m sorry, but that was entirely unsatisfactory. ICE KING 2 And for that you get the Maze! ICE KING 1 AND 2 The Maze! LIRA NO! ICE KING 2 Yes Yes! The Maze! The Ice Maze of Doom! ICE KING 1 The Cursed Crevasse!
53 ICE KING 2 That’s a terrible name! ICE KING 1 You always hate my ideas! ICE KING 2 On with the punishing! ICE KING 1 To the Cursed Crevasse of Doom! LIRA No! Let me go! Let me go!! Ogre 1 grabs Lira and tosses her unceremoniously into the crevasse. Her screams quickly fade. ICE KING 1 Where are my manners! You are looking upon the beautiful and majestic face of the firstICE KING 2 And second!ICE KING 1 King of all the lands ofICE KING 2 The Glorious and bountiful expanse of the Ice World of Magnificence! ICE KING 1 It’s our birthday you know. ICE KING 2 Birthday! Birthday! The Kings stare intently at Theo. ICE KING 1 Well? THEO Uh, Happy Birthday. The Kings stare at Notso. Theo nudges him. NOTSO Oh, yes! Happy Birthday! How old are you?
54 ICE KING 1 Three hundred and eleven! The Ice Kings glare at each other. THEO Well, Happy birthday anyways. The Ice Kings stomp back to their throne. ICE KING 1 (aside to ICE KING 2) We practiced this, you idiot! ICE KING 2 (aside to ICE KING 1) Eight is the most regal number! ICE KING 1 So what did you bring me? THEO Uh. ICE KING 1 It’s customary when visiting royalty to bring them a present, especially on their birthday. ICE KING 2 I’m a hundred and eleven! THEO I’m sorry your majesty, we didn’t know we were coming, so we didn’t prepare anything worthy of your grand-ness. ICE KING 1 I see... ICE KING 2 Into the Maze! ICE KING 1 They just got here! ICE KING 2 The Maze, the Maze!! THEO No, wait, I’m sure I have something. ICE KING 2 Eight!
55 ICE KING 2 The Maze! THEO I’m sure I’ve got something in here! Theo rummages in his backpack. ICE KING 1 How about the puppy? ICE KING 2 Puppy!! Inkling growls and changes into a WOLFDOG. ICE KING 1 Not the puppy! ICE KING 2 The Maze! THEO How about a flashlight? Or a blanket? Or, uh, how about, um NOTSO How about a poem? Theo and the Kings stop and stare at Notso. NOTSO (CONT’D) I’ve got a lovely poem I’ve been writing... THEO Writing? NOTSO In my head. ICE KING 1 A poem! About me? NOTSO Um THEO Of course! Notso, the poem... NOTSO Well it’s not exactly finished.
56 THEO Notso. ICE KING 2 A recitation! Serenade your overlord! ICE KING 1 Everyone hush! This is all about us! We are ready for your poem, fat, little, winged, purple, thing. Notso clears his throat. NOTSO I made this present for the kings; A gift for both the boys; I filled it up with pretty things; Like Candy or, um... ICE KING 1 Cheese! ICE KING 2 Fire! A sword! Very small rocks! THEO Some toys! NOTSO Yes, um, like Candy or some toys! OGRE 3 I like toys. ICE KING 1 AND 2 Quiet! NOTSO I, uh, I thought about the way they looked; It gave me such a fright; But maybe if I’m nice to them; They won’t, oh no, ICE KING 1 Throw you from a height? ICE KING 2 Hit you with a kite? OGRE OFFICER Oo! Oo! I’ve got one! ICE KING 1 Oh yes, what is it?
57 OGRE OFFICER Oh, um how about, uh, put you in a pie? The Kings stare at the OGRE OFFICER incredulously. NOTSO They won’t know I’m not bright! Theo groans. NOTSO (CONT'D) The poem was a beauty, sirs; You would have thought it grand; You might have thought it super fun; And want to join a band! But in the end I lost it, Kings; It might have been a gas; I lost it in a forest spring; From falling on myTHEO Face! Everyone stares at the silent Kings. They turn away and MUTTER to each other. After a flurry of conferring, they turn back. ICE KING 1 I believe I can speak for the whole kingdom and say that that was the worst poem ever written. ICE KING 2 The worst! OGRE 1 I kinda liked it. ICE KING 1 For the sake of ears everywhere, there’s only one solution. ICE KING 1 AND 2 The Maze of Death! INT. - MAZE OF MIRRORS – A SHORT STRUGGLE LATER Theo, Notso, and Inkling are thrown down into a jagged corridor of mirrors. The Ice King and his minions stand on a ledge above them. ICE KING 1 For crimes against the Royalty ICE KING 2 And poetry!
58 ICE KING 1 I hereby sentence you to the excruciating, unbearable, intolerable ICE KING 2 Agony of madness in the Ice Maze of Doom. No one has ever escaped. ICE KING 1 Except us, of course! The Kings and their entourage laugh and disappear from the ledge above them. THEO Being crazy beforehand must have helped. Theo reaches out to touch one of the mirrored stalactites surrounding the path around them. He cuts himself. THEO (CONT’D) Ow! NOTSO What? THEO Nothing. Just be careful. Don’t touch anything, ok? Wandering through the maze, they walk past a MIRROR STALAGMITE PILLAR, but as they circle it, we see it is a WOMAN turned to shards of ice-glass silently screaming and reaching out for them. THEO Let’s keep going. And stay close. NOTSO I’m not going anywhere. The walls close in, and Theo and Notso gingerly climb over fallen pillars and around stabbing walls. Theo’s REFLECTIONS in the mirrors are slightly off, dark and viciuos grins twisted with hate and fear. THEO Notso, look at this! Notso? Notso! NOTSO (O.S.) Where are you? THEO Notso!
59 Theo searches through the maze, his reflections malicious and leering. Other faces appear, a manic ZEE, laughing like a hyena, a grotesque JOHNNY – INT. – THE GLADE OF DISPAIR – CONTINUOUS Theo tumbles onto his hands and knees, sliding in the dirt. BLACKDOG It’s over. Theo looks up. BlackDog slinks between mirrors stabbed into the stone, circling. BLACKDOG (CONT’D) You scrawny little nothing. You may have found the Perfect pen, but look at you, you’re about to fail. You’re going to lose your mind here, and once you’re curled up in a pathetic ball, there in the dirt, I’m going to come for you. I’m going to tear you apart, and take the Pen to the Queen myself. Theo reaches into his pocket and whips out the Artist’s pen. THEO Stay back! BlackDog is gone. But stepping free from one of the mirrors around him is MISS FULABREE, looking like The Queen. She raises and imperious finger at him. EVIL MISS FULABREE Nowhere to go, boy, no one to take you in but me, back to where you belong! Worthless. Wasted. Nobody wanted! THEO No. EVIL MISS FULABREE You think there’s anyone out there who loves you, that wants you, that would take you in? A warped and twisted Zee, and a monstrous Johnny step free of two other mirrors. EVIL ZEE I was never your friend.
60 EVIL JOHNNY I’m going to break your legs. EVIL MISS FULABREE You’re never going to leave here. Never find your way home. Miss Fulabree cackles. The three figures laugh and jeer at Theo. He collapses to the ground, the demons swirling around him in a blur of horror. Theo looks past Miss Fulabree. Just at the edge of his swimming vision, he sees Ellen, John, and Jeremy, standing, smiling, and looking at him silently. Theo weaves to his feet. EVIL MISS FULABREE (CONT’D) You are mine. Forever. You’re never going home. Never going home! THEO I have a family! Theo heaves his backpack into Miss Fulabree and she SHATTERS along with the others. Silence falls through the maze. Theo straightens up and breathes a sigh of relief. A HAND grabs his shoulder. Theo spins around. NOTSO Theo? THEO Notso. NOTSO I’m sorry I got lost. But look! I found you! THEO I’m glad. NOTSO This maze, I think it does strange things to your head. THEO I think you’re right. Theo looks back to the shattered mirrors at his feet. He stares out to where his family has disappeared.
61 He looks around at the mirrors. They continue to leer, but silently. THEO Here. Theo reaches into his backpack and hands Notso his flashlight. NOTSO What do I do with this? Shine it at things? THEO Better. Theo takes out his umbrella and smashes the nearest mirror. Some images in the mirrors FADE and the way through seems clearer. THEO Come on, we’re getting out of here. Notso and Theo smash the grimacing mirrors. ICE KING 1 (O.S.) What’s going on in there? From the ledge above, the Ice Kings pop their heads out. ICE KING 1 (CONT’D) Hey, you’re cheating! ICE KING 2 Guards, Guards! Crush them! Crush them!!! Theo and Notso run through the maze, and as they break all the mirrors they can, a path ahead appears. The RUMBLE and SHOUTS of Ogres pound behind them. THEO Hurry! The Kings hurl crabs down at them, and Theo bats one away with his umbrella. It bounces down the path, smashes through a mirror pane, and behind it, a long lit STONE PASSAGEWAY leads out from the maze. Inkling barks a warning. Theo looks up. BLACKDOG stands on the ledge above him. NOTSO Theo, we have to get out of here!
62 Theo turns for a blink of an eye to Notso, then looks back. Blackdog is gone. THEO Let’s go! Notso and Theo run, but as they shoot past a small opening Notso comes to a halt as Theo stumbles past. Theo tears back. Lira struggles to free herself from an ICE-GLASS HAND reaching out of the ground that is wrapped around her leg. LIRA Help me! THEO Come on! NOTSO We can’t just leave her! Theo hesitates, then rushes forward with Notso, smashing her free from the hand. THEO Can we go now? They run into the tiny passageway. Shards tumble crash and cover the entranceway, sealing the way back. EXT. - CLIFF EDGE - BLINDING AFTERNOON They run, until the lit corridor suddenly pops out on top of a glittering cliff. Theo slides to the edge, pin wheeling back. THEO Whoa! Lira slides into Theo, Inkling into Lira. They hover on the edge for a long second. The ground below them CREAKS. Notso, gasping and looking behind him barrels through the exit, slips from his feet, and bowls them all over the edge. They tumble and crash down the snowy hill, but instead of a crunch-filled landing, they blast though the icy ground, tumble along a chute of ice and fly through the wall of a cave. Ice and snow collapse around them, sealing them in completely. INT. - A DARK SEALED CAVERN - PITCH BLACK Notso turns on his flashlight; it flickers feebly and dies.
63 NOTSO Theo? THEO Yes, Notso? NOTSO It’s dark again. THEO I know. NOTSO You don’t happen to know where we are this time do you? THEO Nope. NOTSO Oh. I thought not. A RUSTLING, and aquamarine light appears. Lira runs her hand over some moss surrounding a little pool. The light spreads up over different parts of the cave, until it is filled with a soft glow. LIRA Thank you for saving me. THEO You’re welcome. LIRA Not you. THEO Oh. NOTSO (blushing) Oh, me? Oh, you’re welcome. Theo looks around. There is no way out. THEO I guess that’s it. Almost out of ink, no book to draw in, and no way out. LIRA You mean this book? Lira pulls Theo’s sketchbook out of one of her pockets.
64 THEO Where did you get that?! LIRA I picked it up after those idiots threw it away. THEO Give it to me. Lira hesitates, then tosses it to him. LIRA Wouldn’t have stolen it in the first place. I just needed something for their stupid present. THEO Didn’t help you much in the end. LIRA Whatever. Had to try. What good is an old wrinkled up book anyway? NOTSO It’s not just any book, it’s magic. LIRA Oh? NOTSO It can take us anywhere we want to go. LIRA Can it get us out of this cave? NOTSO Um, I’m not sure. Can it? THEO There’s not much ink left. We have to find the Ink Ocean, but how do I draw some place I’ve never seen? LIRA You’re going to the Ink Ocean? THEO You’ve been there? LIRA I’ve seen pictures of it but -
65 THEO Pictures? Tell me about it! LIRA No! Nobody survives that place, It’s dangerous! THEO You’d rather stay here? LIRA At least here we’re safe! THEO And trapped. NOTSO I’ll go with you Theo, I’m not afraid. LIRA Oh please, I bet you run away from everything. NOTSO If Theo’s going, I’m going too. We’ve been a bunch of scary places, but we’re still ok! THEO Thanks Notso. LIRA What do you want to know? Theo opens his book and gets out the Artist’s pen. THEO I need to know what the world’s like, get a feeling for it. LIRA A feeling for it? It’s an Ocean. Except, well, it’s more like a beach that just stretches out for ever. Not a nice sandy beach. Rocky, ragged, rough. Surrounded by cliffs, unclimbable, stretching into the sky. Theo begins to draw. LIRA (CONT’D) The water’s black and blue, swirling and murky and you can never see the bottom. And all those ripples, they’re not just
66 water. Some say they’re alive. NOTSO I’m not sure I want to go anymore, Theo. THEO We’ll be fine. I think I’ve got it. The cliffs are stained all black and blue. And out in the middle of it, a fountainLIRA Yes. THEO A huge fountain pouring into the Ocean. LIRA Yes! THEO The Ink Ocean. Theo stops drawing. They all peer down at the page. LIRA That’s it? They HEAR the shore, and the sound of LAPPING WAVES. A light appears blue grey against them. A doorway opens in the wall. THEO Yup. That’s it. They walk together through the door. EXT. - VAST AND ENDLESS BEACH - A COLD AFTERNOON Waves from the OCEAN crash, spraying black and blue. The beach stretches away on both sides as far as the eye can see. White Cliffs tower behind them, marred from the inky spray. As the gang step through the gateway the pebble doorway collapses and skitters back to the ground. Out in the middle of the water, a GEYSER OF INK bubbles and foams. The gang walks along the beach. Theo dips his pen into the water, but the ink is too runny. He tries to draw but the page in his book is just a blur.
67 THEO Anything? Notso shakes his head. NOTSO Should we keep looking? LIRA For what? There’s nothing here! Why did we come here? THEO I have to find three magical things, A pen, an endless inkwell, and a book of Infinite pages. If I don’t find them, I’ll never get home. LIRA I’m sorry, did you say three magical items? Lost for untold ages? THEO Yes. LIRA A pen, a book, and an inkwell? THEO Yes! LIRA You idiots! You’re looking for the lost tools of the Artist! NOTSO The Artist? I thought they were the Queen’s. LIRA Don’t you two know anything!? THEO What? Lira slumps, and sits on a large boulder. LIRA In the beginning, there was nothing in the universe but chaos.
68 EXT. - CHAOS - THE BEGINNING OF TIME A swirling hurricane of chaos, destroys everything, roiling in its unbridled power. LIRA (V.O) One day, a great Artist rose up from the chaos. He wrestled with the chaos for an eternity and once it was beaten, drew it into worlds, filling them with all the ideas in his mind. The Artist, young now, a vision of strength and power rises from the depth of the chaos. He pulls the chaos towards him swirls it with the perfect pen. Worlds spin and form from the chaos, floating around each other. LIRA (V.O) His drawings were so powerful, so wonderful, so beautiful that they came to life! We fly over one of the worlds. It teems with life, beautiful and delicate. Forest rise up and fall. Unbridled and wondrous beasts pound across wild plains. LIRA (V.O) When the artist was done creating the worlds, he was so tired that he slept for a thousand years. When he woke up, his tools were gone and have been lost ever since. No one has ever found the Perfect Pen, the wand of creation, The endless Inkwell, the last reservoir of true chaos, and the Book of infinite pages, The Artists own book that he created at the beginning of time. EXT. - VAST AND ENDLESS BEACH - A COLD AFTERNOON LIRA That story is told everywhere by everyone! THEO You’re kidding. LIRA It’s only the story of how everything was made! NOTSO I still don’t understand.
69 LIRA You’re looking for the Artist’s tools! For three things lost or buried or kept secret for all eternity! NOTSO Oh! Oh. Ohhhhhh! THEO And if I found them and gave them to the Queen? LIRA Oh, if you did find the three most looked for things in the universe and then gave them to Queen? Then she would have power to redraw, remake, create or destroy anything in the whole universe! NOTSO Theo, she can’t have that kind of power! She’s evil! THEO But what am I supposed to do? I have to get home! Ow! Theo wrenches out The Queen’s CRYSTAL. It flares burning hot and an image of the Queen appears inside it. Theo drops it to the ground. A gateway flows from the stone, stronger and clearer by the minute. The Queen stands on the other side. QUEEN BOUDICCEA The pen, child, bring me the pen! Bring it to me or I will come there and take it from you! You cannot escape me! You cannot escape. A gale whips up around them like a tornado. NOTSO No! No! LIRA Do something! Theo tries to pick up the stone but it burns him. THEO Ow! I can’t! It’s burning hot!
70 NOTSO I don’t want to go back, I don’t want to go back! I want to stay with my friends! QUEEN BOUDICCEA Bring it to me now! LIRA Don’t just stand there! THEO But how will I get home? LIRA We’ll think of something! QUEEN BOUDICCEA You can’t deny me! NOTSO No! I won’t go back, I won’t go back! Notso picks up the stone and hurls it out into the sea. It sails away and with a tiny ‘BLOOP’noise, disappears. LIRA Wow. THEO Nice throw, Notso. NOTSO I didn’t know I could do that. LIRA We’re all as surprised as you are. What now? THEO We keep going. I’m going to find the Artist’s tools, and maybe, maybe I can use them myself, and find my way home. LIRA Your family must be nice. THEO I think so. I hope so. Inkling barks at the water, and Theo jumps back as shapes under the water swim towards him. THEO What was that?
71 LIRA What? What now? THEO Look! Theo points out into the water. SHAPES moving underneath it. The waves become less constant steady lapping, and more menacing, stretching from the sea towards them. NOTSO Guys, I’m not sure we should stay here much longer. LIRA Quickly, up here. The gang climb up onto a pile of skittering stones as the waves slowly advance upon them stretching around the stones like an outstretched pair of tentacles. The group presses their backs to the wall. Inkling whimpers and clambers up onto Theo’s shoulder becoming a shaking teacup Chihuahua. LIRA This is all your fault! THEO Mine?! LIRA Yes, yours. And his! NOTSO What did I do?! LIRA You were all friendly and nice and we were going to work together! Well now you’re going to die together, we’re all going to die! NOTSO Friends are worth dying for! LIRA That’s a matter of perspective. My life was fine before I met you two! And it would have been much longer! THEO What did you say? LIRA Well it would have been longer, it’s
72 looking pretty short right now! THEO No before that. A matter of perspective! Theo puts his hand up to his face to make a spyglass to look through. LIRA What are you doing? THEO Quiet. Notso, close one eye and look out there, at that fountain. What do you see, I mean really see? Look at it. Take your time. See it as it really is. Just the fountain. NOTSO I see it. THEO How big is it? NOTSO It looks so tiny! LIRA And? THEO And maybe it really is! Maybe it is tiny. Maybe it looks big because we think it’s supposed to be big. Big and far away, but instead... Keep your eyes on the fountain both of you, don’t look at the water or the cliffs or anything else. Just look at that fountain out there. It’s not a fountain, at all, it’s a tiny bubbling inkwell. It only looks big because it’s so far away, Maybe it’s so small, so small that with one step The stretching tentacles of the water reach towards their feet, but Theo ignores them and stares out at the fountain. Theo Notso and Lira step forward and the universe seems to shrink around them. The inky water they step into is only a thin puddle. The ink fountain is a TINY INKWELL burbling at their feet. Theo reaches down, picks it up, pulls the stopper out of the ground and closes the inkwell. The ink ocean at their feet dries up, and looking up we SEE the world around them has turned into a yellow desert of dunes.
73 EXT. - THE GOLDEN DESERT - A BRIGHT HEAT-SOAKED DAY Sand stretches away to the horizon, golden and beautiful. A NOISE behind them makes them turn. A rolling expanse of market fills the sand behind them. EXT. - THE GOBLIN MARKET - CONTINUOUS Rising from the sand, a new kind of sea, brown and rolling. Tents of all shapes, sizes, colours. Some rise up like turrets, others are red and white like a circus big top. The noise of commerce fills the air. The friends wander into the Goblin Market. EXT. - THE GOLDEN DESERT - CONTINUOUS Back out in the desert, The Queen’s RED CRYSTAL pulses and flares in the sand. EXT. - THE GOBLIN MARKET - CONTINUOUS A GOBLIN SALESWOMAN approaches the group. GOBLIN SALESWOMAN 1 Like to try one of my fine selections of toads? Delicious! Soft and delicious, look! She pokes the toad and it mewls like a cat.
GOBLIN SALESWOMAN 1 (CONT'D) Still good, still fresh, still fresh and good! A gaggle of GOBLIN MERCHANTS approach and follow them through the market, hawking revolting, mysterious, and surprising items. GOBLIN SALESMAN 1 New eyes, new eyes! Green eyes blue eyes! You need new eyes? How about yellow or red or black? GOBLIN SALESWOMAN 2 How about a lovely bowl of tongues? GOBLIN SALESMAN 1 See like a snake! See like an elephant! Like an osprey from the seas of Aloun! Or a Kaloapian Tiger from swamps of
74 Digraine! How about you trade me one of yours or the pair, eh? I’ll give you a good price! GOBLIN SALESMAN 2 Pixie slaves! Pixie slaves to carry all your smallest objects. GOBLIN SALESWOMAN 3 Eggs! Eggs of all sizes! Who knows what they’ll hatch into, I don’t! Ha! Theo wanders through the market looking at all the wondrous things. Rocks that when touched turn into beautiful jewels, models of mysterious solar systems, shoes that tap dance, magical and monstrous pets. A singing lyre. Food steaming in all shapes, hues and colours. A Crone shouts to Theo from in front of an especially shabby tent. CRONE You look like you’re looking for something special, wanderer from the sand. Are you a magician? NOTSO He’s not a magician, he’s an artist! LIRA Shut up, Notso! THEO What does your shop sell? CRONE Oh here? Here we sell what cannot be sold. THEO What does that mean? CRONE The future, boy. THEO What? CRONE Dreams, hopes, glimpses of all the different paths and even different fates. For those who can afford it I can change their whole life.
75 THEO A new life? The Crone cackles. CRONE Come, come! Let’s see what you can afford and what you have to offer. Theo, Lira, and Inkling enter the tent. Notso looks back outside as he enters. He HEARS a loud crashing noise and catches a glimpse of slinking black shadows. INT. - THE CRONE’S SHOP - CONTINUOUS Three very shaggy dogs bound up to them and lick them all over, cleaning the ink stains off their hands and feet. Inkling changes into a playful puppy, barks at them and the four mutts run off to play. CRONE (CONT'D) Don’t mind them. Ink’s very precious ‘round here. Very precious. It makes them hungry. You wouldn’t happen to have any fresh ink, would you? THEO No. CRONE Ah well. Theo pokes a low hanging chandeliers and tiny chained firebirds dance and fly about. A fountain is a weeping water elemental. A pair of green body-less hands climb over Theo like giant spiders. CRONE (CONT'D) Off, off you little tramps, off!! They leap onto Notso who screams, tumbles to the floor, knocking over a table of weird hats. THEO Notso. NOTSO (O.S.) I’m ok! Lira rolls her eyes, and slinks around looking for something to take. The Crone beckons Theo towards a room at the back. THEO Stay here guys. And try to stay out of
76 trouble. Lira! Lira hesitates as she puts a jewel broach into one of her pockets. LIRA What? THEO Behave. LIRA (Begrudgingly) Oh, fine. She puts it back on the table, but keeps poking around. The Crone pulls back a curtain to reveal an inner sanctum. Theo steps hesitantly through. INT. - THE CRONE’S PRIVATE CHAMBER - CONTINUOUS Theo looks around the octagonal room, with HEAVY SATIN CURTAINS covering all the walls. A tiny table in the centre of the room. On it is a crystal dodecahedron. A soft keening Eastern European lullaby, soothing and soporific fills the air. Theo sits on one side of the table and the Crone looks him over like a doctor, pulling up his eyelids, and searching under his tongue.
CRONE Hmm, yes, strong, very strong, I see your future. Terrible, terrible. But we can change all that. Yes yes! A powerful spell, very powerful to change all that. The Crone laughs, then pulls out a LONG PIN. CRONE (CONT'D) A small token, yes, a slight pin prick, and you can have all the futures you want. THEO My blood? CRONE Just a tiny prick, a tiny drop.
77 The Crone pricks Theo. THEO Ow! CRONE Yes, yes. A powerful fate. Wonderful. The Crone sits down across from Theo and drips the blood on top of the crystal between them. It glows a deep purple. CRONE A life of pain with no way home, a journey to find treasures lost, a place to lay your weary head, oh don’t you worry, little man, no mother to hold you in her arms, no father to put you to bed. Let go of all that time. The future is no better, nothing is ever so simple. You cannot find all you’ve lost. Give up, it’s time to sleep. Give up, it’s time to stop. Theo collapses in the chair. The CRYSTAL on the table begins to pull out his soul. The keening SONG swells. Notso wanders in from the front of the store. NOTSO You know, those fairies don’t look happy, one of them even bit my - what are you doing to him??! The Crone hisses. Notso charges. As Nosto grapples with the Crone Inkling bursts into the room, coming to a halt at the commotion and looking at the struggle. He changes from a loveable puppy into a viscous looking coyote. He bowls over the Crone and the table behind her. The dodecahedron slips from the table and bounces across the floor. CRONE My orb! The Crone shoves Inkling away and crawls towards the orb. Inkling bites her leg. NOTSO Theo, wake up! The Crone turns and blasts Inkling with a bolt of magic, knocking him away.
78 NOTSO AHHH!!!!! Notso hammers into the Crone who tumbles against the curtain on the wall. She grabs at it for balance and it tears away, revealing the wall behind. On the wall are row upon row of GLASS JARS. Jars filled with souls. As the curtains fall, the keening turns to screams of the trapped. LIRA What’s going on back here?!! Notso throws the Crone to the ground. NOTSO Lira, the Orb! LIRA The what? NOTSO The round shiny thing! AH! The Crone bites Notso. She runs at Lira clawing at her eyes. Lira leaps and flips over her and picks up the orb. Notso flings himself onto the Crone’s back. LIRA Now what? The Crone throws Notso across the room and turns. NOTSO Break it! Break it!!! CRONE NOO!! Lira smashes the orb to the ground. It shatters into a million pieces. The Crone screams. A high-pitched noise tears through the room, whipping the hangings on the other walls away. The sound grows, until the JARS shatter, all of them, one by one. Souls of a thousand colours pour from the shattered remains and surround the Crone. She swats at them like gnats screaming as they strike her.
79 She runs screaming into the back, the souls chasing her until her screams and wails fade and disappear. THEO Wha, what’s going on? LIRA AND NOTSO Theo! THEO Notso? Lira? Did I fall asleep? Where’s the old woman with my new future? Notso looks up to see one shining blue soul has remained behind. It floats forward and shines down on Notso. BLUE PRINCESS Thank you for setting us free, little ones. NOTSO Who are you? BLUE PRINCESS Long ago, I too wished for a new future. With a drop of blood the crone wove a powerful spell and captured my essence for her collection. Ever since, I’ve been trapped here. All those dreams. All the things I wanted. Lost. LIRA I’m sorry. BLUE PRINCESS But now you have freed us. I can not go back to my life, but maybe I can find a new one. Thank you, brave ones, and if you should ever need our help, simply call my name and help will find you. Goodbye! NOTSO Wait! What’s your name!? BLUE PRINCESS Elaura! Fare well friends! ELAURA passes into the back and disappears. THEO Did I miss something?
80 LIRA You idiot!! Lira whacks Theo upside the head. THEO Ow! LIRA Do we have to stop you from doing every foolish thing that comes into your head? THEO I just wanted to know we’d all get home. LIRA Haven’t you ever thought that maybe not knowing is the point!? Doing something is more important than knowing about it! HMPH! Lira storms away in a huff. Notso bends down and pokes Theo in the chest. NOTSO You ok? Not missing anything? THEO I’m fine, I think. I feel the same. Hey Notso, who was that? NOTSO Another new friend, maybe. I think I’m getting a hang of this friend thing! Theo smiles. THEO Help me up. LIRA Are you boys coming or what? THEO & NOTSO (Rolling their eyes) Yes, Lira. LIRA HMPH! Well come and take a look at this! Lira leads them to the back of the shop and through another curtain.
81 INT. - THE BACK DOORS - CONTINUOUS Behind the curtain are doors. Hundreds, thousands of doors in piles, leaning awkwardly, covered in dust. They stare around at them. NOTSO You don’t suppose these doors are all worlds, do you? LIRA There’s one way to find out. Lira opens up one of the doors. A massive roar blows her hair back. She closes the door. LIRA Yup. All worlds. THEO But which one is the one we want? NOTSO Trying them all would take forever. LIRA Maybe that’s what the crone needed all those lives for. NOTSO But how do you get to a world when you don’t know the symbol? LIRA Well, you know what they say… THEO What’s that? LIRA All doorways lead to the book. THEO That’s what the Queen told us. does it mean? But what
Inkling barks at a door wedged far back, covered in dust. Theo sits down in the hallway opening his book to new pages, and trying different scribbles. Each one makes a door flashes and glow. Notso opens one and gets hit with a blast of snow and ice.
82 NOTSO Not that one. Theo tries again. THEO How about that one? Lira opens the door. Tentacles reach out, grab her and suck her into the door. It slams shut. THEO (CONT'D) Lira! Suddenly the door reopens and Lira comes flying out slamming against a pile of broken doorframes. Notso and Theo rush over to her. LIRA What did it mean, “No ticket.”? Theo walks back over to the book and the ink pot and sits down again. As he continues trying symbols, Inkling continues to bark and pull at Theo’s arm. THEO Not now, Inkling. But the hound keeps barking and jumping around him. THEO Inkling, stop it! Stop it! Inkling knocks over the Endless inkwell onto Theo’s book. The book suddenly soaks up all the ink, as Theo tips it back up and stoppers it quickly. The book is completely soaked, every inch. THEO It’s ruined! What are we going to do? NOTSO Uh, Theo? THEO Look, it’s completely covered! All the pages! LIRA Theo! THEO What!? What’s the problem now?
83 Theo looks up to see Notso and Lira pointing at a door far back and covered by several other doors glowing fiercely, like a beacon. Theo looks back at the book as the ink flares and the pages are once again empty. THEO You don’t think. LIRA Maybe, I mean it’s possible. NOTSO You mean because the book is full of ink. THEO It’s all the possible symbols. LIRA It’s all the possible doorways. NOTSO All doorways lead to the book. Notso and Lira move the other doors off the glowing doorway. Together they open the door and in a blinding light find themselves... INT. - THE LIBRARY - SWAYING CANDLELIGHT They enter the flickering light of an endless cylindrical library. A wrought iron stairway curves up and disappears above them. Books are everywhere, in piles or tottering pillars. A terrible NOISE comes from the other side of a huge library desk, and against the wall behind it is the terrifying shadow of a dragon. BREATHING. The noise rattles the book piles nearby. Inkling mewls, turning into a trembling toy poodle. LIRA Uh oh. NOTSO What’s that, a house? LIRA Houses don’t breathe, Notso. They creep up to the desk, and peer around it. A little staircase of books lead up to the top. The NOISE grows louder. Theo hesitates, then cautiously climbs the pile of books.
84 LIRA (whispering) Are you crazy?? THEO Shhh! The noise above stops. Everyone holds their breath. Nothing. The breathing begins again, slow and steady. Theo continues to climb. Notso follows, and, reluctantly, Lira does the same. Theo peers over the top of the desk. INT. - THE LIBRARIAN’S DESK - CONTINUOUS A tiny old man, THE LIBRARIAN, is fast asleep and snoring. A lamp casts his shadow on the wall. Theo scrambles up and pulls Notso and Lira to the top. LIRA It’s just an old man! Two grey DORMICE pop out of holes in the library book piles. DOORMOUSE 1 Respect The Librarian! DOORMOUSE 2 Respect The Librarian! Bolting awake, the Librarian grabs up his OVERDUE stamp and slams it down missing the mice by a whisker and leaving a large red stamp on the wood of the desk, next to hundreds of others. THEO Excuse me, sir? Sir? The Librarian is asleep again, snoring away. THEO (CONT'D) Sir! The Librarian bolts awake. THE LIBRARIAN No talking in The Library! Huh, what? What do you want? Periodicals are on the third floor. The Librarian falls asleep again.
85 LIRA OLD MAN! NOTSO Shhh! LIRA What? NOTSO We’re in a library! DOORMOUSE 1 Won’t do shouting I’m afraid. THEO How do we wake him up then? DOORMOUSE 1 Well, we could tell you... DOORMOUSE 2 But we’re not going to! The Dormice laugh. THEO Why not?! DOORMOUSE 1 Well he’s much nicer when he’s asleep. DOORMOUSE 2 Let’s us eat the books. DOORMOUSE 1 And his breakfast! THE LIBRARIAN Huh, what, is it breakfast already? A little egg on toast, Marilda. DOORMOUSE 2 Now look what you’ve done, you’ve woken him! DOORMOUSE 1 It’s not my fault! DOORMOUSE 2 You mentioned breakfast! The Librarian grabs his stamp and attempts to kill The Dormice again. He misses completely. By the time they poke their heads
86 back out he gone back to sleep. Lira leans close to the Librarian and whispers in his ear. LIRA Eggs on toast, pancakes with syrup, waffles with jam, coffee, tea NOTSO Crepes with lemon and sugar. Blintzes! Fresh fruit Danishes THEO Muffins, orange juice, whipped cream on everything! Time for breakfast! THE LIBRARIAN NO TALKING IN THE LIBRARY! The Librarian stamps Lira on the nose. LIRA Ow! THE LIBRARIAN Aha! I got one! Oh, hello, you’re not a mouse! LIRA What was your first clue? THE LIBRARIAN You don’t have whiskers. Who are you then? What do you want? THEO Sir, we’re looking for the book of infinite pages. DOORMOUSE 1 What? DOORMOUSE 2 What? THE LIBRARIAN What? THEO & NOTSO & LIRA THE BOOK OF INFINITE PAGES! THE LIBRARIAN No need to shout, I heard you the first
87 time. Book of Infinite Pages, eh? Let’s see, let’s see, Book of Kings? No. Book of Knights and Pages? Aha! The Book of Infinite Pages! It’s right here. THEO Where? THE LIBRARIAN Out on loan and overdue by the looks of it. My my, that’s the largest fine I’ve ever seen! Seems it’s been out for, uh, let’s see here, carry the 3, not forgetting leap years, four million, one hundred and seven thousand, six hundred and thirty nine days. About eleven thousand years. LIRA See? We’re never going to find it! THE LIBRARIAN Well, it hasn’t left the Library, I’d know that! You might try Special Collections, second floor. Now where are my muffins!? THEO Sorry, um, no muffins. THE LIBRARIAN NO MUFFINS!!? The Librarian throws books at them as they retreat down the book staircase towards the centre of the Library. DOORMOUSE 1 (O.S) You can’t throw books in here! This is a library! DOORMOUSE 2 (O.S) Rule Thirty-seven clearly states THE LIBRARIAN (O.S) Oh you two! Where’s my stamp! INT. - THE LIBRARY STAIRCASE - CONTINUOUS They stare up at the enormous staircase that goes right up through the centre of the library. It glows like a cathedral, bathed in warm light.
88 THEO Come on. Inkling, up the stairs! Inkling barks happily, and changes to a small Labrador puppy and bounds up the stairs, the rest of the friends close behind. INT. - SPECIAL COLLECTIONS - LATER Theo and Inkling reach the top, Inkling bounding easily and wagging all the while. Theo sits down against the first set of books at the top of the staircase, catching his breath. Lira follows next, then the panting Notso, crawling up the final stairs. Theo pulls some water from his pack, drinks and hands it around. A old sign above the stairs says, “Special Collections”. THEO Second floor. Special collections. Let’s see if we can find someone to help us. They wander about the long curve of the library stacks, looking at all of the wondrous books. A book on dwarves is 20 feet tall. Coming to a passage they look down the length of the library. The stacks seem to go on forever. Theo sits down. THEO We’re never going to find it this way. There are just too many rows. From a crack between “Elypsoes’s Guide to Home Cooking” and “Remedies for Rashes”, a matronly MOTHER BOOKWORM pops out. MOTHER BOOKWORM Cheer up laddy, there’s always hope. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for in the reference section? There’s always answers in books. THEO Who are you? MOTHER BOOKWORM Why, I’m Mother Bookworm, laddy. Have you lost your way? Another fat bookworm pops out along the row of books. BILLY BOOKWORM Mom! Jenny is eating textbooks again! MOTHER BOOKWORM You could do with a little more fibre yourself young man, all those comic
89 books and romance novels! Paperbacks! Pardon me, what was I saying? LIRA Excuse me, but we’re looking for someone from Special Collections to help us. MOTHER BOOKWORM Oh, dear me, that old coot send you up here? Not much help myself I’m afraid dearie, but my husband, he’s head of our whole congregation, smartest worm there is, you don’t mind me saying. Billy, go along and get your sister. Time for Index anyways, and you know how your father squirms if we’re late. LIRA Index? MOTHER BOOKWORM Come along! Notso shrugs his shoulders. They all follow Mother Bookworm through the stacks. INT - THE CHURCH OF INDEX - CONTINUOUS They come to a small opening in the stacks made into a little church. Bookworms dressed in their Sunday best, hats and all, sit in pews facing an altar with a MASSIVE BOOK. Theo Notso and Lira squeeze in the back of the alcove. BOOKWORM MINISTER Good day, ladies and gentlemen. First, a reminder from the ladies auxiliary that after services today we will be serving a nice fulfilling Proust for the adults and a Rohl Dahl for the children, Danny the Champion of the World. Anyone with raisin allergies should abstain. And now. We turn in the immortal book of Index to today’s letter: J. Let’s begin with a particular favourite of mine: Jam. A FAT WORM wiggles to the top of the book. THEO Mrs. uh, Bookworm, what’s that the minister’s reading from?
90 MOTHER BOOKWORM Why, child, that’s Index! Tells us about all kinds of interesting subjects, and directs us to where the best books in the whole library can be found. NOTSO It’s an Index of the whole library?? MOTHER BOOKWORM No knowing whether it holds all the answers, but it’s said to have a lot of good information. BOOKWORM MINISTER Ahem, excuse me, is there a problem? THEO I’m sorry to interrupt, sir, but I was told by the Librarian that someone up here might be able to help. BOOKWORM PARISH-MEMBER 1 That old codger! BOOKWORM PARISH-MEMBER 2 Wouldn’t hurt a fly, he wouldn’t! BOOKWORM PARISH-MEMBER 1 Just a pair of Dormice! The Congregation laughs. THEO Well, I was wondering if we might look in your index there. BOOKWORM MINISTER Look in our index!?? THEO Yes. You see, we’re looking for the Book of Infinite Pages. BOOKWORM MINSITER They’re here for the book! The Congregation screams. THEO No wait, please! We’re not here for any trouble. We promise!
91 NOTSO Please, we’re only trying to find the three tools of the Artist. The Congregation screams again. Everyone starts worming away in different directions. Lira whistles, piercing the crowd. Everyone stops. LIRA Listen, I don’t know these two very well, really at all. They’re almost always in trouble, and definitely not smart, that one really smells if you get too close, and the other is pretty bossy, but they’re not mean. They’re nice, and they wouldn’t hurt anyone in the entire world. If they’re looking for The Book of Infinite Pages, then it’s for a good reason. NOTSO He’s just trying to find his family. MOTHER BOOKWORM Shame, all of you. When have we bookworms ever turned down helping a friendly stranger? I’ll take you, boy, right to the Sphinx myself. The Congregation gasps. THEO What’s a Sphinx? BOOKWORM MINISTER A monstrous creature with the body of a lion, and the head of a woman. Famous for asking riddles and demanding them in return. Answer correctly and you may ask her any one favour. Fail to answer correctly, and it will be your last mistake. THEO And this Sphinx, Does it, she, have the Book of Infinite Pages? BOOKWORM MINISTER I don’t know. But if anyone in the Library knows where The Book is, it would be her. She has been here in the library nearly as long as The Librarian.
92 Theo gets to his feet. THEO I guess we talk to this Sphinx, then. MOTHER BOOKWORM That’s right young man, we’ll all go. BOOKWORM MINISTER Come along everyone, like my dear wife says, we’re taking this boy to the Sphinx. But once you’re there, you’re on your own. INT. - THE SPHINX’S LAIR - CONTINUOUS A massive archway of stone towers above Theo, carved with halfhuman beasts, terror etched on their faces. The bookworms fall silent. Theo steps through the archway. Inside, on top of a large pile of books and bones sits a massive SPHINX, contentedly asleep. Theo waves at everyone to stay back and edges forward himself. Notso reaches down and holds Inkling, now a fearful beagle, from following. Theo stares at the huge body, its fierce claws, its long black hair that shimmers and flows into the long golden mane. Around one leg clinks a thick gold chain manacle. THE SPHINX Are you going to stare at me like that all day, morsel? Some might consider that rude. Perhaps you are tired of living, and come for a quick death? A bit bony perhaps, but I haven’t eaten anyone in such a long time. The Sphinx takes a mocking bite. Theo jumps back a step THEO I’d rather not be lunch today, thank you. THE SPHINX Oh? Are you disturbing my sleep for some other reason? THEO I’m looking The Book of Infinite Pages. THE SPHINX My, my, that’s quite a thing to be
93 looking for, morsel. Wouldn’t you prefer some lighter reading, a picture book perhaps? THEO Do you have it, or are you just going to waste my time? THE SPHINX What a direct little mouthful, I like you, full of strength and fire, delicious. Yes, I have it. But I cannot just give it to you. THEO I have to answer a riddle, then? THE SPHINX But of course, and for such a prize it must be one of my best. Are you sure you’re up to the challenge? If you fail, you know the concequences. THEO I’m lunch. THE SPHINX Ha, yes, more of an after breakfast snack. Do we have a deal? Theo nods his head. THE SPHINX (CONT’D) Excellent. Then, answer me this riddle true: I am the start of every day and dinner, the beginning of the dawn. You never see me in the night, or at the bottom of a well. You’ll find me at the end of the world and for a full stretch in the middle. What am I? THEO How many guesses do I get? The Sphinx laughs. THE SPHINX Oh, you smell so delicious, snack, so full of fear. You may have three guesses, snack, and only three. THEO Three?
94 THE SPHINX No, that is not the correct answer. Three is not the answer. THEO Hey that wasn’t one of my guesses! That’s not fair! THE SPHINX How am I to know that wasn’t a guess? I say what’s fair. NOTSO Theo, what about THE SPHINX Helping is not allowed! Break the rules and you forfeit all your guesses! Your second guess manling! THEO Start of every day, but not at night or the bottom of a well… Is the answer sunlight? THE SPHINX Wrong! The Sphinx laughs. NOTSO Be careful Theo! THE SPHINX Be silent! One more guess, snack. Theo takes out and twirls his pen between his fingers. THEO The beginning of every day and every dawn, the end of the world. Theo plays with his foot in the dirt. THEO A full stretch in the middle. THE SPHINX What are you doing? Theo sits down and starts writing in the dirt. THEO The beginning of dawn and dinner, the
95 end of the world, and the middle of middle. Theo writes dawn, dinner, world and middle in the dirt. After a moment, he smiles. THEO Sphinx, I know the answer. THE SPHINX Then what is your final guess? THEO You are the letter D. THE SPHINX AHH! You little monster! The SPHINX thrashes about in anger. THEO I have solved your riddle! Now give me the Book of Infinite Pages. The SPHINX takes down an old tattered book, and hands it to Theo. THE SPHINX Arh! Yes, you did solve my little riddle. Here it is, The Book of Infinite pages. But first, let me give you a gift. THEO A gift? THE SPHINX A prize, for being such a smart little morsel. It’s a special book, full of mystery, and magic. It will teach you wonders you couldn’t even imagine. The Sphinx grabs a big shiny book from the wall behind her with her tail, and drops it at Theo’s feet. He picks it up. THEO The pictures, they’re moving! THE SPHINX And you can learn to draw them too. Imagine all the things you could do, the power of those pictures, of being the one to draw them. Oh yes, it’s fascinating. Just don’t get too wrapped up in it!
96 At The Sphinx’s last word, the book wraps itself around Theo’s arm and neck, pulling him in like a Leather-bound Venus Flytrap. Theo struggles against it, but collapses to the ground. THE SPHINX Oho foolish boy, it’s much too late! I might not get to eat you myself, but at least I’ll keep my book. HAHAHA!! Inkling bursts free of Notso and charges the SPHINX. She swats him aside with her tail without a second thought. NOTSO SPHINX! The Sphinx turns and hisses at Notso. NOTSO (CONT'D) I challenge you to a riddle! THE SPHINX You, little notsprite? Oh yes, I’ve heard of your people. Known for little courage and even fewer brains. NOTSO Do you accept? Unless you’re afraid. THE SPHINX Ha! It has been a millennia since I’ve been beaten! NOTSO If you can’t answer it, you let us go. With the book you already promised. THE SPHINX And if I guess the answer? NOTSO We both stay. LIRA Notso, no! The Sphinx waves to the book devouring Theo. It falls still. THE SPHINX I accept! Ask me your riddle, little notsprite, I await your challenge with great appetite! NOTSO Here is my riddle. I am green on
97 Tuesday, red on Wednesday, Blue with pink spots on Thursday, and striped on Friday. What am I? THE SPHINX I have not heard this riddle. Not as stupid as you look. NOTSO Do you give up then? THE SPHINX I have not even begun to unravel it! And I will unravel it, eat you and your friend, and have a new riddle for my collection. A perfectly excellent day. My first guess is that you are the egg of the Qualatala bird, famous for its multi-coloured eggs that change colours! That is the answer, sprite. NOTSO Wrong answer. The Qualatala bird’s eggs are only spotted, and never blue. THE SPHINX Drat! I had forgotten that fact. How did you know it? NOTSO Sprites are very fond of eggs. Egg pie, eggs benedict, fried eggs THE SPHINX (to herself) Enough! Thursday has pink spots, but Wednesday is red, and Tuesday is green. No, no, the Hummerbird of the Great Forest is red first and then green in later stages, and never blue unless trapped by a Harpy of some kind, no... Notso quietly sidles across to Theo still lying trapped in the book. From the shadows, Inkling slinks forward and pulls Theo by the arm. Deep in thought the Sphinx mutters blindly to herself. Notso carefully begins to help pull Theo from the book. THE SPHINX (CONT'D) Stripes, stripes, where have I seen stripes? Aha! The leaves of the willow tree of Monochromtizal! NOTSO Nope! That land is only black and white.
98 THE SPHINX It’s possible that it’s coloured in the eyes of the people who live there. LIRA Even I know that’s a silly answer. THE SPHINX (to herself) I have never been bested, never! I can find the answer to this riddle. The Habeas Cops from the Goblin Market? The Seneform Bugs of the Ice World? Theo pulls the last corner of his shirt from the book, and tiptoes forward to snatch up the BOOK OF INFINITE PAGES just as The Sphinx raises her head. THE SPHINX Ah! I give up, I give up! What is the answer sprite, I must know! What is green on Tuesday, red on Wednesday, Blue with pink spots on Thursday, and striped on Friday? NOTSO I have no idea. But let me know if you ever find out, it sounds wonderful. THE SPHINX AHH! The Sphinx smashes hundreds of books off the shelves and into the air. They come to life and pound down on Theo and Notso. Lira and Inkling charge in to help, but the books swarm like wild animals. The crushing mob knocks Theo down and drags him backward. The Sphinx claws at the ground almost grabbing Theo’s leg when BOOKWORM MINISTER CHARGE! BOOKWORMS charge into the fray, hundreds, thousands, eating through the chomping books like butter. The BOOKWORM MINISTER stands in the middle of the fray shouting orders. BOOKWORM MINISTER Go for the bindings, Toby! Well done Billy. I’ve never seen anyone eat fiction that fast! Suddenly, a towering edition of “1001 Ways to Get Rid of Pests” overshadows him, and as Theo watches, it falls and flattens the BOOKWORM MINISTER.
99 After a moment of horrified silence, ‘Pop!’ and the BOOKWORM MINISTER appears on top of the book. BOOKWORM MINISTER That was awful. Not a bit of substance. Run, young man, we’ll keep this literary trash occupied! Run! The gang kick away the last of the attacking books, and sprint through the stacks away from the confusion behind them. INT. - THE STACKS - CONTINUOUS At the end of a long stack of books, they stop to rest. THEO We got it! Way to go, Notso, way to go! LIRA What do we do with it now? BLACKDOG (O.S) Now I take you and all the tools on a nice little trip back the Queen. Theo, Notso, and Lira spin around. BLACKDOG slips out of the shadows of one of the bookcases. Behind him, other Inkhounds ooze from patches of darkness. Inkling changes into a young greyhound, shivering but holding his ground. BLACKDOG Did you think you could just throw the Queen’s stone away and I wouldn’t find you? I could track your stink across a thousand worlds. Now, give me the Artist’s tools. NOTSO What do we do, Theo? Theo reaches over to the nearest bookshelf and tips it over, blocking the way between them. THEO Run! They race through the aisles, the Inkhounds baying and snapping at their heels, blocking the ways ahead and pouring out of shadows. LIRA They’re gaining on us!
100 THEO Which way? NOTSO This way! Inkling races ahead, but as they follow him, an INKHOUND pounces on him. They snap and claw at each other until Theo shoulders the inkhound off of him, sending the hound flying. It twists through the air, changing shape and landing with sticky precision on a bookshelf before leaping back towards them. Lira heaves a book from a shelf slamming the inkhound to the ground. THEO Come on! Twisting and turning they finally squeeze into a small dead-end. Hounds tear past them, then silence. Breathing hard Theo looks down to see Inkling hurt and limping. THEO I’m sorry, boy. Let me look at it. Inkling flinches from Theo’s touch. THEO Here. Theo opens the everlasting inkwell and delicately pours a little onto Inkling. Not only does he heal but he grows slightly too. LIRA Careful! That ink’s special, you don’t know what it’ll do to him! THEO How do we get out of here? BLACKDOG (O.S) There’s only one way out for you boy, and that’s through us. Theo steps around the corner of the bookshelf. A ring of hounds encircle them. Blackdog snarls down on them from the bookshelf above them. LIRA I’m sorry, Theo. THEO Lira, what are you doing? LIRA I’m sorry.
101 Lira steps back into the shadows and disappears. THEO Wait! BLACKDOG Find her! THEO No! The Hounds charge, Blackdog leading them in. A scream BLACKOUT FADE IN: INT. - QUEEN BOUDICCEA’S PRISON CELLS - DAY THEO wakes up and rolls over. He sits up, shaking his head and tries to focus on the room around him. Unwashed miscreants monsters cower in the corners; others fight over the last scraps of some dried jerky. Notso sits on the floor beside him. NOTSO Are you alright? THEO My head. Where are we? NOTSO The Queen’s prison. THEO Where’s Lira? NOTSO Gone. Escaped most likely. I get it. I hope she’s safe. THEO She always knew how to look after herself. Who are all these people? NOTSO Oh, don’t worry, they’re mostly harmless. See Jobo over there? Notso points to a man shaking like a leaf, trying to mend a tear
102 in his pants with a twig and a bit of loose thread. NOTSO (CONT'D) Used to be the finest weaver in the land. Tapestries so beautiful, they seemed to dance. The Queen destroyed them all. Phyllis and Silloph over there? Notso motions to a couple in a cell behind them. NOTSO (CONT'D) Don’t look at them! THEO Why? NOTSO They were the number one show to see, juggling dancing singing, you name it. THEO What happened? NOTSO They performed for the Queen. After that... Notso shakes his head. THEO We’ve got to get out of here. The Queen has all the tools and if we don’t stop her NOTSO It’s over Theo. I’m sorry. THEO But I have to get home! NOTSO I thought you didn’t know where your home is. THEO I guess after all this... I thought my family was out there waiting for me. Maybe I should have given the one I had a chance. I just want them to know I’m ok. Now I’m never going to see them again. Lira steps out of the shadows.
103 LIRA You shouldn’t give up so easily. THEO Lira! I thought you ran off! LIRA I did, at first, but I followed those Inkhounds back, and... couldn’t leave you in the Queen’s hands, could I? THEO It’s good to see you. LIRA I’m sorry I ran away. NOTSO You were just waiting for your chance to rescue us! THEO Exactly. You can rescue us, right? LIRA Wouldn’t be much of a thief if I couldn’t open a lock, especially one this old and filthy. Lira pulls out a hairpin and with a quick twist unlocks the door. Theo bounds out and gives her a big hug. LIRA What was that for? THEO For being a good friend. LIRA What do we do now? NOTSO We go get the Artist’s Tools back, right Theo? THEO I don’t know Notso. NOTSO What? You’re just going to leave them with her? THEO Well what can we do?! We’ve got, what, a
104 thief, a notsprite, and me, a kid with no powers, no magic, what are we supposed to do? NOTSO You’re going to think of a plan, Theo. and we’re going to help you make it happen. We’ve seen you do amazing things. I’m not sure who you think you are, but you’re a magician to me. LIRA I’ve never had anything that was important to me, but now I’m going to fight for every world out there. And you’re going to show me how. A few dirty notsprites run up to the door. NOTSO’S DAD We’re coming with you! NOTSO Mom! Dad! I thought you’d escaped! NOTSO’S MOM We got caught in the last round ups, we’ve been locked down here ever since. We heard what you said, and if you think this little man can beat that witch, we’re coming too. JOBO Excuse me, are you really going to fight the Queen? Theo looks around at his friends. THEO Yes. You’re right, we have to. Nobody else is going to come along and fix this for us. JOBO Well, if there’s going to be a fight, I’m not getting left behind. JAILED DWARF We’re coming too! JAILED APE-MAN Yahrh!
105 THEO Anyone who wants to fight can fight. ALL THE PRISONERS Hurray! THEO Just be quiet about it. Lira, can you get the other cells open? LIRA I’m on it. THEO Notso, round up everybody. Get them ready. NOTSO What are you going to do? THEO I’m going to find out how much trouble we’re getting into. Theo opens the heavy oak door and slips out of the jail. INT. - THE JAILOR’S ROOM - CONTINUOUS Theo runs up a flight of stairs and hides behind a pillar. FIVE OGRES JAILORS sit around a table playing cards. They stare at their hands. OGRE JAILOR 1 Got any threes? OGRE JAILOR 2 Are we playin’ go fish? I thought this was Gin! INSERT Notso smashes Inkling’s glass cage. Inkling bolts after Theo up the stairs. Inkling! RESUME As Theo peers at the Jailors, Inkling bounds up and starts to NOTSO Come back!
106 lick his hand and growl. THEO Inkling! Sh, be quiet boy! Theo accidentally knocks over a rusty spear leaning against the pillar. It CLANGS horribly to the floor. The Ogres turn. OGRE JAILOR 1 ‘Ey! No prisoners are to get unprisonered! OGRE JAILOR 2 After ‘im! Theo bolts back down the stairs, Ogres at his heels. INT. - QUEEN BOUDICCEA’S PRISON CELLS - CONTINUOUS Theo slams the large wooden doors closed and leaps back. The Ogre Jailors burst through the doors but come to a shocked stop. Arrayed against them, a hoard of Sprites, Goblins, Fairies, Apemen, Dwarves, Lizard-men, and Leprechauns stand in quiet and stern fury. Lira pulls out a shiny dagger. Notso pulls out a rusty frying pan. The INMATE ARMY charges. Ogres fly in all directions, hammered through the air, only to be pounced upon by leaping gnomes and bowled over by surly dwarves. THEO Come on! Theo, Notso and Lira lead the way up the stairs. INT - THE PALACE ENTRANCE HALL - CONTINUOUS Theo and the frontrunners of the army slip quietly through the entrance hall towards the Queen’s throne room. Lira reaches into one of her many pockets and pulls out Theo’s original book and pen. LIRA I thought you might need these. THEO How did you -
107 LIRA Once you’d found the inkwell and the book, you didn’t need them anymore. I thought, maybe we shouldn’t carry them all together. Not safe. If you were caught, well, then we’d have nothing. THEO Thanks. The gang start forward. BLACKDOG You and your friends are becoming quite a nuisance. The Queen had given instruction to keep you alive, but she distracted at the moment. I’m sure she will forgive me when I tear you limb from limb. Hounds pour from the side passages, dirpping and bristling. The Inmate army wavers behind the gang. LIRA What do we do now? NOTSO We fight. THEO I’m glad we’re here together. NOTSO Me too. Theo looks down at Inkling He growls, and changes into a massive wolf. THEO Charge! Inkling leaps forward slamming into Blackdog and barreling him over. Lira, with a dancer’s grace, leaps and strikes the Hounds with incredible speed, slipping away from their snapping jaws. Notso screams and barges into the fray. With a wild swipe, Theo, slams his sketchbook into the face of one of the hounds He bends down, drawing quickly in his book. A wooden door shoots from the floor smashing into a crowd of hounds
108 tossing them through the air. An ogre charges Theo, but just as it’s huge club is about to come crashing down on him, Inkling leaps over Theo tearing the club from the ogre’s hand. The Ogre, turns tail and runs. Notso bounds by on the back of a bucking Inkhound, dinging the frying pan off the creatures head. They tumble to the ground and Notso rolls to his feet beside Theo. THEO I’ve got a plan. I want you to run. NOTSO What? Why? THEO Trust me, push them back down the hall then a minute from now, get everybody to retreat. NOTSO What are you going to do? THEO Trust me! Theo opens the book and writes the symbol for the FOREST WORLD. A doorway made of gnarled wood grows from the stones of the wall. Theo opens the door, steps through and disappears.. EXT. - FOREST WORLD – DAY Theo looks up at a nearby tree. A HARPY munches on some old bones. Theo puts his fingers up to his lips and whistles. The Harpy’s head snaps round, and she lets out a brutal scream, which is echoed by hundreds of screams around her. A host of HARPIES pour down towards him. INT - THE PALACE ENTRANCE HALL - CONTINUOUS The Inkhounds tear forward and drive the Inmate army back. NOTSO Retreat! Everyone back! A wooden door appears on one wall, and as the Inmate streaks past, Theo charges out, with a host of Harpies at his heels. Inkhounds smash into the Harpies, a mass of spinning chaos. They gnash their teeth and tear each other apart.
109 LIRA Nice timing! THEO I thought so! Theo draws in his book again and smiles. THEO I have the doorways in me. NOTSO What? THEO It’s what the Artist was trying to tell me. The doorways, I can make them. I can go anywhere, I can go home! Theo draws a symbol, and another door appears he runs into it and slams it shut. NOTSO Theo! Come back! You can’t leave us! A few Inkhounds pull themselves away from the Harpies and charge toward the fighters. The two groups slam together in the middle of the hall. An Inkhound bowls Notso over and is just about to bite him to pieces when a new door opens and THE BLUE PRINCESS and her souls pour out like a wave of buzzing bees, tossing the Inkhound on Notso through the air. Theo follows the souls and closes the door behind him. He reaches down to help Notso up. THEO Didn’t think I’d leave, did you? Quick, we’ve got to get to the Queen! Theo, Notso, Lira and Inkling slip through the chaos of the fighting, and get to a massive portcullis. LIRA Um, Theo, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to get in this way. Theo gives her a sly wink, draws another symbol in the book, and little white lines create a doorway right in the middle of the portcullis. Just as Theo slips through the doorway, growling behind them spins them around. Inkhounds with Blackdog in the lead stalk towards them.
110 NOTSO Go! We’ll hold them off! THEO What? LIRA Go now! Theo looks back, then runs into the Throne Room. INT. - QUEEN BOUDICCEA’S THRONE ROOM - CONTINUOUS Theo sneaks up to an archway into The Queen’s throne room. The Queen strides back and forth in front of The Artist, chained and bound in a magical cage. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You will help me old wanderer! You slipped through my grasp so long ago, but see, see how I have pulled you back, back to the world once built from your troubled mind! THE ARTIST It was my paradise, a world of light and love before you came along! The Queen caresses The Artist’s face. QUEEN BOUDICCEA But don’t you see, I came from your sick and crazy mind! I was made to love and worship you. I am a part of you as much as this beautiful world once was! The Queen scratches the Artist’s face. QUEEN BOUDICCEA (CONT’D) And now you are going free me from this place and take me into the light of the true world itself!! THE ARTIST You have my tools, witch, but you’ll never be able to use them. A true artist needs no lessons. He draws from his heart and that is what makes his art come to life! THE ARTIST I drew you and made you, Boudiccea, and,
111 I have loved you. But if an artist can make you, an artist can undo you. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You think you can stop me? THEO No. But I can. The Queen spins to see Theo standing in the archway. Theo advances into the Throne Room toward the caged Artist. The Queen, non-chalantly sits on her throne. QUEEN BOUDICCEA What child, you don’t want to go home? THEO I can go home any time I want, I have the power of an artist. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Is that so, you who are nothing in this world or any other. You think you have the power? THEO I guess we’ll find out. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You dare challenge me! I have lived through the ages! Come child, and feel my wrath! The Queen leaps from the Throne, unleashing a bolt of energy but before it reaches him, Theo draws a circle in his book. The energy crackles over A SPHERE that suddenly surrounds Theo, radiant and prismatic. The Queen fires more bolts at Theo. Small cracks ripple across the sphere but as the cracks grow, Theo draws the lines of the cracks into roots and the energy of The Queen’s blasts only help A TREE to suddenly grow above Theo. The Queen conjures a buzzing mass of flies that pour towards him, but Theo draws a jar, which shoots out of the book, sucking in and surrounding the buzzing mass. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Your weak, boy! I will crush you! Theo draws a trident and shield. The shield rises from the stones in front of him; his PEN grows into THE TRIDENT. Theo, reaches down and picks up the shield, as The Queen blows a jet of fire at him. Theo ducks below the shield. The fire rolls up off the shield, igniting the tree above him. It topples and Theo dives aside as the tree almost crushes him. The Queen laughs.
112 Theo struggles to his feet and hurls the trident towards The Queen. She steps aside and it sails right past her. QUEEN BOUDICCEA Is that the best you can do, worm? Throwing your little stick at me? You have no powers that can stop me! THEO You’re right. I don’t. But he does. The Queen turns. The Artist steps from the broken cage, cracked from the thrown trident. The trident turns back into The Artist’s Pen and he bends down and picks it up. THEO I didn’t make you. I can’t undo you. But he can. QUEEN BOUDICCEA He couldn’t destroy me all those years ago! You think he has the courage now? THEO Yes. Because he knows that this world is his family, and he can still make difference. I found the three tools, but I wasn’t made to use them. They were made for him. I believe in him, and I think he’s changed. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You think so? THEO I hope so. Turning back to The Artist, The Queen laughs at him. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You don’t have the guts. You never did! I kept you from your loneliness, I was everything to you. You can’t destroy me! The Queen sends a bolt of energy at The Artist, but with his old Pen in his hand, and a tiny flick of his wrist, The Queen’s lightning dissipates before even coming close. THE ARTIST Maybe it’s time for a change, after all. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You can’t do that! You can’t stop me! I have your pen!
113 THE ARTIST You never understood. The Artist makes the magic, not the other way around. Another bolt from The Queen, another easy dismissal by The Artist. She draws on more lightning the the ball of stormlight fades, her power dims. THE ARTIST (CONT'D) I did love you. But I have to let you go, and give this place to someone else, someone with hope. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You cannot stop me! THE ARTIST It’s time, Boudiccea, it’s time for us to go. The Queen seems much smaller, a child having a temper tantrum. She fires another bolt at Theo, but it scatters into motes before it even reaches him. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You cannot live without me! THE ARTIST I will have to learn to, I suppose. We all lose people. The Artist looks at Theo. Theo looks at The Artist.
THE ARTIST (CONT'D) But we have to grow up, and go on. It doesn’t mean we love them any less. We just have to love them, and learn to love other people as well. QUEEN BOUDICCEA You’ll die without me! You will die! You can’t do this! You can’t do this! The Queen continues to shrink, turning into a small spark, flashing and lying in the dirt, hovering around The Artist’s pen. The Artist reaches down, picks up the mote. With one final burst of lightning, the Perfect pen turns to ash. The Artist lovingly holds the mote of light to his chest. The spark glows against him, and disappears. Charging in from outside Inmate Army pour through Blackdog, leading him by Artist and Theo standing the Throne Room, Notso, Lira, and the the archway. Notso straddles a cowed his ears. They stop when they see The quietly in the centre of the room.
114 NOTSO The Artist! All of the creatures bow down around Theo and The Artist. Theo looks at The Artist, who smiles. THEO Get up, silly. Theo pulls Notso to his feet, and the rest of The Inmate Army get up as well. NOTSO What happened to The Queen? THEO Let’s just say she’s had a change of heart. NOTSO Gone for good? THE ARTIST She will not return. A cheer goes up from the fighters. THE ARTIST Thank you, Theo, for helping me find my way back here. You’ve restored what I once lost. THEO You’re welcome. THE ARTIST If you wish, I can show you your family, your other family and that other life, the parents you never knew, the life you never had. What I said to you was true, there are other lives other universes out there. Ones where your birth mother and father are waiting for you. THEO No. I have a family. They may be new, and I don’t really know them, but they deserve a chance. You know? Maybe the family you find and choose are the ones you were meant to be with. THE ARTIST A wise choice. I think, it’s time I left here as well.
115 NOTSO But who will take care of all the worlds, once you are gone? THE ARTIST As long as you stay true to your hearts, and do what is good for this place, then you’ll have no need for me. It’s time I went back to my life out there. NOTSO What? No! Stay! You could be king here, and make this place shiny and beautiful again. THE ARTIST You don’t need me for that. LIRA This world is dying! Quick Theo, the Perfect Pen! THEO Gone. The Queen’s last act. LIRA But this place is falling apart! THE ARTIST Well, we might be able to fix that. With a wave of Theo’s Pen, the Throne Room, and castle around them changes, growing beautiful, white and restored. THE ARTIST It’s a start, but you’ll need to work together to make this place a garden again. But it’s time I handed this power over. The Artist hands Theo back his pen. THEO Why? THE ARTIST Somewhere I lost myself to my imagination. I couldn’t give it up, and I couldn’t control it. I let others make my choices for me. Don’t make the same mistake I did Theo. As wonderous as it might be in here, your life is out there. Theo draws in The Book of Infinite Pages and a mundane, cement block doorway with a neon exit sign grows.
116 THE ARTIST Time to go home. THEO Will I ever see you again? THE ARTIST Maybe, out there. Good bye. The Artist steps through the doorway and is gone. THEO It’s time for me to go too. LIRA But you don’t have to go! THEO My family is out there. They need me, and I, I need them. NOTSO What’s going to happen to us? I won’t have any friends again. THEO We’ll always be friends, Notso. Always. LIRA And you have me. NOTSO We’re friends? LIRA Of course we are! NOTSO Oh. Oh! LIRA Will you ever come back? THEO I don’t know. I hope so. Theo hugs Notso and Lira, draws in the book, and his bedroom door appears. THEO (CONT’D) Take care of each other. Theo walks towards his bedroom door, waves goodbye, and goes in.
117 INT. - THEO’S BEDROOM - EVENING Theo stands with his back to the door. After a moment, he opens the door again, and looks out into the hallway outside his bedroom. Theo runs down the stairs. INT. - FAMILY KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS Ellen finishes hugging Jeremy. THEO (O.S) Mom, Mom! ELLEN What is it Theo? Theo bursts into the kitchen. Suddenly shy, he comes to a halt. THEO I, I... ELLEN I’m sorry I yelled at you. THEO I promise I won’t fight anymore. Ellen hugs Theo. John hugs them both. Jeremy hugs everyone. JOHN We know, Theo. We know. JEREMY Can we have supper now? ELLEN Of course we can. They all have supper. INT. - THEO’S ROOM - AFTER SUPPER. Theo closes the door, and sits down on his bed. A rustling from his backpack, and Theo looks up. As the zipper slides back, the red-brown nose, of Inkling pokes out. He barks and leaps on to the bed. THEO Inkling! Inkling jumps from the bed, and grabs Theo’s sketchbook, and drags it over to him. He pulls it open, and after a second’s
118 hesitation, draws in the book with his pen. At first, nothing happens, then, the door to his closet creaks open. A flash of light comes from inside. Theo goes over to the door, peeks inside and grins. SHOT SWOOPS TOWARDS THEO AND INTO THE CLOSET. A FLASH OF YELLOW LIGHT. END.
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