[SCENE I. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. MELISSA is playing with the Mushroom of Perpetual Flame. There is a large treatise open on the coffee table. She glances up when SARAH returns.]
MELISSA: There you are!
SARAH: (Eyeing the mushroom.) Where did you get that?
MELISSA: It was a gift.
SARAH: Is this the sort of gift that was not actually a gift at all?
SARAH: The highly suspicious sort of not-actually-a-gift?
MELISSA: Yes. Remember the priest who lifted my curse?
SARAH: Oh, him.
MELISSA: Yeah. Says that he’s actually part of some weird fairy-hunting cult. The person they’re hunting is Gavin’s gothy girlfriend, but I think they don’t know that yet.
SARAH: I feel like I should be more surprised by that.
MELISSA: You spend too much time with me. You’re getting jaded.
SARAH: Maybe. But I don’t think I could ever be as cynical as you, Melissa.
MELISSA: Well, good. (Beat.) So, even if Gavin has questionable taste in girlfriends, I was sort of hoping we could help her not get burned at the stake, or whatever it is weird fairy-hunting cults do to people.
SARAH: We could adopt her! I always wanted a pet goth and you never dress up for me.
MELISSA: I don’t think her parents would like that. Also, shut up. (Beat. Meaningfully.) I was hoping you might use your knack for befriending fairies to help us find out about this whole Dark One thing.
MELISSA: What, really?
SARAH: Sure! Do you have any wine?
MELISSA: Um, yes, but–
SARAH: Go get it.
MELISSA: We were talking about–
SARAH: You. Wine. Now.
MELISSA: All right, all right. (Departs for her bedroom.)
[SCENE II. The woods outside Portland. SARAH is carrying a picnic basket and evidently looking for something in particular. MELISSA is following after.]
MELISSA: I read somewhere you’re never more than three feet from a spider.
SARAH: Do you think I should have brought spider food for our picnic?
(SARAH finds a circle of mushrooms in the forest.)
SARAH: Here we are! (She lays out a red checkered tablecloth a few feet from the circle of mushrooms, then places a bottle of red wine in the circle.) A gift for you. (She then sits down on the tablecloth and removes two sandwiches. MELISSA sits down and accepts one.)
MELISSA: I kind of thought the wine was for drinking.
SARAH: It’s too cold for red wine outside. (She produces a metal flask and tosses it at MELISSA.) So I brought bourbon instead.
MELISSA: And to think I was about to disown you. (She unscrews the lid and takes a drink.)
(At about this point, the wine bottle disappears and the circle fills with dramatic-looking mist. A GOBLIN emerges from the fog, somewhat anticlimactically.)
GOBLIN: Oh, hello again, Sarah!
SARAH: Hi! Cedric not with you?
GOBLIN: (Uncomfortable.) He’s on holiday.
SARAH: Well, would you join us for a picnic?
GOBLIN: Well . . . .
SARAH: I made you a sandwich.
GOBLIN: Is it a ham sandwich?
SARAH: It is.
GOBLIN: Very well. You’ve convinced me. (He sits down. SARAH hands him a sandwich.) Who’s your friend?
MELISSA: Melissa. It’s good to meet you.
SARAH: She’s a horrible person but I like her anyway.
MELISSA: Yes, well.
[SCENE III. Later. The food has been eaten and MELISSA, SARAH, and the GOBLIN are reclining on the picnic blanket chatting amiably. Though it appears to have started raining fairly heavily outside, MELISSA and SARAH have removed their jackets and are apparently completely dry.]
GOBLIN: So, what brings you to the woods on this fine evening, Sarah?
SARAH: Do you remember the last time I was here?
GOBLIN: Looking for the Mushroom of Perpetual Flame with the Dark Lady, yes!
SARAH: Well, it’s about, uh, the Dark Lady.
GOBLIN: (Darkly.) I see.
MELISSA: We think she might be in trouble. It, uh, turns out the priest we gave the mushroom to is actually trying to hunt her down.
GOBLIN: Hunt the Dark Lady? But why?
MELISSA: We were hoping you could tell us.
GOBLIN: Does the priest still have the mushroom?
MELISSA: No, he gave it to me. It’s in my room somewhere.
GOBLIN: You must keep it safe! (He sighs.) I suppose you heard about the New Year.
SARAH: We were there.
MELISSA: Played for fools by the Fairy Queen.
GOBLIN: (Impressed.) Were you? (Beat.) The Queen is a cunning adversary. If it weren’t for the mysterious plague of ghosts, she would have already brought about calamity.
(MELISSA and SARAH exchange a glance.)
GOBLIN: Even so, things have been grim. Cedric has gone to look for help, but I fear some ill has befallen him.
SARAH: Poor Cedric!
GOBLIN: If anyone could tell you about the Dark Lady, it would be Cedric.
MELISSA: I tried to ask the King about her but he just said he wouldn’t tell me.
GOBLIN: You met the King?
MELISSA: I, uh, may have been at the reception for his aborted wedding to Gotharella. I mean, the Dark Lady.
GOBLIN: Well, we try to keep our lore secret from humans. Much as you keep your lore from us!
MELISSA: I don’t think I keep anything secret.
GOBLIN: Oh yes? Then explain cars.
MELISSA: Uh. Mostly all I know about them is they are awful for the environment and help you get around without having to walk. And my sister hates them.
GOBLIN: How cryptic. (Beat. Remembers where he was going with this.) In any case. The Dark Lady is important, and if stories about her got into the wrong hands, then–
MELISSA: Then we’d basically be in the situation we’re in right now?
GOBLIN: . . . yes, essentially.
MELISSA: And let me guess: if we help you find your friend, he’ll tell us what we need to know?
GOBLIN: He’ll tell you what he knows, which is quite a lot. I think not even the King knows as much of our lore as Cedric. Perhaps the Queen does.
SARAH: Can you tell us anything? What sort of role does our friend play in all this?
MELISSA: If it involves a guitar battle I am going home.
GOBLIN: She is the reason we don’t have any prophecies after the year of calamity. But as far as the goblins are concerned she’s a hero.
SARAH: Gothy heroes are the best heroes.
GOBLIN: But if you are going to help, we must move quickly.
MELISSA: By ‘move quickly’ do you mean ‘go home and take a shower?’
GOBLIN: I see you’ve never traveled with goblins before. Just step into the circle.
(The GOBLIN grins and steps into the ominous mists. SARAH starts towards it, but MELISSA grabs her arm.)
MELISSA: Together, all right? (She takes SARAH’s hand.)
SARAH: Okay. On three. One . . . two . . . three!
(They step into the circle together. A sequence of strange images, fantastical creatures, and brilliant colors follows, accompanied by the sound of goblin laughter.)