Three Big Events
Event 1: transport to Droppington Place
Event 2: the performance
Event 3: Titus in the maze
Byron – a lost and uncertain fellow, longing for a past to which he cannot return and to whom the world happens, learns that his voice has value and that he is happier when he’s an active player in his life.
Hobbs – a very human homunculus, realizes that he cannot hide who he is, from the world or from himself, and that he is happier when connected with life.
Hailey – a very bright, articulate girl that lives her life in a fantasy written by others, learns that her own voice and actions are powerful, and that she can create her own reality by connecting with life.
Kyle – a sleep-walking young man, interested in nothing more than the moment, suddenly finds himself taken out of the world, will learn, through perhaps another book, that he, too, must connect with the world or perish.
Byron is a disenfranchised 12 year old living with his soon-to-be-divorced mom in a town to which they have just moved. After his first difficult day in the new middle school, he settles down to build a model from an antique book on paper houses given to him as a going away gift by his best friend, Arvy. When he finishes the model of a house called Droppington Place, he spies a tiny man inside it, pleading for help. Looking more closely, he suddenly finds himself magically transported to a world of paper.
At first the fascinating paper world is appealing, as it provides an escape from the woes of the real world. But, after seeing a 3D human like himself turned into a 2D paper person, he realizes he is in danger.
Searching for a way out, he meets Hailey, a strikingly bright and hopeful 12 year old, who hopes to assist the tiny man requesting help. She uses her knowledge of magic, gained through reading a series of young-adult novels, to explain and understand the paper world. Together they witness Hobbs turn a 3D human into a 2D “flatso” as Byron calls them. They realize that Hobbs is the way out, and decide to visit his castle, Hobbs Manor.
En route to the Manor, they meet Kyle, a rough-and-tumble 13 year old who is more fascinated by the paper world than the surrounding danger. In particular, he has been following a shadow that appears through the walls of the houses. He’s tried to follow up, but must go around the paper houses through which the shadow passes. He sets fire to a building with his cigarette lighter, expecting grownups to come to his rescue.
Together they meet Arvy as a flatso. Byron swears to bring him back to 3D.
Arvy assists the trio is finding Hobbs Manor, but, before they can plan anything, Kyle simply walks in, and the door shuts behind him. While Arvy creates a diversion, Byron and Hailey attempt a rescue, but find themselves trapped inside the Manor by Hobbs.
Hobbs explains that he created the paper world as a means of hiding from Titus, the wizard that created him. He explains the he is a copy of the playwright Samuel Hobbs, and a major part of the plot by Marlowe to murder Shakespeare, and that he ran off with Titus’ spell book. The spell book is the means by which he’s kept himself alive, but also the reason he must hide from Titus, as the wizard desperately wants it back.
Hobbs has been alive for centuries, consuming the life energy of living things to keep himself alive. He has enchanted a number of paper-building books, himself being a paper homunculus, with a spell that transports the builder to his world.
He has searched and searched for someone with an idea of how to help him permanently be free of the terror of Titus’ return. When the visitor has no idea, he consumes their life-energy and they become flatsos. He decides to make the trio into flatsos.
The trio fail to convince him that they can help, but, before he makes them flatsos, get him to believe that they are actors that can perform his work. Flattered, he digs up the play upon which he has been working and demands that they perform it.
The play turns out to be nothing more than a journal of the people he’s converted to flatsos, and the trio does a miserable job of making it even interesting. But, by carefully creating their own dialog, they convince Hobbs that they could trap Titus in a magic box.
The shadow figure appears in the audience of flatsos, and turns into Titus himself.
After some clever banter, and it looks like lights out for Hobbs. But Arvy, in the audience, creates an enormous commotion, panic ensues, and the quartet, for Hobbs is now with them, dash from the palace. Hailey uses the spell book to turn a house invisible, and they take refuge there until Titus passes, unable to see them.
Titus is now at large in Hobbs’ refuge.
But Arvy, who has been admitted into the invisible house, convinces them that it’s not Titus, but a homunculus sent to steal the spell book. Whatever kills homunculi will kill the Titus. Together, they devise a series of traps inside the invisible house to destroy Titus, while, outside, Titus is on a rampage, destroying Hobbs’ peaceful empire.
When the traps are ready, they reverse the invisibility spell. The trio runs out to drive the Titus into the traps, not realizing that they will have to pass through the traps themselves to assist Hobbs, who sits as bait the center of the trap.
Titus works his way through the traps with simple skill, while the trio must cheat to get through each one. Finally, Titus finds Hobbs, Arvy and the spell book in the center of the trap.
Clever banter ensues – Hobbs keeps Titus at bay through dialog – until the trio arrives. The Titus homunculus is powerful in its own right, and freezes Hailey in place. It spins Byron around so that he cannot face Hobbs, and he turns Kyle into a flatso.
But, Arvy charges Titus, and Kyle trips him. Byron sets him alight with Kyle’s cigarette lighter. As the thing disappears in a majestic purple cloud of flames, it tells Hobbs that Titus will hunt him down until the book is returned. The spells are lifted on the trio, but not on Arvy.
The current danger past, Hobbs demands that Byron keep the spell book – Hailey is too obvious and Kyle is too disinterested. Before Hobbs collapses the paper world spell, Byron makes him promise that he will restore Arvy to his 3D self. Hobbs promises that all will be as it was, and collapses the spell, knowing he must now find a new place to hide, and Byron finds himself back in his own bedroom, with the spell book in his hands.