False Dawn #20: Life or Something Called It
Part One of Four: Tragedies
Comic Book Script-Plot for 20 Pages
Devin Leigh Michaels
I’m trying to show my ability as a comic book writer on this blog, so from now on, the comic book script will be the lead article with the cover, not the short story edition. I’ll still publish the short story edition, but as we go along, I’m noticing that I like the comic book script more and more. What I write is meant to be seen, and I can do so much more with script than the short story edition.
FD #20: Casia, Donnellie, and Lance attempt to find Ral and Jayden but discover their battle isn’t with Project: Avatar. It’s with Lance’s past.
Note to Letter: All narrations in his issue are Lance’s.
Note to Illustrator: Reference URLs are at bottom of script.
1—Close-up on Sawyer Ryder’s face. He’s in his early forties with a five o’clock shadow, graying black hair, and a sweaty face. He’s tan, like he’s been out in the sun too long, and he’s holding a musket close to his eye to aim. His face is eerily calm.
LOCATION CAPS: SAVANNAH, 1864
NARR: I will never forget my executor’s face.
NARR: Devoid of emotion, life, and sanity.
NARR: His name was Sawyer Ryder, and he was a captain in the Union Army.
2—General Sherman sits upon his horse, the Union Army soldiers tired and dirty about him. He points toward Casia and Lance.
NARR: He worked directly under General Sherman.
NARR: He brought us some food, later cleaned my wounds, but when General Sherman gave the order—
GENERAL SHERMAN: Do not fret, boy. You’ll be together—in death.
GENERAL SHERMAN (linked): KILL THEM BOTH!
3—Extreme close-up on Sawyer’s eyes—they’re calm.
NARR: —he was to become my killer.
4—Lance propped up on the ground on the side of a barn, bloody and beaten. He’s dressed like a farmer in the 1800s, and one arm is holding his ribs. The other he reaches up toward Casia. Casia’s dressed in a housewife’s dress.
NARR: Dying, even if it is only once, is not pleasant, and Casia knew nothing of what it would feel like.
LANCE: It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.
5—Lance glares at the soldier.
NARR: I made a promise that day.
1—Half Page—Casia and Lance jerk, shot.
NARR: I’ll remember you.
SFX: BANG! BANG!
2, 3—Smaller cells, side by side.
2—A multicolored hand (accented by silvers and golds) lays upon Lance’s cheek. His eyes are cracked half-open, like he just woke up.
LOCATION CAPS: REVERE, MASSACHUSETTS, NOW
NARR: Most people don’t get a view like this every day.
LANCE (sleepy): Hit the snooze.
3—Casia’s smiling down at us. For reference, the two are in a rundown hotel room. There’s only one bed.
CASIA: Can’t. Donnellie called. She has NEWS.
NARR: Don calling. Well, that’s never good.
1—Lance sits up in bed as Casia heads toward the bathroom. Lance is wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt with a blanket covering his mid-section.
LANCE: You really know how to kill a mood, don’tcha?
2—We have a view of Casia from behind. She’s looking back at us over her shoulder as she holds the bathroom door hinge. Her butt is definitely the vocal point of the panel.
CASIA: Depends upon the mood.
3—Lance glares down the blanket where his crotch is.
NARR: Sometimes, I don’t know if she’s serious or kidding.
LANCE: Now don’t you start.
4—Casia and Lance step into the planetarium, coming through the doorway. About them is darkness.
LOCATION CAPS: MUSUEM OF SCIENCE, BOSTON
NARR: The planetarium is darker than usual…
1—Establishing shot—Under the rotating planets and stars in the center of the room sits Donnellie, cross-legged with an Astrophysics book open, her crane-swan necklace upon it, and her hands forming dogs in the shadows.
NARR: … person inside gloomier.
2—Casia and Lance play odds and evens, first shaking their fists.
CASIA and LANCE: One, two, three—
3—Lances throws out one finger; Casia throws out two.
CASIA and LANCE: SHOOT!
4—Lance tips his hand back against his shoulders.
NARR: Of course she knows me by now. It’s only been a hundred something years.
CASIA: Ha, ha. You lose, sucker!
5—Lance crouches from Donnellie, who is swinging her necklace back and forth over the book. In this panel, the bird necklace is a swan.
LANCE: Hey, Don…Donnellie…Who-hoo?
LANCE: You here or should I come back?
6—Donnellie turns toward Lance and opens her eyes, showing the white fire burning within them. In this panel, her necklace is a crane.
DONNELLIE: Knock. Knock.
NARR: Okay…she’s lost it.
LANCE (offish): …who’s there?
1—Donnellie’s eyes now have purple, glowing pupils, and she scowls.
DONNELLiE: A huge ASS who seriously needs to get a hair cut or someone will do it for you. They won’t get just your hair.
2—Lance runs a hand through his longer-than-usual hair as it dusts against the back of my neck.
LANCE: Casia put you up to that, didn’t she?
3—Donnellie hands out maps of the Freedom Trail as Casia and Lance sit across from her, cross-legged.
DONNELLIE: Maybe, but that’s doesn’t mean I’m not wrong.
DONNELLIE: NOW! I tried to follow the pattern by the fountain water, but since the little idiot drank so little, there’s not really much of a trail.
4—Lance arches his shoulders.
LANCE: Why’s Ral an idiot but I’m an ass?
5—Casia punches him in the shoulder as Lance grimaces.
CASIA: Do you REALLY need to ask?
6—Donnellie takes out a worn pack of Pokemon cards.
DONNELLIE: Apparently or else he wouldn’t have.
DONNELLIE (linked): I did some more digging into another kidnapping case.
7—Casia glares at Donnielle; Lance thumbs at her.
CASIA: I thought we were paying you exclusively.
LANCE: We’re PAYING her?
8—Close-up on Donnellie as she shuffles the cards. Her long bangs cast shadows on her bent face, so we don’t see her eyes.
DONNELLIE: It’s personal. My brother, Jayden, was taken about three years ago by the very people you described.
9—Close-up on Donnellie’s hand as she puts down her first card on the Astrophysics book. It’s Jigglypuff.
LANCE (off): Don…
DONNELLIE (off): I couldn’t find him. ME.
1—Casia growls at Donnellie, who puts down another card.
CASIA: Because if you couldn’t, then none of us—
DONNELLIE: I’m an oracle. If I couldn’t find him, then neither could Barbara Gordon and most definitely not you.
DONNELLIE (linked): But with your little pet’s trail plus my brother’s, I had enough to find some breadcrumbs.
2—Close up on third card being put down. The second card is next to it—Volbeat. The third card is Hoothoot.
CASIA (off): Enough to make bread pudding?
3—Fourth card. Mew
DONNELLIE: Enough to make meatloaf.
4—Donnellie gasps and drops the entire deck.
5—Casia grabs Donnellie’s shoulder, worried. Lance picks up a single card from the deck.
CASIA: What! What is it? What did you see?
6—Close-up on Lance, looking at the card. He’s shocked and scared.
7—We see the card now—it’s Mewtwo.
1—Lance gets up. Casia reaches for him, her eyes shaking.
2—He doesn’t turn toward her as he walks toward the door.
3—A tiny, five-year-old Lance is under his blankets on his bed with a short-sleeved shirt on. There are no tattoos on his arms. We’re in his bedroom, so we see baseball bats and some stuffed animals. A cool breeze comes in through the window, teasing his hair. (He lives in a beach house.) Next to his bed sits a relatively young woman (early thirties)—MARY— with amber hair, glasses, and a kind smile. She’s wearing jeans and a collared shirt, smiling. She’s closing a book.
LOCATION CAPS: CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS, FOURTEEN YEARS AGO
MARY: —End. Now it’s time to go to sleep, Joshua.
4—Mary kisses Joshua on the forehead, brushing back some of his bangs.
NARR: I was five, going by my fifteenth name.
LANCE: But do they, Mama? Do they really live happily ever after?
MARY: Of course, sweetie. That’s how love works.
5—Lance rubs his upper bicep, as if scratching it.
LANCE: Will we live happily ever after?
BRANDON (off): Well…
1—In the doorway stands Papa—BRANDON—seemingly having always been there. Brandon wears a black overshirt tucked into his cargo pants which bunched just above his commando boots. On all his clothing, save his boots, an azul four with a screeching phoenix sparkles in the low light. He’s grinning.
BRANDON: …your mother and I did.
BRANDON (linked): We had you, Josh.
2—Mary sits on the bed, gathering Lance in her arms, while Brandon sits on the other side, sandwiching the boy.
MARY: And one day, hopefully you’ll find that special someone for a Happily Ever After, too.
3—Close-up on Lance as his eyes start to droop.
NARR: For some reason, I couldn’t believe her, but with the warmth of both my parents securing me, I drifted to sleep.
NARR: Damn, was I naïve.
4—Establishing shot—Inside the food court sit down area of Fanieul Hall. In the middle of the crowd of high schoolers and business people and tourists, Casia, Donnellie, and Lance crouch over a table with drinks, French fries, and salads about them.
LOCATION CAPS: FANIEUL HALL, BOSTON, NOW
CASIA: Did we have to come during lunch?
1—A high schooler slams into Lance’s back.
LANCE: You were hungry. We got you food. What more do you want?
2—Casia hunches over the table and a map of the Freedom Trail and grumbles.
CASIA: Breathing space.
3—Lance twirls the point of his plastic knife about the Brewer Fountain in Boston Common on the map. Donnellie bits a French fry.
LANCE: This is the least guarded of the four entrances.
DONNELLIE: But the King’s Chapel Burying Ground is closer to the bunks.
LANCE (linked): Maybe, but the fountain’s currently under construction, so it has two less fortified levels. Should be easier to get into.
DONNELLIE (linked): But it should be a harder path once inside.
4—Lance snaps the knife in half and doesn’t even glance up at her.
LANCE: If you know something, Donnellie, just say it. If you don’t, sit down and shut up. I know what I’m doing.
5—Donnellie crosses her arms. She scowls. Casia’s eyes go wide as she stares past Lance.
DONNELLIE: Really? Since when? Because as I remember it, you still needed me to save your suburban-bred ass from—
CASIA (shocked): Your parents.
6—Donnellie’s sidetracked, looking at Casia.
DONNELLIE: Well, yes, from your parent—
7—Casia snatches Lance’s wrist.
CASIA: NO. Your parents.
1—Lance turns in his seat. Over his shoulder we see two people—Mary and Brandon, among the throngs of tourists. They’re older now, with Mary’s hair being pulled back in a loose ponytail and Brandon’s once dark hair now graying at the temples. He’s wearing a polo shirt, jeans, and a jacket, while Mary’s sporting a nice blouse and jeans as well. Both look at Lance, hopeful.
MARY (hopeful): …Josh…?
2—Lance’s unhinged, and he’s never unhinged. He doesn’t know what to do.
NARR: I thought for a long time I’d gotten past…well, my past.
NARR: It held no more failures for me, just tragedies.
3—Brandon takes a step forward, like he’s hesitant and at the same time, wants to rush to Lance.
BRANDON: Josh, is that you?
NARR: I was lying to myself.
1—Lance takes a step back, jarring the table. Behind him, Donnellie and Casia don’t know what to do.
BRANDON (off): Son! Please…
2—Lance looks down, ashamed and bitter.
LANCE: I’m not your son. I’m just a THUG.
3—He steps into a crowd of high schoolers as they pass.
4—Wide shot—Brandon and Mary glance around, but the table that the three occupied is empty.
LYSANDER (no pointer): Hello, little one.
1—An older man (in his fifties) with short, gray hair wearing a Defenders’ uniform kneels in front of a nine-year-old Lance. He has a strong, built face, with a tense chin. He has his hand out for us to take.
LOCATION CAPS: OUTSIDE OF THE TIME, TEN YEARS AGO
LYSANDER: Hello, little one.
NARR: The first time I met Lysander, I was nine.
2—Now, from the side, Lysander is kneeling to be at Lance’s height. Lance is young, nine, wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt and jeans with a tiny ski cap. Behind him is a man in his twenties with blue hair that looks very similar to Lysander. Next to him are two brothers. Both have raven black hair and are in their twenties as well. One is thicker than the other with his hair tied back in a ponytail and his hands stuffed in his pockets. He has a jovial face. The older one is slightly thinner with his arms crossed, his hair short, and his face tense. Beyond them is a silver phoenix perched to screech upward. Just above its open mouth is a glowing white ball. Mary and Brandon, behind Lance, are holding his shoulders comfortingly.
For reference, the group is in the Defenders’ congress chambers. It has three levels with red garland that is actually made of flames. It has blue seats and a stained glass roof that is like a blue sea. The group is standing in the middle. The seats wrap around them in a circle.
LYSANDER: I’m Lysander Starbuck, the resident gatekeeper of the Defenders of the Fourth Dimension.
NARR: Inside the Defenders’ stronghold, he looked like a god.
3—He motions toward the three men behind him.
LYSANDER: This is my son, Draven, and his best friends, Artemis and Sawyer Ryder.
NARR: Lysander led the Defenders, was once revered as their greatest.
4—Mid-shot of Sawyer. He’s not quite smiling, but he’s not frowning, either.
NARR: Sawyer…I’d seen the man and hated him.
NARR: But how did I know him?
5—Lysander ruffles Lance’s hair.
NARR: At the time, I had no idea, but I think Lysander knew.
LYSANDER: You’re special, aren’t you? And one day, you’ll be among the greatest of us.
1—Lance sits on a double bed inside of the hotel, his head hanging, his bangs hiding his eyes.
LYSANDER (no pointer): I have no doubt.
CASIA (off): Do you want to talk about it?
LANCE (forceful): No.
LOCATION CAPS: REVERE, MASSACHUSETTS, NOW
2—Casia sits down next to him.
CASIA: What you did—
LANCE: —was necessary.
CASIA : You really believe that, don’t you?
3—Lance shrugs. He’s restless.
LANCE: You saw what I did. Don pulled a Mewtwo card. It means someone we love is going to DIE, but hell, EVERYONE I love dies anyway.
4—Casia looks away, disgusted. She clearly doesn’t want this conversation.
CASIA: Not everyone. Not Addy or Connor or me—
LANCE (off): Yes, you.
5—Casia, shocked, blinks at him.
CASIA: Excuse me?
1—Lance ducks his head again.
LANCE: You’re an extended mortal, not IMMORTAL. So, yes, one day, you will not be here, so there won’t be a Happily Ever After for me.
LANCE: There is no ‘fade to black.’
LANCE: All I’ll get is to think of you. How you smell of ash and marshmallows. How your skin feels like cream cheese, not butter. How your real skin color is like the first rays of morning light and how when I wake up next to you, I think how damned lucky I am that I just get to wake up next to you.
LANCE: And one day, you and Ral and probably even Connor and Addy will be gone.
2—He leans his elbows on his thighs. If any of his face is shown, tears trick down his cheeks.
LANCE: Just like my mom and dad.
3—A multicolored hand cups Lance’s wet cheek.
1—Full Page—Lance and Casia, both crying, kiss passionately.
1—With Casia on his lap, Lance falls back to the bed.
2—Lance grabs her shoulders, holding her away from his lips.
LANCE: I’m not good enough for you.
3—Casia smiles seductively.
CASIA: Oh, I know.
4—They kiss again, Casia upon Lance.
5—Donnellie, Casia, and Lance have their backs pressed against the back of a concrete wall (the opening of a subway station). They are dressed in black hoodies, gloves, boots and blue jeans. Lance has a holster for a blaster and a sheath for a sword. In his hand is a remote. It looks like a car door opener. Donnellie has seemingly no weapons (though her crane silver necklace is upon her chest) while Casia holds her scepter.
LOCATION CAPS: A WEEK LATER, BOSTON COMMON
1—Donnellie tucks her now swan necklace under her hoodie. Casia glares at her.
DONNELLIE: I’m always ready.
CASIA: Of course you are.
2—Lance clicks a button on the remote.
3—Over the concrete wall, the Brewer Fountain explodes.
1—The three jump over the edge of the wall. Casia takes off into the air with fire wings on her back. Lance and Donnellie run.
2—Casia floats through the fiery opening, seeing the atrium from Project: Avatar blown apart from explosions. Some of the ten-story levels are crumbled. Debris is everywhere like a battle was fought there.
3—Casia lands on the ground, shocked and worried.
4—Lance lands next to her, descending slowly from a rope.
5—Lance crouches with his sword and gun, looking about the place when Donnellie lands behind him and Casia.
1—Donnellie puts her hands to her mouth, her purple eyes wide. Casia shakes his head.
DONNELLiE: The walls—They’re like Swiss cheese.
CASIA: I didn’t do this.
2—Lance sheathes his sword.
LANCE: Yeah, I know. But who—
OFF: You! Hold it!
3—Lance turns, blasting off two shots.
4—Each shot hits a guard in the chest, knocking them back.
NARR: Instinct is my best friend.
5—The three stand over the guards, but the camera is positioned like a guard, so we’re looking up at them. Lance is looking down at us. Casia is looking at Lance. Donnellie is waving her necklace over us.
LANCE: Well, that answered my—damn.
CASIA: What? You know who these guys are?
1—Top quarter of the page—We look at the unconscious guards black overshirts and cargo pants with an insignia of a blue four and a screeching phoenix on their left breasts.
LANCE (no pointer): Yeah. I do.
NARR: Maldita sea.
2—Bottom three-fourths of the page—Extreme close-up on the glimmering insignia on the men’s chests.
LANCE (no pointer): They’re Defenders of the Fourth Dimension.
LANCE (no pointer): Just like my parents.
To Be Continued…
*For Casia’s clothing in the 1860s - http://www.lavendersgreen.com/Mid19th.htm
* For Lance’s clothing in the 1860s - http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/dating/farmers_clothing/index.php
* General Sherman – http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/civilwar/p/marchtosea.htm
* Faneuil Hall - http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/?q=center
* Union Army Uniforms - http://www.memorialhall.mass.edu/activities/dressup/civil_war_soldier.html
* Houses in Savannah - https://www.oldsavannahtours.com/attractions.html