|Kainoa Ryder by Emily L'Orange|
False Dawn #22: “Life or Something Called It”
Part Three of Four: Normalcy or Lack of It
Comic Book Script—Plot for 20 Pages
Devin Leigh Michaels
As the Ryders try to help Ral find his family, they find a piece of lost history as well—and it doesn’t bode well for Ral and Co.
1—Extreme lose-up on Ral’s face. His nose is red from the coldness of the air.
NARR: The chill of my runny nose awakes me, and I wish I’d slept with a ski mask on.
NARR: Why would Kainoa’s family ever put down the A/C so low?
LOCATION CAPS: SKADIOA
2—Ral now sits up with an afghan over his shoulders on a fluffy but worn couch in the middle of an apartment. Camera’s positioned over his shoulders, so we see his back but are focused on the room. A blue fire devours the blackened wood in the hearth. Over the flames is a kettle, like how people used to cook in the olden days. To the left is a kitchen area, not modern but elaborate with knives, pans, pots, a small bar, and black diamond countertops. Just behind the kitchen is a thick, wooden dungeon door, and to the immediate left is another, more inviting door with a stained glass window of a dragon breathing fire. For future reference—there’s a window directly behind Ral and the couch. Note: Ral’s a slightly too big for his T-shirt and snap-away pants.
NARR: Ooookay…I am not in New Jersey anymore.
3—Ral brings his jeaned legs up to his chest, wrapping the afghan about his bent knees. Please show he’s wearing socks, no shoes.
NARR: So…where am I? Looks like Skadoia, but—
1—Half-page—In front the open dungeon door smiles Kalidas. He’s smirking at the camera like that older brother who liked to pick on you but still loved you. He wears his mechanic suit minus the doctor’s jacket with a bookbag thrown over his shoulders.
KADIAS: Well, if it isn’t the HYBRID. What brings you to our little BLACK HOLE?
2—Ral averts his eyes, ashamed and obviously uncomfortable.
RAL: I…uh…I don’t know.
3—KALIDAS enters the living room with two cups, and Ral holds his legs closer to his chest.
KADIAS: Of course you don’t.
4— Kalidas offers a cup, and Ral refuses to take it.
1— Kalidas takes a long sip.
KALIDAS: Oh, for crying out loud…
2—He then hands Ral the cup, who takes it hesitantly.
NARR: Ew. Kalidas spit.
KALIDAS: So you missed me.
3—He plops back in a chair, one leg hitched over an arm.
KALIDAS: I don’t know if I should feel FLATTERED or VIOLATED. You didn’t call first.
KALIDAS(linked): So…What’s been up with you? Using your powers to SNEAK into GOVERNMENT facilities? SCARE teenage girls? Perhaps make a MOVIE CAREER?
4—Ral rubs the back of his head.
RAL: I, uh…
5—A blast of blue flames puffs outside the window behind Ral, like a dragon’s spitting fire into the sky.
1—Kalidas curses as he stands as Ral turns toward the window.
KALIDAS (soft): Shit.
KALIDAS: You better go, kid. Apparently, my to-do just list got LONGER.
NARR: If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that came from an exhale of a dragon or something
2— Kalidas turns back as Ral calls him.
RAL: … Kalidas?
NARR: Why’d I do that?
KALIDAS: Yeah, Hybrid?
3—Ral twiddles with the edge of his cup.
RAL: Why…Why did I come to you? You—You—
NARR: —used to torture me. MAIM. MARK.
4— Kalidas puts a hand on Ral’s shoulder.
KALIDAS: Because I’ll do this.
RAL (puzzled): Do—
5—The door flies open, and Amaris—the Skadoian Lord’s second-in-command (from FD#13)—rushes in.
AMARIS: Kalidas, our lord says he will force you to watch Jersey Shore if you keep him wait—
1—Amaris’s widened and shocked eyes meet Ral’s eyes, which are widened and shocked as well.
RAL: Kalidas —
2— Kalidas backhands the camera.
3—Ral awakens drenched in sweat with twisted blankets choking him. He’s in a living room on a relatively new couch, but this room is more traditional with a love seat and an area rug on hardwood floors. Behind him is a bookcase overflowing with books, pictures, and papers. If possible, there is also a fireplace with a mantle and pictures. The sunlight breaks through the curtains just enough to shine on Ral.
LOCATION CAPS: RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY
4—Ral stands and rakes a hand through his hair.
NARR: I really miss Lance and Casia.
OFF: What do you mean BUCKY wasn’t BLOWN UP!
5—Ral opens the the kitchen door.
NARR: The world smells of bananas. It’s been a while since I’ve had one, but you never really forget the smell, kinda like BURNT PIZZA or LANCE’S SNEAKERS.
PAGE SIX and SEVEN
1—Half-page spread across both pages—The whole family gathers about the kitchen table—Kainoa, his little brother KRISK on his lap, his cousin Mattie, his parents—Rena and Artemis—and his uncle, Sawyer. (see FD#19 and FD#21 for description of everyone but Krisk) Krisk is ten with short blonde hair and green eyes, who looks very similarly to Rena. He’s currently wearing a T-shirt and jeans and sits on his brother lap, so there’s an empty seat next to Kainoa.
NARR: Everyone seems to go about their daily routine like yesterday never happened.
BALLOON1: —don’t get me started on cheeseburgers and waffles—
BALLOON2: I like the GAP!
BALLOON 3: CHECK PLEASE!
BALLOON 4: NBA lock-out? Ah, who cares? Thank God the NFL—
BALLOON 6: You want some more syrup, kiddo?
BALLOON 5: —sass me back. You know you’re not supposed to be out that—
Across the bottom of the two pages
2—Ral steps inside.
RAL: Who says ‘sass’ anymore?
3—Entire table glares at him.
NARR: No…not at all intimidating.
4—Rena walks up to Ral and guides him toward the table.
RENA: You like banana pancakes? Oh, what am I saying? Everyone loves banana pancakes.
NARR: Rena’s Kainoa’s mother.
NARR: My mom used to make apple. Rena reminds me a lot of her.
5—Ral takes the empty seat next to Kainoa and digs in. Mattie laughs from across the seat.
6—Ral wipes his full mouth on his sleeve.
MATTIE: You in an eating contest or something?
2—Sawyer elbows her; Artemis’s on Mattie’s left, Ral’s right, waving a fork.
SAWYER: Don’t listen to Mattie. Put humus in front of her and watch out! You might LOSE a HAND.
ARTEMIS: Oh, please. Mattie’s not half as bad as Kainoa and sushi.
3—Kainoa rolls his eyes as Krisk tugs on Ral’s sleeves.
KAINOA: How’d this become about ME?
KRISK: Who’s Kalidas?
4—Ral blinks; Krisk eats some of Kainoa’s pancakes.
RAL: …uh, what? How do you—
KRISK: You talk in your sleep.
1—Ral shrugs; Mattie and Artemis are also in the panel.
RAL: Just some guy I knew from when I was a kid.
ARTEMIS: You’re still a kid.
RAL (linked): Well, from when I was a kid-kid.
MATTIE: Is that a baby goat?
2—Mattie looks back at her father’s glare. Rena wipes her mouth with a napkin.
RENA: So tell us, Ral. Where are you from?
3—Ral stops eating in mid-bite.
RAL: Wayne…uh, New Jersey.
NARR: Why does this seem like an interrogation?
4—Kainoa slaps him on the shoulder.
KAINOA: Dude, we’re in Ridgewood.
RAL: No shit?
5—Another table glare.
1—Ral smiles sheepishly. Kainoa leans over to whisper, a hand up to cover his mouth from Rena.
RAL: Uh…sorry? You don’t swear…I take it.
KAINOA: Not in front of the KID in front of my MOM.
2—Rena slaps him on the back of the head and takes his empty plate.
RENA: And now you would be getting two weeks not helping at the headquarters—
KAINOA: Oh, shoot. Just my luck.
RENA:—but since you were held captive, I’ll commute it to time-served.
3—Kainoa mouths toward Ral.
NARR: Kainoa mouths, “Damn.”
4—Rena still smacks him again.
RENA: So, Ral, where are your parents? Are they home? Where can we drop you off?
RAL: Um…I, uh, I don’t know.
ARTEMIS: You don’t know?
1—Ral plays with his fork in the syrup.
RAL: I DREAMWALK, kinda like Jayden did, and…
2—Kainoa looks at Mattie uneasily as the rest of the family looks uncomfortable as well.
NARR: At the mention of Jayden, my mouth dries. Jayden’s DEAD.
NARR: I mean, even if he and Rio weren’t among those collected by the Defenders, Sierra ran him through with my sword.
NARR: There’s no way he could’ve survived that…right?
3—Sawyer hands his plate to Rena; Kainoa shrugs; Kainoa hands Krisk to Artemis.
SAWYER: So you can find your parents that way?
RAL: Maybe…but it’s no worries. If you wouldn’t mind just dropping me at a transit station, I can—
RENA: We’re NOT doing that. Kainoa, maybe you can follow his parents’ WORLDLINES and see where they are?
KAINOA: And maybe while I’m at it, I can end HUNGER and grant WORLD PEACE.
4—Rena slaps him across the back of the head again.
5— Ral edges toward the door.
RAL: Nah, it’s cool. Really. My parents find me, or I find them. It’s not a—
1—Ral turns into the living room, where Kainoa stands, blue hair and all. It’s like he just appeared there.
KAINOA: Abusive childhood, huh? Those are NEVER fun.
2—Ral shoves Kainoa’s shoulder as he storms for the door.
RAL: Leave me alone.
3—Extreme close-up on Kainoa’s face, head tilted down, eyes not showing. His hair’s black again.
KAINOA: I was TORTURED and made into an ASSASSIN by my grandfather.
1—Close-up on Ral’s face. He’s not really sure what to do here, shocked, horrified, and demoralized all at once.
KAINOA (off): Rena and Artemis are my ADOPTIVE parents. My biological dad was KILLED by my grandfather, and Leilani, my birth mom, was afraid my grandfather would KIDNAP me and USE me for his own purposes, so she gave me to Rena and Artemis.
KAINOA (linked, off): Eventually, my grandfather did get me, and I’ve only been back with my mom and dad two years now.
RAL: For his own purposes…?
RAL (linked): Your powers.
2—Kainoa’s shoved his hands in his pockets, leaning against the couch, still not looking at Ral.
KAINOA: I’m literally DESTINY, and the mantle’s passed down through my biological family. When a kid gets all the POWER, the parent LOSES it. My grandfather doesn’t have any left, so…it’s just me.
3—Kainoa now looks directly at Ral, determined and hardened.
KAINOA: Look, I’m not saying I’ll understand everything that’s happened in your life, but I can try. And my parents have dealt with weird stuff since I was born. Trust me. Whatever happened or is happening to you, they can handle it.
4—Now Ral looks away, rubbing a hand up his forearm nervously.
NARR: Y’know, when you fight to the death with someone, you tend to trust ‘im, for better or worse.
RAL: My mom is an IMMORTAL queen who was kidnapped and forced to marry this shadow lord who rules a dimension of darkness. My uncle’s trying to save her in the dimension, while my older brother and sister—a CURSED IMMORTAL and WERE-PHOENIX—try to figure out how to do that from here.
5—Kainoa just stares at Ral, not judging.
6—Same shot, Kainoa yelling.
1—Close-up red flames laced with blue. (It’s a burning carcass.)
LOCATION CAPS: ZENITH’S RISE
2—Now a man kneels over a burning carcass, his face rising from the body like he just finished eating. He has sharp claws for hands, steel, sharp features, and long, shaggy black hair. His mouth and teeth are bloody. He’s wearing a trench coat and medieval attire. For reference, he and the carcass are on a plateau in the middle of a snowy mountain range.
3—The man wipes the blood from his chin on his trench coat sleeve.
MAN: Tastes just like chicken.
4—He leaps from the plateau, leaving the burning body for the vultures.
1—Rena, Artemis, Kainoa, and Ral stand in Kainoa’s living room. Kainoa’s wearing a dark black T-shirt and cargo pants with military boots. Ral is dressed similarly but with an overtop that tucks into his cargo pants. Rena wears a sweater, cargo pants, and girl-ier boots, while Artemis wears exactly what Ral’s wearing. On each of their left breasts is the insignia of the Defenders. Kainoa and his parents wear a blaster strapped to their legs (left leg for Kainoa, right for parents). Kainoa also has a knife strapped to his right shoulder. The parents have a silver manacle on their left wrists with a black screen on it.
KAINOA (excited): You ready?
LOCATION CAPS: RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY
2—Kainoa crosses his arms. He’s trying to act like an authority figure.
KAINOA: Okay, so I’m going to follow YOUR worldline back in time just enough to find your brother and sister, then follow THEIR worldlines to the future to find out where they are now. Sound cool?
RAL (off): Sure.
3—Rena clasps both of us on the shoulder.
RENA: We’ll be right behind you, boys.
RAL: If I had a nickel for every weird thing that’s happened to me in the last year or so—
Next two panels are side-by-side.
4—Close-up on Kainoa’s face—black hair, green eyes.
5—Same picture, blue hair, blue eyes.
KAINOA: Like anyone is really NORMAL.
1—Kainoa grabs Ral’s shoulder; the background is now a bright yellow.
NARR: Kainoa tugs, but I feel nothing, not really, but I see EVERYTHING.
2—Now about Kainoa and Ral is a faded background of their fight in Project: Avatar, where Jayden is stabbed with Ral’s sword. Ral bows his head.
NARR: My life literarily flashes before my eyes—backwards. Project: Avatar. Rio. Jayden.
KAINOA: It’s not your fault.
RAL: How can you say that? It was my—
KAINOA (linked): Take responsibility for what you can control. Jayden was KILLED by a PSYCHO. You can’t control a PSYCHO.
3—Ral raises his head to study Kainoa’s face. The background is now the atrium at Project: Avatar.
RAL: Sounds like you speak from experience.
4—Kainoa’s not meeting Ral’s eyes again.
KAINOA: Like I said, I WAS the psycho. Once. Not so long ago, either, but I’m not now, and…
1—The background is no longer faded as the two now stand in a hospital room. Before them lays Ral, unconscious in a bed with tubes in his mouth and nose.
KAINOA: You don’t look so good.
2—Kainoa pushes Ral down on the side of the bed as a defibrillator flies over head.
3—Before the bed stands Casia, completely engulfed in fire with Lance who holds his sword. Skylar presses her back against the hallway wall, with just the side of her in view, while Towne uses his telekinetic powers to throw a bedpan at Casia.
TOWNE: Throwing a temper tantrum isn’t helping your situation. Give us the boy.
4—Casia ducks the bedpan and throws a flare.
CASIA: Sorry. He’s not your TYPE!
1—Kainoa grabs Ral’s wrist and thumbs toward Lance and Casia.
KAINOA: Is that—Is that your brother and sister?
RAL: Yeah, Casia and Lance.
KAINOA: Seriously. THAT’s your brother?
2—Close-up on Kainoa’s distraught face. He doesn’t want this to be Ral’s brother.
RAL (off): Kainoa—?
KAINOA: Tell me that’s NOT your brother!
3—Ral ducks a machine.
RAL: I can’t!
4—Towne lifts a few tanks with his telekinetic powers—one must be labeled oxygen. Lance touches Casia on her flaming shoulder with his blade.
LANCE: That’s OXYGEN! You know—you, fire, it—BOOM!
SFX: THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!
5—Bright, search lights blind Kainoa and Ral from the window behind them.
1—From outside the window with the searchlights, we see Kainoa and Ral crouching by the bed, Ral with a hand up to shield his eyes, Kainoa just squinting.
KAINOA: Time to go?
2—Kainoa reaches for Ral.
RAL: YOU tell ME!
3—The two fall to the hard wood floors of Kainoa’s living room.
4—From Ral’s POV, we look up at Rena and Artemis, who’re looking down at us.
ARTEMIS: What happened?
5—Kainoa stands, pleading.
KAINOA: Ral’s brother—He’s—
LANCE (off): Hello, Defenders.
1—Lance stands just in the opening of the living room, holding a blaster toward the camera. In his left hand he holds Krisk whose squirming in the headlock. Behind him stands Casia with red fire crackling upon her scepter, and Donnielle, who holds a Defender’s blaster.
KAINOA (off): Joshua Sterling.
LANCE: I think you have something I want.
TO BE CONTINUED…