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1: Suddenly, Twenty Years Later

The story is set in the near future (2014). [EDITORIAL NOTE: This was first written around 1994.] As such, cars, fashions, and gadgets are slightly evolved from the present day—but not so far as to be unrecognisable. Cars are all electric (except where stated otherwise), but of course this would not be obviously visible in external views. For gadgets, well this is very much a cell phone/notebook PC/PDA culture. It's rare to see a crowd scene without several cell phones and palmtops being used. The whole world in 2014 is "wired".

The setting is a September evening in Los Angeles and clothing should be appropriate to the place and season.

Most narration in this issue is in the form of Sara's internal first-person monologue (which should be indicated on panel by a distinctive "hand-writing" lettering). These captions will be marked "Sara's monologue" in the script.

Characters will be fully described in their first on-panel appearances.

PAGE ONE. Six panels.

Panel 1

A city street. It's early evening. Quiet. Our POV is looking over the shoulder of SARA (in silhouette because we don't need to see anything other than it's a girl yet). She is in an alley, observing the street.

CAPTION:

Los Angeles

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

I'm here to find somebody.

Panel 2

Same street, same POV. Now a figure is approaching down the street. This is FRED, but too far away for us to make out details.

CAPTION:

14 September 2014

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

I just don't know who.

Panel 3

Same again. Fred is now close enough to see clearly: he's a young man (about 20) dressed casually. Distinguishing features are the black leather jacket (biker-style) and the cigarette in his mouth. It would not be amiss to make the reader think of James Dean. We now see that two men are following him. They are K-MEN. Distinguishing features we see at this distance are long overcoats, dark glasses, crew cuts. Sinister types.

CAPTION:

Dusk

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

So far today I've found one dead body, two big bad guys, and the most adorable pair of boots in this little boutique on Sunset.

Panel 4

Would you believe same again? Fred is now closer, looking over his shoulder and breaking into a run. The K-Men are running after him.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

When the big bads catch this guy, he'll be another corpse. How to save him without becoming one myself?

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

I need to find a distraction—

Panel 5

Fred is now running right past us, i.e. past the end of the alley. The two K-Men are now hidden from sight by a big truck which has driven out of a side road between them and us—and, of course, hiding Fred and Sara from their view.

No dialogue.

Panel 6

Sara's arm grabs Fred by the collar and pulls him back into the alley. We still don't see her: this is from her POV.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

—and a hiding place—

PAGE TWO. Five panels.

Panel 5 dominates this page, a splash panel of Sara (because she deserves a huge panel to introduce her). Panels 1–4 show her and Fred tumbling into the basement of a building. They can be small panels with close-ups of the action, overlain on the splash (but not in such a way as to obstruct the view of Sara, let's be quite clear about that).

Issue title and credits go at the bottom of this page.

Panel 1

Close-up of Fred's and Sara's feet. Fred's feet are off the floor (he's lost his balance due to Sara grabbing him). Sara is wearing a pair of flashy boots with really unsuitable heels—and has lost her balance, one of the heels turning over and twisting her ankle in a painful I-shouldn't-do-superheroics-in-heels-like-this sort of manner.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Ow!

Panel 2

Fred and Sara falling backwards into a closed door. Sara takes the brunt of the impact (Fred is between us and her).

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Ow!

Panel 3

Door crashes open as Fred and Sara fall down on to the top step of a flight of stairs. Sara is under Fred.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Ow!

Panel 4

Fred and Sara tumbling down the stairs, out of control. Sara is still mostly underneath.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Ow!

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Ow!

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Ow!

Panel 5

The tumbling is over. This is the splash panel, and it's the first full look at Sara. Unfortunately, she's not at her best, having just fallen down a flight of stairs. She's half-sitting, half-lying, (in what could be accused of being a gratuitously sexy pose, until you realise that she's like that because she's just fallen down stairs) and she's looking up at Fred (who's climbing to his feet, looking back at her).

And she is stunning. Nineteen years old, attractive, perfect face, perfect figure (in an athletic sense, not a top-heavy centrefold sense), masses of long curly blonde hair (which is attractively dishevelled, due to her just falling down stairs, of course). She's dressed casually but conservatively (jeans and shirt, or something)—and, of course, has a pair of flashy and unsuitable boots.

They are in a basement which is obviously disused. There is dust, old crates, garbage. There may be a rat, but this is not essential. It's dimly lit, but they should be plainly visible—maybe there is street light streaming through a high-up window, or something.

SARA (yelling):

Ow!

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

—I'm good at finding things.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Stupid boots.

PAGE THREE. Six panels.

Panel 1

It's a CAVE. Not a dark, dank, rough-hewn cave. More of a clean, lived-in sort of cave. But still basically a cave. Smooth rock walls, flickering torchlight, etc. We see a small Buddhist altar. A figure kneels in front of it, back to us. Wears Chinese monk-type garb. Loose, floppy, concealing the wearer. This is SPIRIT. She's Chinese, and young, but we're not going to be able to see a lot of her at the moment. Her only distinguishing feature is her hair: there is much of it and it's a very un-Chinese golden brown. But this probably isn't obvious, as she has it tied up.

CAPTION:

Interlude: China

Panel 2

The scene as above. Spirit is as motionless as a statue. Another MONK is standing behind her. Clothing is the same as hers, but this one is obviously male, Chinese, shaved head, and well on his way to old age.

The characters are speaking Chinese. This should be displayed on the page as Chinese characters, with an English translation directly beneath each speech bubble. (Note: the Chinese given in this script may not be very accurate.)

MONK:

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

It has started.

SPIRIT:

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

No. It started twenty years ago. It has just taken this long for people to notice.

Panel 3

Close on the monk.

MONK:

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

You will be leaving again?

SPIRIT (off panel):

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

Yes.

Panel 4

Same view of the man. Face showing sadness.

MONK:

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

I will make arrangements.

Panel 5

Close on the back of the kneeling figure. She's turning and rising to her feet.

SPIRIT:

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

No goodbyes yet, old man.

Panel 6

Now looking from Spirit's POV, she's looking back at the monk, but dominating the scene is the hardware behind him. At odds with the cave and the altar and the robes is a wall-to-wall state-of-the-art computer system. Keyboards, monitors, flashy lights, several screens showing what would seem to be news feeds from around the world, maps, charts. It's like we just stepped into a Chinese NORAD.

SPIRIT:

Chinese dialogue (translation below)

TRANSLATION:

I have much to finish here.

PAGE FOUR. Six panels.

Panel 1

Back in the underground cellar. Fred is on his feet and looking panic-stricken. Sara is still seated on the floor, massaging her ankle (the one that twisted—it doesn't matter which one, as it gets better). (Oh, now I've ruined the suspense.)

FRED (yelling):

Those men were—

SARA (softly):

Yes, so let's just bring them down here by shouting about it

Panel 2

Silence as they both look back up the stairs.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

They are in the same positions, but now looking at each other again.

FRED:

They killed—

SARA:

I know.

FRED:

They were after me—

SARA:

I know.

FRED:

I haven't done anything—

SARA:

I know.

Panel 4

Close on Fred, who is not handling this well at all. His anger is now directed at Sara.

FRED:

Fine. You just know everything. My prof is—his throat was torn out—I don't know what's happening here and I don't know who the hell you are!

Panel 5

Fred turns and begins to exit up the stairs.

FRED:

To hell with it. I'm not hanging around to get my throat ripped out.

Panel 6

Sara's POV looking up the stairs, watching Fred exit into the alley.

SARA:

Wait!

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Geez. Some people don't want to be found.

PAGE FIVE. Five panels.

Panel 1

Establishing shot of an office door. Discrete lettering on the glass panel reads "Dr. Paul Smithsteen".

PAUL (unseen, speaking through door):

I said you need to make an appointment with my—

Panel 2

As above, but a big boot kicks the door open (from our side).

SFX:

CRASH!

Panel 3

A view inside the office. We're looking in through the remains of the door. Psychiatrist's office. Diplomas on the walls, books, chairs, couch, etc. Big picture window on the far wall. In front of the window, a big desk. Between us and the desk, with his back to us, is PAUL SMITHSTEEN. He's the doctor. He is a trim, athletic man in his 30s, currently dressed for the office (smart business suit). He's also going to change into JEROME any second now. Smithsteen has multiple personalities, Paul and Jerome just being two of them. The change in personality will not be obvious to the reader (because there is no visual change) but his dialogue tags in the script will switch from Paul to Jerome—it has no bearing on the current scene but I want to establish the convention now, and it will all be explained to the reader in due course (but not in this issue).

PAUL:

Alll-righty then, let's—

Panel 4

Paul (actually now Jerome) turns to face whoever kicked his door in. He's smiling, or grinning even: he likes a good fight!

JEROME:

—settle this like gentle—

Panel 5

Close on Jerome as his face now registers utter shock.

JEROME (softly):

—men?

PAGE SIX. One panel.

Panel 1

It's a big splash panel showing Jerome face to face -er- muzzle with what looks to us like a werewolf. Actually, it's a K-Man morphed into its half-man/half-wolf form. Its clothing is identical to the K-Man back on page 1 (without the shades, because they would look really dopey on a werewolf). It's got big claws and bigger teeth.

JEROME (softly):

What in the name of God...?

PAGE SEVEN. Eight panels.

Several small panels depict the short fight between Jerome and the K-Man. Note that in the following panels, Jerome is shown to be a skilled martial artist. The K-Man, in contrast, is all wild swings and power moves. The fight is silent.

Panel 1

The K-Man lunges and swings its clawed hand. Jerome dodges and the wild swing tears a big chunk out of the solid-looking desk. These claws are dangerous.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

With the K-Man's claws buried in the desk, Jerome comes out of his dodge and into a spinning kick to its back.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

The K-Man doesn't feel it. Spins and swings at Jerome, who ducks beneath the claws again.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

Jerome is now between the K-Man and the desk again. Punches it in the face. Muzzle. Whatever. No effect.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

The K-Man leaps at Jerome...

No dialogue.

Panel 6

...who rolls back onto the desk and brings his legs up to catch the K-Man in the stomach and direct it over the desk and towards the picture window.

No dialogue.

Panel 7

The K-Man sails through the air and through the window, shattering the glass.

No dialogue.

Panel 8

Outside the building. The K-Man is falling several stories, flailing arms and legs, big black coat flapping.

K-MAN ("falling" style):

RRRRrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

PAGE EIGHT. Four panels.

Panel 1

A view of the smashed office door from outside. Sara is running through the outer office towards the door.

K-MAN (off-panel, through door):

RRRRrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Too late. I'm too late.

Panel 2

Inside the office. Wrecked desk. Smashed window. Jerome looking out of the window and down. We see this from Sara's POV.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Oh god oh god oh—

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Oh. Cool.

Panel 3

Sara has moved next to Jerome. He's still looking down.

JEROME:

The beast yet lives.

SARA:

Oh. Not cool.

Panel 4

Looking down out of the window. Three stories below, the not-terribly-injured K-Man is getting to its feet.

No dialogue.

PAGE NINE. Four panels.

Panel 1

A CONFERENCE ROOM. Dim lighting. Long table with only four people at it. At the head sits the GENERAL. He's never seen clearly—it's always from behind, or in silhouette. The key is not to reveal details of his uniform, as this gives too much away at this stage of the story. Also at the table are:

The DOCTOR. Female, middle-aged, wearing a lab coat. Laptop computer on the table in front of her.

The HACKER. Young, male, unkempt; total geek hacker stereotype. Holds a palmtop and is constantly typing away on it. Never pays much attention to what's happening in the real world.

The SPY, male, dark suit and dark glasses, going for the "Men in Black" look. Also has a laptop computer on the table.

The room has very little else in it. A big screen shows a map of North America on the wall showing green lights in a number of locations and a red light round about where Los Angeles would be.

CAPTION:

Elsewhere

SPY:

All three targets have been located. Operatives moving in now.

DOCTOR:

All telemetry is green. Physical... mental... stress levels—all within nominal tolerances.

HACKER:

Uh—yeah.

Panel 2

The same room. Closer view of the Spy, studying his screen and tapping some keys, with the Doctor also in panel.

SPY:

My observers report... collateral casualties.

DOCTOR:

"Collateral"?

Panel 3

Close on the SPY. Impassive.

SPY:

Civilians who got in the way, doctor.

DOCTOR (softly, off panel):

oh god

Panel 4

POV over the General's shoulder, showing the other three. The Doctor is discomfited. The Spy is unfazed. The Hacker is oblivious.

GENERAL:

Doctor, you know our mission is not without... risks.

GENERAL:

Any further reports?

SPY:

Yes, sir. Possible third-party interference. A girl... unidentified as yet. And she... seems to be working with Don Newman.

GENERAL:

Newman?

GENERAL

What could bring him out of retirement after all these years?

PAGE TEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Back in the office, Jerome is trying to climb out of the window. Sara is trying to haul him back into the room.

SARA:

Hello? Three storey drop?

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Great. He's a loony.

SARA:

Stop! You can't kill it!

Panel 2

The office. By the window. Jerome is looking at Sara (and no longer trying to climb out of the window).

JEROME:

Aye, lass, I can't.

SARA:

Right!

JEROME:

We need silver weapons.

SARA:

Uh—right. We need to run!

Panel 3

They are now moving, heading out of the office.

JEROME:

I will escort you to safety. Then return to kill it.

SARA:

Let's focus on the running part?

Panel 4

Moving down the corridor.

SARA:

Back stairs? As in, which way to?

JEROME:

You talk very strangely.

SARA:

I talk—

SFX (from off panel):

RRRRrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Panel 5

Jerome and Sara look at each other.

SARA:

Skip it. Follow me. I'll find the stairs.

Panel 6

Scene change: a phone booth somewhere in a busy street (or mall or somewhere). Fred has his hand on the phone but he hasn't lifted it. His forehead is resting on the wall of the booth and his eyes are closed. A cigarette in one hand. In thought.

CAPTION (voice-over, continuing Sara's speech):

"I'm good at finding things."

FRED (thought):

What the hell is happening? Who were those guys? Why me?

FRED (thought):

I need to get out of town. Who can I trust? Hey

PAGE ELEVEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Close up on FRED's wallet, open, showing his driver's licence (or similar ID). We should be able to see his picture and name: "FRED BERKOV". Sure enough, it's in Sara's hand. We're seeing it from her POV. Her speech is broken up because she's on the phone and listening to responses (which we don't hear).

CAPTION (voice-over, continuing Fred's thought):

"I think that girl lifted my wallet."

SARA:

Yes—St. Martin's.

SARA:

Because it's holy ground. Duh.

SARA:

Well I know that, but this English guy—

Panel 2

Wider angle on Sara. She is in another office. She's now alone. The door to this one reads "ANDREW WALLIS" and "Attorney", but the lettering is backwards (we read it through the glass of the door, if not in this panel then in a later one, as convenient). Sara has her cell phone to her ear. In her other hand is Fred's wallet. This is just an upper-body shot of Sara. We don't see the floor yet (for reasons which will soon become obvious).

SARA:

Says his name is Jerome and he's the only one I found so far—

SARA:

The college guy ran out on me but I've got another lead on him. But Don—

Panel 3

Now we see the floor. Either a full-length shot of Sara, or just her legs, as she steps over a dead body in her pacing. This doesn't need to be too graphic, but a big pool of blood should be in evidence.

SARA:

—They're always one step ahead of me.

Panel 4

Close-up on the phone on the dead lawyer's desk.

SFX (phone):

Riiiiiing

SARA:

Sec, Don, that's him on the other phone.

SARA:

Oh, just a guess.

SARA:

I'm always careful. Just meet us at that church. And hurry.

Panel 5

Sara picks up the desk phone and speaks into it.

SARA:

Hi. It's me again. They've killed your lawyer friend already. I found your wallet, by the way.

Panel 6

Cut back to Fred in the payphone booth. He's just slammed the receiver down. He's more freaked than ever.

SFX:

Slam!

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Was it something I said?

PAGE TWELVE. Four panels.

Panel 1

Big panel showing a crowded street market in Chinatown. It's dark by now, but still busy. Lots of generic market stalls, mostly Chinese people, a few tourist types. And standing out like a sore thumb, a K-Man (in human form). He's motionless, looking at something.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

The object of the K-Man's observation: a young Chinese girl. This is CHI-YUN. Mid-teens, kind of average. Cute, in the way that Chinese girls are, but not a knockout like Sara. Wearing traditional Chinese clothes (the clothes need to be distinctive enough to highlight the change which will occur in a few panels).

No dialogue.

Panel 3

The K-Man moves right up to Chi-Yun. He towers above her. She looks up nervously.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

She moves away through the crowd, throwing a glance over her shoulder. He is obviously following.

No dialogue.

PAGE THIRTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

K-Man's POV as Chi-Yun ducks behind a big barrel...

No dialogue.

Panel 2

...and emerges on the other side as a completely different person! Chinese, similar age and build, but obviously male. Different hair. And, importantly, his/her clothes are completely different.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Despite this remarkable ability, the K-Man has homed in on Chi-Yun. They stand at the corner of an alley. He looms over her and sniffs her, in the way that people don't.

SFX:

sniff sniff?

Panel 4

Ok, what would you do when a big scary guy leans over and sniffs you? Chi-Yun runs down the alley, K-Man in pursuit.

No dialogue.

PAGE FOURTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

The K-Man in pursuit. And he's morphing as he runs. Maybe this is a strip of small panels showing him gradually becoming more wolfman-like. Standard werewolf stuff. If anybody hasn't connected the two men chasing Fred with the wolfman Jerome fought, they should get the picture now.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

The alley is a dead end. Chi-Yun has her back to the wall. The K-Man faces her. She's understandably terrified. There is a fire escape close behind her, but the ladder is obviously too high for her to reach. And she's not even thinking about it—she's transfixed by the beast in front of her.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Identical scene. Neither has moved. But Chi-Yun has reverted to her original appearance (clothing and all).

K-MAN:

Heh.

Panel 4

It swings a huge claw at Chi-Yun, and oh boy it's bad. The claws rake her stomach. Clothing and flesh tears. Blood flies everywhere. A really serious injury.

CHI-YUN (scream):

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

PAGE FIFTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Chi-Yun hasn't had time to fall. The K-Man raises an arm in what could be the killing strike. And from behind him, Sara runs into the scene.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

Sara throws Chi-Yun over her shoulder...

No dialogue.

Panel 3

...and leaps to grab the bottom of the fire escape.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

Sara is pulling herself and Chi-Yun onto the lower level of the fire escape. We should see that it's hard work—she's not superwoman. The K-Man's hand is inches short of grasping her ankle.

CAPTION (voice-over):

"Sylvia, I would never put Sara in any danger, trust me."

PAGE SIXTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

The inside of a vehicle—actually an enormous Recreational Vehicle (RV), but at the moment we can only see the driver's position, where our POV shows the driver facing us. The driver is DON. He is in his 50s but is still fit and "well preserved", with only a small amount of grey in his short brown hair. He has handsome, clean-cut "movie idol" looks. In fact, he looks a lot like an older Harrison Ford. He's wearing a brown leather aviator-style jacket which, if we can see clearly enough, will have his pilot's wings pinned to it. He is driving casually, with one hand on the wheel. The other hand holds a phone to his ear—yes, he should have a hands-free phone, but he's an old-fashioned kind of guy.

VOICE (from phone):

Trust you? Don, you're so trustworthy it's nauseating.

VOICE (from phone):

But you have a strange definition of the word "danger".

DON:

Sylvia—

Panel 2

This is SYLVIA's OFFICE. It's plush. Very plush. There is big money in this office. There's nothing around to show what kind of business goes on here, but it's obviously high-powered business. At the big, bare desk sits a woman in a big leather chair. But currently she's mostly hidden from our POV.

VOICE (from phone):

—when have I ever put Sara's life in danger?

SYLVIA:

Don, the first time she met you was when you dropped your plane on our yacht!

VOICE (from phone):

That wasn't my fault! I'd lost an engine!

VOICE (from phone, softly):

and a wing... and the avionics...

Panel 3

The interior of the RV, showing us the dash—and this is a high-tech piece of hardware. The controls are all computer screens and glowing lights. Prominent is a screen labelled "Sat Nav", which shows a street map. A glowing dot on the map is labelled "St. Martins". Don is leaning over and typing on some controls under this particular display. Yes, he's still holding a phone to his ear. Yes, that means he's driving with no hands on the wheel. And no eyes on the road.

DON:

But... hey, "safety" is my middle name!

SFX:

BEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!

Panel 4

Sylvia's office. We now see her properly. She looks a lot like Sara. Probably because this is Sara's mother. Add 20 years to Sara, give her a business suit, and tie her hair back in a more restrained style, and you've got Sylvia. A very attractive woman, currently looking more than a little ticked off.

VOICE (shouting, from phone):

YEAH GET ON YOUR OWN SIDE OF THE—

VOICE (softly, from phone):

—oh, whoops

SYLVIA:

Don't be stupid enough to cross me, Don. I swear that if one hair on my daughter's head—

Panel 5

Back on Don in the RV. Now gripping the steering wheel.

DON:

Sylvia, if you had spent even one minute of the last nineteen years actually noticing Sara's existence, perhaps she wouldn't be—

VOICE (from phone):

Why you

Panel 6

Don is now holding the phone away from his ear. In fact, he's holding it out of the vehicle's open window (which he presumably opened between panels).

VOICE (from phone, faintly):

...ctimonious, self-....teous ....tard

DON:

What's that Sylvia? You're breaking up.

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Sara is half-carrying Chi-Yun (leaking blood) up the steps. The K-Man is now also on the fire escape and is in pursuit.

CAPTION (voice-over):

"But nothing's gonna happen to Sara. Not while I'm around."

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

We are so dead.

Panel 2

They are on the roof of the building. They look down at the K-Man, who will be on them in seconds.

SFX:

creeaak

Panel 3

The fire escape is collapsing! It's torn loose from the wall and is about to carry the K-Man down into the alley. The K-Man is flailing for balance.

SFX:

squeeeeee

Panel 4

Fire escape and K-Man crash to the ground in a pile of dust and twisted metal.

SFX:

CRASH!

Panel 5

Sara and Chi-Yun on the roof, looking at a rising cloud of dust. If there's a full moon rising behind them, it would add a good reminder of the werewolf thing and probably look cool, too.

SARA:

I knew I'd find a way out of that.

PAGE EIGHTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Sara and Chi-Yun talking on the roof.

SARA:

Are you ok? My name's Sara—I'm one of the good guys.

CHI-YUN:

I'm Chi-Yun—

Panel 2

Still on the roof. Exactly the same pose (a second later), and Chi-Yun is now—miraculously—fully healed. Even the torn clothing is as good as new.

CHI-YUN:

—and I'm ok. Thank you. You saved my life. What is that thing?

K-MAN (off panel, below):

RRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaa

Panel 3

They both look down.

SARA:

Still alive, that's what. Can you walk?

CHI-YUN:

Easily.

SARA:

There's a church three blocks West of here. St. Martin's. Don't walk. Run. The guy there—Jerome—will be looking out for you. Tell him Sara sent you. Wait for me there.

Panel 4

Sara begins to run away across the roof. Chi-Yun calls after her.

CHI-YUN:

Where are you going? And why a church?

SARA:

One more person to find. And a church because the thing's a—

SARA:

—Werewolf. Damn it.

PAGE NINTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Interior of a Chinese restaurant. Fred is seated alone in a booth. He has a drink in front of him (possibly alcoholic—yes, I know he's a minor but he also knows where he can get served) and maybe some snack thing (untouched). A cigarette burns in the ashtray. His head is resting in one hand. Not happy.

SFX (off panel):

CRASH!

Panel 2

Fred looks up. Entering at a run from the door marked Chinese: KITCHEN ("kitchen") is Sara. She's knocked a waiter flying and there are plates and soup bowls everywhere (some still in mid-air).

SFX:

SMASH!

SFX:

CRASH!

Panel 3

Fred simply rests his head back in his hand, resignedly, as Sara, paying no attention to him at all, runs past him.

SARA (shouting):

Gangway! Girl in a panic here!

Panel 4

Close in on Fred, motionless as before.

SARA (off panel):

Is this seat taken?

Panel 5

Fred looks up to see Sara is now seated opposite him. She's holding a menu so it hides her from the rest of the restaurant (not particularly well). She has her finger to her lips.

SARA (softly):

shhhhhhh

Panel 6

Sara slides Fred's wallet across the table to him.

SARA:

You dropped your wallet.

PAGE TWENTY. Six panels.

Panel 1

Sara and Fred facing each other.

SARA:

You have no reason to trust me, but I'm here to help you. Those men have already killed two people to get to you. They're gonna keep on killing until they get you. I'm the only chance you've got.

Panel 2

Sara and Fred facing each other. Fred shouts, jabbing his forefinger at Sara, and Sara makes flapping "shhhh" motions.

FRED (shouting):

No!

SARA:

Shhh!

FRED (softly):

No! This is crazy. People don't just chase you and kill you. I'm not anybody. Why me?

Panel 3

Close on Sara's face. Earnest. Worried.

SARA:

I think you know why, Fred.

Panel 4

Similar close-up on Fred's face. Frowning.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

Extreme close-up of Fred's eyes (possibly one eye, whichever fits best). Sara's face is reflected in them/it. This seems like a cool way to depict telepathy, which is what is about to happen...

SARA (thought being picked up by Fred):

Does he know how important he is?

Panel 6

Sara stands. Fred looking up at her.

SARA:

They're still hunting. I'm going to lay a false trail. There are more of us, near here.

SARA (thought, being picked up by Fred):

I need him to trust me.

FRED:

I do.

SARA:

Do what?

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. Six panels.

Panel 1

A rough, run-down area of town. Sara runs along the edge of one of these huge urban storm drain/concrete aqueduct things they have in Los Angeles. Drain on one side, high building on the other. She's hemmed in. And running fast.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

Three out of three. Don's gonna be so proud.

Panel 2

She looks over her shoulder. A K-Man in wolfman form is pretty close behind.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

And I'm gonna be so dead.

Panel 3

She's stopped by a chain-link fence. Completely trapped now.

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

That was not supposed to happen.

Panel 4

Sara faces the K-Man. Defiant. False bravado. Her back is to the fence. She's half his size. And then there's the teeth thing.

SARA:

Oh, so you think you can take me? Well come on then!

Panel 5

A black-gloved hand taps the K-Man on the shoulder. (We don't see anything other than the hand, yet.)

K-MAN:

Rrrrrr?

Panel 6

The K-Man has turned his head to see who's tapped it on the shoulder. And a big, black-gloved fist comes out of nowhere and socks it in the muzzle. We don't see anything except the punch, which is so dramatic that it fills the frame.

SFX:

SMACK!!!

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. One panel.

Panel 1

Full page splash. The K-Man has been knocked down but not out. There's blood on its muzzle—yes, they can be hurt. Sara is still backed up against the fence. Both look at the figure that fills most of the page: JAMES. He's big, muscular, broad-shouldered. And, let's not beat around the bush, he's a superhero. He wears a form-fitting green and black costume. This includes knee-length black boots, black gloves (or, more accurately, gauntlets) and a cowl hiding his head and upper face. His jaw is, of course, square. And strapped to his left forearm is a SHIELD. Round, convex, about two feet across (or whatever size doesn't look too ridiculous when strapped to a forearm). Matt black with a silver pentagram on it. His pose is heroic. Streetlight glinting off the pentagram would be good. (Yes, it's the "summoning demons" form of pentagram. Not the safe, friendly, good-ol'-USA white star. It's the only hint of something amiss with this picture of all-American heroic cliché.)

CAPTION (Sara's monologue):

And sometimes I find exactly what I want without even knowing I want it.

Next issue: Just Starting Out

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2016 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.