Home | Index | Issue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

5: Choices

This story is set the morning after the preceding issue. Nobody has changed clothes since the previous issue. Note that PAUL/JEROME is exhibiting a third personality in this issue: HARRY. I will refer to him by this name throughout this issue. As usual, there is no physical difference between HARRY and the other personalities.

Most narration in this issue is in the form of HARRY's internal first-person monologue, which should be indicated on-panel by a distinctive "type writer" lettering. (A basic monospaced courier with maybe an idiosyncrasy, such as a blurred "o"). These captions will be marked in the script as "HARRY's monologue".

PAGE ONE. Four panels.

Panel 1

Close up on HARRY's face. He's slumped against the door inside the cabin (from last issue), so we may see wood behind him. A shaft of early-morning sunlight from the window (out of panel) lights his face. His eyes are closed. He has a day's growth of stubble which gives him a decidedly disreputable, down-at-heel look compared with the neatly-groomed Paul and Jerome that we are used to seeing.

CAPTION:

California

CAPTION:

16 September 2014

Panel 2

The same view but HARRY's eyes are open.

CAPTION:

Morning

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Where am I?

Panel 3

HARRY climbs awkwardly to his feet. We still can't see much more of the cabin.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Last thing I remember was a hotel room and a dame—

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

What the—?

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Oh. Now I remember.

Panel 4

Big panel, wide view of the cabin interior. HARRY is on his feet, looking down at the WILD BOY. This is our first real look at WILD BOY. Apart from the short curly brown fur over his entire body (he's naked), and his extreme musculature, he looks like a human child. Maybe four feet tall, but his height is hard to gauge at the moment as he's sitting on the floor with his knees pulled up to his chin. His eyes are open and he's watching HARRY.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I'm dead.

PAGE TWO. Six panels.

Panel 1

HARRY and the WILD BOY face off. HARRY crouches and feels in his coat pockets.

WILD BOY:

Rrrrr?

HARRY:

Take it easy, kid. Here, you want some—uh—

Panel 2

HARRY is offering a partially-unwrapped candy bar to the WILD BOY.

HARRY:

—Candy?

Panel 3

HARRY watches the WILD BOY devour the candy.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Get a grip, Harry. You've been in tighter scrapes than this.

HARRY:

Okay kid, I'm not here to hurt you, capisce?

HARRY:

Do you even understand English?

Panel 4

HARRY is standing and looking around the cabin. The WILD BOY, still chewing candy, doesn't take his eyes off him.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I'm trying to sort out my memory here but it's a big grey blur.

HARRY:

You're in trouble, aren't you kid? On account of the way you look. That Ranger fella—

WILD BOY:

Rrrrrr

Panel 5

HARRY crouches again, face to face with the WILD BOY.

HARRY:

Oh, you know that word do you? Is he hunting you?

HARRY:

No. Not hunting you. Protecting you. But somebody else—

Panel 6

HARRY looks over his shoulder, towards the cabin door.

HARRY:

Shhh. People outside.

PAGE THREE. Three panels.

Panel 1

The clearing outside the cabin. JAMES, SARA, and CHI-YUN are packing up camping gear. It is evident that they have spent the night outside. We'll have a big panel to establish the scene and the characters.

SARA:

One of us should check on Jerome.

JAMES:

He'll come out when he's ready. He's gained that boy's trust somehow, and I don't want to—

SARA:

You really think it's a boy? Not an animal?

CHI-YUN:

I think it's a boy who was born different — just like us —

CHI-YUN:

— and we should help him, because if we don't then who will?

Panel 2

Close up on SARA, looking serious.

SARA:

That's quite wise, Chi-Yun. For you.

Panel 3

Close up on CHI-YUN, smiling.

CHI-YUN:

Why thank y—

CHI-YUN:

Hey!

PAGE FOUR. Five panels.

Panel 1

Back in the cabin. HARRY is listening to the conversation.

CHI-YUN (voice coming through door):

What you mean, for me?

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

The ditz has a point. This kid needs my help.

Panel 2

HARRY turns to look at the WILD BOY again. The boy looks back blankly.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But what in Sam Hill do you do to help a kid like this? Wherever you take him, he's gonna be a freak show.

Panel 3

HARRY goes back to listening at the door.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And why should it matter to me? I've been dead for sixty years.

Panel 4

Close up on HARRY, eyes wide.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Why the hell am I thinking that?

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Pull it together, Harry. This is no time to lose your marbles.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

What's wrong with me?

Panel 5

Still on HARRY, but a wider shot to include the door again.

DOYLE (voice coming through door):

So you kids got that thing trapped in there, do you?

PAGE FIVE. Four panels.

Panel 1

Outside in the clearing again. SARA, JAMES, and CHI-YUN are looking off to the side, where MIKE DOYLE (from last issue) is leaning against a tree. He no longer wears his backpack, but we might see his shotgun over his shoulder.

DOYLE:

Here's how it can go, kids. It can go easy, or—

Panel 2

JAMES steps between DOYLE and the cabin.

JAMES:

The only way you get into that cabin is through me.

Panel 3

DOYLE steps forward while readying his shotgun.

DOYLE:

Or we can do it the hard way—

Panel 4

DOYLE grips the shotgun in two hands and fires at JAMES from a distance of only a few feet. The shot catches JAMES full in the chest and he is slammed back by the impact.

SFX (shotgun):

BOOM!

DOYLE:

Which, gotta admit, I much prefer.

SARA (yelling):

James!

PAGE SIX. Four panels.

Panel 1

DOYLE looks down at JAMES, and works the shotgun action. We should see SARA running, but towards the prone figure of JAMES, not towards DOYLE.

SFX (shotgun):

ka-chak

Panel 2

DOYLE is levelling the shotgun at JAMES (still prone, but need not be in the panel). Leaping in from his side is CHI-YUN -- literally leaping, she's hurling herself at DOYLE, arms outstretched. We should see that her fingers are hooked into sharp, cat-like claws.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

DOYLE half turns and smashes the shotgun into CHI-YUN's head, with her claws inches from his throat.

SFX:

SMACK

Panel 4

CHI-YUN has landed on all fours and is looking up at DOYLE. And there is a definite cat-like quality to her stance. It could be the way her arms ("forelegs") bend the wrong way, or it could just be the shape of her face when she bares her big pointy teeth. But she's still a human girl, so the overall effect should look unnatural.

DOYLE:

What the—

CHI-YUN:

Hissssssss

PAGE SEVEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Big action panel! From a POV over CHI-YUN's shoulder as she gathers herself to spring at DOYLE. He's pointing the shotgun at her. But behind him, we see the cabin door slams open and HARRY comes charging towards him.

SFX (door):

CRASH!

Panel 2

Another big action panel! Alerted by the noise, DOYLE turns his head in time to take HARRY's wild right hook square on the jaw. The shotgun fires, peppering the ground near CHI-YUN as she springs sideways (cat-like) out of the way.

DOYLE:

Wha—?

DOYLE:

Uhhh

SFX (punch):

Wham!

SFX (shotgun):

BOOM!!

Panel 3

SARA is kneeling over JAMES, who lies with his eyes closed. There's a big black scorch mark on his chest, but his costume is intact.

SARA:

James? Say something!

Panel 4

Same positions, but JAMES's eyes are open.

JAMES:

Ow?

PAGE EIGHT. Nine panels.

Panel 1

Same positions. SARA punches JAMES in the chest.

JAMES:

Ow!

SARA:

What's the point of carrying a shield if you're not going to use it?

Panel 2

SARA is standing and looking off to the side. JAMES doesn't move, but shields his eyes with his hand and looks up at her.

JAMES:

It's symbolic. How's Jerome doing?

SARA:

He's doing pretty good—

Panel 3

HARRY grabs DOYLE by the lapels and slams him into a tree. DOYLE drops the shotgun near his feet.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

DOYLE gets HARRY with an uppercut to the chin; HARRY is barely affected.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

HARRY punches DOYLE in the stomach.

No dialogue.

Panel 6

As DOYLE doubles over from the punch, HARRY punches downwards, knocking him to the ground.

No dialogue.

Panel 7

On his knees, DOYLE reaches towards the shotgun. HARRY stamps on his hand.

No dialogue.

Panel 8

With his other foot, HARRY kicks DOYLE in the face, smashing him over backwards.

No dialogue.

Panel 9

Back to SARA, watching.

SARA:

—But I don't think it's Jerome any more.

PAGE NINE. Six panels.

Panel 1

Scene change. It's still early morning. DON and FRED in the RV, heading out of the city. DON is driving, FRED is in the passenger seat but his head is back and he's fast asleep.

CAPTION:

Interstate 5

Panel 2

DON looks sideways at FRED and his finger reaches for a control on the dash.

CAPTION:

North of Los Angeles

Panel 3

Music blares from the cab's speakers, and FRED wakes with a start.

MUSIC:

I write the songs that make the whole world sing, I write—

FRED:

Whu— Wuzzat? I'll gettem—

Panel 4

DON touches another control. FRED is rubbing his eyes and yawning.

DON:

Good morning, Fred.

FRED:

Ud munlin Don.

DON:

Do you think you can drive something this big?

FRED:

Yeah! I guess...

Panel 5

DON steers to the side of the road (this may be easier to show from an exterior POV).

DON:

Okay, take the wheel while I'm in back. I need to sort things out with my people — arrange fake IDs for you kids, and all that.

FRED:

You know people that can do that?

FRED (softly):

Cool.

Panel 6

While FRED slides behind the wheel, DON moves into the back of the vehicle.

FRED:

You think the others have been okay, up there in the mountains?

DON:

We only left them twelve hours ago!

PAGE TEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

DOYLE is sitting back, wiping blood from his nose. HARRY has him covered with the shotgun. JAMES, SARA, and CHI-YUN approach from behind HARRY (CHI-YUN now looks like her normal self).

CAPTION (voice-over continuing DON's speech):

"How much trouble could they be in already?"

DOYLE:

You people are in a world of trouble.

HARRY:

Says the man not holding the shotgun.

Panel 2

DOYLE reaches inside his jacket, going for something in an inner pocket.

DOYLE:

I'm an agent of the court—

DOYLE:

Easy, I'm not going for a weapon—

Panel 3

DOYLE hands a sheet of paper to HARRY, who keeps the shotgun on him.

DOYLE:

And that's a Federal Warrant to bring in the person I think you're hiding in that cabin.

Panel 4

HARRY hands the paper to JAMES, who is at his side.

HARRY:

Bounty hunter?

DOYLE:

You'll find that's all in order. Now—

Panel 5

DOYLE is rising to his feet, keeping his hands in obvious sight (HARRY doesn't lower the shotgun).

DOYLE:

You gonna let me in the cabin or do we need to bring the county sheriff into this?

Panel 6

HARRY lowers the shotgun, but his face is still grim. JAMES is handing the warrant back to DOYLE.

HARRY:

Sure, go ahead. Look all you want.

SARA:

But—

HARRY:

Hey now, the law's on his side. How are we going to stop him?

PAGE ELEVEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

HARRY holds the shotgun casually over his shoulder as he turns to SARA. In the background, we see DOYLE walking towards the open cabin door.

HARRY:

'Less you want me to shoot him?

SARA:

What? Geez —

Panel 2

DOYLE is at the cabin door, back to us, looking in. SARA is open-mouthed, hands spread, as she tries to find a response to HARRY. JAMES puts a hand on her shoulder.

JAMES:

Nobody's shooting anybody.

Panel 3

DOYLE walks back towards the group. HARRY is opening the shotgun's magazine and letting the shells fall to the ground.

DOYLE:

Back window. Cute.

HARRY:

Aww did the big hunter lose the wabbit?

Panel 4

DOYLE holds out his hand for the shotgun. He seems remarkably calm about all this.

DOYLE:

I'll find him again.

Panel 5

HARRY hands the shotgun, stock first, to DOYLE.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I feel naked without a gun. But I'll pick up a thirty-eight if we ever get out of these god-damned woods.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Shotguns are just too messy.

Panel 6

DOYLE is walking off into the woods by the side of the cabin. The others just watch him go.

SARA:

We're just going to stand around?

HARRY:

Got a better plan?

CHI-YUN:

I could—

HARRY:

No, following him would not be a better plan.

PAGE TWELVE. Five panels.

Panel 1

SARA confronts HARRY

SARA:

Would you really have shot him?

HARRY:

An unarmed man? In the back? No.

Panel 2

Close up on HARRY.

HARRY:

But as long as you kids are on the run, you're going to keep running into situations that you can't handle. You don't have parents and cops as safety nets any more.

HARRY:

Let me put it another way for you. If it was you he was after, and you knew he was going to keep coming—

Panel 3

HARRY looking round at the other three.

HARRY:

Would you shoot him?

Panel 4

And they are looking at the ground, off to the side, anywhere except at HARRY or each other.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

HARRY turns away from the group and towards the cabin.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

They have good hearts. But that doesn't keep you alive in this game. One day they're going to have to make the tough choices.

HARRY:

Come on, let's scare up some breakfast.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Hey now, tough choices build character. I turned out just fine.

PAGE THIRTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

DON sitting at his computer workstation in the back of the RV, typing. This is just establishing for Panel 2.

SFX (DON typing):

tak-a-tak-a-tak-a-tak tak tak

SFX (computer):

beep

Panel 2

A view of the computer screen. Depending on the angle (and available space), we might also see DON's hands on the keyboard. But the focus should be on the open window, which shows an interactive chat session. This should be lettered as a plain-old computer font (each person's lines can be in a different colour, e.g. blue for DON and pink for SPIRIT, but only if this makes it easier to read). The style of the interface should NOT be like today's proprietary chat clients, but it should be obvious (even to someone not computer literate) that we are seeing a typed dialogue between two different people. Whew. Ok, the dialogue should be lettered exactly as follows (including any typos, abbreviations, etc). (Note that we obviously come in mid-conversation, so some has scrolled off the top of the screen and we start with half a sentence from DON.)

also passports - and drivers licenses
SPIRIT: no prob except for James if u can't photograph him
DON: I know
SPIRIT: James is a security risk - we need to find out who he is
DON: I know
SPIRIT: can u get me a blood sample?
DON: That's Fennec talking
SPIRIT: :P
DON: I won't invade his privacy. He's given me no reason not to
trust him

SPIRIT: he can't be James Lang's son
DON: Do you *know* that?
SPIRIT: i told u i'm not omniscient :P
SPIRIT: but if he is - want to take a guess who his mother is?
DON: I'm trying not to think about it
SPIRIT: i don't trust Smithsteen either
DON: You don't trust *anybody* - but let me worry about it. You
recruited me for a reason - remember?

SPIRIT: because u r the best
DON: OK. Let me do my job. Can you get the documents to me
in Seattle?

SPIRIT: it might be better to send them to San Francisco for u

Panel 3

Close-up of DON while he thinks about this.

DON:

San Francisco?

Panel 4

A close-up on the lower part of the screen -- we'll repeat some of the previous chat, but it's mainly to see the new lines added, so we can chop most of the screen off at the panel border.

in Seattle?
SPIRIT: it might be better to send them to San Francisco for u
DON: I'm not going to San Francisco
SPIRIT: u will when you answer the fone call from Franklin
Marks

DON: What phone call from Fr_

SFX (phone, off-panel):

diddle-oo-doo diddle-oo-doo

Panel 5

A view of DON, holding his phone and staring at it like it's about to explode.

SFX (phone):

diddle-oo-doo diddle-oo-doo diddle-oo-doo diddle-oo-doo

DON (softly):

Not omniscient.

PAGE FOURTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Close up on DR PAUL SMITHSTEEN's wallet, showing his driving license (of course the picture is the same as the man we currently know as HARRY).

HARRY (off-panel):

Harry Grubbings, Chicago. I'm a private investigator.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And the last thing I remember was in 1951.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Now it's the 21st century and I'm inhabiting the body of my great grandson.

Panel 2

Wider view of HARRY, holding the wallet.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And if you think that makes me sound like a refugee from the asylum, join the club.

Panel 3

HARRY sits on one of the logs by the fire, pouring himself coffee. He watches JAMES fiddling with the fire.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But at least I'm not running round in my long johns like James here.

JAMES:

Welcome to the group, Harry.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I know these kids, but I don't know them. It's like I've been watching the last few days on a movie screen.

Panel 4

SARA is coming out of the cabin with an arm full of cans.

SARA:

There's spam, tomato and spam, spam and—

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Sara. Five-six, 130, blue-eyed sorority girl. Far too confident.

Panel 5

CHI-YUN joins SARA.

CHI-YUN:

Isn't there anything without meat in it?

SARA:

There's beans and spam — it doesn't look like there's much spam in that.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Chi-Yun. Can't be more than sixteen. Cute but clueless. Way out of her depth.

Panel 6

Group shot as they gather round the fire.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

These kids -- and me too, like it or not -- are on the run from some kind of alien wolf monsters.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I know how that sounds -- but right now I'm ready to believe anything.

PAGE FIFTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

The sun is higher. JAMES, HARRY, SARA, and CHI-YUN sit around. Breakfast is over.

JAMES:

The name on that warrant was Peter Carter

CHI-YUN:

The same name as the ranger.

JAMES:

His son, is my guess.

Panel 2

HARRY pours himself more coffee.

HARRY:

Yeah. The ranger's been protecting him out here. Up till now, anyway.

Panel 3

Still sitting around. CHI-YUN addresses her question to JAMES.

CHI-YUN:

What will we do now?

JAMES:

We find a way to help them.

HARRY:

Good luck, kid. The law's on Doyle's side.

Panel 4

While JAMES delivers his next speech, SARA makes "vomiting" motions behind him.

JAMES:

He may have the law on his side, but we have justice on ours. I won't break the law, but I have to do what my conscience dictates. We will find a way to help the boy—

Panel 5

JAMES turns to speak directly to SARA. She adopts an innocent expression.

JAMES:

—and we will do it without shooting anybody.

JAMES:

We're on the run because we have to be, not because we're criminals. We're not going to let it make us into criminals.

Panel 6

JAMES still speaking.

JAMES:

To live outside the law, you must be honest.

DON (off-panel):

Damn right.

PAGE SIXTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Sure enough, DON is walking towards them. FRED is trailing somewhat behind. They are dressed as they were on the drive -- no back packs or other hiking gear.

SARA (shouting):

Don!

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Well hallelujah. I thought the kid would never shut up.

Panel 2

Big splashy type panel of the whole group reuniting. SARA is hugging DON. JAMES and CHI-YUN walk over, grinning. HARRY remains seated, drinking his coffee. FRED hangs back, ignored.

DON:

Hey, easy!

SARA:

So glad you're back!

CHI-YUN:

You won't believe what happened!

JAMES:

We've got a lot to tell you, sir.

FRED (softly):

Hi, Fred, how are ya?

Panel 3

SARA has let go of DON and smiles over at FRED.

SARA:

Hi, Fred, how are you? There's still coffee if you want it.

DON:

Come on now, it's only been one night. What's—

Panel 4

DON looks down at his feet, where he's just stepped on a shotgun shell. There's a small cluster of them -- HARRY emptied the magazine, remember?

DON:

Oh.

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

Once more sitting around, talking.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Got to give Newman credit, he's all business when he has to be. He gets the story and sees the big picture straight away.

DON:

It smells fishy. If people are working under Federal orders to round up kids like you—

Panel 2

Close-up on DON.

DON:

Damn, that makes life difficult.

DON:

I wish I had seen that warrant.

Panel 3

SARA holds the folded warrant out to DON.

SARA:

There you go.

Panel 4

DON merely smiles as he starts reading the warrant.

HARRY:

You lifted that? Smart girl.

SARA:

I didn't lift anything. I found it. He dropped it. Over there.

DON (softly):

That was lucky.

Panel 5

DON still reading. Everybody else watches him.

DON:

It all looks — hey!

DON:

I know the judge who signed this. He owes me.

Panel 6

DON looks up. He's grinning.

FRED:

Do you know everybody?

DON:

Uh-huh.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

First rule of the game is to get a cop or a judge in your pocket.

PAGE EIGHTEEN. Six panels.

Panel 1

DON is on his feet and taking out his phone. Everybody looks at him.

DON:

I'll make some calls. I think I can get the warrant squashed.

Panel 2

The others begin to stand (SARA, JAMES, and CHI-YUN first).

SARA:

So what good will that do? Doyle's a vicious—

SARA:

I mean, he's not going to just give up.

Panel 3

Close on HARRY and FRED, who are still sitting.

HARRY:

He's a bounty hunter. I know the type. He's scum, but he's owned by that warrant.

FRED:

No warrant, no pay.

HARRY:

Got it in one, kid.

Panel 4

Group shot again. HARRY is now standing.

DON:

I'll sort the legal end. But I need you to find them. Doyle, or the kid, or both. And keep them apart. Can you do that? Of course, you don't have to get involved—

JAMES:

I think we do.

SARA:

I'm in.

CHI-YUN:

Me too!

FRED (softly):

Is this gonna keep happening?

Panel 5

CHI-YUN has moved over to DON and is SNIFFING the warrant which he still holds in his hand.

DON:

Spread out, be careful. Sara, you've got the best chance of — huh? Chi-Yun?

SFX (CHI-YUN):

sniff sniff

CHI-YUN:

Oh. Nothing. sorry.

PAGE NINETEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

The rocky shore of a small lake. DOYLE is making his way along the shore.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Don't ask me how, but somehow the girls lead us through the woods to where Doyle's tracked the boy.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Blasted woods. I need to get back into the city.

Panel 2

JAMES steps out (from behind a rock, tree, whatever) and confronts DOYLE.

JAMES:

Hold it there.

DOYLE:

Oh look, it's Kid Hero.

Panel 3

Looking from JAMES' POV. Some way behind DOYLE, we can see HARRY running up.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Damn fool kid's gonna get himself killed.

DOYLE:

Ready for round two? 'Cause I'm moving on past you, whatever you say.

Panel 4

Now SARA and CHI-YUN come into view, behind JAMES. And CHI-YUN is holding the WILD BOY's hand.

JAMES:

I can't let you take this boy anywhere.

Panel 5

DOYLE takes the shotgun off his shoulder.

DOYLE:

We've been here before, kid. What are you going to do—

PAGE TWENTY. Five panels.

Panel 1

Our POV is now through the telescopic sight of a rifle. DOYLE is centred in the crosshairs.

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

"Shoot me, this time?"

Panel 2

We now see the ranger MARC CARTER, lying flat on his stomach, looking through the sight on his hunting rifle. He's obviously aiming down at DOYLE.

DON (off-panel):

Pull the trigger and you'll regret that choice for the rest of your life.

Panel 3

CARTER turns, and we now see DON standing over him. DON is non-threatening -- he's simply made a statement of fact.

CARTER:

That's my boy down there. He's eight years old. I'm not going to let the government take him from me like he's a criminal.

CARTER:

Or dissect him like he's an animal.

Panel 4

DON squats next to CARTER, who no longer holds the rifle. He reaches into his pocket (for his phone).

DON:

Won't happen. You have my word on that. My people are working on it. We'll get the bounty hunter off your back.

CARTER:

This one. But what about the next one and the one after that?

Panel 5

DON is dialling on his phone.

DON:

Well, I guess that's up to you. I think you know how to take care of your family. You've done fine for the last eight years.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. Six panels.

Panel 1

Back on the lake shore. Still a stand-off. DOYLE has his shotgun in his hands, but casually; pointed down. SARA's phone rings.

DOYLE:

Think fast, kiddies. Fight or flight?

SFX (phone, in SARA's back pocket; "musical" lettering):

la la at the copa copacabana cha cha

Panel 2

SARA is listening to her phone.

SARA:

Uh-huh — yes — okay.

SARA:

Mister Doyle, your warrant's been cancelled.

Panel 3

DOYLE is amused. He's taking a PDA out of a pocket.

DOYLE:

Yeah. Nice try, girl.

Panel 4

DOYLE is tapping on his PDA, looking at the display (which we don't need to see).

DOYLE:

It's gonna take me all of five seconds to—

Panel 5

DOYLE tucks the PDA back into his pocket. His face is expressionless.

DOYLE:

Cute.

Panel 6

DOYLE simply walks away from the group, back along the shore of the lake. They all watch him go.

CHI-YUN:

That's it? We won?

SARA:

What the hell kind of anti-climax was that?

HARRY:

They don't all have to end in gunfights and car chases, sweetheart. I'll take a win any way I can get it.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. Five panels.

Panel 1

DON and CARTER walk down the slope towards the group.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I don't care what special abilities these kids are supposed to have, facing down an armed man like that still takes guts.

Panel 2

CARTER holds the WILD BOY's hand in one of his, while DON shakes his other hand. The rest of the group stand a little way off.

DON:

You ever need me — you just have to call.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Between their powers, and my brains, we'll do ok.

Panel 3

DON starting off up a trail while the rest fall into line behind.

DON:

C'mon gang, let's go home.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Home, he calls it. I'm not spending my life in a motor home.

Panel 4

The group arrives back at the RV.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

The sooner we're in the city, the better.

CHI-YUN:

Did we do the right thing? Leaving him there? Why couldn't we take him with us?

DON:

I don't think we could do anything for him that his father couldn't do better. He's a kid. Not old enough to understand the choices.

Panel 5

The cab of the RV. DON is driving. CHI-YUN is sitting next to him. She's looking down at her feet, not at DON.

CHI-YUN:

Can you get a letter to my grandfather for me?

DON:

Oh, I think that can be arranged.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I can feel Paul pushing to take control. But Harry's been away for too long.

Panel 6

Exterior, distant view of the RV as it drives up the highway.

DON (from within vehicle):

Remember, Chi-Yun, you're always free to choose who you stay with.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Harry wants to play.

Next issue: Unity

See also: Don's Mission Report

Copyright © 2002, 2010, 2016 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.