Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 

"…AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE"

A script starring Baron Winters

by Barb Lien and Park Cooper

Page 1, Panel 1. This is a 4-panel page.

We see a wooden door, with gargoyles leering down at us.

SFX: Knock knock

Page 1 panel 2

Baron Winters, a man of indeterminate age, wearing a white or off-white suit and cape from another era, as well as a slightly demonic looking hairstyle and goatee, hobbles towards the door, leaning heavily on a cane. By his side is a leopard named Merlin, who is nearly as wise as the magician who shares his name.

Page 1 Panel 3

The leopard growls at the door. SFX: RRRrrrrrRRrrr…

Winters: Yes, I know, Merlin. Like you, I have never considered our late arrival to be an ally. However, let us hope he learns something from being in the presence of his betters this evening.

Page 1 Panel 4

PANEL: SFX: KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

Winters, with an annoyed look on his face: However, I doubt he will ever learn patience.


Page 2 Panel 1. This is a splash page.

Winters opens the door to reveal Dr. Terry Thirteen, about to knock again. Our Point of view is as a cross-section; that is, as if the house had been cut away or made invisible from the center of the doorway. The effect is a panel bisected up the middle: on the left, Dr. Terry Thirteen, a man in his middle fifties with a fairly full head of blond hair that could start graying any day now. He wears large glasses with somewhat dark, square-ish rims. His sense of fashion is still a little dated from the 1970's. He looks a tiny bit shocked at the door suddenly opening and perhaps secretly taken aback by the Baron's dramatic appearance, although he [Thirteen] does a good job of hiding his alarm and almost succeeds. We should also have, on the left side of the panel, lightning striking in the distance, perhaps with a thunderclap SFX. However, it shouldn't be really raining quite yet… just starting to sprinkle lightly.

On the right side of the doorframe, we see the open door, Winters, and Merlin. This panel only needs to come down to their knees, or more importantly, just below where Merlin's head meets his body. On the wall behind the Baron is a coat rack with a small brass inscription: Lost or Forgotten Coats/Outerwear. The rack, especially whenever we see it again later, should extend quite a way down the hall, and should have about 20 or so trench coats (say, 10 yellow, 3 tan, 4 white, 4 black… maybe one red one that looks like it would fit a larger-than-human sized individual?), half again as many matching hats of the (male) Doctor Occult style, and then as the coat rack continues down the hall, a number of capes (mostly historical… renaissance Italy, Dark Ages France, Viking… and then maybe one or two superhero-type capes (a spare Captain Marvel half-cape?), and finally a few helmets and/or masks (a Spanish Conquistador helmet perhaps). There are zero empty coat/hat/whatever hooks.

Maybe not in this panel, but somewhere near the entrance, there is an elegant standing ashtray, with the dish-like part appearing to be set in the widely open mouth of a demon frozen into a metal form. It is monstrous yet aesthetically pleasing somehow, as opposed to being just misshapen. It has a sign taped to it in a flowing, elegant hand: "Constantine, Use This Damned Ashtray."

It is empty, but below it on the floor are many smudges from where John Constantine has (almost certainly deliberately, even after reading the sign) dropped his cigs and squished them out on the nice woodwork with his shoe.

Winters, looking a bit smug at Thirteen's surprise: Dr. Thirteen, I am honored.


Page 3 panel 1. This is a four-panel page.

Thirteen: I'm sorry I was late, but de-bunking the arcane isn't a 9 to 5 job.

Merlin growls, almost looking as if to pounce.

SFX: GGGGRRRRrrrrRRRR….

Page 3 panel 2

Winters to Merlin, almost as an aside: He has the right to his opinion, no matter how uninformed it may be.

Winters, openly to Thirteen: You are not in time for dinner, but we welcome you to drink with us.

Meanwhile, Thirteen takes off his trench coat…

Thirteen: That'll be fine.

Page 3 panel 3

…and looks about the mansion, at the tapestries, the suits of armour, the vaulted ceilings, the many books on the walls, a skeleton which may be that of a small ape or of a hideously deformed child or dwarf, and tries not to shiver. They move towards the dining room.

Thirteen: Still using Dr. Frankenstein as your decorator, I see.

Seeing nothing like an empty coat hook by the end of the coat rack, Thirteen throws his coat over the arm of a suit of armour.

Page 3 panel 4

Winters opens a large set of doors with what look to be faces of vampires (all teeth and eyes) ingrained in the wood. We should get the feeling they aren't just decorations, but, real vampires trapped in wood. This should be rather more horrific than the ashtray. Our point of view is from over Thirteen's shoulder.


Page 4 panel 1 This panel stretches all the way across the top of the page, as does panel 2. Panels 3 through 6 appear across the bottom like so:

1111

2222

3456

The doors open to reveal a gigantic dinner hall. It looks like something out of King Arthur's time, sans round table, of course. Instead, it's a long, thin table, with no tablecloth. The tapestries on the walls tell tales of debaucheries, murder, Hell, etc. One tapestry could be of the Last Judgment (an angel makes a motion and the dead rise from their graves, like on the Tarot Card). Another could be of the death of Orpheus at the hands of the Baccheae. Whatever is bloody, whatever is evil, whatever you wouldn't want to see while you're eating, that's what's on the wall.

There are guests at the table who don't seem to mind the decor at all. We see them from a distance.

Page 4 panel 2

Closer up, we see the guests, who have just looked up in a kind of surprise. Sitting at the table are Zatara, Zatanna (both in stage costumes, but not wearing their top hats), Madame Xanadu, and Andrew Bennett (aka I… Vampire). Bennett has nothing on his plate. There's an empty chair by him, which seems to be for Dr. Thirteen. Madame Xanadu has a tarot deck with her that we see throughout the evening. Sometimes it is in her hand, sometimes it is by her hand on the table, sometimes she is shuffling it, but she should always look like she is fighting the impulse to start laying cards down. She refrains until the end of the story.

Seating chart: Head of table, Baron. Other end of table, Zatara. To his right, Zatanna. To his left, Bennett. Left of Bennett: Thirteen. Left of Thirteen, Baron. Left of Baron, Xanadu. Left of Xanadu, Zatanna (out of some Victorian idea that they can whisper 'girl talk', perhaps?) By the same logic, Winters may feel it impolite to seat Zatara, a sort-of widower of complex distinction, next to an unmarried (I think she's not Mademoiselle Xanadu in deference to her age {unknown but doubtless unusually old}, rather than her looks or married status…) woman of Madame Xanadu's obvious charms…

Finally, of course, Merlin should sit near Winters' left hand side throughout the evening. Winters might reach over and pat his head once or twice.

Seating chart: Baron

13

Xanadu

Bennett

Zatanna

Zatara

Winters, presenting his guests to the late arrival: May I? Zatara and his charming daughter, Zatanna. Madame Xanadu, Mr. Bennett… you are to sit next to him. You both share the same profession, in a way. You both investigate 'occult' activities.

Page 4 panel 3

Thirteen, as he sits down: I've heard that name connected with that cult of the blood red moon case. Fake vampires or some such…

Bennett, showing pointy sharpened teeth in a tight, humourless smile: Something like that, yes…

Page 4 panel 4

Madame Xanadu speaks, occupying the whole panel to herself…

Madame Xanadu (sitting across from Thirteen): Why were you late, Doctor, if I may inquire?

Page 4 panel 5

Thirteen has this panel to himself:

Thirteen: Had to bust up a fake spiritualist's operation right near the Capitol. Tarot card reader. Only a fool would believe those things actually can tell the future.

Page 4 panel 6

Back to Xanadu taking up the panel… a little closer-up to her face than panel 4.

Madame Xanadu (coldly): Indeed…


Page 5 panel 1. This is a 6-page panel, with three panels on the top half of the page and three on the bottom.

Point of view: over Zatara's right shoulder.

Winters, as he sits down (embarrassed, changing the subject): And, how about you, dear Zatanna? How have you been occupying yourself?

Page 5 panel 2

Zatanna: Me, oh, the usual. Magic, tantric yoga classes…

Zatara: With that reprobate Constantine. Your involvement with that man is going to be the death of me, I swear.

Page 5 panel 3

POV: as from Bennett's point of view.

Father and daughter's eyes lock. This is a conversation they've had before.

Page 5 panel 4

POV: same.

Zatanna: Father, it's my life to live and who I choose for friends should be my decision…

Page 5 panel 6

Silence at the table. Dinner conversation is not going well.


Page 6 panel 1. This is a 6-panel page of the same layout as the previous page.

POV: from between Xanadu and Zatanna.

Terry Thirteen, to Bennett: Er, some wine, Mr. Bennett?

Page 6 panel 2

POV: same as previous.

Bennett, smiling, revealing his fangs: I never drink… wine.

Page 6 panel 3

Everyone at the table breaks into laughter, except Thirteen, who doesn't get it at all.

Page 6 panel 4

POV: as from Winters' point of view.

Zatara, with a smile: Heh heh… You can't beat the classics.

Zatanna, Xanadu, Bennett are still a little cracked up.

Page 6 panel 5

POV: as from Zatara's point of view.

Winters, hands together in front of him, fingertips touching fingertips: It seems to me we were discussing something of importance before Dr. Thirteen's arrival.

Xanadu: We were swapping stories, Baron. I believe it was your turn, as a matter of a fact.

Page 6 panel 6

POV: same as previous.

Winters: Loathe as I am to speak of myself, I rise to your challenge, my good Madame. What was the topic again?


Page 7 panel 1. This is a 6-panel page like those previous, save that panels 4 and 6 should be a little narrower to make room for panel 5, which should be wider.

POV: as from Zatara's point of view.

Xanadu, with a thin smile on her face: Magic, of course.

Thirteen: --Pah. There's no such animal.

Page 7 panel 2

Winters: Listen and learn, good doctor, as I tell you a tale…

The table turns their attention to Winters, as he narrates.

Winters: This story involves a distant relation of mine. Yes, even an old man such as myself has living relations, as surprising as that may seem. Maxim was a grand nephew of mine…or a was it a great, great, great cousin…or…

Page 7 panel 3

POV: as from Zatanna's POV.

Thirteen as an aside to Bennett: Say, how old's he claiming to be, anyway?

Bennett: The Baron is sharing a tale with you---a rare thing, as he never speaks of his past. It's for your benefit, young man. Show the proper respect.

Page 7 panel 4

POV: as from Zatanna's POV.

Winters, looking over at the two talkers: If we may continue.

Winters: He wrote to me one day, heaven knows where he obtained the address, asking to see me, as we seemed to have common ancestors. I nearly turned him down, as I dislike anyone interrupting my work.

Winters: However, there was an air of desperation, I thought, in his voice. Perhaps I was simply curious or lonely. I invited him to this house. That was a mistake. You see, he brought his wife…

Page 7 panel 5

FLASHBACK. The panels of the flashback should look different somehow, perhaps blurred around the edges or sepia-toned, as if to tell us we are seeing the events through the mists of memory.

Baron Winters opens the door of the house to reveal Maxim Winters, a young man dressed in a blue, striped double- breasted business suit and tie. He has a beard not unlike the Baron's and is also carrying a cane, but, he's quite a bit younger and taller than the Baron. Yet, in spite of the air of young prosperity, there's also something in the eyes that says this man is in pain, of both mental and physical variety. He is also a bit crippled… not in such a way that makes him look freakish, but, in such a way that speaks of an injury from which he's never quite recovered.

By the young man's side stands a beautiful young woman of indeterminate race. Her skin is a very, very light brown, like cafe au lait, with extra milk. She could be a very light skinned Negro, or a Caucasian person with a deep tan. Her hair is black, yet her eyes, which are almond shaped and nearly oriental, are blue. The face is one of high cheekbones and arched eyebrows. She wears a white outfit, along the lines of Ilsa Lund in CASABLANCA. About her neck is a large red scarf which shields her neck from view.

They are carrying luggage of a rich leather type. These are not poor relations, let us say.

Page 7 panel 6

Maxim and his wife step inside the house with their luggage.

Maxim: This is my wife, Blanche. Still sounds funny to call her that…we're on our honeymoon, you see.


Page 8 panel 1. This is an 8-panel page. This would be a 9-panel grid, but panel 6 takes up the horizontal space of 2 panels.

Coolly, Blanche extends her gloved hand and they shake.

Blanche: I am pleased to meet you, Baron.

Page 8 panel 2

Winters: Your hand feels as cold as ice.

Blanche: I am not used to your colder climate.

Maxim: She comes from the West Indies.

In this panel Winters' hand remains open, as if he wanted it to thaw back out in the open air.

Page 8 panel 3

Winters leads them into the house and says: Do leave the luggage in the hall.

Merlin appears from the shadows.

Page 8 panel 4

Maxim and Blanche are taken aback by Merlin's appearance.

Blanche: Keep it away from me!

Winters strokes the cat fondly.

Winters: Merlin is my companion, my bodyguard, and my friend. He is harmless, except to my enemies, of course. But, if he disturbs you…

Page 8 panel 5

Winters: Wait in my library, old friend.

They watch Merlin turn and go to off down another hall.

Winters: Shall we go to my study?

Page 8 panel 6

Maxim, explaining as they walk: Blanche was once… attacked by a beast of some sort. That's how we met, as a matter of fact. I'd just been transferred to the Islands, as part of my company's business. Imports/exports, you see. Feeling very out of place, I took a walk one night. Good job I did, because I found Blanche being mauled by this shape…

Page 8 panel 7

Winters, opening the door to the study: Shape? You couldn't tell what sort of…

Maxim: Not a bit of it. It was like a man, only it seemed to be more… fierce. Anyway, I threw myself into the fracas, which is how I came to need this cane. Blanche was badly wounded also, about the neck and shoulders. Lost a great deal of blood.

Page 8 panel 8

They enter the study. Think of Sherlock Holmes' study at Baker Street and clean it up just a bit. Add a large library of occult titles and one of those large globes that opens up in the middle to reveal a bar. On the walls are maps, but, not maps of our modern times. These are historical maps, of different epochs, with different country names than we are used to, etc.


Page 9 panel 1. This is a six-panel page: two panels on the top tier, two in the middle, two bottom.

Closer view of Blanche-- she is the only person in this panel.

Blanche, picking up a book and looking at it: You have an interest in the arcane arts?

Page 9 panel 2

Winters: I am a student of humanity in all its rich variation, madam. Magic is merely part of the human condition. Please, sit down.

Page 9 panel 3

They sit down.

Winters: I see you at least are fully recovered from your injuries.

Page 9 panel 4

Close-up on Blanche again, even tighter than the last one.

Blanche: The scarf conceals much.

Page 9 panel 5

Maxim (holding tightly onto Blanche's hand): I thought I was going to lose this wonderful lady before we'd even been properly introduced. Her maid claimed the whole business had magic involved in it in some way. You know how those islanders can be. I think she asked the local hoodoo man to do something…

Page 9 panel 6

Blanche: I wish you wouldn't scoff. There's more to our beliefs than the credit you give them.


Page 10 panel 1. This is a six-panel page. Three panels at top, three at bottom.

Winters, at the bar: She speaks the truth, Maxim. Magic is something to be taken seriously or not at all.

He gestures at the bottles.

Winters: Anything for either of you?

Page 10 panel 2

Maxim: Whiskey's all right.

Blanche: Nothing, thank you.

Winters pours the whiskey.

Maxim: End of story, she recovered and later we were married, after that beastly business with her parents' deaths, of course.

Page 10 panel 3

Winters, startled, nearly dropping the glass: Of what did they die?

Page 10 panel 4

Blanche: Murder.

Tight framing of Blanche's face. She is attractive in a scary type of way, and her expression does not encourage deep discussion of the subject.

Page 10 panel 5.

Maxim, as Winters gives him the drink: It was awful. Throats cut, drained of blood. Never did catch the killer.

Page 10 panel 6

Blanche, looking irritated, getting up: Don't you think we've bored the Baron enough with such grisly tales? I myself would prefer to forget them. Besides, we still don't have a hotel for the night…


Page 11 panel 1. This is a six-panel page of the same type as page 10.

Winters, seeing that Maxim has also gotten up and they look about to leave: Why not spend the night here? I have plenty of room, after all. It would be such a comfort to an old soul such as myself. You see, I do not have the opportunity to go out much in the world any more…

Page 11 panel 2

Maxim: Really? We'd love to. It will give me a chance to discuss our family tree. I've been doing all the talking when I really wanted to know what you could tell me…

Blanche: We'd be intruding, Maxim.

She touches his arm with both hands in the process of speaking to him.

Page 11 panel 3

Winters, opening the study door: I insist. You will find your suite at the top of the stairs to your right.

Page 11 panel 4

As they leave the room and walk out into the hall, leaving Winters in the study, Maxim says to Blanche: I told you he sounded like a nice old gent…

Page 11 panel 5

Blanche: Then, you are blind, as well as deaf. Too bad you couldn't have been dumb as well. I dislike revealing my history to strangers.

Page 11 panel 6

Winters, in the present: The rest of the evening went politely, if not pleasantly. Dinner, small talk, good nights all around. We wished each other goodnight and pleasant dreams. I stayed down in my study. I had research to do…


Page 12 panel 1. This is a 7-panel page. Three panels on top, one panel of the same size at middle left, one panel twice as wide to the right of it, and two panels at bottom.

Winters, in the past (in the flashback, that is!), sitting in his study with Merlin lying half asleep at his feet, consults a book. The lights are dim except for a candle which throws a dim light on the Baron and the page.

Winters sort of mutters to himself: Now, what are vampires called in the hotter climes? Ah, here we are…Loupgarou. Best way to escape them is to recite their crimes as one runs…all well and good if one is being chased by such a creature, but, how does one destroy…

Page 12 panel 2

SFX: BONNGG… BONNGG…

We see that the grandfather clock (with the face of a soul being tortured in Hell) has just struck two.

Page 12 panel 3

Winters, as he yawns and stretches: Perhaps we should take up this matter in the morning. I'll just draw the curtains…

Page 12 panel 4

As he does so, Merlin looks up, alerted. SPX: RRRrrr… RRRRrrrrRRRRRRR…

Page 12 panel 5.

This panel is from the point of view of being over the Baron's shoulder, watching him look out through the window. He is half-hidden by the edge of the window.

Winters: What is it that has you so--

He looks to see a shape running past the bay windows. We can see it well enough to see that it looks like a body without skin.

Page 12 panel 6

Winters quickly gets behind the curtain.

Winters: I don't believe it saw us.

SFX (Merlin): GRRRRRrrr…

Page 12 panel 7

Winters, as he grabs the candle: As you say, we must check on the honeymoon couple, even if it does disturb their slumber…or lack thereof.


Page 13 panel 1. Three panels on top, three on bottom.

This panel is a little narrower than average.

Winters, outside the door of the couple's room, knocks: I say, is everything all right in there?

SFX: Knock, knock.

Page 13 panel 2

Close up on Winters' hand emerging from his pocket.

Winters, to Merlin: Well, if they refuse to answer, perhaps our friend Mr. Skeleton Key could be of service…

The Baron takes a long, ivory skeleton key, with, yes, a little grinning skull at the end of the handle, out of his pocket and opens the door.

Page 13 panel 3

This panel is a little wider than average, to make up for the first panel.

We see a room that looks like something out of a Hammer Horror version. The focal point of the room is a large four poster bed with a canopy. The canopy hides the contents of the bed from our view. Everything else in the room, even though we can't see it too well because of the darkness, is a plush blood red. By the bed is a chair with something draped over it.

The Baron approaches the bed, but, stops to look at what is draped over the chair.

Page 13 panel 4

This panel is a little wider than usual-- make panels 5 and 6 a teensy bit narrower to make up for it.

He picks it up and examines it. Merlin sniffs it in disgust. We can just barely tell that it is a human skin (Blanche's).

Page 13 panel 5

The Baron looks grimmer than usual.

Winters: I suspected as much. And, if I am right, I know what we'll find in the bed…

The Baron takes the long, red cord that is used to raise and lower the canopy and yanks it hard.

Page 13 panel 6

We see that Maxim is sleeping in the bed, but, Blanche is not there.


Page 14 panel 1. Typical 6-panel page: 3 on top, 3 on bottom.

Winters, shaking Maxim violently: For the love of God, wake up, boy.

Page 14 panel 2

Maxim, regaining consciousness: What are…oh, damn… she's gone again, isn't she?

Winters, waving the skin under his nose: Then you knew about all this? You knew about it and let it continue? You brought this THING into my house?

Page 14 panel 3

Maxim, sitting up in bed: Give me a chance to explain before you judge me.

Winters sits on the chair, still holding the skin. That is, we see him in the act or process of sitting, and he's sitting next time we see him. He never takes his eyes off Maxim, however. For that matter, Merlin is comparatively uninterested in Maxim-- instead, Merlin eyes the skin suspiciously and often.

Page 14 panel 4

Maxim: The first night of my honeymoon, I seemed to fall into a deep sleep. I thought it was for obvious reasons, but, it kept happening and I got suspicious. You see, I kept on dreaming the same dream every night. I saw things so vividly I started wondering if it WAS just a dream.

Winters: She put you in a trance, no doubt. I take it the dream involved your wife.

Page 14 panel 5

Maxim, grabbing a cigarette and matches off the table by the bed:

Every night, at 2 A.M., I saw her slip out of her skin, then she'd slip out the window…no matter how high our hotel room was, she'd slip out the window. Soon after, I started noticing the murders in the papers. They all died the same way, throats cut, as if by a razor…or razor-sharp teeth. So, one day, I went to a drug store and bought every alarm clock they had and set them up under the bed, so she wouldn't see. I was too disturbed to set the alarms for 2, so instead I set them for 2:15. (Note to artist: draw Maxim setting a bunch of alarm clocks and set it in the background in such a way as we can see it is part of Maxim's thoughts)

Page 14 panel 6

Winters: And, she wasn't there when you awoke.

Maxim, puffing on his cigarette: When she finally came in around 3 A.M., I pretended to be asleep. But, out of the corner of my eye, I could see her slip back into her skin. (Note to artist---draw this part as if it's part of his thoughts and set it in the background) Then, she slipped into bed next to me as if nothing had happened.


Page 15 panel 1. 9-panel grid, save that panel 1 is a bit wide, and panel 8 is a bit narrow.

Maxim, still smoking his cigarette, the ash getting longer and longer: I didn't know what to do…I love her so much…so, when I remembered talk of an occultist in my family, I felt I had no other choice than to bring the matter to a professional. Please tell me you can help her.

Use this panel to show us a bit of the inner Maxim-- we should see his outer cool doesn't extend much beneath the surface, and while he cares for his wife, he's constantly working to submerge suspicion, edginess, and a fair bit of doubt and fear.

Page 15 panel 2

Winters, putting the skin back on the chair: I will do what I can…and only that. Now, go to sleep.

Maxim, flicking an ash into an open urn by the bed: Thank you.

Page 15 panel 3

Winters, looking astounded: Have you been using that urn as an ashtray?

Maxim: Why, yes, all night, as a matter of fact. I just figured it LOOKED like an ashtray…

Page 15 panel 4

Winters, making moves to leave: I haven't allowed one of those things past the foyer since young Constantine nearly burnt down the west wing.

Maxim: But, the thing's full of ashes…

Page 15 panel 5

Winters, opening the door: Not the sort you thought, dear boy…you might want to deposit that butt in the commode when you're finished with it.

Page 15 panel 6

Maxim, alone, uses a match to look at the urn. The lettering says, "J. D'Arc."

Page 15 panel 7

Our view this panel is from above, an almost bird's-eye view, as if we were a small insect up in the bed's canopy… and from this vantage point we can see that there are already 11 or 12 cig butts in the urn so far…

Maxim: Not THE Joan of…you have to pardon me, old girl, but, if it is you, a bit more ash wouldn't bother you one way or another…

Page 15 panel 8

In the present (out of flashback), the dinner companions all laugh, with the exception of Terry Thirteen, who looks uncomfortable.

SFX: HA HA HA HAHA HA HA

Zatara: You couldn't resist the joke, could you, old man?

The best way I can suggest to represent this panel is as if we were observing it from a point in the corner of the ceiling, way behind Zatara and Zatanna.

Page 15 panel 9

Winters, humbly, making a sort of sitting bow, hand to his chest: I thank you, sir. Now, returning to my tale…I read the papers and, of course, there was a murder mentioned---as there would be every night if I didn't do something about it…I spent most of the day researching the Loupgarou. I found nothing in the literature concerning how to change one back to a human.

Bennett: There isn't such a thing. Believe me, I've done research of my own on the subject.


Page 16 panel 1. This six panel page has 2 panels at top, 2 on the middle tier, 2 at bottom.

POV: as from Zatara's POV.

Winters: As you can see, since she wasn't about to abandon her evil ways…

Xanadu: Perhaps she could not. It was her destiny to be what she was.

Winters: Never the less, dear Madame, people were getting killed. Destiny or choice, I had to put matters aright…

Page 16 panel 2

We see Winters in a large, large kitchen of perhaps the colonial era, holding the skin of the woman in one hand, a canister of labeled SALT in the other.

SFX (Merlin): Grrrrrgggggrrrrr…

Page 16 panel 3

Winters, pouring the salt into the skin: I don't see what else we CAN do, old boy. The killing has to stop here and now.

Page 16 panel 4

Winters puts the salt back on a shelf.

Winters, to Merlin: Return this to her room…then, all we can do is wait.

Page 16 panel 5

Merlin, with the skin in his mouth, trots off to do his errand.

Page 16 panel 6

We see the Baron sitting in his study. The radio is on, playing classical music. He is pretending to read a book. (The caption at the bottom of the page says 2:55 AM.)


Page 17 panel 1

He turns the page of his book.

Off panel, SPX: EEEEIEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Maxim, also off panel: Blanche, what's wrong?

Winters' face is a blank mask.

Page 17 panel 2

Off panel: The pain…devil damn his soul to hell…my skin…it…it ITCHES!

Maxim, also off panel: I'll get help…

We see Winters' hand turn up the radio.

Page 17 panel 3

SPX: what looks to be musical notes, from the radio.

Winters returns to reading his book.

Page 17 panel 4

We see a pair of woman's hands make a noose out of the cord that pulls the canopy on the canopy bed. Our POV is from the side. The room is fairly dark. The woman is, of course, Blanche, but in deep shadow.

Page 17 panel 5

We see the woman, standing on a chair, attach the noose to the chandelier. Our POV is from behind the woman.

Page 17 panel 6

We see that the chair is on its side, as she has kicked it out from under her.


Page 18 panel 1. This page has 1 large panel at top half of page, 3 of equal size at bottom.

This panel takes up the entire top half of the page.

We see a pair of dangling legs. (Again, Blanche's obviously.)

Winters, in the present, explains via captions: The police were called. of course. I don't know how the coroner explained away the salt in Blanche's system, but, it was ruled a suicide. What else could they do?

Page 18 panel 2

Zatanna: And, Maxim? Did he understand?

The table is quiet save for Zatanna. Our POV is as Zatara's.

Page 18 panel 3

Close-up on Winters.

Winters, with a sad, sad look on his face: He left the next day…I never heard from him again.

Page 18 panel 4

POV: from the Baron's POV. Therefore, all eyes are on us. Zatanna looks sad and a little shocked. Madame Xanadu looks barely sympathetic, Bennett a bit more so. Zatara's face is neutral. Thirteen looks a bit upset and uncertain.

Zatara: I don't know what to think of that story.

Winters. What do you think of it, Dr. Thirteen?


Page 19 panel 1. This is the basic 6 panel page, with three panels on top, three on bottom.

Close-up on Thirteen. He looks shaken, but with growing irritation.

Thirteen: I think…I think I have never been so humiliated in my life!

Page 19 panel 2

POV: as from a spot above Thirteen's head, and a bit behind him… off his left-hand side.

The dinner companions speaking in unison, as one big reaction shot: WHAT?!?!?

Page 19 panel 3

POV: as that of Madame Xanadu, but she's focused fairly closely on Dr. Thirteen.

Thirteen, face twisted up in anger: I thought you invited me here because, even though we work on different sides of the aisles, that you respected what I did. Instead, you tell me a story that I have heard in one form or another more times than I've heard the urban legend about the gerbil in the microwave…I put that damned Loupgarou story in my book about Caribbean legends, as a matter of fact.

Page 19 panel 4

POV: as Zatara's.

Winters, also angry: It was a true story.

Thirteen: That's what they ALL say.

Page 19 panel 5

POV: as Winters'.

Zatanna: He didn't tell you the story to hurt you…we… we wanted you to join us…

Page 19 panel 6

POV: as Xanadu's.

Thirteen, getting up: I'm not about to sit here and be insulted any more. GOOD NIGHT!


Page 20 panel 1. The basic 4-panel, "Peanuts-style" page.

POV: Bennett's.

Zatanna opens her mouth to speak.

Zatara: --Leave it be, daughter.

Page 20 panel 2

They watch Thirteen leave in a huff. Madame Xanadu, the social veneer of the evening badly cracked, gives in to temptation and begins laying down card after card.

Page 20 panel 3

We see Thirteen grab his trench coat angrily on his way out.

Page 20 panel 4

POV: Zatara's.

Zatanna: I thought it would work. I thought that by sharing our stories with him, he'd see how sincere we are. I thought he'd understand… The Phantom Stranger has gotten so much more _social_ this decade, after all.

Winters: The doctor simply wasn't ready, child. Perhaps he never will be.


Page 21 panel 1. The typical 4-panel page.

POV: Zatara's.

Bennett: And if Thirteen isn't ready to accept help, I doubt Mr. E. shall ever be. There's a saying about the courage to change what we can, the serenity to accept what we can't…

Page 21 panel 2

Xanadu has this panel to herself.

Xanadu (visibly laying down what we should easily be able to identify as the Hermit card onto a growing spread): And the wisdom to know the difference. Where did you learn that saying, Mr. Bennett?

Page 21 panel 3

POV: Zatanna's.

Bennett: On occasion, I attend A.A. meetings, to help me with….my compulsive behavior, so to speak.

He holds up what looks like a little plastic blood-red poker chip from around his neck, but we zoom in close enough to see that it says "5 years".

Page 21 panel 4

POV: Bennett's.

Zatanna, with a sad, girlish smile, her elbows on the table: I just wish we could have gotten through to him, somehow. He's a good man and we could have used him on our side.


Page 22 panel 1. Panel 2 takes up the entire page, save for panel 1, which possesses the size and location of the first panel of a 9-panel grid.

Close-up on Winters. He looks both disgusted (with the situation? with himself?) and sad.

Winters: In his own way, I suppose he does. There are many rooms in the house of magic, after all…

Page 22 panel 2

We see Terry Thirteen standing outside the door of the mansion, leaning back against it slightly. He's got his coat draped over his arm, not bothering so far to wear it properly. He looks locked out of more than just the house-- regretful, trapped in isolation, trapped by his own nature, bitter, pained. It's raining hard now, and water, whether in the form of rain or tears, is streaming down his face.

THE END

All characters are ™ DC Comics
This story is © 2000 by Barb Lien and Park Cooper.
 
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