Script looking for an artist … intended for submission to Seqapunch#6
The Danger Beyond
A story about the horrors that await you after death …
The page and panel breakdowns are only suggestions, feel free to group panels together or split them into further panels/pages if you feel the art and story need to be different from what is suggested.
The visuals are fairly strait-forward; for the most part just two people taking to each other, but there is an element of tension between them that should be stressed with the art in terms of camera angles and a focus on things like the gun one of the two holds on the other. The first page and last pages are a little different from the rest in terms of what must be shown.
The Danger Beyond
Art by … YOU.
Story by David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch
A man (a middle-aged scientist) coming home from work in the darkness of the night. How this page is done is up to you. It could be a single larger panel, or several smaller ones showing the scientists pulling up to his house in his car, getting out of the car, walking up to the door, opening the front door with his wedding ring visible, etc. As long as the text blocks below are places in readable order on the page it’s all good.
[ It was just another day. ]
[ In the past arriving home at this hour would have made me late … ]
[ But those days were long gone. There was no-one to chide me for my late hour. ]
[ I still wore the ring. It stopped questions and complications. ]
[ And I was still married in one sense. Still married to my work. ]
The man now inside his house, perhaps hanging up his coat or placing his keys neatly in a bowl near the front door? Two text blocks …
[ Now there was nothing but silence to welcome me home. Silence … ]
[ … and a woman with a gun! ]
JOSEPHINE: Sit down, please, Dr. Burke.
The woman can be any age you want, but she should be attractive enough to be on TV, and have a quirky sense of fashion, such as large earrings or a flamboyant dress. She is holding a pistol and sitting in a comfy chair.
BURKE: Who are you?
JOSEPHINE: My name isn’t important.
BURKE: Whatever you want? Take anything you need.
JOSEPHINE: What I need is for you to stop me dying.
BURKE: Stop you dying? I’m not that kind of doctor. I’m a scientist. A Ph.D.
JOSEPHINE: I know who you are, Dr. Burke.
BURKE: Then I don’t understand how I can help you?
JOSEPHINE: Cryogenics, Dr. Burke. You can freeze me.
BURKE: Only when you are dead. That’s how it works.
JOSEPHINE: No! You are working on suspending life. Suspending it indefinitely.
BURKE: Well, yes … but so far only in certain insects. Even the smallest mammals perish.
JOSEPHINE: But you’re close. I heard you were close.
BURKE: You seem to know an awful lot about my work, Miss … ?
JOSEPHINE: You can call me Madame Josephine.
BURKE: Madame? That’s an odd title.
JOSEPHINE: I’m a psychic, Dr. Burke. A communicator with those who have passed beyond the veil.
BURKE: You mean a charlatan.
JOSEPHINE: Oh, I’m quite real, Doctor.
BURKE: And I suppose you used your mystic powers to learn about my research?
JOSEPHINE: No, I used Google.
BURKE: This is all quite preposterous.
JOSEPHINE: I’m desperate, Dr. Burke. Truly desperate.
BURKE: I can’t …
JOSEPHINE: Yes you can. Use me as a guinea pig … as a test subject for twenty-seven-beta-nine.
BURKE: What? No … it’s unethical.
JOSEPHINE: The gun should give you a clue that I don’t care too much about ethics at this point, Doctor.
BURKE: But all the test subjects died when frozen.
JOSEPHINE: Yes, but those were mice.
BURKE: And rats. Poor things.
JOSEPHINE: Rodents … mere souless rodents, Dr. Burke. You and I know that twenty-seven-beta-nine is designed to work only in humans.
BURKE: Yes, but rules are rules … I have to test it on lab animals first.
JOSEPHINE: And that’s why it fails. They have no soul.
BURKE: Um? No, they just don’t have the right genetic …
JOSEPHINE: It’s the soul they are missing Dr. Burke
Josephine interrupts the good Doctor.
BURKE: Don’t be ridiculous.
JOSEPHINE: I’m serious. Doctor. So serious I’m willing to bet my life on it.
Josephine waving the gun about a bit.
BURKE: And mine too it seems?
JOSEPHINE: If you help me you’ll be unharmed.
Burke looking at the gun with a bit of worry in his face.
BURKE: And if I don’t help you?
JOSEPHINE: Then you can join the voices from beyond the veil, Dr. Burke.
Josephine aiming the gun at Burke deliberately.
BURKE: And what does lie beyond the veil, Madame?
JOSEPHINE: The souls of the dead, Dr. Burke. The countless souls of the dead.
BURKE: Not countless, Madame, if you’d studied mathematics rather than astrology you’d know it’s a simple enough calculation to estimate the number of dead since the rise of humanity.
JOSEPHINE: On this world, perhaps, … but what of the others?
BURKE: Well, now you’re just making up nonsense.
JOSEPHINE: According you it’s all nonsense, but I know what lies beyond. And I fear it.
BURKE: Fear? But you psychics always tell people their loved ones are happy up in heaven.
JOSEPHINE: Lies, Doctor. Lies and false hope.
BURKE: So you are a charlatan?
JOSEPHINE: Not at all, Doctor. Not at all. But we must lie and tell people their loved ones are happy in the afterlife.
BURKE: Aren’t they?
JOSEPHINE: No. The other side is a place of desperation, loneliness, envy and hatred.
BURKE: Hatred? Of whom?
JOSEPHINE: Hatred of the living, Dr. Burke. And the most intense hatred is reserved for those few of us that can part the veil.
BURKE: If the dead hate you then why do they talk to you?
JOSEPHINE: They need me and those like me. Their only desire is to once again have some influence on the land of the living.
JOSEPHINE: Hearing those beyond the veil isn’t hard … if you have the gift. The dead scream for our attention, doctor. They scream with a billion voices of anguish and despair.
JOSEPHINE: What’s hard is filtering them and ignoring them when you want some peace.
BURKE: So the afterlife is just one giant email spam server?
JOSEPHINE: Hah … I like that … Yes, and you get new mail every quarter of a second, and it’s always in BOLD CAPS.
BURKE: And you want me to freeze you to avoid this afterlife of emptiness and despair?
JOSEPHINE: That is certainly what you will find beyond the veil, Dr. Burke, but alas, for me it is much worse.
JOSEPHINE: There’s a reason no great mystic has never communicated us from the grave, Dr. Burke.
BURKE: Because it’s all a load of hokum?
JOSEPHINE: A psychic should easily be able to part the veil from the other side and talk with whoever they pleased … but that is something the jealous hordes of dead cannot abide …
JOSEPHINE: … when I pass over I shall be silenced.
BURKE: Silenced? How?
JOSEPHINE: I do not know, exactly, but it will not be a pleasant thing.
JOSEPHINE: Sometimes those dead souls I speak with taunt me with my fate … their bitterness and hatred replaced with an unrestrained glee at my impending doom.
JOSEPHINE: So you see, Dr Burke, I mustn’t die, … ever!
BURKE: And cryogenic freezing is your answer?
JOSEPHINE: Yes. the only answer.
BURKE: You do realize once you are frozen I could just call the police and have you unplugged?
JOSEPHINE: I know.
BURKE: You’ll be completely powerless and at my mercy.
JOSEPHINE: Yes, but I hope you will be kind to me …
JOSEPHINE: … perhaps even arrange for yourself to be frozen at some later date and join me in eternal slumber?
BURKE: Why would I ever do that?
JOSEPHINE: Because I can put you in touch with your mother.
BURKE: My mother? But …
JOSEPHINE: Trust me, Dr. Burke, once you talk to your mother’s soul you’ll want to join me in icy-cold limbo.
BURKE: I … I don’t see how … ?
[ And so we spoke to my mother. ]
[ Oh, I was skeptical at first. ]
[ Particularly since I’d hated my mother when she was alive. She’d been dismissive of me, my wife, my career … everything really. ]
[ And Madame Josephine channeled all the bile and bitterness I remembered from when my younger days. ]
As with the opening pages this page and the following page could be done as a single panel, or a serious of panels, depending on how you wish. All that has to happen is the text blocks need to be placed in such a way so they will be read in order, and Dr. Burke and Madame Josephine need to be shown in a seance-like setting.
[ Any doubts I had disappeared when Madame Josephine mentioned her plan to freeze herself. ]
[ Suddenly it was the medium herself that was focus of my mother’s rage. ]
[ And when Josephine suggested I might follow suit the room became electrified and chill. ]
[ It became clear to me … my mother wanted me to pass over. ]
[ She wanted it with a burning vengeance … and once I crossed the veil she would spend eternity berating me with my earthly faults. ]
[ Which is why I have a frozen psychic in my basement … ]
A frame showing Dr.Burke wiping condensation on the glass below which we can see the ‘sleeping’ form of Madame Josephine.
[ … and why there’s a second, empty chamber waiting. ]
And we see that right next to the first pod containing MJ there’s a second empty pod for Dr. Burke.