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The Sleep That You Don't Know

 This script was written for an artist that has been on my radar for some time, but of the artists listed thus far I am least familiar with. The resulting script was written a bit more with the intent of letting the artist play with some cool imagery and to allow the art to shape the artist to take some liberties with the text. I could see this one played emotionally, or simply as an exploration of drug induced visions.
    Brandon Graham is a celebrated artist and writer with a background in graffiti, a talent that lends itself easily to a script like this one. Additionally Graham has shown in various projects like Multiple Warheads on Oni Press, and Prophet on Image, that he can create strange new worlds quickly. It is important that we enter into the dream along with Batman in the space of just a few panels, and understand that our real world rules no longer apply. Graham is a master of making the imagined worlds in his books vibrant and threatening, even when the fantastical elements take center stage.
    This script was a challenge in that I wanted to keep it at 6 pages, and that I wanted to communicate something deeper than "Batman's hallucinations are terrifying but cathartic". Originally I wanted to set this story in Brazil, as Bruce willingly explored his mind on an ayahuasca trip, but I honestly cannot see Bruce taking any drug willfully. Bruce's sentiments about inebriation are clear in this story, but I think the reader may find that in this circumstance it posed an opportunity for growth, there is no political statement being shared in this story, it is strictly my perception of how Bruce might feel in this situation.
    A story like this can exist in this short form, but ideally a story like this could work well as a lengthy story arc over several issues. I would love to explore that Silver Age style of other dimensional adventure, centering on Batman navigating the dark and at times absurd folds of his mind.



THE SLEEP THAT YOU DON’T KNOW”




PAGE 1


SCENE: INT. BATCAVE


5 panels, 4 grid, widescreen open panel on bottom

P1- Tight shot on the back of BATMAN’s head as he pulls up information on a large computer terminal. A variety of monitors and hard drives fill the background.


CAP: IT TOOK ME EXACTLY 46 MINUTES, 13 SECONDS TO GET BACK IN THE CAVE. THUS FAR I HAVE HAD NO INDICATION OF POISONING. IT TOOK ME 3 MINUTES TO DRAW BLOOD, AND ENTER IT INTO THE SYSTEM, RESULTS PENDING.


P2- The shot has moved to BATMAN’s side, showing his profile. Both hands pull the cowl off of his head, the illumination of the computer monitors provide shallow lighting.


CAP1: I RECEIVED A FULL HYPODERMIC LOAD TO THE THIGH WHILE APPREHENDING ONE OF ARKHAM'S FINEST. I WISH I COULD SAY THAT THIS KIND OF THING IS UNCOMMON, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE GOTHAM IS A MAGNET WHO WOULD LIKE NOTHING MORE THAN CONTINUALLY POISON ME.   


CAP2: I AM NO STRANGER TO THIS FEELING, THAT TWISTED GUT FEAR OF THE CHEMICAL UNKNOWN.


P3- Tight straight on shot of BRUCE’s face, the cowl off now, lit by the monitor. BRUCE has an expression of concentration and concern as he reads the monitor off panel.


CAP1: SURVEY SAYS...


BRUCE2- WELL, ALFRED, IT IS A DIMETHYLTRYTAMINE SERUM, THE FACT THAT I AM NOT ON MY BACK YET IS SHOCKING. THERE ARE OTHER COMPOUNDS FOUND HERE THAT THE MACHINE IS HAVING TROUBLE IDENTIFYING. I EXPECT TO BE ON A MAGIC CARPET RIDE BEFORE LONG, BUT I DON’T SEE ANYTHING HERE THAT WILL KILL ME. I DON’T EXPECT THIS TO LAST VERY LONG, BUT YOU CAN EXPECT SOME ODD BEHAVIOR.


P4- BRUCE has turned now, the shot has pulled back to reveal his entire body with the wall of computers to his back. BRUCE is hunching slightly.

BRUCE: SEAL THE CAVE, SHUT DOWN THE OVERRIDES. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, I AM NOT SURE HOW THIS IS GOING TO GO… BUT IT IS STARTING…


P5- The range of the shot remains the same, but now in the widescreen panel the computers in the background have turned into an alien world. The shapes of the computers seen in the previous panels are there, but now the background resembles exposed organs. Everything has a wet sheen, it is disgusting. Membranes, vein like channels, stomach like pouches etc. now fill the panel.


CAP1: IT BEGINS. I DESPISE INEBRIATION, LACK OF CONTROL.


CAP2: ONE MOMENT I AM DRAWING BLOOD AND FEEDING IT INTO THE CENTRIFUGE, READING THE LABS. NOW… NOW… I AM FORGETTING…


CAP3: I HAVE FORGOTTEN.




PAGE 2


5 panels,1 widescreen up top, below it a vertical panel covering that remaining page hald, with the 2 box panels, one atop another beside it.


P1- The environment is now full of liquid, bubbles float, as if BRUCE is inside of a stomach, full of other strange organs.The organs have sent out intestine like tendrils toward BRUCE. Shot from the side at a midrange, we see these tentacle/intestine like organs arcing toward BRUCE, as he stumbles backwards. BRUCE’s arms flail attempting to swat away the organs.

The background continues to ooze and slosh with life, shining and wet.


CAP: I AM BEING DIGESTED.


P2-  BRUCE’s full body fills most of the panel. BRUCE is now overwhelmed by the tentacles, a look of terror on his face, teeth gritted. Each of BRUCE’s hands tightly grip some of these organs, while others move toward his mouth.


CAP: TOO MANY… THEY WANT TO GET INSIDE OF ME… I HEAR THE FEELING… THEY WANT INSIDE…


P3- An extreme closeup as the tentacles enter BRUCE’s mouth. A disgusting residue spills to the sides as they enter. BRUCE’S cheeks swell from the pressure of the forced entry.


CAP: THEY GOT IN, NOW THEY KNOW.


P4- Midrange shot of BRUCE showing him from the thighs up. The background is now flat black, no longer the organ world we saw in the previous panel. BRUCE is buckled over, vomiting violently, an obscene volume of raunchy thick liquid and pearls. BRUCE’s face is crushed into a look of intense agony.


CAP: I GOT IT OUT. I LET IT ALL OUT.




PAGE 3


5 panels, 2 square up top, widescreen in the middle, 2 square at the bottom.



P1- BRUCE’s feet are in the shot, from his perspective looking down. In front of the boots is a splattered pile of the vomit, pearls shining, scattered throughout the mess.


CAP: PEARLS… MOTHER…


P2- Shot from ¾ above BRUCE now appears very young, on the night of his parents murder. Tears stream from his eyes, the entire background is still black, the vomit and the pearls stand in hard relief against the black.


CAP: MY FAULT?


P3- Now shot from behind the young BRUCE, still midrange, is shown from behind. The environment is still mostly black, but BRUCE is framed by two brick walls in CRIME ALLEY. Some light where the alley opens up reveals the silhouette of the fleeing gunman who shot the WAYNES.


CAP: MY FAULT. I DID THIS, I MUST STOP THIS.


P4- Back in reality BRUCE is shown from directly above, his entire body is shown on the floor of the BATCAVE in a fetal position. His eyes are open wide, and wild, his teeth clenched, sweating profusely.


P5- Back in the hallucination, young BRUCE is shot from behind again, but from the shoulders up. The background is now all black again, THOMAS WAYNE’s hand grips BRUCE’s shoulder.


THOMAS (OFF PANEL): BRUCE…




PAGE 4


4 widescreen panels


P1- A two shot from slightly below (BRUCE’s POV) of THOMAS and MARTHA WAYNE as they have appeared on the day of their murder. Both wear fine clothing and stand side by side in a mid range shot. Blood stains are apparent on their bodies from the gunshots that killed them. Both wear troubled expressions as they look at their son who is off panel. The background remains black.


THOMAS1: BRUCE, STOP THIS NONSENSE, WHAT HAPPENED WAS NOT YOUR FAULT BUDDY.


MARTHA2: REALLY BABY, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, NO ONE COULD HAVE KNOWN…


P2- Same shot as in P1, same angle’s and framing, the parents are rotting now. Sections of flesh have pulled back revealing bone, the eyes have sunken in, teeth bared due to the recession of their lips. Their clothing is beginning to split at the seams, as if many years of death has passed. The background remains black.


THOMAS1: GOTHAM WAS GOING TO HELL BRUCE, AS MUCH AS IT PAINS ME TO ADMIT IT. THERE IS NOTHING WE COULD DO, IT GREW UP TOO FAST, LIKE YOU…


MARTHA2: ...YOU DIDN’T GET A CHANCE TO BE A BOY… I AM SO SORRY MY LOVE… YOU BECAME SOMETHING ELSE, I DON’T UNDERSTAND…


P3- The same shot again, the WAYNE’s their condition is now much worse. THOMAS now looks to MARTHA, both now are essentially skeletons in fine clothing that is now moth eaten and moldering.


MARTHA1: ...DON’T LOSE YOURSELF COMPLETELY BRUCE, YOU ARE STILL MY LITTLE BOY…


THOMAS2: BRUCE, YOU MAKE US PROUD, WE MUST GO NOW… JUST REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE.


P4- The WAYNE’s have disappeared from the panel, leaving it blank and black.


CAP: I REMEMBER WHAT I AM… I REMEMBER.



PAGE 5


4 box panels in grid, 1 widescreen panel at the bottom


P1- Back in reality BRUCE is shown in the fetal position from above on the BATCAVE floor as seen previously. Now ALFRED is hunched over him with a damp hand cloth, holding it to BRUCE’s forehead, his other hand on BRUCE’s side.


ALFRED: MASTER BRUCE, DO YOU HEAR ME? MASTER BRUCE?


P2- Extreme closeup of BRUCE’s eye, which is opened wide, his pupil dilated from the drug. Sweat glistens in small droplets on his skin.


ALFRED (OFF PANEL): CAN YOU HEAR ME? BRUCE? BATMAN? BRUCE? BATMAN? (the lettering and balloon both become less clear and trail off as ALFRED speaks)


P3- Shot from below BRUCE is now back to his full grown status, and is flying, arms spread with a completely black background. BRUCE has his mouth wide open. Tiny white moths can be seen in the air in front of BRUCE as he closes in on them.


CAP: I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM. I AM A PREDATOR.


P4- Extreme close up on BRUCE’s mouth as he closes in on a white moth. This frame captures the exact moment before BRUCE closes his mouth on the moth.


CAP: SIN EATER.


P5- BRUCE’s whole body is shown flying in this panel. He is now a bizarre hybrid of a bat and BRUCE. This should not resemble MANBAT, rather focus the mix on the strange proportions a mixture of the two species would produce.




PAGE 6


4 panels, 2 long vertical panels that cover the top ½ of the page, and 2/3rds down. 2 square panels side by side finish the page.


    P1- The BATMAN hybrid is at the top of the panel, struggling to stay in flight before the black background. Thick chains wrap around the leg of the hybrid, they appear thick and heavy and hand taught, as they are wrapped around the dead and bloody corpse of DAMIAN WAYNE. The body hangs limp and blood runs from the sword wound through his chest that killed him. The face of the hybrid is stressed, yet determined as it struggles against the weight.


CAP: I AM A MACHINE, MY FUEL IS DEATH.


P2- All black panel.


ALFRED (OFF PANEL): BRUCE, MASTER BRUCE, DO YOU HEAR ME?


P3- Back in the BATCAVE shot from above. BRUCE is on his back now on the BATCAVE floor, eyes open weakly now, looking at ALFRED who is still hunched above him, his arm cradling BRUCE’s head. ALFRED’s other hand is on BRUCE’s chest, sweat still covering BRUCE’s face, his mouth wide open as if gasping for air.


BRUCE1: I AM HERE ALFRED, I’M OK…


ALFRED2: BRUCE… WHAT DID YOU SEE?


P4- Midrange shot showing BRUCE and ALFRED’s entire bodies. BRUCE is now on his feet with ALFRED supporting his weight, one arm over BRUCE’s shoulder, the other around his waist. BRUCE is weak on his feet, hunched over, exhaustion clear from his expression. ALFRED looks to BRUCE with intense concern as they move forward.


            BRUCE: I SAW MYSELF.