Friday, March 22, 2013

A Friend Gone

I "know" a lot of writers through online chatboards and Internet meeting places. But that's not the same thing as spending time with someone, visiting a person's home, or even just chatting with them from time to time on the phone.

One of the writers that I was very happy to actually know was Rick Hautala. I got to visit Rick at his home in Maine, and he came down here where I got to spend time with him and show him around. (I especially recall our very creepy visit to the abandoned Christian theme park, Heritage USA.) Long regarded by the term 'Maine's other horror writer', he was a prolific author with a list of credits that most of us can only wish to have and will likely never achieve. In addition to being a very talented and committed professional writer, he was also something that almost no other writer I've met actually is:

A very sweet and compassionate human being.

I've never met a sweeter guy in the writing business. He was always busy trying to hone his craft and earn a living for himself and his family, and yet he would always find the time to help another writer struggling to find a home for their work. I was happy to have worked with Rick on a failed project that we pitched to Vertigo Comics some years ago. It was one of those near-misses, they told us. And even though it never found the light of print, I'm happy that we had the time to brainstorm and put our heads together to make the attempt. It was one more battle in the many that Rick fought to put bread on his family's table.

Goodbye Rick. We'll all miss you.

a script proposal for THE DREAMING
James Robert Smith & Rick Hautala

Page One
Splash page. Big panel at top of page (perhaps top third of the page).A gap in a library shelf. A book is obviously missing. Lucien stands below the shelf looking up at it, one hand on his hip, the other scratching his head. In subsequent panels he paces up and down this row, always returning to the slim, but terrible gap in the continuity of books. Two small panels, punctuated by Lucien looking up at the gap (for a total of three panels--Dawk!). A pair of these panel sets should do it.

Page Two
Panel One: Pumpkinhead, in his own rounds, happens upon Lucien. He can tell that Lucien is bothered, pacing as he is about the library.
Pumpkinhead: Hey, Loosh. What's the problem? I ain't seen you like this since that book was missin' about a hunnerd years ago.

Panel Two: Full head shot of Lucien glaring at him.

Panel Three: Pumpkinhead: Oh. That, huh?

Panel Four: Lucien and Pumpkinhead side by side, looking up at the gap.
Lucien: I hate it when this happens.
Pumpkinhead: What book is it? The one that's missin'.
Lucien: I...I don't know.

Panel Five: Pumpkinhead looking surprised. Body english shows amazement.
Pumpkinhead: You don't know?! Whaddaya mean you don't know? You know ALL the books!
Lucien: Not this one. I only know it's missing.

Panel Six: The handyman has recovered his composure. The two of them still side by side.
Pumpkinhead: Any idea where it is?
Lucien: Somewhere in the real world.
Pumpkinhead: Oh, then. That shouldn't be a problem. Small place, that.

Panel Seven: Closeup of Lucien rolling his his eyes.

Page Three
Panel One: The new Lord of the Dreaming sits and listens to Lucien.
Lucien: I don't understand this. I'm supposed to know all the books. Every one of them.
Lord: You know that it's missing.

Panel Two: A shot of some part of the library. Shelves leading up and away, almost into infinity. Captions of the conversation overlaying the image of the books.
Lucien: Yes. But I don't know what it is! I know which ones aren't missing. I cannot tell you the title of this book. It's a book I didn't know was there.
Lord: Yes, this is a puzzle. I agree.
Lucien: Do you know the title of the book?
Lord: I know who wrote it.
Lucien: Who?

Panel Three: The gap in the shelf again. Caption of the DreamLord speaking: It's the story you would have told had you not become the first raven.

Panel Four: Shot from Lucien's POV. He is standing, so he is higher than the Dreamlord. Shot should be from behind him, maybe the back of his head, with the Lord taking up most of the panel space.
Lord: You may search for it. Go.

Panel Five: The Dreamlord is sitting. There is a trace of smoke (like a tendril), where Lucien was. Matt is perched beside the Dreamlord.
Lord: Matthew?
Matt: Yes?
Lord: Follow him. But at a distance. Try not to let him know you're there. And try to remember that he was a raven, once. The first, you know.
Matt: I know.
Lord: And Matt? If he finds the book, let me know. Immediately.

Panel Six: The Dreamlord sits. Matt is gone.

Page Four
The new Sandman has risen and he is moving about his home. Room to room. He passes into a dining room; at least it bears a long table, and chair, and the table is full of food. There is a man sitting at the table. He is tall and lean and dressed in black and his hair is very black, too. This man is Lucifer. Three panels should do it.

Panel Four: The Dreamlord sits at the table. (the imagery I'm striving for in this portion of the story is one of a kind of powerlessness on the part of the new Dreamlord. I'd like to put him below, or on an equal level with other of the mystic population. He's green.)
Lucifer: Well?
Lord: He's gone after the book.
Lucifer: Your predecessor would not have let this happen.
Lord: I am not my predecessor.

Panel Five: The Dreamlord has picked up an apple and has it in his hand, as if examinging it.
Lucifer: What do you intend to do about it? You can't just let him find the book!
Lord: He's aware of it now. If I didn't let him go to find it, then he would begin to suspect something and it would be just a matter of time until...problems arose.
Lucifer: Who took the book?
Dreamlord: I don't know. Someone who entered the Dreaming without raising an awareness among us. Remeil, perhaps. Constantine, perhaps. Lucifer, perhaps?

Panel Six: Closeup of the man's face. He appears to be very angry.
Lucifer: (His eyes glowing, pools of black with white-fire dots.. He's not human, of course.) Lucien is not supposed to KNOW! We can't allow it!
Lord: Then I suggest you find the book before he does. I suspect that if it's returned to the library, posthaste, then all will be as before. He will know the book is there, but he won't know what the book is, nor where to find it. A particular grain of sand on the beach.

Panel Seven: The Dreamlord is sitting still. Where the man was is a puff of smoke.

Page Five
Panel One: The Dreamlord, standing, has turned to face the reader, looking directly at him. Full figure.

Panel Two: He approaches the reader. Three quarter view.

Panel Three: Dreamlord, waist up.

Panel Four: His pointed finger is jottting at the reader.

Page Six
Panel One: The figure of an old, but sturdy man. He is balding, but is tall and straight, dressed in dark suit, tie done firmly up.  There is a fading image before him, almost as of a window in the shadows that surround him. In that fading image (about a foot across) we can see the Dreamlord's fading hand. The old man has drawn back, as if the finger were jotted at him.
Old man: Oh, my.

Panel Two: The old man has turned now from the faded image into which he had been looking. There is a worried expression on his face. He has a pleasant face, beginning to show the lines of age. His ears are slightly pointed, and there are even the hints of canines at the edges of his lips. His hair (despite the high forehead and receding hairline) is lush and white, trimmed close about his ears.
Caption: There are those who exist on that thin line between the worlds, between that which is neither real nor imagined, waking nor dream. All of the truly unique creatures tread this line, between what is and what is denied.

Panel Three: It can now be seen that the old man is surrounded by shelves and shelves and shelves of books. The shelves lead away into shadow. There is light coming in from a big plate glass window through which we are looking, seeing the man. We are pulling back, away from him in this panel, just outside the window.
Caption: Heironymus lives in this land. He makes his way here.

Panel Four: We are back, almost a long shot so that we can see that the window is the front of a bookstore. We can see the figure of Heironymus full in the window, as he looks out on a bleak streetscape outside the store. A placard hangs over the door to the store. An old style sign that hangs over the door--the kind you don't see much of these days because the winds blow them down and they fall on people and they sue you.

Panel Five: Long shot of the store. The building is a brownstone type, three stories perhaps, and the entrance is on the ground level so you don't have to walk up or down.
Caption: This dividing line is where Heironymus had built his shop. It was for the newly dead and the undead and for those who tread the ways of magick.

Panel Six: Closeup of the placard above the door. OCCULT BOOKSTORY, it reads.
Caption: And it was for those who can no longer dream: the cursed.

Page Seven
Panel One: Heironymus is standing in his BOOKSTORY. He is turned toward the shadows.
Heironymus: Hear, hear!

Panels Two through Four: Various beings appear at the front of the store, out of the shadows. Wraiths, creatures of the night, others. About ten in all by the fouth panel. Some of them have books in hands.

Panel Five: Heironymus standing before them, they in a semi-circle about him, bookshelves looming.
Heironymus: I'm going to do a reading. Tell all you know that I have come upon a most unique book and that I will be giving a reading tonight. At midnight, of course. Be here. Bring others.

Panel Six: Heironymus is now standing alone.
Caption: He cannot hide the book. Not from such as those from whom it was taken. But he can still know it and share it and do his job. There will be a reading before the book is taken back. There will...

Page Eight
Panel One: A shot from very high up. Down below, through wisps of clouds, is a big house surrounded by lawn and trees. One can see the figure of a human in the yard so far below. The tip of a black-feathered wing at the edge of the panel.

Panel Two: A young girl (the granddaughter from issue #57). She is in front of a big, victorian house, just off the steps leading up to it. She is looking skyward.
Thought balloon: Now where did you go? Weird the way that bird was just hovering like that. For so long, too. I didn't know a crow could do that.

Panel Three: Closeup of the young girl, her hand shading her eyes, looking skyward. Shot should be about a medium shot, waist up.

Panel Four: Exact same shot. This time there is a man behind her. We recognize it as Lucien, although we can see only to his shoulders.

Panel Five: Finger tapping girl on shoulder.

Panel Six: Reaction shot of young girl startled out of her wits as she backs away from Lucien.

Panel Seven: Side shot of Lucien looking down at the girl.
Girl: Oh, my. You're Lucien, aren't you? Grandfather described you to me in a story.

Page Nine
Panel One: The girl's grandfather has come out of the house and onto the porch. He is standing partially in shadow. You can see his body, and his face is pooled in darkness, but his eyes and vaguely fanged mouth stand out.
Grandfather: And what is it you're after this, time, Lucien?

Panel Two: The old man has come down from the porch and he's facing Lucien there on the lawn. The trees are full of golden leaves.
Lucien: Well, you had the book the last time one was missing from the library, and since I've had no luck elsewhere...
Grandfather: I'm sorry to say, Lucien, that I don't have it. I never really cared for books, you know. Stories should be told, not written.

Panel Three: Lucien has turned and is gazing off into the trees. The girl and her grandfather, standing side by side, are watching him.
Lucien: I can't quite figure out where the book is, this time. It's never been like this before.

Panel Four: Grandfather has come closer to Lucien, leaving his granddaughter a pace away.
Grandfather: What book was taken?
Lucien: I don't know the title. It's very troubling.
Grandfather: Who wrote it?

Panel Five: Closeup of Lucien. His eyes are gazing skyward now.
Lucien: I think I wrote it. Or, rather, it's the book I would have written if...

Page Ten
Panel One: Lucien is walking away from the two, now. He is moving down the walkway toward the trees.

Panel Two: Medium shot of the girl and her grandfather. She is tugging on the sleeve of his shirt.
Girl: Grandfather? Grandfather!

Panel Three: Closeup shot of grandfather looking into the girl's face.

Panel Four: Grandfather has stepped away from the girl and has begun to walk toward Lucien who is near the end of the walkway.
Grandfather: Wait, Lucien. I think I should tell you...

Panel Five: Lucien has turned and is watching the old man who has stopped about halfway between himself and the girl.
Lucien: Tell me what?

Panel Six: Closeup of the old man.
Grandfather: The Old Adversary is also after the book. He was here, and he cannot mask himself from my kind, you know.

Panel Seven: Grandfather and Lucien have drawn close, and are facing one another in the midpoint of the walkway.
Grandfather: I think I know where your book is.
Lucien: Did you tell him?
Grandfather: No. But he doesn't need me to tell him where it is. There are many others who can.
Lucien: And where is it?

Page Eleven
Panel One: Shot of the exterior of the OCCULT BOOKSTORY. Street is deserted and windblown. Some newsprint, perhaps, is blowing by.
Caption: All things come, eventually, to New York.

Panel Two: We have a room. Its all in shadows, except for a pool of light with a man sitting at a table with a big, leatherbound book before him. His hands are on top of it so that we can't see the title. Perhaps a vauge image or two around him hinting at furniture, bookshelves for certain. He's an older fellow, going bald a bit up front, but still goodlooking for all of his years. Strong nose, strong chin. His hands, though, should show some age, the knuckles a bit enlarged from slight arthritis, perhaps.
Caption: His name is Hieronymus. He is the proprietor of this most special store. His customers, when they come, are strange and unique folk. They come to him when he allows his place of business to be seen. Most of the time he and his shop are cloaked, made blind to the mundane people who plod without.

Panel Three: He has the book drawn in close to his chest, now, cradling it.
Caption: His store is strange and wonderful, but never had so wonderful a volume come into his possession. It had been left for him in the night, a gift from some anonymous supplier, and he supposed a price would be named at some later date. He didn't care what that price might be: he would pay it.

Panel Four: He's standing now. The book is on the table again, and his right hand is down on it. We still cannot see its title, but we can see part of Lucien's name out from the heel of his palm, like a snake squirming to be free. His left hand is clenching into a fist.
Caption: But he is afraid. Treading that world between realms, he could see that which is hidden from most. This book was most coveted, and by those whose dark talents were formidable, more formidable than his own, perhaps.

Panel Five: We are close in on the old man's face. His eyes are slitted, as if he is calculating.
Caption: He knew what was going on. He'd been found out, and having been found, they were going to try to take the book.

Panel Six: The old man's right hand. It's a fist, tightly closed.
Caption: He had to hide it until he could read it aloud to the precious ones. He would. He would

Page Twelve
Panel One: A creature of fur and teeth, but strangely human, is hiding amidst the shadows of a darkened alley. Its eyes glow out from the black. We see it as it crouches there in the dark.

Panel Two: A frightened young woman, trying her best not to run, is passing the pools of darkness where the thing can be seen crouching.

Panel Three: Full shot of the creature, its legs bunched beneath it.
Caption: It twitched in anticipation.

Panel Four: We see another form, large and leathery wings descending from above, as if to settle down on the one who is waiting.

Panel Five: The two figures face one another, one wolf-like and snarling, the other bat-shaped, mouth agape.
Wolf-thing: How dare you?

Panel Six: The bat-creature is taking flight.
Bat-thing: It's Heironymus. A reading. Tonight.

Panel Seven: The shadowed alleyway. Empty, now.
Caption: They snarl and are gone.

Page Thirteen
Panel One: The brownstone with the OCCULT BOOKSTORY sign.

Panel Two: The brownstone with the OCCULT BOOKSTORY sign with Lucien standing there. Just like that.

Panel Three: Lucien has entered the store. The outside of the place is misleading. This store is much, much larger than it appears from without. Near the door are tables leading off to the right, piled with books. Books are piled all around and behind and in front of the counter. Floor to ceiling shelves line the walls. Free standing shelves of floor to nearly ceiling height shelves make double rows down the center of the store. The shelves continue on into darkness, distance.

Panel Four: Closeup of Lucien's hand as it taps the palm bell on the counter. Near the bell is a copy of  THE GOLDEN BOUGH, plainly seen. Sound effect: Ting! Ting!

Panel Five: Lucien standing alone at the counter. Caption: (at top of panel)No one comes. Caption: (at bottom of panel) He breathes in the familiar pulp must of half a million books. Bindings and pages and ancient ink muffle the outside world. He might almost be at home.

Panel Six: Lucien is vanishing down one of the rows. He has begun to walk down it so that he is fading in the shadows, half in light, part of him invisible. Caption: Oh well. Nothing for it but to search. It's here. Somewhere.

Page Fourteen
Panel One: Shadows. Out of the blackness are a pair of hands, each touching down on either side of an open book, which is also visible out of the shadows, a pool of light illuminating hands and book. The old man's hands.
Caption: Such a book. Such a wonderful book. Such a book there is not the like in all the world.

Panel Two: Figure of  the old guy, well dressed in suit and tie. Balding a bit in the front. Strong features, though; age has not taken the edge off what must have always been good looks. He has closed the book and has it clasped to his chest. Caption: Someon's come for it. He won't give it up. Not this book. Never this one.

Panel Three: He has the book flat again. The book is lying on a section of paper and the guy is folding the sheet across the book. There is a design on the half of paper visible across the book. Caption: He must hide it well. There are ways to shield against the likes of those who would have it back.

Panel Four: The other half of the wrapping paper is in place. The design is now plainly seen--a kind of hex sign, protection. Caption: There are ways.

Panel Five: He has a lit candle held over the book . Caption: And ways.

Panel Six: Red wax drips down, sealing the halves of paper. Sound effect: Pip. Plop. Caption: And ways.

Panel Seven: The old man presses his thumb into the cooling wax. Caption: Ah. There.

Page Fifteen
Panel One: Long shot, from POV of Matt, who is perched on a telephone pole outside the bookstore. You can see about half the block. Into the store are streaming a long line of nether-folk. All kinds. Every imagined creature of the night.
Caption: They march and lope and fly and float. Stalkers, most of them. Haunters of the dark, all of them.

Panel Two: Closeup shot of taloned hand as something opens the door. Through the partially opened doorway you can see shelves leading off into infinity.
Caption: Accustomed to strangeness as they all are, this place was still a special one, even to ones such as these.

Panel Three: The front part of the bookstory. Similar shot as when Lucien walked in, but now this area is crowded with weird folk.
Big word balloon, from them all: Heironymussssssssssssss

Panel Four: The same shot, but the beings are all fading down aisles, going into darkness.

Panel Five: The same shot, again. They are all gone, now.
Caption: This world, too, swallows them up.

Page Sixteen
Panel One: Lucien is standing at the end of one of  the long shelves. HISTORY reads the placard on it. The shelf extends into shadows. A lone bulb burns overhead. Caption: This place is not right. It doesn't feel of the real world. It feels almost as if it were part of one of the many realms.

Panel Two: Medium shot of Lucien from waist up. Lucien looking right.

Panel Three: Same as above but Lucien looking left. Caption: But the book was here. He could feel it. It was the same feeling he'd had in The Dreaming. There, it was gone, but he couldn't tell you what was gone. In this place, the book was here. He could feel it.

Panel Four: Lucien in full shot. From down the row, a sound effect: Clickclackclickclack...

Panel Five: Lucien striding off, toward the sound.
Lucien: Hello? Hello!

Page Seventeen
Panel One: Matt on the telephone pole, still. Looking down on the bookstore. No one is there.

Panel Two: Same exact view, except now someone is there. The Man from page Four. His hand is on the door of the bookstore.

Panel Three: We are looking at the window of the bookshop from the perspective of The Man who has his fingers on the handle. Behind him, we can see a reflection of Matt flying by. There is a windblown sheet of newsprint also airborne behind The Man. We can see its reflection in the window, too. We can see no reflection of The Man.

Panel Four: The Man has entered the store. Same POV as for Lucien and the trio. Unlike the others, he has left the door open.

Panel Five: The Man is striding down the aisle, obviously not having paused to ring no steenking bell.

Panel Six: Matt is flying in through the open door.

Page Eighteen
Panel One: Lucien is standing at the intersection of several aisles. He has his arms out, staring straight ahead. Caption: Somewhere in this place was that book. It didn't belong here. It belonged in The Dreaming and he was going to find it and take it back. There could be no other outcome.

Panel Two: Heironymus has suddenly appeared from one of the aisles. He has a surprised look on his face. The POV is from the side, so that we can see Lucien and the reaction of the store's proprietor.
Heironymus: Oh. It's you.

Panel Three: They just stand and stare at one another for a frozen snapshot.

Panel Four: Lucien has moved close to the proprietor, looking down at him.
Heironymus: You fellows are always so tall.
Lucien: What do you mean? You can't know me. You're a stranger to me.
Heironymus: I recognize you. I always recognize folk such as those from whence you come.

Panel Five: Lucien is staring down at the old man.
Lucien: I know you have the book here. I wish to have it back.
Heironymus: No. It's not for sale.
Lucien: It's not your book. It belongs in the library. Someone...removed it.
Heironymus: I'm sorry, but this one is mine.

Panel Six: Lucien has extended his hand in which he is holding a sheaf of bills.
Lucien: I'll pay you for it. Name your price and you'll have it.
Heironymus: Why do want it back? What does it mean to you?
Lucien: I must have it. That's all there is to it.
Heironymus: But what does it mean to you?
Lucien: I don't understand.

Panel Seven: Closeup shot of the old man, his eyes narrowed, his face humorless.
Heironymus: You don't even know what the book is, do you. (Second balloon): Do you?

Page Nineteen
Panel One: Lucien is now following Heironymus down the aisle. The old man seems pleased to be leading the way. POV is from in front of the old man so that we can see the smug expression on his face. Lucien is behind him, almost pleading.
Lucien: I admit that I don't know the title of this particular volume. But I cannot tolerate a book to be out of the library. I must account for them all, you see.
Heironymus: Yes, I see. But that doesn't mean I have to give it up. The book came fairly into my possession.

Panel Two: They have come to another intersection. The view is from above as the proprietor has taken a turn and is heading southward as we view the scene. Lucien is till behind him.
Lucien: Price is not much of an object. I can pay you almost anything for it.
Heironymus: Another book? Another book from your own collection, perhaps? One as singularly important as this one?

Panel Three: Closeup shot of Lucien's face, a deadpan expression there.
Lucien: Of course not. Of course I cannot do that.

Panel Four: They are at yet another intersection, Lucien behind.
Proprietor: Then I have nothing more to say to you. Leave me alone.

Panel Five: The Man is there, so that Heironymus has almost blundered into him.
Heironymus: Oh!

Panel Six: The Man looms above Heironymus, glaring down at him, a smile upon his lips. (He's really dangerous looking here.)
The Man: Heironymus. I knew your parents. Let's make a deal, shall we?

Page Twenty
Panel One: The Man has Heironymus pinned back against a bookshel. Despite that, despite Lucifer's power, Heironymus looks defiant.
Lucifer: Why don't you tell me where the book is? It does not belong here and it is not yours.

Panel Two: Lucien is motioning, as if he wants to intervene, but is reluctant to do so in a physical manner. Still, his right hand is up, as if he were about to touch Lucifer. Almost.
Lucien: I can tell you that he must have hidden it well. I have a sense for things from my library, and I can tell that it is here, somewhere, but he has cloaked it well. I suspect...

Panel Three: Lucifer is smiling, now, evilly.
Lucifer: Ah. I understand. You've hidden it even from yourself, haven't you?

Panel Four: Heironymus looks more determined than ever, as if he is seeing something beyond the figures of Lucifer and Lucien.
Heironymus: There will be a reading tonight. The book will be read.

Panel Five: Lucifer. Head and shoulder shot. His face is a mask of rage, his eyes blazing like hot coals. He might be ready to kill. But behind him we can see the silhouettes of many, looming there, almost threatening.

Panel Six: Lucifer, but now his expression has changed. Out of the corners of his eyes, he is peering back, toward the looming presences.
Lucifer: Eh?

Page Twenty-One
Panel One: Longish shot as Lucifer has relenquished his grip on Heironymus. There is a huge crowd of nightpeople around him, ringing him in. The blank expressions on those monstrous faces give even Lucifer pause.
Caption: They are here, as they sometimes gather, to seek a feeling lost to them.
Caption two: Or to be with those with whom they share a kinship.

Panel Two: And now Heironymus has stepped out, away from Lucifer's presence. All about him are almost in shadow, and he alone seems pooled in light.
Caption: If asked, Heironymus could not quite tell you his age. He is old, even measured against the oldest of those who call themselves immortal.

Panel Three: Show a shot of Bosch-like horror.
Caption: He never knew his father, although he was named for him. A human, he was told. A madman, they say.

Panel Four: Image of an elfin babe suckling a gray, withered tit, the arms cradling him notched and scaled, the gnarled hands decorated with long, vicious claws. Tendrils, which may or may not be hair cascade down from the mother's unseen face.
Caption: He recalls his mother with fondness. If she were here, right now, he would suckle from her breast.

Panel Five: Show Heironymus looking, almost downward, at his audience now. Like an Edward Gorey illustration of strangenesses--imagine Charles Addams at his weird best--that's the feeling I'd like here. Not menace, really, but strangeness.
Caption: They all know him, these folk. They have come to hear him read from this most special of books.

Page Twenty-Two
Panel One: Heironymus stands before the gathered crowd. His gaze is intense.
Heironymus: Long ago there was a conflict between the Lord of Dreams and Foremost Among the Fallen. For a time, it seemed as if there would be war between those of Hell and those of the various Realms. Finally, rather than war, there was a compromise, for what profit could come of a war between Hell and the Dreaming?
     To stem Lucifer's suspicion, he was allowed to have...representatives in the various realms, but Morpheus made a condition that these minions not know from whence they came nor why they were there. It seemed a strange and benign compromise, but it averted war.

Panel Two: Full shot of Lucien as he stands with the others and listens, too. He is paritally lit, standing between shadow and light.
Caption: In the Dreaming there was one such representative who did not know from whence he came, but who had a purpose there. Within the great library of the Dreaming lay shelved the book he never wrote, the book that could only have been written by what he had been before he became Morpheus' first Raven. The book is this book...

Panel Three: Heironymus has pulled aside his shirt, and has reached into his own torso.

Panel Four: Closeup shot of Heironymus hand holding the book aloft.
Heironymus: The book is...

Page Twenty-three
Panel One: Lucien has stepped forward. He has his own hand on that of Heironymus.
Lucien: Hold.

Panel Two: He has stepped up to take the place of Heironymus so that he is now in light and Heironymus and all the others are in shadow. He is looking out on the crowd.
Caption: I will tell you the story.

Panel Three: Lucien has become a great raven, wings outstretched magnificently--the first of the ravens.

Panel Four: The raven is gone and he is now a terrible angel, his wings now spread out from a nearly human body in great, leathery folds.
Caption: He spreads his wings now in horrible beauty, his eyes burning. And he begins to read.
Lucien: My Life Among the Fallen.

Panel Five: Expressions of awe on the faces of the wraiths and vampires and changelings and mages.
Caption: And the words flow out of him, ringing beautifully through the STORY, echoing of rebellion, of hunger and knowledge and things both awful and wonderful, courageous and terrible. He reads the lines of the life that had been his, and then...

Panel Six: Shadow, a blackness falls over the angel.

Panel Seven: There is light again, and the figure standing there is Lucien.
Caption: He is not an angel, dark or otherwise. He is no longer a raven. He is Lucien. Lucien.

Panel Eight: We see Heironymus' hand still upheld. Instead of a book, we see a wisp of smoke rising upward.

Panel Nine: Full figure of Lucifer, his back to us, his face downcast. His hands are clenched in fists of rage.

Page Twenty-Four
Panel One: We see the Dreamlord and Matthew together.
Dreamlord: He is returning?
Matthew: Yes. I followed him home. He is almost here.

Panel Two: And there is Lucien, standing in the library as the Dreamlord and Matthew enter.

Panel Three: The Dreamlord and Lucien are facing one another, expressionless.
Dreamlord: You wish to stay here. This is your home?
Lucien: Yes.

Panel Four: The two of them stand and gaze off into the library, seeing the endless rows of books going off and off and away. The place is bright with light.
Dreamlord: All is well in the library, then?

Panel Five: We see the shelf from the first panel. There is a gap there.
We see a caption which serves as Lucien's reply.
Caption: Yes. All is well in the library.


Stephen Mark Rainey said...

I was in a restaurant with Kim and just happened to check messages on my phone before we ate. Getting the news Rick had died hit me in the gut that I almost couldn't eat. He really was one of the warmest, most intelligent folks I've known in the business. And who'd have thought it — we had just exchanged posts on Facebook the other day. I wish I'd been able to see more of him in person these past few years.

James Robert Smith said...

When I first saw the news it was posted by a writer friend and I thought it was part of a grisly joke. I was utterly horrified when I saw that it was the truth. Deaths of friends are hard enough to take, but for one so unexpected...