by Mike W. Barr
FULL-PAGE SPLASH. PICKING UP DIRECTLY FROM THE END OF LAST ISSUE. ANGLED UPSHOT ON LAUREN (IN HER FULL ARMOR, AS SEEN LAST ISSUE, AND BEARING THE SWORD OF FANGS) AS SHE IS DRAGGED DOWN INTO THE HELLPIT BY THE CLAW OF A VIDEO-GAME-INSPIRED MONSTER WHICH HAS GRABBED HER LEG. SHE LOOKS DOWN AT THIS, FEARFULLY. PEERING OVER ONE EDGE OF THE PIT IS GUS, GLOATING AT LAUREN'S PREDICAMENT.
GUS: 'Bye, Lauren! Bet you're sorry now you ever pushed me around now, huh?
CAP: I'm gonna die! I'M GONNA DIE! And I don't even know why! I was just showing up to get paid for babysitting, but somehow, Gus Blake has all these weird powers ... *
2nd CAP: ...And he's using them to "get even" with anyone he thinks has ever crossed him -- including me!
BOTTOM CAP: MANTRA #infinity -- mwb
PAGES TWO & THREE
DOUBLE-PAGE SPREAD: LAUREN HAS BEEN DRAGGED DOWN INTO THE HELLPIT, TO A MAJOR "CROSSROADS," WHICH BRANCHES OUT IN ALL DIRECTIONS (LIKE A VIDEO GAME, AS WE'LL SEE SOON). SHE GAPES IN ASTONISHMENT AT ALL MANNER OF VIDEO-INSPIRED MONSTERS THAT ATTACK HER FROM FRONT AND BEHIND.
CAP: I don't know where Mrs. Blake is, but I think she's dying! She got me this armor, and the sword, and whatever magic powers she says I have now! The only thing she forgot to tell me...
2nd CAP: ...Is how I'm supposed to get out of here!
LAUREN: Ew, gross --!
TITLE: "MY SO-CALLED MAGIC LIFE"
MIKE W. BARR
PANEL SIX: CUT TO EDEN, ON THE SOULWALK, AS SEEN LAST ISSUE. HERE SHE IS BEING SWEPT DOWN THE LONG "CORRIDOR" BY A STRONG WIND, TOWARD THE BRIGHT LIGHT AT TUNNEL'S END.
CAP: "...Please, stay 'live!"
EDEN (t): Every other time I've gone on the "Soulwalk" -- every other time I've died -- I've been reincarnated, in another body...
PANEL ONE: EDEN TRIES TO CLING TO THE FLOOR OF THE TUNNEL, FIGHTING THE SUCTION, BUT WITH LITTLE SUCCESS.
EDEN (t): ...But not this time! But I can't die -- not while Gus is possessed by that strange power, not while Evie and Lauren are in danger...How can I save myself?
PANEL TWO: EDEN IS PULLED FREE OF HER GRIP, IS SUCKED TOWARD THE BRIGHT LIGHT. AS THIS HAPPENS, SHE CLOSES HER EYES, CONCENTRATES.
EDEN (t): Wait! I've got powers in this body I never had before! If I use my mantra...
EDEN (burst): "Change, growth ... power!"
PANEL THREE: EDEN SITS IN MID-AIR, LEGS CROSSED UNDER HER, A GLOWING AURA AROUND HER, THE WINDS ARE NOW HAVING NO EFFECT. HER EYES ARE CLOSED AS SHE MEDITATES.
EDEN (t): Did it -- for now. But I can't keep this up forever.
EDEN (2nd t): Lauren, can you "hear" me? LAUREN --?
PANEL FOUR: BACK TO LAUREN, STILL IN THE HELLPIT. SHE LOOKS AROUND AS AN ETHEREAL HEAD OF EDEN APPEARS.
LAUREN: Mrs. Blake? Where are you? Get me out of here!
EDEN (telepathic thought, as established last issue): I was going to ask you the same thing! Lauren, I can't help you! Your -- our only hope is for you to find a source of magic and grow stronger!
PANEL FIVE: LAUREN, IN MIDDLE GROUND, TURNS TO CAMERA, SHOCKED, AS A SHADOW FALLS OVER HER FROM OFF. ETHEREAL EDEN HEAD IN BKGD.
EDEN (tt): That's the only way you can save us all... ((diminishing letters))
OFF (Gus): You've done better than I thought, Lauren...
PANEL ONE: ANGLE PAST LAUREN TO GUS, HOVERING IN THE AIR, GLOATING EVILLY, SHOOTING MYSTIC BLASTS AT LAUREN FROM HIS GAME BOY. LAUREN DODGES THEM.
GUS: ...But now you're playing against me!
CAP: I'm, like, dead.
PANEL TWO: BACK TO EVIE, NOW ALONE IN THE BLAKE LIVING ROOM. SHE CAREFULLY PUTS THE TINY, COMATOSE EDEN INTO A SHALLOW DISH OR BOX (NOT THE CRACKER BOX OF LAST ISSUE), CARRYING HER TEDDY BEAR IN THE CROOK OF ONE ARM. EVIE IS VERY WORRIED.
EVIE: Don't worry, Mommy, it'll be okay...
PANEL THREE: EVIE IS OUTSIDE THE HOUSE, ON THE SIDEWALK. SHE WALKS AWAY FROM CAMERA, SILHOUETTED BY FULL MOON IN BKGD.
EVIE: ...You pr'tected me, before...now I'll pr'tect you.
PANEL FOUR: BACK IN THE HELLPIT, GUS MANIPULATES HIS GAME BOY, SENDING MORE BOLTS OF FORCE AT LAUREN. LAUREN RAISES HER ARMS, SENDING OUT BOLTS OF HER OWN THAT SPLIT GUS' BOLTS IN HALF, SO THEY GO TO EITHER SIDE OF HER.
GUS: Hey, pretty good! You've learned a lot about magic...
PANEL FIVE: GUS ERECTS A CONVEX SHIELD BEFORE HIMSELF THAT REFLECTS LAUREN'S BOLTS BACK AT HER. LAUREN TRIES TO PROTECT HERSELF AS THE BOLTS STRIKE HER AND AROUND HER.
GUS: ...But I've learned more!
LAUREN (burst): AGGGGH!
PANEL ONE: CLOSER ON LAUREN. THE SHIELD CLINGS TO HER, SMOTHERING HER. WITH ONE HAND SHE TRIES TO PUSH THE SHIELD AWAY, WITH THE OTHER HAND, SHE REACHES FOR THE SWORD OF FANGS.
LAUREN (wavy balloon): >hkkkk<
CAP: Maybe he hasn't learned more -- this is my trick, after all -- he's just more powerful...
PANEL TWO: LAUREN HAS LIFTED THE SWORD AND SLASHES THROUGH THE SMOTHERING SHIELD WITH IT. IT FALLS AWAY FROM HER.
CAP: ...But he's still only a ten-year-old boy!
OFF (Gus): Hey -- !
PANEL THREE: ANGLE PAST GUS TO LAUREN. LAUREN THROWS THE SOF AT GUS. GUS GLOATS AS HE THINKS HE'S DODGED IT, SINCE ITS NOT HEADING TOWARD HIS CHEST OR HEAD. (THE SOF IS ACTUALLY FLYING TOWARL GUS' GAME BOY.)
GUS: Hah! You missed! You throw like a girl!
CAP: Maybe so...
PANEL FOUR: THE SOF STRIKES GUS' GAME BOY, KNOCKING IT INTO PIECES WITH A BIG MYSTIC DISCHARGE. GUS SEES THIS, HORRIFIED.
CAP: ...But I hit what l aim at! Gus had used that dumb video game as the focus of his powers since the beginning...
GUS (burst): NO!
PANEL FIVE: PULL BACK FOR ANGLED DOWNSHOT. MAYBE THIS PANEL OCCUPIES BOTTOM TIER OF PAGE. LAUREN LOOKS AROUND HER AS THE HELLPIT BEGINS TO WAVER AND DISSOLVE, LIKE A TV IMAGE GOING OUT OF FOCUS. LAUREN IS VERY UNCERTAIN, NOT QUITE SURE WHAT SHE'S DONE. GUS BEGINS TO VANISH, CLUTCHING THE HAND THAT HELD THE GAME BOY WITH HIS OTHER HAND.
LAUREN: Oh, wow --!
CAP: ...But I didn't figure trashing it would do this! What'll I do, I don't --
GUS: Darn you, Lauren...! ((diminishing letters))
PANEL ONE: SAME ANGLE AS LAST PANEL. LAUREN STANDS IN THE SAME POSITION, BUT STANDS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLAKE LIVING ROOM, LOOKING AROUND. NEITHER GUS NOR EVIE IS THERE.
LAUREN (small letters): >whew< "There's no place like home."
CAP: Or what's left of it! Don't know where Gus went...
PANEL TWO: LAUREN PROWLS THROUGH THE HOUSE, SWORD OF FANGS IN ONE HAND, DRAWN BACK TO USE AT A MOMENTS NOTICE.
CAP: I should get outta here before he comes back! But Evie and Mrs. Blake might be around...
LAUREN: Hello? Anybody?
BOTTOM CAP: ...But they're not. I'm getting scarce, all this noise'll bring --
PANEL THREE: EXTERIOR OF HOUSE. LAUREN STARTS OUT THE FRONT DOOR, BUT IS CAUGHT IN CRISS-CROSSING SPOTLIGHT BEAMS THATCOME FROM OFF. SHE RAISES THE HAND THAT CARRIES THE SOF TO SHIELD HER EYES FROM THE LIGHT (THIS LOOKS LIKE A THREATENING GESTURE).
OFF (burst): FREEZE! Drop that sword!
LAUREN: Huh -- ?
PANEL FOUR: ANGLE ON SEVERAL POLICEMEN, ALL OF WHOM CARRY GUNS, A COUPLE OF WHOM ALSO CARRY HAND-HELD BABY SPOTLIGHTS. THEY FIRE OFF, TOWARD LAUREN.
OFF (Lauren, burst) No...!
SFX: ZINNNG SPWEEEE
PANEL FIVE: CLOSES ON LAUREN. SHE STANDS WITH KNEES DRAWN UP, ARMS DRAWN OVER HER CHEST, IN INSTINCTIVE PROTECTIVE POSTURE. BUT SHE LOOKS DOWN AT HERSELF, ASTONISHED, AS THE BULLETS PASS THROUGH HER; SHE HAS GONE PHANTASMAL. THE BULLETS STRIKE THE HOUSE, BEHIND LAUREN.
LAUREN: DON'T! I'm not --
LAUREN (2): I'm...
CAP: Hey! I'm not dead!
PANEL ONE: THE COPS APPROACH LAUREN, NO LONGER FIRING. LAUREN RAISES HANDS, MOTIONING FOR THEM TO STAY BACK.
COP: Stay right there!
LAUREN: No! Get away from me --
PANEL TWO: WIDER ANGLE. STARTLED LAUREN HAS CONJURED UP HIGH WINDS WHICH BLOW THE COPS OFF THEIR FEET.
CAP: Wind! That's how Mantra flies! I wonder if I can --
PANEL THREE: UP ANGLE ON LAUREN AS SHE FLIES OFF. SHE SMILES, JOYOUSLY. (DAVE, WE DISCUSSED HER STORING THE SWORD IN HER SASH, DIDN'T WE?)
CAP: I can fly -- just like Mantra! This is so cool!
PANEL FOUR: BACK TO THE COPS AS A SENIOR COP APPROACHES A YOUNGER COP.
SENIOR COP: Put an APB out on her!
YOUNG COP: On who, Sergeant?
SENIOR COP (2): Who do you think, rookie? The armor, the sword --
PANEL FIVE: CLOSE ON LAUREN, HER EYES WIDENING AS SHE REALIZES WHAT SHE'S HEARING.
OFF: --That was Mantra!
CAP: Mantra? But I'm not --
2nd CAP: Well, until Mrs. Blake is rescued...
PANEL ONE: IN FRGRD., EVIE WALKS ALONG, ALONE. IN NIGHT SKY, LAUREN FLIES BY, SILHOUETTED BY FULL MOON. LAUREN DOES NOT SEE EVIE.
CAP: ...Maybe I am Mantra!
PANEL TWO: LAUREN SWOOPS LOW OVER A GRASSY STRETCH OF WOODS, LOOKING CONCERNED.
CAP: Flying is one thing -- but it's not much without landing!
2nd CAP: Gotta cut out the wind gradually! Here goes...!
PANEL THREE: MAYBE SIDE ANGLE. LAUREN SWOOPS IN FROM PANEL LEFT, THE ARC OF HER FLIGHT DESCRIBED BY SPEED LINES. THESE ABRUPTLY STOP JUST PAST MID-PANEL AS LAUREN PLUNGES A FEW FEET TO THE GROUND INTO TALL GRASS.
LAUREN (burst): Ow!
PANEL FOUR: LAURN RISES FROM THE GROUND, RUBBING BRUISED SPOTS. BUT SMILING.
CAP: Kinda shaky -- but it still beats U.S. Air!
PANEL FIVE: LAUREN SITS ON A ROCK, CROSS-LEGGED, ELBOWS ON HER KNEES, CHIN ON HER FISTS, AND THINKS. IN BKGD. ARE WOODS AND HOUSES, SOME DISTANCE AWAY.
CAP: Mrs. Blake said to find a source of magic -- but it's not like you can buy it at the Wal-Mart! Gus is a source. But I can't take his...!
PANEL SIX: CLOSER ON LAUREN AS SHE STARES, STARTLED, AT SOMETHING OFF.
CAP: ...But how did Gus get that magic? If there was any more, I could --
OFF (Lauren): Huh?
PANEL ONE: SHOT FROM LAUREN'S POV, INTO NIGHT SKY. THERE WE SEE AN ENERGY TRAIL, GLISTENING LIKE THE BLACK SEPTEMBER EFFECT, DIVERGING INTO TWO TRAILS LEADING DOWN TO THE EARTH. ONE OF LAUREN'S HANDS COMES IN FROM OFF, POINTING TO THE TRAILS.
CAP: That streak in the sky...almost like smoke, or the trail of a comet. It looks like that weird lightning that happened earlier tonight...*
BOTTOM CAP: *MANTRA #infinity -- mwb
PANEL TWO: DOWNSHOT ON LAUREN AS SHE LAUNCHES OFF INTO THE SKY, A TRIFLE CLUMSILY.
CAP: Don't know why I didn't see it before -- maybe because I wasn't thinking of it! Maybe I'm better with this magic stuff than I thought.
2nd CAP: If I have to go up against Gus again, I'd better be!
PANEL THREE: ANGLE PAST FLYING LAUREN TO ENERGY TRAILS.
CAP: Maybe it's tied into what happened to Gus -- one trail does lead to Mrs. Blake's neighborhood...
2nd CAP: ...I'll follow the other, maybe it'll lead to help.
PANEL FOUR: FLASHBACK, WITH ROUNDED BORDERS, UNTIL INDICATED OTHERWISE. CUT TO INTERIOR OF HEATHER'S ROOM, FROM MANTRA #21, PAGE 2, PANEL 1. HERE, THE FOUR MANTRA WANNABES --SAMANTHA, JESSICA, HEATHER AND TRISHA --ARE HAVING ANOTHER MEETING OF THEIR MANTRA FAN CLUB, WEARING CLOAKS AND MASKS AS BEFORE. HEATHER LOOKS OUT THE WINDOW, AT THE NIGHT SKY AS THE OTHER GIRLS SIT AROUND A OUIJA BOARD. A FOURTH PLACE IS SET FOR HEATHER. ALSO IN THE ROOM -- MAYBE ON THE WALL WE DIDN'T SEE - IS A FULL-LENGTH MIRROR.
CAP (heavy border upper and lower case, to distinguish it from a Lauren cap): Earlier that evening...
HEATHER: Did you guys get a look at that sky...?
TRISHA: What about it, Hea-thur?
PANEL FIVE: CLOSER ON THE FOUR GIRLS AS THEY TAKE THEIR PLACES AROUND THE BOARD.
SAM: It's almost, like, an omen, y'know, Tricia? We promised Mantra we wouldn't mess with magic anymore.*
JESSICA: But how can we be the Mantra Fan Club if we don't, Samantha?
BOTTOM CAP: Mantra #21. -- mwb
PANEL ONE: UPSHOT PAST OUIJA BOARD TO THE GIRLS AS THEY REACH INTO PLACE HANDS ON THE INDICATOR.
HEATHER: Jessica's right. Besides, a Ouija board's not magic -- it's just fun.
TRISHA: Then let's have some fun!
PANEL TWO: CLOSE ON THE INDICATOR AS IT MOVES TO "YES".
OFF: "Ouija board will we ever have mystic powers?"
2nd OFF: Look, it's moving -- !
PANEL THREE: LONG EXTERIOR SHOT. THE BLACK SEPTEMBER EFFECT STRIKES THE HOUSE. (Dave, remember, it is not really lightning. You should draw this shot normally, and indicate where an invisible wall MIGHT be were it moving. We'll try to indicate as if it were a "heat" wall)
PANEL FOUR: BACK TO THE GIRLS. THE BLACK SEPTEMBER LIGHTNING STREAKS UP FROM THE OUIJA BOARD INDICATOR, INTO THE ROOM. THE GIRLS ARE TERRIFIED. (Dave, no lightning. Draw panel normally, and we'll break it up like we did the double page spread last issue)
TRISHA: Not again -- !
SAMANTHA: I told you -- !
JESSICA: Shut up, Saman --
FULL-PAGE SPLASH: 3/4 ANGLE PAST THE MERGED GIRLS -- NOW CALLED COVEN -- AS SHE (THEY?) STARE INTO THE FULL-LENGTH MIRROR, HORRIFIED. NOTE THAT THIS ENABLES THE READERS TO SEE BOTH SIDES OF HER COSTUME AT ONCE.
THE HEAD OF COVEN IS THAT OF HEATHER. THE RIGHT SHOULDER HEAD IS JESSICA. THE LEFT SHOULDER HEAD IS TRISHA. THE LOWER HEAD IS SAMANTHA. THE EYES OF JESSICA AND SAMANTHA GO TO THE MIRROR.
HEATHER HEAD: What's happened --?
JESSICA HEAD: I feel -- different! Really different!
TRISHA HEAD: You feeb! We're some kinda freak!
SAMANTHA HEAD: No, Tri-shuh! Besides that!
PANEL ONE: CLOSE ON DOOR OF HEATHER'S BEDROOM AS IT OPENS, REVEALING HEATHER'S MOM ENTERING, VERY HORRIFIED.
MOM: Heather, what was that noise? Did you --
MOM (2, burst): EEEEEEKKK!
PANEL TWO: DOWNSTAIRS IN HEATHER'S HOUSE. HEATHER'S MOM RUNS DOWNSTAIRS, HORRIFIED, SHRIEKING TO HEATHER'S FATHER, WHO STANDS BEFORE A GUN CABINET, REACHING IN FOR A REVOLVER.
MOM: Fred, Fred! A monster's attacking the girls!
DAD: Not again --
PANEL THREE: IN HEATHER'S ROOM, DAD POINTS THE GUN AT COVEN. COVER HOLDS OUT HANDS, PLEADING FOR QUIET.
DAD: Damn it, where's my daughter?
JESSICA HEAD: No -- !
PANEL FOUR: DAD FIRES AT COVEN, BUT THE BULLETS STRIKE AN AURA AROUND COVEN, FALLING TO THE GROUND. THE AURA IS INVISIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN BULLETS OR OTHER OBJECTS STRIKE IT, THEN IT GLOWS IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA OF IMPACT. COVEN TURNS AWAY FROM DAD, TOWARD AN EXTERIOR WALL, PANICKING, HANDS TO HER EARS, TRYING TO SHUT OUT THE NOISE.
SFX: BANG BANG BANG
COVEN (four tails). STOP IT! It's hard enough to think without -- !
PANEL FIVE: EXTERIOR UPSHOT OF HOUSE. ONE OF THE SECOND FLOOR WALLS CRASHES OUTWARD AS COVEN FALLS/LEAPS OUT OF THE HOUSE.
COVEN (four tails): RRRRARRRGGGGG!
PANEL ONE: COVEN LEAPS AWAY FROM THE CAMERA, HEADING INTO THE NIGHT. FROM OFF FRGND., DAD'S GUN COMES IN, SHOOTING AT HER USELESSLY.
SFX: BANG BANG BANG
PANEL TWO: BACK TO "PRESENT", AND NORMAL BORDERS. DOWNSHOT ON HEATHER'S HOUSE WITH SHATTERED WALL AS LAUREN FLIES IN, FROM FRGND., SEEING THE DAMAGE. (DONT DRAW THE ENERGY TRAIL, DAVE.) OTHER POLICE CARS ARE GATHERED AROUND, A GROUP OF PEOPLE CAN BE INDICATED (BUT NOT DRAWN IN ANY DETAIL) ON THE GROUND.
CAP: The trail leads here, but -- Hey, this is Heather's house!
PANEL THREE: ANGLE PAST HEATHER'S DAD, WHO ANGRILY SHOOTS AT LAUREN, IN BKGD. LAUREN DOES A KIND OF LOOP-THE-LOOP, INDICATING SHE'S AVOIDING THE BULLETS. COPS TRY TO TAKE THE GUN FROM DAD.
DAD: Damn you, Mantra! Where's my daughter?
SFX: BANG BANG
CAP: Guess Heather never asked her dad to join the Mantra Fan Club!
PANEL FOUR: STRAIGHT-ON SHOT OF LAUREN FLYING TOWARD THE CAMERA, VERY DYNAMIC.
CAP: That weird trail petered out at Heather's house, now what'll I --
SFX: AGGGGH! NOOOO!
BOTTOM CAP: Those shouts! They're coming from --
PANEL FIVE: MAYBE THIS PANEL OCCUPIES BOTTOM TIER OF PAGE. LAUREN, BIG IN LEFT FRGND., FLIES TOWARD A SHOPPING MALL IN RIGHT BKGD., FROM WHICH A CROWD OF PEOPLE RUN TERRIFIED.
CAP: --The Mall!
PANEL ONE: CLOSER ON MALL, INCLUDING BIG DOUBLE SLIDING DOORS. LAUREN FLIES RIGHT TOWARD A SOLID PART OF THE MALL WALL, THEN FLIES DOWN AT A RIGHT ANGLE TO GO THROUGH THE OPEN DOUBLE DOORS. (SPEED LINES WILL SHOW HER APPROACH TO THE WALL, WHICH THEN ANGLE DOWN.)
CAP: Getting inside won't be a problem for --
2nd CAP: Well, better not try that "phantom" stuff again yet. I'm not that good at it.
PANEL TWO: INSIDE THE MALL, LAUREN ZOOMS OVER THE HEADS OF THE FLEEING CROWD, AMONG WHOM ARE SEVERAL TEENAGERS. LAUREN LOOKS DOWN AT THEM, SADLY.
CAP: It's Friday night! I should be with these guys, hanging out and getting thrown out of the record store for not buying anything and feeling sorry for myself 'cause I don't have a date...
PANEL THREE: WIDE-ANGLE ON CENTRAL COURT OF MALL. ITS A BIG, OPEN AREA WITH BENCHES AND A BUBBLING FOUNTAIN (IMPORTANT FOR LATER). LAUREN ZOOMS ON PANEL, SEEING COVEN, WHO STANDS IN THE CENTRAL COURT, CRUSHING A BENCH IN HER HANDS.
CAP: ...But I'm probably gonna get my brains splashed all over this mall, instead. Bad career move, girl.
2nd CAP: Guess that's who -- or what -- I'm after! It's putting out magic power like a giant battery! It's also --
LAUREN (burst): HEY!
PANEL FOUR: ANGLE PAST RAGING COVEN TO LAUREN AS SHE FOES IN TOWARD COVEN.
CAP: It's Samantha! And Jessica and Heather and Trisha -- all in one body! Guh-rowss!
LAUREN: You guys...it's me! It's Lau -- Mantra! Settle down, and we'll...
COVEN (four tails): Mantra?
PANEL FIVE: CLOSER ON LAUREN AND COVEN. COVEN SLAMS A FIST INTO LAUREN, SENDING LAUREN REELING OFF AT AN ANGLE.
COVEN (four tails): Hate Mantra!
PANEL ONE: LAUREN, THROWN BACK BY COVEN'S PUNCH, COLLIDES WITH A PILLAR SUPPORTING THE MALL, PUTTING UP A FORCE-FIELD AROUND HERSELF FOR PROTECTION.
LAUREN (burst): WHOA!
CAP: They were probably playing at sorcery again, pretending they were some kinda coven --and this happened to them...Maybe even the same way it happened to Gus.
PANEL TWO: LAUREN CAUTIOUSLY APPROACHES COVEN, DRAWING THE SWORD OF FANGS.
CAP: But they want to take it out on Mantra -- meaning me. And they've got too much power to control.
LAUREN: Stay back, girls! Don't make me use this!
2nd CAP: I can't let them hurt anyone -- including me!
PANEL THREE: LAUREN SLASHES DOWN WITH THE SOF, BUT COVEN'S HANDS SHOOT UP, GRABBING THE BLADE, WITH NO ILL EFFECT.
LAUREN: Okay, you asked for -- HUH?
COVEN (four tails): GRRRRRG!
PANEL FOUR: CLOSER ON COVEN'S HANDS, ANGLE PAST THEM TO ASTONISHED LAUREN AS COVEN'S HANDS CRUSH THE SOF BLADE!
CAP: Mrs. Blake is gonna be mad!
PANEL FIVE: ANGLE PAST LAUREN, WHO IS THROWN THROUGH A STORE WINDOW, TOWARD CAMERA BY A FORCE-BLAST FROM COVEN, WHO IS IN BKGD. THE CRUMPLED SWORD GOES FLYING.
LAUREN (wavy balloon): >unnnh<
PANEL ONE: LAUREN IS IN THE MIDST OF A BUNCH OF CLOTHING --SHE HAS BEEN THROWN INTO A CLOTHING STORE -- WHICH HAS CAUGHT FIRE DUE TO COVEN'S FORCE-BLAST. LAUREN GETS TO HER FEET, SOMEWHAT PANICKED.
CAP: Fire -- !
LAUREN (burst): Get away...!
PANEL TWO: SIDE ANGLE. THE FLAMES ZOOM FROM THE STORE INTO COVEN, CATCHING COVEN ON FIRE, CAUSING COVEN TO PANIC. LAUREN WATCHES THIS.
CAP: They did! How --?
COVEN (four tails, burst): AKKKKK!
PANEL THREE: COVEN RUNS, PANICKED AND AFLAME; LAUREN FLIES AFTER HER.
CAP: She's afraid -- barely more than an animal in that state! I can't let her burn...
PANEL FOUR: LAUREN FLIES IN FRONT OF THE PANICKING COVEN, PUTTING OUT A MAGIC BLAST FROM BOTH HANDS THAT STOPS COVEN COLD. (and snuffs out the fires)
CAP: ...But I can't let her hurt anyone else, either!
COVEN (four tails, wavy balloon): >HKKKK<
PANEL FIVE: COVEN IS FLAT ON HER BACK, LAUREN STANDS OVER HER. COVEN HAS PARTIALLY REGAINED HER SENSES.
SAMANTHA: We-We're in the Mall!
TRISHA: God, if any of our friends see us like this -- !
HEATHER: Shut up, Trisha!
JESSICA: Can you help us?
CAP: They're thinking again!
PANEL ONE: ANGLE PAST LAUREN TO COVEN.
LAUREN: I want to help you! How did you get this way?
SAMANTHA: We...were trying to get magic...
HEATHER: ...Like Mantra!
PANEL TWO: SIDE ANGLE. COVEN IS RAVING AGAIN, SUDDENLY SOCKS LAUREN, WHO IS TAKEN BY SURPRISE.
COVEN (burst, four tails): MANTRA!
LAUREN: No! Stay calm, don't --
PANEL THREE: COVEN SLAMS LAUREN BACK AGAINST THE BASE OF THE AFOREMENTIONED FOUNTAIN. SIDE ANGLE ON THIS, PLAYING UP THE FOUNTAIN.
PANEL FOUR: CLOSER ON COVEN AND LAUREN. COVEN HAS GRABBED LAUREN BY THE SCRUFF OF HER NECK AND THRUST HER UNDERWATER IN THE FOUNTAIN, TRYING TO DROWN HER. UPSHOT PAST LAUREN'S HEAD, UNDER WATER, TO COVEN, ABOVE WATER.
CAP: Think, Lauren...! Don't -- don't panic...
PANEL FIVE: CUT TO EXTERIOR OF THE GLASS-PANELLED DOOR OF MRS. WALKER'S SHOP, PAINTED LETTERS READ: MRS. WALKER. READER/ADVISOR. MRS. WALKER (FROM MANTRA #13) IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR, BRINGING DOWN A WINDOW SHADE THAT SAYS CLOSED ON IT. SHE LOOKS INTO CAMERA, ASTONISHED.
OFF (burst): Mrs. Walker? MRS. WALKER!
MRS. WALKER: Eh?
PANEL ONE: INSIDE MRS. WALKER'S SHOP. SHE OPENS THE DOOR, TO LET EVIE IN. EVIE IS VERY PANICKED, VERY TIRED, STILL CARRIES THE DISH/BOX WITH EDEN IN IT.
MRS. WALKER: Li'l Evie! You should be home, chile!
EVIE: You -- You gotta help me! You know magic stuff*...
BOTTOM CAP: *See Mantra #13. -- mwb
PANEL TWO: SIDE ANGLE, CLOSER ON THEM. MRS. WALKER BENDS OVER, ASTONISHED, TO SEE TINY EDEN IN THE DISH/BOX. EVIE HOLDS THE DISH/BOX UP TO MRS. WALKER.
EVIE: ...You gotta help my mommy! Please?
MRS. WALKER: Land sakes!
PANEL THREE: ANGLE PAST EVIE TO MRS. WALKER. THE AIR ABOVE AND BEHIND MRS. WALKER STARTS TO GLOW. EVIE LOOKS VERY AFRAID, MRS. WALKER LOOKS AT EVIE.
MRS. WALKER: Evie, I don' know this much magic! We'll have to --
PANEL FOUR: MRS. WALKER HAS TURNED TO SEE WHAT EVIE IS LOOKING AT. 3/4 ANGLE PAST EVIE AND MRS. WALKER. BETWEEN THEM, IN BKGD., WE SEE GUS, APPEARING, GRINNING EVILLY. INSTEAD OF HIS GAME BOY, HE NOW CARRIES A HAND-HELD HOME VIDEO GAME TRIGGER-STYLE JOYSTICK, WHICH HE MANIPULATES.
GUS: I said I'd never hurt you, Evie --
GUS (2): -- But I will if you make me!
PANEL FIVE: BACK TO CLOSE ON LAUREN, UNDERWATER SHOT OF HER BEING HELD UNDERWATER BY COVEN. LAUREN'S EYES OPEN GLASSILY, AIR DRIBBLES FROM HER NOSE AND MOUTH. SHE'S ALMOST GONE.
CAP: ...On second thought, panic would be good!
BOTTOM CAP (not a Lauren cap): CONTINUED NEXT ISSUE!
Suggested panel layout
Back to the "Behind The Scenes" stories