"I Dream of Demon"
Panel 1. A discarded newspaper on the sidewalk outside an apartment building, night time. The headline on the paper reads “INSOMNIA EPIDEMIC SWEEPS CITY.”
1 CAPTION (NAOMI): “I smiled at you because you’re a dreamer.”
Panel 2. Inside JASON’s moonlit bedroom at his apartment. He is in bed with NAOMI, and they are both naked under the sheets. Jason is visibly fat but not ghastly to look at. Naomi by comparison is bodacious, curvy everywhere and stacked up top. She’s your favorite brunette Playboy Playmate. Jason looks a little amazed, but Naomi is relaxed. The bedroom is a mess, but there is a poster of a dragon on the wall.
2 JASON: A dreamer? You could tell something like that from across the bar?
3 NAOMI: Call it a sixth sense.
Panel 3. Jason puts a hand on Naomi’s cheek, smirking. She stares at his hand.
4 JASON: Well now that you’ve seen my apartment, you know dreams are all I’ve got.
5 JASON (connected): That and a bad case of chivalry.
6 NAOMI: Good thing I don’t ask for much then.
Panel 4. Naomi rolls over to face away from Jason, who is leaning on one elbow now. Naomi looks distressed as she faces us, the readers, but Jason is calm and happy.
7 NAOMI: But I am going to ask you to shut up and go to sleep.
8 JASON: Isn’t it usually the guy who doesn’t want to cuddle afterward?
9 NAOMI: I’m not as cuddly as I look.
PAGE TWO (5 panels)
Panel 1. A horizontal panel of solid black, to indicate a time gap. No dialogue.
Panel 2. Jason is punching out a lizard man on top of a mountain in the daytime. Obviously, this is a dream. Jason is wearing medieval armor, and the lizard man isn’t wearing anything because he’s a lizard man. A bunch of mini-lizard men are comically fleeing at the sight of their leader being defeated. A woman wearing a cloak stands behind Jason, hunched over with her face obscured (it’s Naomi). She is noticeably handcuffed. Literal, full-sized castles float high in the sky above them. A pair of dice is emblazoned on Jason’s breastplate.
1 JASON: For the last time, Lizard Lord--
2 JASON (connected): --kidnapping is not how you find a wife!
Panel 3. Jason takes Naomi by the shoulders with a smile, but her head is still down so we can’t see her face. The lizard man is unconscious and the mini-lizard men are fading off into the distance.
3 JASON: Don’t worry. You’re safe now, miss.
4 NAOMI: Do you always play the hero in your dreams?
5 JASON: Do I what?
Panel 4. Naomi looks up at him with an intense stare. Jason is startled at the sight.
6 NAOMI: I can see why it chose you.
7 JASON: Naomi! How did Lizard Lord--
8 JASON (connected): --Oh, wait, I’m asleep, huh?
Panel 5. Naomi cringes, nearly on the verge of tears.
9 NAOMI: Yes, Jason. Maybe for the last time.
PAGE THREE (3 panels)
Panel 1. Some sort of black energy begins to emanate out of Naomi, and bloody tears run down her cheeks. She has no expression now. Jason backs away, understandably creeped out.
1 JASON: Naomi, what’s happening to you?
Panel 2. Naomi effortlessly spreads her arms apart to break the handcuffs. The black energy around her has intensified.
2 NAOMI: There’s just something I have to get off my back.
Panel 3. A massive, hideous DEMON emerges out of Naomi’s back, with Naomi’s body acting as an anchor. It has three pairs of arms and two pairs of wings. It has claws and fangs and spikes and its head is big enough to bite Jason in half. Otherwise, the demon’s appearance is up to you. Have fun with it. Jason is naturally terrified at the sight of the thing. It has suddenly become nighttime, and the lizard men have vanished.
3 DEMON: Yes, little hero, doesn’t something perverse always belie our pretty illusions?
PAGE FOUR (4 panels)
Panel 1. With one swipe of the hand, the demon tears away most of Jason’s armor and spills some blood. The demon is always attached to Naomi’s back, but Naomi is practically its marionette now.
1 JASON (burst): Gaahh!
2 NAOMI: Run, Jason! Just run as long as you can.
Panel 2. The demon grins malevolently, holding up its hand that is covered with Jason’s blood.
3 DEMON: Oh, sure, now she tells you to run--
4 DEMON (connected): --now that she’s already delivered you into my hand.
Panel 3. Jason is on the ground, feeling his torn and battered body. Naomi extends a hand in his direction.
5 JASON: Is this for real? Am I fighting a demon?
6 NAOMI: Yes, because I’m under its curse! I’m sorry.
7 NAOMI (connected): It travels from host to host, leeching all your dreams until you can’t sleep at all.
Panel 4. Jason stands up tentatively, making a fist and gritting his teeth. His fist is glowing.
8 JASON: Aahh, and now you’re pawning it off on the fat guy, huh?
9 JASON (connected): Trying to make up for all that lost beauty sleep, huh?
PAGE FIVE (4 panels)
Panel 1. Jason shoots lightning out of his hand at the demon. It wraps around the demon’s body and cuts across its flesh. Thick, creepy veins pop up and pulsate on Jason’s body now, making him appear somewhat demonic himself.
1 JASON: Well you can forget it!
2 JASON (connected): Because these are my dreams!
Panel 2. The demon grins again, its eyes twinkling with hate. Blood flows out of its mouth inconsequentially.
3 DEMON: Indeed they are, especially now.
4 DEMON (connected): As the reality creeps forth from under the dream--
Panel 3. The demon raises all its hands toward the dark sky. All the castles floating in the sky have burst into flames and are descending toward the ground like meteors.
5 DEMON: --and the sky falls--
Panel 4. The demon lowers all its hands toward the landscape of the mountain. Thousands of rats are scurrying up the mountain toward them. Don’t draw every rat of course; I’m not a sadist. Just draw enough to indicate there are a lot of them. Jason gives the rats a stony glare.
6 DEMON: --and the Earth rots.
PAGE SIX (5 panels)
Panel 1. Jason eyes the approaching burning castles with frustration. The castles are already much closer than before. Since the landscape is a reflection of his unconscious mind, he’s actually not paying that much attention to the impending catastrophe that closes in around him.
1 JASON: I should have known someone like you would never go for a nice guy like me.
Panel 2. Jason throws up his hands in disbelief at Naomi.
2 JASON: But why would you do this to me? Don’t you know this city has an epidemic?
3 JASON (connected): Nobody who’s developed insomnia has recovered. Handing this demon off to me won’t save you!
Panel 3. Naomi pouts, using a hand to wipe the blood from her cheek.
4 NAOMI: I know that, Jason. But if I let him take you--
5 NAOMI (connected): --He promises to let me forget this ever happened.
Panel 4. Jason has lost it. He encroaches upon Naomi like a prowling wolf, his veins swelling even more. His hand glows again.
6 JASON: Are you serious?
7 JASON (connected): You’re willing to destroy my life just to make your trampy existence a little less miserable?
Panel 5. Jason lunges at Naomi with a knife that has materialized in his hand, stabbing her in the heart.
8 JASON: I’ll see you in hell first!
PAGE SEVEN (4 panels)
Panel 1. The demon examines Naomi, who has collapsed to the ground, the knife still in her body. The rats are seconds away from them.
1 DEMON: Not very heroic, killing the damsel in distress.
Panel 2. Jason snarls up at the demon. The burning castles appear gigantic now in the background.
2 JASON: And it’ll kill you too, when you don’t have a host to play parasite with!
Panel 3. The demon crosses its six arms with an incredulous smirk. Its chest puffs with satisfaction.
3 DEMON: Oh, and suddenly you’re an expert on demonology, eh?
4 DEMON (connected): Don’t you realize that all you’ve done is lift the anchor? That the demise of one host is an invitation to take another?
Panel 4. Pull the angle back far enough to show the rats and the burning castles all about to converge upon Jason. The demon is triumphant and notably no longer attached to Naomi. Jason has meanwhile succumbed to despair.
5 DEMON: You see, I can’t barge in and consume just anyone’s dreams--
6 DEMON (connected): --I can only feed on the dreams of the people who are deluded enough to embrace me.
PAGE EIGHT (5 panels)
Panel 1. Another horizontal panel of solid black, indicating a second time gap. No dialogue.
Panel 2. Naomi is wide awake in Jason’s bed, alarmed that she has no memory of getting there. Jason is still asleep. It is the crack of dawn.
1 NAOMI (weak): Oh my God.
Panel 3. Naomi slides on her panties crooked with one hand, while her other arm covers her breasts.
2 NAOMI (weak): I can’t believe I slept with some guy and don’t even remember it!
Panel 4. Naomi is utterly disheveled but dressed now. She is standing at the bedroom door with one hand on the knob, staring at Jason.
3 NAOMI (weak): But whoever he is--
Panel 5. Close in on Jason, an agonized, angry expression on his slumbering face. He is exposed.
4 NAOMI (weak) (off-panel): --He looks like a jerk.