The Sandman (Vertigo) script
Synopsis: The Sandman is an American comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics imprint Vertigo. Its artists include Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, and Michael Zulli, with lettering by Todd Klein and covers by Dave McKean. Beginning with issue No. 47, it was placed under the Vertigo imprint. It tells the story of Dream of the Endless, who rules over the world of dreams. The original series ran for 75 issues from January 1989 to March 1996, with Gaiman's contract stipulating that the series would end when he left it.

FADE IN:

EXT. CHURCHYARD - NIGHT

CLOSE ON:
a word carved in stone: 'DREAMS'.

BEGIN CREDITS:

PULL BACK to reveal the full inscription:

'FOR IN THAT SLEEP OF DEATH WHAT DREAMS MUST COME.'

It's carved on a large obelisk grave marker. Beneath the

inscription is a name: THIBAULT, and dates: 1861-1917.

PULL FURTHER BACK: Perched on the marker is a stone effigy of

the angel of death, wings spread wide, half-smile on her

face.

AND FURTHER BACK: Ropes are wrapped around the marker. The

ropes tighten, and the marker is suddenly PULLED OVER, the

CAMERA taking off with it --

The marker is dragged along, through deep grass ... then with

a bump it's on a dirt road, then over a bridge. It's dragged

by a team of horses. Rain starts to fall. The marker pulls

away, continuing on toward --

Burgess Manor, a dark outline against the gray marble sky --

END CREDITS:

INT. BURGESS MANOR - GARAGE - CIRCA 1930'S - NIGHT

The garage was once the carriage house. Several luxury cars,

circa 1930s, fill the bays. The marker lies in an empty one.

Two men stand nearby.

One is RODERICK BURGESS. A commanding presence, radiating a

charisma both disturbing and mesmerizing. He is in his early

twenties, but his soul is much older -- and darker.

The other is SMITH. Middle-aged, face drawn, he peers out of

the garage furtively. He's worried, preoccupied. A white

clerical collar is almost hidden beneath his coat and scarf.

SMITH:

(hopefully)

The rain will wash out the tracks ...

Burgess moves slowly to the marker.

BURGESS:

I've found it. Crowley couldn't. Mathers

couldn't. Only I could.

2.

SMITH:

I didn't see anybody on the

road ...

Burgess isn't listening to him; he's preoccupied with the

marker. He examines it gleefully, reverently.

BURGESS:

Thibault had it stolen from the Vatican

Library -- that's common knowledge. But

then it disappeared. He told Yeats he'd

destroyed it. But he didn't. He couldn't.

And now -- I've found it.

SMITH:

I don't think anyone saw me.

Burgess finally looks at the man. Cocks his head, amused.

BURGESS:

Don't worry, Vicar. No one saw you. No

one knows what you've done -- except you

and me. And God.

(insinuating)

Just like your other little ...

peccadilloes.

The Vicar shuts his eyes in pain.

SMITH:

Please ...

(looks at Burgess)

What they say is true. You are the most

wicked man alive.

BURGESS:

(chuckles)

I've always liked that title.

He grabs up a sledge hammer, startling the other man -- as he

intended. He smiles, and SMASHES the hammer down on the

marker. Another blow. Another --

The marker is hollow. Hidden inside is a large oilskin

bundle. Burgess drops the sledge. Lifts out the bundle.

Burgess unwraps it carefully. Inside is a thick book.

BURGESS:

The Magdalene Grimoire. Finally.

The book is heavy, leather bound, brittle with age. Burgess

pages through it greedily. It is filled with tiny, cramped

writing, arcane diagrams, drawings.

3.

SMITH:

That's it then? You can do it now? You

can ... capture the angel of death?

BURGESS:

Death isn't an angel. She's one of the

Endless ... who existed long before

angels ... and will exist long after the

final cherubim has sung its last hosanna.

SMITH:

Heresy.

BURGESS:

For your sake, hope it's not. The

Magdalene Grimoire is all the Order of

Ancient Mysteries needed. With it, we

will summon and imprison Death.

(beat)

And I will command who shall live ... and

who shall die.

SMITH:

Then ... you'll keep our bargain?

(no answer)

Please -- you'll keep your promise?

BURGESS:

Of course, Vicar. You have my word. You

won't die. And you will never have to

stand in the judgment of your God.

(clasps him on the shoulder; cheery)

Good night.

He exits the garage, for the main house. Smith looks down at

the marker, at the shattered effigy of death.

SMITH:

Thank God --

He catches himself, realizing he shouldn't be praying. His

eyes fill with tears; he slumps.

SMITH:

What have I done?

4.

INT. BURGESS MANOR - CELLAR - NIGHT

Candles burn in the darkness. Robed figures inscribe a large

circle on the floor -- chalk white against the black stone.

Runic characters decorate it.

ACOLYTE:

It is midnight, Lord Magus.

BURGESS:

It is time. Elspeth, love..?

A beautiful YOUNG WOMAN nods adoringly. She crouches on all

fours at Burgess' feet.

Items are placed on her back: a ceremonial bowl, inside which

floats a human heart. A long twisted knife. A feather. Coins.

The Magdalene Grimoire. She is a human altar.

Burgess opens the book. He begins to intone, displaying the

items as he names them:

BURGESS:

I give you coin I made from a stone. I

give you a song I stole from the dirt. I

give you a knife from under the hills.

And a stick I stuck through a dead man's

eye. I give you a claw I ripped from a

rat. I give you a name, and the name is

lost.

He jabs his forearm with the knife. Blood drips onto the

feather.

BURGESS (CONT'D)

I give you blood from out of my vein, and

a feather I pulled from an angel's wing.

He throws the feather into the circle.

BURGESS (CONT'D)

I summon with poison, and summon with

pain. I open the way and open the gates.

Come.

The acolytes echo the word 'Come.'

BURGESS (CONT'D)

I summon you in the names of the old

lords. Namtar. Allatu. Morax. Naberius.

Klesh. Vepar. Maymon. We summon.

The acolytes chant 'Come.'

5.

BURGESS (CONT'D)

From the dark they call you ... into the

dark they call you. Coin and song, knife

and stick ...

In the center of the circle, the air SHIMMERS --

BURGESS (CONT'D)

Claw and name, blood and feather ... Here

in the darkness ...

The air SOLIDIFIES, taking shape --

The acolytes echo 'Here in the darkness.'

BURGESS (CONT'D)

Here in the darkness, we summon you

together. COME!

There is FLASH --

-- and a black-cloaked FIGURE materializes in mid-air.

His head and face are covered by a HELM that looks like the

skull of some dead ancient god (which it is).

A large, vibrant heart-shaped RUBY adorns his neck.

A small leather POUCH hangs from one hand.

-- and then the figure collapses. He lies splayed on the

floor, in the center of the circle.

The acolytes are hushed, amazed.

ACOLYTE:

We did it. I don't believe it. We did it --

BURGESS:

No. We failed. This isn't Death. Damn it

to hell.

Silence from the others as Burgess considers the figure.

BURGESS:

Even so ... strip him.

The Acolyte nods, reaches across the circle --

-- and SCREAMS as his arm TWISTS violently, torqued by some

unseen force. Burgess shoves him away from the circle.

BURGESS:

Fool! If you'd broken the circle, he

could have escaped!

He grabs Elspeth by the hair, slashes with the knife --

6.

Elspeth's head lolls to one side. Burgess catches her before

she collapses.

ACOLYTE:

My god --

Burgess lets Elspeth fall to the ground. He holds his hands

up like a surgeon. They are stained with Elspeth's blood.

Careful not to break the circle, Burgess steps close to the

captured FIGURE. With bloody hands he strips off the cloak.

He takes the ruby.

He takes the pouch.

And then he removes the helm --

The face revealed is bone white, framed by jet black hair. An

aquiline nose and high cheekbones, a face carved from finest

marble -- save the eyes. These are obsidian, deep as the

universe -- and staring directly at Burgess.

He is the personification of dream.

He is SANDMAN.

Burgess draws back, unsettled.

BURGESS:

(shaken)

... I think, at day's end, this will have

been a very profitable evening's work.

With a gesture, he orders the acolytes out. Burgess continues

to stare at Sandman as he backs out of the room.

The door to the room pivots on an axis; the other side is

brick. It is clearly a secret room. The door swings shut.

Sandman lies on the floor, unmoving. And then --

-- a single, small tear slips down his cheek --

From somewhere in the empty room comes the SOUND of water

DRIPPING, slowly. In the corner, a drop of water slips from a

pipe, courses down the wall to the floor.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE WORLD - VARIOUS

A scratchy recording of 'Dream a Little Dream of Me' fades in

and out. We see images, drifting, dreamlike, drawn from news

reels, photographs, drawings: A bread line. Gandhi. Astaire

and Rogers, dancing. Flagpole sitting and dance marathons.

Hitler at a rally ...

7.

INT. BURGESS MANOR - CELLAR - CIRCA LATE 1940S - NIGHT

CLOSE ON:
Sandman's eyes. He's sitting up now, hugging his

knees to his chest. But still unmoving.

Burgess, nearly twenty years older, sits in a chair opposite

him, studying him.

BURGESS:

I know you can grant me boons. Power.

Immortality. A promise you won't seek

revenge.

(beat)

Well? I know you can understand me. Say

something!

Sandman does not respond. Does not move. Just stares.

BURGESS (CONT'D)

Damn you.

The door pivots, and ALEX BURGESS pushes in. He's seven, and

he wants nothing more than to please his father. He carries a

large folio, dusty and falling apart.

ALEX:

Sir! I found it!

BURGESS:

Yes, Alex?

ALEX:

See? Here. In the Paginarum Fulvarum.

He leafs through the folio. It is filled with old drawings

and paintings. We catch quick glimpses of figures titled

Destiny, Death, Desire, figures we will learn more of later.

ALEX:

You said he had to be one of the Endless.

But it wasn't Death. And it's not Desire,

or Despair -- or Destiny. That'd been

brilliant if you'd caught him -- um ...

Burgess has fixed him with a stern look, humbling him.

ALEX (CONT'D)

Uh, anyway ... Here.

He finds the drawing he's looking for, displays it:

A Heirmonyous Bosch-like portrait of Sandman in his helm and

cloak. Terrifying. The drawing is inscribed 'Here is said

thee Kinge of Dremes.'

8.

ALEX (CONT'D)

See? He's Dream.

(reading)

Morpheus, Lord Shaper. the Prince of

Stories ... the Sandman.

Burgess takes the folio, examines it, nodding.

BURGESS:

Yes. I was hoping you'd work it out on

your own one day. And you have. Well

done, Alex.

ALEX:

Thank you, father --

BURGESS:

Father?

ALEX:

(chastised)

Thank you, Lord Magus.

(gathers his courage)

Sir ... Since you know his true name,

can't you make him do what you want?

BURGESS:

Cretin. That kind of magick is too

trifling for him and his ilk. The Endless

are not mortal

ALEX:

But if they're gods --

BURGESS:

They are not gods. Gods come and go. Gods

fade away.

ALEX:

But ... are we safe? What if his brothers

and sisters come after us?

Burgess broods on this ... glances at a shelf. On it lie

Sandman's helm, pouch and ruby. He fingers the helm.

BURGESS:

Protection can be had. Deals can be

struck ...

(to Alex)

You've never seen a summoning, have you,

son? Tonight, you will. We'll conjure a

demon of hell. And trade this --

(lifts the helm)

-- for our safety.

(more)

9.

BURGESS (CONT'D)

(turns to leave)

Inform the acolytes.

ALEX:

Yes, Lord Magus. But what about ... what

about him?

BURGESS:

He will not get out unless the circle is

broken. And the circle will not be broken

unless I order it.

He leaves, Alex trailing. Sandman watches them go..

In the corner, a DROP of water slips from a pipe, courses

down the wall to the floor. Twenty years has worn a channel

in the stone; the drop flows along it. And then another ...

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE WORLD - VARIOUS

More time goes by, more images, dreamlike: McCarthy in the

Senate. Lenin reviewing a May Day parade. Walt Disney opening

Disneyland. Hula hoops, 3-D movies, Elvis. The KKK marching

on Washington. All accompanied by the Everly Brothers'

version of 'All I Ever Do is Dream.'

INT. BURGESS MANOR - CELLAR - CIRCA 1960S - NIGHT

The door pushes open. Burgess enters, slightly drunk. At

sixty, he's still handsome and vital. With him is --

RACHEL. Beautiful in the extreme, radiating sexual heat.

Dressed in the counterculture style of the day. She is

giggling -- then draws up short at the sight of Sandman.

RACHEL:

My God ... it's true.

She circles Sandman slowly.

Alex, now in his twenties, has followed them into the room;

he watches Rachel's every step.

RACHEL:

He's magnificent. And you caught him,

Lord Magus?

Burgess smiles -- but it fades when Alex speaks.

ALEX:

Actually, it was a mistake. He was trying

to --

10.

BURGESS:

Shut up, Alex.

RACHEL:

Is he a demon?

BURGESS:

(shakes his head)

He's more dangerous than any demon I've

known.

He scoops up the pouch from the shelf.

BURGESS (CONT'D)

Here. This is what I told you about.

(opens the pouch)

The stuff that dreams are made of ...

ALEX:

(to himself)

'Made on.' Quote it right, you old idiot

...

He goes unheard as Burgess sprinkles some of the sand into

his own hand. It sparkles. He holds it out to Rachel.

BURGESS:

No matter how much you take out, there's

always some left ... Try it.

RACHEL:

How do I ..? Sniff it?

BURGESS:

Sniff it, swallow it, rub it on your skin

... pour it in your eyes ... it doesn't

matter.

Rachel considers. Puts one finger in her mouth, moistening

it, rolls it in the sand. With a wicked grin, eyes never

leaving Burgess', she trails her hand down toward her jeans --

Burgess stares, panting slightly --

Her fingers slips beneath the waistband. Between her legs --

BURGESS:

Oh, Rachel ... You are a wild one ...

She smiles, shows her teeth -- her eyes go wide. She is

seeing something beautiful, rapturous. She is seeing life as

a dream.

RACHEL:

Oh ... oh, my ...

11.

Roderick sets the pouch down, moves to Rachel. Begins to

nuzzle her neck, undress her. She responds to him --

-- but her eyes never leave the pouch.

Alex's gaze lingers on Rachel as he backs away. Then he steps

discreetly out of the room.

And Sandman continues to watch ... and wait ...

INT. BURGESS MANOR - CELLAR - NIGHT

The door opens. Alex slips in, followed by Rachel.

RACHEL:

Is he really what old Roddy says he is?

ALEX:

I don't know ... Stupid old Roddy

should've died by now and left me in

charge ... he really can work some sort

of magic ...

RACHEL:

That sand ... that was magic ...

Alex grabs the pouch. Considers, then takes the ruby as well.

He heads for the door. Rachel catches him.

RACHEL:

Please ... just a little.

Alex considers. Opens the pouch. Rachel pinches out some

sand, sniffs it. It takes effect immediately, transporting

her. Alex grabs her hand.

ALEX:

Come on ...

She pulls against him, grabs for the pouch. He lets her take

it. She clutches it. One last look at Sandman; then she

allows herself to be led from the room.

Sandman gazes after them.

In the corner, a DROP of water slips from the pipe, courses

down the wall to the floor. Flows along the channel, which

now leads to a small pool.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE WORLD - VARIOUS

More time goes by. Nixon, victorious over McGovern. An EST

meeting, slam dancing punks, a 'Star Wars' line. The

Ayatollah exhorting a mob. The song is 'Dreamweaver.' It

skips.

12.

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

A man -- call him DAVID -- sleeps fitfully in the one-room

efficiency apartment. He wears the pants and shirt of a

postal uniform; the rest is scattered on the floor.

The TV is on, volume low, showing Bicentennial celebration

news footage. Traffic NOISE comes from outside, mixed with

the sound of a DOG BARKING.

All the sounds FADE OUT, save the BARKING. It becomes

rhythmic, constant.

David's eyes flutter open.

CORINTHIAN:

Hello, David.

The CORINTHIAN is a young man with silver hair, whipsaw build

clothed in white silk pants and T-shirt.

He wears small, round dark glasses and an amused smile.

DAVID:

Hello. How did you get in here?

CORINTHIAN:

I wanted to talk to you, David. To tell

you that you are not fulfilling your

potential.

DAVID:

I'm not? Who are you?

CORINTHIAN:

I'm your friend. You can call me the

Corinthian. I want to show you something.

He gestures to the TV. The dog continues to BARK.

ON SCREEN:
what looks like the opening credits of a mid-

seventies cop show: studio backlot heroics and car chases. It

lingers on a POV shot: approaching a parked red Torino. Two

figures inside, one blond, one brunette -- both women. Their

hair is almost ridiculously long and straight.

David leans forward at the sight of the women. His fists

clench. The Corinthian smiles.

CORINTHIAN:

I've shown other people things like this,

David. All through history. But none as

special as you.

ON SCREEN:
the POV shot continues. A .44 appears in frame,

and FIRES. The windshield shatters, and the brunette's head

snaps back -- a bloodless, TV killing. The blond looks up and

smiles.

13.

The gun FIRES again.

David's eyes fill with tears of joy. The rhythmic BARKING

continues.

CORINTHIAN:

You see, David? If you can dream it --

you can be it.

David saddens.

DAVID:

That's all this is? This isn't really

happening? This is a dream?

CORINTHIAN:

Sadly, yes. That's the only way I've

ever talked to special people. But ...

(David brightens)

Something has happened, David. And now

you can help me. You can free me. As I

can free you.

DAVID:

How?

The Corinthian smiles, spreads his hands.

CORINTHIAN:

Wake up, David. Just wake up.

CLOSE ON:
David, sleeping fitfully. His eyes flutter open. He

looks at the TV. The bicentennial footage continues. NORMAL

SOUND has returned.

DAVID:

Just a dream ...

A hand drops on his shoulder. The Corinthian's hand.

CORINTHIAN:

Not any more.

He places something on the bed in front of David -- a .44

REVOLVER. David picks it up reverently. Heavy and real.

CORINTHIAN:

Good-bye, David. Thank you.

He rises, heads for the door.

DAVID:

Wait! Will I ever see you again? Will you

... talk with me some more?

14.

The Corinthian pauses.

CORINTHIAN:

I'll always be here, David. I'll always

talk to you. Just listen.

Once again, the SOUND fades away, isolating the BARKING DOG.

David listens, nods. The Corinthian nods back, then opens the

door and leaves. The door shuts quietly -- and NORMAL SOUND

returns.

David lifts the revolver. Spins the cylinder. POINTS it at

the CAMERA --

CUT TO:

INT. BURGESS MANOR - CELLAR - CIRCA 1980S - NIGHT

Burgess leans heavily on a cane. He is now a withered,

fragile old man. He stares at Sandman, who stares back.

Suddenly, Burgess is wracked by a violent coughing attack. He

gets himself under control.

BURGESS:

It's your fault! Damn you!

(resigned)

You aren't Death, but you live forever.

You haven't aged a day since I caught

you. You could have given me power beyond

my wildest dreams.

(chokes back tears)

I ... I didn't have to get so old. I

shouldn't have had to get old.

He has another violent coughing attack. Slips to one knee.

DEATH:

That's it, let it out.

Another person is in the cellar. She looks about nineteen.

Long black hair, pale skin. A kinda groovy, perky neo-punk

girl-next-door, dressed in black jeans and camisole. An ahnk,

the Egyptian symbol for life, hangs from her neck. She looks

genuinely concerned for Burgess.

And we recognize her face: it was the face of the angel of

death on the grave marker.

BURGESS:

Who are you?

She gestures. He looks down. Sees --

His own body. Lying on the ground near his feet. Dead.

15.

BURGESS:

Are you ... you aren't Death ... are you?

DEATH smiles, half-shrugs. She knows she's not what he

expected.

DEATH:

Hi.

BURGESS:

I tried to catch you once. Got him

instead.

DEATH:

I know.

BURGESS:

Am I ... are you going to punish me? Am I

bound for hell?

DEATH:

I'm just here to take you from this world

to the next ... Destinations are up to

you.

BURGESS:

Oh ... I am. I'm going to hell. I'm

Roderick Burgess. I'm the most wicked man

alive.

DEATH:

(a bright smile)

Not anymore.

She takes Burgess' hand. Looks up at Sandman.

DEATH:

(genuine sadness)

I'm sorry, little brother ... there's

nothing I can do. I ... I miss you.

She and Burgess fade into the shadows. We hear a SOFT

FLUTTERING SOUND, like WINGS.

She's gone. Just Burgess' body on the floor ... And Sandman,

watching. The water still DRIPS; the pool in the corner of

the room is quite deep now.

EXT. THE WORLD - VARIOUS

Images leading to the present day. A student stands defiantly

in front of a tank. An evangelist breaks down in tears. A

white Bronco moves slowly down the freeway. Demonstrators

join hands in a field of brightly colored quilts.

16.

INT. BURGESS MANOR - CELLAR - PRESENT - NIGHT

In the corner, a DROP of water slips from a pipe, courses

down the wall to the floor. Flows along the carved channel in

the stone, into the pool --

The pool OVERFLOWS. A line of water trickles its way across

the floor, across the faded chalk runes of the circle. It

wipes the line of chalk away --

The circle is broken.

With a cry of pain, Sandman falls forward, collapses outside

the circle.

He rolls over. Weak. In pain. His lips part. His voice is

filled with dark mystery, a voice that can inspire dreams and

command nightmares:

SANDMAN:

At ... last.

He gathers himself, rises. Stands, a bit unsteady.

He looks down at the remains of Roderick Burgess, decayed and

brittle with age. He picks up the skull. Regards it.

Sandman squeezes. The skull SHATTERS. There is no joy in his

eyes as pieces sift out from between his fingers.

Sandman looks at the shelf that once held his belongings.

Empty. He looks away. Moves toward the door --

EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Sodium lamps cast a sickly yellow light on the nearly-empty

lot. A WOMAN hurriedly click-clacks toward her car, keys

already out. She unlocks the door, opens it --

Someone slams it shut: the CORINTHIAN. He has seemingly

appeared from nowhere. He smiles at her.

CORINTHIAN:

Beautiful night to be alive, don't you

think?

WOMAN:

Stay away from me.

She crouches slightly, flexes her fingers. Her red-painted

fingernails glint. She knows self-defense. The Corinthian

draws a knife lazily, steps forward.

The Woman kicks at his shin -- he avoids it. But she brings

her foot down on his -- hard. She grabs either side of his

head, her thumbs clawing for his eyes behind his sunglasses --

17.

She SCREAMS, yanks her hands back. She crouches, staring down

at her hands, which drip with blood.

WOMAN:

What did you do?

The Corinthian straightens his sunglasses. The woman crawls

under the car. The Corinthian grabs her ankle -- she SCREAMS,

clutches at the pavement, grabs for the tire, as she is

inexorably dragged out from under the car.

CORINTHIAN (O.S.)

Don't worry. I won't kill you. That would

draw all sorts of the wrong kind of

attention. I just want to look into your

eyes --

Suddenly, she is no longer being dragged. She twists, peers

out from under the car --

The Corinthian stands still, looking up toward the night sky.

CORINTHIAN:

He's back. He's BACK. No! It's not fair!

I won't allow it. I won't go back!

He looks down at the woman.

CORINTHIAN (CONT'D)

Don't worry. I can stop him. I'm not

going back.

She cowers in terror. Opens her eyes -- the Corinthian is

gone. She blinks -- it's as if he was never there --

-- except for her hands. The Woman drags herself out from

under the car. Raises her hands --

Her THUMBS BLEED, as though bitten through by tiny sharp

teeth. She starts to cry.

EXT. BURGESS MANOR - NIGHT

Boarded up, windows broken, overgrown. Sandman stands under

the night sky. Reaches out his arms. Shadows move, and

darkness stretches towards him.

Sandman wraps the shadows around him --

-- and he is gone.

18.

EXT. DREAM REALM - DUSK

A SANDSTORM rages; there is the WHITE NOISE of the howling

wind. Shadows flow inside of it, and Sandman's dark outline

emerges, one arm raised, a shield against the wind. He peers

ahead. In front of him is:

EXT. DREAM REALM - THE GATES OF HORN AND IVORY - DUSK

Ornately carved. Flanked by gargoyles. Sandman is relieved at

the sight.

SANDMAN:

The Gates of Horn and Ivory. Once

through, I will see my castle ... I will

see --

The gates part before him. Sandman steps through --

EXT. DREAM REALM - SANDMAN'S PALACE - DUSK

SANDMAN:

-- my home.

Sandman stares in horror --

Ahead of him are the remains of Sandman's Dream Palace.

Beautiful, once, but now overgrown and broken -- its glass

walls CRACKED, its delicate spires BROKEN. The majestic

columns have fallen into RUBBLE.

Sandman slumps before it as if struck down. From nearby comes

the sound of gentle weeping -- and a voice:

LUCIEN (O.S.)

Breaks your heart, my Lord, doesn't it?

Sandman turns.

SANDMAN:

Lucien?

In the shadow of the gates sits LUCIEN, Sandman's librarian.

He rises to his feet. Pointed ears and round spectacles,

dressed as a clown might dress for a formal dinner.

He stares at Sandman, smiling, tears in his eyes. We realize

he's weeping at Sandman's return.

LUCIEN:

One and the same, my Lord.

(he bows)

At your service, as always.

(his voice cracks)

Welcome home.

19.

SANDMAN:

What happened here?

Lucien takes a breath. Wipes the tears from his eyes.

LUCIEN:

What happened? You are the incarnation of

this dreamtime, Lord. With you gone, the

place ... it started to crumble ...

He takes off his spectacles, cleans them.

LUCIEN (CONT'D)

I was aware of it in my Library. Slowly,

the words began to fade. Some time after

you vanished, my books became volumes of

blank paper. The next day the whole

library was gone.

(puts on his glasses)

I never found it again.

SANDMAN:

I'm sorry, Lucien.

LUCIEN:

I ... I tried, sir. I did my best. We all

did.

SANDMAN:

Let's see how it is, then.

INT. DREAM REALM - SANDMAN'S PALACE - HALLWAY - DUSK

Sandman moves through the ruined palace, around fallen

columns and past broken statues.

LUCIEN:

(a sad fact)

Most of the palace servants turned back

into the dream stuff you made them with --

MATTHEW (O.S.)

He's back? He's really back?

A WILD FLAPPING SOUND and a sleek black raven -- MATTHEW

streaks down, hovers in front of Sandman.

MATTHEW:

Where have you BEEN? Are you all right?

What happened?

SANDMAN:

I was detained.

20.

MATTHEW:

Ha. Detained. You haven't changed, that's

good news.

SANDMAN:

Nor have you, Matthew.

Sandman surveys the devastation.

MATTHEW:

It's a pisser, ain't it?

LUCIEN:

It hurts me, too, lord.

SANDMAN:

Hurts, yes ... Some power returns to me,

simply by being here. But I placed too

much of myself in my tools. And they are

gone.

He sits down on a broken marble stair.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

I wonder ... I wonder if it is all even

worth rebuilding.

Matthew speaks an aside to Lucien, not all that quietly:

MATTHEW:

Hell, I wonder if he can.

Lucien shoots Matthew a scolding look.

LUCIEN:

My Lord -- some things you should know,

items that need attention right away.

Many of the nightkind are missing. Lesser

dreams. And ...

(he swallows)

One of the major nightmares.

Sandman cocks an eyebrow, waiting. Lucien doesn't like being

the messenger.

LUCIEN (CONT'D)

The Corinthian. Escaped into the waking

world, I'm afraid.

Sandman turns away. Before him is his reflection in a cracked

mirror, hanging askew on a wall. He looks up into his own

eyes a moment, then away -- and in the mirror, we get a

glimpse of a fat, gray face -- DESPAIR.

SANDMAN:

How long?

21.

LUCIEN:

Twenty years.

SANDMAN:

There is no telling the harm he may have

caused in that time.

(beat)

I blame myself. Had I been here,

fulfilling my function ...

MATTHEW:

Aww ... it wasn't your fault, boss.

SANDMAN:

No? Then whose?

(beat)

And, in my absence, how much further

havoc has been visited upon the waking

world?

INT. STANFORD RESEARCH CLINIC - NIGHT

FACES of SLEEPING PEOPLE, as seen on a row of black-and-white

video monitors. Cheap public-sector equipment -- out of date,

out of focus, one of the screens flipping endlessly. Below

each monitor EKGs slowly churn out reams of graph paper.

A DOCTOR moves down the line, checking the readouts with

professional indifference.

ON SCREEN:
A man sleeps peacefully -- his name is PAUL - and

then his legs twitch spasmodically, stop. A piece of masking

tape is hand-labeled 'PLMS/nocturnal myoclonus.' NEXT SCREEN:

An ELDERLY MAN begins thrashing in bed, SCREAMING, pulling

out electrodes. His eyes are open but he sees nothing.

DOCTOR:

(checks his watch)

Patient seventeen, night terror episode

at eleven-oh-five.

The Doctor expects a response, doesn't get it. He turns,

glances down the line -- where an ASSISTANT studies the

length of an EKG read-out, engrossed.

DOCTOR:

Did you get that?

ASSISTANT:

(re:
the read-out)

It's gotta be some kind of record. Three

day observation program, and she's never

made it past a level 2 sleep pattern.

Even then just for a few minutes.

22.

The Doctor looks interested for the first time, comes over,

leaving patient seventeen behind, still SCREAMING.

DOCTOR:

Three days without REM sleep? She should

see things crawling the walls by now.

ASSISTANT:

No sign of hallucinations.

She's part of the benzodiazepine study

...

DOCTOR:

What's her name?

ON SCREEN:
is a WOMAN, lovely, her face relaxed in the

peaceful beauty of sleep -- but here eyes are wide open,

staring enigmatically INTO CAMERA, unblinking.

ASSISTANT (O.S.)

Rose Walker.

INT. STANFORD RESEARCH CLINIC - ROOM - DAY

ROSE WALKER, dressed, quickly packs a few items into an

overnight bag. The Doctor appears in the doorway. He turns an

envelope in his hands.

DOCTOR:

We do appreciate your participation, Miss

Walker. Um, if we could persuade you,

we'd like to have you back for an

individual --

ROSE:

(cuts him off)

Yeah, yeah, I know. Lemme guess. I'm

special. You've never seen anything like

me. You want to run blood tests and do a

night-time polysomnogram. Maybe you'll

do a daytime multiple sleep latency test.

You'll find that my condition is non-

respiratory, and not stress induced.

You'll find my eye muscles lack tone

because my REM sleep is so rare, but you

won't know why.

(beat)

Is that the check?

DOCTOR:

Yes --

23.

Rose plucks it from his hands. She slings her overnight bag

over her shoulder.

ROSE:

Look, no offense, but ... I've been

monitored and studied and hooked up to

wires since I was ten. If I thought there

was any chance that you guys could get me

a good night's sleep, I'd take you up on

it. But --

She shrugs. A wave of the envelope, and she's gone.

EXT. STANFORD RESEARCH CLINIC - DAY

The envelope is torn open; Rose examines the check.

PAUL (O.S.)

How'd you do?

PAUL -- who we met briefly, a patient in the sleep center --

has been waiting. He wears a clean denim shirt, and one of

those wispy goatees favored by sensitive-artist types.

ROSE:

It'll get me through another semester.

You?

PAUL:

Same. Walk you home?

ROSE:

... sure.

Paul notes the reluctance in her voice.

PAUL:

Listen, Rose ... I'm sorry I ... Sorry

that ...

Rose glances at him from under raised eyebrows, a smile

playing across her lips.

ROSE:

Yes, Paul..?

PAUL:

That I couldn't talk to you ... after the

other night.

ROSE:

Paul ... don't worry about it. We just

had some kind of emotional meltdown and

we ended up in bed. It's been known to

happen.

24.

EXT. BART STATION - DAY

Commuters exit the BART station. Rose and Paul pause, pull

skateboards from their bags. They ride expertly downhill,

winding in and out of the pedestrians.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO HILLS - DAY

Skateboards in hand, Rose and Paul trudge up a steep hill.

PAUL:

I really wasn't looking for, uh, you

know. I was just ... I've been blocked

for so long, and you listen so easy.

(beat)

I was afraid that I'd, I don't know,

seduced you --

Rose laughs. Paul looks hurt.

ROSE:

I'm a grown woman, Paul ... and the whole

tormented artist thing is not nearly as

attractive as tormented artists think it

is.

(trying to ease his conscience)

Look, this was just one of those things.

One of those bells that occasionally

rings ...

They reach the top of the hill.

PAUL:

A trip to the moon on gossamer wings?

ROSE:

Just one of those things.

She sets her board down, pushes off --

EXT. ROSE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY

Brownstones converted into low-cost apartments. The tenants

are young, struggling: students, artists, coffee-house

employees -- sometimes all three at once.

Rose arrives at her entrance, Paul close behind. He looks

uncomfortable. Rose packs her skateboard.

PAUL:

Hey ... let's go have lunch.

25.

ROSE:

I'm sorry -- I've got too much to deal

with in my life right now. Okay?

Paul looks even more uncomfortable.

PAUL:

I was thinking ... just, maybe we should

talk some more?

ROSE:

Paul, no.

PAUL:

Rose --

Rose shoots him a look -- she's had enough. Paul sees it.

PAUL:

Okay. The truth of the matter is, I know

all we're going to be is great friends --

(can't help smiling)

But right now, everybody in your whole

building is up with your roommate putting

together a surprise birthday party for

you, and it's up to me to keep you away

from there for the next two hours.

Rose is completely shocked. She glances toward her apartment.

ROSE:

Really?

PAUL:

Uh-huh. Act surprised, okay?

ROSE:

Okay ...

(back at Paul)

So, um ... pals, then?

Paul regards her ... they smile. An understanding reached.

PAUL:

Pals. For now.

(off her look)

And probably forever. But I just don't

like saying 'never.'

ROSE:

Okay. Deal. After all, no one knows their

own destiny, right?

CLOSE ON:
The parchment PAGE of massive book. In beautiful

illuminated script it reads:

26.

"After all, no one knows their own destiny, right?"

Rose said.

In Destiny's Garden, Destiny closed his

book and went to his gallery.

The huge tome is SHUT. It is chained to the wrist of --

DESTINY. Oldest of the Endless. Tall, wearing a hooded

cassock. We are --

EXT. DESTINY'S GARDEN - TWILIGHT

Destiny moves through his Garden at a measured pace,

assuredly as a blind man in his own familiar home. Perhaps he

is blind, as we do not see his eyes, hidden in shadow.

The garden is all Greek columns, statues and sweeping

archways. Paths that diverge and branch, fork and divide.

Tall hedge mazes immaculately cut --

But Destiny knows his way, walking amid the sounds of

silence. He leaves no footprints. And casts no shadow.

INT. DESTINY'S GARDEN - CITADEL - TWILIGHT

Destiny moves slowly, dwarfed by the high-ceilinged hallway.

Beyond, chambers lead into many rooms and further chambers.

He turns a corner, disappears into SHADOW --

INT. DESTINY'S GARDEN - CITADEL - GALLERY - TWILIGHT

Six portraits hang on the wall, all painted in romantic

style, all the subjects garbed in eighteenth-century fashion.

Destiny stops in front of the first painting -- an ornately-

framed oil portrait of Death, she in an elegant pose. Destiny

speaks, his voice dry as dust:

DESTINY:

Sister. I stand in my Gallery, and I

summon the family to me. It is I, Destiny

of the Endless, who calls you.

(beat)

Come.

Death EMERGES from out of her portrait, into the hallway. She

is her usual sunny self, casually dressed.

DEATH:

Hiya, big brother. What's up?

27.

DESTINY:

I am calling a conclave of the Endless,

Sister. Do you not feel you should be

more appropriately attired?

Death pouts ... then spins, and is suddenly wearing a turn-of-

the-century satin dress, black leather boots, black silk

gloves. The effect is at once wild and elegant.

DEATH:

Satisfied?

Destiny moves to the next portrait. He does not look at her.

DESTINY:

Yes. I am satisfied.

(to the portrait)

Sibling, I stand in my Gallery, and I

call you ...

DESIRE steps out from the portrait. Perfectly symmetrical,

perfectly androgynous features. Her (or his) skin is pale as

smoke, his (or her) eyes tawny and sharp as yellow wine.

Desire smiles in brief flashes, like moonlight glinting from

a knife-edge.

She (or he) is formally dressed: black corset, panties,

garters and stockings. Desire looks around, taking the place

in.

DESIRE:

(to Dream)

I see he hasn't redecorated in the last

three hundred years. So what's the

occasion?

DESPAIR:

Destiny will tell us that in his own

time, Desire. He won't be rushed ...

DESPAIR emerges from her portrait, a heavy woman, naked,

rolls of fat weighting her down. Grey eyes that narrow to

tiny points.

DESIRE:

I see you dressed for the occasion,

Despair.

DEATH:

Shush. Be nice. It's been years since the

family was together.

Destiny passes a conspicuous gap where another painting may

have hung. The next portrait is of a young girl, smiling,

holding flowers in a summer field.

28.

DESTINY:

Sister Delirium. Youngest of the Endless.

I stand in my Gallery, and I call you --

DELIRIUM steps into the Gallery -- looking not all like her

portrait. Orange hair, her fishnet stockings tattered. One

eye is vivid emerald green, spattered with silver flecks that

move; her other eye is vein blue. Who knows what Delirium

sees through her mismatched eyes?

DEATH:

Hi, sis. How are you doing?

DELIRIUM:

uh. YesterDAY i did SomE really BAD

stuff. I meaN REal bad. YOU know.

(beat)

but TOdAY i DiD some GOOD things. I don't

knoW --

DESTINY:

Hush, little sister. There is one more to

be summoned.

At the end of the gallery is the portrait of Sandman, dressed

in the finery of the 17th century. Destiny pauses in front of

it --

INT. DESTINY'S GARDEN - CITADEL - MAIN HALL - TWILIGHT

Sandman, dressed as he was painted, sits at a seven-sided

table. The Endless gathered around. Destiny stands behind his

chair. There is one extra chair, standing empty.

DESTINY:

You know why I have called this family

meeting.

DESPAIR:

Brother Dream is back.

(glances at the empty chair)

I thought you had gone for good.

DESIRE:

Abandoned his realm, abandoned his

responsibilities ...

SANDMAN:

I had no choice in the matter.

DELIRIUM:

DesTiNY couLD hAVe Told yOu WHAT was

ComINg. BUT he wouLdn't 'cAUse he's meAN.

29.

DESTINY:

I could not turn that page until it was

time for the turning. But I can tell you

what has occurred in your absence.

DESIRE:

Oh, do. This could be fun.

Sandman gestures for Destiny to continue.

DESTINY:

The dreams of men became chaotic. One

man's dream could infect thousands.

Dreams of freedom, of subjugation, dreams

of equality, dreams of death. Dark or

light made no matter, if the dreamer

strong enough.

Delirium pays no attention. Bright butterflies emanate from

her fingertips.

DELIRIUM:

i juST made butter-flies. LOOK,

everyBody! LOOk at whaT I just DiD ...

DESTINY:

Brother Dream. You must decide. Will you

repair your kingdom, and return to your

throne?

SANDMAN:

I am not sure that I am needed. Or that I

wish to resume my mantle.

Desire leans forward.

DESIRE:

I could make you wish to.

Sandman frowns.

DESIRE:

I am Desire, am I not? Where I touch,

things want and need and love, drawn like

butterflies to a candle-flame.

DESPAIR:

You mean moths.

Desire's smile widens.

DESIRE:

Butterflies.

30.

One of Delirium's butterflies lands on a candle flame. It

BURNS quickly, writhing, leaving only colored smoke. The

image is at once repellent and beautiful.

DELIRIUM:

thoSe Were MINE. you didn't HaVe to do

thAT!

DESPAIR:

We should not argue. We should not fight.

Sandman looks across the table at Death.

SANDMAN:

You have been quiet, sister. What say

you?

DEATH:

What say I? Well, I'll tell you. And I'm

only going to say it once, so you'd

better pay attention.

She rises and comes around the table to him. He waits

DEATH (CONT'D)

You are utterly the stupidest, most self-

centered, appallingest excuse for an

anthropomorphic personification on this

or any other plane.

She sits on the table beside him.

DEATH (CONT'D)

What we do aren't just responsibilities.

These aren't just jobs. We didn't answer

ads in the classifieds because we wanted

the health care. Destiny, Desire, Death --

this is what we are. And you -- are

Dream.

Her stern attitude fades, and she takes his hand.

DEATH (CONT'D)

I'm glad you're back. I was worried about

you.

She kisses his cheek, then moves back to her chair.

Sandman rubs his forehead ... decides.

SANDMAN:

I will repair my kingdom. To do so I must

recover my tools of power: Pouch, Helm,

and Ruby.

31.

DESTINY:

(nods)

The path is chosen, then.

SANDMAN:

But I don't know where they are. Brother,

could you ..?

Destiny does not respond, but pulls his book closer.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

No. Of course not. Sisters, can you be of

any assistance?

He's addressing Desire, Delirium and Despair, who are grouped

together -- a tableau of Mother, Maiden and Crone.

SANDMAN:

My pouch of sand, which controls dreams.

Do any of you have knowledge of it?

DELIRIUM:

i kNow! I KNoW! TheRe's a WOman namED

Rachel -- she haS IT! BuT I don'T KNoW

where SHe is. NeiTHeR doeS ShE.

Delirium shuts her mismatched eyes, furrows her brow. When

she opens her eyes again, they are both BLUE.

DELIRIUM:

Rachel remembers another: Rose Walker.

Perhaps she can lead you to your pouch.

(rubs her temples)

It hurts me to be this way.

SANDMAN:

Then stop.

Delirium's eyes shift back to one green, one blue.

DELIRIUM:

DesTINy? I'm SORry. I didn't MEaN to calL

you meAn. I mean, i meant to, bUt I

dIdn't MEAN it whEN I meant To.

DESTINY:

I know.

Delirium smiles.

SANDMAN:

My Dreamstone, my Ruby Moonstone, which

can alter the fabric of reality. Where is

it?

32.

Desire seems to enjoy answering.

DESIRE:

A very desirable item, hm? Stolen from a

king by a mage, stolen from a mage by a

thief. And that's the last I know of it.

(a knife's-edge smile)

Sorry.

Sandman scowls. Then turns to Despair.

SANDMAN:

And my helm of office, which protects me

between realms?

DESPAIR:

It was traded to a demon long ago. It now

abides in Hell. I am too familiar with

that place.

Sandman does not like this news.

SANDMAN:

Thank you.

He rises, leaves the table.

EXT. DESTINY'S CITADEL - TWILIGHT

Sandman stands on a balcony looking out over Destiny's

garden. Death joins him.

SANDMAN:

My ruby is missing. And I am not strong

enough to face a single demon, let alone

the hordes of hell.

DEATH:

So ... the pouch?

SANDMAN:

Yes. My sister, I pray you tell our

siblings that I was needed elsewhere, and

I could not stay.

He kisses her hand, and starts to fade away.

SANDMAN:

Adieu.

He's gone. Death bites her lip.

DEATH:

Great. Now I get to worry about him some

more ...

33.

EXT. ALEXANDER'S YACHT - EVENING

A 150-foot white yacht, sleek, huge engines, built for speed

and show, a testament to ego rather than seaworthiness.

Anchored far away from shore. Silent and dark, save for

lights in the galley and a forward cabin.

INT. ALEXANDER'S YACHT - GALLEY - EVENING

Plush and elegant. Long center table, huge refrigerator.

Quiet, cavernous and empty. A door opens --

It's ALEXANDER BURGESS. No longer the 'young' Burgess, he's

in his fifties, now -- and looks older. Silk robe pajamas,

unkempt hair, shuffling along, he is a shocking contrast to

the opulence of his ship.

CLOSE ON:
a tray, as Alexander carefully places five celery

sticks in line. Each celery stick is exactly the same length.

INT. ALEXANDER' YACHT - CAPTAIN'S CABIN - EVENING

Alexander pushes into the cabin, carrying the tray. A huge

bed, marble and wood appointments -- this is a yacht Donald

Trump might have owned.

On the bed is the body of a muscular young man. Dead.

ALEXANDER:

Carlos ... ?

CORINTHIAN:

Alexander Burgess, I presume.

The Corinthian is standing to one side of the door. Alexander

drops the tray, reaches into his robe, draws a gun from a

holster at his side --

The Corinthian moves swiftly, a single blow --

Alexander crumples to the deck, and SCREEN FADES TO BLACK.

INT. ALEXANDER'S YACHT - CAPTAIN'S CABIN - EVENING

FADE UP:
CLOSE ON ALEXANDER, lying where he fell. His eyes

open -- slightly. He shifts his eyes only, glancing around.

POV ALEXANDER -- he sees the Corinthian, moving about the

cabin, searching. Photos on the walls show scenes from huge

and decadent parties -- liquor, drugs, beautiful women,

powerful men. The Corinthian looks at them, shakes his head.

CORINTHIAN:

(to himself)

Oh my, such decadence.

34.

He moves past, examines an empty wall. Lingers there.

CORINTHIAN:

Dear Alexander ... you spent a lot of

time here, didn't you? It stinks of worry

...

He glances at a trail we can't see.

CORINTHIAN:

You've worn a path. And stood here for

long periods of time ...

He reaches up -- a hidden switch behind a bookcase slides

back a section of marble, revealing a safe. Without looking:

CORINTHIAN:

(to Alexander)

Get up! You've been awake for the past

two minutes. Your breathing betrays you.

Alexander opens his eyes, struggles to sitting. He begins to

weep -- not in terror, but in resignation. He wipes his eyes

with both hands.

ALEXANDER:

I knew ... it had to happen.

CORINTHIAN:

Yes, well ... you shouldn't have written

the book. Led me right to you.

He flings a book off the shelf down in front of Alexander.

'LORD MAGUS: The Truths of Roderick Burgess' by Alexander

Burgess. Alexander looks at it.

ALEXANDER:

Stupid. But I had to ... to ...

CORINTHIAN:

Pay penance? Set the record straight?

Make a fortune off the movie sale?

Alexander laughs mirthlessly.

ALEXANDER:

Hardly. You're probably the only one

whose ever read the damn thing.

(beat)

Want me to sign it?

CORINTHIAN:

No.

35.

ALEXANDER:

The Ruby.

CORINTHIAN:

Yes.

Alexander stands, moves to the safe.

ALEXANDER:

Is Carlos dead?

CORINTHIAN:

Yes. Your lover?

Alexander works the dial.

ALEXANDER:

(shakes his head)

Pilot and body guard. I haven't had much

interest in lovers -- male or female --

in a long time. Although I had my share

of both, once ...

He pulls the safe open. It is empty, save for SANDMAN'S RUBY,

set on a velvet pad. He takes it out.

ALEXANDER:

This gave them to me. It gave me

everything I ever desired ...

CORINTHIAN:

(mock tragic)

Except the one thing you ever really

wanted. Your father's love.

Alexander makes a fist around the Ruby. Hurls it at the

Corinthian -- who makes an effortless one-handed catch. He

holds it up to the light, then pockets it. Draws his knife.

ALEXANDER:

You're going to kill me now?

CORINTHIAN:

I believe so.

ALEXANDER:

With a knife. How prosaic.

(a bitter laugh)

I bought the yacht for safety. Open

water, supposed to guard against magic

attack.

CORINTHIAN:

Your father was right, Alexander. You are

an idiot.

36.

Alexander winces. The Corinthian moves to Carlos' body, turns

the corpse's head. He works his knife as he speaks.

CORINTHIAN (CONT'D)

You had the Ruby Moonstone of the King of

Dreams. Reality itself in your sway. And

all you could do was feed your callow

little hungers.

He holds up his prize: AN EYEBALL. He lifts it to his face --

we think he may eat it. With his free hand, he reaches up to

remove his sunglasses --

CORINTHIAN (CONT'D)

Not that I take issue with indulging

pleasures ...

Alexander gasps at what is revealed behind the Corinthian's

sunglasses.

CLOSE ON:
THE CORINTHIAN'S MOUTH. He brings the eyeball

closer --

-- and past, up, out of frame. EVEN AS HE SPEAKS (CLEARLY),

WE HEAR THE SOUNDS OF CHEWING --

CORINTHIAN (CONT'D)

But you never understood how to truly use

the Stone. You had the power to change

the whole world. And you wasted it.

Alexander is stricken. His knees buckle. He slumps to the

floor. And then we see what he has seen:

The Corinthian's eye sockets DO NOT HAVE EYES -- instead,

they are both MOUTHS, filled with SHARP TEETH. When he

speaks, all three of his mouths speak -- three voices,

overdubbed.

CORINTHIAN:

But that's pretty much true of all you

mortals, isn't it?

He brings his bloody knife up, and advances.

ALEXANDER:

Who are you?

CORINTHIAN:

(melodramatic)

I'm your worst nightmare. I'm --

(shrugs, smiles)

That's it. Your worst nightmare.

He LAUGHS --

CUT TO:

37.

EXT. OCEAN - EVENING

The Corinthian, sunglasses back on, pilots the yacht's launch

across the bay.

He takes the Ruby from his pocket, holds it up, looking

through it at the city.

POV - THROUGH THE RUBY. Everything is tinted red. And as the

Corinthian turns the Ruby, its facets distort the city,

distort reality ...

CLOSE ON - A DOZEN smiling PARTY-GOERS as they yell --

PARTY-GOERS

SURPRISE!

Rose's eyes widen, and she looks appropriately surprised; we

are --

INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

A banner reads 'Happy Birthday, Rose.' The party-goers,

mostly tenants, crowd forward. A cake with one big candle on

it is proffered; Rose blows it out, pushes through, Paul

behind her.

Among the guests are: KELLY, a chubby young woman with a good

heart; SAMANTHA, who smokes too many French cigarettes.

KELLY:

Were you surprised?

ROSE:

(a la Roz Russell)

I'm a cynical old woman now. Nothin'

surprises me.

Samantha holds up a little white KITTEN.

ROSE:

(a mercurial change)

Oh -- oh, look at it! Is it mine?

SAMANTHA:

Happy birthday, Rose.

Rose takes the Kitten, pets it, coos to it.

SAMANTHA (CONT'D)

I thought you needed something in your

life cute and warm and fuzzy and

demanding, and I didn't know any men, so

...

KELLY:

I wasn't sure you'd like it --

38.

ROSE:

No, no ... it's perfect. Purr-fect. I

love it.

KELLY:

She needs a name.

ROSE:

It's a she? That's easy. Her name's

'Dinah.'

She moves away, kitten clinging to her shoulder.

KELLY:

Dinah?

SAMANTHA:

Oh -- like in Alice in Wonderland. You

know Rose ...

Other partygoers wish Rose happy birthday, pet the kitty.

Rose smiles to everyone, thanking them, moving through the

crowd --

INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - LATER

Tired, Rose collapses into a chair. The kitten burrows behind

her neck. Someone offers a glass of wine --

Paul. Rose takes it from him. Smiles.

ROSE:

So ... can I at least imagine I inspired

you and you were able to get back to

work?

PAUL:

I wish. No, still blocked. I haven't

painted in ... months, is it months?

Shit. And you know about the sleep

trouble. I've been having this weird

dream ...

Kelly, questing for snacks, overhears this last.

KELLY:

A weird dream? You gotta tell Sam ...

she's a nut for this stuff. Sam, come

here!

(Sam joins them)

He's going to tell us a dream.

SAMANTHA:

Ragin'. So tell.

Paul hesitates -- it really wasn't for everybody to hear, but

now he's on the spot.

39.

PAUL:

I dreamt I was climbing a rock face, this

sheer, like, spire --and I hate to climb.

I hate high places in general. I'm an

artist, and I don't even open my windows

to look at the view --

KELLY:

The dream ..?

PAUL:

Right. So I'm climbing, and I've reached

the top.

EXT. DREAM REALM - ROCKY SPIRE - DAY

It's Paul's dream: A finger of stone pushes its way into a

pale blue sky. At the pinnacle, Paul maintains a perilous

hold, his face white with terror.

PAUL (CONT'D) (V.O.)

I can't go higher. I can't climb all the

way back down. And I can't let go. I

can't fall.

INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Remembering, Paul speaks nervously -- he's genuinely

troubled.

PAUL (CONT'D)

I just can't. Because if you fall in a

dream, and you hit the ground -- you die.

Right?

KELLY:

I think that's just an old wives' tale.

SAMANTHA:

I tend to trust old wives.

PAUL:

So ... ah ... I figure it's about being

blocked. Right?

SAMANTHA:

It sounds like an anxiety dream.

KELLY:

It always sounds like an anxiety dream to

you. Unless it's a sex dream.

40.

ROSE:

What if you dream about being anxious

about sex?

KELLY:

Is that what you dream about?

Rose is suddenly uncomfortable.

ROSE:

I don't dream. Never have.

SAMANTHA:

You mean you don't remember.

Rose takes a drink, looks away, and spots --

SANDMAN. Wearing a plain leather jacket, giving the party a

detached once-over. The guests flow around him, seemingly

unaware of his presence.

SAMANTHA (O.S.)

(to Paul)

So this spire ... basically long, and

phallic? And you're clinging to it, huh?

Curious, Rose moves toward Sandman -- almost drawn to him.

PAUL (O.S.)

Whoa, wait a second --

Rose gazes speculatively at Sandman. She scoops up a Chinese

fortune cookie from a snack bowl. Steps forward, startling

him.

ROSE:

Hi. So are you being lonely or just

aloof?

Sandman glances around for the person she is addressing --

then realizes it must be him.

SANDMAN:

You noticed me?

ROSE:

Yeah ... it wasn't hard. I looked behind

the philodendron, and there you were.

SANDMAN:

I am not usually noticed unless I wish to

be.

Rose quickly realizes he's a weirdo, decides to bail.

41.

ROSE:

(turning away)

Ah ... okay, Ninja-boy. Well, have fun

lurking.

Sandman catches her arm.

SANDMAN:

Wait. I require your assistance.

ROSE:

My assistance ..?

SANDMAN:

I am searching for a possession of mine.

A leather pouch, full of sand.

Rose looks afraid. She knows what he's talking about, but

wishes she didn't.

ROSE:

A pouch ..?

SANDMAN:

A woman named Rachel stole it. I want it

back.

ROSE:

Then go get it. And leave me the hell

alone.

She pulls away from him. She crosses to a window, and climbs

out, onto the fire escape.

EXT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - FIRE ESCAPE - NIGHT

Rose nuzzles the kitten. A beat, and then Sandman moves to

beside her -- although he did not seem to come out the

window.

SANDMAN:

My sister did not know the woman's

location, nor am I able to sense the

pouch. Do you know where she is?

Rose's words spill out, the venom unmistakable:

ROSE:

Rachel ... is my mother. My mother the

junkie.

She was stoned when I was conceived, she

was stoned when I was born, she was

stoned ... she is always stoned. The

state finally took me away.

(more)

42.

ROSE (CONT'D)

I hear from her once in a while --

when she remembers she maybe had a kid

somewhere.

(a bitter laugh)

Happy birthday.

SANDMAN:

Then you do know where she is.

ROSE:

I know where she was a year ago.

SANDMAN:

Take me to her. I will grant you a boon.

Rose stares at him -- this is absurd.

ROSE:

A boon?

SANDMAN:

Yes.

ROSE:

Like a gift? Like in a fairy tale? That

kind of boon?

SANDMAN:

Yes. I am Dream, of the Endless. I am the

Master of Dreams. If it is within my

power, you shall have it.

Rose's expression is one of surprise -- but not quite

disbelief.

SANDMAN:

And ... I need your help.

Rose is skeptical -- but she is considering it.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

(a single, desperate syllable)

Please.

Rose softens -- he is in genuine need.

ROSE:

This is too weird. My mother ...

She looks down at the fortune cookie in her hand. Looks up at

Sandman, into his eyes. They gaze at each other a moment, and

something passes between them. Understanding. Trust.

Rose's mouth curls in a sly smile. Cracks the fortune cookie,

extracts the fortune. Reads it. Shakes her head.

43.

ROSE:

(reading the fortune)

'Be open to new experiences.'

She looks again at Sandman. Sighs.

ROSE:

All right. We really don't get to choose

these things, do we? I'll take you there.

Sandman nods gratefully.

ROSE:

But that doesn't mean I believe you. What

a line. The Master of Dreams. Yeah,

right.

EXT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - NIGHT

A very bad neighborhood. A taxi screeches away from the curb.

Sandman stands on the sidewalk, Rose beside him.

The house is one step above condemned. Tall brown weeds and

broken windows, flaking paint and decaying siding.

SANDMAN:

The pouch is here.

ROSE:

How do you know?

SANDMAN:

I know.

Rose steps up to the house, rings the bell. Checks the front

door. Locked.

ROSE:

We can go around back and break a window

or something --

SANDMAN:

No. We go in by the front door.

Sandman gestures. A CLICK is heard, and the door opens

slightly. Rose looks at Sandman in astonishment.

ROSE:

Don't tell me you did that. That was

chance, right? Because if you did that

...

Sandman gestures for her to enter. She pushes the door --

44.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

The door moves open slowly, pushing a large pile of mail

before it -- magazines, letters, bills. Rose enters, frowns.

ROSE:

Six months worth of mail ...

(calling, panicked)

Ohmigod. Rachel? MOTHER?

She moves toward a stairway. Sandman stops her.

SANDMAN:

Rose. This place is not safe for you.

Things are free in this house that should

not be loose on earth.

She stares at him blankly, not really hearing him. She pulls

away --

ROSE:

Don't give me any more of that crap. She

might be in trouble.

-- and is off, up the stairs.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - - TOP OF STAIRS - NIGHT

Rose slows her ascent. Before her, white CLOUDS obscure the

second floor, tendrils of MIST curling down the stairway.

Resolved, she steps into the mist. Looks down --

VERTIGO hits us as the clouds part. Below Rose is open sky,

the city thousands of feet below. Rose FALLS --

EXT. SKY - NIGHT

The WHITE NOISE sound of WIND as Rose free-falls, plummeting

toward earth. Arms and legs spread, she watches, wide-eyed as

the ground approaches. She SCREAMS --

EXT. DELIRIUM'S REALM - INDETERMINATE

THE SCREEN CRACKS LIKE A MIRROR. Pieces of it fall away. Rose

stands on a misty plane. Color, sound, creatures and words

whirl around her violently.

This is DELIRIUM'S REALM. Delirium looks up at Rose.

DELIRIUM:

HavE yOu COme to viSIT my ReaLM?

GoodGooDGooDie. I Like comPAnY ...

(more)

45.

DELIRIUM (CONT'D)

i LikE to be ALoNE, too. but NOt bY MYseLf.

Sandman's hand touches Rose's shoulder. He stands beside her.

SANDMAN:

Sister ... she is not yours.

DELIRIUM:

BRother! nOW we cAn aLL bE aLONe ThrEE at

A tiMe!

SANDMAN:

No, little one. Not now.

Delirium makes a face. Blows a lock of hair out of her face.

DELIRIUM:

Um. OkaY.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - TOP OF STAIRS - NIGHT

The clouds, mist, and realm are gone. Sandman stands behind

Rose, close to her, holding her.

SANDMAN:

Rose. You're here.

Rose, shaking, hangs onto Sandman. Takes in her surroundings.

ROSE:

Uh. ... so real. I thought I saw ... You

were there. A dream -- like Paul's. It

was only a dream.

SANDMAN:

It is never 'only a dream,' Rose. Here

less than some other places.

He pushes open a door. The hallway beyond is black.

SANDMAN:

Follow, if you must.

(offhand)

Be careful. Stay away from the mouths.

ROSE:

What do you mean stay away from the -- ?

But he has already entered the hallway. She follows --

46.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

The scrape-whoosh of a cigarette lighter. Rose holds the

flame aloft, gasps --

The flame lights a hellish scene: The walls are not smooth.

DOZENS of grotesque, blood red FACES bulge from the walls and

ceiling. Thin tentacle arms reach out, hands gripping hands

from the other side, blocking their path. The faces SNEER,

several speaking at once:

FACES:

Leave her.

Do not disturb.

She is ours.

We from hungry.

Do not disturb us.

Rose shrinks back, looks around wildly.

ROSE:

Where is she? Mother!

The faces gnash teeth, lick drooling lips. They flow along

the wall, some fading back, others pushing forward.

FACES:

Foolish foolish.

Hear it posture?

Hear it threaten?

Foolish meat things.

SANDMAN:

Let us through.

Sandman's voice has instant effect. Some faces look

surprised; others glance around warily.

FACES:

Who said?

Who spoke?

Not him.

He's gone.

All gone long gone.

SANDMAN:

This has gone far enough. You have

exceeded your bounds.

The faces are already pulling back into the walls. Eyes

lowered, contrite. A few are even scared.

FACES:

Master?

Do not chastise.

Sorry sorry.

We thought you long gone.

Yes yes Master.

47.

Sandman moves down the hall, the arms untangling before him.

A disgusting meaty wet PLOP sound as the arms pull back into

the walls.

Rose stares as the hallway becomes smooth, normal.

ROSE:

Dreams, right? Those were dreams. And you

really are their Master.

SANDMAN:

Yes.

ROSE:

Did you send them? Are you responsible

for this?

SANDMAN:

No.

Sandman pushes open the door at the end of the hall.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - RACHEL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Dimly lit. The SOUND of buzzing FLIES. Rachel's naked body

lies sprawled, partially covered by a sheet, her appearance a

shock:
her skin is shriveled and decayed, several months

beyond death. Her eyes are open, unseeing.

Rose moves forward, recoils at the sight of her mother. She

drops to one knee, sobbing at the foot of the bed.

CLOSE ON:
Rachel, as her eyes flutter.

RACHEL:

(a whisper)

Hello?

Rose's eyes widen.

ROSE:

Oh no she's alive.

RACHEL:

Who's there? Oh!

(a ghastly smile)

I dreamt I had a daughter, once. Such a

wonderful dream ...

Rachel sits up. The sheet falls away from her shoulders. We

wish it hadn't.

RACHEL:

Dream dream dreeeeam ... Whenever I want

to ... all I have to do is dreeeeeam ...

48.

The Pouch of sand lies on a night stand. Sandman picks it up.

Squeezes it tight in his fist. He has reclaimed his first

tool.

RACHEL:

No that's mine. Mine. Gimme ...

Rachel lurches for the pouch -- Sandman simply takes a step

back. She collapses face-first on the bed.

SANDMAN:

(to Rose)

I have the pouch. We can go now.

Rose stares at him in disbelief.

ROSE:

No. You can't just take what you wanted

and go. You can't leave her like this.

Sandman regards Rachel, who writhes in the bed, humming, a

dry, croaking sound.

SANDMAN:

Why not? The sand was the only thing

keeping her alive. She will die soon.

(an afterthought)

Painfully, I would imagine.

He moves to the bedroom door. Rose stands.

ROSE:

I request my boon.

Sandman pauses.

ROSE:

For helping you. The boon you promised.

Sandman turns, eyes her -- an almost menacing look.

SANDMAN:

Yes?

ROSE:

Give her a ... merciful release from

this. Please. You can do that, can't you?

Sandman is surprised. His look softens. He reassesses her.

SANDMAN:

You could choose anything in the world.

And you choose to help her. Her, of all

people.

(more)

49.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

(beat)

I am ... impressed, Rose.

She meets his gaze. Again, that connection between them. He

nods.

SANDMAN:

I will grant your desire, Rose. You must

leave the room.

Rose closes her eyes. Opens them, looks on her mother one

last time. Turns, moves past Sandman, directly out the

bedroom door.

CLOSE ON:
Sandman's hand, as he sprinkles dream sand from his

fingers. It falls --

-- turning into PETALS that land on Rachel's forehead. She is

somehow young and healthy, now, lying back on green grass.

More petals land. Rachel opens her eyes, smiles. We are:

EXT. DREAM REALM - GREEN HILLSIDE - DAY

The sun is shining. A young girl -- it must be Rose, as a

child -- GIGGLES as she drops petals onto her sleeping

mother. Rachel stands, alive and healthy. She laughs, starts

to spin, arms flung outward. Rose spins with her, twirling --

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

Rachel lies on the sheets, dead. Sandman pulls the covers up

over her eyes. Pauses.

Suddenly Death leans into frame. She smiles sympathetically,

whispers into Sandman's ear:

DEATH:

That was a lovely final dream you gave

her, little brother.

She leans out. There is the soft fluttering SOUND of WINGS.

Then silence. Sandman is alone.

INT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Rose waits. The bedroom door opens, and Sandman is there.

SANDMAN:

She died peacefully. She died happy.

ROSE:

(flat)

Yeah. Great. Thanks.

50.

Sandman backs away from her. Rose sighs, looks up at him --

The hallway is empty. Sandman is gone.

EXT. RACHEL'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Police cars and an ambulance crowd the street in front of

Rachel's house. The ambulance (presumably with Rachel's body)

pulls away.

Bystanders stand behind police tape. Rose sits in the back of

a taxi. She gazes up at the house, lost in thought.

ROSE:

(to herself)

... Mister Sandman, bring me a dream ...

make him the cutest ... that I've ever

seen ...

The taxi pulls forward, moves down the street.

INT. JEWELRY SHOP - BACK ROOM - NIGHT

Several piles of GLITTERING cut DIAMONDS are strewn on a

workbench. They sparkle in the glow of the overhead light.

A hulking FAT MAN lays out jeweler's tools on a blue velvet

cloth. Babyish face, his hands seem dainty and too-small for

his huge arms, his features tiny, lost in the mounds of fat.

He calls himself FUNLAND.

There is a RAP on the metal side door. Funland moves quickly,

expectantly. Pulls the door open. The Corinthian stands in

the doorway. Extends his hand.

CORINTHIAN:

Funland, isn't it? Hi. The Corinthian. We

met online.

FUNLAND:

(shakes his hand)

Right ... wow, I can't believe it's

actually you ... wow. I thought you'd be

older --

CORINTHIAN:

My compliments to you on your BBS. Well

done.

(looks beyond him)

So we're all set, then? The tools?

FUNLAND:

Yeah. I, uh, got your e-mail --

51.

INT. JEWELRY SHOP - BACK ROOM - NIGHT

The Corinthian sits at the workbench. Sandman's RUBY is in a

small vice; the Corinthian peers at it through a magnifying

light, measuring the stone.

Funland eats a whole Twinkie, washes it down with a swig of

Jolt Cola. He looks over the Corinthian's shoulder. Trying to

act nonchalant.

FUNLAND:

(a little proud)

You know, I've got my own little thing

going.

CORINTHIAN:

(amused)

Oh?

FUNLAND:

I've found my own special place. There's,

like, thousands of people. And there are

always beautiful little children

wandering off, getting lost. Always

pleased to see somebody friendly.

The Corinthian murmurs as he makes an adjustment at the

bench. He pulls out a page torn from a book, consults it.

FUNLAND (CONT'D)

And quiet places to take them to, even in

the middle of the crowds. And what's

great is, the people who run the place

always hush it up. They don't want anyone

to know that I'm there either. They want

everybody to be happy. Just like me.

The Corinthian CUTS, fashioning the gem into a NEW SHAPE.

FUNLAND (CONT'D)

(dreamy)

It's a wonderful place, my secret,

special place. And the other thing I

love, if you can't find any beautiful

children to play with, you can always go

on one of the rides.

CORINTHIAN:

(without looking up)

How very pleasant.

51.

FUNLAND:

Yeah. I can't tell anyone else where it

is, because, y'know, they'd all want to

go there.

The Corinthian lifts the Ruby, examines it. Puts it back.

CORINTHIAN:

I'd like to make use of your mailing

list, Funland. There's going to be a

gathering of collectors.

FUNLAND:

-- really? Uh, sure.

Funland moves to an old Mac Plus computer on the bench,

hunches in front of it.

CORINTHIAN:

Nimrod is organizing it. Send him the

addresses you have. And I have some names

to add:
Family Man. Carrion. Moon River.

Dog Soup. Candy Man.

Bright SHARDS of ruby chip off as the Corinthian works, hit

the table, the floor -- and flatten into drops of BLOOD.

FUNLAND:

(amazed)

Dog Soup and Candy Man? Oh, man. Oh, wow

... this'll be great ...

Funland's fingers dance over the keyboard. A bloody shard

flies out from the Ruby, hits Funland on the cheek. He

touches it. Looks at his finger.

FUNLAND:

Hey, that's ... that's ...

CORINTHIAN:

(helpful)

Blood. Yes.

Funland stares at his finger, the blood drops coming from the

ruby. Quickly turns away, back to the keyboard. The

Corinthian laughs, keeps working ...

INT. DREAM REALM - LUCIEN'S LIBRARY - DUSK

Lucien sifts through piles of fallen books, carefully placing

them in order back onto the shelves. A PUMPKINHEAD MAN

silently assists him.

Matthew flutters in, perches on a stack of books.

53.

MATTHEW:

So, the library's open again.

LUCIEN:

Yes. Lord Dream was good enough to

restore it before ... before he continued

with his tasks.

MATTHEW:

So he's gone to hell, huh? To get his

helm?

LUCIEN:

Yes.

Matthew shudders. He glances around.

MATTHEW:

I never got into the whole book thing.

LUCIEN:

Oh, but it's a very unusual library,

Matthew.

(with pride)

Somewhere in here is every story that has

ever been dreamed.

MATTHEW:

Yeah? Say, watch this.

(sticks his beak into Lucien's face)

NEVERMORE! Good, huh?

LUCIEN:

Hmn. The complete Poe is in the southern

annex. Including stories he never wrote,

or never finished, except in dreams --

MATTHEW:

C'mon! I was doing Peter Lorre in that

Roger Corman movie --

(he cocks his head)

Hey, Lucien. Is that big black thing

supposed to be there?

LUCIEN:

What?

He looks where Matthew is looking --

In one wall is a large hole. Nothing beyond but blackness.

Even as they watch, the hole enlarges, shelves and books

DISSOLVING as the widening edge touches them.

LUCIEN:

Oh, dear!

54.

Matthew flutters backwards, away from the black hole. Lucien

reaches forward, pulls volumes off the shelf nearest the

hole, saving them from obliteration.

MATTHEW:

Does this mean ... the boss isn't doing

so well in Hell?

LUCIEN:

No -- it's a Dream Vortex.

MATTHEW:

Uh, oh. That's bad. That's very bad.

(beat)

What's a Dream Vortex?

Lucien's arms are stacked with books by now. He adds more as

others fall, backing away from the hole.

LUCIEN:

Something that can destroy the entire

Dreaming ... the Waking World ... even

Lord Dream himself.

MATTHEW:

Sheesh ... when it rains, it pours.

Lucien and Matthew retreat across the room, through a door --

INT. DREAM REALM - LIBRARY - HALLWAY

A SLAM! as the door shuts. Lucien's books fall to the floor

as he leans with his back to the door, as if trying to keep

the Vortex locked inside.

LUCIEN:

The Master must be informed as soon as he

returns.

MATTHEW:

If he returns.

LUCIEN:

Matthew ... sometimes you can be very

infuriating.

(beat; quietly)

If he returns ...

EXT. DREAM REALM - GATES OF HORN AND IVORY - NIGHT

Sandman stands outside the gates. A gesture, and an ancient

wooden pier grows from nowhere. It rests on rough-hewn

pylons, floating in a sea of stars.

55.

Sandman now stands at the edge of the pier, looking down. He

steps off the edge, drops--

EXT. GATES OF HELL - DAY

Sandman falls, lands on a barren landscape.

Before him is Hell.

The Walls of Hell are constructed of human bodies, piled up

to the sky. Dead bodies, we presume, until here an eye opens,

there a chest heaves in sigh.

The Gates of Hell are wrought-iron-style ornate, intricate,

glorious -- but fashioned of living bodies, horribly

distended.

Near the Gates a severed HEAD has been impaled on a spike.

The head twists toward Sandman, grins.

HEAD ON SPIKE:

Ah! There is one at the door!

(rhyming)

There's one at the door, at the gates of

Damnation. Is it thief, thug or whore?

SANDMAN:

Greetings. I wish to talk to your master.

Immediately.

HEAD ON SPIKE:

There's one at the door, and there's room

for one more, 'till the end of creation!

SANDMAN:

I am the King of Dreams, of the Nightmare

Realms. I seek Lord Lucifer, the Lord of

Hell.

HEAD ON SPIKE:

(taunting)

Oh, yes, my clown. So where's your crown?

Where's you're ruby?

Sandman unexpectedly lashes out with his fist, slugging the

head. It spins on its spike -- a comic image if it weren't so

grotesque.

SANDMAN:

I will take no insults from you, little

demon.

The Head grins through bloody lips.

HEAD ON SPIKE:

Squatterbloat!

56.

A minor demon -- SQUATTERBLOAT -- pushes open the Gates of

Hell. The demon is hunched over, with no mouth; one of its

arms ends in the shape of a sharp battle-ax.

HEAD ON SPIKE:

Take the Dreamclown. Guard him and guide

him, he's new in town.

Squatterbloat nods. Steps back, lifts the battle-ax arm,

indicating the way. Sandman moves through the gates --

EXT. HELL - WOOD OF SUICIDES - DAY

Sandman follows behind Squatterbloat, takes in Hell as it

flows past. They move through a forest of thin, sickly-

looking trees.

SANDMAN:

The wood of suicides has changed since my

last visit. I remember it as a tiny

grove. Now it is a forest.

Squatterbloat remains silent, continues on ...

EXT. HELL - CLIFFS OF TARTARUS - DAY

Sandman is led past a row of barred caves. He brushes past

hands that clutch at him. Anguished voices cry out. Sandman

tilts his head, hearing something. He raises a hand.

SANDMAN:

Wait.

The demon Squatterbloat pauses. Sandman peers through the

bars into one of the caves --

Inside, Roderick Burgess is chained to a wall, his own arms

wrapped several times around his body, forming a flesh

straight jacket. He confides to a fellow prisoner, similarly

constrained.

BURGESS:

(boasting)

I put my curse on a man and he was dead.

I captured Dream! Oh, I was the most

wicked man to ever live --

SANDMAN:

Roderick Burgess.

Burgess looks out, recognizes Sandman. He is stricken.

BURGESS:

You!

57.

SANDMAN:

You call yourself wicked, without knowing

what that means. You dream you are the

equal of the demons around you.

Burgess's mouth drops open, but he has no words.

SANDMAN (cont'd)

Burgess, for your deeds against me, this

is my judgment on you.

(beat)

You shall know who you truly are. I take

away your dream.

Burgess frowns.

BURGESS:

Special? Of course! I'm Roderick Burgess!

I'm the ...

(falters)

That is, I'm the ... uh ... I'm ... just

...

(beat)

uh, me.

His eyes widen. He takes in his surroundings, as if noting

his situation for the first time.

BURGESS:

Oh, no.

Outside, Sandman gestures to move on. Squatterbloat leads the

way. From behind them come Burgess's screams --

BURGESS (O.S.)

Oh God no. Help, somebody help me --

EXT. HELL - STAIRS OF BLOOD - DAY

Squatterbloat stops at the foot of a stairway. Blood flows

down the steps. Sandman glances up, climbs --

EXT. HELL - LUCIFER'S THRONE - DAY

At the summit, the steps end at a high parapet, at Lucifer's

throne. Made of flesh, the throne bleeds, source of the

flowing blood.

Lucifer leans casually against a railing. He is blond, lean,

youthful, a handsome rock star lounging in the shadow of his

own enormous black wings.

SANDMAN:

Greetings to you, Lucifer Morningstar.

58.

Lucifer looks Sandman up and down.

LUCIFER:

Hello, Dream. We heard you were caught by

mortals, like a newly-fledged demon. We

expected better of you.

Sandman does not comment. Lucifer hops up on the balcony,

leans forward expectantly, chin on the back of his hand.

LUCIFER:

Have you come to ally your realm to ours?

To acknowledge the sovereignty of Hell?

SANDMAN:

You know my views on that, Lightbringer.

LUCIFER:

Yes, we do. Still this is no social call.

What do you want?

SANDMAN:

My helm was stolen from me. I believe one

of your demons has it. I would like it

back.

(beat)

Now.

Lucifer is amused. He arranges his dark wings about him.

LUCIFER:

Which demon? There are more than a

million demons, after all.

SANDMAN:

I do not know the demon's name.

CLOSE ON:
Lucifer, as his eyes narrow. His tone changes --

this is serious business.

LUCIFER:

Then let us summon all of them to tell,

and meet them on the Vasty plains of

Hell!

PULL BACK:
from Lucifer's eyes. He and Sandman have not

moved, but everything around them has changed. The parapet is

crowded with demons, claws scraping, eyes glinting --

CONTINUE PULLING BACK: the stairway is covered with demons of

all types and sizes. Some are insects. Others look like

reptiles. Some wear their guts outside their skins --

CONTINUE PULLING BACK: More and more demons, crawling over

each other, biting, fighting --

59.

All of the demons of Hell.

Lucifer and Sandman are tiny dots, standing on a distant

mesa.

LUCIFER:

There. Now, Dream King. Tell us ... which

demon has your helm?

Sandman scans the multitude. He reaches into his Pouch, pulls

out a handful of sand. Releases it --

A LINE of DREAM SAND streaks into the demons. It shoots this

way and that, searching, creatures flying past in a blur --

Finally the sand SWIRLS, settles on: CHORONZON, a blood-red

demon, fashionably dressed. He looks surprised.

LUCIFER:

Choronzon, a Duke of Hell.

(to the demon)

Well? Does Dream speak truly? Do you

indeed have his mask of office?

Choronzon has two mouths on his face, one above the other. As

one speaks, the other smirks.

CHORONZON:

Yes, Lord.

SANDMAN:

Return it to me. Now.

Both of Choronzon's mouths smile, a double dose of insolent

grin.

CHORONZON:

Ssss. I traded for it from a mortal. A

fair trade.

(bold)

I broke none of the laws of Hell.

If you want your precious back then you

must fight me for it. Ssss.

Demons HOWL and JEER at the challenge. Lucifer is amused.

Dream regards the utterly confident Choronzon.

SANDMAN:

Very well. I challenge you, Choronzon. We

shall play the most ancient game.

CHORONZON:

Sss. Sso. As the challenged, I choose the

battlefield.

(beat)

I assert ... Reality.

60.

INT. THE HELLFIRE CLUB - NIGHT

A dingy nightclub. Demons sit at small tables placed too

close together, near a dingy stage. Lucifer watches from a

seat in the shadows, not touching the drink in front of him.

The lighting is hellish, of course. Choronzon is our host. He

wears a tuxedo and dark glasses, speaks glibly into the mic:

CHORONZON:

Sss. Welcome, ladies 'n' gennelmen, to

another thrill packed evening of

funfunfun here at the Hellfire Club.

APPLAUSE from the assembled demons. A female demon -- a

voluptuous body and the head of a horse -- snorts and stomps

her hooves.

CHORONZON:

I am your host, Choronzon, High Duke of

the Eighth Circle. Tonight, for your

entertainment, a formal challenge. Let's

have a big hand for Mister Sandman!

A BLINDING SPOTLIGHT hits Sandman, standing center stage.

Scattered APPLAUSE from the demons, amid mostly BOOS.

Choronzon moves opposite to Sandman.

CHORONZON:

(deadly serious)

You know the rules, Dreamlord? Win, and

you get your helm. Lose, and you serve as

a ssslave of Hell, for eternity.

Sandman stares into Choronzon's eyes.

SANDMAN:

I understand.

CHORONZON:

I have the first move.

(loudly)

I am a dire wolf, prey stalking, lethal

prowler.

In a quick FLASH we see Choronzon's wolf, a hulking creature,

stalking through a forest. Sandman is quick to reply:

SANDMAN:

I am a hunter, horse-mounted, wolf-

stabbing.

We catch a GLIMPSE of Sandman's hunter, on horseback, as the

hunter kills the wolf.

61.

CHORONZON:

(confident)

I am a horsefly, horse-stinging, hunter-

throwing.

Choronzon's slain wolf becomes a stinging fly, and Sandman's

hunter is thrown.

Demons cheer. At one table, a TOOTHY DEMON picks the flesh

off another's face, eats it -- washes it down with beer.

SANDMAN:

I am a spider, fly-consuming, eight-

legged.

Sandman's hunter TRANSFORMS into a spider. Choronzon's fly is

caught in a web.

CHORONZON:

(hisses)

I am a snake, spider-devouring, poison-

toothed.

Choronzon's fly becomes a snake; it eats Sandman's spider.

SANDMAN:

I am an ox, snake-crushing, heavy footed.

The snake is crushed beneath the hoof of an ox.

CHORONZON:

I am an anthrax, butcher bacterium, warm-

life destroying.

The demons like that. The Toothy Demon has nearly finished

his snack -- the other demon's skull is nearly picked clean.

Sandman's ox lies on its side, dead and decaying. Sandman

pauses a moment, considering. Then:

SANDMAN:

I am a world, space-floating, life

nurturing.

We see a GREEN WORLD, floating in space.

Lucifer tilts his head, noting Sandman's shift in strategy.

Choronzon does not hesitate:

CHORONZON:

I am a nova, all-exploding, planet

cremating.

WHITE LIGHT from a bright nova OBLITERATES the world.

SANDMAN:

I am the universe -- all things

encompassing, all life embracing.

62.

Choronzon leans toward Sandman. His top and bottom mouths

alternate on each word now, his tone low and deadly:

CHORONZON:

I am the dark at the end of everything.

The end of universes, Gods, worlds ... of

everything.

Sandman pauses. The assembled demons grin, lean forward,

pleased with the move. Several of the closer demons lick

their fangs. Choronzon senses victory.

CHORONZON:

Sss. And what will you be then,

Dreamlord?

Sandman speaks softly:

SANDMAN:

I am hope.

Lucifer's brow furrows. Choronzon is caught off guard. All

eyes are on him. He stammers.

CHORONZON:

Oh. Then I am ... sss. I ...

He starts to sweat. He looks around for help, inspiration.

CHORONZON:

I ...

(he swallows)

I ... don't know.

Lucifer stands, a look of hate and disgust on his face --

EXT. PLAINS OF HELL - DAY

Lucifer and Sandman stand on a flat plain, demons forming a

wide circle around them. Choronzon, bound in barbed wire,

writhes and SCREAMS for mercy. Two demons hold him tight.

LUCIFER:

Take this pathetic creature from our

sight. Demonstrate to him our

displeasure.

The demons pull Choronzon away. Lucifer turns -- he holds

Sandman's helm in his hands.

LUCIFER:

Here, Dream Master. Your helm. You have

won it fairly.

Sandman takes the helm.

63.

SANDMAN:

Thank you. The king of Hell is honorable.

LUCIFER:

Honorable? You joke, surely. Look around

you.

(he sweeps his arm)

The million Lords of Hell stand arrayed

about you. Tell us -- why we should let

you leave?

Sandman looks. Legions of demons stare back, shout words of

hate.

LUCIFER:

Helm or no, you have no power here. What

power have dreams in Hell?

SANDMAN:

You say that dreams have no power here?

Tell me, Lucifer Morningstar ...

His voice grows stronger; he raises it to include the rest:

SANDMAN:

Ask yourselves, all of you ... What is

Hell, without the dream of Heaven?

Silence.

Lucifer has no answer. Sandman turns away from him, walks

into the mass of demons.

Noiselessly, demons move aside, parting before Sandman,

unable to meet his gaze. His back to Lucifer, Sandman

dwindles into the distance.

PULL BACK to include Lucifer in frame, seemingly huge now,

hundreds of feet tall. He watches Sandman take leave of Hell.

LUCIFER:

One day ... one day we shall destroy him.

EXT. GATES OF HELL - DAY

The Gates shut heavily behind Sandman --

He slumps; his posture more exhausted than imperial. He looks

at his hands, one holding his pouch, the other his helm. Both

hands are shaking. He smiles a grim little smile -- he has

gotten away with his bluff.

64.

He concentrates, and darkness swirls up, surrounding him,

obscuring the Gates of Hell --

INT. DREAM REALM - DREAM'S PALACE - DUSK

Matthew and Lucien sit in the hallway, amongst stacks of

books. The Pumpkinhead now wears a hard-hat, and is setting

up construction warning sawhorses outside the Library doors.

MATTHEW:

So if his nibs and the Dreaming are

destroyed ... that's it for us too, huh?

SANDMAN:

That is true.

He has appeared beside them, startling them.

MATTHEW:

Geez -- I hate when you do that!

(re:
the helm)

Glad to see you survived your trip.

Welcome back. We're all doomed.

SANDMAN:

Indeed ..? Lucien?

LUCIEN:

I fear he's right, my lord.

CUT TO:

INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT

CLOSE ON:
Rose, sleeping, a troubled sleep. Her eyes open,

and she glances over --

Moonlight through the window cuts across the darkened room.

Rose's closet door is cracked open, just a little bit. Just

enough to drive you crazy wondering what might be in there.

Rose climbs out of bed. Steps across to the closet. Shuts the

door. Turns, gets back into bed. She glances over --

The closet door still hangs open.

Rose stares. She gets up. Approaches the closet, much more

warily this time. Reaches out. Gently pulls it open --

A YOUNG WOMAN stands there, smiling.

Rose jumps back.

65.

The smiling woman does not move. We may recognize her,

because it is RACHEL, Rose's mother. But not the Rachel we

last saw stoned on dreamsand. A youthful Rachel, as we first

met her with Burgess.

ROSE:

Who are you?

Rachel's face falls. Her gaze lowers, unhappy at not being

recognized. Then she looks up, raises a hand, and PULLS OFF

HER HEAD --

-- revealing another head beneath: Rachel, as we last saw her

lying in bed, wrinkled, decrepit. Rose gasps.

ROSE:

Mother. My God. This is a dream. I'm

actually having a dream.

Rachel reaches up again, and again PULLS OFF HER HEAD.

Revealed beneath this one is another version of how she

looked as a young woman. She smiles.

ROSE:

I've heard about this ... a dream where

somebody who's died comes back, to let

you know they're all right.

Rachel shakes her head. Gestures for Rose to follow her. She

steps aside --

We see the closet is no longer a closet. It opens onto a

courtyard, moonlit, stark, high-contrast black-and-white. A

little phony-looking, actually, like an old B-movie horror

film set. Amazing how scary those old sets can look.

Rachel again gestures, turns, glides into the courtyard.

Rose follows.

EXT. DREAM REALM - NIGHT

Rose moves through corridors and around corners, following

Rachel, getting just glimpses of her, always just one step

behind ...

EXT. ROSE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

A big wide convertible pulls to a stop. The driver climbs out

-- it's the Corinthian. He heads inside.

66.

EXT. DREAM REALM - SANDMAN'S PALACE - HALLWAY - DUSK

The library doors swing open. Sandman, Lucien and Matthew

look out at --

A HUGE, SWIRLING VORTEX. There is no library -- a whole

section of the palace has been consumed. Parts of the

landscape are pulled into the vortex as they watch.

SANDMAN:

So it begins once more. The first vortex

of this era.

(musing)

Nonetheless, there is something about

this one -- this time -- that I don't

understand.

MATTHEW:

That makes two of us. Though I don't

think I would've understood it any time.

SANDMAN:

This has been growing for nearly two

decades.

Had I not been imprisoned, I would have

dealt with it at the time of its

conception.

LUCIEN:

Perhaps this is how the Corinthian

escaped ... he found a rift in the

Dreaming, and slipped out.

SANDMAN:

Hm ...

(beat)

The recovery of my Ruby must wait. I must

deal with the Vortex, first.

LUCIEN:

How will you locate it?

MATTHEW:

Yeah, boy ... that's gonna be a toughie.

(as if seeing the Vortex for

the first time)

Hey! There it is!

LUCIEN:

That's merely the manifestation of the

Vortex, Matthew. The Vortex itself is

usually a mortal.

67.

MATTHEW:

A person? How does he deal with it, then?

LUCIEN:

How? He terminates their existence,

Matthew. To protect the dreaming.

MATTHEW:

Oh. Makes me feel kinda sorry for him.

The mortal, that is.

SANDMAN:

The Vortex is not a he. It is a she.

He points - DIRECTLY AT THE CAMERA.

SANDMAN:

If you look closely you will see her

observing us, now, from the corner of the

throne room.

Matthew flutters over, STARES AT US. We realize this whole

scene has been a POV SHOT (from Rose's POV). The effect is

quite disconcerting.

MATTHEW:

(tilting his head)

Huh. She doesn't look like much.

CAMERA BACKS AWAY, indicating the POV character's retreat.

LUCIEN:

She looks quite young.

MATTHEW:

I say the Boss can take her.

A BLUR as the CAMERA PANS AWAY --

INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT

Rose comes awake even as she is shoving herself backwards --

out of the bed and onto the floor, startling her kitten.

ROSE:

OW!

She gets her bearings. Rubs her head.

ROSE:

Christ, that sucked. I don't think I need

to dream after all.

68.

SANDMAN:

Unfortunately that is not true for the

rest of the world.

Rose looks up. SANDMAN steps out of the shadows -- or did he

just appear from them?

ROSE:

Oh my God! Stay away from me!

She scrambles for her nightstand drawer, pulls out a .38

revolver.

ROSE:

Stay back! I should have known you were

some kind of freak! How did you get in

here?

SANDMAN:

You know.

She does. Sandman looks down. At his feet, the kitten mews.

He picks it up, scratches its ears absently.

SANDMAN:

Once in every era, Rose Walker, there is

a Vortex. The Vortex, by its nature,

destroys the barriers between dreaming

minds; destroys the ordered chaos of the

Dreaming ...

ROSE:

This has nothing to do with me.

SANDMAN:

(over her)

Until the myriad dreamers are one. Then

the Vortex collapses in upon itself. And

then it is gone. It takes the minds of

the dreamers with it; damages the

Dreaming beyond repair. It leaves nothing

but darkness.

The kitten has grown tired of the attention; it squirms.

Sandman sets it down.

SANDMAN:

It is one of my functions to prevent this

from occurring again.

ROSE:

Again?

69.

SANDMAN:

It happened once ... A world was lost,

Rose Walker. Aeons ago, and half a

universe away. I ... failed in my duty. A

whole world perished.

(downcast)

It will never happen again.

The kitten comes to Rose. She lets it crawl into her arms,

but she doesn't lower the gun. She almost speaks to the

kitten:

ROSE:

Why me?

SANDMAN:

Who was your father, Rose Walker?

ROSE:

My father? I don't know. My mother never

...

SANDMAN:

Your father was a dream. A dream your

mother conjured, from my pouch of sand.

You were born of the union of a mortal

and a dream. You are both, and neither,

and by being -- and not being -- such,

you have become the Vortex.

ROSE:

But if you're the King of Dreams -- can't

you just, I don't know, wave your hand

and make it stop?

SANDMAN:

I am not omnipotent. No matter how

strange the circumstances of your birth,

you are of the living. You are the

Vortex. Only when the Vortex is dead is

the Dreaming safe.

He moves nearer, crouches to be closer to her.

SANDMAN:

Death is not always a bad thing, Rose ...

ROSE:

Yeah? Well, you first.

SANDMAN:

You could come and stay in the

dreamworld. Some mortals are given that

option. My raven, Matthew, was once a

mortal man.

70.

ROSE:

I don't want to die.

SANDMAN:

I ... I am sorry, Rose.

CORINTHIAN:

Yes, you are. You are the sorriest excuse

for a murderer I've ever seen.

The Corinthian stands in the doorway. Rose raises her gun

back up, aims it at him.

ROSE:

What -- who are you?

SANDMAN:

Corinthian. Do not interfere with this.

ROSE:

You know him?

CORINTHIAN:

Yes, he knows me. He created me. And now

I've come to challenge him. It's just the

same old story, huh?

He moves across the room, to Rose. She keeps the gun steady.

CORINTHIAN (Cont'd)

But here's a cool twist: I'm here to save

you!

(beat)

He won't let you stay alive, you know.

The dreaming will fall apart. It's

already happening. I can feel it.

(to Sandman)

This woman is now under my protection.

Got that? Leave her be, or suffer the

consequences.

SANDMAN:

Corinthian. I did not think it possible

for you to surprise me.

CORINTHIAN:

I've walked the waking world for almost

two decades now. As much as I've taught

these humans, I've also learned.

He holds up the Ruby.

71.

CORINTHIAN (CONT'D)

For instance:
One shouldn't limit one's

ambition.

SANDMAN:

That ruby is mine, little dream. I

command you return it.

The Corinthian considers. His voice resonates with sarcasm:

CORINTHIAN:

Have I not earned the praise of my

creator? Look what I have done. Look what

I have found. For you.

SANDMAN:

It is not in your nature to be

beneficent.

(holds out his hand)

Do not force me to unmake you.

CORINTHIAN:

(shrugs)

Hokay. Your call.

He tosses the Ruby to Sandman, who catches it. Sandman holds

it up.

SANDMAN:

At last --

The ruby GLOWS, throwing off ELDRITCH FIRE--

Sandman SCREAMS. The ruby drops from his hand. Sandman drops

to his knees, face wracked with pain. He doubles over.

SANDMAN:

... you have ... changed it ...

CORINTHIAN:

Uh-huh. It's mine now. The power behind

it may be yours, but I'm the one who

calls the shots.

He picks up the Ruby, aims it at Sandman. Considers. Then

kicks Sandman hard in the side.

CORINTHIAN:

There. Was that more in my nature?

ROSE:

That's enough.

She's got the gun leveled at the Corinthian. He looks at her.

The Ruby glows.

72.

CORINTHIAN:

What are you going to do with that?

Instead of the gun, Rose is now holding the kitten in a two-

handed grip. It YOWLS. She drops it in shock.

The Corinthian holds out his hand to her.

CORINTHIAN:

Now ... come with me if you want to live.

Rose looks at Sandman, then back at the Corinthian.

ROSE:

I ... don't think so.

CORINTHIAN:

Rose. You must come with me.

ROSE:

No!

CORINTHIAN:

No, see, it's not a request.

He PUNCHES the side of her head, hard. She pitches forward.

The Corinthian catches her in a fireman's carry.

EXT. ROSE'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAWN

Whistling a monotonous tune, the Corinthian dumps Rose into

the convertible, hops in, and ROARS off.

CUT TO:

EXT. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - SANTA CRUZ - DAY

Flying along low over green rolling hills. Pacific Coast

Highway is a winding ribbon below. Ahead we see a plain two-

story hotel on the ocean side of the highway.

The tall sign in front looms up; it reads: WELCOME CEREAL

CONVENTION.

INT. HOTEL - DEALERS' ROOM - DAY

A typical convention floor: dealer tables are laid out with

videos, books, posters for sale. Poorly lit. Far more men

than women. We pick up snatches of conversation, almost

documentary-style. A DEALER and CUSTOMER chat:

73.

DEALER:

-- the TV version? The TV version

butchered it! But I hear you can get it

uncut on video in Canada --

A TIRED MAN gets a drink from a vending machine:

TIRED MAN:

Hate these little hick towns. Wouldn't be

seen dead here, if it weren't for the

convention --

Two BUYERS examine the liner notes of an old LP record album:

BUYER:

Yeah. He slays me. You heard him do the

'I am John's coathanger routine?'

Hilarious --

INT. HOTEL - MAIN LOBBY - DAY

A man strides through the lobby; he carries a clipboard,

wears square eyeglasses and a worried expression. His

carefully hand-lettered name tag reads: NIMROD.

He comes to the registration table. Funland runs it, the

metal folding chair straining under his massive bulk.

NIMROD:

Do we have the Corinthian?

Funland flips through index cards in a tiny metal box. He now

wears a little black skull cap with little black cat ears on

it that once may have been little black mouse ears.

FUNLAND:

Hasn't checked in here yet. But don't

worry -- I'm sure he's coming.

NIMROD:

He can't not come. He's our guest of

honor. Have we got any other big names so

far?

Funland's thick fingers flip through the cards again.

FUNLAND:

Um. Moon River, but he seemed kind of

shy. And the Candyman, you know, the one

from Connecticut. The guy with the candy-

canes. Umn, the Lip Collector is here --

NIMROD:

How many so far?

74.

FUNLAND:

Eighty people have registered. Pretty

good turnout, huh?

NIMROD:

Eighty? Jesus. Didn't think so many would

show --

INT. HOTEL - MAIN AUDITORIUM - DAY

Nimrod, a little nervous, stands at a lectern, looking out

over a sea of faces. All types: young, old, professional,

blue color. Very few women.

NIMROD:

Hello.

(beat)

I, uh, heard a story recently I thought

might amuse you. It seems that the

telephone rang in a police station. The

duty cop answers and a woman's voice

says, "Help -- I've been reaped!"

Nimrod takes a breath -- he's a terrible storyteller.

NIMROD:

He says, "Don't you mean raped?" "No, she

says. "He used a scythe."

A half-second of endless pause while the punchline sinks in,

then there is an explosion of laughter. Nimrod visibly

relaxes.

NIMROD:

It's really good to see so many of us

here. So many. This is the first of these

cons, and if you want to see another,

there are a couple rules we must adhere

to.

(raises a finger)

Firstly, use your preferred sobriquet. No

civilian names.

(raises two fingers)

Secondly, we don't shit where we eat.

Nobody does any collecting until the

convention's over and you're at least two

hundred miles away.

VOICE IN CROWD:

Aw ...

NIMROD:

This rule must be followed, with so many

of us at risk.

(more)

75.

NIMROD (CONT'D)

We've reserved the entire hotel; there

are no other guests, so you shouldn't be

tempted.

A few good-natured laughs at this.

NIMROD:

So. Don't miss the keynote address --

it's at eight, and it's from the

Corinthian, the man who's inspired so

many of us --

A sudden BURST of APPLAUSE. A few people stand. Hoots of

approval. There's no doubt who everyone is here to see.

Nimrod backs away, a little shocked, but he smiles --

NIMROD:

Welcome to Cereal Con '98!

INT. HOTEL - RESTAURANT - DAY

A distinguished man -- THE GOOD DOCTOR -- sits at the

counter, sipping coffee and examining a flyer. Next to him is

PHILIP (aka THE BOGEYMAN). Young, wild hair, wrinkled jacket,

he stares sideways at the Doctor in awe.

PHILIP:

Excuse me, but I've seen you before,

haven't I? You're that doctor. To think

you're a -- a collector.

GOOD DOCTOR:

Thank you. You are?

PHILIP:

I'm the Bogeyman.

GOOD DOCTOR:

I've heard of you. The newspapers, in

their facile way, have also christened me

Flay-by-Night.

(out of nowhere)

Seventy nine.

PHILIP:

Sorry?

GOOD DOCTOR:

"Give me a number." That's your line,

isn't it? Seventy nine.

CLOSE ON Philip, as his expression becomes dreamy while he

remembers:

76.

PHILIP:

Oh yeah, right. She was, like, she had

these beautiful eyes, like patches of sky

early in the morning, and she screamed

like an angel ...

A woman catches Philip's eye -- her nametag identifies her as

DOG SOUP. Philip is amazed, eyes glued as she passes by.

PHILIP:

Dog Soup is a woman? Oh, man. I gotta go

talk to her.

He bounds out of his chair, dashes to go catch the woman. The

GOOD DOCTOR frowns, follows Philip with his eyes --

EXT. SANTA CRUZ - HOTEL - DAY

A big, long, mean-lookin' convertible pulls up in front of

the hotel. The Corinthian leaps over the door before the

valet can get to it --

The Corinthian lifts the wide lid of the rear trunk. Looks

big enough in there for a family of five, but right now

there's just one LARGE OLD SUITCASE TRUNK.

BAM! The trunk hits the pavement. BAM! The rear lid slams

down.

bam!-bam!-bam!-bam! As the Corinthian pulls the trunk behind

him up the concrete steps, into the hotel.

INT. HOTEL - LOBBY - DAY

CORINTHIAN'S POV as we move through the lobby. Smiles and

waves from people as they pass by. The Corinthian's name is

whispered and people point -- it's a rock star's entrance,

creating quite the stir.

Funland has a packet waiting -- he extends it as the

Corinthian arrives.

FUNLAND:

Here's you stuff, Mr. Corinthian. Uhn,

wear your badge at all times. You won't

be permitted into the convention areas

without it.

The Corinthian looks delighted at the materials.

CORINTHIAN:

Certainly! Thank you, Funland. You're

doing a fine job!

77.

Funland glances curiously at the trunk as the Corinthian

wheels it toward the elevator. Philip appears at the

Corinthian's side, out of nowhere.

PHILIP:

Wow. Mister Nimrod said you'd be coming,

but... Um, we're all big fans of yours.

CORINTHIAN:

I'm so glad you could come.

Doors part. The Good Doctor is in the elevator. Philip

follows the Corinthian inside --

IN THE ELEVATOR:

The Good Doctor keeps an eye on Philip.

PHILIP:

Say, you ever read a magazine called

CHASTE? It's really terrific.

CORINTHIAN:

I've heard of it.

PHILIP:

Really?

(digs out a rolled-up copy)

Hey, can I have your autograph --

Up one level, the doors part --

CORINTHIAN:

Nimrod!

IN THE HALLWAY,

the Corinthian hurries out of the elevator, drops the trunk --

THUD! -- puts an arm around Nimrod.

NIMROD:

You're here. Good. The convention hall is

set up, but we still need to discuss the

exact numbers for the banquet --

Phillip follows the Corinthian out, but he has been left

behind, forgotten. The Good Doctor stays in the elevator. The

doors close on his dark expression --

78.

INT. HOTEL - CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

A panel discussion in progress. A wild-eyed man with a

flowing gray beard holds the mic tightly, hoarding it from

the other two guests, who look pissed. The name card in front

of him reads DELIVERANCE.

DELIVERANCE:

I am a merciful God and a just God. For I

release men and women and children from

the suffering and torment of their lives,

and I give them a new life in my heaven!

He slams his fist down, rants on. Philip is in the audience,

watching, rapt. He is startled when someone whispers:

NIMROD:

Bogeyman, can we talk? In your room?

Philip turns, sees Nimrod, who wears a friendly smile.

BOGEYMAN:

Uhn, well, I'm watching the religion

panel, man, but ... uh, sure.

INT. HOTEL - PHILIP'S ROOM - DAY

The door SLAMS open. Philip is shoved into the room hard; he

stumbles, falls to his knees.

PHILIP:

Listen, you guys -- oh God -- listen,

what is this?

Philip has seen the Good Doctor, standing silently in the

shadows of the room. Next to him is the LIP COLLECTOR -- a

tall, gangly man with a gaunt face and toothy grin.

PHILIP:

I'm the Bogeyman. Really I am.

(soft)

Give me a number. Any number.

Nimrod goes through Philip's wallet. The Good Doctor picks up

a copy of CHASTE magazine, casually flips through it. The Lip

Collector hangs in the background, still grinning.

NIMROD:

Your name is Philip Sitz. You're the

editor, writer, whatever, of Chaste

magazine. Your number's up, Philip. You

aren't one of us.

79.

PHILIP:

No -- no, I am. I understand it. Females

are insects created for male pleasure.

Strength. Energy. Lust. The willingness

to sacrifice another's life for one's own

gratification ...

He collapses, lowers his head, kneeling before them.

PHILIP:

I understand it. That's why I had to get

here. To see you all. To learn.

NIMROD:

Big mistake, Philip. Big mistake.

The Good Doctor swings a metal suitcase stand at Philip's

head. Philip sprawls to the ground. The Good Doctor and

Nimrod stare at each other.

GOOD DOCTOR:

"We don't shit where we eat," Mr. Nimrod?

NIMROD:

Except when we have to, Doctor. Needs

must, when the devil drives.

INT. HOTEL - CORINTHIAN'S SUITE - DAY

From the bathroom, we hear the SOUND of the SHOWER RUNNING.

The Corinthian in there, whistling happily.

The large old trunk sits on the bed. A loud THUMP, and it

jiggles, shaking the bed. Something's inside. Another THUMP,

and it moves closer to the edge. It's pretty comic, actually.

A final THUMP --

The trunk tilts over the edge of the bed, falls, clasp-side-

down. It splits open.

A foot appears, then a leg. Rose struggles out from under the

trunk. Her hands are tied behind her back, and she is gagged.

She looks toward the bathroom fearfully, bolts for the door.

INT. HOTEL - HALLWAY - DAY

Rose staggers down the hallway, her legs buckling beneath

her. She's frightened, disoriented. She pushes her face

against the wall, scrapes at the gag, rolling it, getting it

out of her mouth. Above her is a hand-lettered sign: 4:30 PM

panel discussion: MAKE IT PAY. VOICES come from inside:

80.

INT. HOTEL - CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

A panel discussion in progress, the participants' names on

cards in front of them:

CHOIRBOY:

... even ten G's per victim identified

isn't too much to ask.

CARRION:

Right. The thing to remember is that

they'll pay to know for certain. Even if

the cops don't go with it, the families

will.

HELLO LITTLE GIRL

But, Carrion, we don't do it for the

money --

There is some commotion at the back of the room. Heads turn

as Rose stumbles in.

ROSE:

Please. Someone. I've been kidnapped --

She's such the damsel in distress, someone LAUGHS.

VOICE IN CROWD:

Boy, has she come to the wrong room!

2ND VOICE

No kidding!

VOICE IN CROWD:

It's a joke. It's gotta be.

ROSE:

Please -- he's going to kill me ...

GALES of LAUGHTER at this. Rose backs away --

INT. HOTEL - HALLWAY - DAY

Rose turns, runs blindly into the bulk that is Funland.

FUNLAND:

Geez. You okay, miss?

ROSE:

Please. I need help. I need to get to a

phone.

81.

FUNLAND:

You do? Sure. Sure. We'll get you to a

phone. Here.

(unties her wrists)

Uh ... this way.

Rose looks at him gratefully, mouths 'thank you.' Funland

smiles, embarrassed. Leads her down the hallway. Keeps

glancing down at her out of the corner of his eye.

FUNLAND:

Say, you look pretty young. How old are

you?

ROSE:

Twenty.

FUNLAND:

Oh, no. You can't be. I'd say you're

younger than that. A lot younger. Right

in here.

INT. HOTEL - BANQUET HALL - DAY

Rose steps through two heavy doors. Before her are rows of

dining tables set for the night's banquet. Empty and silent.

Rose frowns.

ROSE:

Where's the --

(realizes)

Oh, God, no --

Funland slaps her across the face. Moves on top of her.

FUNLAND:

We're going to play, little girl. We can

make believe it's my special place.

He puts his hands around Rose's throat. She chokes --

FUNLAND:

It's a small world, after all. I love

that song. It's so true. So true.

He tightens his grip.

FUNLAND:

Now, when we've finished you mustn't tell

anybody that I played with you ...

CORINTHIAN (O.S.)

Let go of her, Nathan Diskin.

82.

Funland looks up, the expression of a boy caught with his

hand in the cookie jar, except his hands are around Rose's

throat.

FUNLAND:

Huh? How -- how did you know my name?

The Corinthian stands there, furious.

CORINTHIAN:

Let go of her. You have no idea what you

almost did.

Funland drops Rose. She scurries away, choking and coughing.

Funland cowers under the Corinthian's glare. In a little-boy

voice:

FUNLAND:

Are you going to kill me?

The Corinthian advances on him.

CORINTHIAN:

You don't seem to understand the rules,

Funland. Too bad.

(in his face)

I guess I'll have to remind you, then.

Let me tell you, Funland, what the first

rule is --

(he wags a finger)

No killing.

The Corinthian laughs. Funland, panting in fear, laughs, too.

The Corinthian turns, grabs Rose, who shrieks as he pulls her

away.

EXT. SANTA CRUZ - REDWOOD FOREST - CLEARING - DAY

A rope is tossed over a branch. Philip, gagged, no shirt, his

chest bare and vulnerable, is strung up by his arms.

NIMROD:

I won't bother to ask how you got

Bogeyman's invitation. We'll talk about

something else.

We are PHILIP's POV -- Nimrod stares up at us. Behind him are

rows of huge lovely redwoods, a cathedral of trees. An

otherworldly scene, like in a dream.

NIMROD:

You said you came here to learn. Okay.

We'll teach you. Teach you that this

isn't about sex; it isn't about power; it

isn't about cruelty.

(more)

83.

NIMROD (CONT'D)

(beat)

You'll learn.

Behind Nimrod, the Good Doctor steps INTO FRAME. Stares at

Philip, staring right at us.

NIMROD:

The Good Doctor Likes to skin people

alive. Lip Collector -- well, the name

says it all.

The Lip collector steps into frame on the other side, shy,

hunched over, but still grinning.

NIMROD:

And I am Nimrod, the hunter. I can bone,

joint and gut any animal in minutes. And

you know what we're going to do now,

Philip?

(a deadly smile)

We're going to take turns ...

EXT. SANTA CRUZ - REDWOOD FOREST - LATER

Philip stands up in the forest, looks dazed. OFF SCREEN there

is an odd SOUND, the FLUTTERING of many wings.

PHILIP:

Wow! When they strung me up, I thought I

was a goner for sure!

Death steps up right next to him, but she's facing the

opposite way, looking back toward the clearing.

DEATH:

That's what you thought, huh?

Philip looks at her, a little confused, unsure.

PHILIP:

Yeah ...

DEATH:

(nods toward the clearing)

Say, aren't you going to watch? They're

not nearly finished, yet.

Philip turns, looks back toward the clearing. We hear the

final sounds of his body being killed. The reality of his

death sinks in.

PHILIP:

So that's it? That's all I get?

84.

DEATH:

'Fraid so --

Death squints a little, looking toward the clearing.

DEATH:

Wait a second. I know those guys!

PHILIP:

So?

DEATH:

So in my line of work I don't get many,

y'know, long term relationships. Huh.

She looks at Philip with interest.

DEATH:

You're one lucky guy, Philip.

PHILIP:

Really?

DEATH:

Really. Really-really. Most people worry

their death has no significance. Yours

could be one of the most significant of

all time.

PHILIP:

Cool!

Death smiles, puts her arm around Philip. He seems to like

it. She walks him away from the clearing.

DEATH:

So, where would you like to go?

PHILIP:

Um. You mean, I get to pick?

DEATH:

That's how it works ...

They disappear behind a huge redwood. OFF SCREEN is that odd

sound again -- the loud FLUTTERING of many WINGS --

INT. HOTEL - HALLWAY - DAY

Death moves down the hallway, looking around with interest,

peeking into various conference rooms.

DEATH:

(to herself)

Shit, I don't believe this ...

85.

A sign reads:
'THERE IS NO SANITY CLAUS.' Inside the room, a

nervous professional man answers a question:

CANDY MAN:

Uhn, look, as a practicing psychiatrist,

I, uh, well, look, none of you, uh, well,

there's no more evidence of mental

abnormality among us people than amongst,

um, them. Less, maybe.

Death raises an eyebrow, moves to the next room. This one is

titled WOMEN IN SERIAL KILLING. In the front, DOG SOUP sits

between a NURSE and a WOMAN IN BLACK. They don't look to

pleased as she speaks:

DOG SOUP:

I tell you, I'm sick and tired of women

in our line being stereotyped as black

widows or killer nurses. I'm a serial

killer, and a woman, and I'm proud of it

...

She moves on to the next room: WE ARE WHAT WE ARE. She peeks

in to hear:

OREGON DEVIL:

... fundamental act of humanity is to

kill. They are the sheep and cattle. But

we know the truth. We're alive.

Death stops, shakes her head in disbelief.

DEATH:

Little brother, what have you done?

She turns around, goes back the way she came --

INT. PAUL'S APARTMENT - DAY

Typical artist's apartment. Messy, canvasses of many sizes

strewn everywhere. Weirdly, all of the canvasses are BLANK.

Paul (who we haven't seen in a while, he's Rose's artist

friend, the guy with the nightmares) sits in a large open

windowsill, feet dangling over the edge. He looks drunk,

wasted. He turns, stares INTO CAMERA.

PAUL:

Who are you? How did you get in?

He follows someone as they move closer -- it is DEATH. She

shrugs.

86.

DEATH:

Sorry. Didn't mean to disturb you. The

door was open.

PAUL:

Cigarette?

Death holds up a hand.

DEATH:

Not for me!

PAUL:

Who are you?

(she just looks at him)

Did you come for me?

DEATH:

No. I'm searching for my brother. He's

here somewhere, nearby. I've got to find

him.

PAUL:

Matter of life or death?

Death smiles. Glances at the windowsill.

DEATH:

(gently)

It'll be soon enough, Paul. Why rush it?

Paul looks at the many empty canvasses. Haltingly:

PAUL:

I used to think I was special. But I'm

not. I'm just like everyone else. I'm

going to be dead one day, just like

everyone else, and then that's it.

Death nods. Moves toward the door. Stops.

DEATH:

Just go ahead and do whatever you want.

It's not going to make any difference.

Paul looks at her questioningly.

DEATH:

Everybody always gets the same deal, no

matter what. One lifetime. No more, no

less.

Paul turns away, a thoughtful look on his face --

87.

INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - DAY

CLOSE ON:
SANDMAN, as he opens his eyes, squints into the sun

streaming in through the window. We hear that loud FLUTTERING

SOUND -- like the wings of birds --

DEATH (O.S.)

There you are!

SANDMAN'S POV: looking up as his sister, Death, leans over

him, blocking the sun.

DEATH:

(mock ominous)

I've come for you, little brother!

Sandman struggles, leans up on his elbows. Death laughs.

DEATH:

Just kidding.

Death watches as Sandman slowly recovers.

SANDMAN:

Sister -- thank you for coming to my aid.

DEATH:

I'm not coming to your aid, I'm here to

kick your butt.

Sandman stares at her, frowns. She leans close to him,

explains:

DEATH:

I've found your escaped nightmare, little

brother. He's tearing the world apart at

the seams, and near as I can tell it's

your fault.

INT. HOTEL - BANQUET HALL - NIGHT

No empty seats; the place is packed with serial killers, many

of the faces familiar to us now. The mood is expectant,

excited. Nimrod addresses them; he's become a confident

master of ceremonies:

NIMROD:

... they've called him the Eye Guy, and

the Dark Angel, and Shades, and maybe a

thousand other names. But we've always

known it was one man --

(he starts clapping)

Gentlemen. Ladies. Our guest of honor:

the Corinthian!

88.

The Corinthian leaps onto the stage amid thunderous APPLAUSE.

He gestures for quiet, and the crowd reluctantly complies.

CORINTHIAN:

Is this on? All right. Many of you know

this story. But for those that don't ...

(he coughs)

Once upon a time --

Renewed APPLAUSE -- like a rock-concert crowd recognizing the

opening bars of a favorite song. The Corinthian grins, waits,

starts over:

CORINTHIAN:

Once upon a time, the mean Lord of Dreams

was captured. A child was born of his

magic dream sand, making a rift in dreams

... and allowing your humble servant to

escape.

The Corinthian bows low. APPLAUSE rises up; he basks in it.

CORINTHIAN:

That child, I am happy to say, is here

with us today!

A sweeping gesture. From a side door, Rose Walker is wheeled

out -- she's gagged, blindfolded, and bound head-to-toe to a

moving dolly. Catcalls and screams. She is left in the middle

of the stage.

The Corinthian takes the mic in hand, moves into the crowd

like a daytime talk show host.

CORINTHIAN:

And the Vortex, continued to grow,

weakening the Sand King, allowing your

humble servant to take his magic Ruby

Dreamstone!

He raises the glittering Ruby high above him. CHEERS from the

crowd.

CORINTHIAN:

And now, the happy ending. Soon, the

dreams will all be gone ... all there

will be left is reality.

(gathers them by eye)

You are special people. Very special

people. And the new reality will be

created in the shape of your dreams!

The Corinthian speaks in an evangelical fervor. He whirls,

points to Deliverance in his long gray beard --

89.

CORINTHIAN:

Deliverance! In the new world, you will

cleanse the world of the wicked, and lead

your people to righteousness!

And WE SEE a quick image, FLAMES bursting to life, a house on

fire, Deliverance praying as people inside begin to SCREAM --

BACK TO SCENE,

as the Corinthian whirls, points to Funland --

CORINTHIAN:

Funland! You will be a funny giant, and

your little friends will come running to

play with you, and never make fun of you

...

And WE SEE it -- Funland, dancing in a line of kids, holding

hands, and it's more than a little disconcerting.

BACK TO SCENE,

on Funland's blissfully smiling face. Someone stands up next

to him -- it is Dog Soup, the female serial killer.

DOG SOUP:

Excuse me ...

CORINTHIAN:

Yes? A question?

DOG SOUP:

I wanted to ask, uh, how do we know that

it works? The Ruby.

The Corinthian blinks.

CORINTHIAN:

Works? It's already working. Look at this

convention. You're serial killers, for

godsakes. How can we be getting away with

this? Where are the maids -- the

bellboys? You think this is normal?

Some of the audience shift uncomfortably in their chairs.

The Corinthian holds the Ruby aloft.

CORINTHIAN:

It seems normal -- it has become normal --

because of this.

(more)

90.

CORINTHIAN (CONT'D)

(quoting)

'Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall

not all sleep, but we shall be changed in

a moment, in the twinkling of an eye ...'

(smiles)

You will walk this world like giants. You

will be the celebrities, the stars --

Suddenly, the room is filled with ADORING MEDIA: spotlights

from mini-cams, flashes from cameras.

CORINTHIAN:

You will be the heroes of books and

movies, and -- uh ...

Looking out into the crowd, we notice a DARK FIGURE, seated,

unmoving. The Corinthian frowns, but keeps speaking:

CORINTHIAN:

... and the faces on the cover of People

magazine ...

Now we get a good look: it is SANDMAN, sitting in the crowd,

watching. The Corinthian is unnerved. The reporters stare

into the crowd --

CORINTHIAN:

We are gladiators, and we are

swashbucklers and warriors and ... uh,

kings ...

Sandman stands. ALL SOUND DROPS OUT. Only the Sandman and the

Corinthian seem real -- all others have been reduced to

backdrop.

CORINTHIAN:

... of the night ...

SANDMAN:

What ... what do you think you are doing?

The Corinthian twirls the Ruby.

CORINTHIAN:

Actually, I'm glad you're here. I think

I've got the hang of this.

(regards him)

But you don't look strong enough to make

it interesting. Do you?

SANDMAN:

You must not do this. I forbid you.

91.

CORINTHIAN:

You abandoned me. I waited for your

return. I remember the gray days that

stretched into years and into decades.

The slow crumbling of walls ... the rooms

that were no longer there ...

Sandman lowers his head slightly.

SANDMAN:

I ... am sorry, Corinthian.

CORINTHIAN:

Well, that doesn't cut it! You see, I

like the waking world. It needs a few

changes, that's all. I'm staying.

Lightning quick, Sandman reaches beneath his coat, and

extracts his POUCH OF SAND. He tosses a handful --

-- into the Corinthian's eyes. He staggers back.

CORINTHIAN:

No!

He backs away, holds the Ruby up like a talisman, clawing at

his eyes. Sandman slips quickly to Rose's side. Her bonds

fall away.

ROSE:

You came for me ...

SANDMAN:

I had to.

He lifts her in his arms, and hurries toward a side exit. The

Corinthian blinks, searching, still unable to see --

INT. HOTEL - LOBBY - NIGHT

Sandman sets Rose down.

ROSE:

You've got to stop him. He'll destroy the

world.

SANDMAN:

I do not know if I can stop him. I may

not be strong enough.

ROSE:

Because ... because of me.

He says nothing. Rose stares at him.

92.

ROSE (CONT'D)

What ... are you going to do?

Sandman considers. His brow furrows as he weighs his options.

And then he decides --

SANDMAN:

Nothing. I will do nothing.

(trying to convince himself)

There are countless other planes beyond

this one. We can travel them together,

and leave this one to the Corinthian.

Rose stares up at him. She can't believe what he is saying.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

I cannot find it in me to harm you, Rose.

You did nothing to deserve it.

ROSE:

Deserve. Deserve has nothing to do with

it, does it? Things just happen sometimes

... and all you can do is the best you

can with what you've got.

SANDMAN:

You sound very much like my sister.

ROSE:

Then I'd like to meet her sometime.

(beat)

Listen -- this is my world. This is where

I live. This is where my friends live.

(beat)

He has to be stopped.

(no arguments)

He has to be.

SANDMAN:

You know ... what you are asking?

ROSE:

(nods)

I know. I have to. It's ... it's my

responsibility.

Sandman studies her face. She returns his gaze. Tears well up

in her eyes. She turns away.

93.

ROSE:

Do it!

Sandman nods slowly.

SANDMAN:

It is my responsibility.

He cradles her in his arms, touches her face as her eyes

close --

SANDMAN:

Wait!

Rose's eyes snap open.

SANDMAN:

There is another way.

ROSE:

No --

SANDMAN:

Yes! Of course. He is nothing but a

dream. And you -- you are that which can

destroy dreams. Together, we can beat

him. Together.

(beat)

We must join our souls.

ROSE:

How?

SANDMAN:

How do any two people join their souls?

Sandman leans down --

-- and KISSES HER.

INT. HOTEL - HALLWAY - NIGHT

The doors slam open. The Corinthian spins--

Sandman and Rose stand there, hands linked, power radiating

from them.

SANDMAN:

Come, Corinthian. Let this be finished.

CORINTHIAN:

Yes. Let it be finished, one way or the

other.

The Corinthian lunges forward, the RUBY metamorphosing into a

DAGGER.

94.

Sandman pours sand from the pouch into Rose's palm, then his

own.

SANDMAN:

Follow my lead.

He claps his hands together, draws them apart --

HE HOLDS A SHIELD OF SAND. He parries the Corinthian's

charge, shoves him away.

Rose follows suit, creating a sword. She looks at it,

surprised, then lunges forward, swinging for the Corinthian --

The Corinthian ducks, STABS the Ruby Dagger into her leg.

She CRIES OUT. The sword becomes sand again, cascading to the

floor.

Sandman slams the Corinthian with the shield. The ruby dagger

still protrudes from Rose's leg. Sandman hits the Corinthian

again -- his sunglasses go flying, revealing his eye sockets

LINED WITH TEETH.

Cornered, the Corinthian steels himself and PUNCHES --

-- THROUGH THE SHIELD. He grabs Sandman by the throat.

Sandman struggles to break free. The Corinthian leans in, EYE

SOCKET MOUTHS snapping for Sandman's throat, drawing closer --

Suddenly, the Corinthian STIFFENS -- an eerie double scream

issues from his eye sockets. He staggers back --

The Ruby Dagger has been plunged deep into his back. Rose

stands behind him, staring at her handiwork. The Corinthian

reaches toward her, almost shrugging -- and then he is dead.

Rose looks up at Sandman.

Sandman steps to her, sweeping her up into his arms, looking

deep into her eyes --

THEY KISS AGAIN, passionately, as we

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DREAM REALM - SANDMAN'S PALACE - DAY

Sandman and Rose break their kiss. In best fairy-tale movie

fashion, they now stand in the throne room of the palace,

dressed in finery. Sandman leads Rose up the steps, to --

TWO THRONES, identical, equal. He gestures for her to sit.

She does; he takes his place beside her. Rose looks around in

happy wonder at the palace. She turns to look at Sandman, who

is already watching her.

95.

CAMERA MOVES IN as he takes her hand, their fingers

intertwining --

DEATH (O.S.)

Brother ...

INT. HOTEL - LOBBY - NIGHT

Death stands there. She is subdued, sad.

Sandman looks up. A tear runs down his cheek.

DEATH:

That was a lovely final dream you gave

her.

Sandman cradles Rose in his arms. Her head lolls back. She is

dead.

SANDMAN:

She deserved no less.

Death nods. She sweeps an arm across Rose's body --

There is the SOUND OF WINGS, and then Death is gone.

Sandman rises. There are mirror tiles on one entire wall.

Sandman glances at his many reflections --

Floating just beyond one of them is DESPAIR.

DESPAIR:

No. Do not enter. I do not want you in my

realm.

SANDMAN:

Nor do I wish to be there.

He turns away from the mirror as Despair fades.

CORINTHIAN:

So, you did it.

The Corinthian stands in the hallway. He stares at Rose's

body, prone on the tarmac.

CORINTHIAN:

Why, you're an inspiration to us all.

(looks up at Sandman)

I still have the ruby. It is enough to

kill you. More than enough.

Sandman stands, reaching beneath his coat, producing his

helm.

96.

SANDMAN:

Perhaps it can. It has absorbed much of

my soul-self already. But if you would

fight me, you shall not do it here. The

dream realm is repaired.

Sandman puts on his helm, giving his voice an even more

otherworldly sound --

SANDMAN:

If you would steal a dreamlord's power,

than you shall do it in dreams.

Sandman pulls darkness around himself, and then he is gone.

CORINTHIAN:

COWARD.

(to the Ruby)

Follow him. Take me into dreams, my

darling ...

The RUBY FLASHES BLOOD RED --

EXT. DREAM REALM - DUSK

A LINE OF LIGHT appears, becomes the outline of a door. The

door opens, and the Corinthian steps through --

CORINTHIAN:

(shouting)

I'm no mere nightmare now, Sandman. I'm

here to kill you.

The Corinthian stands in a CEMETERY. A grave stands empty.

CORINTHIAN:

Show yourself, Sandman. You can't hide

forever ...

A pause. No answer. The Corinthian uses the ruby to BLAST a

section of the cemetery --

-- and the illusion of a world is RIPPED AWAY, torn like a

painting. Revealed behind the tear are many CLOCKWORK GEARS.

CORINTHIAN:

Can you see me, stinkard lord of piss and

mire? Look!

Another BLAST -- the clockworks fly to pieces, as well as the

rest of the cemetery.

Revealed behind the clockworks are--

97.

HUNDREDS of FACES, floating in darkness, eyes shut in sleep.

A sky of faces, a landscape of faces, surrounding the

Corinthian. This is the world of the Dreaming.

CORINTHIAN:

Can you see me using your power to rip

your ragtag dreamworld apart? Can you see

me?

Another BLAST -- the faces twist in pain, wavering. Several

scream out.

SANDMAN (O.S.)

Stop! Enough, Corinthian! I am here!

Desist.

The lenses of Sandman's helm reflect the Corinthian, who

smiles.

CORINTHIAN:

Yes. You're here. Hello.

(indicates the ruby)

This is a lovely thing, isn't it? It

contains your life. Your magick. Your

power.

(beat)

RIGHT?

SANDMAN:

... right.

CORINTHIAN:

And the last time you used it, it sucked

out more. Yes?

(beat)

YES?

SANDMAN:

Corinthian ... stop. You are tampering

with the order of things ...

CORINTHIAN:

SHUT UP! I'm going to ruin all of it.

Every bit.

He holds the Ruby over his head. It GLOWS. A BEAM knives into

Sandman's heart. He moans --

CORINTHIAN:

Does that hurt? I bet it does. I bet it

hurts. A lot.

The beam widens. Sandman slumps, seemingly shrinking --

CORINTHIAN:

What does it feel like? To have the life

sucked out of you?

98.

SANDMAN:

Stop -- the dreamers --

The faces still look on, themselves being drained of

vitality, growing gaunt, withered, desiccated --

CORINTHIAN:

I hold your life in my hands. I can kill

you.

He closes his hands around the Ruby, squeezing --

CORINTHIAN:

This IS your life, dreamsneak. And I'm

crushing it out with my hands!

EXT. DESTINY'S GARDEN - TWILIGHT

Destiny stands in his garden, reading from his great book.

His finger traces the words, reaches the bottom of the page.

He prepares to turn to the next one --

-- and HESITATES. Just a moment --

And then he turns the page --

EXT. DREAM REALM - DUSK

The Corinthian's knuckles are white with strain --

The ruby SHATTERS --

BLOOD-RED LIGHT flares, hurting the eyes, filling the screen

-- and then it fades, leaving a WHITE SCREEN --

-- and the small figure of the Corinthian, looking surprised,

and then smug.

CORINTHIAN:

It worked. He's gone.

He can scarcely believe it.

CORINTHIAN:

The king is dead. And long live the king!

Look who's in charge of the Dreaming, now ...

(glances around)

... what's left of it.

He takes a few steps. The world remains PURE WHITE. He drops

to his knees. Alone, by himself, the Corinthian actually

smiles -- a genuine, relieved smile.

99.

CORINTHIAN:

I'm free again. Finally.

SANDMAN (O.S.)

Thank you, Corinthian.

CAMERA PULLS BACK, way back, revealing --

The Corinthian has been standing in the pale white palm of

Sandman's hand.

PULL BACK MORE. Sandman is huge now, a giant. He peers down

at the tiny figure of the Corinthian.

SANDMAN:

It has been so long. I had forgotten ...

I had forgotten how much of my power I

had placed in that jewel. And you

released it.

(considers)

I doubt I would have thought of that.

The Corinthian looks up at Sandman, not quite cowering, but

no longer cocksure. Timid.

CORINTHIAN:

What are you going to do to me?

The Sandman begins to shrink.

SANDMAN:

You disappoint me, Corinthian. You were

my masterpiece, or so I thought.

He stands beside the Corinthian now.

SANDMAN:

A nightmare created to be the darkness

and the fear of darkness in every human

heart. A dark mirror, made to reflect

everything about itself that humanity

will not confront.

He touches the Corinthian's face.

SANDMAN:

But look at you. Twenty years walking the

earth, and what have you given them?

Nothing. You've told them there are bad

people out there.

(sadly)

And they've known that all along.

The Corinthian wrenches away from him.

100.

CORINTHIAN:

Do you expect me to submit quietly? To go

back -- to never again know the delights

of an eye as it pops between my teeth? Is

that it?

SANDMAN:

No. That's not it.

He grabs the Corinthian by the jaw, tight.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

I created you poorly, then. As I do

uncreate you now.

The Corinthian SCREAMS--

His skin dissolves, leaving the skeleton--

The skeleton fades away, except the skull, still in Sandman's

hand. Sandman stares into its eye sockets filled with teeth.

Behind him, around him, the sleeping faces FADE IN. Hundreds

of them, all races, all ages, all genders...

...and all sleeping peacefully.

Sandman TURNS TO CAMERA --

SANDMAN:

And YOU, that call yourselves collectors --

EXT. HOTEL - BANQUET HALL - NIGHT

He's behind the podium, addressing the audience of killers.

SANDMAN:

Until now, you have all sustained

fantasies in which you are the maltreated

heroes of your own stories.

Nimrod slouches in his seat. Funland looks away.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

Comforting daydreams in which,

ultimately, you are shown to be in the

right.

(beat)

No more.

And now all the eyes in the room are on him.

101.

SANDMAN (CONT'D)

For all of you, the dream is over. I have

taken it away. For this is my judgment on

you:

EXT. HOTEL - NIGHT

The killers leave the hotel. Some seem to want to talk to

others, but ultimately, they don't.

SANDMAN (V.O.)

That you shall know, at all times, and

forever, exactly what you are. And you

shall know just how little that means.

(tired)

Now, leave.

Funland is one of the last. He takes off his cap, and drops

it. The wind kicks up, blowing it across the parking lot. The

killers just drift away, fading into the darkness.

FADE TO BLACK:

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

A bright day, not at all proper for a funeral. The white

flowers around the casket look almost festive in the sun.

Rose's friends are gathered at the gravesite. Most we met at

the party, including Kelly, Sam (holding Rose's kitten), and

Paul, who stands at the head of the grave.

PAUL:

I, uh, I'd like to read something ... a

poem, from one of Rose's --

(his voice breaks; he gathers

himself)

This is from Rose's favorite book, and

it, uh -- it meant a lot to her ...

(clears his throat)

"In Wonderland they lie

"Drifting as the days go by

"Watching as the summers die

"Lying in the golden gleam ..."

EXT. DREAM REALM - SANDMAN'S PALACE - DUSK

The palace has been rebuilt. The surrounding land is green.

Sandman stands on a balcony, head inclined, listening.

PAUL (V.O.)

"... Life is but a dream."

102.

Lucien steps onto the balcony, nervous about disturbing

Sandman. Matthew, perched on Lucien's shoulder, is not.

MATTHEW:

Hey, boss. Heads up.

Sandman raises his head, but does not look at them.

SANDMAN:

Yes?

LUCIEN:

My lord ... there are nightmares to be

inspected.

Sandman turns. He peers at the two of them.

SANDMAN:

Lucien ... In my absence, you did not

leave. You remained at your post, in the

Library.

LUCIEN:

Ah ... yes, lord. I'm a librarian, after

all.

SANDMAN:

That is true. Still ...

(beat)

Thank you, Lucien.

Lucien is startled -- but genuinely pleased.

LUCIEN:

You -- you're welcome, my lord.

Matthew flutters to Sandman's shoulder. Cocks his head.

MATTHEW:

You've changed, boss ... you know that?

SANDMAN:

Have I? I am still Dream, and I still

have my responsibilities.

LUCIEN:

The nightmares..?

Dream glances down -- almost as though he's looking back at

the funeral.

SANDMAN:

Of course. But, first, I think something

a bit more ... inspirational.

103.

EXT. DREAM REALM - ROCKY SPIRE - DAY

We recognize Paul's dream: He clings to the spire, unable to

climb higher, afraid to fall. He grasps for a better

handhold, then glances up --

Sandman stands precariously, impossibly, on the very tip of

the spire, Matthew perched on his shoulder.

PAUL:

Who -- who are you?

MATTHEW:

Hey, buddy. You look screwed.

PAUL:

I never should have climbed up here! I

learned my lesson ...

SANDMAN:

Have you? It is sometimes a mistake to

climb. It is always a mistake to never

even make the attempt.

PAUL:

But I'm caught here! If I even move, I'll

fall! I'll die! Aren't you scared of

falling?

MATTHEW:

Not me.

SANDMAN:

Hush, Matthew.

(to Paul)

Is it that bad to fall? Sometimes you

wake, and sometimes, yes, you die.

Sandman turns and nonchalantly walks away -- across thin air.

He pauses, turns back to Paul.

SANDMAN:

But there is a third alternative.

Paul stares into his face. It is the same face that Roderick

Burgess looked into nearly seventy years earlier: the same

aquiline nose, the same sharp cheekbones, the same dark

eyesbut now it is less harsh. Less foreboding.

Paul swallows. He nods. And --

PAUL LETS GO. He arcs away from the spire, out and down in

slow motion. Is he falling -- or is he flying?

104.

INT. PAUL'S LOFT - NIGHT

Paul wakes up. Across the room, a large blank canvas stands

on an easel, beckoning, taunting. Paul stares at it, then

rises. Like a sleepwalker, moves toward it --

Paul mixes paint on a palette --

He uses a roller to create a powder blue sky, like the one in

his dream --

He sketches in the spire with charcoal --

He begins to paint a figure --

The figure is in mid-air, having let go of the precipice --

And it is flying, arms outstretched. But it is not Paul.

It is ROSE, smiling as she soars.

CAMERA PUSHES IN on Rose's smiling face, closer and closer

until detail is lost in nearness, and we

FADE TO BLACK:

THE END:

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Neil Gaiman

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. more…

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"The Sandman (Vertigo)" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_sandman_(vertigo)_544>.

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