This is an excerpt (first 20 pages) of a completed screenplay.

"Lake Pensive" - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN: EXT. STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - NIGHT Looking out over calm waters. Above, the clear night sky is ablaze with stars. SUPER: New England, 1641. Two Native Americans (let's call 'em BIG GUY and LITTLE GUY) squat by their camp fire, wearing rawhide leggings and fur cloaks. Little Guy cooks a rabbit on a stick. They speak their own language, with subtitled English. LITTLE GUY You're telling me you killed a bear? BIG GUY I didn't say I killed a bear. I said killing a bear isn't hard. LITTLE GUY How can you say that when you haven't killed a bear? BIG GUY Just because I haven't done something, that doesn't mean I don't know how hard it is. Switch to plain English, no subtitles. LITTLE GUY What if a bear ran into our camp right now? How would you kill it? BIG GUY I'd make sure it got hold of you first. While it was busy eating you, I'd find a big rock, and climb the tallest tree. LITTLE GUY You'd kill it with the rock? BIG GUY How lucky do you think I am? I'd stun it with the rock. Then I'd place the point of my spear over its throat, and lean upon my spear with all my weight. Afterwards, I'd praise our ancestors for giving me such a gift. I'd skin the bear and wash the skin in the lake. (wistfully) Such a skin would attract the eye of every young woman in our village. LITTLE GUY Will you tell them I helped you get the bear skin? BIG GUY If they ask, yes. IN THE SKY ABOVE, a star suddenly shifts position. Becomes brighter. Getting closer. It's not a star at all... Little Guy notices the shifting light. He stares at it, curious. Big Guy wonders what Little Guy is looking at, and turns round just as-- The "star" comes hurtling down out of the sky and splashes into the lake, sending up a tall water spout. The entire lake ripples and a low RUMBLING noise fills the air. Big Guy and Little Guy scramble for their spears. They look at each other, look at the lake, look at each other. They're seriously spooked but try not to show it. The rumbling noise recedes, and the lake grows calm. LITTLE GUY The spirits are angry. BIG GUY It must be something you said. LITTLE GUY We should leave this place. They gather their stuff and run into the trees, away from the lake. The rabbit continues to cook over the fire, forgotten... A huge wave from the lake washes right up to the camp and over the fire. The water recedes, leaving one damp rabbit. EXT. MIDDLE OF LAKE - NIGHT Somewhere in the depths of the lake a light glows briefly, then goes out. FADE OUT: TITLE: New England, Present Day. FADE IN: EXT. JAKE'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - NIGHT A rabbit on a stick cooks over his camp fire. Tended by JAKE, 30s, has the "Rambo" look, prefers the woods to civilization. Jake doesn't know it, but Big Guy and Little Guy camped in exactly the same place centuries before. Jake tenses as the unmistakable DOUBLE-CLICK of a revolver being cocked reaches him. He slowly raises his hands above his head, then turns around to see-- SHERIFF BOB LEECH, 60, steps out of the bushes, his gun pointed at Jake. JAKE I ain't doing nobody no harm. SHERIFF BOB LEECH I told you to move on. JAKE I'll be gone by morning. That soon enough for you? Leech doesn't like Jake's attitude one bit. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Stand up. Jake stands up. Knows some unpleasantness might be coming. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Give me one good reason why I shouldn't shoot you? JAKE I can't give you a reason why you should shoot me. So I'm sleeping out in the open, so what? Campers do it all the time. Leech thinks about it. He uncocks his gun, slips it back into his holster. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Come morning, you're gone. You understand what I'm saying? And if you go anywhere near those cabins... Leech points across the lake, to where cabin lights shine. SHERIFF BOB LEECH ...I'll bury you myself, right where you're standing. Count on it. Leech exits into the bushes, leaving Jake alone. JAKE Appreciate your hospitality, Sheriff Bob Leech. Jake squats down and tends to his cooking rabbit. DISSOLVE TO: The rabbit's been eaten, the fire's gone down a little. Jake RIFTS with satisfaction and licks his fingers. He pulls out a whisky bottle and takes a long drink. He settles down for the night, throwing a couple more sticks onto the fire. EXT. MIDDLE OF LAKE - NIGHT Looking toward shore. From a distance, we see Jake beside his fire. EXT. JAKE'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - NIGHT Jake looks toward the lake. He's not worried or anything, just curious, as if he's maybe heard something in the dark. EXT. MIDDLE OF LAKE - NIGHT We move in toward shore, gliding smoothly over the still lake waters. EXT. JAKE'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - NIGHT Jake settles down by the fire, takes another swig of whisky... And then looks toward the lake again. He's definitely heard something this time. He stands up, stares at the lake. SPLASHING WATER outside Jake's range of vision. He picks up a burning log and holds it up, hoping to cast light over what's out there, but it's not enough. Jake throws the log back into the fire, opens his backpack and takes out a flashlight. He turns it on, shines the beam toward the lake. JAKE'S POV: the lake waters are tranquil, nothing else is visible. Jake shakes his head, switches off the flashlight and turns back to his camp fire. SPLASHING WATER makes him stop. Some instinct freezes him to the spot. Without looking round, he knows someone's behind him. Jake spins around! But no one's there. He frowns, puzzled. FROM ABOVE: looking down at Jake as if from a high crane. Jake slowly looks up. A ghostly silver radiance reflects off his face. His puzzlement turns to terror. He opens his mouth to scream but there just isn't time-- CRASH CUT TO BLACK: FADE IN: EXT. MARGO KITSON'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - DAY A bright, clear morning. MARGO KITSON, 50s, an attractive outdoorsy type, walks her dog, Rusty. She stops and looks out over the lake. Not just enjoying the view -- enjoying being here. She looks round as an SUV approaches. Margo waves. The SUV pulls over and stops. Rusty barks. He's looking out over the lake as if something's caught his attention. Margo tries to figure out what but she can't see anything. Rusty keeps barking. MARGO KITSON Quiet, Rusty! The dog growls softly. Margo picks up a stick, throws it into nearby woods. Rusty runs after the stick. Park Ranger ANDREW MACDOUGAL, 25, climbs out of the SUV and joins Margo. An ex-Marine, MacDougal is formidable. ANDY MACDOUGAL Hey Margo, how're you doing? MARGO KITSON Couldn't be better. Where are you off to this bright morning? ANDY MACDOUGAL Over to the Whitmans' cabin. John says he heard noises last night. Didn't see anything, but he heard something moving around outside. MARGO KITSON What do you think it was? ANDY MACDOUGAL Been a while since I saw a bear on this side of the lake, but you never know. MARGO KITSON Maybe you should tell Bob? ANDY MACDOUGAL I left a message, he'll get back to me if he wants to. Give me a call if you come across anything? MARGO KITSON Sure. You'll probably hear Rusty barking. MacDougal turns to go. MARGO KITSON Andy, I wanted to talk to you. ANDY MACDOUGAL About what? MARGO KITSON Kyle's coming to visit. He's bringing Jackie with him. MacDougal considers this news. ANDY MACDOUGAL You think I'm going to beat him up or something? MARGO KITSON I think if you wanted to, he wouldn't stand a chance. ANDY MACDOUGAL It's not me he has to worry about. Bob Leech is going to want to talk to him. MARGO KITSON Kyle had nothing to do with Annie's disappearance. ANDY MACDOUGAL Try telling that to Sheriff Bob Leech. I think you'll find he has a different opinion. MacDougal returns to his SUV. A thoughtful Margo watches him drive away. She looks around for Rusty. MARGO KITSON C'mon, Rusty! Rusty doesn't respond, and Margo can't see him. MARGO KITSON Rusty? Here boy. Margo walks to the treeline, looks for Rusty. MARGO KITSON Rusty, come on! Time to go! No response. Margo has a worried moment. Rusty bounds out of the trees. Margo crouches down and rubs his ears, hugs him. MARGO KITSON Stupid dog. EXT. MIDDLE OF LAKE - DAY Looking toward shore. From a distance, we watch Margo and Rusty turn and head inland. EXT. ROAD NEAR LAKE - DAY MacDougal leans against his SUV, looking out over the lake while he drinks coffee from a flask and eats a sandwich from his lunchbox. Another SUV comes along the track road. MacDougal puts his half-eaten sandwich back into his lunchbox and closes his thermos flask. He walks to meet the SUV. INT. KYLE NORTH'S SUV (MOVING) - DAY KYLE NORTH NORTH, 25, drives. Beside him, his wife JACKIE NORTH, 25. In the back seat, their children FIONA NORTH, 11, and LUKE NORTH, 9, city kids enjoying the unfamiliar woodland scenery. Kyle sees MacDougal up ahead. So does Jackie. She glances at Kyle but he doesn't react. EXT. ROAD NEAR LAKE - DAY Kyle's SUV stops. Kyle rolls his window down. ANDY MACDOUGAL Morning. You folks looking for Margo's place? KYLE NORTH As a matter of fact, we are. How'd you know? ANDY MACDOUGAL You had that "lost city folks" look about you. MacDougal points along the road. ANDY MACDOUGAL Keep going for another quarter- mile. Look out for a turning on the right, bushes on either side. It's easy to shoot right on by. KYLE NORTH Thanks. MacDougal looks at Jackie. Kyle wonders what's going on. ANDY MACDOUGAL How you doing, Jackie? JACKIE NORTH I'm fine, Andrew. You? ANDY MACDOUGAL Couldn't be better. Kyle offers his hand. KYLE NORTH Kyle North. MacDougal takes the hand. The two men stare at each other. Just for a moment there's the possibility they might have a squeezing contest. But the moment passes. ANDY MACDOUGAL Andy MacDougal. KYLE NORTH I guessed as much. Kyle jerks a thumb over his shoulder. KYLE NORTH Luke and Fiona. Our kids. ANDY MACDOUGAL Pleased to meet you, kids. Luke and Fiona smile and wave hello. KYLE NORTH And of course you already know my wife, Jackie North. MacDougal's about to speak, but Kyle rolls up his window and drives on. MacDougal steps back and watches their SUV disappear up the road. He smiles and shakes his head. INT. KYLE NORTH'S SUV (MOVING) - DAY MacDougal is a dwindling speck in the rear window. JACKIE NORTH That was downright rude. KYLE NORTH Oh I'm sorry, did you want to talk to your ex-boyfriend some more? JACKIE NORTH So we went out a couple of times. KYLE NORTH Your folks thought it was a lot more serious than that, as I recall. JACKIE NORTH They liked Andy. KYLE NORTH You mean they didn't like me. JACKIE NORTH That's not true and you know it. KYLE NORTH The kid from the wrong side of town, always getting into trouble. FIONA NORTH Did you get into trouble, dad? JACKIE NORTH Only on Saturday nights. LUKE NORTH Did you ever get arrested? JACKIE NORTH Only on Saturday nights. KYLE NORTH Yo ho ho. Just try to remember we're here to visit my aunt, not rekindle old flames. Jackie tries not to laugh. JACKIE NORTH I'll try to remember that. But Andy sure looks handsome in a uniform, don't he? Kyle glares at her. FIONA NORTH Watch out for the turning. JACKIE NORTH Quiet, dear. Daddy's in a mood. Luke and Fiona laugh. Kyle can't help but smile. EXT. MARGO KITSON'S CABIN - DAY Modern "frontier" cabin. Woods behind and around. The view over the lake is breathtaking. Margo's at work in her garden when Kyle's SUV arrives. She takes off her gloves and goes to meet it. Everyone gets out. Margo and Kyle embrace. MARGO KITSON Kyle, Kyle, how are you? KYLE NORTH Great, now I've seen you. I want you to meet Jackie. Margo takes Jackie's hand. MARGO KITSON My pleasure. JACKIE NORTH The pleasure's mine, Mrs. Kitson. MARGO KITSON Formality has its place, but this isn't it. Call me Margo. JACKIE NORTH Margo. MARGO KITSON You must be Fiona and Luke. I'm very pleased to meet you. KYLE NORTH Kids, say hello to your Aunt Margo. LUKE NORTH Are you our real aunt? MARGO KITSON No, I'm just a stand-in until something better comes along. Luke hesitates, but Fiona goes up on her toes and kisses Margo on the cheek. FIONA NORTH Hi, Aunt Margo. MARGO KITSON Hi to you, too. (to Luke) You're excused the kiss this time. Next time, watch out. (to Kyle) You haven't changed a bit. Well, maybe you've put on a couple pounds, but in all the right places. And your hair's different. JACKIE NORTH You mean receding? KYLE NORTH Last time Margo saw me, I was a hippie. MARGO KITSON That's true. (to Jackie) You're even more attractive than I imagined you'd be. JACKIE NORTH Oh my. You can say things like that any time you want. Margo indicates their surroundings with a grand sweep of her arm. MARGO KITSON Well, what do you think of my little hideaway in the wilds? KYLE NORTH It's beautiful. JACKIE NORTH It's more than beautiful, but aren't you a little isolated up here? MARGO KITSON I lived in New York City for fourteen years. I felt more isolated there than I do here. Nature has this funny way of making you feel you're not alone. And it's not as if I don't have neighbors. And a phone, and email. Margo takes hold of Kyle's arm. MARGO KITSON My sister-in-law bumps into Kyle, she gives him my email address... next thing you know, you're here. You've all brought walking boots, I hope? KYLE NORTH We brought everything. We didn't know if you'd have enough food, we packed some stuff in the cool box. MARGO KITSON A blizzard could trap us inside for six months and we'd still have plenty to eat. Margo looks at Luke and Fiona. MARGO KITSON 'Course, we might have to gnaw on the occasional foot. Fiona grins. Luke frowns, not sure if she's serious. LUKE NORTH You have electricity up here? MARGO KITSON I'm on the county grid, and there's a backup generator, too. LUKE NORTH I could have brought my Nintendo after all. KYLE NORTH I guess you'll have to put up with our boring conversation instead. MARGO KITSON I've got satellite TV. Luke grins. Thank the Lord for small mercies. MARGO KITSON Come on inside. Jackie notices Luke and Fiona inspecting their surroundings. JACKIE NORTH Is it okay if the kids explore? MARGO KITSON Sure it is. Rusty'll go with them. (to Rusty) Take 'em on the guided tour, Rusty. Rusty heads off. Luke and Fiona happily follow the dog. INT. MARGO KITSON'S CABIN - DAY Comfortable, with couches, rugs, a big fireplace. Margo, Kyle and Jackie enter. KYLE NORTH Something smells good. MARGO KITSON Dinner'll be ready soon. Take off your coats and get comfortable. (to Jackie) Hey, smart thinking with the kids. Drink? KYLE NORTH Scotch rocks. MARGO KITSON Wait your turn. Jackie? JACKIE NORTH I'd kill for a coffee. MARGO KITSON No need to go that far. Kyle and Jackie shed their coats. Margo fetches a scotch for Kyle, coffees for her and Jackie. MARGO KITSON How was the drive? KYLE NORTH Fine. Good weather all the way. MARGO KITSON You meet anyone on your way up? KYLE NORTH Just some nosy Park Ranger. MARGO KITSON You must mean Andy. KYLE NORTH Yeah, I mean Andy. Real friendly guy. Are we likely to bump into him often? Jackie enjoys a little snigger of amusement. Kyle shoots her a look. MARGO KITSON Andy wouldn't come up here unless he was invited. Why Kyle, do I detect a whiff of jealousy? KYLE NORTH Is he married, engaged, or what? MARGO KITSON Not as far as I know. KYLE NORTH (to Jackie) I catch him anywhere near you, I'll shoot him. JACKIE NORTH I think you should lock me up and throw away the key. I catch another glimpse of that Park Ranger uniform, I'm liable to go crazy. KYLE NORTH (to Margo) You see what I have to put up with? MARGO KITSON I'm pleased you've met your match, dear. EXT. JAKE'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - DAY Leech kicks over Jake's camp fire ashes and looks around, wondering where Jake is. He sees Jake's flashlight, picks it up. He thumbs the switch but the batteries are dead. Leech sees someone moving through trees further along the lake shore. It's Luke and Fiona. For a moment Leech is concerned, then he sees they're with Rusty. Leech crouches down and watches them. They don't see him. His attention is particularly focused on Fiona. EXT. MIDDLE OF LAKE - DAY Looking toward shore. From a distance, we watch Leech watching the kids. INT. MARGO KITSON'S CABIN - DAY Everyone's at the dinner table, in mid-meal. KYLE NORTH I saw your latest book on sale. Are you scheduled for any signings? MARGO KITSON Oh God no, never. The very thought gives me the shivers. Besides, the cover photograph conflicts sharply with my present appearance. It's the same one they used when the first book came out, over ten years ago. KYLE NORTH This one's, what, number eleven in the series? MARGO KITSON Number thirteen, if you're counting. JACKIE NORTH It must be great to have such a popular character. MARGO KITSON Go figure. I can't stand him. It's all I can do to stop myself from killing him off in the worst way imaginable. KYLE NORTH Jackie's writing a novel. JACKIE NORTH Kyle! KYLE NORTH What did I say? It's true isn't it? MARGO KITSON I hope you're going to let me see it. JACKIE NORTH It isn't finished. The ending's been giving me problems. I'm waiting for inspiration to hit me. MARGO KITSON Plenty of that out here. KYLE NORTH I told her to bring her laptop, but she wouldn't. MARGO KITSON You can borrow mine if you like. JACKIE NORTH I don't know if I'm in the mood for writing. Besides which, I didn't bring it with me. MARGO KITSON You remember where you stopped, don't you? Can't you continue? JACKIE NORTH I haven't really looked at it for a couple of months. KYLE NORTH I'll drive home and get your laptop, it'll only take me a few hours, I'll be back by morning. JACKIE NORTH Thank you, you're so helpful. KYLE NORTH Well, you know, I try to be. FIONA NORTH Luke stepped in dog poo. JACKIE NORTH Fiona, we're at the dinner table. LUKE NORTH I did not. (to Jackie) I wiped my shoes before I came inside. JACKIE NORTH Just as well for you. MARGO KITSON Rusty usually buries his little mistakes, I'll give him a firm talking to right after dinner. FIONA NORTH Wasn't Rusty. He's too little. This was a big one. I mean, big. She holds her hands a couple of feet apart. JACKIE NORTH Then it can't be dog poo, sweetie. FIONA NORTH It smelled like dog poo. KYLE NORTH Enough, we're eating. Or trying to. Everyone eats in silence, trying not to think about it... Fiona waves her hand in front of her nose. Luke elbows her, telling her to stop. JACKIE NORTH Quit that, you two. (to Margo) They're not really our kids, we just picked them up at the Mall and brought them here. MARGO KITSON I understand perfectly. I told people I found Kyle in the woods, that he's been raised by wolves. KYLE NORTH Uh, hello, that would be the Kyle who's sitting right here. So, Aunt Margo, aside from the writing, what have you been up to? MARGO KITSON Oh good, we're starting off with the easy questions. Well, let me see. I've been doing some painting, and some wood sculpting, too. Last year I put my work into an exhibition and people actually liked it. Not that they bought anything, you understand. I've travelled around a lot, and I'm learning to fly. JACKIE NORTH Wow, that's great. MARGO KITSON I'm not sure how folks hereabouts will take to having a float plane landing and taking off every day, but it's a thought. So, I've been keeping myself pretty busy. KYLE NORTH Are you seeing anyone? JACKIE NORTH Kyle, that's a little personal, isn't it? MARGO KITSON He just wants to know if his old aunt is lonely, living in a log cabin miles from anywhere. Isn't that so, Kyle? KYLE NORTH The thought crossed my mind. MARGO KITSON Everyone's always inviting everyone else to their cabins for dinner and drinks. If I accepted every invite, I'd never get any work done. If you must know, I've got my pick of rich, retired men who come out here to get in touch with Nature. Rusty comes in useful whenever they get a little frisky. JACKIE NORTH Sounds like you're having a great time. MARGO KITSON Yep, that just about describes it. What about you? KYLE NORTH What about me? MARGO KITSON How are you doing? KYLE NORTH We're doing okay. MARGO KITSON (to Jackie) Getting information out of Kyle was always like pulling teeth. I'm afraid you'll have to do all the talking. What can you tell me? JACKIE NORTH Oh, we're doing okay. Kyle and Jackie smile at each other. MARGO KITSON I see I'm dealing with two sets of kids. KYLE NORTH What can I tell ya? Business is good, family life is good. We've settled in after the last big move. Luke and Fiona are enjoying school. Jackie's thinking about going back to work... but that unfinished novel's nagging at her. MARGO KITSON Jackie, if you finish your book, I'll show it to my publisher. JACKIE NORTH That's assuming it's good enough. MARGO KITSON Is it? KYLE NORTH Yes. JACKIE NORTH How would you know, you've never read it. KYLE NORTH You just think I haven't. Sometimes I sneak onto the laptop when you're not looking. JACKIE NORTH Ten bucks says you can't name my main character. KYLE NORTH I disapprove of gambling, as you know, but I think you mean Erin, the rosy-cheeked colleen from County Mayo? Jackie pauses in horror with her fork halfway to her mouth. Kyle chuckles. EXT. ROAD NEAR LAKE - DAY MacDougal's SUV meets another SUV on the road. They stop alongside each other. MacDougal rolls his window down, finds himself talking to NICOLA DAVENPORT, 20s, who dazzles him with her smile. The back of Nicola's SUV is filled with metal boxes with "DELICATE INSTRUMENT - THIS WAY UP" type signs. ANDY MACDOUGAL Hey there. NICOLA DAVENPORT Hello, I hope this is Lake Pensive. ANDY MACDOUGAL The one and only. He stretches his hand across the gap, Nicola takes it. ANDY MACDOUGAL Andrew MacDougal. NICOLA DAVENPORT Nicola Davenport. ANDY MACDOUGAL What brings you out here, Nicola? NICOLA DAVENPORT Tremors. ANDY MACDOUGAL Come again? NICOLA DAVENPORT I'm a seismologist. Minor tremors shook this area three days ago. Everything points to Lake Pensive being the epicenter. MacDougal looks toward the lake. ANDY MACDOUGAL You sure? NICOLA DAVENPORT Pretty much. EXT. NICOLA DAVENPORT'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - DAY MacDougal helps Nicola carry instrument boxes to the shore. ANDY MACDOUGAL How come I didn't feel anything? NICOLA DAVENPORT Do you sleep on hard ground? ANDY MACDOUGAL Not usually. NICOLA DAVENPORT Then you wouldn't have felt anything. Low level disturbance, remarkable only by its unusual persistence. Usually they're over in a few seconds. Not this one. She opens one of the boxes... takes out a camera-like instrument with its own tripod. She sets this up and aims it at the lake. ANDY MACDOUGAL Just don't point that thing at me, I hate having my picture taken. NICOLA DAVENPORT It's not a camera. I'm going to bounce an infra-red beam off the surface of the lake. She unwraps a satellite dish and plants it in the ground, pointing skyward. She opens a laptop, connects it to the dish and types in a couple of commands. The laptop BEEPS positively. ANDY MACDOUGAL Can you get the football on that? NICOLA DAVENPORT I hope I'm not holding you back from your work? ANDY MACDOUGAL Seeing visitors have everything they need is my work. NICOLA DAVENPORT Uh-huh. So you're a tour guide as well as a Park Ranger? ANDY MACDOUGAL Sometimes the job demands a flexible attitude. NICOLA DAVENPORT I bet that's what they call you. Mr. Flexible. She types something else. Another positive BEEP. ANDY MACDOUGAL Who are you talking to? He looks skyward. ANDY MACDOUGAL Or maybe I should ask, what are you talking to? NICOLA DAVENPORT I'm piggy-backing onto a NASA comms satellite, linking to M.I.T. ANDY MACDOUGAL You don't look like a geek. NICOLA DAVENPORT What does a geek look like? ANDY MACDOUGAL You know. Thick glasses. Greasy hair tied back. That goofy smile 'cause they're calculating the orbital declination of comets or something while you're trying to make small talk. Nicola smiles as she types. ANDY MACDOUGAL You planning on being here long? NICOLA DAVENPORT Could be a day or two. Maybe longer. Depends. ANDY MACDOUGAL That's great. NICOLA DAVENPORT It is? ANDY MACDOUGAL I was thinking maybe we could have dinner. If that's okay. NICOLA DAVENPORT Is there a good restaurant around here? ANDY MACDOUGAL You're looking at it. Nothing tastes better than food cooked over a camp fire. How about I drop by around seven? I'll bring the food and the wine. NICOLA DAVENPORT What do I bring? ANDY MACDOUGAL Just yourself. That's plenty. NICOLA DAVENPORT What about the risk of forest fire? ANDY MACDOUGAL I'll bring a fire extinguisher along. NICOLA DAVENPORT Does everyone get this personal treatment, or am I special? ANDY MACDOUGAL I would have to say you're special. NICOLA DAVENPORT Then I guess I'll see you at seven. ANDY MACDOUGAL Great. Well. I'll leave you to get on with... whatever you're doing. NICOLA DAVENPORT Okay. MacDougal heads back to his SUV. She calls after him-- NICOLA DAVENPORT I'll remember to put on my glasses and tie my hair back. MacDougal shouts back over his shoulder-- ANDY MACDOUGAL Suits me fine. Nicola watches MacDougal get into his SUV and drive off. He waves an arm out his window. Then he's gone. Nicola fiddles with her instruments, taps on her laptop. She stops, looks out over the lake. Slowly she walks to the water's edge. Something has unsettled her. But she can't see anything unusual out there. INT. MARGO KITSON'S CABIN - KITCHEN - DAY Kyle carries a stack of dinner plates in and puts them in the sink. Margo smiles thanks. Jackie and the kids are next door. KYLE NORTH I forgot how good your cooking is. MARGO KITSON I just threw a few things into the pot. Not exactly a back-breaking task. Fiona only picked at hers. She's not anorexic, is she? KYLE NORTH Are you kidding, she eats like a horse. It's just the excitement of the trip, and meeting Rusty. Our apartment building doesn't allow pets. She's wanted a dog for years. MARGO KITSON Poor thing. KYLE NORTH You see anything of Bob Leech these days? MARGO KITSON Sure. He stops by sometimes. We talk. KYLE NORTH I was kinda hoping he'd have retired by now. Headed up into the mountains and never come back. MARGO KITSON Not yet. KYLE NORTH You ever talk about me? MARGO KITSON No, not about you. I guess it's by mutual agreement. We talk about everything except you. KYLE NORTH About Annie? MARGO KITSON Sometimes her name comes up, yes. You'd expect a father to speak of his daughter occasionally. Jackie appears in the doorway. JACKIE NORTH Anything I can do to help? MARGO KITSON Why don't you and Kyle go for a walk? Some country air in your lungs will do you both a world of good. JACKIE NORTH We should help you clean up. MARGO KITSON I've got things under control. When the kids get bored with me, Rusty can take them for another tour. He knows all the fun places. JACKIE NORTH Well... okay. I'll get the coats. Jackie exits. MARGO KITSON You have a lovely wife and children. I wish you'd found me sooner. KYLE NORTH Me too. Are you sure you don't want us to hang around? MARGO KITSON You go and enjoy yourselves. I'll be here when you get back. EXT. MARGO KITSON'S STRETCH OF LAKE SHORE - DAY Kyle and Jackie walk arm in arm along the water's edge. JACKIE NORTH She's nice. KYLE NORTH I thought you might like her. JACKIE NORTH You think she likes me? KYLE NORTH She asked me not to tell you, but she hated you on sight. Your hair, your clothes, the way you talk-- JACKIE NORTH Why did you have to go and tell her about my crappy novel? KYLE NORTH What's to hide? I want people to know you can just about string a sentence together when you put your mind to it. I'm very proud of you. You and your typing finger. JACKIE NORTH Hey, that's two fingers, mister. And a thumb. KYLE NORTH I wondered why your left thumb was twice the size of the other one. I thought you were... you know. JACKIE NORTH What? KYLE NORTH Missing me a lot when I was at work. JACKIE NORTH You think anyone can see us here? KYLE NORTH Probably not. JACKIE NORTH So it's okay if I rip your clothes off and lick you all over? KYLE NORTH As long as that mutant thumb of yours stays away from you-know- where, sure. I'm all yours, baby. Jackie swings Kyle round, kisses him hard. She pops his coat buttons open. KYLE NORTH Whoa, hey, how about I keep my clothes on, and you restrict your tongue to certain areas? JACKIE NORTH You might have to direct me, I'm kinda shy when it comes to men's certain areas. KYLE NORTH Oh that's easy, you follow the big signpost, you can't miss it, it's sticking right up. JACKIE NORTH Okay here's the deal, we start off with some kissing, French of course, and then some inept fumbling while you try to unfasten my bra... But suddenly Kyle isn't listening. He stares at hundreds of dead fish lying washed up along the lake shore. JACKIE NORTH My God. What's going on? KYLE NORTH I don't know. He squats down to examine a fish. Its eyeballs are white. EXT. ROAD NEAR WOODS - DAY Andy MacDougal peers through binoculars. A stretch of lake is visible through the trees. Bob Leech pulls up in a Sheriff's car, and climbs out. MacDougal lowers his binoculars, looking slightly puzzled by whatever he was looking at. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Hey Andy. ANDY MACDOUGAL Sheriff. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Find anything interesting over at the Whitman place? ANDY MACDOUGAL His dog's missing. The missus is upset because her flower garden got all torn up. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Are we talking animal or human? ANDY MACDOUGAL Can't tell. No tracks. Nothing. SHERIFF BOB LEECH That dumb dog's probably chasing raccoons again. Bullet in the head would be a mercy killing. Need to ask you about a drifter, camped down by the lake last night, near McIntyre's Point. As he says this, Leech watches MacDougal closely. But much of MacDougal's attention is on the woods. ANDY MACDOUGAL Popular place with the tourists. SHERIFF BOB LEECH His kind of tourist we can do without. Saw him yesterday, late afternoon, nosing around. I told him, don't stop, just keep right on going. Son of a bitch made camp anyway. I dropped in after dark, gave him a scare. Made sure he got the message. MacDougal gives Leech a sidelong look. SHERIFF BOB LEECH No sign of him this morning except he left some stuff behind. Maybe he'll come back for it. ANDY MACDOUGAL If I see him, you want me to give you a call? SHERIFF BOB LEECH I'd appreciate that. Margo got people visiting? MacDougal peers through his binoculars for a moment. ANDY MACDOUGAL Yeah. Some city folks and their kids. Leech gives MacDougal an enquiring look. ANDY MACDOUGAL I met them on the road yesterday. Pointed them at Margo's place. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Saw the kids. Fine looking girl and boy. Rusty was with them. What are you looking at anyway? ANDY MACDOUGAL Nothing. You hear it? Leech listens, then shakes his head, unsure. ANDY MACDOUGAL Never heard things so quiet before. Not even a bird call. SHERIFF BOB LEECH Maybe you scared them away. You're a scary guy, Andy. Leech climbs back into his Sheriff's car, drives away. MacDougal watches him go. Then stares at the woods. EXT. MARGO KITSON'S CABIN - DAY Margo waves goodbye to Fiona and Luke who follow Rusty toward the woods. They see Kyle and Jackie returning from another direction, and wave before they vanish into the woods. Margo waits at the door for Kyle and Jackie. MARGO KITSON Sorry, I had to let them go, they were climbing the walls. KYLE NORTH Dammit, we've only just got here and you've spoiled them already. It's no good, we're going to have to leave them here with you when we go. JACKIE NORTH Kyle! Do you really hate Margo that much? I wouldn't wish those kids on my worst enemy, if I had one. Why don't I have an enemy? KYLE NORTH Because you're sweet and people love you. MARGO KITSON I'll tell you what, why don't we send the kids back to the city and you two stay here? I'll whup some common sense into you in no time. KYLE NORTH Well, it didn't take long for you to show your true colors, did it? JACKIE NORTH Now I'm confused. Stay here with Margo, go home with the kids. Stay here, go home. Can I stay here please? MARGO KITSON Only if you promise to behave. What happened to the long romantic walk? Did you get lost and have to turn back? JACKIE NORTH There's something really weird going on. EXT. ROAD THROUGH WOODS - DAY MacDougal pulls up in his SUV, and climbs out. He takes a long look around. It's uncannily quiet. He walks away from his SUV, makes his way through the trees. EXT. DEEP IN THE WOODS - DAY MacDougal stops and looks around. He also looks up, checking the canopy above. He continues through the woods, moving like an Indian tracker, absolutely silent. Birdsong and other woodland noises suddenly erupt, startling the shit out of him. MacDougal leans back against a tree and lets out a long sigh. He looks directly up. Above him, nestled in tree branches, is something he can't make out... could be a big bird's nest, with some thick twigs sticking out. EXT. ROAD THROUGH WOODS - DAY MacDougal takes a coiled rope from his SUV. EXT. DEEP IN THE WOODS - DAY MacDougal has made a noose out of one end of the rope. He throws this up, trying to snag whatever's up there. First time misses. He catches the rope, tries again. Second time misses. Third time lucky, the loop catches a branch. MacDougal jerks the rope, the "bird's nest" plunges down, he jumps out the way, it hits the ground with a dull thump. MacDougal squats down and examines the thing. It's the skull and skeleton of a dog, with what's left of the carcass hanging off. INT. MARGO KITSON'S CABIN - DAY Margo puts the phone down. She turns to Kyle and Jackie who sit with their feet up, sipping coffees. MARGO KITSON We had a storm back in oh-three, knocked out the phone lines for a couple of days. Nary a problem since... KYLE NORTH Must be my magnetic personality. Kyle offers his cellphone to Margo. KYLE NORTH Try my cellphone. MARGO KITSON There's a reason I don't have one of those. JACKIE NORTH If there was dangerous radiation off cellphones, Fiona's head would be glowing in the dark. KYLE NORTH What's the number? I'll key it in for you. Margo gives Kyle her phone address book. KYLE NORTH Andy MacDougal. MARGO KITSON Well who else would you report something like that to except a Park Ranger? Jackie clasps her hands together as if she's praying. JACKIE NORTH Oh God, thank you, thank you. KYLE NORTH You know, I could bury a body out here, no one would ever find it. Two bodies, in fact. Kyle thumbs the number. He listens, then passes his cellphone to Margo. She listens. MARGO KITSON It's a message service. KYLE NORTH Tell 'em it's a Code Six Six Six. Dead fish found on shore. Spooky message from the other side. MARGO KITSON Stop that. Oh I hate talking to these machines-- (into phone) This is Margo Kitman calling for Andy MacDougal. Andy, we want to report an unusual find. This may sound a little silly but my nephew Kyle and his wife found a whole lot of dead fish down by the lake, not far from my cabin. As if they'd been washed ashore. KYLE NORTH Tell him they looked as if they'd been boiled. MARGO KITSON I will not. (into phone) My phone is out, I'm calling on Kyle's cellphone. If you can't get through then you can call me back on this number...? Margo looks at Kyle for confirmation, he shrugs yes, OK. MARGO KITSON (into phone) ...or you can drop in if you happen to be passing. JACKIE NORTH Feeling faint. Catch me someone. Kyle wags a good-natured warning finger. MARGO KITSON (into phone) Good bye. Margo tries to figure how to hang up. She passes the cellphone to Kyle. He thumbs a button. KYLE NORTH I predict our friendly neighborhood Park Ranger will appear at the door in ten... nine... eight... MARGO KITSON It's more likely to be tomorrow, he has a big area to cover. KYLE NORTH Not big enough. JACKIE NORTH When's it get dark out? They look out the window, at the darkening sky. MARGO KITSON Another hour or so. Don't worry. Rusty has an inbuilt clock. INT. VETERINARY SURGERY - DAY DR. ELLEN KRANTZ, weary cynicism in a white coat, opens the door to let MacDougal in. He carries a bundle wrapped in a blanket. ELLEN KRANTZ Jesus Christ, what is that smell? ANDY MACDOUGAL You might want to open a window. ELLEN KRANTZ I'm thinking about knocking down a wall. Bring it through the back. Jesus. INT. VETERINARY EXAMINATION ROOM - DAY Ellen bends over an examination table, scowling behind her eye protectors. MacDougal leans against a wall with his arms folded, watching. ELLEN KRANTZ I never met the Whitmans, I don't know what their dog looks like. ANDY MACDOUGAL Check the collar. ELLEN KRANTZ Gee, I never would'a thought'a that. You should'a been a cop. ANDY MACDOUGAL I failed the test. ELLEN KRANTZ How'd you manage that? ANDY MACDOUGAL I told them guns scare me. Ellen adjusts a big magnifying glass on a flexible arm and peers through the lens. ELLEN KRANTZ All right. The disc, just like the skull, teeth, and skeleton, shows signs of being immersed in acid or similar corrosive. Kinda hard to read, but it says L-O-B-O, Lobo? And, W-H-I-T... Whitman. ANDY MACDOUGAL What do you reckon killed him? ELLEN KRANTZ I dread to think. ANDY MACDOUGAL Another animal? ELLEN KRANTZ All four legs are broken. Several vertebrae are fractured. Ribs, caved in. Skull has been crushed. These injuries are consistent with immense pressure, but what I'm not seeing are bite marks. ANDY MACDOUGAL I thought it might be a grizzly. ELLEN KRANTZ Some cranky, toothless old grizzly gummed the poor mutt to death? Doesn't wash. Nor does that explain the corrosion. How well do you know the Whitmans? ANDY MACDOUGAL Retired, sixties. They seem like a nice couple. ELLEN KRANTZ This is just wild conjecture. I'm not accusing anyone of anything. But is it likely, do you think, that the Whitmans might have beaten their dog to death with baseball bats, then immersed the body in a tub of acid? ANDY MACDOUGAL I'd have to say "hell no" to that. ELLEN KRANTZ When did they report the dog missing? ANDY MACDOUGAL This morning when I went over there. There was a commotion in the night, some trashcans got knocked over, the garden's all messed up-- ELLEN KRANTZ Well I can tell you, this animal was not alive this morning. Any acid powerful enough to strip the enamel from teeth in a matter of hours, would still be active. None of the litmus tests showed such activity. ANDY MACDOUGAL He was up a tree. ELLEN KRANTZ I beg your pardon? ANDY MACDOUGAL What's left of Lobo was caught up in branches, twenty, thirty feet high. If they killed their dog, why would they put the remains up in a tree? ELLEN KRANTZ People have always puzzled me. That's why I prefer working with animals. ANDY MACDOUGAL You think I should tell the Whitmans? ELLEN KRANTZ I wouldn't. Look, I can't have this thing stinking up the place. I'm going to take some pictures, then I'm going to fire up the furnace and give old Lobo here a Viking funeral. MacDougal pushes himself off the wall, opens the door. ANDY MACDOUGAL Thanks Ellen. ELLEN KRANTZ I'd say any time, but you ever bring me another one like this, you're off my Christmas card list. I mean it. MacDougal exits. INT. MACDOUGAL'S SUV - DAY MacDougal climbs in as his radio chatters. FEMALE DISPATCH (V.O.) If you're there, Andy, pick up. ANDY MACDOUGAL (into radio mike) Hey you got me, go ahead. FEMALE DISPATCH (V.O.) You got a message from Margo Kitson up at Lake Pensive. ANDY MACDOUGAL (into radio mike) What does she want? End of excerpt.


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