EXT. THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS – DAY
Morgan’s SUV bounces along a rough logging road, hugging the side of a mountain. An helicopter passes them, heading away from the mountain with a log suspended from wires beneath her fuselage.
Well, I’m glad to see we won’t be running into any logging trucks up here.
The trio descends into the clearing dotted with wild flowers via a pathway that parallels a stream that pours over a low falls into a pool.
It’s gotta be somewhere in this clearing.
Ben, map in hand, scans the area and nods.
Morgan, you check that side of the clearing for a “JJ” mark. Riley, you go down the other and look for this horseshoe reference.
(points to the map)
Fer a cheval. French for horseshoe. Like the bowie knife. I’ll take the other and we’ll all meet in the middle.
CENTER OF THE MOUNTAIN CLEARING
Riley arrives first, humming “Rocky Mountain High” to himself over the low CRACKLE of the detector. Ben joins him.
Riley shakes his head. Morgan catches up with them.
Ben takes up his binoculars, plants himself and makes a slow 360 degree turn.
Hold on! I see something!
Farther on in the meadow lies a good size depression in the earth.
While Ben and Morgan stand on the rim, Riley walks down into it, scanning with his detector.
(over his shoulder)
I’m getting a phenomenal amount of beer can pull-tabs here!
Definitely the mother of all keggers!
I’m beginning to feel we’ve missed out on this one.
But don’t they come in pairs?
That’s been the KGC M.O. I think this was a chance find, and unfortunately whoever found it may have destroyed the leading clues.
Morgan charges down into the depression and turns over a clod of earth, then another and another.
You continue to sweep this area, I’m going to head down the hill.
Ben strides up and away from the depression, while Morgan and Riley comb through the rubble.
In the quiet of the downward side of the hill, Ben has disappeared from the sight of his friends. A stiff breeze at his back almost blows him along.
Ahead a large boulder in front of a stand of trees is the focus of his advance. Then he hears it, the WOP WOP of a helicopter, as it pops up from behind the stand of trees. Slung beneath its fuselage is a log suspended by two wires that hold it parallel and crossways to the ground, and like a grim reaper it is coming straight for him.
Ben runs to the left, away from the path of the log. But the intelligence directing it corrects the vector as it closes in. However, this sudden movement of the copter carries the log away from Ben, and he clears it easily.
The helicopter accelerates away continuing on a course that will take it to where Riley and Morgan are at work. Seeing this, Ben strikes back up the hill to try to warn them.
He surmounts the rise in time to see the pair running toward the trees away from the helicopter.
Ben arrives at the rim of the depression and there tries to attract the attention of the pilot of the helicopter.
The helicopter reacts, turning towards him. Ben, seeing his success, lights out for the woods in the opposite direction. The CHOP of the blades crescendoes as it bores in on him.
But instead of fleeing into the woods, Ben stops and faces the incoming log. And at the critical moment jumps up to it and gains a hold, from which he is able to clamber up on top of the log.
In answer, the copter begins to rise and accelerate for the trees. But before it can ram Ben into them, Ben finds and activates the quick release for one of the wires, and rides that end to the ground where he slips off. When the log falls, it pulls the copter off balance and into a spin. The other end of the log releases, dropping it the ground with a crash, and Ben flips out of the way in a nimble tuck and roll. Before the pilot can regain control of the copter, Ben disappears into the woods.
Riley and Morgan tumble out of the woods onto the road where they left the SUV.
As they throw open the doors to the SUV and pile in, Ben emerges from the woods on the other side of the trail. He enters on the driver’s side, pushing Morgan to the middle.
INT. MORGAN’S SUV
All are breathless, and panting, and listening, as Ben cranks up the engine.
Did you hear something?
Besides the engine?
(reacting to a TWANG)
Ben slams the vehicle into reverse, and the SUV scoots backwards just as a log end crashes down onto the place they’d just been. He brakes at the edge of the cliff. Then as the other end of the log topples in their direction, Ben guns the engine and cranks the wheel in a hard left turn, sending up a rooster tail of dirt and rock. In its descent the log clips the rear corner of the SUV, bouncing the occupants off of the ceiling.
With the way now clear ahead, Ben floors it.
The scenery flips past at a furious clip, their minds whirling as fast as the wheels of their vehicle.
Who were those guys?
What about the treasure?
Who were those guys?
Better yet, who guards an empty hole?