Screenplay: Without a Trace… Part 5

INT. SEA-NOTE, MAIN SALON – LATER

Steve stands with his hands in the air while Damon points the .357 at him.  Agent Riker hauls Leslie in the room.  Steve drops his arms and advances toward his wife.  He pulls the tape off her mouth.

Leslie embraces Steve.

                      LESLIE

          I thought you were dead.

Steve glares at Riker.  Veins surface along his neck and forehead.

                      STEVE

                (facing Damon)
          Where’s our daughter?

Riker removes her red wig to reveal her short, black hair.

                      AGENT RIKER

          She’s gone.

                      LESLIE

          Nooooo!

Leslie breaks away from Steve and fights her away toward Agent Riker.  Damon advances with the .357 revolver.

                      AGENT RIKER

          The fight is over.

                      STEVE

                (to Riker)

          I’ve not yet begun to fight!

                      AGENT RIKER

          I admire your tenacity – but as

far as the FBI or anyone else is

concerned, I’ve perished at sea.

Killed in the line of duty.

The victim of an unfortunate

boating accident that claimed

the lives of two Special Agents.

Agent Smythe tumbles down the stairs and lands in the main salon at Riker’s feet.  His face is badly swollen with blood seeping from a gash above his eye.  He looks at Riker in disgust.  Victor descends the STAIRS NEAR THE GALLEY.

                      AGENT RIKER

                (to Victor)

          Not the head.  I want the

teeth intact.

Smoke seeps into the cabin from the raging fire across the bow.

                      AGENT SMYTHE

          Fuck you.

Victor pumps the shotgun and fires a single blast at Smythe’s chest.  BOOM!  Red, pulpy tissue sprays the galley cabinets.

Riker wipes blood spatter off her shirt as Victor and Damon ASCEND THE STAIRS TO THE WHEELHOUSE.

                      STEVE

          You’re a disgrace to your job and

          your country.

                      AGENT RIKER

          I can live with that…and the ten

          million dollars I’ve made from

this little operation.

Riker nudges Steve and Leslie toward the back of the boat.

                 AGENT RIKER

          Keep moving.

Steve looks about the boat.  He coughs from the smoke.

                      STEVE

          Why us?

                      AGENT RIKER

          Bad Karma, I guess.  Wrong place,

          wrong time – that sort of thing.

                      STEVE

          I trusted you.

                (beat)

            AGENT RIKER

That’s touching.  Now get on

your knees.

Leslie turns to Steve with tears streaming down her eyes.   She whispers I love you.  Steve drops to his knees with his hands behind his head.  Riker stands behind him.

A small explosion rocks the boat, causing Riker to lose her balance.

Steve spins around and fights for control of her gun.  Two shots go off, hitting Riker in the stomach.  Riker crumbles to the floor.  Steve plants a knee in her chest.  He points the gun at her thigh.

                      STEVE

          Where’s my daughter?

Riker coughs up blood.  She shakes her head.

                      AGENT RIKER

          You won’t find her…

                (beat)

          Without me.

Steve shoots point blank.  Riker screams.

                      STEVE

          TELL ME!

Steve presses the hot muzzle to Riker’s forehead.  Smoke fills the cabin like a heavy fog.  Flames spread toward the galley.

                      LESLIE

                (to Steve)

          We have to get out of here!

                      STEVE

                (to Riker)

          Where is she!

Riker forces a smile before her eyes roll back in her head.  Leslie tugs on Steve’s arm.  A wall of fire blocks their topside exit.

Steve rips the sheets off a bed in the port side cabin and douses them in the cabin’s shower.  He drapes one over Leslie and one on himself.  They charge through the fire and leap from the burning yacht.  They hit the water as a massive explosion destroys the Sea-Note, hurling flaming debris in all directions.

EXT. PIER AT SAN MIGUEL – NIGHT

Soaking wet, Steve and Leslie step off a small fishing trawler.

Cruise ship passengers loiter about the docks as Steve and Leslie approach a visitor’s kiosk.  Steve spots Lieutenant Mierez running toward them with several officers.

                      STEVE

                (whispering to Leslie)

          This way!

Steve and Leslie traverse the crowded pier as police draw closer.

                      LESLIE

          What’s happening?

                      STEVE

          Keep moving.

A Jeep veers off the road and pulls in front of Steve and Leslie.  Ambrose leans out of the driver’s seat.

                      AMBROSE

          Get in!

The Jeep speeds away, side-swiping a taxi and a parked police car as pedestrians run for cover.  Steve rides shotgun with Leslie hunkered in the back seat, her long hair twisting from the turbulent vortex coming over the windshield.  A police chase ensues, but Ambrose diverts  down a one-way street and pulls into —

A DARK DRIVEWAY

                      AMBROSE

          Get down!

Police cars speed passed the Jeep’s location with horns honking and lights flashing.  Steve sits up and claps Ambrose on the shoulder.

                      STEVE

          Nice job!

Ambrose backs out of the driveway and follows —

A SIDE ROAD THROUGH SAN MIGUEL

He detours passed the main streets, heading south beyond the hotels, restaurants, and tourist shops sprinkled along the promenade.  Dust swirls in the path of the headlight beams.

                      AMBROSE

          Where’s your daughter?

                      STEVE

          We have to contact the American

authorities.

                      AMBROSE

          I already have.  I’m with the FBI.

          There’s a boat waiting to takes us

off the island.

                      LESLIE

          Not without my daughter!

                      STEVE

                (to Ambrose)

          How do I know we can trust you?

                      AMBROSE

          My wife was on the job in Aruba.

Victor Mendoza killed her in

cold blood.  We knew the FBI had a

rotten apple on the team – but no one

could figure out who.

Steve shields his eyes at the oncoming high beams from a rusted cargo van.  He watches as the van slows to turn around and give chase.  They’re coming after us!

                      AMBROSE

          Hold on!

Leslie buckles her seat belt before the van SLAMS the Jeep’s bumper, causing the Jeep to fishtail.

A SHOTGUN BLAST pulverizes the Jeep’s side view mirror, leaving a stump of shattered plastic.

                      STEVE

                (to Ambrose)

          Get closer!

Steve depresses the cigarette lighter in the dashboard.

The van zigzags behind the Jeep then charges along side. Randy aims a shotgun out the passenger window.

Steve pulls the red-hot cigarette lighter from the 12-volt socket and throws it through the van’s open window.

INSIDE THE VAN

Randy bobbles the lighter and inadvertently discharges the shotgun at the windshield.  GLASS EXPLODES.  THE VAN careens toward a steep embankment.  The van flips on its side and GRINDS along the road.

BACK IN THE MOVING JEEP

Steve and Leslie turn to see the wreckage unfold behind them.  When they face forward, they see a single headlight from a moped coming straight at them.

                      STEVE AND LESLIE

                (in unison)

          Look out!

Ambrose jabs the brakes and skids out of control, heading for a towering palm tree that brings the Jeep’s momentum to a neck-snapping halt.  Ambrose CRASHES through the windshield.

The horn blasts continuously, drowning the squawk from a flock of macas.

                      STEVE

                (to Leslie)

          Are you all right?

Steve climbs out shaken and bruised.  He feels for a pulse on Ambrose’s neck.  Steam escapes with a HISS from the front of the crumpled hood.

                      STEVE

          He’s gone…

Leslie unbuckles her seatbelt and stumbles out of the Jeep.

Another SHOTGUN BLAST sends Steve and Leslie fighting their way through dense scrub along a patch of marshy lagoon.

                      RANDY

                (shouting)

          Show yourselves and I’ll kill

          you clean.  Make me chase

          you, and you’ll wish you hadn’t.

LESLIE STEPS IN A RUT AND FALLS.  Steve helps her up.  Randy closes the gap and aims the shotgun at Steve and Leslie.

Suddenly, a figure darts out from the brush and SMASHES Randy’s head with a large rock.

A SHOTGUN BLAST tears through the trees.

STEVE HITS THE DIRT, dropping Leslie as he grabs his right ham string.

Leslie regains her footing.

                      LESLIE

          Sarah?

Sarah runs to her parents and hugs them.  Her clothes are shredded.  Her arms and face are marred with cuts and bruises.  Dirt and weeds cling to her wild hair.

The Chambers retreat to the main road where a Nissan sits with its high-beams facing them.  Two men get out, their faces hidden in the headlight wash.

Steve looks at the gold chain license plate cover; the same one he saw on the video monitor in the FBI apartment.

                      STEVE

          Run!

Gripping his leg, Steve trudges through the jungle with Leslie and Sarah as Victor and Damon launch a volley of gunfire.

LATER

The Chambers emerge from the jungle to find a beach house with a 36-foot Wellcraft Scarab parked in a sling above the water in a covered pier.

Steve crouches inside the covered pier with Leslie and Sarah.  Victor and Damon emerge from the jungle and surround the house.

Leslie and Sarah board the boat.  Steve presses the RED BUTTON in the control box mounted to a piling.  A winch unravels the cable assembly and lowers the boat in the water.

                      LESLIE (OS)
          Hurry!

ON THE SCARAB

Steve pries a helm panel open and snatches the ignition wires free.  He strips the wires with his teeth and touches the bare leads together.  Sparks fly.  Both engines come to life with a LOUD GRUMBLE.

ON LAND

Victor and Damon run toward the pier.  Victor fires at the Scarab, tearing holes in the fiberglass transom as the boat pulls away in a cloud of blue exhaust.

BACK ON THE SCARAB

Steve stands with his back against the bolstered driver’s seat.  He jams the throttles forward.  The bow rises sharply as the boat gathers speed.  Bullets ricochet.

                      STEVE

          STAY DOWN!

Water sizzles beneath the hull.  Land disappears in the distance.  Then the engines sputter.

INSERT – STEVE GLANCES AT THE GAUGE DISPLAY

The needle for the oil pressure gauge drops to zero.

BACK TO SCENE

The Scarab slows.  The bow settles in the water as both engines cough and sputter.  Black smoke belches from the engine compartment.

                      LESLIE

          What’s happening?

                      STEVE

          I don’t know.

Steve glances at the radio destroyed by a stray bullet.  His feet slosh in the flooded deck.  He opens the engine hatch and finds an oil slick rising in the flooded compartment.

                      STEVE

          We’re taking water.

Leslie hugs her daughter.  Waves lap the hull.  Steve searches the CUDDY CABIN and retrieves an orange flare gun.

Leslie looks down to see the water level at her ankles.

Steve inspects the damaged radio and throws the broken microphone in disgust.  He loads the flare gun.

                      SARAH

          I’m scared.

                      STEVE

          SHHHH!

The whine from a two-cycle outboard grows louder as a Zodiac tender approaches from shore.

                      SARAH

          They’re coming!

                (beat)

                      STEVE

          I want the two of you off the boat.

                      LESLIE

          We’re not leaving you–

                      STEVE

          You’re not safe here.

                      LESLIE

          What about life jackets?

Steve glances at a pair of bright orange life preservers floating across the deck.

                 STEVE

     They’ll see you.

           (beat)

You’re both strong swimmers.

Don’t fight the current.

                      LESLIE

          What are you going to do?

                      STEVE

          Whatever it takes.

Leslie and Sarah climb overboard.  They tread water beside the sinking Scarab.  The steady current carries them away as Steve leans over the side.

                      STEVE

                (whispering)

Stay quiet.  Don’t splash.

Whatever happens, I love you both.

EXT. ZODIAC – NIGHT

Victor and Damon approach the sinking Scarab.  Damon pumps the shotgun.  Victor slaps a fresh clip in the MP5.

IN THE SCARAB

Victor inspects the EMPTY CUDDY CABIN.

IN THE ZODIAC

Damon shines a spotlight at the water.

BACK TO SCARAB

                      VICTOR

          They’re not here.

BACK TO ZODIAC

Damon turns slowly to maintain his balance as a hand rises out of the water with a FINGER ON THE FLARE GUN TRIGGER.

Damon aims the shotgun at Steve, but before he can fire,

A FLAMING PROJECTILE HITS DAMON IN THE MOUTH.

Damon falls backward in the water with his face on fire.

Victor shoots the water until the magazine expires.  He tosses the submachine gun and dives at Steve.  The two men grapple hand-to-hand UNDER WATER.

Steve takes an elbow to the nose and returns the strike with a blow to Victor’s solar plexus.  Victor forces Steve in a choke hold.  Bubbles seep from Steve’s mouth.  His eyes bulge when he sees the spinning propeller cut across his path and approach several strands of Victor’s long, floating hair.

Victor tries to wrench his head away but the fast spinning blades grind into the back of his skull.

Steve surfaces through the bloody water, gasping for air. He pulls himself inside the Zodiac and unfastens the engine from the transom.  He threads the oars in the oar locks and rows away from Victor’s body.

                      STEVE

          L-E-S-L-I-E!  S-A-R-A-H!

The Scarab’s bow slips below the surface.

                      STEVE

                (voice cracking)

          L-E-S-L-I-E!  S-A-R-A-H!

He scans the moonlit water until he sees an arm waving.  He rows against the current to reach his wife and daughter.  He helps them in the Zodiac and collapses from exhaustion.

                      SARAH and LESLIE

                (together)

          We thought you were dead.

                      STEVE

          So did I.

EXT. CHINCOTEAGUE – DAY

Crewmen drape blankets over Leslie and Sarah.  Seaman Tate and another crewmate carry Steve on a cot as Captain Peters arrives on deck.

                      CAPTAIN PETERS

          I guess you found them.

Steve looks at Leslie and Sarah then turns back to the Captain and gives the thumbs up sign.

INT. HOME OF STEVE AND LESLIE – DAY

SUPER: “ONE YEAR LATER”

Leslie dices celery on a cutting board in the kitchen.  When she’s done, she sets the chopping knife on the counter and dumps a can of white meat StarKist in a strainer in the sink.  The cordless phone rings.  She wipes her hands on a towel and takes the handset from the base station on the wall.

                      LESLIE

          Hello?

INTERCUT – STEVE’s LEXUS SUV STUCK IN TRAFFIC

Steve braces his elbow against the door and holds the cell phone to his ear.

                      STEVE

          Hi Baby…

RETURN TO LESLIE IN KITCHEN

                      LESLIE

          You’re late.

                      STEVE (VO)

          I’m almost home.

                (beat)

          Is Sarah back yet?

                      LESLIE

          She’s still at Katy’s.

                (beat)

          She’s fine.  I told her we’d

          take her shopping next weekend.

          Maybe look for a new car.

                      STEVE (VO)

          Honey…

                      LESLIE

          I’m just saying…

Leslie watches a brown UPS truck pass by the kitchen window.

                      LESLIE

          The FBI called again this morning.

                      STEVE (VO)

          The same agent you talked to

          before?

                      LESLIE

          Yeah.  He said they’ve found no

record of any company named Hot

Spot Vacations.

                      STEVE (VO)

          What about the investigation?

                      LESLIE

          He wouldn’t tell me.

Leslie exits the kitchen and enters —

THE LIVING ROOM

She sees the UPS truck parked in her driveway.  The doorbell rings.

                      STEVE (VO)

          What’s that?

                      LESLIE

          Are you expecting a package?

                      STEVE (VO)

          No.

Leslie enters —

THE FOYER

She peels the curtains back on the window overlooking the driveway.  The sun is shining.  Kids are playing in the street.

Leslie unlocks the deadbolt and peers out the peephole.  She opens the door and finds a brown box on the steps.  She bends over and picks up the box.

                      STEVE (VO)

          Don’t open the door.

                      LESLIE

          It’s all right.

Leslie turns the box over and shakes it.  She tucks it under her arm and starts to close the door.

                      LESLIE

          Did you do something naughty

          for my birthday?

Damon appears at her doorstep in a UPS uniform with black leather gloves and a shiny new machete.  His mouth and chin are grotesquely malformed with scarring across his face.

Leslie screams.  She slams the door and locks the deadbolt, dropping the phone in her haste.  The room spins in circles as she runs to —

THE KITCHEN

She grabs the chopping knife from the counter.  She returns for the phone as Damon bursts through the door and tackles her by the ankles.  She drops the knife and kicks him in the face.  She scrambles up —

THE STAIRS

Leslie sprints toward —

STEVE’s STUDY

She barricades the door with the desk.  She opens the closet and reaches for the gun safe.  When she finds the safe locked, she searches the desk drawer for the key.

OUTSIDE STEVE’s STUDY

Damon pounds the door with the machete, splintering the hollow panel one whack at a time.

INSIDE STEVE’s STUDY

Leslie searches frantically for the key.  She unlocks the safe and retrieves Steve’s .45 caliber M1911 service pistol.  She SLAPS the loaded magazine in the handle and pulls the slide back to chamber the first round.  She aims at the door and fires three shots with a two-handed grip.  Damon cries out.

Leslie lowers the gun.

LATER

Leslie pushes the desk away and slowly opens the door with the machete stuck inside.  She aims the gun at –-

THE EMPTY HALLWAY

A blood trail leads down the stairs.  Leslie keeps her back to the wall, descending one step at a time toward the foyer where the cordless phone sits in plain view.

Damon jumps from behind the sofa and tackles Leslie.  His shirt is soaked in blood as he fights for the gun.  Leslie fires a single shot near Damon’s ear and knees him in the groin.

Damon slams his elbow against her face and knocks the gun across the floor.

Leslie runs for —

THE BASEMENT STAIRS

She reaches the single French door exit – BUT The deadbolt locks from the inside with the key dangling from a nail in the basement stAIRS.

Damon descends the stairs with the machete.

Leslie sidesteps toward Steve’s work bench littered with scuba tanks, a rubber dry suit, and an assortment of masks and flippers.  She steps in front of a yellow scuba tank with a green Nitrox II label.

                      LESLIE

          The police are on their way.

Damon rubs his thumb across the shiny blade.

                      DAMON

          They won’t make it.

Leslie slips her hand in her pocket and retrieves her cigarette lighter.

Damon lunges with the machete poised to strike.  Leslie screams.  She flicks the cigarette lighter and cranks the Nitrox valve open, blowing a stream of fire that lights up Damon like a Roman candle.

Engulfed in flames, Damon continues his assault.

BANG! BANG! BANG!  Three shots explode from the stairs.  Damon drops in a burning heap.

BACK TO STAIRS

Steve stares at Leslie through the smoke.

                      STEVE

          Sorry I’m late.  Traffic was hell…

Steve and Leslie embrace.  A crescendo of police sirens drown the waning smoke alarm.  Fade to black.

THE END

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