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Found

The events of this issue take place several days after the previous issue. Chronologically, they take place a couple of days after ISSUE #16. In contrast to ISSUE #16, the weather is dry and clear. Characters are dressed suitably for October in Northern Illinois.

Narration in this issue is in the form of SARA's internal first-person monologue (which should be indicated on-panel by a distinctive "hand-writing" lettering). These captions will be marked in the script.

PAGE ONE. Two panels.

Panel 1

A small close-up of SARA's face, gazing out over an expanse of forested hills.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

I'm here to find someone.

Panel 2

This panel is the dominant one on the page. It's a road running through the aforementioned hills. The road curves around a hillside with a wooded slope up to the right (from our POV) and a steep slope down to the left. A safety barrier guards the drop to the left but a section of the barrier has been torn open as if a speeding vehicle has crashed through it. (This is exactly what happened, as you would know if you were paying attention last issue. And if you weren't, don't worry because the characters will start discussing it soon.) It is this smashed railing that SARA is standing by, looking out over the tree tops. Behind her, FRED and JEROME are kneeling and examining tyre marks on the road. JAMES is examining the broken railing. We might see the group's rented SUV and FRED's motorcycle parked nearby, but it's not important. Note that everybody is wearing regular outdoor clothing, including JAMES who is not in costume for a change.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

Luckily, I brought friends with me.

CAPTION:

Thursday 2 October 2014

CAPTION:

Illinois

PAGE TWO. Four panels.

Panel 1

Close-up on FRED and JEROME examining the tyre marks.

FRED:

This was Don, I'm sure of it. Look at the length of the wheelbase, Jerome.

JEROME:

If that is your judgment, Fred, then Don's carriage went—

Panel 2

SARA still stands looking out over the forest.

SARA:

Down there.

Panel 3

A wider view of SARA at the road edge, to include JAMES.

JAMES:

That's a ten meter vertical drop. Then the hill gradient is—

Panel 4

JAMES now stands beside SARA, following her gaze.

JAMES:

It's a long way to fall, Sara, that's all I'm saying.

SARA:

Don's the best there is.

CHI-YUN (off panel, below them):

Down here!

PAGE THREE. Four panels.

Panel 1

Down among the trees, CHI-YUN and JAMES stand examining huge gouge marks in the soft ground. The marks have been left by the impact of DON's RV as it landed after crashing off the road, as shown last issue. Wheel tracks then continue down the slope. Note that CHI-YUN is in her fairly-usual Chinese-teen form.

JAMES:

That's some impressive driving.

CHI-YUN:

Or flying!

Panel 2

JAMES looks back towards the road, which is some distance away. There is indeed a ten-metre cliff (which we can see SARA, JEROME, and FRED carefully making their way down). The vehicle must have leaped off it and not landed until it reached the spot where JAMES and CHI-YUN are. The distance looks frankly unbelievable.

JAMES:

Unbelievable.

Panel 3

Further down the slope, the whole group is walking more-or-less together, following the wheel tracks.

FRED:

It's been a week. He's not going to be here.

SARA:

But he will have left us a clue!

FRED:

He told us not to even look for him!

Panel 4

They reach the RV. It's sitting in exactly the same position it was at the end of the last issue. Crashed. There is no sign of DON.

JAMES:

Well, let's search it. And the surrounding area. We might find a clue he didn't mean to leave.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

James doesn't say it but I can see what he's thinking: if he left a trail we can follow, the Krai could have followed it too.

PAGE FOUR. Six panels.

Panel 1

SARA is inside the RV. It's a wreck. Not just from the crash, it looks ransacked. Cupboards are open and contents are spilled around, items smashed on the floor.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

It doesn't look good.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

But I have faith.

Panel 2

CHI-YUN has moved into the RV behind SARA.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

I'm good at finding things.

CHI-YUN:

I smell Krai. All over it.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

Chi-Yun has the senses of a bloodhound.

JEROME (off-panel):

Friends! Out here!

Panel 3

Outside again, they are gathered around a spot on the ground. JEROME is crouching and gesturing at the ground.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

And Jerome's an expert woodsman.

JEROME:

See?

Panel 4

Small close-up of the object of JEROME's attention: a spent cartridge case from a firearm.

JEROME:

Is that from Don's pistol?

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

We'll find him.

Panel 5

Close-up of JAMES holding up the cartridge and examining it closely.

JAMES:

It may be. Harry would know, Jerome.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

Jerome has multiple personalities. Harry is another one of them. Knows a lot about guns.

Panel 6

FRED takes the cartridge from JAMES.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

But isn't the easiest person to get along with.

FRED:

Let's not involve Harry in—whoa!

PAGE FIVE. Six panels.

Panel 1

In a big action panel, DON is in the woods, roughly where the group is currently standing (but there is no sign of them). He looks badly banged-up (by the crash, as described at the end of last issue). He is firing his gun at a K-MAN who leaps at him. The bullet has struck the K-MAN squarely in the chest. This is obviously not happening *now*. In fact, it's one of FRED's visions. The colours in the panel should be muted, or some other device to show it's not "real".

No dialogue.

Panel 2

A small panel with a close-up of the firing gun. We should see the flash and smoke from the muzzle and the spent cartridge case being ejected from it.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Another small close-up of the cartridge falling through the air.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

And another as it hits the ground at the point where JEROME found it.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

Back to a "present" panel, this one showing a close up on FRED's face as he holds the bullet case in front of it.

FRED:

It's Don's. He survived the crash. Shot a Krai—I think he killed it. And he went—

Panel 6

FRED points off into the forest.

FRED:

That way.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

We don't really know the extent of Fred's psychic powers, but they've never failed us yet. If he "saw" Don go that way, then he went that way.

PAGE SIX. Five panels.

Panel 1

SARA leads the way into the forest. CHI-YUN is kneeling with her nose right down to the ground.

SARA:

Come on!

JEROME:

Sara, the trail is days old. What hope is there of finding—

SFX (CHI-YUN):

sniff sniff

CHI-YUN:

Krai!

Panel 2

Everybody is suddenly alert, looking nervously into the surrounding forest.

JAMES:

Where?

Panel 3

Close-up on CHI-YUN, still crouching.

CHI-YUN:

Not now! Old scents.

SFX (CHI-YUN):

sniff sniff

Panel 4

Identical panel, but the crouching CHI-YUN is now a large bloodhound.

CHI-YUN-DOG:

Rorrow Ree!

Panel 5

CHI-YUN-DOG goes bounding into the forest, past SARA.

CHI-YUN-DOG:

Riss Ray!

PAGE SEVEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

They are now standing on another hillside road, very similar to the one they started on (but not the same). The road is empty and they are all looking at CHI-YUN-DOG, who sniffles in an aimless sort of manner.

SARA:

Well?

Panel 2

CHI-YUN changes back into human form, still crouching down low.

CHI-YUN:

Pigs.

SARA:

Huh?

CHI-YUN:

Pigs! That's all I can smell. Pigs. Nothing else.

Panel 3

CHI-YUN and SARA are standing facing each other. SARA looks angry. In the background, FRED kneels and places his hand flat on the road surface.

CHI-YUN:

I'm sorry.

SARA:

Try harder!

FRED:

Guys—

Panel 4

Another of FRED's psychic flashbacks. DON limps on to the road -- the same road where they are now standing -- waving his arms at a pickup heading towards him. It's a beaten-up, old, truck with one driver and several shapes in the back.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

Still in flashback. The truck has stopped (or slowed) and DON is climbing into the back -- and we can now plainly see that the large shapes are, in fact, PIGS!

No dialogue.

PAGE EIGHT. Five panels.

Panel 1

FRED stands and looks at the others.

FRED:

Chi-Yun's right—

CHI-YUN:

See?

FRED:

—For a change.

CHI-YUN:

Hey!

Panel 2

FRED is gesturing to make his points.

FRED:

He came up there. The Krai were close behind. A farm truck drove past—carrying pigs.

JAMES:

Of course, the Krai track by scent!

FRED:

And the pigs hid his trail.

Panel 3

SARA is moving off again, back down into the woods.

SARA:

Come on!

JAMES:

Where?

SARA:

Into town! Somebody is going to know who keeps pigs around here.

Panel 4

FRED catches up to SARA.

FRED:

Sara! The Krai will have followed up on that!

Panel 5

She turns and flashes him a brilliant smile.

SARA:

Of course they won't. They don't have you!

PAGE NINE. Four panels.

Panel 1

JAMES stands outside SAM WEAVER's electronics shop (last seen in ISSUE 17. The view needs to be wide enough for the reader to recognise the shop. JAMES has his face against the window, hands cupped around his eyes in the way that you do when you're trying to see in through a window. (We see JAMES from behind, naturally).

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

So we split up.

Panel 2

Close-up view of the back of JAMES's head while he's looking through the window. But now we see a reflection in the glass beside him -- a K-MAN (in human form) is standing right behind him! We'll call this K-MAN #3, just to distinguish him from #1 and #2 seen last issue.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

Funny, something normally goes wrong whenever we do that.

Panel 3

JAMES has turned to face the K-MAN. Both men look wary but neither makes any kind of hostile move.

JAMES:

Seems closed up.

K-MAN #3:

Yeah.

Panel 4

JAMES watches the K-MAN walk away.

No dialogue.

PAGE TEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

JAMES is in the same position and JEROME had walked up behind him, carrying a folded newspaper. JAMES continues to stare in the direction the K-MAN went.

JAMES:

I think that was a—

JEROME:

I tend to agree. We could probably defeat it—

Panel 2

JEROME hands the newspaper to JAMES.

JAMES:

Safer if we don't try. What's this?

Panel 3

A view of the newspaper in JAMES's hands as he reads it. There is a photograph of SAM WEAVER, the headline "LOCAL MAN KILLED BY WILD ANIMAL" and, in smaller type underneath, the strap-line "Experts Baffled by Attack". The text of the story can be greeked.

No dialogue.

Panel 4

JAMES folds the newspaper again, looking at JEROME.

JAMES:

Keep looking but be careful. I'll meet up with the others and warn them.

Panel 5

JEROME watches JAMES walk off.

JEROME:

Could you not use your cell device?

PAGE ELEVEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

SARA and CHI-YUN sit in a booth in a diner. The diner is the one we saw in ISSUE 17. They have their heads together, talking. A waitress approaches.

CHI-YUN:

Let's just ask!

SARA:

"Excuse me is there a pig farm around here?" Do you know how stupid that sounds?

SARA:

We're supposed to stay low profile.

Panel 2

The waitress now stands at the table and they all look up at her.

WAITRESS:

What can I get you folks?

CHI-YUN:

Excuse me, is there a pig farm around here?

Panel 3

The waitress looks at CHI-YUN. CHI-YUN looks at the waitress.

SARA:

It's for a— ah— school project.

WAITRESS:

Lots of folks keep pigs around here.

WAITRESS:

I can recommend the pie.

Panel 4

Still sitting in the diner. The waitress is walking away from the table and they now have a variety of pies and drinks in front of them. SARA's phone (in her pocket) is ringing -- the ring-tone SFX is illustrated with little musical notes.

CHI-YUN:

If the Krai didn't get Don—

SARA:

And they didn't

CHI-YUN:

—Then they could still be in town.

SFX (phone):

doom doom doom boom

PAGE TWELVE. Four panels.

Panel 1

Close-up of SARA raising her phone to her ear.

SARA:

It's Fred.

Panel 2

A close up of FRED talking into his own phone. He's outside, but we don't need to show any background details (yet).

FRED:

The Krai are here in town.

SARA (from phone):

Are you sure?

Panel 3

In a wider panel, we see that FRED is sitting on his motorbike, parked. On the opposite side of the street is an ordinary house. (Maybe we can see a sign saying "rooms available", but it's not really important to the story.) Two men are leaving the house. They are K-MAN #1 and K-MAN #2, in civilian clothes, as seen last issue. They are walking casually, maybe talking, but they are paying no attention to FRED.

FRED:

I'm not sure. But I think so.

Panel 4

Same view as above, but now a pick-up truck is driving along the street, between FRED and the K-MEN. It's the truck FRED saw in his vision on PAGE 7.

FRED:

Hold on, I see something.

PAGE THIRTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

In the diner, SARA has her phone to her ear.

SARA:

Fred? Fred?

SARA:

Fred's in trouble.

Panel 2

Out in the street, FRED is on his motorcycle, following the pickup truck.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

I should have known he wasn't in trouble. He just didn't think it was worth telling us what he was doing. He's like that.

Panel 3

The truck has stopped outside a store -- hardware store or something -- and a woman gets out. She's middle-aged, slim, attractive, long red hair tied back, and dressed in denim work clothes. We'll call her MARY-LOU. FRED is in the background, sitting on his bike and observing.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

In fact, this whole group's like that.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

Nobody really tells anybody anything. We're not big on the teamwork. When Don was with us, we looked to him for guidance. Now—

Panel 4

FRED is at the pickup and has his hand laid against the side.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

We're kind of aimless, really.

Panel 5

A "psychic flashback" panel: DON lies flat in the truck, surrounded by pigs.

No dialogue.

PAGE FOURTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

MARY-LOU comes out of the store with a package in her hands. She sees FRED fondling her truck.

MARY-LOU:

Something I can help you with?

FRED:

Uh—nice truck!

Panel 2

She gives him a look as she climbs into the truck.

No dialogue.

Panel 3

Watching her drive off, FRED makes no move to follow. Instead, he lights a cigarette.

SARA (off panel):

Hey!

Panel 4

SARA is running over, phone to her ear.

SARA:

Yes, I've found him. He's fine.

Panel 5

She is now next to FRED, looking agitated. He looks unconcerned.

SARA:

You've got to stop doing that. We thought they'd got you.

FRED:

I know where Don is. Tell the others, will you?

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

But we get the job done. I guess that's something.

PAGE FIFTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Later, the others have arrived. They listen to FRED as he relates his findings. (Their vehicles may be visible in the background.)

FRED:

She has a farm up in the hills. Don's hiding out there. Follow me, I can lead us to it.

Panel 2

FRED sits on his motorbike, helmet on, about to start off. JAMES has his hand on FRED's arm.

JAMES:

How did you find all that out?

Panel 3

FRED faces JAMES, but we can't see his face through the visor of his helmet.

FRED:

I read it in her mind.

FRED:

I suppose you're gonna tell me that was a bad thing to do?

Panel 4

FRED is driving off (away from our POV) as JAMES looks after him.

SFX (bike):

VVMMMMmmmmmmm

JAMES (softly):

I was going to say I'm not comfortable with it...

Panel 5

From a distance, we see the SUV pull away (the team inside, obviously), following the bike. In the foreground, K-MAN #3 is watching them.

No dialogue.

PAGE SIXTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

FRED, on his bike, pulls into a farmyard, next to MARY-LOU's truck. Actually, as farms go, it isn't much of one. No rolling wheat fields here (remember the terrain!). We see a house, a barn, maybe a couple of other small sheds, a chicken coup, perhaps. And, of course, a pig pen. It's nestled in a valley between wooded slopes. Apart from the unsurfaced road that FRED has driven up, there is a dirt track that leads out the "back way", past the farm house. It isn't necessary to show all of this detail in one panel but it may be glimpsed in the background of subsequent panels.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

FRED has dismounted and taken his helmet off. MARY-LOU stands on the porch, a rifle held casually in her hands.

MARY-LOU:

Real interested in trucks, aren't you?

FRED:

No—

Panel 3

The team's SUV pulls up behind him.

FRED:

But my friends are.

Panel 4

JAMES, SARA, JEROME, and CHI-YUN get out of the SUV.

JAMES:

Please don't be alarmed, ma'am. We're—

DON (off-panel):

They're my friends, Mary-Lou.

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

DON is stepping out of the barn. And he doesn't look particularly good. He's disheveled and has a few days' growth of beard. One arm is in a sling and he's using an improvised crutch with his other arm.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

SARA has thrown herself at DON; her arms are wrapped around him.

SARA (shouting):

Don!

DON:

Easy! Mind the—Ow!

Panel 3

JAMES is shaking DON's hand. SARA, JEROME, and CHI-YUN are nearby. All are smiling big smiles.

JAMES:

I'm glad you're safe, sir.

DON:

It's good to see you all. But how did you—?

Panel 4

A wider panel shows FRED hanging back from the general merriment. JAMES gestures towards him.

JAMES:

We wouldn't have found you without Fred.

Panel 5

DON claps FRED on the shoulder.

DON:

I owe you one.

FRED:

No you don't.

PAGE EIGHTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Inside the farm house, around the kitchen table, the gang sits and drinks coffee. By gang, I mean DON, SARA, JAMES, and JEROME. FRED is also there but lounging against a counter, characteristically apart from the others. CHI-YUN is absent.

DON:

So when I convinced Mary-Lou I wasn't a dangerous lunatic, she let me hide out here. I couldn't go anywhere else—

SARA:

You couldn't call us? Not even an e-mail?

DON:

I destroyed my phone and computer. Didn't want they Krai to get them if I—well—

Panel 2

Close-up on DON as he continues this chunk of exposition.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

He could have found a way to contact us if he had wanted to.

DON:

I knew the Krai were still in the area, hunting me. They dropped by here once, asking questions. I stayed in the barn—

JAMES (probably off-panel):

Because they hunt by smell.

DON:

Exactly. Hiding out on a pig farm saved my life. Not exactly fun, though.

Panel 3

In a wider view, DON smiles at SARA. She's not smiling back, though. She's pensive.

DON:

I think some of your luck rubbed off on me that day, Sara.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

He didn't want us here. A big, noble sacrifice to keep us out of the line of fire. But we don't need that anymore.

Panel 4

DON suddenly looks round, concerned.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

We can look after ourselves now.

DON:

Where's Chi-Yun?

JAMES:

She stepped out a while ago.

PAGE NINETEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

Outside, a black-and-white cat sits in a tree, overlooking the road that leads to the farm. It is yawning.

CAPTION (voice-over, continuing JAMES's last speech):

"She's got a very short attention span."

SFX:

Vmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Panel 2

The cat stands on the branch and looks down a long expanse of road. In the distance, we see two jeeps coming towards the cat. They are the same vehicles we saw at the end of ISSUE 17 (though they should be too far away to see details clearly).

SFX:

Vmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Panel 3

The cat leaps from the tree to the ground. In this panel we see it an instant before it hits the ground --

No dialogue.

Panel 4

-- and now we see it landing. Except, it's not a small black-and-white cat any more. It's a big, lean, muscular cheetah. But from the identical panel and the cheetah's leaping posture, it should be obvious to the reader that it's the same animal.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

The cheetah is racing up the track to the farm, as only cheetahs can...

No dialogue.

PAGE TWENTY. Five panels.

Panel 1

Back in the kitchen, the back door flies open and the cheetah bounds in.

CHEETAH:

Arrrrrraaaaaarrrrrrrraaa!

Panel 2

In a wider view of the kitchen, everybody looks towards the cheetah, unconcerned. Except for MARY-LOU, who has entered the kitchen. She is VERY concerned.

MARY-LOU:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Panel 3

CHI-YUN now stands where the cheetah was.

CHI-YUN:

Oops! Sorry!

CHI-YUN:

But we've got to leave! Two carloads of Krai are heading our way.

Panel 4

Everybody looks at CHI-YUN, momentarily frozen.

CHI-YUN:

Now!

Panel 5

Everybody is suddenly moving, standing and going towards the back door. JEROME helps DON to his feet.

JEROME:

Don—you know the Krai won't leave witnesses.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. Four panels.

Panel 1

DON and JEROME both look towards MARY-LOU, who looks back uncertainly.

DON:

Damn it.

DON:

Get everybody loaded up. We'll be out in a moment.

Panel 2

DON stands facing MARY-LOU, his hands on her arms.

MARY-LOU:

Don? What's going on?

DON:

You'll have to come with us.

Panel 3

Close-up on their faces.

MARY-LOU:

What? No way, that's impossible. I've got a business to run—

DON:

I wish it didn't have to be this way. But I've told you too much about them. You're a risk to them now.

MARY-LOU:

But they won't—

Panel 4

Wider panel, to include JAMES in the conversation.

JAMES:

Yes, they will. They always do.

DON:

I'm sorry, Mary-Lou.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. Five panels.

Panel 1

Outside, DON and MARY-LOU are getting into the SUV. She has a small bag. The others are already inside.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

We won't stay with Don. We owe him everything but we don't need him any longer.

Panel 2

The SUV drives off towards the track behind the farmhouse. FRED leads the way on his motorcycle and CHI-YUN, in CHEETAH form, races alongside.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

These last few weeks, we've found out a lot about ourselves. We found how to put our disagreements aside to get the mission done. We found how to be heroes, each in our own way.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

I always find what I need. That's how my power works.

Panel 3

Identical scene to panel 2, with the vehicles no longer in sight.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

In Don I found the father I never had. But now I've found something more.

CAPTION (SARA's monologue):

I've found somewhere I belong.

Panel 4

Same scene again. Two jeeps have arrived in the farm yard.

No dialogue.

Panel 5

K-MAN #1 holds a phone to his ear. In the background, we can see more K-MEN searching the area.

K-MAN #1:

We've lost them.

Next issue: Huey's Place

Copyright © 2004, 2017 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.