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"The Caverns" by James R. Hickey FADE IN: EXT. SNOWY MOUNTAINS - DAY EARLY MORNING. Mist hangs upon the jagged mountain scape. GERMANY, 1934 There is only silence, when buzzing engines cut in. A prototype prop plane flies low, followed by two German biplanes, machine guns ablaze. An AIR RAID SIREN WAILS, echoing throughout the valley. The prototype, pushed to it's limits, smoke pouring from numerous bullet holes. It sputters before darting into the clouds above. INT. PROP PLANE - DAWN The PILOT looks intense hunched over the controls. His face is obscured by goggles and a scarf. Taped to his instrument panel is a photo of a beautiful red head with a warm smile. Along the front, it reads: ROSE(V.O.) Come home to me, Allen. Love, Rose. EXT. SNOWY MOUNTAINS - DAWN The Pilot maneuvers left, right then sweeps through the clouds. MAC Rockwell, come in. Rockwell. Machine guns blast again as he pushes into a dive towards the mountain. PILOT This isn't a good time Mac. The prototype is leaking fuel and I've got two barons on my tale. The fighters follow the smoke trail, gaining on him. MAC Did you recover the U-235? PILOT Yeah, I've got it right here. MAC The General is giving me hell about it, Captain. Even if the prototype goes down you'll need to recove-- PILOT It's alright Mac, I've got the tracker in my pack so -- Bullets SMASH against the hull, one destroys the radio as the Pilot inside fights to keep the plane up. PILOT Mac?-- Mac? The engine sputters again, drops a couple feet then straightens out. PILOT Whoa! EXT. SNOWY MOUNTAINS - MORNING A biplane swings into position, fires but misses as the prototype turns hard to the right. The Pilot releases his seat belt, reaches for a small satchel. Visible in the open pack is a steel canister, with U-235 written on it. The biplanes swoop in, aiming as the Captain swerves wildly. CLANG, CLANG, CLANG! Bullets rip through the tail of the plane, the engine billows smoke. The pilot throws open the hatch and gets ready to jump. GERMAN PILOT Ich bein reich verstech! All three planes race dangerously towards the mountain when the prototype sputters and drops again. The pilot is almost thrown, the U-235 canister falls under the seat. He reaches for it but machine guns fire, blasting through the wing. The plane spills fuel, the gauge dropping fast as the plane loses altitude. One German swoops in, aims down his barrel and fires. Pilot grabs the woman's photo and jumps just as the cockpit is destroyed. He falls to the earth, holds the photo tight then pulls his chute as the prop plane smashes into the mountains and EXPLODES in a ball of flame. Pilot speeds towards the ground, his parachute won't fully open. He slams into the windswept snowbanks with a THUD. PILOT Aaagh! FADE TO WHITE: EXT. BASE OF SNOWY MOUNTAIN - MORNING The Pilot trudges towards the mountain with his leg wrapped now as a blizzard rushes in. He holds up a beeping tracking device then looks towards a cave opening in the mountain above. Smoke pours from the peak as he hikes on. FADE TO: White. A gloved hand comes into frame, heavy breaths. The pilot, half way up the mountain, struggles to climb further as the snow whips across his face. CUT TO: EXT. CLIFF OF SNOWY MOUNTAIN - MIDDAY Pilot labors over the cliff face, pulls himself up with a grunt. Hunched over, he looks up towards the cave opening then walks ahead cautiously. He unwraps his scarf, removes his cap to reveal a brave face, a thick mustache, and a permanent scowl. The Pilot's name is CAPTAIN ALLEN ROCKWELL and he takes out an old flashlight before moving deeper into-- INT. DARK TEMPLE, MIDDAY The temple, dug into the earth long ago has since flooded leaving the carved, stone features worn. The Captain steps in slowly, his flashlight cuts through the dark then rests on a carving of a creature sucking blood from a man's neck. Captain sweeps the light around, apprehensive, then hears something overhead. He aims the flashlight up and startles a nest of vampire-bats. One bares his teeth with a HISS as bats begin to fly around the temple. He swats at them, pushing forward, then pulls out the tracking device as they disperse. DARK CAVERN The Captain, following the low BEEP of his tracker, sneaks through the twists and turns of the cavern before spotting a cable embedded in the ceiling. CAPTAIN Hmm. He traces the cable to it's origin, towards a dim light, draws his pistol. The tracker beeps again over the sound of a low groan in the distance. LABORATORY Captain moves into a carved out room with caution. His flashlight cuts through the atmosphere, moves around the room. It shines across a fleshy object collapsed against a transmitter, steam rises from a torn chest cavity; a clenched hand stuck in the air. It's the silhouette of a corpse, the victim of a brutal assault. CAPTAIN Ah hell. Disgust is apparent on the Captain's face as he moves on, examines equipment filling the room. Against the walls, he sees machinery and three large canisters. Each one holds a mutated animal inside, their bones twisted into unnatural forms. The canisters' light pours onto the Captain's face as he inspects them. One twitches, giving him a scare. He spots a large recording device, clicking it on and off but nothing happens. Another groan echoes as the Captain follows his flashlight to an offshoot. STORAGE ROOM The Captain puts his pistol away then spots a gray breaker switch, SLAMS it into position. A few dim lights turn on throughout the control room, the tape recorder begins to play loudly. An older man with a German accent speaks: SCIENTIST(V.O.) ...growing beyond our control. They now show severe signs of aggravation and violence. My colleagues believe it is madness caused by U-235 treatments but I believe-- DARK CAVERN A large silhouette wakes as a few lights CACHUNK on. The unseen creature creeps through the cavern, light reflects from it's black eyes. INTER CUT BETWEEN CAPTAIN AND CREATURE Captain glances around the storage room, his flashlight illuminates a case that reads: dynamite. SCIENTIST(V.O.) Day 35. I have made a terrible mistake. The beasts have gone beyond our control. The creature's clawed feet sink into the soft ground with each step towards the control room. SCIENTIST(V.O.) killing Doctor Krenchal during feeding. Captain leans down, inspecting the crate. He shoves a handful of it into his bag. SCIENTIST(V.O.) And now many have broken free, making a nest deep within the caves. The creatures shoulders heave up and down as it SNARLS. BACK TO: LABORATORY The Captain hearing the sound, stops, backs into the dark storage room just as The creature lurches forward. SCIENTIST(V.O.) Many return during the night to feed on those of us who remain. Looks into the empty room, sniffing the air. STORAGE ROOM The Captain, presses his back against the wall, pulls the gun from his belt. The creature moves forward, out of focus behind him. SCIENTIST(V.O.) I now fear I am the only one left alive... The Captain backs into the shadows, clutches his gun as it's breathing gets louder. SCIENTIST(V.O.) God forgive us for what we have done. The creature looms closer, now only half dozen steps away from the storage room, now five, now four - - SCIENTIST(V.O.) We didn't know. How could we know... It's silhouette is visible from the storage room as it peers in -- The shadowy room appears empty. The Captain lunges out of the shadows, SLAMS into the creature, knocking it back. LABORATORY The creature lunges as the Captain fires two shots into it's body. The creature swipes at him with a muscular wig, knocks the gun away as the Captain fires a shot into the cave wall. Captain HOLLERS as the beast slashes his arm. He drops the gun and it CLANGS across the floor. CAPTAIN Damn it! He stumbles back, gripping his arm as the creature snaps at him. He struggles to hold it back long enough to draw his knife. The beast snarls, snaps again. This time too close for comfort and the Captain slices one of it's eyes, blinding the creature. It lets out a horrible SCREAM and doubles back. For the first time it is visible in good lighting. It is a bat-like creature, larger than a man, with it's strong wings outstretched. It's jaw is clenched and blood trickles from it's now useless eye. The horrific scene washes over the Captain as he dashes into the unknown tunnels ahead. The creature's shrieks echo throughout the maze of caverns and reaches- CUT TO: INT. CAVERN NEST, DAY A huddled nest of mutated bats. One begins to move, wakes the others. A creature unwraps it's wings, quickly twists around, HISSING. BACK TO: DARK CAVERN The Captain turns at the sound of the rushing creature, passes through hanging roots. His tracker BEEPS as he runs further in. He looks back again, the blinded creature charges closer. The Captain speeds around the bend, reaching a sudden drop off, then falls. DEEP CREVICE Hands scraping the tunnel- grabs a protruding root, with an agonizing howl as it snaps tight. His satchel and tracker fall downward into the endless void. The blinded bat only a few feet above as it attempts to claw him. The Captain's grasp slips as he dangles then falls into the dark crevice. He crashes onto the ground below with a severe THUMP! The blinded bat snarls as it attempts to descend the damp walls. CUT TO: INT. LOWER LEVEL, DAY Dust begins to settle as the Captain stirs. He's in bad shape with cuts on his face, rips in his clothes. He is lucky to be alive. As the Captain lifts himself up and grabs his gun. He sees his pack strewn across the floor, the tracker now smashed from the fall. CAPTAIN You've got to be kidding me. The beast struggles, scratches, clings to the walls. Rockwell grabs his pack as the sounds of the bat, scraping down the walls, reaches him. He leaps out of the way just as the bat drops to the cavern floor. The Captain rushes away, down the corridor. CUT TO: INT. CAVERN NEST, MOMENTS LATER The Captain jumps down, splashing onto a flooded floor. His flashlight leads as he hurries on. Ahead, the path widens with deeper puddles of stagnant water. A putrid stench hangs in the air and the Captain's face shows it- He walks deeper in, sees shapes in the water. With a closer look, the shapes become bodies. Some are fresh but most have long been skeletons. He quickly scans the dreary nest, sees equipment and against the wall, sit generators. There is almost no light in the open space. Only the unmistakable sound of soft movement as the ceiling begins to crawl with life. CUT TO: INT. LOWER LEVEL, DAY The bat creature lurches forward, past the flooded floor. It's shrieks echo as it moves into the larger space, eying the Captain at the other end. BACK TO: CAVERN NEST The Captain turns and here it is. Silhouettes in the mist, this is the Creatures' nest. Hordes of bats, frenzy in the shadows as the Captain breaks into a run. CAPTAIN You've got to be fucking kidding me! Charging around debris, the Captain fires shots as he sees the bats gather behind him. He throws the pistol towards the horde once his clip runs out. His plane's fiery wreckage sits in small area ahead. He reaches the opening and goes through. MUNITIONS STORAGE The plane, though mostly intact, has crushed munitions and supplies, spilling fuel across the ground. Captain rushes towards a large machine, slams his weight against it as the bat creatures rush closer. With a strong heave the machine tilts then crashes down, blocking the entrance. Silence then- CRASH! The creatures slam into the machine from the far side. Metal scrapes against rock. Rockwell climbs the tangled wing, flames lick his hand as he reaches for the damaged radio. He rips it out as the photo falls from his jacket. It catches fire and starts to curl in the flames. Before the image vanishes we see that it is the picture of Rose. Only static chatters from the broken radio as the frenzied creatures smash into the machine. The captain pulls dynamite from his pouch. CAPTAIN Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is Rockwell.-- MAYDAY, Rockwell. -- Scraping metal as the machine CRASHES to one side and the creatures rush through. The blinded leader entering the storage room, lets out a psychotic HOWL. The Captain crawls over the wreckage to the collapsed wall, aims his flashlight at the closest creatures but it blinks off. He taps it on his good leg as they begins to reach out, he taps it again and the light flashes on. A beacon of light arcs across the cavern, blinding the snarling beasts as they draw back for a moment. Captain Rockwell lights the dynamite and throws it towards the munitions He turns and runs as the dynamite lands between fuel tanks. NARROW TUNNEL He races down the tunnel leading to a light ahead as the creatures claw past the wreckage. The fuse burns quickly, almost gone. The horde gains on the injured man but he fights to keep going. The dynamite EXPLODES! A rumble in the distant shakes the mountain, the munitions and plane are engulfed. Fire shoots up the tunnel then bursts out as the Captain leaps through the opening, crashing into the snowy cliff below. CUT TO: EXT. CLIFF OF SNOWY MOUNTAIN - PRE-SUNSET Captain Rockwell crawls to the edge, fires smoldering around the collapsed cave. He sits painfully, holding the radio and the U-235 canister. After a moment, he clicks the transmitter on and speaks tired voice: CAPTAIN Come in base 3-X. Come in base 3-X. I located the wreckage and -- some mutated species but there were both destroyed. Not much of the caverns left either. And the canister-- He throws the canister into the ravine below, watching it CLANG against the jagged rocks. CAPTAIN It must have destroyed in the blast. Moving over the mountain as the lone hero sits motionless against the cliff face. The only sound is the wind. The fires smolder on. Bright embers pushed by the rushing wind. A single creature swoops past the smokey, pre-sunset, sky. FADE OUT.
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