Once Upon A Weekend 9
     The boss was frustrated.  He thought a good night's sleep would jolt everyone out of their lethargy.  Instead it seemed to make them worse.  Brian was still moping and temperamental. Ricky couldn't concentrate, and now, Ken had disappeared.
     "Sam," he yelled.
     Sam, who was his foreman's assistant, seemed to be the only one not action strange.  Well, the boss amended, that wasn't necessarily true.  Sam was hovering over Ricky,when usually he was telling him what to do and scolding him for every little mistake.  
     Sam hurried over to see what the boss wanted.
     "What's going on here?" the boss demanded.  "Where is Ken?"
     "I don't know," Sam said.  "I've been wondering myself..."
     His cell phone rang and he held a finger up in a gesture that meant hold on.
     He listened for several seconds then disconnected.
     "Ken's in the hospital," he said.  "Says he slipped in the shower this morning, sprained his ankle, and hit his head.  The doctor wants to keep him overnight for observation."
     The boss wasn't happy.  This project wasn't going at all right.  They were behind schedule, over budget, and he had too few men to get back on track.  The loss of one of his best workers was going to cause an even bigger strain.
     "Well," he said.  "We'll just have to do without him."
     Grumbling, he strode toward his trailer that served as an office.
    Ricky came to where Sam stood.  Sam saw that Ricky had heard by the look on his face.
     "Accidents happen," Sam said.
     Ricky didn't look like he believed it was just an accident.  As a matter of fact, Ricky looked like a petulant ten year old at that particular moment.
     The foreman shouted for his men to get to work. Ricky was on the third floor working on the high beams.  He was tired and edgy and once nearly fell.  Twice he dropped his tools and they barely missed one of the men on the ground.
     "Ricky!"  the boss shouted, seeing the near catastrophe.  "Get down from there."
     As Ricky made his way down in the elevator, the boss called for everyone to gather around.
     "Okay, people," he said.  "That's it!  I've had it!  I want all of you to collect your pay and go home. This whole project seems to be jinxed.  I have to talk to the builders' association.  I'll let you know when and if to come back. 
They may have to find another bidder.  Time to give up and move on."
     Sam was stunned by the news. The boss had never quit a job before, but secretly, Sam agreed with him about this project.  It had been a disaster from day one.  The materials arrived late.  The blueprints were changed three times.  Three subcontractors had been chased off the site after trying to get the boss to cut corners. The stress level was off the scale, especially since five men had quit since the beginning.  This was going to mean a big loss financially for everyone.  The boss would have to negotiate for his bid and probably have to pay fines.  The men would be out of work. 
    On top of all of that, there was the strange things happening to his friends.  He had to find out what was going on and put a stop to it.  He picked up his pay and started for his car. Brian was parked next to him and was just about to get in to his car. 
    "Where you off to?" Sam asked, hoping his genial tone would get Brian to accept an apology.
    Instead Brian glared at him. 
    "Home," he said, "to Australia to visit my grandparents since I no longer have a job.  I'm bloody tired, and right now,just want to be around people who have sense."
     "Has anything---odd---happened to you lately?" Sam asked, concerned about Brian saying he was tired.
     Brian leveled his gaze and narrowed his eyes with suspicion.
     "What do you mean "odd"?" he asked.
     Before Sam could answer, he jumped in.
     "You mean like what happened at the lodge?  Why?  Who's having problems?"
    He glanced over at Ricky who was sitting on the hood of his car looking for all the world like a lost child at a marketplace.
     "That bloody thing followed us, didn't it?" Brian demanded.  "That's it.  I'm outta here.  You can let me know when it's safe to come back.  And take care of Ricky.  He's been acting weird and now I know why.  You bloody well screwed everything up.  Now you fix it."
   With that, he climbed into his corvette and sped away.
   Sam watched until the sports car was out of sight, then went over to Ricky sitting with his legs dangling over the fender.  He looked small and helpless, which disturbed Sam.
    "C'mon, Oliver Twist," Sam said.  "Let's go."
    "Oliver Twist?" Ricky asked, sliding to the ground.
     "You look like you've abandoned all hope," Sam said.
     "What about my car?" Ricky asked.
     Sam looked over to his own car, an older model sedan.  He could leave it and pick it up later.  He doubted anyone would bother stealing it.
     "We'll take yours," he said.  "I'll drive.  You look like you're about to fall over."
     "I wanna go see Ken," Ricky said, handing over his keys and climbing in the passenger side.
     Sam didn't argue.  He, too, wanted to be sure Ken was really okay.  When they reached the hospital, they were directed to Ken's room where they found him sitting up, a bandage around his head and a walking cast on his left ankle.
    "What happened?" Sam asked,  relieved to see things weren't as serious as he'd feared.
    Ken told them everything.
    Ricky's face paled and he teetered.  Sam caught him and helped him to a chair.
     "See that," Ken said.  "He's barely coherent.  You have to find out what's that thing is and why it's plaguing us."  

kt6550   kt6550 wrote
on 2/26/2009 10:49:58 PM
Good story. Now continue on.

Novel / Novella
writing shwangltd
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