The young man grinned. “I think we could do that pretty much with our eyes shut, but if it would make you feel better, we’ll start on that. You don’t have any stocked?”
“All of it had to be disposed of. It was full of carpenter ants. Didn’t much want to have a flat fall down during a show. Spoils the verisimilitude.”
The kids laughed, and Deacon limped off to show them the supplies and find a place to work.
“I’m posting the cast list on the door,” Dino said “We’ll try to keep the actors out today. I’ll move the rehearsals somewhere else. Maybe I can make arrangements to go to the Fireman’s Community Hall, or something. I’ll let you know when I’ve made a few calls.”
Several hours later, the construction crew had been through more than half of the theater, cleaning stuff out as they went. It had to be done anyway, it didn’t matter if it got done now or later. The pile of chemicals and flammable waste, was growing steadily, so Mac assigned a dump brigade. They loaded all the trash on a large truck to be carted off later.
Nothing happened for most of the day, so Kacy was thinking she and Mac were being paranoid. Surely, they were giving in to the superstitions associated with the place. Then, one of the workers called them back to the work room.
“Looks like someone was planning a nighttime fire party, and got interrupted,” Mac said.
He found more leaking bottles of acetone and several other chemicals which would have made a roaring inferno, given the right incentive. Dino was shocked, his face coldly blank.
“This looks horrible, folks, and reflects rather badly on me, I’m afraid. If this place burned to the ground, everyone would think I did it for the insurance.” Dino sighed, running his hands through his hair.
“Get it cleared out,” Deacon ordered.
He rallied everyone, while Kacy took Dino back to her office, for a cup of coffee and a chance to relax.
“He’s right, Mac,” Deacon confided in his foreman. “It looks like arson was planned, and everyone would blame Dino.”
“About two hundred million reasons that would be a stupid conclusion. Mr. Stewart don’t need the money. My guess is someone has a grudge, wants to take it out on him.” Mac looked around him angrily.
“That doesn’t explain what happened before, though. It might have been a grudge then too, but not against Dino. He didn’t own it then.”
“I can’t see why anyone would want to be nasty to Mr. Sawyer. He’s the nicest, most generous person I know.”
“Someone doesn’t want this place reopened. That’s what it says to me. Dino might be the reason, but I think it’s something about the place itself, that’s the motive.”
“You could be right. Let’s hope we’re both wrong, and this is all a series of odd and disturbing coincidences. Meanwhile, the new building supplies were all locked up in the shed last night. You, me and Miss D have the only keys. I’ve gone through it and as far as I can tell, nothing is missing or disturbed. I think we should take anything we don’t need, and dump it.”
“I had planned to do that anyway, but the sooner the better, I think. Have we got the most hazardous stuff out?”
“Yes, to the best of my knowledge. There could be more stuff buried in there we’d never know.”
“Thanks for all the hard work today,” Deacon told him. “We’ll get this crap under control, maybe tomorrow we can get some actual building done.”
“Number one on my list, make the work site safe. We don’t want nobody getting hurt. If that slows us a day or two, it’s okay by me.”
A black panel van pulled into the driveway, followed by Dino’s SUV. The van stopped even with Deacon and Kacy. The van window scrolled down, revealing two large, intimidating men.
“Deacon, Kacy I want to introduce you to Mr. Bellows and Mr. Salvatore. They’ll be acting as site security. I know it’s probably a little overly cautious of me. I just don’t want anyone hurt.”
The two security men stepped out of the van and shook hands with Deacon and Kacy. Their bodies rippled and roiled with more muscles than Deacon could ever remember having. He sported a well toned physic, a six pack most men would be proud of, and a lean, lanky body with powerful thighs and sinewy arms. He could carry four of the big Lekos without breaking a sweat, manhandle flats and platforms, carry ladders and all manner of other heavy objects without difficulty. But when he looked at the security men, he felt puny, ineffective and weak.
The two men spoke very little, doing a quick perimeter check. One of them went inside, locking the door behind him while the other stayed outside in the van.
“They are trained in Aikido, Karate, Kung Fu and are both expert marksmen. Bellows was a Navy Seal, and Salvatore, Marine Recon. I think they can handle anyone who comes around.”
“What about the ghosts?” Kacy was only partially teasing. Like many theater people, she was superstitious, and the findings today had made her nervous. She would never have admitted it to anyone, but she was spooked. Deacon gazed down at her in surprise.
“You don’t really believe those stories, I hope?
“We all know funny things go on in old buildings like this. Be they ghosts or something else, who knows? I just know I’d not want to spend the night there alone.” She shuddered, leaning in toward Deacon, who put his arm around her protectively.
©2021 Dellani Oakes