The Boilerworker

Emily rushed through the yard to the structure labeled in large white letters, “Engine Building No. 1” where she knew Mr. Adler would be. The workers were leaving for their homes nearby as the sun was setting but she knew that Mr. Adler would still be working well into the night.

What was worse, Emily had a feeling like she was being followed. In low slung shadows she could feel that something was waiting. It was laying in wait for the sun to slip further down in the sky so that the shadows would merge with other shadows and it could move around more freely.

She threw herself inside the building, slamming the iron door behind her.

Siegfried looked up from his work, “Fraulien Drake! Vot are you doing here? This ese no place for a gurl.” He quickly dropped his tools on the workbench and picked up a fresh rag with which he wiped his brow and then his hands.

All this excitement was too much for Emily, she fell to her knees crying.

Siegfried picked her up with ease, “Fraulien Drake, you poor leetle gurl, come I vill make you some tea.”

Mr. Coffer swung the door open and tossed aside a freshly empty whiskey bottle. “Them beasties won’t be sneakin’ up on us!” he declared triumphantly only to be felled by the huge right hand of Siegfried Adler.

“You! I should have known! Vat haf you done to her monster!” he turned his attention back to Emily, “Deed he hurt you fraulien?”

Emily was all the more shaken by this sudden turn of events and found herself unable to speak. Mr. Coffer who had gotten back to his feet lunged at Siegfried faster than his inebriated state would suggest possible and caught his jaw with an upper cut. Adler stumbled for a moment but regained his composure. He rolled up his sleeves and roared “I vill take you apart!”

“No! Stop!” Emily sobbed “Stop fighting!”

Siegfried regained some of his composure. “Very vell fraulien, I vill spare this monster if you vish.” He turned his attention to Coffer again. “Vat are you doink here? I tell you never to come here! Herr Drake may tolerate you but I do not vant you here.”

“Listen kraut, we came here for just one reason, so you could build another device for Ms. Emily and she could rescue her father. Now are you going to help us or not?” Coffer stated cooly.

“You are sick man. Fillink dis gurl’s head vith your madness. You got Herr Drake to believe you but you will not the get de fraulien into dis.” Siegfried insisted. His face turning two shades of red darker and getting ready to throw another punch at Coffer. In turn the drunk put up his hands and motioned that he was ready to his opponent.

“Wait. Wait!” Emily finnally shouted. “Mr. Adler, where is my father?” she asked, starting to collect herself. Siegfried thought about this a moment and sighed “I, don’t know fraulien, I hef not seen him for two veeks.”

“I have had a man named Griffin and two associates of his break into my home and steal a device of my fathers design and I believe your making. I want to know who this man is and how he knows what my father works on in his private workshop.”

Siegfried glared at Coffer. “Dis man iz Griffin Kerry and he vas a student of Herr Drake and myself. He vas brilliant! Dat vas until dis man got his hands on him!” He shouted, waving his finger at Coffer. “He got Griffin to chase after de leetle bugs like he got Herr Drake to. He iz infecting dem vith his madness!”

Coffer got defensive, “You got it all wrong, Drake came to me I didn’t come to him. Griffin just tagged along, he didn’t believe us either until he heard them for himself. It’s not our fault that your hearing is so bad you can’t hear them.”

“Hear what? What are you talking about? What is my father doing?” Emily asked.

Siegfried roll his eyes, “Dey think dere are bugs dat are invisible all over.”

“They aint invisible to me, well leastways not when I’ve had enough to drink.” Coffer offered almost wistfully. “Drake could see them and Griffin could hear them with his gun. An they aint just any bugs, they’re big bugs, Drake named em’ Jackal Spiders.” Coffer paused for a moment, pulled out his gun and cocked it. “I’m thinkin’ Ms. Emily might be able to see em’ too.” he said as he pointed his gun at Emily.

Siegfried lept at him to stop him but the old man was too quick, his action too unexpected. He fired his gun.

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