Emma and the Minotaur HTML version

8 The Missing
It was almost dark and the rain had stopped.
Aaron Humphries arrived at the security office and bid goodnight to the daytime security guard.
After he pet O liver, he went to the desk, sat down, and signed his name on the security log.
Aaron did not like working nights. He didn’t understand why it was that the Paigely Builders
construction site needed a guard there at all times, even when no one was working. The reason for the
security was that some workers had gone missing but if there were no workers to guard, then why did
he have to work through the night? He figured that it had to do with company policies thought up by
management types.
The security guard opened one of the desk drawers and pulled out a long, hefty flashlight. He took
a piece of gum and put it in his mouth. With a sigh, he left the portable security office and began his
first round of the night. O liver walked along by his side. The usual round took him first around the
perimeter of the construction site along the edge of the forest and then past the main entrance on
Lockhart Road.
He was somewhere near the centre of the site when he saw a light inside one of the half- completed
houses and headed toward it. The exterior of the house was all exposed plywood. There were rough
steps in front of the door and he climbed these and went inside.
When he entered, two men looked up from their work. Aaron recognized them as the insulators Bill
and Joel. Those two often worked later than the rest and Aaron was familiar with them.
“Boys,” he said.
“Hey, Aaron,” Bill said. He stopped what he was doing and walked over to him. Joel stayed on the
ground where he was working but he waved to Aaron.
“How are you guys doing?”
Bill shrugged. “Well enough, considering,” he said. “Still not used to not having Andrew around.
Sometimes I still expect to see him working when I turn a corner.”
“Have you found a replacement yet?”
“No,” he said. “No one yet. This is a good town. Lots of employment. No one wants to work here.”
Aaron motioned to Bill and they walked toward the entrance of the house. He lowered his voice to
a whisper as they looked out into the night.
“How’s Joel doing?”
“Oh, you can imagine,” said Bill. “He plays it off like it doesn’t bother him as much as it does but I
can tell. He’s been in bad shape.”
“Can’t say I blame him. Vanished just like that, didn’t he?”
“Didn’t leave a trace.”
“What are you guys talking about?” Joel said from where he was crouching. He stood up and joined
“We were just wondering about that Steven Marks,” Bill said. “You ever talk to him?”
Joel shook his head.
“Me neither,” Bill said. “He was a—what did he do again?”
“Heavy machinery,” Aaron said. “I read up on him a little bit when I came here and also on… uh,
your friend.”
“That’s funny,” Bill said. “He was an older guy, wasn’t he?”
“Yeah, he was.”
Joel sat down on the steps and pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. He took one out of
the pack and lit it with a cheap plastic lighter.