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The Beast in Me (completed)
“Ah, the teen wolf!” Doctor Brian Winsley said brightly when he came up to us. My mom looked flabbergasted at me.
“Private joke...” I muttered while the doctor attended to my bloodied shoulder.
“You scare me Ron...” my mom told me under her breath, “You used to be such a good boy. Now you steal away at night, get involved with... different girls. It's no coincidence that they got hurt, is it?”
The look in mom's eye stung in my heart. Telling the truth was no option, not even a way to soothe her pain, on the contrary. So, I had to put up smoke screens.
“Mom, Mandy got herself into bad company. You must trust me: I'm trying to help.”
“How does sneaking out in the middle of the night help? It's not your job to look after her if she's gotten herself into trouble. Her parents...”
“Shhh!” I admonished my mother when her voice had raised to a level I was uncomfortable with, seeing that Mandy's father wasn't far away.
“Look Ron, I can't keep you grounded until your an adult. You have to promise me...”
“There we go, Ron! In a few days time I'm sure your shoulder will be good as new!” Doctor Winsley said cheerfully and mustered me.
I doubted that it would take that long. Given the shortness of time it had taken to recover to this stage. I had felt bones crack when Zeus had hit me but they had obviously mended quickly; unnaturally quick. The full moon night still instilled me with superpowers even if I looked my normal self. But I knew this wouldn't last indefinitely. I needed to use the time.
“Yeah, I feel groggy. I wanna go and have a nice long sleep!” I gave him and my mom a droopy smile. My mom looked relieved at this sign.
“Ata boy! You deserve it well!”
“Will you look after Mandy? Will... will she be ok?” I asked. My mother pursed her lips.
“She's in good hands with Dr. Measly right now. From what I've heard, she's been fortunate. The bites don't seem to be life-threatening, mostly bruises and cuts. No signs of fractured bones but we'll x-ray her in the morning.”
“Now let's go, Ron!” Mom shoved me away with one hand and clutched her stomach with the other. I knew that she was in pain.
“Aren't you due for a check-up soon, Mrs. Mansdale?” Dr. Winsley said earnestly. “I'm sure that we can work something out.” He added optimistically.
“I'm... there's nothing you can do for me doctor, I'll be alright!” Then we were off.
At home, mom tucked me in and switched off my ceiling light. I used my super-audio ability to listen from my room how she went to bed herself. I waited until I heard her breathing rhythmically before I jumped up again. I needed to learn about what was going on with the whole dam thing. I got out on the road and started running at full speed when I was out of earshot from our house.
Frank must have found out about his father's company's doing at the dam. Why did he and his gang steal the key and break in there? There was only one way to find out: I needed first hand information. Minutes later I stood in front of the gates to the Sawatzky mansion. It was protected like a small fortress with entrance cameras, a cast iron gate, and a high stone wall covered with climbing ivory vines. Before I could say “Rapunzel” I was atop the wall and looking down on the front yard and over to a magnificent three story building. So this was what Frank called his home. I shouldn't have been surprised, his father owned the Sawatzky Mining Corporation, a multi million dollar enterprise. Frank's family was loaded.
As I stood there and let the impressions hit me, I realized that I was without a plan. How was I to find out anything useful from breaking into the place? I didn't even know if Frank was at home. Judging by Mandy's story, they had been roaming about all night. Maybe he was still hanging out somewhere with his gang, waiting for Mandy to show up, unaware that her assignment had gone awry. The possibilities were many.
But then one of the windows illuminated. A second later I heard muffled voices. I cocked my ears and strained my hearing. Then definitely I could make out Frank's voice and the voice of a grown man. His father? I hesitated no longer but jumped down the 10 feet wall, sped to the face of the building and scrambled up to the window on the second floor. Hanging there in the darkness of the night, I peeked in to see Frank and the other man arguing with each other.
“Why do I persistently have to get these phone calls from the police department at night, telling me that you're suspected for some wrongdoing or another?! If not for your own sake, at least consider the loss of sleep this costs me!”
“You, sleeping! You were in your study, working on some stupid project of yours!”
“Watch your mouth, Frankie-boy! You're out on thin ice. - Why weren't you in bed tonight, where you belong?”
“It's Saturday night, dad!”
“I'll give you Saturday night! It's way past midnight and the police reported to me that there is a boy who had an accident at the dam. A boy from school, your class.”
I gasped at Frank's reaction, or should I say: lack thereof.
“I repeat: so?” Frank showed no empathy at all.
“They tell me he's one of the boy's that you use to fraternize with... whenever I need to bail you out of something.”
“Oh yeah? Who?” Frankie asked. I'm sure he was only playing innocent and ignorant.
“Riley! - Naw, he's not one of my droogs!” Now he was lying outright.
“Frankie, this is serious! They're asking me about you! If I find out that you have anything to do with this...”
“Then what?! Are you going to punish me? Go ahead, see if I care!”
“I wish I could instill some sense in that thick head of yours! You think you don't need to earn your living because you're parents are rich. You're wrong, Frankie. You won't last long if you don't acquire the skills it ta...”
“I have all the skills I need, dad! And I know what it takes to be respected! Nobody dares to con me at school!” He said, defiantly sticking out his chin. His dad turned around and made a few steps away from Frank. This gesture clearly took the insubordination out of Frank's stride. “Dad! Can't you see? I already have what it takes. I'm like you! I command and the others obey! Everything else is secondary. You rule - I rule!”
“Shut up and listen, son! You have achieved nothing! I have been telling you to concentrate on your studies for years! Your grades are horrible, your behavior at school despicable. Save me your so-called gang leadership. Don't tell me that you are like me. Leadership means responsibility, ethics, and skills of the trade. I care for my people and they give me their loyalty. Not by ruling - by leading.”
Frank's father hadn't turned back around for those words. Frank seemed to be struggling for air. But then he straightened his back again,
“So you think you know your co-workers! ...and you think they're loyal to you?” Frank asked with a sneer. His father finally turned around and cast a sharp look at his son,
“I would dare say so!”
“Do you know what's going on at the dam? Your so-called hydropower project.”
His father smiled relieved,
“Ah, I know what you're thinking. But don't trust the reports in the newspapers. They are ill-informed as usual. I like to keep it that way.”
Now it was Frank's turn to show his back.
“What if I told you that you are the one who's ill-informed?”
“What is it you're saying?” I hinted a bit of shaken confidence in his father's voice.
“Mr. de Veela is in charge for the refurbishment of the plant, isn't he?”
“Of course! That's no secret! He's a brilliant engineer, exactly thinking along my lines: developing renewable energy sources for the future. My father, your granddad Garp, believed in exploiting natural resources, lumber and mining, to build a strong corporation. I had a hard time convincing him that one can both be successful in business and responsible with environment.”
“Was that when the company acquired the run-down dam?”
“Exactly. I wanted to go green. But these things come at a cost. People don't like paying more, even if it's for a good cause. So things have progressed slowly. And I get a bad press for both high electricity bills and for the delay of the dam renewal, completely injustified.”
“...and then there's the issue with the natural reservation that surrounds the dam, right?”
Gene Sawatzky gave a sneering laugh,
“Politicians! Have no qualms building a highway right through the heart of the reservation to save their voters a few minutes on the road but when I try to get an exemption for the dam they put spokes in my wheels. But de Veela's put a new spin on the wheel.”
“He's got you the exemption?”
“He sure did! It's not official yet but things will get rolling soon!” Frank's father said with pride in his voice. “de Veela's the most loyal on my staff.”
“But wouldn't it be more lucrative to mine for uranium, for nuclear power?” Frank asked with an unnaturally sweet voice.
“Where, at the reservation?! We're not prospecting for uranium... and anyway: there's no uranium there.”
“But say there would be... wouldn't that be a great way to make a fortune with the company?”
“Now you sound like your granddad! Make a profit at all costs. No way! We must get away from environmentally questionable power sources!”
“I don't think that Mr. de Veela agrees with you on that point, dad.” Frank let the bomb drop.
“Don't be silly!”
“I know for a fact that they have found uranium when they were digging at the dam. de Veela wants to turn it into a mine!”
His father fell silent and looked at his son for a long time.
“Who says so?”
“Your good-for-nothing yet well-informed son.” Frank had a broad grin on his face now.
Later, when I lay in bed and saw the pale dawn sky, I was still shocked from what I had just learned. Especially, by how one can be misled by appearances and prejudices. Gene, the Green, Sawatzky. Who would have thunk it? But was Frank right about Mr. de Veela? I recalled our previous conversation about power sources: he had a whole lot of good arguments for nuclear power. But would he go behind Sawatzky's back? Or worse yet: would he do something unlawful? And if he did, which side would Sheena take? This wasn't a good time for us to stand divided but I couldn't just let this pass. I knew, I needed to get to the bottom of this, no matter what Sheena would say.
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