This story does contain some violence, some disturbing images and perhaps also some smut...You are warned.
I do not own these characters, nor do i make any sort of profit from this work of fiction. I am merely borrowing it all to satisfy my mad muses.
Wham! The alarmclock on the nightstand beside the bed fell to the floor and if it hadn’t hit a pillow it would have disintegrated into its separate components. What the fuck, had she forgotten to turn it off? It was her day off damn it. Then it dawned upon her sleep muddled brain that it wasn’t the alarmclock that made that infernal hellish sound, it was her cell phone. Uh-oh, what now?
She spun around and got wrapped up in her sheets, fought her way free, grasped the phone and saw the number on the display, crap no, it was her boss. She almost fell out of the bed trying to get into a sitting position while answering the call. “ Hello?”
Her voice was akin to that of a bear just coming out of hibernation, and she felt like one too. There had been too many beers last night, and a lot of fooling around but it had been fun. She could barely remember the last time she had been out with her friends and she had looked forward to a long lazy morning in bed. No such luck apparently. “ Hi, it’s me, Sandra, did I wake you up?”
A quick glance at the clock, four thirty in the morning, she had slept for…three hours. Great! “Of course you woke me up, what do you think I was doing at this time of the day?”
Sandra cringed, she could almost hear it. “ Listen, I am sorry alright? It’s just that I haven’t got anyone else I can call. Both Phillip and Bill are on vacation and we are low on staff and now Sally, Benjamin and also Felipe called in sick, it’s that darn stomach flu virus that’s been going around lately.”
She groaned, her head felt like a ton of bricks and her tongue kept getting stuck to the roof of her mouth. Seriously, she didn’t feel like going to work at all “ And you have to call me? It’s my first day off for more than a month damn it, and I went out with the girls last night, I think I am still drunk!”
Sandra sighed. “ I know, I know, just…please help me out this one time? I swear it to you, I will make it up to you. Next year I promise you will be allowed to choose whenever you want your vacation weeks, deal?”
She moaned and let her fingers run through her hair, it stuck to them, was that beer? “ Fine, fine, I am coming inn, I just need a quick shower, and some coffee, black coffee, a gallon of it.”
Sandra sounded relieved. “ Great Amy, I will have a jug ready here at the office too, just in case. There is hopefully only one group to guide today.”
She got out of the bed, feeling slightly dizzy. “ Alright, but just one, so help me God. If you somehow think I am capable of guiding more than five people you are so wrong”
Sandra sniggered. “ Don’t worry, it will be alright Amy, thank you so much.”
She hung up and Amy stared at the phone, somewhat angry at herself. Vacation? Damn it, she could have asked for a raise, Sandra had sounded desperate enough to say yes to anything as long as she got the help she needed. So three other rangers were out sick? There had been a rather terrible problem with that flu virus lately, they even had to close some schools but she hadn’t gotten it, as of yet that was.
The shower sort of woke her up and she got into her uniform and downed a cup of coffee while braiding her hair and fixing her face. She looked like an extra from the walking dead, pale, grey and with bloodshot eyes. If the group she was to guide was school children they would probably think she was an addict of some sort, or worse. She almost ran down to the truck and the old pickup started, it was at least trustworthy and she could rely on it. It had plenty of horsepower and looked so worn and old nobody in their right mind would bother stealing it. She left the driveway and turned onto the road leading to the main entrance. The national park was huge and there were always people present there, after all, it was a popular tourist destination and sometimes tourists needed protection, mostly from themselves.
She couldn’t count all the ridiculous and sometimes tragic cases where people or animals got into trouble due to sheer stupidity and although she loved the job and the contact with nature she could sometimes feel a bit saddened by the lack of knowledge some people showed. Last week a guy in an SUV had tried to feed a bear a snickers bar and he hadn’t even understood that it was dangerous, he thought the bear was tame! Amy and Felipe had to drag the guy away from the sow and he had tried to report them to the manager for ruining his vacation. Like feeding bears was some sort of human right.
She drove fast, the sun hadn’t even thought about getting up yet and the truck had powerful headlights, it was needed for there was plenty of wildlife in the area, also around the park. There were some rather interesting geological formations in the park, some extremely beautiful scenery and also several lodges and a small amusement park which had specialized in showing people the history of the valley and its past. It included a water slide in which you rode a hollow log down an artificial river and the first time Amy tried it she had puked her guts out. The guys in the control room had pulled a prank on her and turned the power up so the log had gotten a terrible speed. It had been the last time she tried that ride.
The road was narrow and long and she kept sipping coffee to stay awake, holy cow, she was probably above the legal limit still, she just hoped that there weren’t any cops lurking by the road, she didn’t want a DUI now. She kept her eyes on the road and knew that this was the most dangerous time of the day, the sun would soon rise and the animals were on the move. She saw moose or elk almost every day when she drove to work and this morning was no exception. She had to slow down to let two moose cows cross the road in their own tempo and then she also spotted a fox and a rather fat badger which appeared to care more about the worms and slugs laying around on the wet asphalt than the cars.
The she suddenly had to hit the break, hard. Something huge had crossed the road, barely within the reach of her headlights. What in heaven’s name? An elk? But so large? And the antlers were all wrong? No, she was still drunk, her brains fried from too much booze and too much fun. It had been a normal Wapiti for sure, just a very huge buck or something. She breathed a sigh of relief when the front gate appeared in front of her and she drove to the parking lot reserved for the employees.
Sandra was sitting behind her desk and she was sweating, her eyes a bit wide and there was something akin to real worry to be seen in her usually so calm face. “ Ah Amy, there you are. I am telling you, this is gonna be one hell of a day. You will not believe the shit that just hit the fan”
Amy glared at her boss. “ Oh? What sort of shit? Don’t tell me even more people have called in sick?!”
Sandra groaned, she was a woman in her late thirties but she looked a lot older this morning, she was a bit overweight and preferred to stay behind her desk, she didn’t have the stamina nor the legs to venture out into the park anymore. Amy knew she had worked for the park service for almost fifteen years and she knew everybody like they were her own kids. Sandra was alright enough, but a bit strict at times. She didn’t tolerate any sort of delays or trouble and god help the park ranger that showed up too late for work or treated the guests with anything but the outmost respect no matter how unpleasant they were.
“ Oh, that is the least of our trouble, I swear to you, sometimes I bet the one up there is out to get me”
She pulled a map out from underneath the papers covering the desk. “ There was a minor earthquake this night, at two fifteen. And lo and behold, it made that unstable part of White cliff canyon collapse. Rather large slide too, and two paths are destroyed so we have to reroute the tours for a week at least. The bridge was smashed to smithereens.”
Amy rolled her eyes, earthquakes were common, they had at least two small ones each week but she hadn’t felt anything last night? Oh well, she wouldn’t have felt it if the darn volcano decided to blow it’s top, she had been too drunk to notice. “ Then we’ll have to use the high paths, lovely. I hope we’ll get a lot of women in high heels, they’ll love it.”
Sandra just smiled, she was used to Amy’s sarcasm, When she didn’t feel well it turned rather nasty. “ That isn’t all Amy, something has killed three deer and a moose and Will found a mauled bear. We have no idea of what caused it so everybody is to be packing just in case”
Amy frowned. “ A gun? I have to carry a freaking gun?! You know I hate those things”
Sandra nodded, her eyes a bit blurred. She had to have stayed there for the entire night. “ I know Amy, I am sorry, but it’s the rules. And the generator is acting up once more, we have lost power and regained it seven times just within the last hour. “
Amy was about to answer when the lights flickered and went off and then there was a cracking sound and they returned. Sandra sighed and raised her hands. “ See? The computers are down, each and every one and I haven’t been able to reach Dave or Jen, they are out at the lake. “
Amy felt a strange chill run down her spine, it couldn’t be the volcano? Was this it? She swallowed. “ Magnetic interference?”
Sandra shrugged. “ Heaven knows, the phones doesn’t work, the walkie-talkies gives just statics and I tried the TV but it too shows just a snowstorm.”
Amy bit her lower lip. “ Have you sent someone to the lake area?”
Sandra nodded. “ Of course I have, that geologist guy volunteered so he and Janet went an hour ago.”
Amy flinched when the lights flickered again. “ I thought the generator was repaired just two weeks ago?”
Sandra nodded and leaned her chin onto her hands. “ It was, it ought to be working perfectly but no, it is starting and stopping and starting and stopping and I have already had guest complaining about cold water, a lack of decent hot food in the restaurant and one even claimed that her dog was afraid of the dark. This is driving me mad, I swear to you, my hair will have turned grey before the end of this day”
Amy just cocked her head. “ So, can’t we cancel the groups today?”
Sandra shook her head. “ Nope, we’ll have to refund everybody then and you know how the economy of the park is these days? We’ll have to give them the full tour, even in the midst of a minor crisis. “
Amy sighed and sat down, she poured herself a cup of coffee and spat , cringing her nose. “ This is lukewarm?!”
Sandra nodded. “ What did you expect? The oven is running on electricity too you know.”
Amy poured the cup out into the sink with a grimace of disgust, coffee was only drinkable whilst warm, otherwise it was just awful. “ So, what kind of group am I to get today?”
Sandra pulled out a paper again, handed it over. “ A small and easy one, they are to see the old pine forest, the hot springs and then the drop, two to three hours no more.”
Amy frowned and stared at the names on the list. “ Sister Margaret? A nun?!”
Sandra nodded. “Yes, from a school run by the sisters of the holy trinity. And they also run an orphanage, the kids are from that place by the way. Aged eight to thirteen.”
Amy sighed. “ Eight kids, that’s an ok group I guess, as long as they are well behaved.”
Sandra smiled. “ I bet they are, the nuns are all about discipline you know. Tell them some funny stories about the animals and some facts about the park and it should be smooth sailings.”
Amy looked at the clock. “ When are they to arrive?”
Sandra stared at the heap of papers in front of her. “ In two hours, so I kind of hoped that you could help Hank out until then?”
Hank was the park ranger responsible for animal management and Amy liked him. He was of native origin, completely in sync with nature and she admired his knowledge but also his kind personality and relaxed approach to everything. Nothing ever rocked his calm attitude, she trusted him like none other there. “ Gladly, where am I to meet him?”
Sandra just waved her hand. “ He is over at the garage, fixing his truck. You may find him there, I think he will go checking out that landslide right away”
Amy got up and snatched an apple from a bowl on the reception counter, she hadn’t eaten at all yet and she was getting hungry. The garage was at the back of the huge building that contained both the reception, the head quarter and a restaurant with kitchens and everything. It was huge and the park’s own vehicles were placed there when they weren’t in use. Most of the time the garage was empty, they didn’t have that many cars and all were in use most of the time. Hank was working on the truck and he swore and threw a wrench to the side, smearing grease off his hands. “ Good morning Amy, Sandra called you inn?”
Amy nodded. “ Yes indeed she did, so here I am. What am I to do?”
Hank closed the hood of the car with a clank, he stared at the huge dodge with an expression of both disgust and distrust. “ Help me put out some signs, we have to close some paths and I bet most of the people here don’t read the warnings put up outside the entrance.”
She nodded and Hank put on a jacket and his gun belt and a hat. There were already a huge pile of signs saying “closed due to landslide” laying in the back seat and Hank sighed and sent her a swift grin. “ The darn car has been naught but trouble since we bought it, this time it is the drive shaft I am sure, or the gear box. Heck, it can be anything, goddamn thing is teeming with gremlins!”
Amy had to grin, Hank hated that car and the car hated him back or so it seemed, it always broke down when he drove it but the others never had problems with that particular vehicle. It was actually a sort of a standing joke among the rangers, let Hank drive your car and you can be almost certain that it will break down. He managed to get the thing started and they drove off, it was still very early and nobody was out hiking yet. Hank drove by one of the lodges where you could rent a room and stopped by the garbage containers just to check that they were locked. They had started using locks on the containers after an incident with a black bear and a tourist and a bag filled with the remains of a chicken dinner. The bears could smell food even if it was locked into the trunk of a car and they would get to it, eventually.
“They have kept them locked up, good. We cannot baby sit the employees here now, we are almost out of rangers at the moment.”
Amy nodded and they drove off again, normally there were about forty rangers working in the park but with the flu and some off on vacation less than half was left. They put up the signs and closed the paths with bright yellow tape saying “ Do not cross” Amy knew that some would ignore the signs so they had added extra warnings to the main signs claiming that those who did had to take full responsibility for themselves and their own safety. The park could not guarantee anything. Hank then headed up towards the canyon and Amy immediately knew that something had happened, the smell was the first clue. It smelled of crushed rock and Hank sighed and parked the car, he eyed the surroundings with some caution, there was always the risk of more slides. “We were waiting for it, but damn, I didn’t think it would be that bad. No, not at all.”
Amy stared at the canyon, she had walked through that narrow gorge more times than she could count but now it was very changed. It was like seeing a famous skyline and then realizing that darn, most of the buildings have gone missing. The huge overhang that had hung above the small lake was gone, instead there was a steep slope and the dust still hung in the air.
Hank used his binoculars and shook his head. “ The paths will have to be moved, there is no other choice. And the debris cleared out, I don’t think anybody was in the area when the slide started so we won’t have to worry about body retrieval.”
Amy shuddered, his tone of voice was so casual, like removing dead bodies from avalanches were just normal. But there had been accidents there in the past. Five years before she started working there a huge piece of granite had fallen from one of the steep cliffs and crushed a lodge, four cars and a bridge and twenty people had been killed and six injured. The park had avoided getting sued by sheer luck, a geologist who was on their side testified that nobody except God himself could have known when that rock would fall.
They walked along the path and Amy saw that the canyon was reduced to a huge scree, there were rocks and broken trees everywhere and it did indeed look like the scene of some disaster. Hank dried some sweat from his forehead. “ Weird really, the quake didn’t really pack that much of a punch. It was only a mere one point four on the scale, we barely felt it at all.”
Amy shrugged. “ Sometimes it is the small things that does the most damage. “
Hank grinned widely. “ Oh yes, like my ex-wife. Small but lethal.”
Amy had to laugh, Hank was a huge guy but he had been married to a woman who was rather short and she was infamous for having the temper of a tigress with a severe toothache and the marriage had ended rather violently with lawyers, lawsuits and a lot of shit being tossed around. Luckily there had been no children and Hank had stayed clear of the females ever since. He claimed that he had learned his lesson.
Amy stared at the bridge that had crossed the river, or what was left of it. It was just toothpicks and she felt her stomach clench. Humans were really rather helpless after all, what could they possibly do when faced by such tremendous forces? It was as if everybody were just tiny ants crawling around on a giant and one day it would shake itself free of the pests. Hank made a grimace. “ Right, I think we’d better return to the head quarter, there is nothing we can do here, We need heavy equipment, manpower and dynamite and time, lots of time. It will have to wait until next spring.”
Amy knew that the park was struggling with the finances, heck, everybody were having problems with money these days. She was happy she had a job and that it was rather secure, she had worked there for six years now, if anybody got fired it would be the rookies, not her. They drove back in silence and Amy couldn’t help it, she had to ask. “ Do you think it was the volcano?”
Hank shook his head. “ Nope, the tremor was too shallow, if the beast is waking up the geologist will warn us, or perhaps not. You know, avoid panic? Anyhow, if that thing blows we probably won’t have time to do much anyhow, barely feel it I think. We will be vaporized in seconds.”
Amy hissed between her teeth. “ Gee, thanks, that makes me feel so much more at ease.”
Hank sent her a wide and naughty grin. “ You are welcome. But it wasn’t the volcano that mauled those dead animals we have found the last twenty four hours, I wish I knew what it was that killed them, it worries me more than those darn quakes.”
Amy frowned. “ What do you think?”
Hank shrugged and turned the truck onto the main road. “ It sure as hell wasn’t a cougar, it was something much larger,”
Amy looked at him with disbelief. “ Larger than a cougar? What then? Has someone brought some exotic animal and released it?”
Hank grinned again. “ Not unless it came from Jurassic park or somewhere like that, I have never seen tooth-marks like that before. It looked almost canine but no wolf is that huge, or that savage. The bear was just torn to shreds.”
Amy bit her lower lip. “ Some maniac perhaps? With a sadistic mind? You know what some people are capable of doing?”
Hank nodded and they turned into the driveway. “ Oh yes I do know what people are capable of, there is no predator more gruesome that homo sapiens Amy, never forget that.”
Amy made a grimace. “ I know, trust me. So, where are you going now?”
He shrugged. “ I think I will be heading up towards the plateau, Sandra wants me to check the fences. It would be such a pity if that darn Mr Jackson lost any more cattle don’t you think?”
Amy giggled. Mr Jackson was a local farmer who owned land next to the park and he always complained about the few wolves and bears of the park and the damage they did to his herds. The truth was that he got refunded for every dead animal he found and if the wolves really killed that many cows each week they had to be looking like stuffed sausages by now. But he did complain a lot and they had built a dense fence to keep the wolves contained, it probably didn’t work but at least they had showed that they were willing to do something about the problem.
Amy saw that Hank drove off and she checked her watch. Twenty minutes left, great. She went to the bathroom, fixed her braid, added some makeup to her face just to look a little less like a walking carcass and then she went to the small room where they kept their guns. She hated guns, she never had trusted them and she only fired the shots she had to in order to keep her license. One of the other rangers was responsible for the gun locker and luckily he was there, he sat behind his desk with some paper work and smiled at Amy. “ You are here for your colt right?”
Amy had found that she favoured the old fashioned guns, they were more reliable the way she saw it. “ Yes, apparently we have to be packing heat to be allowed out today.”
The guy scratched his chin and made a grimace. “ Well Amy, there is a small problem. Bill took his gun with him on vacation, probably forgot to remove it from his car before he went and the others who are sick have also failed to put their guns back into the locker and…”
Amy crossed her arms in front of her chest. “ And you are trying to tell me what?”
He looked a bit apologetic. “ I cannot give you a gun, sorry, not a colt anyhow. It is the rules. Half of the guns are not accounted for and so the locker has to remain locked and the content here and available, in case of an emergency. Understand it if you can but the rules are absolute.”
Amy growled. “ But I have to carry a gun, or else I cannot work today and there is a group waiting?!”
He got up and walked towards a different closet, he took out a rifle. “ Here, it is my private one. It is a good rifle too, old but you can trust her. I will give you an extra box of ammunition too, just in case.”
Amy moaned. “ Hell no Stanley, I haven’t fired a rifle more than five times damn it and the cursed thing almost broke my nose.”
Stanley made a grimace again and shrugged. “Sorry, it is the only alternative, if I break those rules I am out of here faster than a bat out of hell, they are very strict when it comes to the gun regulations. Just press it firmly against your shoulder if you should have to fire the rifle, the chances are that you are perfectly safe and never will have to use it at all.”
Amy sighed deeply. “ Alright, I will take the rifle but damn it Stanley, I don’t like it.”
He nodded. “I know, and believe me when I tell you I wouldn’t let you use it normally, I felled my first deer with that rifle.”
She took the rifle and it was heavy, she got two packs of ammunition and flung the rifle onto her back. She immediately felt like a different person and she cringed, oh how she hated guns!
She went to the square in front of the main building, trying to look calm and positive. She knew how to greet a group and catch everybody’s attention but damn it, it was hard with that fucking piece of steel and wood on her back. She felt as though it would fire itself and kill someone, she felt stiff and nervous with that rife on her back, not at all her normal confident self.
She stopped, stared at the group ahead of her. There were three groups gathered there, one consisted of a nun in a nice uniform and she was rather old, beside her was a group of kids, they were all rather quiet and stood in an orderly line. She did notice two rather small boys at the back of the group, they were unusually pretty with long blond hair and rather slender build and she frowned. Eight? Those boys had to be twins and they didn’t look as if they were a day more than six years of age. Too young, much too young.
The other group she saw was apparently a family, a woman with her husband and four children. She did notice that three of the children had to belong to the woman and they looked like her, brown hair and nice features. The fourth kid looked like the man, a boy of perhaps fifteen who stood there sulking with a very unfriendly expression upon his face. Amy cringed, she didn’t exactly envy the poor soul who had to guide that group, she sensed a family with lots and lots of tension within.
The third group stood alone at the back of the square, it was a group of more mature teenagers and she suspected that they came from the nearest college. She had seen their teacher before, he was teaching geology and she nodded to him and he smiled and nodded back. He was a middle aged man with a bit of a belly and a receding hairline but a very friendly attitude and she had liked him a lot when she had guided him and his classes before. The group was very typical for a college, she saw one girl who apparently was a bookworm who probably already knew more about the park and the volcano than the teacher did. Then there were a couple of very pretty girls who probably was tagging along just because they had to, the very archetype of a blond bomb shell. Amy knew the type, unfortunately. They were the kind who could ruin the entire trip for everybody complaining about everything and everybody.
There were three huge guys, probably football players and all handsome and all looked very bored. A thin small boy stood at the back of the group and he wore glasses so thick they made the bottom of a coke bottle look like a contact lens. The school nerd no doubt and then there was this one girl who stood leaning against the wall, clearly signalling that she didn’t give a damn about anything or anybody and that her most used method of communication was showing others her middle finger in certain obscene gestures. Amy smiled to herself, a goth. Wonderful, black black and more black and a face that looked as if she was using liquid paper as make up. The girl was pretty though, but goddamn it, what was it with that leather and spikes fashion that attracted these kids? It was terribly hot, rather uncomfortable and it did stink after a while. Well, they weren’t her problem at all.
She turned to the nun and smiled. “ Sister Margaret I presume?”
The woman nodded and her eyes were gentle, Amy was relieved. Some nuns were so stern and strict they made you feel as though they accused you of terrible crimes just by looking at you. “Oh yes, but do call me Margaret dear, sister is just for the other nuns. And these are my protégés.”
Amy stared at the two boys, they tried to hide behind the others and were staring at the ground. “I see, I am looking forward to being your guide today.”
Margaret smiled. “ Oh they have been so thrilled, all of them. None of them have been here before and they cannot wait to see the park.”
Amy smiled, the warm nature of this nun made her mood turn around 180 degrees and she started to look forward to the day again. “ I will do my best to give them a good tour sis…Margaret. We have had to close a few paths due to a landslide but there are other easy roads we can follow. Are all of the kids wearing good shores?”
Margaret nodded. “ Yes, and they have some food and drink with them as well and raincoats and a blanket each.”
Amy was impressed. “ You have come prepared, how wonderful. Some think they can hike through the park wearing crocs and a bikini.”
Margaret snickered. “ Well, you won’t see me in neither, I can assure you of that.”
Amy stared at the two twins, they were the most beautiful kids she had ever seen and Margaret noticed it. “ Those are the youngest of the group, they are probably autistic and don’t develop normally. The doctors cannot explain it, they are in fact at least twelve years of age but alas, they look like they are just five or six.”
Amy frowned. “ Some kind of syndrome?”
Margaret nodded. “ Yes, previously unknown too. They were found in a forest outside of the city two years ago, apparently abandoned and they didn’t speak any known language, just some gibberish nobody understood.”
Amy swallowed. “ Poor kids, are they doing better now?”
Margaret sent her a strained smile. “ A little, they do speak but prefer not to and it is very obvious that they have seen or experienced something rather horrible. But the forest seems to calm them down though, and they have a weird affinity for animals.”
Amy nodded. “ I have read that kids with autism often has that, they seem to understand animals better than humans.”
Margaret nodded and Amy saw that one of the other rangers entered the square. It was a girl named Nelly and she was just twenty years of age and a rookie. She would really have something to sink her teeth into today if she was to guide both the family and those teenagers. Amy snickered within, nobody really liked Nelly because she always tried to avoid doing her part of the shores there. She was just plain lazy but always bragging about how much she did and what a good worker she was. Amy detested such people and so did the others too. Sandra had in fact given that girl several warnings and one more would be the last. Amy almost hoped that Nelly would screw this one up, then it would be bye-bye Nelly.
Amy frowned, Nelly was actually staggering? And she looked rather green too? Was she sick? Holy shit, nobody was allowed to show up at work like that?! This was it for sure, Sandra would fire Nelly’s ass and good riddance. Nelly staggered and then she took an abrupt turn towards a garbage bin and started puking into it, rather violently. The teenagers squealed and the family backed away with expressions of disgust on their faces.
Amy rolled her eyes and smiled at Sister Margaret. “ Excuse me for a moment, my …co-worker seems to have a slight problem.”
Margaret just smiled gently. “ Don’t worry dear, take your time. We have got all day.”
Amy walked over and stopped, she just stared at Nelly who still puked. She could smell it, there was no doubt about it. Nelly was probably as drunk as a skunk and Amy felt a short sting of guilt. She was probably still a bit drunk too but she hadn’t known that she was going to have to go to work this morning. Nelly didn’t have a day off for yet another week. “ Goddamn it girl, is that whisky I smell?!”
She hissed it with a low voice and Nelly made a gargling noise and continued to empty her stomach into the garbage bin. She just nodded and Amy took a deep breath of air and smacked the girl across the back of her head. “ Idiot, we are short on staff already and you dare to show up for work drunk?! You are gonna get fired this time, I hope you know that!”
Nelly just moaned and Sandra came running and stopped and blinked, she stared at Nelly. “ What is the matter? Don’t tell me she’s got the flu? I cannot have someone running around spreading that shit to everybody.”
Amy shook her head, she felt a little triumphant, almost victorious. “ No, worry not, she is just drunk, smells like she’s been swimming in a barrel of scotch.”
Sandra gasped and her eyes went wide. “ Is that true? Oh fucking …”
She saw the nun and the kids and slapped a hand across her mouth with an expression of horror upon her face. “Oh I am so sorry, so sorry. I do apologize most sincerely, it has just been a morning from hell and …”
Margaret just smiled gently. “ I am not offended and believe me, the kids are used to curses. The janitor on the orphanage has a language that would make a mechanic blush.”
Sandra took a deep sigh of relief and turned towards Nelly. “ Thank you sister, and now young lady you are to deliver your uniform and all of your stuff for you are out of here, for good.”
Nelly just groaned and nodded and waddled off towards the locker room and the shower, she looked really truly like a beaten person.
Amy had a smile of bliss on her face, finally, Nelly was no longer a problem. Maybe they would employ someone who knew how to work properly.
Sandra turned towards Amy, she had a hard expression on her face. “ I just got a text message from Will, he has found some weird tracks up along the creek. They look canine but are enormous and he did also find some peculiar boot prints. He claimed that it looked as if someone had been riding the animal whatever it was. So, do keep your eyes open, this is just getting more weird by the minute.”
Amy remembered what Hank had said. Huge canines, she felt a chill running down her back. “ I will take the short round then, stay close to the lodges.”
Sandra handed her a brand new phone. “ Here, just in case. It is a satellite phone, it works even now. Don’t hesitate to call if something happens and I know I can trust you, or else I would have cancelled the tour, regardless of our financial loss.”
Amy turned towards the group, and blinked. “ What about Nelly’s group?”
Sandra looked at the ground. “ Amy, I know that…”
Amy crossed her arms over her chest. “ No, no way! I am not freaking guiding more than twenty people under such circumstances? It is against our rules damn it!”
Sandra seemed to shrink in front of her. “ Amy, I am begging you on my knees, do the short tour, follow the roads damn it. Just show them something!!”
Amy almost growled. “ You promised!”
Sandra rolled her eyes and clenched her teeth together. “ Alright, alright, fine. I will raise your salary from today, fifteen percent.”
Amy sighed, she needed the money, fifteen percent was far more than she could have hoped for otherwise. She grasped Sandra’s hand. “ It’s a deal, I’ll guide them.”
Sandra sent her a beaming smile and she immediately regretted the decision. But what the hey, the day had been crazy as hell this far so it couldn’t possibly get any worse now could it? She didn’t know that the worst was yet to come…