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.Surrounded by a series of walkways, trimmed bushes, and the occasional shade tree, it offered everyone a pleasant place to hang out or prepare for an upcoming class.As much as he wished the janitorial staff would be expanded to maintain those areas, Horace also appreciated the idea of having the job security it afforded.He was the lone groundskeeper on staff that liked to clean up the outside areas.As a result, he was given the task on almost every occasion.The one part he hated with a passion was cleaning the rest rooms.Every time he stepped into them, he wondered if those people ever cleaned up at their home.Considering he could be helping to trim the trees by the parking lot instead, he couldn’t bring himself to blame the people-turned-animals.He checked his watch: Eleven-thirty, which left him just over five hours until quitting time.Oh well, things could be worse.That thought brought his mind back to the man he and Steve came across the day before.Although he didn’t know him well, he did wonder if everything was alright.Franklin assumed the man was scheduled to be released soon, if he wasn’t already.Horace paused in emptying the trash and leaned against the tiled sink counters.This was the first chance he had to think about Janice instead.He was certain he’d be forgiven for his oversight, given he was only a cog in the grand scheme of things.As he thought about it, the whole thing struck him as odd.To his knowledge no one else had seen the meteorite, at least no one said anything.Even the paper and news hadn’t mentioned anything; it was far better for ratings to talk about shootings, missing persons, and, of course, celebrity divorces than actual news, but the Heights Gazette? With absolutely nothing of interest in the sleepy town of Tarken Heights, why hadn’t they printed something about it?The answer wasn’t pleasant, but far more reliable.It didn’t happen and he was right in thinking Steve imagined seeing it.But if he didn’t, there wouldn‘t have been a reason for them to have been on 66 and Franklin could still be lying out there, maybe even dead.The thought sent a shiver up Horace’s spine.That was a topic he didn’t want to think about.He’d always had issues about death, even discussing the topic in a play or book unnerved him.Maybe it was for that reason he had the sudden idea to call Janice.Whatever the reason, he pulled his cell phone from his pocket and pressed the quick dial button her number was assigned to.He had a huge favor to ask.*****“Mr.Bowen, I presume?” Fulton Drake inquired of the young man lying in the lone bed.Fulton knew he had the right room and person.He hated to be rude, especially to someone in the hospital.It took some effort, but Doug Townsend was an intelligent man and he understood the importance of Fulton’s presence so he allowed him to see his patient.Franklin glanced at the man in the doorway and motioned for him to come in.“That’s me.I assume you’re a lawyer or insurance agent.”The man smiled at him.“That’s right.How’d you guess? Fulton Drake, at your service.” Fulton glided across the room and extended a card toward Franklin in one hand while holding a briefcase in the other.Franklin wondered about his visitor’s mentality after asking such a question.The dark brown suit was the first giveaway, and the fact the man’s shirt probably cost more than Franklin’s hospital-supplied gown and slippers didn’t hurt his deduction.Instead of the sarcastic reply, he responded more diplomatically than he intended.“Between your suit and the fact I’m in the hospital, they seemed like a safe choice.Were you an undertaker, I’d like to think you wouldn’t be talking to me just yet.”Fulton’s face split into a broad smile.“I’m pleased to see you’ve been able to keep a sense of humor through such a hard time.” Franklin nodded his appreciation before Fulton continued.“I’m Fulton Drake.I believe you’ve met my boy, Steve?”Under normal circumstances Franklin knew he would’ve had to ask who but since he gained his new friend, he remembered everything clearly.Except for when you died.He shook his head to chase away the voice then nodded toward his visitor.“My apologies, I sometimes have to shake a name loose.” It was a lie, but wasn’t like Fulton could read minds.“He helped bring me here.He’s a good guy.”Fulton nodded, smiling as he took a seat in the cheaply upholstered chair next to the bed.“After he hit your car?”Franklin eyed him.“Obviously.”“So you saw him hit your car?” Fulton opened his briefcase and took out a manila folder.“No, I was…” Dead.Preoccupied [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]