The Price of Demand (Reintegration Edit 11)

Waldon grimaced. “I don’ like the smell of any ‘o this, Mr. Dolet. Sabotage or no, the men’re gettin’ to be a problem. Catch ‘im quick. Y’may not buy inta th’ superstitious side o’ things but they surely do.”

They were nearing the work site again; the number of people around them increasing by the minute. “It’ll ha—”

Before he could finish, a splintering sound from above alerted him.

“Mr. Dolet!”

He whirled to see it just as Waldon crashed into him, knocking him clear of a cascade of collapsing wooden scaffold and stone brick.

Altman gagged on a thick cloud of dirt and dust raised by the crash. “I … I’m okay, it … it missed me. What in the … Where did that come from!”

“Didn’ miss by much. Damn near flattened yeh.” Waldon’s face was locked in a scowl; he turned his attention to the wreckage after ensuring Altman was alright. “Scaffolding collapsed.”

“I don’t suppose this could have been simple shoddy work?”

“Neh, all the new men’re workin’ the market site. I put some ‘o this scaffoldin’ up myself jus’ yesterday. She was solid, I’d bet m’life on it. ‘Ad ‘er tied off tight at the roof.”

Altman poked about the rubble until he came upon some of the fastenings in the jumble of broken wood and stone. “Fastened with these?” He gestured at several thick leather straps. They looked plenty secure, or would have, had they not clearly been nearly sliced through and left to break.

Waldon’s face darkened with anger “Wha’? Blast … Well I’ll be. Heads’re gonna roll over this! When I find out who—”

“No, wait. Say nothing to anyone just yet. I have an idea … Would you round up two of your most trustworthy men and meet me out where the rocks run red with iron? I think I may just be able to get to the bottom of this.”