Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
The Worthington Theatre Disaster ...
So, with the money he gets from his father and additional promises of backing from some New York investors, Corky establishes The Grand Worthington Hotel and Theatre. He also possesses a beautiful home built for himself and his bride Daphne.
As time passes, it is proven that Corky is not as investment savvy as he thinks. Not only does he lose almost all his money but his beautiful home as well.
After writing to both his parents—his mother persuades Chester to aid their son. Corky’s father won’t save the house, but he buys both the Hotel and Theater and give them back to Corky. However, Chester keeps the deed in his own name. Only after the death of both parents will ownership revert back to Corky. And, if Corky has no offspring—the descents of Matthew inherit with the stipulation that neither the Grand Hotel nor Theatre can ever be sold.
“On your mother’s insistence I will give you the money, Corky. However, I will not relinquish the deeds to you. I will keep both the deeds to the hotel and theatre in my name. The house—you must forfeit.” Chester explains.
“Where will I live?” Corky asks.
“In that Grand Worthington Hotel, that’s where.” Chester states.
Corky resides in the Worthington Hotel with his wife and operate the Theater with the help of Bruce, an elderly man, as the maintenance helper. Corky never knew that Bruce was once a successful performer but because of poor financial management, he lost everything.
The Hotel/Theater becomes quite successful because Corky hires extraordinary talented mostly Black actors/singers and pays them wages which were good at the time for Black performers but not compatible with what white performers make in the 1920s. So, he saves money and only occasionally uses well-known European actors.
There are a few problems with the theater such as the sticky emergency exit door but since it was rarely used—Corky doesn’t think it is necessary to keep it in repair. Also, the sprinkler system was faulty. The Hotel on the other hand, exceeds standards because it also served as living quarters. Nevertheless, since the theater is only for entertainment—it suffered from lack of continued maintenance.
On the day of the fire, there are electrical problems that the inspector tells Corky needs to be attended to soon, but he prefers to install a special sewing room instead at his wife’s request in the hotel. Daphne knows that if she hadn’t insisted on that room; there would have been money to correct the wiring problem that leads to the death of both Yvette and Angeline.
Daphne is enchanted with the Worthington Emerald and refuses to go anywhere without the ring. When she is at the theater watching a performance of The Little Foxes, she takes her ring off in the restroom to wash her hands. Daphne rushes back not wanting to miss curtain call—leaving the ring on the large mirror. She doesn’t think about it again until the fire.
Corky sends the sisters Angeline and Yvette back to retrieve the ring when they get stuck behind the faulty stage door. Corky is in shock, Daphne is terrified, and Bruce wants to rush back into the burning theater through the front door. Corky won’t allow it and the three of them listen in horror as the two sisters burn to death. After the tragedy, the ring is never found.
Because of the circumstances surrounding the catastrophe, Daphne begins to find solace in alcohol and drugs. She complains to her husband constantly of hearing the two sisters screaming to her for help.
“I tell you Corky, those girls blame me for their death. I continuously hear their agonizing screams as they struggle to get that doors open.” Daphne laments.
“Well—it was you who insisted that I have that blasted sewing room constructed.” Corky accuses.
“So, you also think that I am to blame for those poor girls death?” Daphne begins to cry.
“I’m sorry my pet. Why don’t you take a warm bath and relax?” Corky suggests.
“Perhaps you are right.” Daphne says.
Giving Corky a kiss on his forehead, Daphne leaves to enter the private bathroom. It is luxurious—there are exotic painting and gold ornamented fixtures. It doesn’t take long before Daphne is up to her neck in warm bubbles. An eerie silence envelops the room as the water turns slowly from amber to red. Daphne looks up to see the faces of Angeline and Yvette. In utter shock she is unable to move or scream.
The next morning, Daphne Worthington is found dead in her bathtub—the ring mysteriously clutched in her hand. No one knows how Daphne came in possession of the ring or why she drowned in the tub. The water had been drained and there were only a few suds that remained at the bottom.
Corky never recovers from the death of the three women and dies from heart failure. Not too long after Corky dies, the ring disappears again. Bruce has kept a diary of the events from the 1920s and this diary was found 80 years later and donated to an antique store. It is the passage of 20 more years before the diary is rescued from the antique shop and surrendered to and read by the remaining Worthington relatives at an astronomical price. It was decided that if this journal was ever in the hands of unscrupulous people—blackmail would be the results.
They Say It’s Haunted ...
It is now the year 2020. Pamela (Pam) Worthington, wife of Nathan (Nate) Daniel Worthington stares blankly at the dilapidated theatre and the still stately hotel. Nate and his family are the only living heirs to the Worthington Estate. She speaks to her husband.
“What do you think of the old man’s diary. There seems to be a lot of misfortune connected with this place.”
“We don’t have any use for that theatre, but the hotel looks good considering how old it must be.” Declares Nathan ignoring his wife’s comments.
“I don’t like it, Nate—I just don’t.” Pam shakes her head and then eyes something shiny in the rubble. “Hey—what’s that?”
It resembles a ring, but it is packed down with dirt and soot. “Why it looks like a ring—you don’t think ...” Remarks Nathan, taking the filthy object from her and holding it up to the light.
“Can it be the emerald?” Cries Pamela in astonishment and fear.
“I don’t know, but I am definitely going to find out. That thing is worth a small mint.” Nathan replies, eyeing the ring speculatively.
“Nate—according to that old man’s diary, this thing has a legacy of death. Your great grandfather was old Corky’s brother. Didn’t anyone in your family ever tell you about the legend?” Pamela probes.
“No, every time I would try to broach the matter, the subject would always be changed. Constantly heard someone say—let the past stay buried.” Nathan admonishes.
“I don’t like it here, Nate. Let’s go find a hotel.” Pam looks around the ruins uneasily.
“Okay, but in the morning I am going to get the power turned back on in that hotel. Plan to have that theatre torn down, if it will make you feel any better. The hotel, however, can be expanded, and will truly be grand again. We’ll make a fortune.” Nathan proclaims, looking at the surrounding area.
“Why don’t we just sell this place and return to London?” Pam questions.
“Sell it—why should we sell it? My father and Michael have thrown everything into those damn charities of his. Good for our public image, he says. They even plan on turning Chester’s house into some blasted museum. I refuse to live penniless in London when I can be the owner of a luxury hotel.” Nathan states.
“But we aren’t penniless, my love.” Pam interjects. “Besides, they say this place is haunted.”
“Nonsense—anyhow that happened so many years ago and wasn’t it at the theatre, my Pet?” Nathan coos giving Pam a little smile.
“Yes, but what you plan on doing is going to be built right over that place. Please, Nate—I get a very bad feeling about this.” Pam implores.
“I don’t want to hear another word. That’s final!” Nathan ends the conversation impatiently and heads toward their waiting car.
To Be Continued ...
Forbidden Fruit 3: the Worthington Emerald
- Forbidden Fruit 3: The Worthington Emerald
Nathan thought that his father would be overjoyed to discover that he had found the Worthington Emerald. But, to his surprise, that was the last thing his father Liam wanted to hear! "Why don't you just sell it."
© 2019 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS