Forbidden Fruit 7: The Worthington Emerald
The First Casualty ...
The clearing of the debris is well on its way when the Foreman, Jeff Murdock is called away to answer the telephone.
“Just keep putting that rubble in those containers.” Jeff instructs the crane operator William McGuire.
“You got it, Boss.” Will calls back. Everything seems to be going fine until Will unearths a newspaper that must have been used with the hotel.
“Now what’s this? Bert, come take a look?” Will beckons to Bert. “There seems to be some sort of newspaper.”
Bert walks over to take a look when the crane starts to move toward him.
“What the hell are you doing, Will? That’s not funny.” Bert hollers as the crane comes closer to him.
“I’m not doing a damn thing, Bert. This blasted machine seems to have a mind of its on. Run!” Will yells as he tries to turn the crane off, but it is totally nonresponsive.
Men scatter in all directions as the crane continues to gain on Bert. Will jumps from the crane and in doing so breaks his right leg. Bert circles around to dodge the out-of-control piece of machinery and doubles back just in time to pull Will out of the way before he can be crushed by the wayward contraption. After about 15 minutes, the commotion finally stops.
“I don’t care how much Worthington is paying—I’m getting off this assignment.” Bert decides moving toward his gear and heading toward the makeshift office.
“Did you see that?” Will says between mourns. “That blasted piece of junk almost killed Bert—and me too for that matter. I’m getting out of here, too.”
Both Jeff and Steve return to access the damage and question some of the men.
“An ambulance will be here in a few minutes, Will. Now can someone tell me what really happened. Cranes don’t start chasing after workers.” Steve declares shaking his head.
“Well—this one did!” Bert shouts.
“Calm down, Bert. Now what happened, Will?” Jeff questions.
“There was an old newspaper lying on the ground and it looked like it may have been a part of the original hotel. I thought that it would make a great souvenir for my son, who’s a history buff, so I asked Bert to take a look at it.” Will begins.
“Then, when I lifted that blasted newspaper up—the crane tried to attack me.” Bert interjects.
“Attack you?” Steve retorts in disbelief.
“Yeah, attack me. I mean it was all over the place. The men scattered and I was running like crazy.” Bert conveys.
“It was like a bucking bronco inside of that thing. I finally had to bell-out!” Will concludes. Steve motions to Jeff to take a look at the now docile crane. He calls back to Steve.
“It looks like the brake wire is loose and the pedal is stuck. That’s why the thing kept moving. There was no way to stop it and it keep going until it hit that concrete block.” Jeff replies, giving a perfectly logical explanation to the occurrence.
“I thought I told you to make sure the crane was is perfectly good working order?” Steve questions Jeff.
“I gave Will specific orders to take Crane #7 down to maintenance for a complete overhaul.” Jeff passes the responsibility on. “Well—did you?”
“Well, Boss—I was meaning to but—hey that doesn’t explain why the thing kept chasing Bert.” Will replies sheepishly.
“That’s right!” Several of the men join in chorus form.
“Simmer down, everyone. I think you’ve been spooked by the history of this place and imagining all sorts of things. Why don’t you all take the rest of the day off and I will speak to Mr. Worthington about the entire situation. Please—just remain calm and don’t spread any unnecessary rumors.” Steve reminds the men but unbeknown to him, a report for the New York Observer capture the entire incident with his smartphone.
How Could This Happen ...?
By 6:00pm it was all over the city that a runaway crane almost cost the lives of two construction workers. To say the least, Nathan Worthington is not a happy camper. Within minutes, he is on the phone to Steve Crenshaw.
“How could you let something like this be leaked out to the press?” An irate Nathan questions Steve.
“I had no idea this would happen. I informed my crew that no one should give out anything regarding this mishap.” Steve tries to smooth ruffled feathers.
“Mishap? You call this a mishap. They are saying that the curse of the Grand Worthington Hotel has emerged. Let me quote what was said—What has remained dormant for a century has reared its ugly head, once again endangering the lives of the citizens of this fair city.”
“I warned you about this folly, Mr. Worthington—Nathan. But you were insistent on completing this project. Some will look at it and laugh it off while others—” Steve let his voice drift off.
“This doesn’t change anything. I want those cranes and dump trucks out there the first thing in the morning. If your men can’t handle this project—then you give me no choice. Have I made myself clear, Steve?” Nathan drives in his point.
“Good. Have a nice rest of your day.” And, with that Nathan hangs up the telephone.
This time when it rings, it’s his wife, Cynthia. “Steve, I don’t think you should be doing this project. You remember what your grandfather said about the Grand Worthington Hotel and those women who died in the fire?”
“Cynthia, that was a long time ago.” Steve tries to pacify his wife.
“It’s all over the news, Steve. That place is cursed! I don’t think you should have anything to do with it. It’s not like we’re hurting for money, darling. Please—” Cynthia pleas with her husband.
“Darling, if anything else happens, I will talk to Nathan Worthington again. He’s already offered to get somebody else because of how this story leaked out.” Steve informs his wife.
“Then, next time he says this, take him up on the offer. I know Bert and Will. They are decent men. I play bridge with their wives. It would be devastating if something were to happen to either one.” Cynthia replies.
“Honey, it’s getting late and all the men are gone. Let me lock up and head for home. Love you, bye!” Steve hangs up the phone.
Steve looks around the shack before grabbing his hat and goes out the door. “You should listen to your wife.” A voice says.
Steve looks around, but he doesn’t see anyone. “Damn! Am I going crazy?”
“No, you are quite sane.” Steve feels a coldness envelope itself around him. The sun is hidden behind a cloud, but it will be going down in about an hour.
“Is there anybody here? Who are you?” Steve says, feeling very uncomfortable regarding the coldness around him especially since it’s a very pleasant spring evening.
“You have been warned.” The voice says and suddenly the air has return to its normal 73 degrees.
“There is something definitely wrong with this place.” Steve says to himself as he hurries to his car. Locking the doors, he takes a deep breath and backs out of the makeshift parking lot. Out of the corner of his eye he sees what looks like a shadowy figure. Putting his foot down, he quickly blends into the traffic not looking back.
To Be Continued ...
Forbidden Fruit 8: The Worthington Emerald
- Forbidden Fruit 8: The Worthington Emerald
Steve has been given a temporary reprieve from working on the Worthington Site. Bob Morton has put upon himself the task of clearing the last of the debris from the old Worthington Theatre. However, he doesn't plan on being defenseless when facing th
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