All was quiet. ERNEST BECKINGRIDGE was still awake. It was only ten thirty but he and his partner Evelyn were taking the jet on an early commission to Luen in the next morning. A well earned break Ernest agreed. The office had kept him busy lately.
“Maybe we could just go to Luen and stay there,” the financial CEO had jested that afternoon as they sat at their usual table in Delphine – a fine dining restaurant in the wealthy town of FILTON.
“Now how would they ever function without you?” Evelyn put to him.
Ernest knew they would manage just fine. If it weren’t for his name and Gramps’ insistence, Ernest would have been the last person chosen to lead the financial powerhouse based at BECKINGRIDGE TOWER. His novelist sister, Elizabeth, would have been a better fit but his own dreams and aspirations came second to the expectations others had of him holding such a powerful family name.
It was a well earned break though because Ernest worked really hard keeping the board happy. They pulled the strings, he danced, he sang and they laughed as money filled their bellies.
Up and coming high fliers MR AND MRS HEATH had managed to gain an audience with Lynette Fullerton of Fullerton Construction and Joshua Coby of Coby Games. In a joint effort to fund a program to revitalise the SHANTIES.
It was a late hour for a meeting but the Heaths had managed to hold them down before making their way to a party being held in the Penthouse for clients and staff. Lynette Fullerton was an old money name in Coldford. Joshua Coby was new money. The young man was overwhelmed when his software development business became an overnight success with its game LONESOME NIGHTS.
“We’re going to have a bit of a chit chat with them before heading upstairs,” Mr Heath explained confidently that afternoon.
Ernest left them to it. The Heaths were hungry. It was they who had managed to convince Joshua that his money would be safest in the hands of BECKINGRIDGE FIRM.
Ernest had just began to doze off when his phone rang.
“Ernie,” Evelyn shook him. “Ernie, baby, answer the phone.”
Ernest fumbled for his spectacles and lifted the phone. The caller I.D. showed the smiling face of his secretary Bernadette.
“Hello, Bern …
Before Ernest could finish his greeting he was met with sobbing. Ernest sat up properly. Evelyn stirred beside him.
“Bernadette? What’s happened? What’s wrong?”
“They fell!” she wailed. “They fell from the roof.”
Ernest’s heart began to beat harder. He could feel his breath deepen.
“Who fell?” he asked.
Bernadette managed to compose herself enough to speak. “I just stepped out to the court yard for some air and a group of them were on the balcony. They jumped!”
Her voice quietened as she pulled away from the phone. “Is that more?” she asked someone beside her. “No!” she screamed. “Stop them!”
More screams erupted. Ernest could hear every note of fear in the voices of the stragglers, smokers and interested onlookers who had crossed the street from the WEIR HOTEL out of morbid curiosity.
“It’s still happening. That was more of them. I can’t get inside the building.”
“I’ll be there in half an hour. Stay where you are,” Ernest ordered.
He climbed out of bed and pulled a green, woolen pull over from the dresser. He slipped into it without removing the blue cotton pajamas he wore to bed.
“What’s happened?” Evelyn asked.
“I don’t know exactly. There’s been some trouble at the tower. People are jumping from the roof.”
“Oh no!” Evelyn gasped climbing out of bed. “Are you going down there?”
Ernest was now pulling a pair of faded blue jeans over his pajama trousers.
“I have to,” he said.
He tried to bend over to finish dressing. His glasses slipped off. Evelyn crossed the room, lifted his spectacles and affixed them back onto his face for him.
“I’ll come with you,” she stated.
Ernest shook his head. Now he was finally looking a bit more put together.
“I need you to stay here in case the police call.”
By the time Ernest Beckingridge got to the tower that bore his name it was over. The fallen 59 they called them. Clients and staff of the firm, Mr and Mrs Heath included. it would take a lot of cleaning up. Not just the blood, bodies or despair that littered the court yard where the statue of Jeffrey Beckingridge stood.
It was a long way down from the top.
Ernest is called to give evidence in the trial of KNOCK KNOCK Boss Lady, Tabitha. Giving an account of an event known as the Free Fall Massacre.
Click HERE to read Knock Knock Episode 17:
That’s not the only trouble at Beckingridge Manor. Ernest’s son, George, has been a complete handful lately. Enlisted to help is handsome, talented music teacher VINCENT BAINES in the hope that music lessons can give the little boy something more positive to focus on.