Two nights later, reporter Nancy Sayers got a tip about another accident, this time just outside a warehouse near downtown Sulla. She raced over there in her car. She arrived about twenty minutes later.
A crowd surrounded the police, the paramedics, and the accident victim. Some crates were piled near the crowd; she climbed up a few of them so she could see. The victim, a young white male, was impaled through the belly on the left of the raised blades of a forklift. The paramedics were trying to remove the body from the blade; blood was splattered everywhere.
“Oh, God!” she gasped, wincing at the sight.
A bicycle lay on its left side just by the forklift and immediately after a huge pothole. Nancy assumed that it was the victim’s, him having fallen after hitting the pothole.
He must have been drunk or stoned not to have seen such a big pothole, she thought.
“Come on, all of you!” a police officer shouted. “Make room, clear the way! We’ve gotta get the body to the coroner, and we can’t do that with all you people in the way!”
The young man’s body was on a stretcher now and being carried into the ambulance. The crowd was dispersing, except for a few reporters.
“No reporters!” the cop said angrily. “Get outta here. I’ll answer your questions at the station. I won’t have much to say beyond what we see here, because I have to wait for the coroner’s report. C’mon, people. Go!”
Nancy noticed that the forklift blade the boy’s body had been impaled on was chipped and jagged at the edge. Small wonder it cut clean through the body. But why would such a defective forklift be kept for use at a warehouse?
Two days after writing up and publishing her brief, initial story on the death–which didn’t have much to say beyond the fact that the young man’s name was Tor, he was 23, and it was his bike–she heard the coroner’s report. As with Ari, Tor was neither drunk nor stoned at the time of the accident.
How could a sober guy have missed that pothole? she wondered. I interviewed his parents just before publishing my story, and they said he had no suicidal or self-destructive tendencies at all. He was always a happy boy. Just like Ari, this was an accident that should never have happened. It makes no sense at all!
The time of death was estimated at about 6:30 in the evening, a pretty accurate estimate given how quickly his body was discovered and sent to the coroner, about 10:00 that night. There were clear signs of lividity in Tor’s body, but rigour mortis hadn’t set in yet, so he couldn’t have been dead for more than three to four hours upon discovery of his body.
The bicycle was definitely his, for Nancy learned from her interview of his parents that they’d bought it for him as a birthday gift a year ago. Since he’d been riding his bike at around 6:30 in the evening, the sun hadn’t set yet, so Tor had plenty of light to see that large pothole in the road by the forklift. He was perfectly sober, and known to be an excellent bicyclist–he had won several trophies in bike races in his teens, and habitually rode every day.
It doesn’t make any sense at all that he hadn’t noticed the pothole, she thought. Yet it seems he rode right into it, causing him to fly off his bike and onto the forklift blade.
As odd as it was that the blade he hit had a jagged edge, it was even odder to see the blades raised up to about five feet in the air.
It was as though someone had premeditated, planned out his death, she thought. What living person could have done such a fantastic thing? It was like something right out of The Omen, a conspiracy of demons.
Then, Nancy remembered Ari’s accident, and how odd that death was.
Nah, they couldn’t be connected, she thought. I’m thinking crazy now.