5. Chapter 5
Cliff’s cell phone chirped. “Text from Francesca,” he said. “It’s the number of the pyrotechnics company, Williams Fireworks”
I pulled my cell from my pocket and asked for the number. The phone rang twice before it was answered by a woman whose raspy voice belied years of smoking. “Hello, this is Police Detective Chamberlain. We have an emergency at your worksite over at the Gettysburg battlefield. There have been a series of unauthorized explosions injuring a large number of people.”
“Oh my God,” she exclaimed. “Is Jared there? He is my husband and runs the board, Jared Williams.”
I looked over at the three dead men and noticed one with salt and pepper hair and a goatee. I asked “Does Jared have a goatee?”
“Yes he does. Is he OK?”
“Mrs. Williams, can you tell me how many people you had on site today?”
“Ah yes, six. What happened? Where’s Jared?” She asked this time her pitch rising in panic.
“Please give me the names of everyone here.” I motioned for Claire to get the ID’s from the three deceased men to verify who we had and who we didn’t.
“There was Jared, our son John, and Peter Stockton from our company. Jared ran the board these days after hurting his back a couple of years ago. John was in charge of mapping out the explosive field based on Gettysburg’s requirements during the reenactment.”
“What did Peter do for the company?”
“He is an explosive expert. He used to be an army demolitions man.”
That accounted for the three dead men at Claire’s feet. “There was another company here?”
“Well technically, no. We subcontracted three people to help us out on this project. It’s our biggest of the year.”
“How long have you been involved with the reenactment?”
“This is our tenth year.”
“Do you always subcontract for this job?”
“No, but we had some employees call in sick following the company spring picnic. Salmonella poisoning is what the doctors said. They were laborers for the grunt work, moving crates and burying charges that sort of thing. They weren’t certified to lay any charges.”
“Who were they?”
“Two brothers, Fred and Simon Frost along with Laura something. I think she was Simon girlfriend but I can’t be positive. I never really asked.”
“Were they locals?”
“No, they had been asking for work a couple of weeks ago and it just so happened we need some extra hands after the illnesses from the picnic. Just before the celebration, most town folk have plenty of work to do so we were glad they were available.”
“Do you have a description of the Frost brothers and Laura?”
“Both the brothers have short cropped black hair and are big men, over six feet and at least two hundred pounds of muscle. Fred had a jagged scar on his cheek. Laura has long blonde hair that she keeps in a ponytail. She wasn’t a natural blonde though maybe a brunette.”
“What do they drive?”
“Detective what’s going on? Why aren’t you asking my husband these questions? Where the hell is Jared and John?”
“One last question Mrs. Williams, what do the Frost brothers drive?”
“A black SUV, an older Durango with some rust on the doors and hood.”
“Mrs. Williams, I think you better get down here right away. Is someone with you that can drive you down?”
“Yes, I can have Molly drive me,” she said and I could tell she was on the verge of tears. She knew somehow. Maybe it was because it was a dangerous business they were in or that I had avoided her questions, but she knew.
“Mrs. Williams, I am afraid your husband and son are dead. I am very sorry. Someone will meet you at the command tent behind Meade’s headquarters. Again, I am sorry,” I finished as I hung up the phone. At this point; there was nothing more for me to tell her.