Freyja grabbed her sandwich and coffee and followed the news editor.
The boardroom was a long, narrow space between the corridor and the exterior wall of the building. On one side was a dramatic view of the harbor on the other the glass partition looked across the rabbit warren that was the newsroom. Freyja could see the publisher, Everett Farmsworth, in discussion with a man and a woman, both wearing authority and impatience along with power suits of dark blue.
“This is Freyja Brynjarrson, the freelancer that took the pictures,” Warren said.
“Freyja?” The publisher had no idea who she was
Farmsworth made the introductions. “This is Bob Weldon, Special Advisor to the Attorney General.” The older man reached across the table and shook her hand. He looked tired and rumpled. “And, Stephanie Taggert-Dean, Executive Assistant to the Premier.” The woman nodded and frowned.
“Thank you, Warren,” Farmsworth said. “We know where to find you.”
Warren did a quick about face and left.
“Sit down, Frieda.” The publisher indicated the chair at the end of the long table across from Weldon.
Freyja sat, Weldon studied her, Taggert-Dean paced and looked out the window.
“We’ll take it from here,” Weldon said, without looking at the publisher.
The publisher appeared nonplussed, but quickly recovered. “Come by my office when you’re through here, Bob.” He followed his editor out the door.
“What’s this about?” Freyja said.
“You took pictures of the demonstration yesterday,” the man said. It wasn’t a question. “Tell us about it.”
“What’s to tell?” Freyja sipped her coffee and unwrapped her breakfast. The sandwich was soggy and smelled like the beach when the tide was out. She hesitated then took a bite. Not as bad as she imagined.
Weldon rubbed a meaty hand over his sagging face. “Who assigned you to cover the march?”
“No one. I’m a freelancer. I shoot what I want, hence the “free” in freelancer.”
“I’d get rid of the attitude, young lady. Look, you’re in a shit load of trouble.”
Taggert-Dean apparently was going to be the “bad cop.”
“Have you sent these pictures to any other publications, put them on the internet, showed them to anyone?” Weldon said.
“Just answer the question.” Did you –”
Weldon held up his hand and his associate fell silent. “They may be material evidence in the investigation.”
“Warren’s the only one who’s seen them.”
Weldon and Taggert-Dean exchanged a glance. They seemed to relax.
“So far.” Freyja smiled.
“Don’t get smart, young lady.” Taggert-Dean said.
“Do you know Martinek Vasek?” Weldon said.
“Who?” His question caught Freyja off guard. Why did they want to know about Marty?
“Vasek,” said Taggert-Dean. She’d stopped pacing in exchange for flicking the top of a gold cigarette lighter. Open, closed. Open, closed. “He’s one of the demonstration organizers and a “person of interest” in this investigation.”
“No.” Why she was protecting Marty she didn’t know, but besides scaring her, these people were pissing her off.
“Why did you run away when the authorities tried to talk to you?” said Weldon.
“Hey, those soldiers just shot a bunch of innocent people. I was heading for cover.” Freyja reached for her coffee. Her mouth was dry.
Taggert Dean slammed the lighter down on the table with the flat of her hand.
Freyja ducked. The noise sounded like ...like a gunshot.
“We’ve got the whole thing on video tape.” Taggert-Dean leaned across the table. Freyja could smell her breath, sour from cigarettes and coffee. “Look, you’d better start cooperating. That was an illegal demonstration you took part in–”
“I didn’t take part, I just stumbled into it.” Freyja trembled. Her stomach twisted. The sandwich and coffee churned. These were powerful people. They could make things happen and what they couldn’t do themselves, they had access to those who could.
“Look, don’t play stupid. You and Vasek come from the same neighbourhood, went to catholic school together. If you know his whereabouts and don’t tell us you could be aiding and abetting a felon. That’s a serious charge.” Taggert-Dean stepped back, folded her arms and waited.
“I don’t know where Marty is.” So much for protecting Marty, besides what the hell was he involve in?
Taggert-Dean rolled her eyes and Weldon emitted a heavy sigh.
Freyja’s appetite was gone. She began rewrapping her sandwich. “What do you think Marty did?”
“Vasek counseled citizens to break the law. That could make him culpable.” Weldon pinched the bridge of his nose and rubbed his eyes. He seemed to be having a hard time staying awake.
“Those soldiers fired into a crowd of unarmed people.” Freyja’s voice betrayed her. It came out in sob. “How can that be justified?”
“There’s some question as to whether they were fired on first,” Taggert-Dean said.
“No fucking way!” Freyja jumped up, her coffee spilled on the table and spread towards Weldon’s lap. “They just pointed their guns and shot them. Women – a mother and her daughter...” The image flashed into Freyja’s mind and left her speechless. She slumped back into her chair.
“It’s still under investigation. The evidence is inconclusive–”
“Leave it alone, Stephanie.” Weldon changed seats and let the coffee drip on the floor.
“The government is not admitting–”
Taggert-Dean went back to flicking her lighter.
“Frieda, is that how you pronounce it?” Weldon cocked his head.
Weldon took a pen and notebook from his breast pocket. “F-R-?”
“F-R-E-Y-J –A. Last name Brynjarrson.”
Weldon’s head jerked up. He blinked rapidly, “Brynjarrson?”
He clicked his pen and closed his notebook. He looked at Taggert-Dean. “We need to talk.” They both left the room.
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