Now what? Dean wondered when he heard two sets of footsteps coming down the center aisle. His next thought was that Angela had finally decided to show up and had brought along reinforcements to alibi her being so late. He turned to look and was quickly debased of that idea. Two men had almost reached the row where he and the other crew heads were seated as they took notes on the rehearsal. The one who sported short, almost military-cut, blonde hair, stopped then bent to ask the lighting director something. He in turn pointed to Frank.
The man walked down to Frank, tapping him on the shoulder to get his attention. Frank looked up, obviously put out at being interrupted. Then man said a few words that had Frank on his feet seconds later.
“We’ll take a break for a few minutes,” Frank called out before returning his attention to the man. He nodded as he listened, whatever the man was saying apparently upsetting him. When the man finished, Frank clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention.
“Folks, this is Detective Reid Sutton. He’s brought us some disturbing news. I’ll let him tell you himself.”
Detective Sutton waited until everyone was quiet before speaking. “About three a.m. this morning the body of Ms Angela Westcott was found in City Park. She had been beaten severely enough that she died on the way to the hospital, without regaining consciousness.”
There were gasps of shock and words of disbelief from everyone present.
“Do you catch whoever did it?” Malcolm asked when he’d regained his composure.
“No, sir. That’s why we’re here. We need to talk to anyone who might have seen her last night.”
“That would be about half of us,” Jim told him, as he sat down on the edge of the stage. “A group of us, including Ange, were at Red Moon for a good part of the evening.”
“I was one of them,” Carrie said, sitting down next to Jim, her eyes still wide with shock.
Several other cast members and a couple of the backstage crew joined them, telling the detective they’d been there as well. Malcolm was the last to come over. He was obviously quite shaken as he said, “I arrived at the club later than the rest of them, and left almost immediately with Carrie and Jim.”
Detective Sutton nodded. “We’d like to talk to each of you individually. Mr Nester,” he said, turning to Frank, “is there a room we can use where we won’t be disturbed?”
Dean watched, wondering if he should tell the detectives about his set-to with Angela. He figured, reluctantly, that he probably should since several people knew about it now, so he joined the others sitting on the edge of the stage.
Frank, obviously torn between wishing the detectives would leave so the rehearsal could continue, and understanding that wasn’t going to happen, replied to Detective Sutton’s question by telling him he could use one of the offices. “If you don’t mind,” he added, “could you start with my three leads so we can resume what we were doing as quickly as possible?”
The detective nodded as his partner, a tall, dark-haired, pleasant looking man, joined him. Frank asked Malcolm to take them to one of the vacant offices, and the three men left the auditorium.
When they were gone Frank said, “All right folks. Since we seem to be at a stand still for now I suggest you try to relax, if that’s possible, and hopefully we’ll get back on track fairly soon.”
Dean stood, turning to Tayla who had been sitting with Malcolm. “If you’re up for it why don’t we work on refitting the costumes for you? I might take both our minds off of…this.”
With a wan smile she got up and they headed back to the costume shop.