Karl Fairly had obtained a picture of Roger, or Frank as he was known to the railroad Foreman. Every worker that signed on to the work party had their pictures taken for record keeping purposes. It was like a police mug shot Karl thought. One picture from straight on and one of each side profile.
Roger was wearing a tee shirt for the picture and Karl noticed in one of the profile pictures the airborne tattoo on his arm. It was partially obstructed by the shirt sleeve but Karl recognized it. When the photos were taken the men were not previously notified.
As they were going through an orientation session at the railroad headquarters they were told to line up for the photos. It was a hot day and Roger had on only the tee shirt. He had no way to hide the tattoo for of photo. He certainly would have if he was able to. He knew this exposed him, but there was nothing he could do at the time. Karl sat in his office studying the photo. He had never met Roger but looking at the picture he felt as though he knew him. Karl lifted the blotter on his desk top and pulled a photo off the desk. He studied it for a moment.
It was a photo of Karl and three other men. They were standing in front of a Humvee in the desert somewhere near Afghanistan. The patches they wore on their BDU shirts were different than the tattoo on Rogers arm, but they identified the men as airborne rangers nonetheless. Although a generation separated them, Karl felt that this mystery man could be his Brother .
Karl sat alone pondering the situation at hand. He had three dead men. One, Jillian and this man had witnessed murder the other unidentified stranger. He was a railroad worker but that was all they knew about him. He was alone in town and had come on the first train to join the work party. Karl knew even less about the stranger who stepped forward to save Jillian and the children. A railroad worker as well. He witnessed the murders also and had some knowledge of or ties to the murderers.
He may or may not have been prior military. In his sixties, fit and average looking, grey hair and no facial hair. He also had a picture of this man and a name which he had no way of knowing was fake. Even though he suspected It was. Then he had a third man associated with murderers who had fled the scene. He was definitely wounded as Karl recovered evidence of blood from the scene at the alley entrance by the street into which the man fled. No record of him with the railroad or anywhere else. In less he died somewhere from his wound and his body turned up, Karl figured he was long gone at this point.
No casings recovered at the scene which meant Karl didn’t know what caliber of gun the man was shot with. Karl had recovered a cigarette butt under the chair outside Rogers tent. He placed it in a sandwich bag and put it in his jacket pocket. There was no doubt DNA on it. Even though he couldn’t run it currently, he knew some day those systems would likely be back up and running.
This was the only hard evidence they had that could connect them to Roger. Then he thought about Jillian and the kids. He stared at Rogers picture. The man he knew as Frank. He slid the picture into a file folder along with the notes he took while talking to Jillian yesterday. He also put in the file notes he had taken from interviews with the railroad Foreman and two men that had spent time working with Roger. He placed the folder in his file drawer and closed it.
He looked out the window into the street. He decided not to further question Jillian. She had been through enough. He would send the railroad records photo of Roger with the fake name on it back to the railroad headquarters in the city. He would have it posted on the public bulletin board looking for friends or family.
He would investigate further into this man if and only if someone came forward from that inquiry. He decided to spend any efforts in this matter searching now for the wounded murderer that fled the ally. He was not optimistic about his chances of making much progress in this direction. Still he would keep the case open and see if anything turned up. Somewhere inside himself Karl hoped that nobody would come inquiring about Roger.
He was more than OK with just letting him fade away. Although he couldn’t declare it publicly, Karl too was of the opinion that this man was a hero. That opinion would be reinforced every time he looked at Jillian and her two youngest children. Every day for the rest of their lives was a day they would live because of this stranger. Karl hoped he never saw or heard of this man again.
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