“Geez Grandma, you startled me. You shouldn’t sneak up on people.”
“And you shouldn’t be eavesdropping outside Martha’s door. They may open it and catch you. Come with me.” Grandma turned and lead me to the adjacent guest room. She opened the closet door and pointed to a hole in the wall between the closets. “It used to be an old flue,” she explained. “Step up on that,” she pointed to a step stool, “and you can hear plain as day what’s going on in there. That’s how I knew what they were up to when they were children.”
I was dumbfounded and just stared at her, blinking.
“What’s the matter with you Louisa? Did you go stupid on me?”
I did what grandma said and sure enough, you could hear everything that the twin Aunts were saying in the other room. Which at the moment was nothing because they had come into the room we were in!
“What are you doing, Louisa?” Myrtle asked.
I grabbed an old blanket off the top shelf and stepped off the step ladder. “Here ya go Grandma. I think it needs laundering before putting on the bed.”
“Yes, I think you’re right, dear. I’ll go put it in the wash,” Grandma gave me a quick wink and disappeared.
There was the Parting-of-the-Aunts to let Grandma pass then they reunited to block my way. I was tired and was starting to hope they weren’t going to lay into me about my unmade bed, shoes in the living room, being unmarried, helping with Christmas decorating, or some other lame thing that could wait until I’d slept. Then I remembered that I wan’t on the defensive; they were. If I could catch them off guard….
“Soooo….. I’m hoping you can help me,” I said. They blinked.
“This is missing from the attic,” I showed them a digital picture on my phone of the phone box from the crime scene. I made sure to scroll past pictures of Mr. Simon prostrate on the bed for dramatic effect. It worked.
“What the hell is that?” one of them asked.
“It’s a picture of a phone-shaped box.”
“No, the other picture. Is that a dead person?!” asked the other one.
“Oh, that. Yeah, he’s dead. The phone-shaped box was at the crime scene,” I stressed the word crime. Even though it’s not a crime scene – yet? – I thought it would crack their stony personalities. “I remember seeing one just like it in the attic and now it’s gone.”
“How can we help with that?” they said in unison.
“Well, for starters, you can tell me where it is. It was there, now it’s gone and I’m beginning to think that it isn’t a coincidence that Mr. Simon died the same night the box here disappeared. Let me remind you, the box, Jānna and their experiments are all part of a death investigation. If you don’t cooperate, you and grandma could get pulled into it. You don’t want that.” I tried to sound as official as I could.
The aunts turned to each other and without saying a word they carried on an entire conversation. Some sort of twin ESP I thought. Then I began to wonder…
To be continued…….