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The Eagle Chronicles 23: Gemini

Title: Gemini
Series: The Eagle Chronicles.
Word Count 1211
Summary Steven solves a murder involving twins




23 Gemini


Spring 1953

The body of Jonathan Bannister was discovered in the back of the garage. Acid stains marked his fingers, ruining the fingerprints. His face was scratched in spots, leaving very few places untouched. Positive identification had to wait until his brother arrived. Inspector Ian MacDouglass had been waiting for a real mystery like this instead of the trivial cases of missing pets that he usually encountered. He wanted to prove to those snobs in the CID that small-town inspectors were just as good.

He heard a speedster pull up in front of the garage. MacDouglass walked to the door to meet the brother, Thomas. It was not Thomas, though, it was someone Ian knew and wished he did not. He was tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and tan skin. "Ach, hello, Ian, me boy! How've you been?"

"What are you doing here, your Grace? You always seem to show up when something goes wrong."

"Is that a polite way to greet people, laddie? I'm just following up on a lead."

"What kind of lead would that be now?"

"Murder on the basis of greed."

"What are you talking about?"

Before he had a chance to answer, another car pulled up. A young man jumped out. "Which of you is Inspector MacDouglass?"

Steven laughed and pointed at Ian. "He's your man."

The youth looked at Steven before he turned to MacDouglass. "I'm Thomas Bannister. May I see my brother now?"

"Certainly, Mr. Bannister. Right this way." He glared at Steven over his shoulder, warning him to stay back. Steven got the hint and followed slowly at a distance.

Thomas nodded. "That's him. That's Jonathan."

"Are you sure?" asked Ian.

"Good God, man! We were identical twins! I should know him when I see him!"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Bannister, we just have to be sure. The coroner should be here soon to diagnose the cause of death. When he is done, you can make the funeral arrangements." Thomas nodded dumbly.

Steven walked up beside MacDouglass. "So, that's Jonathan Bannister. Not a pretty sight. I just saw him yesterday in London. Must have been on his way here."

"What were you beginning to tell me before?"

"It'll have to wait, Ian, laddie. Didn't your mum teach you not to be so inquisitive?"

MacDouglass fumed but kept control. "I hope you tell me before anything else happens."

Steven laughed as he walked out to his car and drove off. He parked down the road and waited. Five minutes later, he saw another car come out. After it passed him, Steven pulled out and followed. After a few blocks, Thomas Bannister pulled into the driveway of a well-kept house. Steven figured it must be his fiancee's house. He parked across the street and settled down for a long wait.

*****************************************************

There was a knock on the door. Catherine Wainwright uncurled herself from her reading and went to answer it. Thomas stormed in. "Jonathan's dead. I had to identify the body. He was in the garage. It was horrible. When the coroner's done, we'll be able to have the funeral."

"Oh, my God! I just saw him last week. But wasn't he in London?"

"He must have come back last night. God, I can't take this. Let's get out of here. Let's get married right away. We can go to the Isle of Wight!"

"This is so unlike you, Thomas. Yesterday you said you wanted to wait until you got your pay rise."

"I'm allowed to change my mind, aren't I?" His voice got louder. "C'mon, pack up! Let's go!" He took two strides towards her, grabbed and held her tight. He then kissed her roughly on the lips.

"You're not Thomas! You're Jonathan! You killed him! You killed Thomas!"

He hit her and she screamed. "You fool! I've got more than he ever had! You can live better with me!" He stood over her as she cried. "Stop whimpering and go pack. I'll be waiting for you."

************************************************

Steven heard a woman scream. He jumped out of the car and ran up the front walk. He opened the door slowly. He could hear Thomas telling the girl to go upstairs. Steven waited until the girl had gone before he made an attempt at conversation. "Aren't you being a bit harsh with her, Dear Heart?"

Bannister wheeled around to see a smiling face with sparkling blue eyes. He recognized the man that had laughed at him outside the garage. "What are you doing here?"

"Coming to see how you're handling your brother's death. Seems as though you're doing quite well...Jonathan."

"I'm not Jonathan!" The bluff did not work. He could not control his anger.

"It won't wash, Jonathan. I know you were in London this morning. I followed you myself. I'm not the only witness either. I have friends in London who also saw you. Plus Catherine."

"Why were you following me?"

"I know your uncle is on the way out and was leaving his inheritance to the two of you. I knew you were the greedy one and a bit on the violent side. Therefore, I suspected that you might be the one to do something. It wasn't very hard. At this point, I doubt your uncle is going to leave you the money."

Jonathan seemed very jumpy. "Where is that girl?"

"She's probably done the smart thing and called the police." He said the last three words louder than the rest.

He did not have a long time to wait until he heard sirens heralding the arrival of the enforcers of justice. There was a knock on the door. "Open up! Police!"

"C'mon in, Ian. Jonathan here was just regaling me with the tale of his prowess."

Inspector MacDouglass opened the door to find Steven Taylor face-to-face with a nervous Thomas Bannister. "What's all this?"

"Well, laddie, this is Jonathan Bannister, late of the late."

"Jonathan Bannister is lying on a slab in the police morgue."

"You're wrong there. Witnesses will prove Jonathan Bannister murdered his twin brother and took his place for the sake of money. He came down early this morning from London, lured his brother into the garage and killed him. He used the acid after death. People here thought Jonathan was going to be in London till at least tomorrow, and no one would have suspected him of taking Thomas' place. People knew Thomas was here, so he could easily pretend to be him. So he immediately drove up and claimed to be Thomas."

"How did you figure this all out?"

"I saw Jonathan yesterday in London when I was with friends, so I was suspicious from the start. I followed him here, and Catherine, Thomas' fiancee, gave the real clue. She knew, after a few minutes, that it was not Jonathan who was dead, but Thomas. A man may be able to hide himself by changing his outward appearance, but he cannot change his personality, his inner self."

MacDouglass took out his handcuffs and placed them over Jonathan's wrists and arrested him for murder. He paused going out the door and said, "This is probably the fastest any case has been solved. Too bad you're not a cop."

Steven laughed. "If I were, what would the rest of Scotland Yard do?"

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