The Twins

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Chapter Three

“Stacey! Janny! Get up! Y’all know we got to see that lawyer fella this morning,” Aunt Jackie shouted to her nieces. “It’s money day!” Aunt Jackie marched into the twins’ bedroom. She was surprised to see that they were fully awake and that Stacey was applying makeup to Jannifer’s face. “Oh, my bad, I didn’t know that y’all were already up.” Aunt Jackie leaned against the door jam and stared at her nieces.

The twins said nothing.

“I know my sister couldn’t have shown you how to do that because she was all thumbs when it came to applying makeup. That’s some professional shit you’re doing, Stacey.” The twins said nothing as Stacey continued to work on Jannifer’s face.

Jackie Dubois, who had adopted the twins six months earlier, were the twins’ maternal aunt. She was a heavy set woman in her middle forties. She had no children of her own. After her sister and her brother-in-law had been killed, Jackie had put in the paperwork to adopt her nieces. It took two and a half years for her to get custody of her nieces; her drug problem was the reason. Aunt Jackie stayed clean long enough to get full custody, but now…

“Listen, before we leave, I want you two to go downstairs.”

Stacey and Jannifer hated going downstairs.

“I’m gonna give you some money, Stacey, to give to Tray.” Aunt Jackie disappeared. When she returned, she was holding an envelope full of cash. “Give this to Tray and he’s gonna give you something for me. Y’all know I can’t function without my medicine.” That’s what Aunt Jackie called her drugs. She held out the envelope to Stacey. “Here.”

Stacey stopped doing Jannifer’s face, and both twins looked at their aunt.

“C’mon, Stacey,” Aunt Jackie pleaded. “I don’t feel too good.”

Stacey and her sister hated buying drugs for their aunt. Stacey snatched the envelope from out of her aunt’s hand.

“Thanks,” Aunt Jackie said with a smile. “Now hurry up, ’cause we got to get over to that lawyer’s office… ’cause it’s money day,” she said as she did a little dance.

Terry and Linda McHill had left a will, which stipulated that if anything happened to them that their twin daughters would receive all their holdings. The McHill’s were worth over 10.6 million dollars. The McHill’s also stipulated in their will that if the legal guardian of their daughters wanted to borrow from the McHill’s estate they can do so if the money was used for the twins’ benefit. Aunt Jackie had plans for the money that she would borrow, but so did Stacey and Jannifer.

Aunt Jackie returned to the twins’ room to find Jannifer doing Stacey’s face. “C’mon you two…” Aunt Jackie pleaded, “For God sakes, Janny, she looks okay. Now would you please go and get my medicine?”

The twins looked at their aunt at the same time and said, “We’re going.”

Aunt Jackie said,” Good.” She stepped out of the twins’ room and disappeared down the hall.

Stacey and Jannifer checked each other out. The twins didn’t need a mirror--they were their own mirrors. The twins had short, brown curly hair, black pupils, and a light brown complexion.

Stacey’s makeup was flawless; and so was Jannifer’s. Stacey wore a tight fitting, black mini with a pair of white, New Balance running shoes. Jannifer wore a pair of white, Apple Bottom jeans and a pink and white tank top--she too wore a pair of New Balance running shoes.

“We’re leaving now,” the twins said in unison.

“Please, hurry up,” Aunt Jackie said from her bedroom.

Five minutes later, Stacey and Jannifer re-entered their aunt’s apartment and gave her the drugs. “Here,” they said, as Jannifer handed her the drugs. “We’re going to the store, Aunt Jackie--we’ll be right back,” Jannifer said.

Stacey and Jannifer stood in front of their aunt’s apartment building at 559 West 147th Street and checked their makeup again. They walked away from the apartment building for the last time, carrying the money that their aunt had given them to buy her drugs.

As soon as Isis exited her Durango, she began shouting orders, “Hey, you!” she said, pointing to a male officer. “Make sure that those people stay beyond the barrier.” Detective Taylor watched his new partner as she checked every officer on her way towards the crime scene.

“Are you always so…so…” Taylor was trying to find the right words. He didn’t want to alienate his hot-tempered partner. “...Forceful?”

“Yes,” Isis said as she stopped in front of a police officer who was standing guard at the building’s entrance. “You have to be. That’s the only way you’ll get respect. Don’t forget that, rookie.”

“I won’t,” Taylor said as he walked into the building behind Isis. The detectives walked up to an elevator where another police officer was standing. “Whatcha got?” Isis asked.

The police officer flipped open her notepad and said, “We got a body of an elderly man in the stairwell on the sixteenth floor and another one on the roof. The medical examiner is up there.” The police officer closed her notepad.

“Any witnesses?” Isis asked.

“Nobody came forward. You know how these people feel about cops.”

Isis pushed the button for the elevator as she glared at the officer.

“Sir...I mean, Detective, I didn’t mean for that to sound…”

“I know what you meant, Officer.” Isis pushed the button for the elevator again.

“Detective, the elevator’s broken.”

“So I’m gonna have to walk sixteen floors?”

The police officer shrugged her shoulders; and before Isis and Taylor could reach the door to the stairwell, the police officer said, “Detective, there’s one more thing…” The rookie police officer removed her hat and blotted her brow with her forearm.

“What is it, Officer?”

“Well...Detective, it’s the body…”

Williams pulled open the door to the stairwell and said, “It’s nothing that I haven’t seen before, Officer.”

You’ve never seen anything like what you’re about to see, Ms. Big Time Detective.

The smell inside the stairwell got worse with each step as the detectives climbed towards the roof. “My God it stinks in here,” Taylor complained just before he covered his mouth and nose with both hands.

“You’ll get used to it,” Isis said as she ascended the steps.

“You’ve been doing this too long, Williams.”

At the tenth floor, the detectives heard the sound of crackling radios. Taylor kept his eyes glued to the concrete steps as he avoided the human filth that littered the stairwell. “This is disgusting,” he said.

At the sixteenth floor, two young technicians were staring down at the body of an old man. “Detective Williams, what’s up?” one of the technicians asked.

“Whatcha got, Dean?”

“Mr. Anthony Jenkins, age sixty-seven…” The young technician paused as he glanced at Detective Taylor, whose face was twisted as if he was in pain. “Is he gonna be all right?” the tech asked Isis.

Isis turned to look at her new partner, shaking her head. “This is Detective Taylor...he’s my new partner.

The technician continued, “C.O.D. seems to have been a massive heart attack.” Taylor was staring at the feces that covered the dead man’s hands.

“Raymond is on the roof with the other body,” the tech said to Isis. “And get this: the body on the roof is the old man’s son.” Isis stared at the old man’s body and shook her head.

“The body on the roof is really messed up, Detective.”

Isis looked at her partner. “C’mon, Taylor. Let’s go have a look.” Taylor stepped over a pile of shit that someone had stepped in. As he stepped onto the roof, he began to wipe off his clothes, then ran his fingers through his hair and shook his head as if bugs were clawing in it.

“You okay, dude?” Isis said, grinning.

“What the hell are you grinning at?”

“Take it easy, dude, I was just…”

“Just what?”

“Never mind.” It took a lot for Isis to suppress her laughter. The first thing that Isis noticed were the boy’s clothing. They were all cut up. The body was sitting upright on a cushion-less metal chair, then she noticed all the officers that were on the roof looked grim. A forensic photographer frowned as she took pictures of the victim’s’ body. When Isis reached the body, what she saw made her bones quake. She’d turned away from the victim to get control of herself. Taylor had thrown up all over the female photographers’ shoes.

Isis took a deep breath, then she turned around to face the horror that was the victim.

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