Today, Leandra adds another installment to her steampunk mystery series, The Fifth Avenue Twins.
Leandra and Gwen
Back from the Graves
“New bank robbery,” shouted Tommy, knocking on James’ door. “On the corner of Bowry and Spring!” He knocked on Josephine’s door, conscious of the loud rattles indicating that James was strapping on his breathing apparatus.
“Carriage ready?” asked Josephine as she swung open her door, already dressed.
“That’s our Tommy,” stated James, emerging from his own room. “Shall we?”
~ ~ ~
As soon as they were seated in the carriage, Josephine strapped on her goggles and sent her butterfly in the direction of the bank. She listened idly to James and Tommy’s small talk as she navigated through the familiar New York streets but ignored it in favor of her work as soon as she reached the Germania Bank Building. It was clear of any police carriages (or any vehicles altogether) but that was no surprise; her surveillance bugs were far better than anything the police had.
She flitted around the building once before finding a cracked window-probably the thief’s entrance; definitely the butterfly’s.
“James,” she hissed, cutting off the previous conversation. “I just entered from the westernmost window of the first flow of the Germania. Which way to the vaults?”
“Why would I know that, Josie?” James shook his head. “I would think it’d be underground.”
Josephine snorted and steered the butterfly toward some descending stairs.
It turned out James was right, and she found the bank vaults being emptied by a suspicious character on the floor below. The thief was notably dressed in a threadbare black cape and a medieval plague mask, making identification difficult. They noticed the butterfly almost immediately, and, leaving their bag of money on the floor, ran forward and tried to grasp it, but Josephine was too fast and hovered the butterfly near the ceiling where it was out of reach.
At least, it ought to have been out of reach, except the figure ran to the adjacent wall, leapt off of it, and managed to snag a wing with their taloned gloves.
Josephine creased her forehead as she maneuvered her little machine free only for it to fall like a stone, pierced wing flapping uselessly. Soon, she would see the bottom of the culprit’s boot and have to make another automaton. To her surprise, the thief instead walked to the far wall and began to scratch a message to her captive audience with the same talon that took Josephine’s flight.
“How far are we?” intoned Josephine, not removing her goggles.
“Still ten minutes,” piped up Tommy.
“The robber will be gone by then.”
“Can you see any identifying features, Josie?” asked James.
“Short and thin, probably a woman. She’s caped with a plague mask.”
“Like those old-timey doctors?” Tommy asked, leaning his head in the open carriage window with interest.
“And, brother,” continued Josephine, “we’ve encountered her before.” She flipped up her goggles as he narrowed his eyebrows above his mask. “She left us a message: ‘Remember me?’”