The Mastin Twins - Chapter 8 - Discoveries
Chapter 8 - Discoveries
Before Jimmy's dad could sit down again the phone rang. He quickly answered it.
"Oh, sure. Just a minute."
"Kathleen, it's your mom. She wants to talk to you." He handed the phone to her.
She listened then said "We can't come home now, the Sheriff is coming and wants to talk to us."
She listened some more. "We found old Mr. Mastin's diary in Jimmy's bureau and it says some stuff about what happened. That's what the Sheriff wants to talk to us about."
"Ok, we'll be here."
Kathleen hung up and about-faced before saying "Mom and Dad are coming over. They want to know what's going on."
The Faheys rang the doorbell just as the Sheriff was coming up the driveway in his patrol car. Jimmy opened the door and all three came inside joining the children and Vaskelis adults in the living room.
The Sheriff looked around pretending to glare at the children.
"Seems like every time I meet up with you kids there's some kind of trouble! You want to show me that book you found?".
Jimmy's dad motioned at the coffee table where the journal was sitting. The sheriff picked it up and thumbed through it.
"Where's the part about recognizing this guy from the army?" he asked.
"The last few entries talk about that", volunteered Jimmy.
The Sheriff read for a minute then put the book down. Mr. Fahey promptly took it and started reading, his wife reading over his shoulder.
"Hmm, any idea who this Frank Wheaton fellow was?", asked the Sheriff.
"We were thinking perhaps it was Phillip Stroud", suggested Jimmy's mom.
The Sheriff frowned. "That's a pretty serious accusation. Do you have any evidence?"
The Faheys finished reading and looked up while Kathleen gave the reasons for their suspicions. When she was finished the Sheriff sat awhile thinking.
"Well it seems possible I guess. Now you said something about finding this book in a bureau. I'd like to see where that was."
Jimmy led everyone down the hall to his room. The bureau drawers were still stacked on the bed except for the one with the broken bottom which was on the floor. The Sheriff picked up that one and examined it. Then he looked at the bureau.
"What makes you think this bureau was the Mastins?"
Jimmy showed him where the initials W.M & F.M. were carved on its side. Then he pulled the locket out of his pocket and pointed out how the dresser in the picture looked like the one in his room. The Sheriff carefully examined the initials and the picture in the locket.
"Looks to me like you've hit it pretty much on the head. Sheriff Stroud sure was acting peculiar after the Mastin disappearance and he would have been able to cover up the crime. The fact you found him in the house acting crazy kind of clinches it. I think I'm going to call this case solved."
He turned and left the bedroom with the others following.
"Oh, I'm afraid I'll have to take this diary for evidence."
"But what about Mrs. Mastin?" asked Kathleen.
"Yeah, and what about Floyd and William?", chimed in Robert. "Aren't you going to look for them?"
The Sheriff replied, "Chances are we'll never know exactly what happened to them or find their bodies. I'll call the hospital where Phillip is and make sure that if he snaps out of it they call me so I can question him but if he doesn't..." The Sheriff's voice trailed off.
The kids looked disappointed. "But aren't you gonna do anything else like drag the lake for their bodies or something?"
The Sheriff paused. "Not much point in that. If they'd been tossed in the lake their bodies would have been found long ago. Now I'm going back to my office." He looked sternly at the children. "Try not to stir up anymore trouble please."
He opened the front door, said good-bye, and was gone.
The Faheys immediately wanted to hear again how the diary had been found. Jimmy retold the story starting with his dream the night before. When he was done the adults looked at him peculiarly.
"You say that you dreamed the Mastin kids were in your room? And that they showed you which drawer had the diary? Are you sure you were dreaming?" asked Mrs. Fahey.
Jimmy shifted uncomfortably. "I dunno", he said. "I never had a dream like that before."
"Maybe you've got some kind of E.S.P., you know, extra sensory perception", suggested Mrs. Fahey.
"What's E.S.P. mom?", asked Robert.
"Well some people claim to be able to know things or figure things out that they should have no way of knowing. Sometimes its a thing like knowing which card is on top of a deck of cards without looking. Or maybe a mother knowing when her child is in danger. Have you ever been tested Jimmy?"
"Tested? Me?", asked Jimmy. "I don't think so."
Barbara Vaskelis hastily came to Jimmy's aid. "He's never shown any signs of E.S.P. and besides I don't really believe in that stuff anyway."
"Well just a thought", said Mrs. Fahey. "I was just trying to figure out how he knew about the drawer."
"Probably he made the connection between the dresser in the locket picture and his dresser in his subconscious mind, or maybe he noticed the initials carved in it without really recognizing them. The subconscious mind can do pretty amazing things sometimes", said Jimmy's dad. "I don't really believe in E.S.P. either I'm afraid."
There was silence for a few moments.
"I'm hungry, is it lunch time yet?", announced Robert breaking the tension.
"Geez", said his father. "Is food all you ever think about?"
"Well, I am hungry", protested Robert.
Jimmy's mom stood and headed for the kitchen. "I'll see what I can find."
The other adults drifted after her leaving the kids alone in the living room. Kathleen noticed that Jimmy had a funny expression on his face.
"What's the matter Jimmy", she asked.
Jimmy shook his head. "I can't put my finger on it but I feel like there's something wrong with our theory of Mr. Stroud actually being Frank Wheaton."
"Why not? He'd be about the right age. We found him in the Mastin house. He was babbling about the twins wasn't he?"
"Well yes, but I still feel like we're forgetting something."
"Forgetting what?" asked Robert.
Jimmy shrugged. "After lunch why don't we ride our bikes into town and tell Angus about the diary. Maybe he can help us."
"We better not tell your dad what we're doing. He said we aren't supposed to be looking for that Wheaton guy."
"We wouldn't really be looking for him", replied Jimmy. "We'll just tell Angus what we found, ok?"
Soon lunch was ready and everyone was stuffing themselves with carrot sticks and ham and cheese sandwiches washing it all down with plenty of milk. Afterward the three kids announced they wanted to go bike riding.
"Just stay away from the Mastin house, ok?", said Jimmy's dad. Mr. Fahey nodded emphatic agreement.
"Sure, we'll stay away from there", promised Jimmy and off they went.
They got their bikes and headed into town. The sun was shining and the air was filled with bird calls and as they rode along a few lazy clouds floated slowly by in the distance. No one spoke. They left their bikes in the Elk Bow town park and walked over to the Historical Society. The door was unlocked and Angus was sitting in an armchair poring over a large book. He grinned when they came in.
"Well now", he chuckled. "If it isn't my favorite bunch of kids. What brings you here? Find any more automobiles in the lake?"
Jimmy shook his head no. "No but we did find Edward Mastin's old diary."
Angus whistled. "Is that so? Can I see it."
"Sorry but the Sheriff took it for evidence."
"Was there anything interesting in it?"
Jimmy told the story starting with the dream he'd had and finishing with his suspicions that maybe Phillip Stroud wasn't really Frank Wheaton. When he finished Angus wasn't smiling anymore.
"Jimmy", he said. "I think maybe your dad was right and you should leave this matter to the Sheriff."
"Huh?", said the kids. "Why?"
"Well", said Angus. "Jimmy was right. Phillip Stroud couldn't be this Frank Wheaton fellow. If he was then why did Mastin write `...perhaps I should ask the Sheriff for protection'?"
Kathleen's mouth hung open for a moment. "You're right Angus. He sure wouldn't have been asking Frank Wheaton for protection from Frank Wheaton!"
Angus went on, "And if Stroud wasn't Wheaton then Wheaton might still be living in Elk Bow. I think it would be wise not to pursue this too hard.
"Oh by the way I just found something that ought to interest you Jimmy. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but then again maybe it's not."
Angus opened the book he'd been looking at, pointed, and the kids crowded around peering at it. The book turned out to contain a number of old newspaper clippings. The one Angus was pointing at was from the society page of the Gary Indiana Gazette, dated March 8, 1927.
Today Edward Mastin, the only son of Horace Mastin and Miss Martha Vaskelis, daughter of Reid and Susannah Vaskelis were married in a quiet ceremony at the First Methodist Church. The happy couple refused to reveal their honeymoon plans to this reporter but it is rumored they will seek connubial bliss at Niagra Falls. Sadly no family members were present. Could it be these two lovebirds have eloped?
"Hey" said Jimmy. "She has my last name!"
Angus nodded. "I thought that might interest you. Do you remember any aunts with the name Martha?"
Jimmy shook his head. "Not that I know of. Where did you find that book?"
"Just one of the books in the Historical Societies collection. Here check out this one."
Angus flipped a few pages and pointed at another clipping. This one was from the Elk Bow newspaper dated July 25, 1928.
Martha and Edward Mastin of Gary Indiana recently purchased the Green farm on the shore of Lake Windsor and announced their intention of moving in as soon as possible. The Green farm has been idle since the death of Roy Green a year ago. His children who had moved from of Elk Bow to Indianapolis sold the farm since they claimed no interest in running it. It is the hope of all in Elk Bow that the Mastins will return the farm to its former prosperity. Edward Mastin, only son of shipping magnate Horace and Abigail Mastin, served as an officer during the Great War.
Angus pointed to another clipping also from the Elk Bow paper and dated September 13, 1930.
It is our pleasure to announce the arrival of Elk Bow's two newest residents, William and Floyd Mastin. Mother and the twin boys are all doing well. The Mastins moved into the Green farm at the end of Lakefront Drive in 1928.
Robert said, "That's nice but we still haven't figured out who Wheaton is!"
Angus looked them in the eye. "Well, maybe I can help you there too. During the last war I worked for the army and I still know some people there. Maybe I could get them to send the service record of this Wheaton fellow."
Jimmy, Kathleen, and Robert looked very surprised.
"You could do that?"
"Maybe", said Angus. "They might not want to give out that information. It's possible they might not even still have it since this happened in the first World War but we can give it a try."
Angus pulled a small black book out of a desk drawer and flipped through a few pages then stabbed down a finger at one of the phone numbers it contained. He pulled the phone closer and dialed a series of numbers. The phone on the other end must have rung quite a few times before anyone answered.
"Hello", said Angus. "Is this Charlie McDaniels? Hey you old coot, this is Angus McGee. How are you doing?"
Angus rambled on for awhile before he got down to business.
"Listen Charlie, I need a favor. Some evidence has recently turned up that an army deserter named Frank Wheaton may be living here in Elk Bow. I was wondering if you might be able to locate his service record? When? Hmm, I guess he would have deserted during WWI... Of course I know how long that was ago.... Yes... Apparently he was a black marketeer that got caught. He escaped from the brig and disappeared... Somewhere in France... No, I don't know exactly where... His commanding officer was Edward Mastin.... No I don't know the outfit... It's possible that Wheaton murdered some people here a while back... Well, actually it was his old officer and his family that were murdered... Great! Oh, one other thing, do you have any record of a Phillip Stroud? No... About the same time as Wheaton... Ok, Thanks a whole bunch! Bye, say hello to your missus for me."
Angus hung up the phone and leaned toward the kids with a twinkle in his eye. "Charlie says he can't promise anything but he'll nose around. Records from back then aren't in the computers so he'll have to search the files by hand. If he finds anything he'll mail it to us."
Kathleen looked a little puzzled. "Why did you ask about Phillip Stroud?"
"Well, I think that he must have been involved also. Why else would he have been out there at the Mastin house? Maybe he and Wheaton were pals? That would explain why he apparently quashed the investigation of the Mastin's disappearance. If they were pals from the service maybe there are some clues in the service records. Just a hunch really."
Angus glanced at the clock on the wall behind his chair. "My goodness, I had no idea it's so late. I'm rather afraid I must run. Mitzi's expecting me this afternoon and you saw how mad she got last time I was late."
He turned over the `open' sign in the window so it read `closed', ushered the kids out the door locking it behind them, and waved good-bye as he strode rapidly away down the sidewalk.
Jimmy looked after Angus then back at his friends. "Anyone up for some ice cream?"
As it turned out they all were. A trip to the soda fountain solved that problem and they were soon sitting on the grass in the town park, cones in their hands, trying to lick faster than the ice cream could melt. When the cones were gone they lay back on the grass and watched the sparrows flying back and forth in the trees far over their heads.
"Jimmy?" said Kathleen.
"Do you think you're related to Martha Vaskelis?"
Jimmy shrugged. "I dunno, I've never heard my Dad talk about anyone in our family by that name. Guess that doesn't really prove anything though."
Kathleen persisted "I wonder how old she was when she married Edward Mastin?"
"The newspaper clipping didn't say did it?"
Kathleen dropped the subject. They lay on the grass a bit longer each with their own thoughts. By 5:30 they were pedaling home.
Chapter 7 The Mastin Twins Chapter 9
The Mastin Twins - Copyright © 1996 by Charlie Comstock
Permission is granted for personal reading. All other rights reserved.