The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. The serial killer known as the Brain Teaser has killed four men, including med student Richmond, by surgically removing their brains. Richmond’s girlfriend, and fellow med student, Virginia went
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. The serial killer known as the Brain Teaser has killed four men, including med student Richmond, by surgically removing their brains. Richmond’s girlfriend, and fellow med student, Virginia went into hiding after his death, with the help of my assistant Lucky, I was able to track down her refuge, but not before she ended up splattered on the pavement.
Read the full details HERE and the unfolding case below.
It was almost an hour before Clay and his FBI goons showed up. Clay made some passing remarks to the officers who were still corralling the scene outside before heading into the building.
I tried to get his attention, but he ignored me. Whatever forced comradery we’d shared had clearly passed.
Instead, I pulled up the picture that’d led us here. The couple wore the fake smiles that were so common in the social media age. The façade of happiness stretched over whatever troubles waited just beyond the edge of the picture, but never reaching the eyes. The building Virginia had fallen from loomed above them, ominous in the light of their futures.
Studying the picture on the street where it was taken, I noticed just how far from the camera they must have been.
I grabbed Lucky’s sleeve. “Help me line this up.” I passed him my phone and stood as close to where the couple had as I could manage between the police and the crowd of gawkers.
Lucky pulled out his phone and compared what he saw with the picture. He backed up a few steps and checked again, then backed up some more. By the time he was satisfied, he was almost fifteen feet away from me.
“What do you think, selfie stick?” I asked as Lucky handed me back my phone.
“Not at that distance, more likely a third person.”
“Agreed. Head back to the office and see if you can dig up any other connection between Virginia and this building.”
He nodded. “What are you going to do?”
I shivered. “Try and make nice with Clay Jackson.”
“Good luck with that.”
I pushed my way through the dwindling crowd to the police barrier. They’d already removed Virginia’s body, and the investigation had mostly moved inside.
I tapped the arm of the nearest officer. “I need to speak with Agent Jackson.”
“Miss, this is an active crime scene.”
“Why do you think I need to talk to the FBI agent in charge?”
He looked me up and down, then cocked an eyebrow. “You want an honest answer?”
Don’t hit him. “Look, just call Clay before I have to make a scene in front of those nice cameras.” I pointed to the Channel Seven news crew—two not-quite-ex-drunks and a pampered reporter who was still clinging to her dream of acting—but they were the only team that had bothered to show up. I guess even death isn’t news in this town anymore. “Do you think your boss is ready to publicly connect this to the Brain Teaser murders?”
His face paled. “Who should I say wants to talk to him?”
“An—” I caught myself. “Interested party.”
He raised his eyebrow at me again, but then took a few steps away to talk into his radio. After a brief conversation, he turned back to me and asked “You Angola?”
I winced. “Yep, that’s me.”
He exchanged a few more words with the radio before returning to me. “Agent Jackson is sending someone down to get you.”
Hopefully not to arrest me again. “Perfect, I’ll wait here.”
After a few minutes, the muscle-headed agent who’d first tried to interrogate me emerged from the building. He led me past the police line and into the ground-floor elevator.
All without saying a word.
As the elevator ascended, the silence grew more intense, dulling even the soft sounds of the machinery.
“So, no hard feelings about before, right?” I ventured as we passed the third floor.
At the fifth floor I tried, “Have you been at the bureau long?”
I was about to resort to talking about the weather when the elevator came to a merciful stop on the eighth floor.
The doors opened to reveal office space that had been converted into apartments. The hallway still had the tight carpet and bad lighting I’d expected in an older office, but the door across the way was labeled “#3H.” My nose rankled from the heavy chemical smell. Someone was obsessed with cleaning.
The gorilla led me down the hall to apartment seven. It was sparsely furnished—a table and bed, but no decorations—and crawling with FBI agents.
Clay stood next to the window. His back was to me as he examined the contents of an evidence bag.
I strolled toward him. “Clay! You should really tell Chatty Cathy here to keep a lid on it before he spills all your secrets.”
“Angola, what did you think was so important it warranted interrupting my investigation?” There was a hint of laughter in his voice that unsettled me.
“I just thought you might want to know that I spoke with Virginia about an hour before her death.”
“Really, and what did you learn from this conversation?” His voice reminded me of when parents encourage a toddler to tell the same story for the hundredth time.
“She was scared. She wouldn’t tell me where she was, but I knew I had to find her soon or else, well, you saw what happened.”
“Indeed. I’ll be sure to have someone take your statement later, but I really brought you up here to take a look at this.” He passed me the evidence bag, inside was a handwritten note. “I think you’ll find it an interesting read.”
I smoothed out the plastic for a clearer view, and started reading.
I can’t keep living the lie. When it started Richmond and I were in it together. He helped me find “patients” and take care of the leftovers, but after a few experiments, he started getting cold feet. He wanted to stop, and even threatened to go to the cops. I couldn’t allow that, so I had to kill him too. But without him, the work just feels empty. So I’ve decided to go to him, in my own way and time. Uncaught. Virginia Dean, The Brain Teaser.
I read it again. And a third time. This doesn’t sound like the scared girl I talked to.
Clay must have seen the surprise and confusion on my face. “And that’s not the only damning evidence we found. Follow me.” He led me across the hall to apartment eight.
And the source of the chemical smell.
The room was decked out like an operating theater. Clear plastic sheeting covered everything and dangled in strips from the ceiling. At the center of the room stood a surgical table, surrounded by all the instruments and machines you would expect to see in a hospital. Behind the plastic on the walls was thick soundproofing material.
Clay smiled at me. “Welcome to the lair of the Brain Teaser.”
I walked up to the table and examined the placement of the instruments.
Behind me Clay rambled on about beating me to the solution, and being the better detective, and other blatantly wrong machismos.
I could have told him that I figured out where this was without having to find Virginia’s body, but I was much more interested in solving the puzzle in front of me. The equipment was clearly laid out for two people, one on either side of the table. But if the note was correct, Richmond was the last victim, and Virginia would have operated on him alone. Why would she leave the equipment set up for two people?
And why would she report him missing?
It didn’t add up. No, it did, just not the way any of us wanted it to. I didn’t know how Virginia was involved but one thing was certain:
The Brain Teaser was still out there.
To Be Continued…