The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. I was hired by Jeri Hilsberger to find her missing husband. I did, but not before he became the victim of the serial killer known as the Brain Teaser.
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. I was hired by Jeri Hilsberger to find her missing husband. I did, but not before he became the victim of the serial killer known as the Brain Teaser. I promised the grieving widow that I’d find the person responsible. That led me down a rabbit hole of a case before I was kidnapped by Doctor Hudson, the current alias of the Brain Teaser. But she didn’t expect me to put up as much of a fight as I did, and I managed to get one shot off before I lost consciousness.
Read the full details Here and the unfolding case below.
My eyes shot open and I reached for my gun.
“Easy there, Boss.” A familiar hand pressed against my shoulder. “Do you know who I am?”
I glanced over at him. His features were hazy at first, but as I focused they became clearer. “You’re Lucky.”
“So are you.”
I was lying on an uncomfortable bed in a well-lit room, not the concrete floor of an abandoned warehouse. The beeps and whirs of hospital machinery surrounded me. My forearm, thigh, and head had already been bandaged.
Cold shivers ran through my whole body. “What happened?”
“Do you want the long or the short version?”
I glared at him.
“Sheesh, forget I asked. I’m just trying to be helpful. Maybe if—”
“Right, sorry. Here’s what I know. Local police responded to a gunshot in the warehouse district, suspecting gang activity. By the time they got to the warehouse, both you and Ashley Hudson were unconscious and bleeding out. You had suffered several lacerations and a concussion. She had the gunshot wound. ”
“You heard all this on the police scanner?”
“Of course. Anyway, there was some debate about who was responsible, after they sent you both here, until they found the operating room. From there they put things together pretty quickly, you were supposed to be the next victim, but you fought back, classic self-defense.”
“Yeah, yeah, that part I know.”
“They rushed you into surgery when you arrived; you’ve been in and out of consciousness since then.”
“This is the third time we’ve had this conversation. And there’s something else. After figuring out that Doctor Hudson was the Brainteaser, the local police are taking credit for the whole thing.”
I chuckled. “Well, better them than Clay I guess.” I leaned back and took a deep breath. “Wait, you said they sent us both here?”
“Yeah, you were both in serious condition when they found you, so they had you brought here until they could sort out what happened.”
“How long ago was that?”
I pulled the IV out of the back of my hand.
“Hey, what are you doing? Didn’t you just hear me say ‘serious condition’?”
“You want to be helpful? Get me some scrubs, a lab coat, and Ashley Hudson’s room number.”
“Lucky, I need you to do this for me.”
His face still looked conflicted, but he didn’t argue as he left the room.
While I waited for him to return, I tried standing up. My thigh ached where I’d been cut and the fresh blood pumping through my veins left me a little woozy, but after a few minutes I was able to hobble around the room. Not good enough. If this is anything like other hospitals I’d been to, there shouldn’t be a lot of doctors limping through the halls.
I gritted my teeth against the pain and tried harder. One, two, three… and then I was staggering again. A deep breath to relax and then a few more steps.
By the time Lucky returned, I could walk normally for about fifteen feet before I’d need to stop and rest.
“Hey, take it easy. You don’t want to pop your stitches.”
“I’ll be fine.” I took the clothes from him.
“I still think this is a bad idea.”
“There’s a question I need her to answer.” I went into the bathroom to change and check the bandage on my leg. So far so good. I undid the binding on my head and checked the mirror. Not too much visible trauma. I looked passably like a doctor. A bald doctor.
Lucky passed me the clipboard with my chart from the foot of the bed. “Room 317. Good luck.”
“Thanks.” I tucked the clipboard under one arm and limped out into the hall.
It was a short hike over to her room, but I had to find excuses to stop every ten to fifteen feet to keep from staggering. There are only so many times you can stop to retie your shoes.
Room 317 was easy to spot; it was the one with the police officer in front of it. I didn’t recognize her. That would probably help. I took a deep breath and made the last push for the door.
As I approached, the police woman held out her hand to stop me. I complied, hoping the relief didn’t show on my face as I shifted all my weight to my good leg.
“Look, I know you’re just doing your job, but for some reason this patient ended up my responsibility and I need to check on her so I can get back up to the oncology ward.”
“Cancer, is that the reason for the, uh…” she absently touched her own hair.
“Yes, it’s a solidarity thing with my patients.” I waved my chart at her. “Now if you don’t mind?”
“Of course, go right in.”
I thanked her, then closed the door behind me.
Doctor Hudson lay on the bed in front of me. Her right arm was in a sling, with a bandage over both her shoulder and her hand. Her left wrist and both ankles were cuffed to the frame of the bed. She didn’t look at me.
“Well, doctor, how’s the serial killer life treating you?”
I plopped down into a seat next to her. “Not until you answer a question for me.”
She shifted away from me as best she could.
“You don’t need to look, you just need to answer. Why Lewis Hilsberger?”
“Lewis Hilsberger, the victim that Richmond ‘messed up’ with. Why him?”
“Richmond chose the subjects, I don’t know why.”
“C’mon, doc, a control freak like you? I don’t believe that for a second.”
She turned back to glare at me. “And why should I tell you anything, detective?”
“If you do, I’ll tell you who pointed the finger at you in the first place.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “Fine. The man, Hilsberger you said his name was? He was a ‘Good Samaritan’, helping out in homeless shelters around the city. I was afraid he’d seen Richmond collecting subjects. I told Richmond to get rid of him, but instead he brought him right to me.”
“So you experimented on him.”
She gave a half-shrug. “Waste not, want not.”
“Now, tell me, who set me up.”
“You, really want to know? It was Virginia.”
“Impossible, she believed in my experiments.”
I laughed. “Maybe so, but she didn’t blindly follow you. She had pictures of her and Richmond in front of your secret operating theater, that’s how we found it. She trashed her own apartment and left her phone to be found. With a picture of the three of you front and center.”
The door opened with a gust of bad cologne. I didn’t have much more time.
“And she reported Richmond missing to the police the same day that you killed him.”
Doctor Hudson lunged at me with her good hand, but the cuffs held her back.
“Hey, that’s enough.” Jim pulled me away from her. “What do you think you’re doing in here?”
I straitened my borrowed coat. “Your job.”
He glared at me. “You should be resting.” He turned to the officer standing guard. “And you should be checking ID’s. I don’t care if it’s the Pope himself, no one gets in this room without proper identification. Got it?”
The officer blushed. “Yes, sir.”
“Good. Now come on, Ange, let’s get you back to your room.”
“I’m not done yet.”
“Yes you are.” He dragged me out into the hallway.
“Ow.” My leg ached as it tried to keep up with him. “C’mon, Jim, just a few more questions.”
He sighed. “Fine, ask me. I’ll give you the best answers I can, but I’m not letting you back in that room.”
“All right, she told me Ashley Hudson wasn’t her real name, what is?”
“Well, I did some digging, with the help of a disgruntled FBI tech. We found identities matching her face in four other cities. The oldest one was Breanne Tillman of Little Rock, about ten years ago.”
“And how many victims?”
“I don’t know. We found brains and pieces of brains in jars of formaldehyde in the warehouse. The coroner estimates eight different people, but it could be more.”
“And what about those other towns?”
“No way to know for sure.” He opened the door to my room for me. “Hey, if you’re feeling better, how about you and I go get a drink?”
I smiled and waved him off. “Sorry, Jim, the answer’s still no. Besides, I’ve got work to do.”
I crawled back into bed, grabbed my phone, and dialed. Time for some closure. It barely made it to a ring and a half.
“Mrs. Hilsberger? This Angola LaGrange, I have some news.”