The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. A pandemic grips the nation, keeping everyone isolated from each other. But sometimes people still need a little help. I’ve been hired by Gregori Malcovich, an Eastern European stuck
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. A pandemic grips the nation, keeping everyone isolated from each other. But sometimes people still need a little help. I’ve been hired by Gregori Malcovich, an Eastern European stuck in the country on an expired visa, to find his niece.
Read the full details Here and the unfolding case below.
“What do you mean you can’t?” I all but shouted at Lucky through my phone.
“Just what I say. I got exposed, remember? I still have a week left on my isolation.”
“Right, sorry.” I sighed. Robert Haskins Junior, AKA Lucky, had a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was his sixth exposure in as many months, though true to his name, he hadn’t gotten sick yet. “But don’t think you can get out of work that easily. I need you to find out what you can about Anya Koslov. She’s a student at John Quincy Adams State University.” I forwarded him the picture her uncle had given me.
“Cute, why’s she our problem?”
“Because she’s been missing for four days. So get to work.” I hung up on him.
While he scoured the internet, I decided to try a more personal approach. First stop: campus. I crushed the last embers of the cigarettes and returned the ashtray to its bag before heading out.
Traffic was light for that time of day, and I made good time across town. The real shock came when I turned onto the university campus.
It looked like a ghost town.
Normally, hundreds of students would be milling about, heading to classes, and generally blocking vehicle access. But now the streets were practically deserted. Only a handful of students rushed, heads down and faces covered, from one building to the next. And the only other moving car was a beat-up, grey sedan that followed me for a moment before ducking into the first, almost empty, parking lot.
I slowly circled the campus, trying to flag down anyone, but the few people who were out took no notice of me. Did I accidently fall into some dystopian future?
It was so silent that I nearly jumped out of my skin when my phone rang. It was Lucky. I pulled into a random parking space and answered.
“What have you got for me?”
“Well, her social media is a bit sparse, but I’ve pieced together a few leads.”
“Don’t keep me in suspense, spill it.”
“She came here from some small town in Georgia. Seems to be a bit of a loner, not a lot of friends here at college.”
I nodded and jotted the details down in a notepad. Then I remembered he couldn’t see me and said. “Go on.”
“There does seem to be a confidant named Cindy Gersan, and I saw a lot of references to a boy named Jay.”
“Jay have a last name?”
“Not that I’ve found, and he doesn’t seem to match any of her listed friends.”
Alias? Secret boyfriend? I took a note of it.
“I’m still looking for contact information on Cindy, but Anya lives in an apartment off campus.”
“You’re slipping, Lucky, I already knew that one.”
“Oh, I guess you wouldn’t be interested in the address of said apartment then?”
I laughed. “And how many laws did you break for that info?”
“Who really keeps track of those kinds of things?”
“Typically, the police. Now spill.”
He gave me an address a couple of blocks over on Elm Street. “I don’t know the apartment number, but that should get you started.”
“Thanks, keep working on the Cindy thing. I doubt we’re lucky enough to find Anya just sitting in her apartment.”
“Fair enough. Happy hunting.”
I pulled out into the empty street and drove over to the address he’d given me. It looked like an old motel that had been converted into cheap student housing. The scent of stale beer hung in the air like a cloud. The parking lot was about half full, but there were no people around. I got out and walked casually over to the poorly-installed wall of mailboxes.
As I suspected, there was only one “Koslov” listed, apartment 208.
Walking up the concrete staircase to the second floor, I noticed a beat-up, grey sedan parked on the far end of the lot. Was it the same car? And if it was, did it matter? I’d last seen it on campus and now it was parked outside the kind of cheap apartments student’s thrived on.
Still, I’m professionally paranoid. I took a moment to subtly jot down the license plate number before reaching 208.
I knocked, but there was no answer. Not surprising. I shifted so that my body was between most of the parking lot and the door, and started fiddling with my lock picks. By my forth attempt I was silently cursing Lucky and his forced isolation. He would have had the door open in seconds. After maybe twenty minutes, the lock finally yielded to me.
The layout still looked like a hotel room, but with a small kitchenette awkwardly stuffed in one corner. I stepped in and closed the door. The room wasn’t clean by any means, but it also didn’t look like someone had intentionally trashed it, more the general wear and tear of college life. Books made up most of the mess, though trash made a close second. I carefully picked my way through the clutter to the bathroom.
A toothbrush and other toiletries still littered the counter. So wherever she is, she didn’t pack first.
In the other room the door creaked open.
I pulled the handgun from my purse. Carefully, I peered around the corner. A woman stood amid the clutter; her back was to me and she was holding several plastic grocery bags. Cindy?
I lowered my gun and stepped out. “Don’t panic.”
She shrieked, and I ducked as a can of beans flew past my head.
Looking up, I found myself face to face with a familiar figure. “Anya Koslov?”
She brandished another can. “Who the hell are you? What’re you doing here?” There was something off about her accent.
“Easy, put down the vegetables. My name is Angola LaGrange; I’m a private investigator. Your Uncle Gregori hired me. He’s worried about you.”
“My uncle who?” And then I placed her accent: Southern US.
What have I gotten myself into?
Behind her, a shadow stopped in the front window.
“Anya, get down!” I dove back into the bathroom as the first gunshots shattered the glass.
To Be Continued…