The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. I was hired by Mrs. Hilsberger to find her missing husband. But the case turned out to be bigger than I expected, as he was a victim of the
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. I was hired by Mrs. Hilsberger to find her missing husband. But the case turned out to be bigger than I expected, as he was a victim of the serial killer known as the Brain Teaser. My investigation led me to Virginia Dean, a med student on the run. By the time I caught up with her, she’d taken a dive from the eighth floor. The FBI lead, Clay Jackson, found a suicide note claiming she was the killer, and an operating theater where the murders could’ve been committed in the building she jumped from. But something tells me this case isn’t wrapped up quite yet.
Read the full details HERE and the unfolding case below.
“FBI officially closes case on Brain Teaser investigation.” I tossed my phone onto the desk in front of me. The media was celebrating Clay like he’d run into a burning building to save a box of orphaned puppies, rather than just scraping a dead girl off the sidewalk.
It’d been a week since he’d found Virginia’s “suicide note” and to be fair, there weren’t any new Brain Teaser murders. Still, something didn’t add up. If, as her note claimed, Richmond had been her assistant until he got too sloppy and she killed him to cover her tracks, then why would she report him missing? And why was the equipment in her “operating theater” still set up for two people?
I took a sip of my coffee and winced. It’d gone cold, just like my case.
“Hey, Boss, did you see the news?” Lucky pushed open the office door, balancing two cups of coffee in his hands.
“You mean that Clay’s officially given up on finding the real killer? Yeah, I saw it.”
“Not this again. You’ve been circling that same loose thread for a week, and what do you have to show for it? Nothing.”
I reached for one of his coffees, but he moved it away.
“No, you’ve been cooped up in this office too long. You’re not getting coffee until you agree to get out.”
I took a sip of my cold coffee in protest. “And do what exactly?”
“Go for a walk, take a drive, or, I don’t know, call that grieving widow and tell her the case is closed.”
I glanced from the cup in my hand to the steam rising from his coffee. “Fine, I’ll go for a drive.”
He sighed and handed me my prize. “Well, I guess it’s a start.”
I took a sip of the bitter nectar. “But when I get back, we’re going to take another look at this.”
Fortunately, Lucky hadn’t specified where I could drive.
I parked in the garage attached to the police station and started rummaging through my trunk. With Lucky standing like a watchdog over my apartment, I hadn’t been able to tailor a disguise for today’s needs.
Still, I was sure to have something useable.
I settled on a baseball cap and hoodie. Not my best disguise, but not terrible on short notice. Apart from the sweater being too big. And the fact that it didn’t matter if anyone recognized me.
Maybe Lucky was right, I did need sleep. I tossed the ensemble back into the trunk and closed it up.
Inside, the police station was a bustle of activity. There was the normal police work: a thug in handcuffs being escorted by two officers, a blonde woman arguing with a clerk, and a man in a nice suit shouting about a stolen car. Around the regular commotion of the station, FBI agents carted boxes from the back rooms out to their vans. The only good thing about Clay closing the case.
And throughout it all flitted the reporter from Channel Seven, begging for a comment from anyone who so much as paused. True to form, as soon as she noticed me, standing in the midst of the chaos, she rushed over. “Excuse me, do you have a comment for the record?” She held a small microphone up to my face.
“Sure, Clay Jackson is an idiot.”
A hungry glint filled her eyes. “So, you don’t believe the Brain Teaser case is solved, miss?”
This is not the way to make my point. “Who said anything about the Brain Teaser case? I just think the world should know that Clay Jackson is an idiot.”
“I’ll take it from here.” Clay grabbed my arm and started dragging me away from the reporter. “Oh, and Glenda, I’m going to need you to strike that from the record.”
Of course he knows her name.
Glenda huffed, but Clay didn’t stick around for her response. He dragged me past the desks and into one of the interrogation rooms. “Angola, what do you think you’re doing?”
I should have worn the crappy disguise. “Hey, she asked me if I had a comment, she didn’t specify what about.”
“You know that’s not what I mean. The case is closed.”
“So you’re just going to ignore anything that doesn’t fit your theory?”
“What doesn’t fit? I—” He sighed. “Fine, wait here, I’ll prove it to you.” He left the door open on his way out.
My phone buzzed. It was a call from a number I didn’t recognize, so I ignored it.
When Clay returned a minute or so later, he had a file, which he slammed onto the table. “Let’s see here…” He flipped through a few pages. “Ah, here it is. The handwriting analysis came back positive. Virginia Dean wrote that note herself.” He pushed the file over so I could see.
I took the pages from him. “Yeah, but look here, minor discrepancies, like he was under extreme stress, perhaps because she was being coerced.”
“Or because she was preparing to throw herself off a building.”
I glanced over a few more pages, looking for anything else to support my theory. “Or here, a second set of fingerprints found at the scene.
“Yes, belonging to Richmond Jones, who she identified as an accomplice in her note. But unless you think he came back from the dead to kill her, I think we can rule him out.”
“But what about—”
“Enough, Angola. It’s over. I won, you lost. Why can’t you just accept it?”
“You think this is about some petty rivalry? I would love for you to catch the Brain Teaser. But since it seems like you’re not going to, I guess I’ll have to do it myself.” I tossed the file back down on the table and left.
On the way back to my car my phone rang again. It was the same unfamiliar number. I sighed and answered it. “Angola LaGrange.”
A burst of static answered me.
I glanced around. Of course. “I’m in a parking garage, call back later.”
I was about to hang up when a voice came through, garbled but audible. “Not later.”
“What? Who is this?” Suddenly the puzzle pieces started falling into place. My nagging feeling that something didn’t add up reshaped the loose ends into a single perfect picture. I kno—
A crackle of electricity fried my thoughts and sent pain coursing through my body. I tried to pull the baton out of my purse, but my muscles convulsed, sending the weapon clattering to the concrete.
Another jolt of electricity and I followed.
A haze of pain descended on my mind, disconnecting me from the real world. I vaguely felt something pressed over my mouth and nose. A voice from the great distance of right behind me whispered: “It’s time we had a real talk, detective.”
Then the world went black.
To Be Continued…