The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. It was supposed to be a simple retrieval job. Go to a small town in the middle of nowhere, pick up an old, graffitied, pink flamingo, then head back
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. It was supposed to be a simple retrieval job. Go to a small town in the middle of nowhere, pick up an old, graffitied, pink flamingo, then head back home. And it would have been, if my car hadn’t been tee-boned on the way out of town.
Read the full details Here and the unfolding case below.
My eyes shot open. Too bright. Everything was blurry.
Except the pain.
It beat my head and down my left side like a runaway jackhammer. And one sharp point in my right thigh.
Right, car crash.
I tried to check myself, but my hands were pinned behind me.
I shook my head to clear it, then vomited.
Voices swam around me. I couldn’t make out what they said.
I tried to focus my eyes again. There were dark shapes in the light now.
My feet were flat on something solid, and I couldn’t feel anything to either side of me.
I’m not in my car anymore.
“Wh-whert?” I got caught somewhere between “what” and “where.”
One of the voices spoke at me. “Good…awake…us…understand?” There were more words in there too, but I couldn’t follow them.
I tugged my arms again, but they were still trapped.
Another shadow, starting to look like a man, moved closer. “None…forget…myself.”
My first clear image was the gun barrel a few inches from my face.
Not a hospital then.
The rest of the world snapped back into view. I was sitting in an old service garage. The tools and workbenches had been shoved to the walls. Well out of my reach even on a good day.
And this is decidedly not a good day.
My captors were two men, scruffy and unshaven, with a feral look that made me uneasy. The one with the gun stood over me, leering. It wasn’t clear what excited him more, his weapon or hostage.
Either way, he was trouble.
The other knelt beside me with a medical kit. He plucked the needle from my right leg as my gaze fell on him. “What’s your name?”
“Don’t engage her.” The other—Trouble—barked.
The kneeling man pointed to the fresh bandage around my head. “She has a concussion. I’m trying to determine how bad it is.”
The gun wavered. “Fine, but be quick about it.” Trouble stormed out through the pedestrian door on the far side of the room.
So the mysterious “he” is in charge. I tucked that information away.
“What’s your name?”
“Judy Garland.” Talking hurt. A lot. “What’s yours?”
He sighed and grabbed something off a shelf behind me.
“Look, we know who you are. I just want to make sure you do.”
“Angie Brown.” I carried an ID that said that.
“Was that so hard?” He put the purse back.
I shrugged. Or tried to. My left shoulder screamed at the motion. My right arm scraped the rough wooden posts that made up the back of my chair.
I wiggled my fingers. Only nine responded properly. My left ring-finger was taped to its neighbor. Pain shot through it.
The man took a light from his bag and shone it in my eyes.
I winced. “You a doctor or…?” It hurt too much to say the rest.
“Not exactly.” There was something horrible behind his grin.
Who are these people? And what do they want with me?
Trouble came back in. “Well?”
“Saying she’ll be fine would be a bit of a stretch, but she’s stable.”
“Good, he should be here soon.”
A soft bell chimed out of key from the other room.
I was back at the old service station. And someone just arrived.
Not-doctor went to deal with the newcomers.
“Make a sound and you die.” Trouble held the gun so close to my face that I could smell the oil. And the gunpowder.
“If you were allowed to kill me, your friend wouldn’t have worked so hard to patch me up.” I spoke softly. I didn’t feel like putting that theory to the test.
He pistol-whipped me.
As he swung, I pushed off the balls of my feet as hard as I could—which wasn’t much.
It saved me a little of the blow, and knocked me and the chair off balance.
The world went black again as I toppled over and landed on my back with a soft crack.
As my consciousness slipped away, I really hoped that was the chair.
When I woke up, my legs were still bound to the chairs, and my arms were trapped beneath me. I felt like an overturned turtle that had been hit by a truck.
Looking upward, I took in the shelves behind me. Old tools and plastic oil bottles dominated the upper shelves. My purse rested on a middle shelf, but I was surprised to see the graffittied pink flamingo beside it.
Why would anyone else care about that?
Those thoughts evaporated when I saw the bottom shelf. A corpse in a gray-green jumpsuit was stuffed unceremoniously into the cramped space. The face was turned away, but the faded patch embroidered “Gus” was clear to see.
I quietly played up the horror for Trouble—or Not-doctor, whoever was still in the room. Wide eyes, mouthed words, tears, the works. I needed him to think I was weak.
While my face put on a show, my hands got to work.
The rope binding them only ran around one slat in the back of the chair. I twisted it. I tugged on it. It was loose, but it refused to come free. I couldn’t risk much movement with the thugs nearby.
If I could get him to knock me down again…but he’d have to pick me up first.
I lay there, feigning weakness, but feeling all my injuries.
In the far room, the bell chimed softly again.
Not-doctor stepped through the door a moment later. “What are you doing?”
“Showing her that we mean business.”
“He won’t be happy if she can’t talk when he arrives.” He hoisted me back up to a seated position.
The chair wobbled some as he moved it.
So my fall loosened it. Good.
“Give her another shot then. It fetched her ’round last time.”
“It doesn’t work that way, idiot. This is a different kind of shock.”
“Water?” I asked through parched lips. My lungs burned.
Might be more hurt than I realize.
“Go grab her a bottle from the front.” Not-doctor said.
“Because I don’t trust you to watch her.”
“Whatever.” Trouble left through the far door.
The sound of a large truck roared up to the front of the building.
As good a time as any.
I turned to my watcher. “Water, please.”
“He’s getting some.”
“He’ll be busy keeping whoever that is from asking the wrong questions.” I grimaced. “Please.”
He tugged on the ropes to make sure they were good and tight. They were.
“Fine. But don’t try anything.”
“Like what? I can barely breathe.”
He snorted, then got up and headed for the front.
Once he was out of sight, I began my escape.
To Be Continued…
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