Heinous Crimes Unit Book 1: The Surgeon's Scalpel
Charles is being held captive in a special kind of hell. Unable to speak, but very able to hear, the unimaginable
The madness started with a young man and a mute—as near as anyone could later pinpoint, anyway. Madness has a special way of hiding until, all at once, everyone can see it.
Charles Ranger had lost the ability to speak three years earlier, and every day since had been a special kind of hell. He wouldn’t have wished this on his worst enemy, or at least that’s what he’d thought when his ability to speak first left him. It had taken him three years, but he’d finally found someone that he wished could also carry this affliction.
Charles Ranger was eighty-two years old, half-blind, mute, and living in a nursing home. The only thing he really had going for him was his hearing, but since meeting Bradley, he’d begun thinking he could go without that sense as well.
Bradley was one of the orderlies assigned to Charles’ corridor. His kids had thrown him in here at seventy-five, and while they visited often, he hated the damn place. Or at least he’d thought he had, but once again, when he’d met Bradley, Charles had come to a different understanding of things.
Bradley stood behind his wheelchair, pushing him toward his room. It was time for Charles’ afternoon nap, and although he rarely fell asleep, he would do anything to get away from the people in this place. Since he couldn’t talk, the other old farts all decided they would talk to him. They babbled as Charles stared at the television screen. He had one of those boards he could write on, but it took so long, and none of the babblers cared when he tried communicating with it. He didn’t even bother nodding anymore, didn’t care one bit whether the other “inmates” thought he was rude.
“Well, Charlie,” Bradley said, “here we are.”
Charles hated that about Bradley Brown, too. The bastard kept calling him “Charlie.”
The orderly opened the bedroom door and pushed him inside. He closed the door and then began helping Charles into his bed.
“I think it’s about time for me to start what we’ve been discussing.”
God, no. Please don’t talk about it anymore, Charles thought. It had been two weeks since the last time Bradley brought it up, and Charles simply couldn’t handle it anymore. He had to tell someone.
Who’s going to believe you, old man? And if they do, and they investigate the bastard, what happens if they don’t find anything? Bradley will know who told them. What do you think will happen to you then?
Charles had talked to himself about this multiple times already. It always ended with visions of him lying in bed and Bradley’s tall body standing over him, holding a pillow with both hands.
“Should have kept it our little secret, Charlie,” Bradley would say before pressing the pillow over Charles’ face.
He couldn’t tell anyone if he wanted to keep living.
“I’ve found the perfect girl. Finally. Her eyes, Charlie! If you could see them, you’d fall in love. Bright blue like the sky on steroids. I hope I can show them to you.” He pulled the blankets up to Charles’ chin. “I’m thinking sometime this week I’ll do it. I can probably show you them the week after. You’ll love ‘em. I’m sure of it.”
Charles looked up. Bradley was standing over him. The only thing missing was the white pillow he’d use to suffocate Charles.
“You’re not going to tell anyone about this, right? I mean, you won’t be writing any notes?”
Charles shook his head, wondering if the fear in his gut showed on his face.
“I didn’t think so. I imagine you like it a little bit, don’t you? Given what your profession used to be? I imagine cutting all those people up, even as a surgeon… Well, you had to enjoy the blood and guts, right?”
Charles nodded, although he hadn’t focused on the blood when he’d been a surgeon, only on keeping his patients alive.
“That’s why I came to you, Charlie. Because when I saw your patient file, I knew you were someone I could confide in. I can’t wait to show you what I get.”
Bradley turned and walked out of the room, leaving Charles Ranger feeling certain that his closest caretaker was a serial killer.
* * *
Bradley Brown understood that sooner or later, he would kill Charlie Ranger. Not for his eyes, though. He had no desire for a man’s eyes. No, he’d kill the old man because rules must be followed. Bradley was a big lover of rules and had been since his earliest memories.
He needed them.
Rules were the only reason he had made it this far in life. First his father’s, then his own. If he was going to continue doing as he pleased, then he would need even more of them.
Because Bradley definitely was going to continue doing as he pleased. Doing what pleased him.
Rule Number 1: No witnesses. Charlie wasn’t a witness, per se, but close enough, and sooner or later, he’d have to go. Hopefully later, because Bradley did enjoy talking to the old man. He bounced a lot of ideas off the bald guy’s dome, and even though Charlie couldn’t speak back, it clarified Bradley’s thinking.
Clarity was important for what came next.
And goodness, Charlie served that purpose well.
At first, Bradley had thought about taking women he knew. They would be the easiest. He understood where they lived, their patterns, etc. Talking with Charlie had rid him of that notion. Well, talking and reading.
Bradley read a lot. He preferred a very specific genre: true crime with a focus on serial killers. He was, as far as he was concerned, the most knowledgeable person in the United States on the subject. If they gave out doctorates on the subject, Bradley would certainly have one.
Reading about the killer Ed Kemper had shown Bradley how foolish it would be to abduct people he knew. Ed had only killed hitchhikers until he got to his mother.
Bradley would read, and then he’d talk to Charlie. In the end, his plan developed into something nearing perfection. He wouldn’t be caught, not like Ed or Jeffrey or Ted.
Ed had turned himself in.
Jeffrey had been caught because he was a fucking idiot. Same with Ted.
The cops, in every case, had been about as clueless as anyone could possibly be. In Jeffrey Dahmer’s case, they had sent an underage boy who had a hole in his head filled with acid back to Dahmer. Old Jeffrey had told them they were boyfriends and the underage boy was drunk. Believable enough.
Ted Bundy had escaped from jail.
Escaped. From. Jail.
When Bradley realized that, it had taken a few minutes to sink in. The police, the FBI, they were all so incompetent that Bradley could do whatever he wanted, as long as he followed his rules. Truthfully, the fear of incarceration or the death penalty had been the only thing that kept Bradley from doing it sooner.
That was over now, though.
Bradley’s parents had his IQ tested as a boy, putting him at 145, which was in the upper echelon.
He was far too smart to be caught by people who would send someone with a goddamn hole in his head back to a cannibalistic serial killer.
No, it was time to start.
What can Charles possibly do to stop his captor? It is clear he has to do something, but how? Find out on August 4th when The Surgeon's Scalpel: Heinous Crimes Unit Book 1 is released. Until then head over to Amazon and pre-order today.