THE PHANTOM OF VEGAS SHORT STORY FROM ORIGIN OF A SERIAL KILLER
THE PHANTOM OF VEGAS
The elevator jolts to a halt, and I grip my purse to check if I forgot the knife in the limo. I tap my foot, waiting for the door to open, and sigh. What can be the delay? The club isn’t open tonight, so there shouldn’t be people on this floor of the hotel. Saul made assurances everything would run on schedule. The bell chimes, and the doors spring open.
Saul motions for me to follow and leads me into a private VIP area with a double set of glass doors that faces the street. A still gust pushes against me when Saul opens the doors. At this height, on floor twenty-two of a certain casino hotel tower, one must be careful not to get blown over the side by the wind.
A man is tied to the balcony with an envelope taped to his back. He’s forced and bound by rope to look down at the pedestrians and traffic of Las Vegas Boulevard. Joining him, I watch the blur of lights and listen to the horns and screams of the city. He can’t move to acknowledge me, but his eye twitches. I know he’s aware of my presence.
“Did you bring a signed confession?”
The man nods, and I rip the envelope free from the tape. Removing the paper, I read an account of this man’s crimes and tale of punishment. The government let him out on parole after some time in jail for rape and an assortment of other charges.
“Do you admit guilt?” I ask, signaling to Saul. Music begins to play that I must strain to hear over the wind. The man nods in the affirmative.
I hum alone with the music. “…the phantom of the opera.”
A vein twitches in his neck, and I unzip my purse. Gripping the knife in my palm, I take a position directly behind him.
“What happened to the woman you raped?”
I hear wind and music but no words from the rapist. When I signal once more to Saul, the music stops. Pushing myself closer to him, I ask my question again.
Letting out a whistle, I snap open the blade and lift it toward the back of his neck. “And yet, here you are out on parole. Sounds like a good deal for you.”
I wait for a response, but there is nothing. No words. No answer from this man out of jail for rape and murder. I place the blade against his neck.
“Any final words before I pass judgement?”
“I did my time.” He attempts to face me, but the restraints prevent it. I expect more, but he adds nothing to his statement.
“Allow me to respond,” I say with my lips against his ear. “Your parole has been revoked. You have a choice. Violate parole and return to jail or…I think you can figure out the other option.”
I sigh, “It’s simple. You leave the city limits. I place an anonymous call to police. You will be taken into custody and returned to jail. Or you can face my justice. What is your choice?”
“I want to live.”
Without hesitation, I answer, “So did the woman you murdered.”
I slice the blade across his throat. Blood sprays over the balcony and falls in slow motion towards the street. Grabbing the paper confession, I stuff it into a pocket before cutting him free from the duct tape and rope. I laugh as the body falls to the cement. Saul rushes to my side and lifts the man, hurling him over the edge. With a hand on the railing, I watch the body fall and crash onto the sidewalk below. The faint echo of screams rise on the wind, and pedestrians run in all directions away from the body.
Saul places a hand on my upper arm and pulls me away from the balcony. “We need to go.”
Leading me to private employee elevator, Saul whisks me through hidden hallways to a side entrance of the casino. With a smile, I walk to the limo waiting at the curb. George holds open the door, and I hear music.
Phantom of the Opera. I place a leg into the limo but stop to lock eyes with George. “Bring me all the men paroled for rape in Vegas. Every single last fucking one of them.”
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