View Full Version : Avenging Angel
02-24-2012, 03:52 PM
(Author's note: This was a story I wrote a few years ago that got deleted because of some issues I bought up which were against the rules. It was very popular back then, got a lot of rave reviews, but the Mods and the Admins cut it out of the forums. Since I have no new story ideas, I present the remix version of "Avenging Angel")
"Attention, passengers, we will be landing in Las Vegas, Nevada in ten minutes. Please fasten your seat belts."
Flight 207 from Detroit to Las Vegas lowered itself gracefully onto the runway, gliding onto the tarmac with practiced ease. The airline crew positioned the accordion-pleated exit ramp to the door of the plane for the passengers to disembark in safety and comfort. On the plane, passengers gathered their overhead bags, purses, and other possessions, groaning as they stetched their cramped limbs after the hours long flight, thankful they had arrived at last.
Carey Conner picked up her broad-brimmed straw sunhat, checking for any dents from having stored it on the overhead compartment, and, having found none, strapped it onto her head. She was fairly attractive for a woman who was three years shy of the half-century mark, with blond hair reproduced by Clairol, a waistline a bit thick in the middle due to the DNA on her father's side (and an overindulgence of Frango's mint chocolates), and the darkest brown eyes ever aided by a pair of bifocals.
She had looked forward to this trip since September of last year when she scored a vacation package during a down period in the travel industry for a two-week stay at the fabulous Luxor Hotel and Casino in February. The opportunity simply to escape Michigan's schizophrenic climate was worth every dime she had shelled out to pay for this trip. Her latest book, Things I Learned At My Mother's Knee and Other Low Joints, had sold well enough for her to go first class. Carey had worked for this vacation, she owed it to herself, and no one was going to deprive her of it.
She waited at the luggage carousel for her big vinyl suitcase that she had owned since her freshman year at university along with her fellow passengers who shared the same hope that the baggage had accompanied them all on the same flight. Mercifully, it did--she spotted the big butterfly name tag dangling from the strap which identified it as hers. Snatching it up from the conveyor belt, she made her way to the car rental desk.
The sunny-faced clerk gave her the keys to a silver and black 2005 Lexus. The sleek vehicle seemed almost intimidating compared to her old '94 Grand Prix back in Detroit. Once Carey got the feel of it, however, it was as if she owned it. It handled so well as she drove to the Luxor, guided by the navigational system installed in the dashboard. No, wait, it wasn't called the "dashboard" anymore, she recalled--it was the "control panel" now. Everything was so high-tech now, so sophisticated and so bewildering to her, a product of the Baby Boom generation. When Carey had been born, the transistor was the big technological development. Now it was the microchip and everything that went with it--and it went into everything, it seemed. So much progress in forty years.
The Luxor wasn't hard to miss--indeed, one had to be blind or three days dead to miss the enormous black pyramid, the giant Sphinx, and the obelisk hotel sign announcing its presence. Carey pulled into the main drive and stopped at the valet parking kiosk. The attendants swung into action, fetching her bags, escorting her into the lobby, and parking her car. She had remembered to bring enough cash to tip them all, and she entered the Luxor at last.
The first thing that struck her was the size of the atrium. It was reputed to be the largest in the world, and it did not belie that claim. It was larger than the main entrance of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Hell, it was as big as Cobo Hall! The Pistons could play the Final Four in this place, Carey thought. She crossed the cavernous atrium to the hotel desk and checked in without delay. Her room was somewhere in the middle of the hotel, with a window overlooking Vegas' fabled Strip. Carey thanked the receptionist and left for her room.
Tipping the attendant (they weren't called "bellhops" or "bellboys" anymore, so she didn't know what to call them), she settled down to rest after her long trip. She had arrived. She was in Vegas, Sin City, America's primere destination for gambling, entertainment and decadence. So much to see and do, so little time. Two weeks wouldn't be enough to enjoy everything, she figured.
Airline food not being noted for being five-star quality, dinner was the first order of business. Picking up her purse and key card (Geez, even keys had become obsolete, she thought), she headed back down to the atrium and to the first restaraunt she could find.
Seated in a booth in the hotel restaraunt, Carey was perusing the menu when a young man approached her. She stood up politely, shook his hand, and they both sat down. At first she was a bit miffed at this intrusion of her privacy, but he was a traveling magician, he said, and would she like to see a card trick?
Carey consented, having enjoyed magic since she saw Milky the Magic Clown on television when she was six years old. Las Vegas had always been a magician's mecca, and had hosted many famous magicians, from Harry Blackstone, Jr., to the newest phenomenon, Criss Angel.
The one sitting beside her, the young man with red-gold hair and fashionable goatee, fanned out a deck of cards. "Okay," he said, "pick out a card, any card."
Carey obliged, choosing the Seven of Clubs, and concealed it from the magician.
"Now, place it back in the deck, and don't let me see it."
Carey did as she was told. The magician held the deck upright, and seemingly levitated a card from the deck. He held it up before her eyes. "Is this your card?" he asked, holding up the Five of Hearts.
"Uh, no, I chose the Seven of Clubs," Carey replied.
The magician looked at the card. "You sure?"
"Yes, I chose the Seven of Clubs." she insisted.
Frustrated, the failed magician got up and stormed out of the restaraunt in a huff. Well, that's two minutes of my life I'll never get back, Carey thought. The Chicken Fettuccini, however, made up for the intrusion.
Dinner finished, the bill paid, Carey went back into the atrium where a small crowd had assembled around someone vaguely familiar to her. Of course! It was that magician, Criss Angel, that everyone was so crazy about. Well, he certainly has to be better than that lame-ass in the restaraunt, she thought.
Criss had called for a volunteer from the audience, and an eager young girl, barely twenty, tripped forward. Criss put her in a trance and bent her backwards. Pulling away his arms, she levitated in midair to the astonishment of the crowd. Carey was equally impressed. Now, that was magic, she thought. Criss Angel was to magic what Steve Yzerman was to hockey. That red-haired amateur was bush league; hell, he wasn't even ranked. Look at him over there, she said to herself with contempt, still trying those same lame-assed card tricks. The few guests who condescended to watch him were equally unimpressed and walked away from him, completely bored.
"Face it, dude," one t-shirted youth said to him, "you are no Criss Angel." He turned away and headed for the MindFreak shop.
Still weary from the long plane trip and jet-lagged from crossing two time zones, Carey decided to go back to her room and rest. There would be plenty of time to see the sights. It was five-thirty Las Vegas time, but her body clock was chiming seven-thirty Detroit time.
Carey dozed in the peace and quiet of her suite. The Luxor's rooms were amazingly soundproof, she discovered. Would that her condo was the same: no common wall between her and her neighbor who enjoyed late night television and even later night bedroom activities with her boyfriend. It was going to be a great two weeks, no doubt about it, she thought.
Her serenity was shattered by what she thought was an earthquake, followed by a rumbling sound, then the piercing wail of the hotel fire alarm. Jolted out of her nap, Carey dashed for the door, only to be blinded by smoke billowing up from below. The automatic sprinkler system activated immediatly, spraying water everywhere, soaking the carpet and everyone who walked on it.
"Good God!" Carey exclaimed. "What the hell happened here?"
02-24-2012, 11:17 PM
02-25-2012, 07:35 PM
Blinded by smoke and drenched by the fire sprinklers, Carey stumbled out of her hotel room by order of the security guards and was herded to the stairwell along with the other guests on her floor. Down, down, down the neverending stairs to the lobby, then out the back doors into fresh air, smoke billowing in their wake. Staff and guests milled around the perimeter of the huge black pyramid, wondering to themselves what had happened. A few children wailed in fear, their mothers clutching them to their bosoms. There were muttered references to Nine-Eleven in New York among the traumatized crowd. Some made the best of a bad situation by lighting up a cigarrette and biding their time until the all clear was given.
A sandpaper-scalped Bible thumper found himself a captive audience and got on his bully pulpit, taking advantage of the anxiety caused by whatever had happened inside to preach his brand of hellfire-and-brimstone Christianity. It was Divine Judgement on this City of Sin, he said, God's righteous wrath against the fleshpeddlers and sodomites and theves who preyed on the innocent and cheated them out of their money in their devilish games that everyone knew were rigged so that no one won except the godless casinos. This was a warning, he said, and if they all turned to righteousness, they would be spared furthur torment.
Carey ignored him. The first fifteen years of her life were spent being bombarded by such claptrap as this. As a result she had given up on organized religion and its narrow view of life, rejecting its tenets of prejudice and one-sided arguements regarding morality. She was not an atheist but leaned toward reason more than faith, though she did not discount the latter; she knew faith was a powerful force that could move mountains, metaphoically speaking. If it bought comfort to the faithful, she had no qualms about it. It was the zealots like this guy who gave religion a bad name.
She sat on a concrete berm next to an elderly woman clutching a rosary with trembling, withered hands. It's a wonder she didn't die of a heart attack, poor thing, Carey thought. She deduced the old woman's room was closer to the lobby; the strain of going down all those stairs did not prove to be a hardship to her. Carey refrained from starting a conversation with her. God shield I should disturb devotion, she said to herself.
The Bible-thumping bully, meanwhile, had made his way to the berm where Carey and the old woman sat. Spying the rosary beads in the old woman's hands, he snatched them away from her and dashed them to the concrete, crushing them under the heel of his heavy workboot. "Idolatry!" he thundered, heedless of the old woman's tearful protests. "Godless, pagan idolatry!"
An outraged Carey jumped up to her defense. "Now wait just a minute, there, buster! You can't go around stamping on other people's faiths like that! This is a free country, remember? For all I care, you can worship a horse's ass so long as you're a law-abiding citizen!"
"Blasphemy!" the zealot cried. "Your liberal, godless ways will send you to Hell, woman! You and the rest of you liberal socialist heathens!"
"Ah, save it for Sunday!" Carey sneered, refusing to get into a fruitless argument with someone so narrow-minded.
At that point, the all clear was given, and the relieved guests got up and reentered the hotel. Carey escorted her aged companion, still weeping over her crushed rosary, back inside. She would fix her a cup of tea or something, help her relax; this was too much stress for such an elderly woman. How old was she? Seventy? Eighty? She must have a pretty strong constitution to endure all this, Carey thought.
One small problem surfaced: Carey didn't know where the old woman's room was. In fact, she didn't evern know her name. Carey turned to the old woman. "Ma'am? Where is your room? I'll take you there if you want."
The old woman sniffled. "I'll be fine, dear. I can go back up myself."
"You sure, now? Can I get you anything?"
"I'm fine, dear, thank you."
Carey reluctantly left the old woman at the bank of elevators, debating with herself whether or not she should follow, just in case. Her charge stepped into the elevator car, the doors sealing her inside, preventing Carey from offering any furthur assisance.
She sighed and turned away, and as she did so she caught sight of the fire damage in the atrium. Shattered glass littered the blackened, burned carpeting, the indoor plants reduced to ashes. Shop and restaraunt windows were blown in as far as the banquet rooms and elevators. In the very center of the atrium, cordoned off with police tape, were the charred remains of an automobile frame, parts of which lay scattered about like bones in the desert. The most sickening sight of all was the three body bags lying to one side. Who are they? she wondered. She looked up, distracted by the constant movement beyond the atrium.
Carey discovered that the Grand Ballroom had been transformed into a makeshift hospital for the injured. Paramedics and Red Cross volunteers tended to the burned and wounded while hotel staff rushed in and out, fetching pillows, sheets, blankets, towels, soap and basins of hot water. Friends and families stayed at the sides of their injured loved ones, comforting them as only they could.
One such family, the Sarantakos clan, huddled around their son and brother, Costa, who, Carey learned from one of the hotel attendants, had shielded his mother from the blast of the explosion with his own body and had suffered gashes from flying glass. Now he sat on a hotel mattress while his elderly mother tended to his lacerated flesh. Costa was in good spirits, making light of his injuries while wincing from the sting of antiseptic. His two brothers, JD and Criss (Carey recognized him immediatly, having first seen him in the atrium after dinner), praised Costa's heroism. Costa merely shrugged it off, stating that anyone would have done the same under the circumstances.
Carey left the ballroom-cum-hospital; she had no business in there--she'd just be in the way. This is one helluva way to begin a vacation, she thought. It was obvious the number one question on everybody's mind was who was responsible for this horror inflicted upon these innocent people?
She mentally lined up the usual suspects. Terrorists? After Nine-Eleven, that was not too far fetched. But wouldn't they target government or military posts instead of a hotel? A mob hit? Organized crime and gambling went as far back as Al Capone. But killing innocent bystanders was bad for business, if what they did could be described as such. They would have simply focused on a single person and made it look like an accident, if they made it look like anything at all. If not mobsters or terrorists, then who did it?
Even worse, Carey thought with a growing feeling of dread, would he, or they, strike again?
02-25-2012, 09:39 PM
hi great story , can't wait to read more :)
02-25-2012, 11:37 PM
02-26-2012, 02:09 AM
Ambulances lined the main drive to transport the injured to the hospital. Gurneys bearing burned, bleeding bodies rolled over the fragments of glass and debris through the hole in the wall that was once the main entrance of the Luxor Hotel and Resort. Police set up wooden barricades to keep the public and the media away from the designated crime scene. Firefighters doused the few small fires in the atrium, soaking the carpeting. News cameras jockeyed for the best view of the burned out atrium and for any shots of victims, only to be turned away by the authorities. Flashbulbs flashed like summer lightning as photographers snapped pictures of the ruins and the victims being carried away. Television reporters gave minute-by-minute accounts of the disaster.
One lucky reporter succeeded in cornering Criss Angel for a statement and a photo. Criss gave it in spades. "That (bleeper), whoever he is, almost killed my mother and brother, Costa!" he cried, tears streaming down his face. "He was injured trying to save my mother! He shielded her with his own body, and now he's on his way to the hospital! I know three people died here today, and so help me God I'll..."
His words were cut off by his grief and rage. He turned away from the camera, waving away the reporters. A security guard ran interference, turning the reporter and cameraman away. It hadn't been much of an interview, but it was more than the media expected.
The Luxor bombing was the leading story from local stations to the BBC in London, England. It was still not determined if it was a terrorist attack, but it was reported that the explosion was caused by a pipe bomb under the car, close to the gas tank, and the only witness to step forward was a parking attendant named Matt Behr, a native of South Carolina who came to Las Vegas for work four years ago. He was in the kiosk when the car came barrelling through, striking and killing another valet, Jesse Murdoch, and had crashed though the glass doors and exploded. Behr had also stated that he saw no driver in the car when it crashed through the entrance. Two other victims were killed in the explosion, Gary and Shiela Silverman, who were on vacation with their seven-year-old daughter, Bethany. The child had been safe in their hotel room at the time of the explosion. At the present time, authorities were searching for relatives.
A press conference was held at the Mirage Hotel. The President of the Luxor, Felix Rappaport, fielded any questions about the hotel: All video surveillance tapes were handed over to the police, he stated. No threats had been received about the attack, and repairs would be made to the atrium as soon as possible. He was confident that this was and islolated incident and it would not happen again. In the meantime, security would be tightened and an alert posted for any future attacks on any of the other hotels in the city.
The highlight of the press conference came from Criss Angel himself: "First of all, I'd like to extend my condolences to the families of Jesse Murdoch and the Silvermans, for the loss of their loved ones. To little Bethany Silverman, I'd like to say you are in our prayers and our thoughts. We all love you and will get you safely home, we promise.
"To the Murdoch family, I want to say that Jesse was a fine employee here at the Luxor. He was especially fond of driving my Lambo when I brought it to him to park it or pick it up. His friends told me he had a pitching arm like a rifle, and would have made it in the major leagues if he had the chance. Again, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
"Eighteen people were seriously injured, one of them my own brother, Costa, who sacrificed his own safety to protect our mother from harm. He was taken to the ER for treatment for glass injuries on his body. He was very fortunate to have sustained minor injuries as he did. Others have suffered worse, with second and third degree burns and other injuries, external and internal. We pray for their recovery and for the comfort of their families in this time of crisis.
"To the person or persons responsible for this crime, I say you can run, but you can't hide. We will hunt you down and bring you to justice. For this reason, I am posting a reward of fifty thousand dollars for any information leading to the capture and conviction of the Luxor Bomber. If anyone within the sound of my voice has any information at all regarding this criminal, please contact the Las Vegas Municipal Police Department immediatly. Thank you."
Criss stepped down from the podium, the members of the press peppering him for more statements in his wake. He waved them off and headed back to his suite.
Carey had watched the whole press conference on CNN in her hotel room. She mulled the details of the crime in her mind:
Fact: There was no driver in the car when it crashed.
Fact: The explosion was caused by a pipe bomb fixed next to the gas tank.
Fact: The bomb exploded the moment it entered the atrium, not on impact.
Theory: Something had to set it off at the right moment. A timing device, maybe? Or a delayed reaction?
Theory: The driver bailed out before the car crashed into the hotel. Were there any witnesses?
Carey's mind boggled at these questions. Someone had to have seen someone drive that car! Someone must have seen something!
She was certain of only one thing: whoever did it was still at large. Yet someone must have seen him! Las Vegas was too densely populated, and with thousands of tourists coming in every day to gamble, for anyone to miss someone driving a car bomb. And with such a large reward, anyone would turn him in to the police in a heartbeat. Hell, for fifty grand, some people would turn in their own mothers! Money didn't just talk in Las Vegas--it gave orders and expected to be obeyed.
Carey rubbed her face wearily. It was late, even by Las Vegas standards. A nice hot bath, a good night's sleep, and everything would be just fine. Let the police do the sleuthing--that was their job, not hers. She could only hope that the police would find a lead about whoever it was who bombed the Luxor come morning.
02-26-2012, 05:23 AM
I love mysteries
02-26-2012, 10:14 AM
Hi i'm really loving this great mystery , can't wait to read more :)
02-26-2012, 04:22 PM
The morning did come, but no one was the wiser about the identity of the Luxor Bomber despite the meticulous combing and gathering of every scrap of evidence the investigators could find, including the three hundred and sixty degree photographing of the blast site vertically and horizontally. Nor from the few witnesses whose recollections were hazy at best, each claiming "it had happened so fast" that none were really sure about anything.
The wreckage of the car bomb was cleared away, hauled out piece by blackened piece by waste management. The hotel management hired a company specializing in cleaning and repairing in the wake of crime scenes; it was too difficult and too gruesome a task for the regular housekeeping staff. Contractors set to work replacing the demolished windows and sliding glass doors of the main entrance.
"Jeeeeeezuss!" one of the window men exclaimed, "That (bleeper) blew out the whole damn front!"
"Hell, he blew out half the damn hotel!" one of his coworkers retorted as he pried out a bent window frame with a crowbar.
"Who the hell would do this, huh?" the first worker asked.
"Damned if I know," his companion growled. "That (bleeper) killed three people in there. He's gonna get the death penalty, sure as hell."
CAR BOMB EXPLODES IN HOTEL, 3 DEAD
blared the headlines in that morning's edition of the Las Vegas Sun, with photos of the burned out atrium and bloodied victims for emphasis. The press conference and Criss Angel's fifty thousand dollar reward offer was printed in a sidebar on the front page. Still, no suspects had been found or even identified.
Carey laid down the paper on the restaurant table. Such gory stories didn't exactly whet the appetite for breakfast, but being hypoglycemic, she had to eat something or she'd get the "shakes" from low blood sugar.
Whoever did it was a pro, she thought. He had covered his tracks so efficiently not even the best investigative minds could find him. What was missing? she wondered. Something must have been overlooked. What am I doing? I'm supposed to be on vacation, not chasing crooks! To hell with this, I'm going shopping!
After a quick breakfast of eggs and toast, she strapped on her sunhat and headed out to discover what the fabled Vegas Strip had to offer. She was going shopping, see the sights and for once enjoy herself, Bomber be damned!
She had to leave through one of the side entrances, the main one closed due to reconstruction. Walking around the huge pyramid, she noticed a group of mostly young people huddled around near the crash site, with posterboard signs and Criss Angel MindFreak t-shirts, ball caps and other merchandise. Carey walked up to them, thinking that Criss Angel was going to make a special appearance or something. If he was, they didn't look too excited about it. Curious, she approached a girl of about twenty or so and tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse me," she said politely. "Can you tell me what's going on here?"
The brown-haired girl turned her tear-filled eyes to her. "We are holding a vigil for Costa, Criss' brother." she explained. "He was one of the victims of the bomb that went off yesterday."
"Oh, yes, I remember seeing him in the ballroom yesterday," Carey told her. "He was lying on a mattress, pretty badly cut up with all that broken glass he caught."
"You saw him?" the girl asked anxiously. "Was Criss in there with him, do you know?"
"Well, yes, in fact his whole family was in there, a couple of other men and I think his mother was in there, too" Carey recalled. "An older woman, long black hair, spoke with an accent."
The brown-haired girl nodded. "That was Dimitra, their mom" she confirmed.
"I see." Carey said
"Yeah," the girl nodded. "Funny you should say that; it's Criss she usually worries about, what with all his demonstrations and escapes. Never thought it would be about Costa."
"Other people suffered in that attack as well, you know," Carey reminded her. "Shouldn't you be concerned about them?"
"We are concerned, really," protested another fan, a slim blond high-school girl in an Affliction t-shirt tied up to her bosom. "It's just that Costa is the only one we know personally. We want all the victims to recover, but Costa especially, because he's Criss' brother."
"Hey," a stocky fellow with a cheap circle-A medallion dangling from his neck spoke up suddenly. "You think they are going to cancel the demonstration for Thursday because of this?"
The group looked at each other as they pondered this question.
"What demonstration?" Carey asked.
"Oh, Criss was going to do this motorcycle demonstration in the desert this Thursday, but after the bombing and all..."
"Criss did the Quad Drag escape when his mother was going into heart surgery," the stocky man pointed out. "you think he's gonna let Costa's injuries stop him?"
"Hmph! If I had been Criss, I would have cancelled and gone to the hospital to be with her!" Carey sniffed indignantly.
"He wanted to, and his mom was in New York at the time, and he left right after." the brown-haired girl argued. "In fact, he dedicated the whole episode to her."
"Criss ain't gonna cancel," the stocky man insisted. "He doesn't want to disappoint his fans."
"Well, I don't know about you, but I am going shopping, no matter what," Carey told the vigil keepers. "So, it was nice meeting you, uh..." she turned to the brown-haired girl.
"Amber. Amber Woods." Amber shook Carey's hand.
"Carey Conner. I'm from Detroit." she said. "Well, if we do meet again, I hope it will be under more pleasant circumstances. Have a nice day."
"Later," Amber waved good-bye along with the rest of the group as Carey made her way to the parking garage for her car.
A few years ago, Carey Conner would have walked past window displays of fashionable clothing and other goods without so much as a glance, knowing she could never afford to buy any of it. Now, with the success of her book, she could indulge a little, savor a taste of the good life, actually buy those items in the store windows instead of letting them blend into the scenery. Ah, shopping! Carey thought to herself. America's favorite form of therapy! Nothing like running up a huge credit card bill purchasing overpriced merchandise you don't really need to soothe the soul!
She entered one store that reputedly was having a sale. Of course, in Carey's experience, the term "sale" was relative. In Las Vegas, it would be marked half-off and still be expensive as far as she was concerned. She missed the days when she shopped in Windsor, Canada, when the exchange rates were so favorable that everything was half off in US dollars, and crossing the border meant just a few basic questions of citizenship and purpose of visit, and they waved you in. Now, the US dollar was weak to the Canadian one, and you needed a passport to get into and out of the country.
Well, this is definatly not Windsor, she thought to herself, though it was even more foreign to her than Detroit's neighbor across the river. She drew a deep breath and plunged into the shop.
The first thing she saw was a London Fog raincoat, on sale for ninety dollars, hanging on the clearance rack. It was the right shade of tan, had a hood, and was actually her size. She snatched it up and bought it. Score!
Her purchase safely stowed in the rental car, she headed out for more bargains. Instead, she found herself at the famous Magic Castle. Well, it was almost lunchtime, so she stopped in.
Seated next to a small stage, she received a drink menu, but ordered a lemon-lime soda instead. She undid her sunhat and was about to look for a place to hang it up when a curly-haired buffoon of a man snatched it up and placed it on his own head, batting his eyes coquettishly to the amusement of the other customers. He twirled it, showing the audience that it was indeed empty, and suddenly produced a small white rabbit from it.
Carey was startled, then amused. It was usually a top hat from which magicians pulled our rabbits, she recalled. But this fellow was pulling out rabbits not just from hats, but other people's shopping bags, under jackets, even a kid's souvenier plastic pirate's chest from the Pirates of the Carribean show. Rabbits were springing up everywhere, it seemed.
Well, she thought, I knew rabbits could multiply, but this is ridiculous!
Her server came with her drink. "Say," she asked the waitress, "who is that guy?"
"Oh, that's Willie Ginsmore," she answered. "He's performing here for the week. He's really funny. He's deaf, so his assistant has to translate for him."
Interesting, Carey thought. I should catch his show later. For now, however, she wanted to make hay while the sun shone and get on with her shopping. Magic could wait. She finished her soda, strapped on her hat, and headed out the door, struggling to remember where she parked. Her capricious memory frustrated her. She could quote whole passages from Shakespeare yet forget where she parked her car! Maybe she should try that Ginko Biloba that was supposed to be so good for memory enhancement--
A giant, invisible hand seemed to smack her down with a mighty force, sending her sprawling onto the pavement. She cried out in fear and astonishment, but was drowned out by a deafening roar. Bits and pieces of glass and mortar showered her as she lay stunned on the street.
Coming to her senses, Carey pulled herself up to her feet and assessed the scene around her, or what she could see through the thick cloud of dust and smoke. She shook off dust and debris from her clothes and cleaned her bifocals as best she could with a small cloth from her purse. Donning them again, she saw the entrance of the Magic Castle in smoldering ruins, just like the Luxor the day before. Whoever could still walk clambered over the rubble, some bleeding, some burned, some both. Others were hauled out by passersby and security personnel from nearby hotels and casinos. Sirens wailed, announcing the arrival of the LVPD, EMS and the LVFD to the rescue.
It's the Luxor all over again! Carey thought. He did it again! God help us! The Luxor Bomber has struck again!
02-26-2012, 05:52 PM
Who is this guy ? great chapter :) i can't wait to read more :)
02-26-2012, 06:23 PM
02-27-2012, 07:32 PM
Carey stood dazed and confused on the rubble-strewn pavement before the demolished Magic Castle. The smoke and dust from the blast was like a heavy blanket thrown over her, imparing her sense of direction and suffocating her at the same time. My car, she thought wildly. I gotta find my car!
She stumbled blindly through the smoke billowing out of the building she had just left a few minutes ago, coughing and choking as she groped for some tangible object to tell her where she was. Her hands grasped fabric of some sort. It was a person, a man, who grasped her in return. "You all right, ma'am?" the man spoke through the haze.
Carey could only cough in reply. Of course I'm not "all right," dipwad! I was damn near killed coming out of the Magic Castle! do I look "all right" to you? "Please, get me to my car," she pleaded. I'm at the Luxor."
Her new companion, who it turned out was a police officer, guided her into a nearby dance club, conscripted into service by the LVFD for sheltering the victims. It was not due to open until eight o'clock that evening, but the management made an exception, bringing out ice and bottled water for he victims and the firefighters.
"Jeesuz Christ!" the owner sighed in disbelief. "It's like Nine-Eleven all over again!"
"Oh, God!" a woman wailed. "First the Luxor, now this! What the hell is going on?"
"It's gotta be the same guy!" someone behind her said. "It's gotta be! This is the second time he struck!"
"Well, you know what they say," a young man sitting next to her spoke up. "Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a conspiracy."
Carey turned to them. "Dude, I was at the Luxor when it was blown up, and believe me, that was no accident! And this is no coincidence! We've got a mad bomber on the loose here in Vegas, and if they don't catch him, God knows where he'll strike next!" She took a sip of bottled water to clear the dust in her throat. "He's either terrorizing everybody, or making some sort of statement."
"Could be a Mob hit," the young man suggested.
"Could be anything," Carey shrugged. "but let's allow the police to handle it, okay. I've seen enough CourtTV to know that no matter how meticulous a criminal may be in executing a crime, there is always that one little piece of evidence he overlooked, one tiny factor he did not figure into his plan, then bang! He gets nailed. It may take days, weeks, months, even years, but forensic science can solve crimes that have gone cold for longer than that."
"We don't have days, weeks, or months," the woman said. "We gotta find this guy now!
Every police officer from the Chief to the greenest rookie cop on the beat shared the same sentiment. They had to find this guy and they had to find him now, before any more innocent people were killed.
No deaths were recorded at the Magic Club, but twelve were seriously injured, many more with minor injuries. EMS ambulances as far as North Las Vegas arrived to aid the victims and transport them to the hospital. The street was barricaded around the ruins of the Club, yellow CRIME SCENE tape warning away trespassers and souvinier hunters from interfering with the investigation.
Channel Three Las Vegas was on the scene, reporting the bombing live on the spot. All regularly scheduled programming was interrupted to broadcast the tragedy unfolding on the Strip. They showed scenes of bleeding victims in agony, interviewed terrified passersby who babbled incoherantly in front of the news cameras about what they saw, and kept up a running commentary of events as they unfolded, though not much was unfolding at that moment.
Ordinary citizens recorded it all with camcorders and camera phones, either to blog it or to send home to friends and relatives; they called them on their cellphones, shouting over the sirens and choking on the smoke and dust still hanging in the air around them. Police tried to clear the area, getting everyone behind the barricades and telling them to go home but were largely unsuccessful, human curiosity being what it is. There were always a few rubberneckers who didn't want to miss a thing. The LVMPD had to call in the Nevada State Police for reinforcement in crowd control.
Carey, meanwhile, had slipped out of the dance club shelter and tried to make her way back to the parking garage where her car was. She stepped gingerly along the Strip, avoiding the barricades of police cruisers like an escaped convict. She wove her way through the onlookers still congregated around the Magic Club. Her destination was close at hand. All she had to do was cross the street to the garage.
She was startled by a loud yet strangely familiar voice coming from behind her. She whirled around and saw that same religious zealot from the Luxor who had smashed that old woman's rosary. He stood there, Bible in hand, giving the same speech about God's wrath and Sodom and Gomorrah and repentance and all that other stuff fundamentalists were so fond of.
Geez! Carey thought. Doesn't this guy have a regular job or something? Self-righteous (bleep)! I wish he'd take that holy Joe routine and shove it up his ass! Probably goes around blowing up abortion clinics or something!
Carey stopped short at that thought. Could it be..? The possibility was not that far-fetched, she believed. Fundamentalists had always resorted to scare tactics to get their point across, even going so far as to resort to terrorism, blowing up abortion clinics, killing the doctors whom they believed performed them, or even hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings like Japanese Kamikaze pilots.
Could this man be the Bomber? she wondered. He was there at the Luxor when it was attacked, and he walked out of it unscathed. Now he was there after the attack on the Magic Castle, still unharmed, still preaching his Gospel as he did before. Either he blew up those buildings to preach his poisonous brand of Christianity, or he just took advantage of the situation.
Carey shook her head. No, she thought firmly, it would not do to make any snap judgements. A person was innocent until proven guilty. There was no evidence that supported that street preacher's guilt. Until hard evidence was uncovered, and it would, she knew with confidence, it was best not to point any fingers at anyone. That was for the professionals to do.
02-27-2012, 07:37 PM
Eighty-nine year old Rosemary Thorton heard a knock at the door of her hotel room that morning after the car bomb explosion the previous day. She got up and shuffled to answer it, feeling a bit apprehensive. Having lived alone since the death of her husband, Frank, forty years ago, she could never be comfortable answering the door without looking out the window first, but there was no window from which to look out here at the Luxor, only a tiny peephole which was no help to her with her bad eyesight.
Meanwhile, seven-year-old Bethany Silverman sat on the floor, playing with the brown plush toy rabbit she had named MagicBunny. Her father had bought it for her at FAO Schwartz after they had been to the Magic Castle, and a funny magician made all those bunny rabbits appear. She got to pet one of them, and when Daddy took her to the toy store, he had let her pick out one toy, just one, he had insisted, and so that was how MagicBunny was adopted. The next day, both Mommy and Daddy were blown up downstairs, and so she had to stay with Mrs. Thorton, who was really nice, almost a second grandma to her, until the social service people could send her back home to Maryland.
Mrs. Thorton stood close to the door. "Who is it?" she asked the person or persons outside, with a touch of anxiety.
"Hi, it's me, Criss Angel," she heard a seemingly friendly voice on the other side. "Can I come in?"
Mrs. Thorton cracked open the door as far as the security chain would allow, peering out of the room. She saw a man's face smiling at her; he looked familiar, so she undid the chain and allowed him to enter. "Come in," she said. Criss entered the suite, two cameramen in tow, taping everything around them.
"Thank you," Criss said with a little bow. "I'm told that Bethany is here. She doing all right?"
"She's holding up remarkably well, considering." Mrs. Thorton said. "Children are remarkably resilient."
"It's good of you to take her in like you did. They have any luck finding her relatives?"
"I haven't received word about anything, but some of the guests have given money and things for her while she's here," Mrs. Thorton replied. "She's safe here if she is safe anywhere."
The doubt in Mrs. Thorton's voice belied that claim, and Criss sensed it. Since the car bomb attack, many of the Luxor's guests had checked out and left either for other hotels or for home. Only a handful of gamblers played in the Luxor casino, with just a skeleton staff on duty to serve them. It was Nine-Eleven all over again, it seemed. People were simply afraid to stay at the Luxor.
"Bethany, dear," Mrs. Thorton called out to her, "someone is here to see you."
The little girl looked up at her visitor with big brown eyes set in a small round face, framed with thick coils of dark brown hair secured with pink plastic hair clips. Criss bent down to greet her. "Hey, Bethany," he smiled at her reassuringly. "How ya doin', huh? You okay?"
"Uh-huh," Bethany nodded.
"Well that's good." Criss sat down on the floor with her. He tickled her toy rabbit. "Who's your little friend, huh?"
"This is MagicBunny," she answered. "Daddy got him for me when we went to the Magic Club before he..." Her voice trailed off. She didn't burst into sobs, but she bit her lip and lowered her head.
Criss put his arm around her. "Hey, it's okay, sweetheart. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to." He suddenly brightened. "Wanna see some magic?"
Bethany nodded a bit hesitantly. She had seen a magic show the day before her parents died, and in one of those random connections children often make, associated magic shows with that tragedy. But the man sitting next to her seemed nice, so she agreed.
Criss held up the palm of his hand to show that it was empty. A few dextrous moves of the fingers, and a cherry lollypop, her favorite, materialized. Bethany smiled a little, taking the candy from Criss. Nothing bad happened, she realized. Maybe she could trust this man after all.
"What do you say, Bethany?" Mrs. Thorton prompted.
"Thank you," she uttered shyly, barely above a whisper.
Criss smiled in reply. He got up and sat on the sofa across from Mrs. Thorton. Bethany unwrapped her lollypop, put it in her mouth and continued playing with MagicBunny.
"You know," Mrs. Thorton said after a brief silence. "I've been coming to Las Vegas for years--this is my fifth visit here--and never in all that time had there been any trouble like yesterday, even when the Mob ran the city back in the Forties and Fifties."
"You've seen a lot of changes since then," Criss said for lack of anything else to say.
"Indeed, I have. Las Vegas used to mean girls in skimpy costumes and gambling in the Fifties, cheesy nightclub acts and gambling in the Sixties and Seventies, now big splashy shows and special effects--"
"And gambling," Criss finished for her, laughing. "The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. You see any of the magic shows here?"
"I've loved magic and magicians ever since I saw Houdini at our hometown theater when I was Bethany's age." the old woman replied.
Criss sat up eagerly. "You saw Harry Houdini?"
"Yes, I did," Mrs Thorton said, nodding. "I was seven years old back in Nineteen Twenty-Six. He did this trick where he was locked in a trunk, then his assistant got up onto it and held up this blanket, and poof! There he was."
"Metamorphosis," said Criss.
"Then he got into this big milk can full of water, all chained up" Mrs. Thorton went on . "I was so scared, I was watching through my fingers all the while." Here she fanned out her fingers in front of her eyes, to Criss' amusement. "Then, all of a sudden, he was out of the can, free as a bird. Of course, I had to go and meet him, so I slipped out the back to where the backstage door was, and I saw the door open, and there he was. He didn't look so tall as he did onstage, and he had this lovely woman with him--I think it was his wife."
"Yeah, it was probably Bess." Criss concurred.
"Anyway, he came up to me, held up his hand, and pulled out a shiny new penny out of my ear! I was surprised, to say the least! He pressed it in my palm, patted my head, and left." Her voice grew sorrowful. "Three months later, he was dead."
Criss did some quick calculating. "So you saw him in July of Nineteen Twenty-Six," he told her. "So what happened to the penny he gave you?"
"I kept it right here, in this locket, ever since." Mrs Thorton held up a silver locket she wore around her withered neck. "I call it my Houdini penny."
"Can I see it?" Criss asked eagerly. "Please?"
Mrs. Thorton removed the locket and handed it to Criss. He pushed the miniscule latch with his thumbnail and opened it.
A single penny lay inside the heart-shaped locket, a bit tarnished but its engraving still legible. Criss could see the year 1926 clearly on the face of the coin. To hold something which had been touched by Harry Houdini in his lifetime gave Criss a surge of psychic energy, cementing the bond between himself and the Master.
With great reluctance, Criss handed the locket back to Mrs. Thorton. As he did so, he noticed something in an ashtray on the side table, something silver and white. Upon closer inspection, he saw what looked like part of a crucifix.
"What's this?" he asked. "If you don't mind my asking."
"Oh, that." Mrs. Thorton sighed. "I was saying the rosary when the bomb went off and we were outside, when some man came along and took it away from me, and smashed it under his boot."
Criss refrained from saying "that sucks", in front of Mrs. Thorton so as not to cause offense. Instead, he scooped up the broken rosary in his hand, knelt down before her, concentrated all his energy upon the beads in his hands, then opened them to reveal the rosary, completely restored.
Mrs. Thorton was amazed at this seeming miracle. Tears of gratitiude fell down her cheeks as she kissed Criss on the brow. "May the Holy Mother intercede for you in your darkest hour," she said.
Criss got up to leave, but he stopped short, went over to Bethany, who was still sitting on the floor, and held up his hand in front of her face. Reaching behind her head, Criss pulled out a quarter, pressed it in the little girl's hand, and gave her a kiss.
"Mrs. Thorton has her Houdini penny," he said to her, "now you have your Criss Angel quarter!"
Good-byes were said, and Criss left the suite with the two cameramen who had remained quietly in the background, yet didn't miss a thing.
As Criss made his way back to the production office, he saw the newscast on the giant screen in the lounge. Johnny Thompson* ran up to him.
"Criss!" he gasped in horror. "You gotta see this! Someone just blew up the Magic Castle!"
Criss' jaw dropped three inches. "What?!" he cried.
He dashed into the lounge. Sure enough, the Magic Castle, the very one he had performed in since his early days in Vegas, was a burning, smoking ruin, portrayed in High-Def on the plasma screen before him. Bleeding, shaking people sat on the curb, traumatized by the horror they had just experienced. Firefighters valiently battled the flames, as smoke billowed through the broken windows, filling the Las Vegas Strip.
Criss sank down onto the nearest chair he could find. My God! he gasped, stunned beyond belief, What the hell is happening here? First the Luxor, now the Magic Castle!
His thoughts turned to his brother, Costa, with half his backside scarred from the broken glass his flesh had caught in the explosion while shielding their mother from the force of the blast and the flying debris it caused. Costa had been walking around the atrium with their mother when the he saw the car charging toward the entrance. He had shouted Ma!! Get down!! GET DOWN!! and leapt in front of her as the car crashed though the main entrance. Glass flew in all directions, jagged pieces tearing into him from neck to shoulders.
He was transferred to the Grand Ballroom, which had been converted into a sort of emergency ward. Mercifully, he had only been lacerated by broken glass, but had been transported to the hospital just in case after the more seriously injured were taken away. Criss remembered the groans, the cries, the wails of agony in the ballroom, both from the victims and their loved ones. Now, the scene was replaying again, this time at the Magic Castle. More injured, more dying, more grieving loved ones, more casualties taken to the hospital, more children left without parents like little Bethany Silverman. How many more did this maniac have to kill before he was satisfied?
Suddenly, it seemed to Criss that fifty-thousand dollars wasn't enough.
In the executive conference room at the Luxor Hotel, Criss Angel sat with some of the biggest names in showbusiness ever assembled under one roof. It was not for entertainment purposes, but for the founding of the Vegas Victims' Fund, specially created to aid the bombing victims and their families with financial assistance with medical and other expenses.
It was not Criss' own idea, but something that arose from the collective desire for these celebrities to do something in the wake of the two bombings. The medical bills would be beyond what many of these people could afford. Many were from out of state, and the vast majority had little if any health insurance. Criss had already posted the reward money, but he still insisted on pitching in by signing the charter for the Fund and making a contribution, the amounts of which were to be kept secret, the donors anonymous. It would be a fund to which anyone could donate any amount, and all donations were tax deductable.
As Criss signed the charter, his thoughts kept going back to little Bethany. She was too young to be fully aware of the horror that had taken place. He hoped that she did not hear of the Magic Castle bombing. She had suffered enough as it was.
Criss raised his pen after he finished signing. This is for you, Bethany. You, and your parents. And I swear to God and all the saints in Heaven, your parents will be avenged!
*This was written in 2007, when Johnny Thompson was still with Criss.
02-27-2012, 09:13 PM
I hope they catch this guy soon , can't wait to read more :)
02-28-2012, 04:58 PM
The infamous magic-and-comedy duo, Penn and Teller, gazed in shock upon the ruins of the Magic Castle, the giant Penn Jilette standing as silent as his diminutive partner beside him. One by one, bits and pieces of the Castle's memorabilia, some still intact, some burned, some damaged by smoke and water from the firemen's hoses, were carried out and loaded into rental trucks to be transferred to storage facilites until the Castle could be rebuilt.
When he had received the news of the disaster, Penn Jillette had risen heroically to the occasion and had contacted the club's owner to transport and store anything valuable that had survived the blast or could be restored in time when the Castle would reopen. Penn would supervise the transfer with the help of his longtime partner, and find anyone who could restore the damaged items. Only when they arrived and saw the full extent of the damage for themselves did the enormity of the task strike home to them.
Penn shook his head sadly. So many memories he had in the Magic Castle, performing their outrageous brand of magic with his silent partner, Teller. So many priceless items accumulated over the years--theater posters, handbills, props from the famous magicians of the past--gone in one horrific flash. Could they ever be restored? Penn wondered sadly. Could they ever be replaced?
Teller pulled out a plain white handkerchief and wiped the tears from his eyes. His characteristic silence was even deeper and more profound in the wake of this recent disaster. Penn laid a giant, comforting hand on his partner's shoulder, as speechless as Teller himself.
"Mr. Penn?" a woman's voice spoke behind him. "Mr. Teller?"
The duo turned around. "I'm Darlene Packard from Channel Three news. Can you tell us what you know about this recent bombing?" The slim, blond news reporter held up the microphone before the giant Penn.
"What the (bleep) can I tell you?" Penn spat out. "I don't know a (bleeping) thing about it! All I know is, some (bleeping) maniac is out there trying to kill us!"
"You offered to store the Magic Club's memorabilia. Is that true?"
"Yes," Penn replied, "I am storing them in an undisclosed location, to prevent any theft or bombings." Teller nodded in agreement and confirmation.
"You know, Criss Angel offered a fifty thousand dollar reward for the Bomber's capture. Do you have any comments or opinions about that? I mean, are you going to offer your own reward as well?"
"Criss offered that reward because his brother was hurt in the explosion," Penn pointed out emphatically. "Personally, I don't blame him. I don't plan to offer any type of reward myself, but I support his decision. All I want is for this (bleeper) to get caught and put in prison where he belongs!" Again, Teller nodded in agreement. Then the duo abruptly turned away, signalling the end of the interview.
Darlene turned to face the camera. "So, the work on the Magic Castle continues, and Channel Three will be covering this and any future developments on this story. This is Darlene Packard, Channel Three News."
"Cancel?" Criss exclaimed. "Whaddya mean 'cancel'? I can't back out now, it's tomorrow, for chrissakes!"
"Criss, there's a maniac going aorund blowing up the Strip, and everyone's scared!" JD argued. "Who knows where this (bleeper's) gonna strike next?"
"First of all, I'm not going to be on the Strip," Criss argued back. "I'm gonna be in the desert--you know, wide open spaces. Anyone who tried to throw a bomb is gonna get nailed for sure, right then and there. And we got the camera crew all over the place--they'd tape anyone doing anything out of the ordinary."
"All the cameras are going to be trained on you, and there's gonna be a crowd of people there as well." JD pointed out. "That guy could be hiding among them and no one would know it, because they'd be too busy watching you."
"We got security, don't we?"
"What little we got to spare. Every security guard here at the Luxor is on red alert, and everywhere else for that matter. We'll be short-handed."
Criss sighed. JD took a calmer approach. "Look, Criss, we'll just postpone it until this whole bomb scare blows over, okay?"
Criss turned his face to his eldest brother. "And when the hell will that be? Huh? If I don't go out there tomorrow and do that demonstration, everyone's gonna think I'm scared. And I am not scared, you understand?"
"If you do go out there and do that demonstration, everyone's gonna think you are tempting fate."
Criss shrugged. "So? I do it all the time. Tell everyone the demo is on for tomorrow, Bomber or no Bomber." He clapped a confident hand on his brother's shoulder. "We are going to show the world we are not afraid. We are not going to live in fear of this psycho like everybody else. Everything is going to be okay, JD. Nothing's gonna happen."
JD shook his head in disbelief. "You are too (bleeping) nuts, you know that? You are just too (bleeping) nuts!"
The release of Costa Sarantakos from the hospital that afternoon gave bomb-weary Loyals reason to cheer. They congregated at the Luxor's only side entrance open to the public, as the main entrance was still closed for construction, carrying welcome signs made of posterboard and glitter. They had posted "shout-outs" and get well wishes for Costa on fan boards and Websites mere moments after news of his injury--and heroism--was made public. Grief-filled letters and heartfelt prayers for his recovery, punctuated with appropriatly weepy emoticons, zipped through cyberspace and were read by fellow Loyals, who added their own wishes and shout-outs. Their shock and sorrow were rivaled by their outrage over the cause of Costa's injuries, many venting their spleen on the Internet. Many of these poison posts were so venemous in their content, they had to be deleted by the Moderators who supervised the sites on which they appeared.
Now, Costa was coming home. Everyone waited eagerly for the wounded hero's arrival. Would he come in a limo? Or one of Criss' own cars? The Lambo? The Viper? Who knew? Only when the sight of a black limosine cruising up to the curb was everyone's curiosity satisfied, the tension of waiting released with cheers and whistles of jubilation.
Costa sat on the long side seat of the stretch Mercedes on his side. His brother, Criss, sat adjacient to him in the back of the car with JD beside him. "Doin' okay, there, bro?" Criss asked.
"Yeah, I'm okay," Costa replied. "For someone who had half a ton of glass pulled out of his ass, I'm doin' fine."
"Half a ton, my ass," Criss sneered. "You just got scratched up, that's all. They just sent you to the ER to check for any infection or whatever."
"I caught a bit of shrapnel here and there," Costa told him. He pointed to his left buttock. "Mostly there."
"We're almost at the Luxor," Criss reassured him. "Won't be long now. You just take it easy, okay?"
"Yeah, like I got anything planned for tonight," Costa retorted with a humorless smile.
JD looked out the window of the limo. "Oh, God," he moaned. "There's a crowd out there."
Criss turned to look for himself. Sure enough, the Loyals had turned up to welcome Costa home from the hospital. To make matters worse, the media were also present.
"Look, I'll handle the cameras," he told JD. "You get Costa inside, okay?"
JD nodded. The Mercedes pulled up to the curb and stopped. Cheers erupted from the crowd, flashbulbs popped. The security detail pushed back the surge of bodies eager to touch their idols.
Criss emerged from the limo to screams and howls of love and devotion, mingled with demands of "Where's Costa?" Microphones were thrust into his face as reporters bombarded him with questions:
"How is your brother, Costa?" demanded one.
"Fine," Criss answered.
"How serious were his injuries?" inquired another.
"He was just lacerated, that's all; he's gonna be okay."
"Is there any long-term disability?"
"No, he's fine, really."
"What about the desert demonstration? Has that been cancelled?"
"The demonstration has not been cancelled. It's still on."
As Criss fended off the press, Costa emerged from the limo onto the curb. The fans cheered at the sight of him, walking briskly toward the entrance, a few hints of scar tissue visible on his neck and arms. He wore shades over his eyes to protect them from the sun and the glare of the camera flashbulbs.
JD and the limo driver waved off the reporters straining to get a statement from Costa about his ordeal. He just kept repeating "I'm okay, I'm okay," while smiling and waving as he made his way into the hotel.
Inside, Costa was greeted with applause from the staff and management of both the Luxor and MindFreak Productions. All Costa saw, however, was his mother, who had waited patiently for her son to return from the hospital. She stepped forward and lovingly embraced him, still worried about the extent of his injuries. He had sacrificed his own safety to protect her from the Bomber, a fact which both grieved and filled her with pride. He was her hero, her guardian angel--he deserved the welcome he had received outside. Now he was home, and she would tend to his injuries as a mother should. God had delivered them both from a horrible death, and she thanked Him for it.
By nightfall, Las Vegas was a city on the edge. The garishly lit Las Vegas Strip was all but deserted, the dance clubs and bars nearly empty of patrons. Many dancers who performed at the strip clubs called in sick or whatever reason they could think of to avoid going to work that night. Celebrities cancelled performances, costing theaters and clubs thousands of dollars in lost profits. Even casinos lost customers; all but the hopelessly obsessive gamblers fled the city in the wake of the bombings. Police patrolled the entire city of Las Vegas more than usual, keeping a sharp eye out for any suspicious activity. At times, a few paranoid types would flag them down and ask them to inspect their cars for any bombs. They would comply, but they usually turned up nothing out of the ordinary.
All employees in every major hotel and casino were briefed on handling bomb threats or sightings. Under no circumstances were they to try and defuse the bomb themselves, they were told emphatically. They were to clear the area and contact the Bomb Squad immediatly. If they did receive a bomb threat over the phone, they were to follow a set of pre-printed questions in a special emergency notebook given to all receptionists and front desk personnel. If they could hold the caller on the line long enough, they should try to trace the call through the call-back system and report it to the police.
Criss Angel's fifty-thousand dollar reward offer was widely publicized through every form of media Las Vegas had at its disposal, along with a special one-eight-hundred hotline for any information about the Las Vegas Bomber, as the media called him. Electronic billborads, Internet pop-ups, television ads during the news, even the humble printed word did their part to bring the Bomber to justice, from newspapers to crudely Xeroxed flyers taped to store windows. But for all the efforts of the citizenry and police to find whoever was responsible for the Luxor and Magic Castle disasters, no suspects were found. There had been a few leads, but they always dead-ended somewhere. Two bombings in two days--would Wednesday make it three?
02-28-2012, 08:42 PM
great chapter , i'm glad costa is ok :) i hope they catch the guy soon , can't wait to read more :)
02-28-2012, 09:05 PM
Amber Woods, also known as "angelkiss23", scrolled down the list of posts on her computer screen. A long time member of the Loyal Community, she knew many of the members as personally as the anonyminity of their domain names would allow. She had chatted with them, read their fan fictions until the Moderators closed it for "violation of content rules", and shared what personal details they chose to post.
The bombings of the Magic Club and the Luxor, especially Costa Sarantakos's subsequent injuries from the latter, was the major topic for the past three days. Costa had an entire thread dedicated to him, filled with prayers and get well wishes from his brother's fans. When he was released from the hospital, many Loyals who witnessed his return to the Luxor shared what few photographs they took of him online, cheerfully relating the good news to one and all of Costa's recovery.
One Loyal tried to start a thread for the purpose of relaying any information about the Vegas Bomber to the authorities, but it grew so filled with rants and rages that the "Mods" had to lock it.
Amber grew weary of the repetitive posts of cheers and tears and logged off. There was nothing new, nothing to identify the Bomber. She had figured, or at least hoped, that someone had seen something important enough to find this psycho. This afternoon was the Criss Angel demonstration in the desert valley. She had looked forward to it for days before all the terror; now she was worried. There were no leads, no clues, nothing. He was still out there. Should she still go? Or would she be safer at home?
Criss had not cancelled the demonstration despite the Bomber. He openly defied the maniac who almost killed his brother, Costa. Well, if Criss wasn't afraid, she thought, she wouldn't be, either. She was going to that demonstration, Bomber be damned!
But she was going to be prepared. She had packed her camera with plenty of film. If the Bomber was there, she was going to shoot him, and she wasn't going to miss.
Carey drove down the seemingly endless desert highway to the Criss Angel demonstration. She was thankful she was driving a rented Lexus instead of her old Grand Prix. The latter would not have lasted ten miles in this Godforsaken wasteland in the middle of the Nevada nowhere. They had told her it was due west on that particular highway--how far due west they never said. It seemed she had been driving forever, the barren landscape before her gave the illusion of riding on a treadmill, going forward yet going nowhere.
She finally spotted signs of life to the left of her. That had to be it, she thought. There were eighteen-wheelers and RVs parked to the side of the road, with MindFreak murals displayed on their sides. She pulled over to the nearest available space, farther down the road, and parked, cracking the windows and positioning a sunshield provided by the rental company in the windshield to keep the car from turning into an oven from the desert sun.
Sunhat in place, handbag with bottled water and field glasses strapped to her side, she trudged up the shimmering pavement to the crowd gathered at the edge of a deep desert valley. She succeeded in scoring a spot by the safety rail along the edge of the cliff, scanning the valley below with her field glasses.
A bleach-blond woman in a MindFreak t-shirt turned to her. "That sunhat is a good idea," she commented.
Carey turned to her. "Thank you," she said in return. "I'm from Michigan, and I burn easily."
The bleach blond nodded and didn't say anything more. Carey turned her attention back to the valley. She could see the crew doing the final checks around a large, Evel Knevel type ramp set up in the middle of the valley. No sign of Criss, but she guessed what RV he would be in--the large, late model one in the back, twice the size of her old mobile home in Southfield.
"Hey! I remember you!" she heard a girl's voice call out from behind.
Carey turned to see--what was her name again? Ashley? No, Amber--to see Amber, the girl who held vigil for Costa after the attack in the Luxor. "Well, hello, there!" Carey greeted her. "Nice to see you again."
"Yeah," Amber replied. "I saw that big hat of yours, and I was, like, I saw her before, at the Luxor. But, oh, God! I forgot your name! Was it Karen or something?"
"Carey," she reminded her. "Carey Connor."
Amber brightened. "Carey! That was it! Uh, say, can I borrow those binoculars for a minute?"
Carey handed over the field glasses to Amber. They were small, a freebie from a golfing tournament from a law firm where she had worked before becoming a successful author, but they were quite powerful. Amber peered through them, scanning the valley below carefully. Suddenly, she became all excited, pointing down toward the row of RVs. "There he is! There's Criss! And, ohmygod! There's Costa! He's here! Oh, thank God he's okay!"
Amber handed the glasses back to Carey, pointing at the spot where she saw Criss and his brother. Carey found the two men standing by the RV (the very one she had guessed was his). They seemed to be talking to each other, but, of course, from that distance, Carey could not hear what they were saying. It didn't matter, she told herself, eavesdropping was rude.
Costa went back into the air-conditioned shelter of the RV while Criss began to suit up for the demonstration with the help of two crew members. The plan was for Criss to do an introductory lap around the valley for the crowd to see and cheer him on, no helmet needed, then to strap on the safety gear and do the demonstration. Spotters took their positions along the route, headphones and mikes activated to report anything wrong; they had been briefed about the Bomber, and ordered to keep a sharp eye out for pipe bombs or any other incendiary devices.
Criss kickstarted his racing motorcycle and charged into the demonstration area, to the cheers of the crowd above.
"Ladies and gentlemen! CRISS ANGEL!!"the staticky voice from a bullhorn announced.
Criss waved to his adoring public as he completed the first stretch of his opening lap. Carey followed him closely with her field glasses. She lost sight of him at the turn, so she focused on the path in front to catch up with him.
In a space of a second, she saw something land on the track, something long and metallic, cylindrical in shape. Criss raced on, unaware of what lay ahead. Suddenly, there was a blinding flash accompanied by a deafening explosion. Motorcycle and rider were thrown in the air like toys, crashing down to earth with a sickening thud. Criss rolled like a log on the valley floor and came to a stop, lying sprawled like a rag doll in black racing gear.
Time seemed to stand still in that desert valley; it was only a heartbeat later that the screams erupted from the horrified audience. The scene turned to chaos as hysterical fans tried to force their way down into the valley, only to be turned away by the security detail, ordering them to leave the premises immediatly, that they were obstructing a rescue, and not to panic. "So rescue him already!" one panic stricken Loyal screamed hysterically.
A rescue helicopter hovered overhead. Police and security waved away the few fans who still remained in the valley for it to land. Paramedics, already at the site for the demonstration, tended to Criss as best they could. Weeping and wailing accompanied the steady beat of the rotors of the EMS helicopter as America's most famous illusionist was airlifted to the hospital.
Carey turned away. Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a conspiracy, she recalled. She was there when the Luxor was carbombed. She was there when the Magic Club was bombed. Now she had just witnessed a third. Am I bad luck or something? she wondered.
There was nothing for her to do except go back to the hotel. The media were going to have a field day over this one, she thought. She made her way back to her car, weeping and wailing echoing in her wake. She scanned the side of the highway for her car. her ears picked up footsteps crunching the gravel behind her, and a joyful shout of victory, it seemed to her. She turned instinctivly behind her; she could not see anyone, but the runner's voice could still be heard: "I did it! I did it! No more Criss (bleeping) Angel! Yeaaahhh!"
Carey looked around wildly for the owner of that voice, but only spotted a large Lincoln towncar with a hood the size of an aircraft carrier speeding off in a spray of sand and gravel. Carey picked up her field glasses and stared at the car in the distance. All she could catch was a large diagonal dent in the rear fender and the letters BAC on what looked like a Nevada State license plate. All else was blurred in the dust. She could not make out the driver or the model of the car though she had lived in Detroit long enough to tell one from another.
Carey dashed for her car. She had to inform the police. She had only a vague description and a partial license plate number, but she knew she was the only person closest to identifying the Vegas Bomber. It wasn't much to go on, granted, but it was better than nothing.
Las Vegas seemed to drop everything when the news bulletin of the desert valley bombing hit the airwaves. Slot machines were idled for the first time since they first started operating, roulette wheels were stilled as people gathered around giant plasma screens in casinos, bars, clubs, hotel lobbies, and electronics stores. Word spread fast that the Vegas Bomber had struck again, this time claiming only one victim. But that victim was famous illusionist Criss Angel, and he was listed in critical condition.
The entire city reeled in shock. The biggest star in Las Vegas, and he had been blown up by the Bomber! My God! they thought, who was next? When was this nightmare going to end?
02-28-2012, 11:29 PM
Poor Criss :( i hope he get better soon , and they catch the bomber , can't wait to read more :)
02-29-2012, 12:03 AM
02-29-2012, 04:50 PM
As soon as the attack on Criss Angel was made public, the celebrity rumor mill shifted into overdrive, fueled by the fear already gripping a terrorized Las Vegas. Criss was dead, someone said. Criss was paralyzed for life and his career was over, said another. Criss was reported DOA as soon as he arrived at the hospital, yet another reported. Criss was alive but not for long because his injuries were too severe, went still another rumor.
Whatever Criss' condition, official or not, everyone knew who was responsible for this crime yet did not know the identity of the criminal. The mysterious Bomber who had been terrorizing Las Vegas had been among them, biding his time before striking, and they never knew. They had been so focused on Criss Angel they had failed to see the bomb thrown in his path, or who had thrown it. The Loyals who had witnessed the attack seethed with wrath. The Las Vegas Bomber had struck again, and this time it was personal.
In the space of an hour the scene had shifted from Criss Angel MindFreak to CSI: Las Vegas. The scene of the attack was cordoned off with yellow CRIME SCENE tape. Forensics experts combed the valley for clues, sifting through the rocky desert soil for bits and pieces of the bomb. Police investigators listened patiently as hysterically weeping fans blubbered their side of what they had just seen. The LVPD K-9 unit sent their best tracking dogs to sniff out any bomb residue around the perimeter of the demonstration site.
Investgating Officer James Lettrille knelt over the charred soil where the bomb had exploded. From the direction of the shallow crater it left, it had to have come from those rocky cliffs west from where he was right at that moment. Whoever threw it must have had one helluva outfielder's arm, he thought.
He stood upright, stretching his legs. The LVPD had put him in charge of this case as soon as the call was received. Lettrille had a suspect before he started investigating--that psycho Bomber going around Vegas and blowing the hell out of the Strip. Problem was, he didn't know who was the Bomber. Was it one person or more than one? Was it a private hit? Was it even the Bomber, for that matter? It could have been a copycat crime caused by a deranged fan; it was possible, considering Criss' fame. Still, the evidence led to the Bomber. The few fragments found were definatly a pipe bomb, fitting with his MO. He hoped the K-9 unit went up by those rocks and found something.
Lettrille made his way up the rocky incline from the valley. As he approached the CSI lab van, he noticed a middle-aged woman wearing a big straw sunhat standing beside it, looking around anxiously. As soon as she spotted him, she trotted forward. "Are you a police officer?" she asked him eagerly.
"Yes, ma'am," he answered. "Officer Jim Lettrille, LVPD. What can I do for you?" he extended his hand in greeting.
"Carey Conner. It's rather what I can hopefully do for you, Officer," she said, returning the handshake. "I think I have some clue as to whom the Bomber is. It's not much to go on, but..."
Officer Lettrille opened the door of the van. "Step inside, please," he requested.
Carey climbed inside, gingerly tiptoeing around the crime lab equipment for fear of damaging anything. She found a seat at the front of the van and sat down. Lettrille sat beside her in the driver's seat. "So, what information do you have?" Lettrille asked.
Carey drew a deep breath, collecting her thoughts. "I was on my way after the explosion when I heard someone running behind me; he was actually cheering like a fan at a football game!"
"You sure it was a man?"
"Yes, definatly. I heard him say, 'I did it! I did it! No more Criss effing Angel!' It was a younger man's voice--not a teenager, but someone maybe twentysomething or early thirty, somewhere around there. I looked around to see who it was, but I could not find him. I did see a huge Lincoln towncar, those big jobs from back in the Seventies. He peeled out of there so fast, all I could see was a big diagonal dent in the fender and the letters BAC on the license plate."
"Do you know what state?"
"I think it was Nevada, I'm not sure. It had to be. I've seen Arizona license plates, and it definatly wasn't it. It wasn't as colorful as that."
"Can you tell me anything else? Did you get a glimpse of the driver in the car as he drove off?"
"No, he kicked up too much dust to see anything. As I said, he peeled out of there so fast I was lucky to have seen what little I saw. I know it's not much to go on, but--"
"It's all right, Ms. Connor. It's the best lead we got so far. It's gonna take a lot of wading through the DMV lists, but we'll find him. We've busted a lot of criminals with less than that." Lettrille took out his note pad. "I want you to write down your address and phone number where we can contact you. I'll give you my extension number should you remember anything else."
"I'm from Michigan, and I'm staying at the Luxor," she informed him. "I was there when the Bomber struck the first time. It was barely an hour after I arrived. And I was leaving the Magic Club when it blew. I'm beginning to wonder if this guy is after me or something."
"Where were you when the car bomb went off in the Luxor?"
"In my room. We were forced to evacuate down the stairs."
"And you were outside the Magic Castle when it went off?"
"Yes. I was leaving to do some more shopping."
"Do you know of anyone who has anything against you?"
"To the best of my knowledge, no."
"It could be just a coincidence," Letrille said, "but all the same, I'd like to be able to contact you, just in case."
He pushed his notepad to Carey. She scribbled down her cell phone number and hotel room. "That's where you can reach me."
"Anything else you can tell us?" Lettrille prompted. "Any questions?"
"Just one," she replied. "Who the hell is doing this?"
Huge Klieg lights illuminated the crime scene as night fell, allowing the CSI investigators more time to work. Beyond the yellow tape, grieving Loyals huddled in the dimly lit valley, with only candles for light. They were holding vigil for their fallen idol, embracing, weeping upon each other's shoulders, uttering prayers, individually and in groups, asking each other why? Why did he do it? Why did this maniac injure Criss, their beloved Angel, who had harmed no one?
Some watched the CSI team as they hunched over the site where Criss had fallen, straining to hear of any new discovery, any new piece of evidence that would bring the killer to justice. Others grouped around radios tuned to news stations for the latest word on Criss' condition like underground freedom fighters listening to Radio Free Europe. The very mention of Criss' name sent everyone shushing everyone else so they could hear the newscast. No one moved, no one even dared breathe for fear of missing out on the smallest detail.
Our top story: Famous illusionist Criss Angel is reported to be in critical condition in L--- Hospital after a pipe bomb attack during taping of his series. Criss is reported to be in a coma since the attack, and has suffered flash burns on parts of his face and hands, as well as severe eye injuries. The attack is reputed to be caused by the so-called Las Vegas Bomber who has been terrorizing the city this past week. A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow morning at ten AM at the Luxor Hotel and Casino concerning Criss Angel and the investgation of the attack. Anyone with any information regarding the attack is encouraged to contact the police as soon as possible.
"In a coma?" a fan cried. "That means he's still alive!"
"How long was he in a coma? The longer he's out, the more likely he'll suffer brain damage."
"Oh, God! Please don't let Criss die!"
"God damn the mother(bleeper) who did this! I hope he rots in the lowest, foulest, most fetid depths of Hell for this!"
Thousands of Loyals shared those very sentiments around the world, on line, in text, and in person, in private homes, in parks, in the Nevada desert, or wherever they could congregate, the Loyals banded together in sorrowing solidarity. Fans of all faiths stormed Heaven for Criss' miraculous recovery: rosaries, litanies, prayer chains, shimas (the Jewish prayer for those facing death), and simple pleas for deliverance from the jaws of death rose from grieving hearts to whatever Deity they believed in. Thousands more encircled the Luxor, waiting for word of Criss' condition, and to share their sorrow with his family, who were now at the hospital, keeping a tearful vigil of their own by Criss' bedside, with only their faith in God to sustain them.
Dimitra Sarantakos, beloved mother of Criss Angel, endeared to his fans as Mother Angel, sat numbly next to her comatose son, his head swathed in gauze with only his nose and mouth visible, blinded and maimed from the flash and flames of the pipe bomb thrown at him. How many times, she wondered, how many times had she worried about him when he did such dangerous stunts, that it would be his last, only to see him walk away unscathed? True, he did end up in the emergency room at times, but he always walked out the next day at the latest. Now, her worst nightmare had come true, only this time it wasn't even his fault. Someone else had caused this. But who? And why?
Dear Lord, she prayed silently, be with my Christopher tonight. Bless him and heal him of his injuries. Restore his sight to him, that he may look upon Your world again. Take my life, not his, dear Lord! A mother should not have to outlive her children! Take my life for his, dear God! Take me, and spare my son, Christopher!
02-29-2012, 05:30 PM
poor Criss , i really hope they catch him , more please
02-29-2012, 07:18 PM
'biting nail like typewriter'
02-29-2012, 10:04 PM
For the past week, Las Vegas had been afraid. Now it was outraged. By seven AM Friday morning, dozens of concerned citizens marched in protest against the reign of terror at City Hall, carrying picket signs demanding the mayor to stop the bombings and the killings. Many of the protesters were Criss Angel fans, the Loyal as they called themselves. They showed their support for the protesters and their concern for the victims, but did not stay long as they had to be back at the Luxor for the ten AM press conference.
All regularly scheduled programming on local television was preempted for the event. Every local and cable news network were present inside the Luxor's Grand Ballroom, as were the print media and infotainment networks. It was the single largest press conference outside the White House in journalism history to date.
Felix Rappaprort, CEO and President of Luxor Hotel and Casino, gave the opening statement to the press:
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, on behalf of myself and the Luxor, I'd like to welcome you all here today. As you are no doubt aware, Las Vegas has been terrorized by a series of mysterious bombings, the first of which took place in this very hotel. Three people were killed in that disaster: one of them an employee of the Luxor, and two guests. The second attack took place the very next day at the Magic Castle, where over a dozen people were badly injured. The third attack was in the desert, about fifty miles from the city, but only one victim was harmed. That victim was our own Criss Angel."
Cameras flashed as Rappaport spoke. "We have received word from the hospital that Criss Angel has emerged from his coma last night." he went on. "He is still listed in critical condition. He had received multiple minor fractures in his ribs, a fractured wrist, first and second degree flash burns around his face and neck, and sustained serious internal injuries, and injuries in both eyes. He has also suffered a concussion, but no sign of head trauma as yet."
Rappaport paused in his speech, overcome with emotion over the tragedy which befell his biggest star. He composed himself and continued: "We know that Criss has survived things that would have killed an ordinary man. He's been buried alive, run over by a steamroller, sealed in concrete, nearly run through a woodchipper, almost gored by an angry bull, and numerous other stunts, and he survived them all. This, however, was unexpected. He could not have been prepared for this. We can only pray for his recovery.
"After the first bombing, Criss Angel offered a fifty-thousand dollar reward for the capture of the Vegas Bomber. Let it be known that the reward has been officially doubled to one hundred thousand dollars as of today. Are there any questions?"
A cacophany of calls for attention from the assembled media broke out. "Mr. Rappaport! I have a question! Question! Mr. Rappaport, please answer this question!"
Rappaport singled out a reporter from CNN. "Are there any new developments in the Bomber case? Any leads at all?" the reporter asked.
"None, I'm afraid. The police, however are searching diligently for him. We have posted an emergency one-eight-hundred number to call in case someone does spot the Bomber."
"Mr. Rappaport," a reporter from E! News spoke up above the rest, "is there any hope of Criss' full recovery?"
"At this point, it is too early to tell. But Criss is a very strong man, and his will to survive is more powerful than anyone I know."
"How is his family doing in the wake of this tragedy?" inquired another reporter.
Rappaport looked behind him from the podium, made some sort of conversation with someone in the back, nodded, and turned back to the press. "We have a representative of Criss' family here to make a statement on their behalf: Criss' brother, JD Sarantakos."
JD stepped up to the podium amid a round of polite applause. He looked weary, not having slept the entire night. He drew a deep breath and launched into his prepared statement:
"First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their love and support during this time of crisis for myself and my family. We have received many, many heartfelt good wishes and prayers from friends, fans and others.
"Last Wednesday, I insisted that Criss cancel the desert valley demonstration for his own safety and that of his fans after what happened in the Luxor and the Magic Club. Criss insisted on doing that demonstration, in spite of the recent bomb attacks. He didn't want to let down his fans, he said.
"We had taken every conceivable security measure to insure that nothing would happen to Criss or anyone else. Unfortunatly, the Vegas Bomber slipped through the cracks and got him just the same. He was airlifted to the nearest hospital. My mother, my brother, Costa, who had been injured himself in the Luxor bombing on Monday, and I kept an all night vigil at his bedside.
"Whoever this maniac is, he nearly cost me two brothers. One is scarred for life, the other near death. We have doubled the reward that Criss originally offered for his capture. I am pleading with you, the media and everyone within the sound of my voice, to find this murderer before he strikes again. I ask this as a family member of one of his victims, and for the other families of those who were injured in the previous attacks. Thank you."
JD left the podium, his eyes filled with tears. He couldn't go on. It was all he could do to get through it in the first place. He had given hundreds of interviews in the past, but they were ususally one-on-one, never in a room full of reporters. He was not going back, no matter how much they clamored for him. He was going to rejoin his family at the hospital. His youngest brother needed him.
In the quiet, secluded room at the L--- Hospital, Criss lay motionless on the bed, his head bandaged in layers of gauze. His mother, Dimitra, sat beside him, as she had since yesterday. Her older sons insisted she go back to the hotel and sleep, but she had refused. It was bad enough that she had lost her husband a decade ago; now she faced the loss of her youngest son.
The motionless figure began to stir. Dimitra leaned forward expectantly. "Christopher?" she called softly to him. "Christopher, darling, are you awake?"
"Maaa?" her son murmured weakly. "Ma? Is that you?"
Dimitra's heart leapt. Her son was alive! "Yes, darling, I'm here."
"Ma? I can't see you. It's too dark in here."
Dimitra held his hand. "I'm right here, sweetheart. Your eyes have been injured. They're covered in bandages. That's why you can't see."
Criss raised his hand to feel his head. He touched gauze over his head and eyes, under his chin, and felt something hard around his arm. He groped for his mother's hand with his free hand. "I can't see," he murmured. "Ma? What happened?"
"It was the Vegas Bomber," she answered. "He tried to kill you."
Criss gripped his mother's hand in desperation. "Ma, I'm scared. I don't want to go blind."
Dimitra shushed him. "Hush, darling. Try to go to sleep."
"Oh, God, please, don't let me go blind" Criss whimpered. "Please, God, I don't want to go blind."
His mother stroked his hand. "Now, Christopher," she said with gentle firmness, "you had one of the best eye surgeons operate on you. In a few days, they say you'll have another one. It's all in God's hands now, understand? So, don't be afraid. You are in God's hands."
In an effort to soothe her injured son, she sang a little Greek lullaby she used to sing to her sons in their infancy. Criss grasped her hand firmly, as if he refused to let her go. He could not see her face, that soft, gentle, beautiful face, a little withered with age, but the sound of her familiar Greek accented voice conjured up a mental image of her in his mind. He clung to that image as tightly as he clutched her hand. The memory of her face was a ray of light in his dark prison. He drifted off to sleep, carried away by her singing.
"Gooood morning, Sin City! This is Artie Creed on KLOL morning radio! Our topic for this Friday morning is, of course, the Las Vegas Bomber who has struck once again, this time in the desert where the MindFreak Criss Angel was doing one of his stunts. It's reported that a pipe bomb was thrown at him when he was riding his motorcycle for his fans. He is critically injured, with first and second degree flash burns on his face and neck, and he's been blinded by the explosion. It's uncertain whether the MindFreaker will resume his career if he doesn't get his sight back. The lines are now open, and we got our first caller. Hello, you're on the air."
"Did you receive any word about the Bomber? Did they catch him yet?"
"So far, we have not gotten anything from the newsroom, but we will report any late breaking developments. Hello, you're on the air."
"Do you really think Criss' career is over?"
"Do I think Criss' career is over? I'm not going to lay any bets on it, if that's what you mean. Even if it is, he's got too much money to worry about it. Hello, you're on the air."
"Yeah, like you really care about Criss Angel! You've been ragging him since he got here to Vegas!"
"Hey, dude! I'm just reporting the news. I got nothing personal against him--I just think he's an overgrown mama's boy who likes to show off, that's all. Next caller, please."
"Do you think Criss will go blind?"
"He's been blinded already! Didn't you pay attention earlier?"
"I meant permanantly!"
"Let me put it this way: If worse comes to worst, he'd better trade in his kittycat for a seeing eye dog. Next caller, you're on the air."
In the phone room of KLOL, phone operator Heather Kotlarcyzk started at the sight of the switchboard exploding into life. She sighed heavily--she knew from years of experience working the morning shift at KLOL that whenever the phones lit up all at once it meant that Artie Creed had put his foot in his mouth again, and it was up to her to defuse the situation one caller at a time. With another deep, exasperated sigh, she connected the first caller. "KLOL, may I help you?" she answered mechanically.
"You tell that (bleeper) Artie Creed he can (bleep) off! He's got no right to trash Criss Angel like that! Especially now since he's in the hospital!"
Another heavy sigh. Artie was targeting Criss Angel again. It was going to be a long morning, Heather thought as she connected caller after outraged caller.
While Las Vegas spent the better part of the day recovering from the latest attack by the Vegas Bomber, two thousand miles and two time zones away in Hawai'i, Duane Chapman, known to the public as Dog the Bounty Hunter, was just beginning his day. Beth, his wife and partner of over a decade, was already up, getting the younger Chapmans ready for school. The television was on, but in the morning rush, it was just white noise in the background.
Chapman pulled on his black leather boots over his jeans and donned a cutoff vest showing off his muscular torso developed through years of tackling fugitives. Dressed for the day, he headed for the kitchen.
In spite of the television noise, the kitchen was unusually quiet. No squabbling, no clatter of cereal bowls, no shouts of "Hurry up! You'll be late for school!" from Beth. Duane strode in to investigate.
He was met by two sobbing daughters throwing their arms around him. He looked up at Beth in bewilderment, and noticed that she was also in tears. "What the hell is going on?" he demanded.
Beth wiped her face with the back of her hand. "The Las Vegas Bomber almost killed Criss Angel," she said.
Chapaman stood there, clasping a small blond head in each hand, totally stunned. "Almost ki--?"
Beth turned up the volumne of the small television set in the kitchen. Chapman felt his rage beginning to boil as the newscaster described the desert valley attack on his friend, Criss Angel. He was in critical condition, he heard, seriously injured by a pipe bomb.
"Daddy?" his youngest daughter pleaded, "Are you going to catch the man who hurt Criss?"
He looked down at his child, so much like Beth in many ways: same blond hair and blue eyes. "When Daddy gets the call," he said to her, "we'll go find him. Meanwhile, we're gonna say a prayer for Criss, okay, honey?"
The little girl nodded. Duane gathered his brood around him in a prayer circle. "Lord, we pray that You bless Criss Angel and heal him of his injuries. Give him strength and give him health. We ask for Your help in finding the Vegas Bomber and bring him to justice. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
"Amen," the family echoed.
The prayer circle broke up, the children were sent to school, and Duane and Beth headed for the Da Kine Bail Bonds office. Duane's eldest boys, Duane Lee and Leland, would be waiting for them, ready to pursue the latest fugitive who had jumped bail. Normally, the Dog would be straining at the leash to begin the hunt for local drug dealers, addicts, thieves and spouse abusers, but his thoughts kept going back to the Vegas Bomber and his attack on his dear friend Criss Angel. They'll capture him, he convinced himself as he drove to the small storefront office he and Beth worked out of. Swear to God, they will capture that (bleeper) and bring him to justice! I don't care who does it--I want that (bleeper) brought down!
Deep down, however, Duane did care who bought down that (bleeper). In his heart, he wished that the honor of capturing the Vegas Bomber would be his, and his alone.
02-29-2012, 10:53 PM
Poor Criss and his family , i can't wait to read more as it is nail biting stuff :)
03-01-2012, 04:00 PM
Friday noon rolled around. The press conference ended. While the Loyals were relieved that Criss was still alive, they still kept vigil around the Luxor, to the frustration of the management. The crowd of fans kept the staff from doing their jobs; flowers and tributes littered the main entrance like Kensington Palace after the death of Princess Diana. They stood on the curb of the Strip, holding up HONK IF U LUV CRISS signs before passing traffic. Any attempt to clear the area met with resistance.
Carey Conner grew frustrated as well. In her mind, it was the 1997 Red Wings limo accident all over again, with legions of Wing Nuts gathered at Woodward and Quarton after the limosine carrying Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Mninsikonov, and Slava Fetisov of the Stanley Cup championship winning Detroit Red Wings crashed into a tree, seriously injuring all three men. The accident scene became a shrine, with teddy bears, hockey sticks and jerseys piled all around the demolished tree. There's got to be a better way! she thought as she surveyed the scene outside the hotel. They need to put their time to better use than stand around with signs and flowers.
A crazy scheme began formulating in her mind. Crazy enough to work, she thought. She dashed over to the front desk. "I need the number to the nearest Red Cross Station," she asked the desk clerk.
The clerk tapped on the computer keyboard and came up with an address not too far from the Luxor. She printed it out and handed it to her. Carey thanked her and walked to where she had just spotted Felix Rappaport with a couple of hotel security guards. "Mr. Rappaport," she called out.
The hotel CEO turned, expecting another complaining guest. "I have an idea on how we can clear out all these fans," Carey said eagerly. "It's a long shot, but I think it will work."
"I'm listening," he said.
"I'm going to need your help with this, because you're closer to Criss than I am, and they'll listen to you." And she told him her idea.
"Might work," he said. "It's a gamble, but it might work."
"Well, that's what you do in Las Vegas, isn't it?" Carey quipped. "Gamble, I mean?"
The crowd of Loyals surged forward at the sight of Felix Rappaport, CEO of the Luxor. If anyone had any news about Criss Angel, they believed, he would.
Flanked by the two guards, he took a microphone wired into the PA system outside the main entrance. "Good afternoon," he began. "I have just received word about Criss Angel that you all should know."
He had them at "Criss Angel; they gave the president their undivided attention. God, I hope this works, Felix said to himself. "Criss Angel is due for major surgery today," he announced, "and he needs blood. Unfortunatly, the blood supplies are dangerously low, practically nonexistant. If there is any among you who can donate a pint of blood, please report to the Red Cross Station on B--- Avenue. If you are clean, sober, and have not had a tattoo in the past six weeks, you are encouraged to donate. Thank you."
"Where did you say it was?" some called out.
"On B--Avenue," Rappaport repeated. "It's not too far from L--- Hospital."
The word spread like a brushfire in August. Criss' life was in danger! He needed blood! Only the Loyal could save him! To the Red Cross Station! "We're coming, Criss!" one young female Loyal cried out. "We're coming to save you!"
Rappaport stared in amazement as the crowd of fans all but stampeded away from the hotel. He turned back to Carey. "Well, I'm impressed!" he said to her, shaking his head in disbelief. "That crazy scheme of yours actually worked."
"Wonderful," she said. "Now, I think you'd better call that Red Cross station and give them a heads-up. They're gonna get a helluva lot of new donors, and they need to stock up on juice and cookies."
Meanwhile, Criss Angel lay in bed, turning his mind's eye inward to compensate for the loss of his outer ones. In the dark prison of gauze, he conjured up memories of light and color.
That's me, as a kid, riding my bike off the roof of the house. It's summer, and I'm running through the sprinklers with my brothers. I can see the green grass, feel it under my bare feet. I'm with my dad, he's watching me levitate Mom in the living room. It's Christmas, I can see the tree, all lit up. We're all together for Dad's birthday, his last. I can see his face as I kiss him. Now I'm riding my motorcycle through the desert, it's flat, it's sandy, and it's hot. I can see the cliffs in the distance.
I see the lights on the Strip, rolling and flickering. I see Vegas Vic, waving at me. I see the top of the Luxor, shining so brightly, it can be seen from space. I'm floating above it. It's so bright, even with goggles on, it's like I am in Heaven itself.
I'm with the children at a church. I'm dressed like Santa Claus, standing next to a truck filled with toys. Johnny Thompson is in a fur coat with reindeer antlers and a big red nose. The truck is empty, and I make toys appear by magic. The kids are smiling at me. I see their faces. They're so happy, it makes me want to cry.
I'm in the desert again. I'm riding my racing bike around the valley. I see the cheering crowds. There is a big white flash of light. I feel like I'm on fire.
I don't remember anything after that. I woke up in this dark prison. I heard Mom's voice, but I can't see her face. I want to see her face again! I want to see the faces of those I love! I want to see the faces of children, of friends, of the Loyal! I want to see the Vegas Strip in all its glory! I want to see again! Oh, God, why did You do this to me! Please, God, give me back my sight! I'll do anything, anything at all! I'll give You anything You want: my cars, my bling, my motorcycles--anything at all! Just don't let me go blind!
Officer Jim Lettrile strode into the CSI Crime Lab. He had just received word from the lab techs that they had examined all the evidence gathered at all three Vegas Bomber sites and ready to give their report. "Okay, what've we got?" he demanded as soon as he entered.
Dr. Mackenzie Taylor led him to a table littered with jagged metal parts. "Here are the pieces taken from the Luxor bombing," she said, pointing out the first third of metal scraps painstakingly labeled in numerical order of their constuction. "A crudely made pipe bomb, secured to the underside of the vehicle by the gas tank, using this bracket here." She directed his attention to a blackened strip of metal plumbers' tape, and two large screws. She picked up an envelope lying next to the shatered pipe bomb and removed its contents. "This came from the photo lab. The vehicle was locked in 'drive' and was allowed to crash into the hotel. We think the bomber bailed out at the last minute."
"No tire tracks, no skid marks," Lettrille observed. "Anyone see this guy bail out?"
"No one reported seeing anyone jump out of any car at the time."
"Geez!" Jim tossed the photos down in frustration. "A city this size, with this many people, and thousands of visitors, you'd think someone would have seen something!"
Dr. Taylor moved to the second third of the exam table. "This came from the Magic Castle," she told him. "Same type of materials. It went off behind one of the bars which wasn't open at the time. Again, no witnesses. But we did get a footprint from the service entrance. It looks like a boot of some sort; it didn't belong to any of the staff, and they didn't report any deliveries that day."
Lettrille looked at the footprint, heavy soled like a hiking or workboot. Now we're getting somewhere, he thought.
"Now, over here," Dr. Taylor moved to the last third of the table, "is the desert valley bombing. Same pipe bomb, same materials, same foot print above the scene. They found them behind some rocks from the west."
"That much I know," Lettrille said.
"And again, he got away scot free. No witnesses."
"We got one witness. She didn't see much, but we got a lead," Lettrille informed her. He took out his notebook. "A Carey Conner from Michigan. She heard someone yell, quote, 'I did it, I did it, no more Criss eff-word Angel', and take off in a early model Lincoln towncar with a dent in the fender and BAC on the license plate."
"Not much to go on," Dr. Taylor commented.
"No," Lettrille agreed, "but it's better than nothing."
The B--Avenue Red Cross station found itself overwhelmed that Friday afternoon. Granted, they had received a call from the Luxor Hotel, of all places, warning them of "a lot of new donors" would soon be arriving, but they weren't prepared for the hundreds jamming the tiny foyer and spilling out the door. Rochelle Slemlin, RN and station supervisor, was absolutely flabbergasted the minute she spotted that huge mob converging into her tiny station. "Good Lord, have mercy!" she exclaimed.
She pulled herself and her volunteers together after the initial shock wore off and began organizing what would become the single biggest blood drive since Nine-Eleven. Dozens of forms were collated and attached onto clipboards and equipped with attached pens. Plastic blood pouches were readied by the score. Juice boxes, bottled water and packages of cookies were set out on the recovery tables. All volunteers were to stick to their assigned posts until relieved of duty, she ordered.
Nurse Slemlin called for backup from the branch stations in the area, and for building security to keep order. She was relieved when she was informed that the Reno station would bring over its moblie blood donation unit as soon as possible. She had just hung up when she received another call. "Hello, Red Cross, supervisor speaking."
"Hi, this is Dean Sweet from KLOL Radio. We got word you got a lot of donors at your station, today."
"Yes!" Nurse Slemlin exclaimed. "We got a call from the Luxor about it, and they're all lined up outside. We had to call for help from all the other stations."
"Well, we at KLOL would like to offer any assistance. Anything we can do?"
Nurse Slemlin sighed with gratitude. "Oh, bless you! We're going to need snacks--cookies and juice, and plenty of them. We're pretty short right now. And we're going to need some help keeping this from turning into a riot."
"Okay, we're on our way." Sweet said.
"Thank you," Nurse Slemlin said. "Thank you so much. But tell me, what started all this?"
"Well, it all had to do with Criss Angel, ma'am," he answered.
Nurse Slemlin wanted to hear more, but the mob at the door was getting unruly, pounding on the galss door, demanding to be let in. "Sorry I have to cut you off, sir," she said quickly, "but I got to let these people in before they break the door down."
She hung up and rushed for the door. "All right! All right! One at time, please. Just fill out the forms and we'll get to you as soon as possible."
The clipboards were distributed, quickly filled out and passed to registration. The first five donors were escorted to the cubicles for furthur testing and questioning, while the next batch filled out their forms in turn. "To hell with the paperwork, lady!" one impatient Loyal yelled over the heads of those ahead of him. "We gotta save Criss Angel!"
"You wait your turn, like everybody else!" Nurse Slemlin snapped, as she handed yet another clipboard to another donor.
Amber Woods took her clipboard and read through the questions: Did she have any dental surgury in the past month? No. Did she have a history of a list of unpronouncible diseases printed on the form? No. Did she get a tattoo in the past six weeks? No. Was she feeling well today? Actually, she had been feeling great until Criss was almost killed by the Bomber, but she marked Yes. Jaundice, hepatitis, or HIV? No. Was she sexually active? Only in my dreams with Criss, but she put down Yes anyway. Had she come into contact with anyone with HIV? No.
She finished her form and held it up to her lips. This is for you, Criss! She kissed the paper on the board and handed it to the registration nurse, then sat down and waited.
The waiting area began to fill to overflowing. To prevent any safety violations, an empty office across from the Red Cross station was opened, stocked with chairs for the accomodation of the crowd inside the building. Amber found herself seated next to a Latino man wearing a bandana gangster style on his head. She was a bit concerned at first, but if he was here for the same reason as she, then he had to be harmless, he had to be a fellow Loyal, she reasoned.
"Amber Woods," a volunteer called out.
Amber jumped up at the sound of her name, ready to give. but she still had to go through the preliminaries in the cubicles, with the blood tests and the seemingly endless questions. She fidgeted with impatience. Criss was dying, and here she was going through all this paperwork, she thought. She was here to save him, not fill out forms!
Finally, all her information was recorded and filed to the Red Cross' satisfaction, and she was led to a table where a volunteer mechanically explained the procedure to her, to breathe normally, squeeze the rubber ball, and if she felt faint, to call out for help. "Just do it," she insisted. "Just stick the needle in and do it! You can take every drop I have, just save Criss!"
The needle slid into her arm, and rich, red blood traveled through the plastic tubing into the pouch with her name and donor number computer-printed on it. As she lay there, a spiky-haired fellow hopped onto the table next to her. He lay down, endured the same routine as she had from the volunteer assigned to that particular table, and prepped his arm for the needle. "C'mon, lady," Spiky-hair encouraged her with bravado, "hook me up and drain me dry!"
Amber could not sit up, of course, but she could hear what was going on all around her. The Red Cross volunteers went about their routines mechanically, asking the same incomprehensible questions and delivering the same information about blood donation and AIDS an HIV. The donors themselves had more interesting things to say:
"How come we gotta fill out these fricking forms?"
"Look, I'm straight, I'm clean, and I'm sober! That's all you need to know, right?"
"Did I have what in the past six months?"
"Have it? Hell! I can't even pronounce it!"
"Take it all, nurse! Take it all! Every last drop of blood I have, just save Criss Angel!"
"This is for you, Criss! Whoooooo!"
"Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women..."
"Aw, (bleep)! I shouldn't have gotten that tattoo! Now I can't give blood for Criss!"
"Oh, Jesus, I'm gonna be sick!"
"Just take it easy, you'll be all right."
"Juice boxes and cookies?! What the hell is this, kindergarten?"
"Anyone want to go in for pizza?"
"What? No beer?"
"Hey, I feel fine, really! I'm good for another round!"
The plastic pouch dangling beside her filled, Amber was disconnected from the needle and her wound bandaged. She held her arm upright, pressing a square of gauze with her free hand. She slowly sat up with the help of the volunteer and escorted to the recovery table. As she munched her cookies and drank her juice, she was soon joined by Spiky-hair and the Latino she had sat next to in the waiting area.
"Hey, how ya doin'?" Spiky-hair greeted her.
"Hey, wassup?" the Latino waved at her.
Amber smiled. "Hey, guys. You okay?"
"Fine," Spiky-hair nodded. He picked up a Red Cross "Be Nice to Me, I Gave Blood Today" sticker, peeled off the backing, and stuck it to his ragged t-shirt.
"So, what's your name?" the Latino asked Amber.
"Amber. Amber Woods."
"Name's Raul Alvarez." They shook hands. "How about you, man?"
"Brent diOrio." Again, more handshakes all around. "Glad to meet you."
"So, what do you do?" Raul asked his new companions.
"I'm studying computer graphics at the University of Nevada." Amber replied.
Raul was impressed. "Hey, cool! You know, I'm trying to get a Latino Criss Angel Website going, okay? Maybe you can help?"
Amber brightened. "I'd love to! Sure!"
"What about you, man?" Brent asked Raul.
"Me? I'm an apprentice electrician, man. Las Vegas is the best place in the world to be an electrican, you know, what with all the lights and the computer-generated screens and all that."
"Yeah, for real," Brent nodded.
"What about you?" Amber asked Brent.
"Ah, I just work at the auto parts store off the Strip. I had the day off today, so I came down here to do my bit for the cause, you could say."
"Where were you when you heard about Criss?" Amber inquired.
"I was at work, and I heard it on the radio. I was like, oh, (bleep)! I mean, it was total shock!" Brent answered.
"I heard it on the radio where I was working. There was this big plasma TV in the next room, and we all watched it. God! It was awful!" Raul said. "How about you?"
"I was there," she said. "I saw the whole thing live." Amber burst into tears. "One minute Criss is riding around on his motorcycle, the next, he was--" Her voice choked off in a muffled sob.
"Aw, hey." Raul patted her shoulder. "He's gonna be okay. He's the MindFreak. That's why we're here, right?"
"Damn straight" Brent nodded. He tossed his juice box away. "To hell with this, man. I'm getting a pizza." He got up and left, exchanging high-fives with the people waiting in line to donate. Amber and Raul finished their snack and also left.
Outside the Red Cross station, shrines had been erected to Criss on the side of the building. Posterboard signs, teddy bears, silk flowers, drawings, photos and other signs of devotion lined the wall, more added by each passing Loyal. Dominating the scene was what had to be the world's biggest get-well card, a huge tryptich made up of three sheets of drywall hinged end-to-end with duct tape and covered front and back with scribbles of love and prayers for their fallen Angel--so many in fact it began to resemble the Berlin Wall. Those who bought camcorders wandered around, documenting the actions and reactions of the Loyals gathered there. Others resorted to camera phones to preserve the event for posterity. The general atmosphere was part vigil, part prayer circle, part Loyafest and part indignation meeting against the Vegas Bomber.
Raul and Amber met up with Brent, who had been sidetracked by a few friends among the crowd. "I swear to God," they heard Brent say, "I ever find this mother(bleeper) Bomber--" He flicked open a springblade for emphasis. "I'm gonna carve him a new one!"
"I'll hold him for you," one of his companions snarled.
The group laughed. Amber was startled. She didn't know that Brent was carrying a knife; it made her wonder if her newfound companion belonged to a gang or something. Brent turned and saw her standing next to him along with Raul.
"Hey, there!" Brent smiled.
"Wassup?" Raul greeted him.
"Just talking to some friends of mine." Brent said. "Jordan, Deege, Mike, and Evan. This is Raul, and Amber. I met them inside."
Hellos were exchanged. "Love to stay and chat, but I got to catch the bus home," Amber said. "Later."
They waved good-bye to her as she headed for the bus stop. A large group of Loyals stood there, waiting to return home after donating as well. Amber looked around idly at the crowded Red Cross station. Suddenly, she noticed a familiar figure wearing a large sunhat.
"Carey!" Amber called to her. "Over here!"
Carey caught sight of her and walked up to the bus stop. "Hello again," she said.
"You here to give blood?" Amber asked.
Carey shook her head. "Nope, sorry. My last bout with kidney stones disqualifies me."
"So, what have you been doing?"
"I just spent the better part of the day being grilled by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police regarding the Vegas Bomber, is all."
Amber practically jumped out of her Nikes. "You're a witness?"
"Well, sort of," Carey replied. "I can't go into too many details about it, because--"
"Well, did you see him or not?" Amber demanded impatiently.
"No, I didn't see him, I just got a partial license plate and a voice."
"What'd he say?"
Carey sighed. "He said, and I quote, 'I did it, I did it, no more Criss effing Angel!', end quote."
The minute Carey uttered those words, shock and outrage spread among the Loyals like a brushfire out of control.
"You hear that? The Vegas Bomber is targeting Criss!"
"She saw him! That lady saw him!"
"The Vegas Bomber, dipwad!"
"No, I mean, who saw him?"
"The lady with the sunhat over there! She got his license plate and everything!"
"The Sunhat Lady over there nailed the (bleeper) who did it!"
"Tell us what you know, lady! We wanna know!"
The Loyals surged forward, screaming for answers. Fearing for her own safety, Carey fled the scene, seeking refuge in an alley behind the Red Cross Station. Oh, boy, I really did it this time! she said to herself. I had to go and tell the whole world about what I saw, which really wasn't much of anything to begin with, and now, not only have I put the whole investigation in jeopardy, but my life as well! Lord! How do I get myself into these things?
She turned to see Amber Woods standing just outside the alley, with two young men beside her.
"Oh, Amber," Carey sighed with relief. "I don't know what to do now. I wanted to keep this under wraps, and now that everyone knows..."
"Don't blame yourself, hon," Amber said. "It's partly my fault for pressing you for details. It's just that everyone out there is gunning for the Bomber, and they're scared, see."
Carey looked at the two young men. "Who are your friends?"
"Oh, this is Brent, and this is Raul. We met inside when we were donating blood." Amber replied.
"How do you do." Carey nodded politely.
Brent waved and Raul nodded. Brent was the first to speak. "So, you know who did it? 'Cause whoever did it, man," he flicked open his springblade, "he gets it."
Carey was shaken at the sight of that slender knife in Brent's hand. "Now, wait just a minute there, friend! Let's talk this over, shall we?" An idea flashed into her head. "What do you all say we go out for pizza--my treat! Okay? My car is right over there."
They nodded. Brent sheathed the springblade. "Relax, lady," he assured her. "I wasn't going to use it on you."
In a small pizza restaurant Raul had pointed out as they drove away from the Red Cross station, Carey, Amber, Brent and Raul sat in a corner booth all the way in the back to avoid attracting attention. Carey had taken the extra precaution of leaving her sunhat in the car before entering the restaurant.
"So, I didn't really see anyone," Carey explained. "I just saw a big Lincoln towncar with a dent in the fender and just three letters on the license plate. The rest was a blur."
"But you heard his voice, didn't you?" Brent pressed.
"If you heard it again, would you recognize it?" Amber chimed in.
"I probably would, if I heard it again." Carey replied hesitantly. "You two are begining to sound like police investigators," she added with a little chuckle.
"Hey, we're concerned citizens," Brent told her. "We want this (bleeper) behind bars as much as anyone, and you're the key to do it! You're the prime witness!"
"What 'prime witness'? I just picked up a couple of crumbs of information and reported it to the police."
"Those 'crumbs' were the best lead anyone got, man," Raul pointed out.
The group fell silent when the pizza arrived, and did not speak again until after the waitress left.
"So, we gotta put our cards on the table and go over what we do know about the Vegas Bomber," Amber said authoritivly. "We have to go over every detail from the beginning. We'll start at the Luxor."
Carey rewound the mental videotape of her memory from that fateful day. "There was a car bomb that crashed through the main entrance and exploded. There was no driver. That's all I know."
"Anyone know what kind of car it was?" Raul asked.
"Two-door hatchback from what I saw from the framework," Brent said, "and from the videotape."
"The pipe bomb was attached to the gas tank, and the gearshift was stuck in 'drive'." Carey continued. "That's still not enough to go on."
"What about the Magic Castle?" Raul asked.
"Same deal," Carey said. "The pipe bomb was behind a bar where it went off. No one saw a thing."
Brent sighed in frustration. "Look, maybe the CSI people got more than we think," Carey said. "They can find a suspect with a single hair or a fingerprint. We should leave it up to them. They're the professionals, know what I mean?"
"But you're the closest witness we got," Amber insisted.
Carey threw up her hands in exasperation. "What witness? I didn't see anything! And why am I letting you drag me into your little investigation, anyway? I mean, I came her for a two-week vacation, some psycho starts blowing up the city, and all of a sudden I'm Nancy Drew! I gave my statement to the police--let them figure it out." She sank her teeth into a slice of pizza.
The group ate in silence. Once their meal was finished, Carey paid the bill, left a five dollar tip and walked out of the restaurant to where her car was parked. It was already dark; Carey noticed her car in the shadow of a retaining wall; she wished she had parked under a light. She glanced inside the car as she fumbled for her keys, then suddenly froze.
"Amber," she said quietly with forced calm, "I need you to call the police. Now."
JD Sarantakos stared incredulously at the two police officers standing before him. "You gotta be kidding me!" he cried.
Officer Jim Lettrille shook his head. "We checked out those footprints in the desert where the Bomber was allegedly hiding, and from the Magic Castle. We matched them up with those bootprints we found around the Luxor, in the back of your office. They matched perfectly."
"But I never even wore those boots!" JD protested. "They'd been there since my wife picked them up from the shoe repair shop last Tuesday!"
"Do you have them here?" Lettrille asked.
JD led the two officers to the very back of the MindFreak office. "There!" he pointed out triumphantly, "you see?"
Lettrille picked up a boot and examined it. "You say they were in a repair shop?"
"That's right. And my wife picked them up and left them there. I hadn't touched them since."
Lettrille held up the boot higher for JD to see. "Then what's all this dirt in the treads? Your shoe repairman take 'em out for a test run or something?"
JD's bowels turned to water. "But I never...I swear to God...!"
"Okay," Lettrille said. "We'll take the boots to the lab and run a few tests, take a few soil samples, and if there's any sweat samples inside, we'll run a DNA test. If they come up negative, you got nothing to worry about. In the meantime, you'd better come with us." He carefully slid the boots into a large plastic bag.
"Officer," JD protested, "I swear to God, I am not the Vegas Bomber! I was nowhere near where he struck! I never even wore those boots since they came back from the shop! I'm telling you, I didn't do it!"
"You can tell us everything when we get to the station," Lettrille said. "Like I said, if the tests come up negative, you're good to go."
"All right, fine!" JD walked out the door alongside the two policemen. "You have my full cooperation. DNA, fingerprints, whatever--just take it! I'm going to prove to you that I am not the Bomber."
03-01-2012, 04:58 PM
Poor jd :( i hope this guy get caught soon , can't wait to read more :)
03-02-2012, 03:27 AM
I'm lost how did JD get into this mess
03-02-2012, 03:05 PM
I'm lost how did JD get into this mess
The CSI team took footprints from the back room when the desert bombing occurred. They matched soil samples and the prints with the boots Lyn had placed there after fetching them from the shoe repair shop. Since they belonged to JD, he became a suspect.
03-02-2012, 03:16 PM
"What's the deal?" Raul asked, stepping up to Carey's car. "You got a mugger in the back seat or something?"
"Someone's been in my car," Carey said. "The front seat is pushed all the way back, and I think there is something in there on the floor."
"The police are on their way now," Amber said, closing her cell phone.
"Good." Carey sighed with relief. "Whatever you do, don't touch the car, or let anyone else touch it. They need to look for fingerprints."
After an anxious ten minute wait, a single police cruiser quietly pulled into the restaurant parking lot. The sight of the blue and red lights stirred curiosity among the customers in the restaurant and passersby on the sidewalk. Two uniformed officers got out of the cruiser and walked over to Carey. "You the one who reported tampering with your vehicle?" the elder of the two officers asked her.
"Yes, right over here." Carey led the policemen to her car. "I noticed that the seat was pushed all the way back, and there's something on the floor by the gas pedal."
The younger officer clicked on his big black flashlight and examined the car's interior, reflecting smudges on the side window. The officer stood upright and turned to his partner. "We'd better get the bomb squad on this one," he said. "Looks like a pipe bomb to me."
The elder officer stepped forward and looked for himself. "Wired under the dash," he murmured. He turned on the police radio. "One-Five-Seven reporting possible pipe bomb in vehicle located at Nino's Pizza, corner of J--- and R--- street. Request Bomb Squad, over."
"One-Five-Seven, Bomb Squad is on its way, over." the police radio crackled in response.
The two officers turned their attention to the groups of curious onlookers milling around the parking lot. "Okay, folks, everyone get back as far as possible, the farther the better. Everyone get back." the older officer ordered, hands upraised, motioning everyone away.
"Hey, man, is there really a pipe bomb in there?" someone asked.
"We got the Bomb Squad coming to check it out," the officer told him. "Just keep a safe distance."
Anxious looks and frightened chatter passed between the onlookers. It had to be the Vegas Bomber, they said amongst themselves, it just had to be. But why would he target an innocent woman?
The shrill blast of fire sirens shattered the peace of the neighborhood, announcing the arrival of the Bomb Disposal Unit, accompanied by the Las Vegas Munincipal Fire Department and escorted by three more police cruisers. The very sight of the armored BDU truck triggered a wave of horror among the citizenry already traumatized by three previous attacks. They didn't have to be told twice to "get back" when ordered by the police to do so; past images of blasted, burnt bodies reminded them of what would happen if they got too close.
The scene was cordoned off with yellow plastic tape. Those inside the restaruant were told to remain inside and stay away from the windows in case of a blast, while those outside were instructed to either go back home or keep behind the "barricade" of yellow tape. Only those with children chose to leave; most stayed to witness this real-life crime drama to the end, watching with horrifed fascination. Some held up camera phones to photograph the scene. Tension mounted as the BDU Squad geared up for whatever was to come.
As the Bomb Squad readied itself, a CSI investigator dusted the side window for fingerprints, extracting them carefully with adhesive tape. A dusty footprint was found by the driver's side window; it was photographed and preserved with plastic laminate. Finally, the car door was opened. A BDU officer reached inside, fumbled around a bit under the dash, and withdrew an unexploded pipe bomb. Gasps and shrieks of astonishment and horror echoed up and down the street. Carey's knees almost buckled at the sight of it. My God! she said to herself, that guy's trying to kill me!
"So you were in the production office when the first bomb went off at the Luxor, is that right?" Officer Lettrille asked JD Sarantakos. "And you were in the valley with the production crew during the motorcycle stunt."
"That is right," JD insisted. "You can even check the surveillance tapes in the Luxor for yourself. And the footage from the demonstration. Nothing was edited yet."
"Then how did your boots get the same soil sample from the same spot the Bomber had been when he threw the bomb if you never wore them?" Lettrille inquired, leaning closer to his suspect.
"Hey, you tell me," JD retorted facetiously, "you guys are the experts. Those boots never left the back room since they got back from the shop."
Lettrille leaned back, sighing. He wanted to believe this man, he really did, but years of experience had taught him that people could commit the most heinous crimes and put on Oscar-winning performances protesting their innocence. Besides, the soil samples belied the suspect's alibi.
A rap on the glass-paneled door caught his attention. It was Dr. Mackenzie Taylor from the crime lab. "We got DNA results from the interior of the boots." she said, handing him the report. "According to the test results, the sweat sample DNA from the boots we took and Mr. Sarantakos' own sample don't match. It seems someone was wearing them at the time of the attacks."
"You check for fingerprints?" Lettrille asked.
"We checked, but the perp was probably wearing latex gloves, so nothing definitive." Dr. Taylor told him.
Lettrille turned to JD. "So, it looks like someone was wearing your boots," he said. "Any idea who?"
"No one I know of," JD replied. "The only one I know who about the same size I am is my brother, Costa, and he was injured in the Luxor bombing. Couldn't have been him."
"My guess is that it was an inside job, a member of the crew," Lettrille said. "You know of any, you know, disgruntled workers? Anybody get fired, wanted some sort of payback?"
JD shook his head. "No one I remember," he said.
A CSI officer burst into the office. "Hey, Jim! We got a call from Dispatch. They found a pipe bomb inside a car at some restaurant. Bomb Squad's bringing it in now."
"Send it over to the lab," Lettrille ordered. "and make damn sure it's defused!" He turned to JD Sarantakos. "Well, I guess you're cleared. You can go home now." He smiled a little. "No hard feelings?"
JD stood up and shook Lettrille's hand. "None whatsoever," he said. " I know you're just doing your job, and I just got caught up in it. This psycho's almost killed my brother. I want him caught more than you do. Good luck."
The two men went their separate ways, Lettrille to the crime lab, JD to the exit. The latter found himself in the middle of a media firestorm as soon as he stepped out the door. Flashbulbs nearly blinded him as he struggled through the crush of bodies, cameras and microphones, snapping photos and demanding statements from him regarding his arrest.
Amid the journalistic feeding frenzy JD spotted a familiar face--Dave Baron, Criss' manager who had come to take JD back to the hotel. Weaving his way through the massed media, he managed to reach JD in one piece. "Dave, what the hell is going on here?" JD demanded.
"There's been a news leak," Baron told him. "Someone saw you being taken away in a police cruiser, heard something about you being the Bomber, and all screaming hell broke loose."
"Oh, Geez!" JD groaned aloud. He turned to the press. "Okay," he shouted over the din. "First of all, whatever charges there were against me, I've been cleared. Whoever did this was trying to frame me. The crime lab experts proved my innocence. I am not the Bomber!"
"How were you connected to the bombings?" a female reporter cried out.
"I had a pair of boots that were stolen and worn by the Bomber. DNA tests showed it was someone else." he replied. "The soles had the same dirt as the crime scenes."
"Were you formally charged?" shouted another reporter.
"No! I was just bought in for questioning."
"Where were you when Criss was attacked?" demanded yet another reporter.
Geez! JD thought. They're worse than the cops! "I was where I was supposed to be--with Criss!" he snapped.
"You have any idea who the Bomber might be?" someone beside him asked.
"If I did, I'd go after him myself, instead of being here talking to all of you!" JD retorted irritably. "No more questions! I've been cleared, and that's all there is to it!"
The press clamored loudly for more statements. Baron held up his hands for silence. "May I have your attention, please!" he shouted. "I don't know how you got word of this, but everything is fine now, everything's okay, so please leave!"
JD pushed his way to the waiting hotel limo and dived in to the back seat, drawing a deep breath as the door closed behind him, shutting out the persistant media. "My God!" he exclaimed as the limo pulled away, "what a nightmare this week has been!"
"Whaddya mean JD was arrested?" Criss mumbled into his cell phone as he lay in his hospital bed. "For what?"
"It's okay, bro," Costa assured him. "He's been cleared. We got word from Dave. He's coming back to the hotel."
"Cleared of what?" Criss demanded.
"There was some circumstantial evidence linking him to the demo bombing," Costa explained carefully. "The CSI lab proved him innocent."
Criss was incredulous. "They think JD is the Vegas Bomber? That's bull(bleep)!"
"We know, we know, but he's been cleared, okay? Don't get upset about it, all right? You just take it easy. You've been through too much as it is."
"You coming to see me tomorrow?"
"We'll all be there to see you, okay?" Costa reassured him. "You just take it easy and get some rest. We'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay, see you tomorrow then," Criss drowsily replied. "Later."
Costa chose to ignore the irony of that statement and said good night to his injured brother. Flipping off his phone, Criss lay in his gauzy prison, feeling sleep creeping upon him.
JD is innocent! Criss said to himself. He wouldn't hurt anyone, much less a member of his own family! Costa said he was cleared of all the charges. They shouldn't have charged him in the first place! He had nothing to do with it, nothing to do with it at all...
Criss drifted off to sleep with these thoughts still echoing in his mind. Nothing to do with it, nothing at all...
03-02-2012, 03:32 PM
Great Chapter ,i can't believe Jd is getting set up , i hope they catch this guy soon , can't wait to read more :)
03-02-2012, 11:33 PM
Can't wait to find out who did this
03-03-2012, 07:01 PM
Eight o'clock rolled around, closing time for the Red Cross station, but the mob outside showed no sign of dispersing. Nurse Slemlin marched up to the entrance where the Loyals who had not yet donated waited for their turn. "Your attention, please! The station is closing for the day! We will reopen at nine AM tomorrow morning. Please exit through the main doors. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Thank you."
"Hey, c'mon!" someone shouted. "I've been waiting all fricken' day to donate! Can't you take just one more? It's for Criss Angel!"
"I'm sorry, but we ran out of supplies, and won't get any more until tomorrow." Nurse Slemlin explained.
"Can I at least fill out the forms?" another Loyal begged.
Nurse Slemlin thought about it. "All right," she said finally, "You can take these forms, fill them out, and bring them in tomorrow morning."
She unclipped the forms from their clipboards and began passing them out, instructing them to ignore whatever questions didn't apply to them because of their gender, and to fill out the rest truthfully to the best of their knowledge. "Bring them in first thing tomorrow morning," she repeated, "and you'll be good to go."
The security guards herded the disappointed Loyals out of the building, informing those still outside that the station was closed for the day and to come back tomorrow.
"But I got to save Criss!" a female Loyal pleaded. "He needs my blood! He'll die if he doesn't get it!"
"Sweetheart, everyone here just broke all Red Cross records for blood donation," a burly guard told her. "Your Criss would have to be Dracula to take all that blood they got today. Now just go home like a good girl and come back tomorrow."
"Tomorrow'll be too late!" she screamed. "I got to save him!"
She dashed back to the building, shouldering her way through the departing crowd like a quarterback. The burly security guard gave chase. He siezed her by the shoulders and pulled her back. The girl struggled to free herself, but she was hoisted onto the guard's shoulder and carried her off kicking and screaming. "Criss! CRISS! I've got to save him!" she shrieked as the guard hauled her away. "Let me GOOOOooooo!"
Everyone looked upon the hysterical girl with a mixture of bemusement and pity as she disappeared from view. Those who had planned to camp out in front of the building overnight were quickly dissuaded by security and chased off the premises. Many took it as a confirmation that they meant business when they had been told to leave and departed, while others needed more convincing with threats of arrest by the local police.
It was eight-thirty before peace was restored, and the area was empty save for the makeshift shrines out in front. Candles flickered like distant stars in their votive holders. The sheetrock memorial was covered front to back and even along the edges with scrawled messages of love and devotion.
The burly security guard on duty that night shook his head in disbelief. "Reminds me of when Elvis died," he commented.
"Yeah," his partner agreed, "but the guy's still alive. Hope springs eternal and all that."
At the pizza restaraunt, Carey once again found herself in the middle of a police investigation, this time more serious and more personal.
"You claim to have identified the Bomber?" the officer asked.
"I saw only a car with a dent in the fender and a partial license plate number," Carey replied with an exasperated sigh. "I have no idea who this guy is or what his motive is, execpt that I think he thinks I know who he is and wants to get rid of me."
The officer nodded. "Any way we can contact you?"
"Ask Officer Lettrille," she told him. "He's the one I originally spoke to and gave my statement to. He's got all my information with him."
The officer nodded. "Okay, that's all. You can go now."
"Is it all right to take my car?" Carey asked. "It's a rental."
"You'd better make other arrangements, ma'am," the officer said. "We're going to have to tow your vehicle to the crime lab for furthur investigation."
Oh, great! Carey groaned inwardly. This vacation just keeps getting better and better!
"Hey, you can come over to my place until you get another car," Raul offered. "It's not too far from here, just on Ubeck Street." He pointed down the main drag.
Carey sighed. "Why not?" she said resignedly. "Frankly, I'm a bit nervous about going back to the hotel right now. What if he's looking for me there?"
"You'll be fine," Brent smiled reassuringly. "We'll protect you, won't we?" He turned to Raul and Amber who nodded in reply.
After removing her sunhat and a few other personal items from the car, Carey walked with her new friends back to the Red Cross station where Brent's battered blue van was parked. Carey took one look inside the interior and soon realized "why not." Metal toolboxes served for seats, and it reeked of oil and gas. From the pawprints on the rusty metal floor, she could tell a large dog had made itself at home recently.
Carey was granted the privilege of sitting in the sole passenger seat, partially upholstered with that handyman's secret weapon, duct tape. Amber and Raul had to make themselves as comfortable as they could in the back on the tool boxes. It was all Carey could do to keep from vomiting up the pizza she had just eaten as the van shook and jostled its way to Raul's house. She struggled to roll down the window for some fresh air, succeeding in lowering it down a couple of inches. It was enough, though; she had been plagued with motion sickness since her childhood, and fresh air and ginger root pills helped alleviate it. Unfortunately, she had forgotten the latter, so she had to compensate with huge gulps of air from the window crack.
Mercifully, it was a short drive--she saw the Ubeck Street sign right up ahead. Even in the dark, she could tell that this was not one of Las Vegas' poshest neighborhoods. Two streetlamps provided the only lights outside for the entire stretch. Many of the houses had plywood over their front windows, even those that were still occupied. It reminded Carey of the East side of Detroit, especially the infamous Cass Corridor with its abandoned, graffitti-covered houses targeted to be tinder on Devil's Night by arsonists.
As she gazed along the right side of the street, her eye caught something familiar. She sat bolt upright as she recognized what it was. "Brent! Pull over!" she demanded.
"What's the deal?" Brent asked as he stopped the van.
"That car over there," she pointed out. "That big one in the driveway of that house right there."
"So? What about it?" Brent shrugged.
Carey swallowed hard. "I'm not one-hundred percent sure, but I think that's the car I saw driving away from the valley."
Hiram Block looked disgustedly at the shrine set up for Criss Angel along side the Red Cross station building. It was idolatry, he said to himself. Pure heathen, Satanic idolatry! Devil worship and paganism! The Dark Angel had survived the just retribution of the Lord, yet instead of turning away from him as they should have, his misguided followers had erected a pagan temple for to worship him!
Three times, Hiram counted. Three times the Lord smote this latter day Sodom and Gomorrah, and three times the sinful citizens failed to turn to God for His salvation and redemption. Well, the Lord would smite them again. Did He not send seven plagues upon Egypt for to free the Children of Israel?
Hiram strode over to the tributes piled up against the wall, gravel crunching under his heavy workboots. He swiped the flowers, teddy bears, toys and votive candles with one massive arm. He kicked the drywall tryptich to the pavement and flung the lighted candles upon it, hoping it would burn.
"Oh, Lord!" Hiram cried out as he flung a pink teddy bear across the parking lot, "Let me be the instrument of Thy righteous wrath to destroy this unrepentant city! Give me Thy strength to bring down the whoremongers and charlatans who lead the innocent to perdition! Bring down the temples of Mammon! Let fire purge this dominion of Satan once and for all!"
03-03-2012, 07:40 PM
03-03-2012, 08:50 PM
i hope they catch this person soon , more please :)
03-04-2012, 05:31 PM
We heard about that attack on you in the desert on TV. Just want to let you know you are in all our prayers for your recovery. The kids keep asking us when are going to go over there and catch him. Las Vegas is a little too far out of our jurisdiction, I'm afraid, about a couple thousand miles to be exact. If the Vegas Bomber does try to escape to Hawai'i, you bet we will nail his ass good! You know if they caught him yet?
Everyone here is doing good--we are looking forward to the return of the show. Big Daddy is raring to go, and so's the rest of the family.
A funny thing happened to us when we were trailing this one fugitive. He was wanted for selling "ice", and he skipped bail, so we had to go after him. We traced him to his house, and his girlfriend said he tried to escape right up the chimney, and he got his ass stuck in there! We could see his feet hanging down in the fireplace! It was too damn funny! We had to call the fire department to get him out of there. They had to take sledgehammers and break him out of there. When he did get out, he was so black he looked like a piece of charcoal! We had to hose him down just so we could identify him. We got it all on tape, so yes, we are definatly going to air it on TV when the show starts up again. Going to be a classic.
Blue had some sort of ear infection, so we had to take him to the vet. He's doing okay, though, but he's not much for playing right now--he just lays on his blanket on the floor, sleeping a lot. Must be the meds they gave him.
That's all from this side of the Pacific. Get well soon, because I know you are still itching for that rematch from that underwater escape. You've pulled through tougher crap than this, I know you have. We're all praying for you, so, get better and get your ass out of that hospital bed.
Yrs. in Jesus,
Criss smiled as Costa finished reading the email received yesterday afternoon. "That was great," he mumbled weakly. "Guy gets his ass stuck in a chimney trying to escape--what a dipwad!"
Costa chuckled along. Beth Chapman's email letter was welcome comic relief after the past week of pipe bomb attacks, Criss' near fatal injuries, and JD being framed for them. He looked down at his injured brother, eyes and head swathed in gauze, his wrist encased in plaster. Criss had suffered numerous injuries throughout his career--burns, scratches, puncture wounds on his feet from screwdrivers and on his back from being impaled on hooks while dangling in mid air from a helicoper, neck injuries from jumping from that prison van and landing wrong, but they were usually the result of human error, a miscalculation of distance, say, or simple neglect of some small but important detail. This time, however, it wasn't a miscalculation or negligence or anything Criss had done (or didn't do) but a premeditated criminal act, planned and executed by some psychopath who was still at large. And not only Criss, but a couple dozen other people were suffering from his criminal acts as well: burned, blinded, and maimed, with three people dead.
Costa took Criss' free hand and held it gently. Criss smiled back at him, following tactile clues as to where Costa was standing. He's adapting, Costa thought. He's starting to rely on his other senses to cope with his blindness.
He smiled, fighting back tears. Criss had been called many things throughout his career, but never a quitter. He had worked hard, had overcome many obstacles, and had sacrificed a lot to get where he was now in the entertainment world. He was a fighter. He was fighting off self-pity, fighting off the negativity surfacing in his subconscious mind, fighting off the naysayers who believed his career was over, fighting for his very life. Even lying there in that hospital bed, seemingly helpless, he was fighting. And Criss was a man who hated to lose, no matter what the odds.
Sergeant Phil Macomb dragged his handcuffed prisoner into the station to be booked for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and property damage. During transport, Macomb had endured a long, sputtering hellfire-and-brimstone diatribe from the back seat of his squad car. He had dealt with hotheaded types before, but at least this time he had been spared the constant use of the eff-word as his previous arrests had before this one.
The handcuffed man with the red sandpaper scalp scowled as Sergeant Macomb led him to a small office to be booked. He was forcibly seated in a specially molded plastic chair designed to accomodate cuffed hands behind a person's back.
Macomb went through the routine of fingerprinting, photographing and filling out the forms for the arrest of Hiram Block, age forty-eight, unemployed, prior arrests for disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and possession of a concealed weapon. No major felonies, just misdemeanors; his bark was worse than his bite, the sergeant thought.
Tonight, he had been picked up outside the Red Cross station on B-- Avenue, caught in the act of demolishing the makeshift shrines set up for Criss Angel. He had put out the few small fires caused by overturned votive candles with the extinguisher he carried in the squad car and hauled Block to the station, Block still raving about Sodom and Gomorrah and the sins of the fathers bening visited unto the seventh generation or something like that.
Now, Block sat in an interrogation office, smoldering. Sergeant Macomb sat opposite him, not at all intimidated by the larger man's size or demeanor. He handled gang members tougher than this bird--besides, he still had his police issue revolver in his side holster.
Block, however, needed no persuasion of any description to elicit a confession; he freely admitted to "purging" the city of Godlessness and pagan worship, Satanism and idolatry, to bring the city to righteousness, and so on. Criss Angel, or Criss Devil, as Block liked to call him, was a minion of Satan who had led an entire generation astray. God had visited His wrath upon him in just retribution for his godless ways, and he, Hiram Block, would drive out his evil followers as Christ had driven out the moneychangers from the Temple, he ranted.
A small alarm bell went off in Macomb's mind. "Purge" the city? Could this guy be the Vegas Bomber? He sounded nutty enough to be him, and he knew that nutcases like him went around blowing up abortion clinics or whatever they believed went against their fundamentalist doctrine.
Macomb picked up the office phone and punched the operator key. "Get me Officer Lettrille," he barked. "I think we got a suspect."
"You sure about that?" Raul asked doubtfully. "I mean, if he is the Bomber, I should have seen him, you know, 'cause I live down the street there."
"I didn't say I was sure, I said I think it could be." Carey insisted. "I just want to make sure, that's all."
"If you think that's the car, we'd better go check it out," Brent said. He climbed into the back and found a large Sears model flashlight. He clicked it on, shone it into his face to make sure it was working, and pulled open the side door.
Carey, Brent, Raul and Amber crept cautiously to the vehicle, parked in the darkened driveway of and equally darkened house, Brent's flashlight illuminating the way. "What'd you say the license plate was?" Brent asked.
"I just got four letters--BAC," Carey told him. "And there was a big diagonal dent in the rear fender."
Brent examined the huge automobile. "Seventy-eight Lincoln Continental Towncar. Color's faded, probably steel blue. Two door, hardtop."
"Man knows his cars," Carey commented. "I gotta hand it to him."
"Well, he said he works in an auto parts store," Amber said quietly.
"Hey, Carey," Brent said. "This the dent you saw?"
Carey crossed over to where Brent was standing. It was hard to make it out at first, what with the light reflecting brightly off the chrome of the bumper, but a few adjustments of her view, she could make out a dent in the fender. The dent in the fender, she amended. It was like an identifying scar on a person's body down to the last inch. "That's the one," she confirmed. "What about the license plate?"
Brent lowered the beam under the bumper onto the license plate. It was definatly a Nevada license plate, but upon closer inspection she could tell that it expired four months ago. That did not concern Carey for the moment, as she read the three identifying letters on the plate: BAC.
"That's it!" Carey jumped up, shaking. "That's the car I saw!"
"Ohmigawd!" Amber clapped her hands to her mouth to keep from screaming. "Ohmigawd!"
Raul was just as astonished as Amber. "Holy (bleep), man! If I'd known the Vegas Bomber lived on my block, I'd have nailed his ass a week ago!"
"What do we do now?" Amber asked in a trembling voice.
Brent flicked open his springblade. "Go in and bust his ass, that's what!"
"No!" Carey grabbed Brent's arm. "We go to the police, that's what we do. We'll let them handle this."
"Listen, lady," Brent snapped at her, "we got the Bomber by the short hairs and you want to wait for the police? We got to get him now before he gets away!"
"It doesn't look like anyone's home, anyway," Amber pointed out. "There's no lights on."
"To hell with that! I'm going in!" Brent snarled as he charged for the front door of the house.
"Brent!" Carey hissed loudly, grabbing the impetuous young man by the arm. "You don't know who's in there! Aren't you forgetting something? This is the man who tried to kill me earlier with a pipe bomb! God only knows if he has any more explosives in there! We are dealing with a psychopath here! If he finds out I'm still alive, he'll come after me again, maybe taking more innocent lives in the bargain."
Brent shook himself free of Carey's grasp. "That's why we gotta go after him now!" he said, and bounded up the steps to the door.
"Brent! No!" Carey cried out after him.
"Open up in there!" Brent shouted, hammering his fist against the shabby front door, "Open up, mother(bleeper), or I'm gonna break down this (bleeping) door!"
No response. Not even a light turned on inside the house. Brent became even more infuriated. "I know you're in there, you (bleeper)! Come on out of there right now!"
"Doesn't look like anyone's home," Carey commented.
Brent drew a couple of deep, angry breaths. "He's in there, all right," he growled. "He's just hiding his ass from us."
"Hey, man, how about we go around the back, see if he ducked out that way?" Raul suggested.
"Yeah, man, let's go." Brent agreed, and he and Raul dashed around the house to the back yard, the beam from the Sears flashlight darting from one side to another in their desperate search for the Bomber.
Amber stepped up to Carey. "I got hold of the police," she said, holding up her pink cell phone, "and they said they'd be on their way."
"Good," Carey said wearily, "I'm glad someone here has some sense."
Meanwhile, Raul and Brent searched the weedy, unkempt back yard for any sign of the Bomber. They had seen enough crime shows on television to look for footprints, discarded items which would link him to the crimes. "You see him, man?" Raul called out.
Brent lowered his flashlight in despair. "Nah, total bupkus." he moaned. "C'mon, man, let's go."
They walked back to where Carey and Amber were standing. "Did you find him?" Amber asked them, a hint of trepidation in her voice.
"No, he's gone, or he's hiding." Brent replied, shaking his head.
"I called the police, and they should be here any minute now," Amber told them. "Maybe they'll have better luck."
"The (bleeper) will be halfway to Mexico by the time they get here!" Brent grumbled.
"No, he won't," Carey said to him. "Once they look up the license plate number they'll know who he is and the rest will be cake."
As if on cue, two police squad cars and the BDU truck charged onto the scene with sirens blaring and lights flashing. The few residents on the block emerged cautiously from their houses in a blend of fear and curiosity. At first, they had thought it was another drug bust, but the sight of the Bomb Squad gearing up in Kevlar made them realize it was something far worse.
Officer Jim Lettrille stepped out of one of the squad cars and toward Carey. "You call about the car you saw?" Lettrille inquired bluntly.
"Yes. Well, no, I didn't call," Carey stammered nervously. "Amber over there called." She nodded toward Amber on her left.
"Is this the car you saw leaving the valley?"
"Yes, that is the one. Same letters on the license plate, same dent in the fender, same size."
A police photographer snapped pictures of the car while another investgator dusted for fingerprints. "Did any of you touch this in any way?" Lettrille not so much asked as demanded.
"I swear, we never laid a finger on it," Carey affirmed.
Meanwhile, the BDU squad had bought out the bomb-sniffing dogs, two large German Shepherds on industrial strength leashes. Their handler kept the dogs in check while two other officers approached the front door, guns at the ready. One pounded on the door, more forcibly than Brent had. "Open up! Police!" he ordered.
He pounded again, demanding entry but had no more luck than Brent had. A couple of BDU officers brought over a small but heavy battering ram to break down the door. The two officers stood back as the BDU squad swung the heavy black cylinder by its handles and threw it with all their might against the flimsy wooden door, all but splintering it into pieces as it gave way. The officers entered, the dogs were set to work searching for any bomb making materials while their human partners searched for the Bomber himself.
Outside, the investigators had combed the huge Lincoln for as many clues as they could gather. Lettrille sent for the DMV tow truck to haul it away. He had a good pretext to catch the Bomber--impound his vehicle for expired license plate tabs, wait for him to come and claim it at the impound lot, then nail him once he identified himself. Failing that, they could always check the registration records. Any vehicle still running on the road, no matter how old, was still listed by the VIN number, along with the name of the current owner. Either way, this guy wasn't going anywhere for a while, Lettrille thought. Even if he wasn't the Bomber, he was still under violation of driving with expired license plate tabs, so the night wouldn't be a complete loss.
Dr. Mackenzie Taylor examined the bootprints from the crime scenes and the ones taken from Hiram Block. The arresting officer had the foresight to photograph the print from the Red Cross Station on B-- Avenue parking lot where Block had been arrested using his camera phone. Some enlarging and computer scanning gave her a usable copy to compare with the other prints. Thank God for camera phones, she thought.
For the past forty-eight hours she had been putting in overtime on this case, and now she was beginning to feel the strain. Public outcry and pressure from the top brass had put everyone under the gun to find this psycho before he struck again. They had narrowly avoided another disaster when they got the call from that pizza restaraunt and found a pipe bomb in the rental car belonging to the closest thing they had to an eyewitness in this case. The rental itself contained a wealth of clues as to the identity of the Bomber--fingerprints on the windows and door handles, the pipe bomb, still intact, and even a boot print next to it on the asphalt. The witness, Carey Conner of Southfield, Michigan, had consented to giving her fingerprints for comparison. The computerized fingerprint files searched quickly but diligently for matches of the prints taken from the rental.
While she waited for the results, Dr. Taylor went over the bootprints. They were carefully lined up on top of one another on the computer monitor. No Match, it read.
Dr. Taylor leaned back wearlily in her chair. Another dead end. True, the Bomber had "borrowed" JD Sarantakos' boots for the first two crimes, but he had craftily placed them back in the MindFreak office. Either he swiped another pair of boots, or these were his own.
She rose to check on the fingerprint files. After all the downloading and sifting through the thousands of prints stored in the LVPD database, the results were a fat zero. Again, another dead end.
But there was still the DNA tests. One seemingly lucky break for them was that Hiram Block's arrest record stated that he had a kidney transplant a few years ago and his DNA records had been recorded to find a donor. A quick call to the hospital where he had surgery and the records were duly faxed over in the matter of minutes, saving a lot of time and trouble. Dr. Taylor called the lab to see if Block's records and the DNA evidence were ready to match.
To her relief, the DNA specialist, Lindsay Messerman, had been burning the midnight oil on the Bomber case as she had, putting aside all other, more routine cases for this one. She had just outlined the DNA from the boots on the computer and was about to download Block's when Taylor called for the results.
"Give me a minute, here, willya?" Lindsay murmured over the receiver sandwiched between her chin and shoulder as she entered the data.
Taylor crossed her fingers, hoping for a break, any break at all. Third time's the charm, she repeated to herself. Third time's the charm.
It was only a few minutes for the system to compare the two data sheets, but to Taylor, it seemed almost an eternity. Finally, she heard those welcome words: "Okay, I got the results."
"We get a match?" Dr. Taylor asked, unable to conceal her eagerness.
"No, I'm afraid not, Mac," Lindsay said, as disappointed as Dr. Taylor herself. "Hiram Block is clear."
Damn! It was all Dr. Taylor could do to keep from slamming down the receiver. For all her frustration, understandable though it was, she had to keep a professional demeanor at all times. She thanked Lindsay and hung up the phone quietly. So, that eliminated two suspects, JD Sarantakos and Hiram Block. They were all back on square one. Yet they did have the DNA of the Bomber from Sarantakos' boots. It was a fact that they had been stolen and used to frame him for the Luxor Bombing and the Criss Angel desert valley bombing. The shoe repair shop had cleaned and buffed them after being repaired so well they were almost like new, and had remained untouched for a week or so since Mrs. Sarantakos' had picked them up, carrying them home in a plastic shoe bag. The DNA and soil samples were still fresh when they were brought into the lab. That, in itself, was gratifying. But linking that evidence to a living person was proving to be the biggest obstacle in this case. Jim wasn't going to be too happy about this latest developement, that was for sure.
Dr. Taylor liked Jim Lettrille, both personally and professionally. He could be a funny guy if he chose to be--it was just that on duty, he never chose to be. Above all, he was relentless when it came to solving crimes. It was said around the precinct that Jim Lettrille would follow the Devil to Hell to nail a suspect. He went after criminals like a one-man band of vigilantes, barely stopping to eat or even sleep. Once Jim Lettrille got started, there was nothing anyone could do but gather evidence for him, follow his lead or get the hell out of his way. For that reason alone he had been assigned to find the Las Vegas Bomber. Taylor knew Investigating Officer James Kenneth Lettrille, LVPD, was going to get the Bomber behind bars--or die trying.
Silence. Criss hated the silence, trapped as he was in his dark prison. Visiting hours were over, and Costa had gone home. Now he was alone, no one to talk to, nothing to listen to; he wished he had his iPod to help him cope with the darkness and silence.
Marisol, his day nurse, a cheerful, talkative type who had been following the Vegas Bomber case down to the smallest detail, had kept him abreast concerning the latest developments since his arrival. It was from her that he learned of the Loyals' mass blood drive resulting from a ruse concocted by Felix Rappaport that he needed a blood transfusion for surgery, just to clear the main entrance from the fans' vigils. She had described to him the shrines and tributes erected to him, all the flowers, stuffed toys, and posters lined up against the wall of the Red Cross station not too far from the hospital. Marisol had even repeated Artie Creed's crack of trading his cat for a seeing-eye dog. Criss had blown it off, as he did all of Creed's blather. Artie was an (bleep)hole in the first degree, but his diatribes generated more publicity for Criss than anyone else in Las Vegas.
Now, Marisol was gone for the day, and Criss was alone. He tried to sleep, but thoughts kept swirling around in his head. He was scared of going permanantly blind--it would spell the end of his magic career. What would he do with his life if he could not do the thing he loved most? True, he had his music. There were a few popular musicians who were blind, like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Jose' Feliciano. Maybe he could focus his energies in that field, as he did in the past if the worst happened. But his love of magic was too strong. It had been his destiny from earliest childhood, he felt, and he had worked too hard to give it up for whatever reason.
Maybe he could still perform magic in spite of his blindness. With a few adaptations and plenty of practice, he could still create illusions for the seeing public. He could still stage Cirque de Soleil performances, with audio cues and rechoreographed moves. He remembered how a deaf woman had become Miss America; she had performed ballet flawlessly, despite being unable to hear the music, relying on cues from her dance coach or someone, and she won the crown. If a deaf woman could dance, then a blind man could do magic.
Dear God, Criss prayed, Give me the strength to go on, no matter what life has in store for me. If I must spend the rest of my life in darkenss, keep me in Your light to guide me. Whether I see again or go blind, give me the strength to go on living. Give me and my family the courage to face the future, whatever it holds. And, Lord, above all, keep everyone safe from this psycho bomber who is terrorzing the city. Help the police catch him and bring him to justice. Stop him before he strikes again, before more innocent people are hurt or killed. And heal those victims whom he already injured, and be with their families in this time of fear and sorrow. We need You more than ever now, Lord. Help us in our hour of need. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
03-04-2012, 05:37 PM
great chapter , it getting very exciting , can't wait to read more :)
03-04-2012, 07:25 PM
I can't wait to find out who's doing this
03-05-2012, 05:37 PM
The investigation of the Ubeck Street house where the car allegedly belonging to the Bomber yielded no suspects, but a few more clues were uncovered. The dogs had sniffed out the faintest traces of incendiary chemical substances in the basement; the whole place had been swept clean, it seemed, but what minute elements had been found were picked up using cellophane tape. The bigger prize was a crudely drawn sketch, a blueprint of pipe bomb construction and its attachment to the starting mechanism of an automobile. As to the identity of the owner, nothing was found, not even a piece of mail. They would have to search city records for the property title. The grounds were combed for any footprints or other evidence. The weeds and shrubbery in the back yard were so overgrown from neglect that the soil could not be reached, so no shoeprints were found. The dogs found nothing in the heavy foliage, chemical or otherwise, so the search was given up.
Jim Lettrille cursed under his breath. Again, the Bomber got away. He must have taken off running when that kid Brent was pounding on the door. Or maybe he was already gone.
It was then that he got a call from HQ telling him they had a possible suspect, some religious nut going by the name of Hiram Block who had been caught trashing all the flowers and gifts for Criss Angel outside a Red Cross station. He wore the same type of workboots, and he had been ranting about the bomb attacks as the wrath of God. At the time, they had been running a make on him, from fingerprints to DNA, to match him up to the evidence they had on the Bomber. His hopes rose, but not too high. Long experience taught him to be patient until the results were in. He remembered the words engraved on a plaque in his office, given to him by the crime lab techs in honor of his ten-year anniversary on the force: In God we trust. All else requires clear and convincing evidence.
For Carey Conner, it had been one of the worst nights of her life. Her rental car had been towed to the police station for analysis by the crime lab, and she had to wait at Raul's house for a replacement from the agency, which, God bless them, delivered another Lexus, this one red and silver, all the way to Ubeck Street. But it had been a long wait in the meantime, and Raul's house, while not a total disaster, would not merit a cover shot for Good Housekeeping magazine. While his electrical skills were top grade, with his strategically arranged stereo speakers and home security system, his housekeeping left much to be desired--his eclectic collection of furniture had never known the touch of a dustcloth, and take-out containers and pizza boxes lay scattered all over the kitchen and living room. Carey hoped she would never have to use the bathroom while she was there.
Then there was the constant questioning by the police. Being the only witness, she was requested over and over again to repeat her story about what she saw and heard and remembered. She was tired, but she forced herself to be gracious and answer every question put to her to the best of her knowledge and belief. No sooner did the police leave than the neighbors began pestering her with their own questions. Carey wanted more than anything to put this whole business behind her, go back to her hotel room and sleep in heavenly peace.
Amber, for her part, did her best to fend off the barrage of inquiries from the residents of Ubeck Street. Was that the Bomber's house or not? they wanted to know. Amber's continued pleas of ignorance only inflamed the angry, fearful mob's demands for answers. Finally, Carey stepped in to Amber's rescue. "Listen, everybody!" she shouted over the heads of the neighbors gathered outside Raul's front door. "I do not know who the Bomber is--I just saw a car and half a license plate. I know you are all angry and afraid. So are we. But mob violence is not going to solve anything. It will just make it worse. For all I know, I could be wrong about this whole thing, and whoever is living there could be innocent."
"No (bleeping) way!" a man shouted. "You heard him yourself, lady! He said, 'I did it!', and he drove off in that car. You said so yourself! He's in there!" The mob shouted in agreement.
"No, he's not in there!" Carey argued. "He's gone!" She sighed wearily. "Look, all I am saying is let the police handle this, and not to resort to vigilante justice. Taking the law into your own hands will only make it worse. Now, please go home, I'm tired and I want to go back to the hotel."
She turned back into the house and flopped down on the shabby red couch. The neighbors milled around the front yard, talking among themselves and wondering about their next course of action. In time, they dispersed to their own homes, on the orders of the local police still in the neighborhood.
Carey's new rental car showed up. She signed the forms, took the keys, and drove back to the Luxor, fighting off drowsiness. The front entrance was still under repair, so she had to circle around to the parking garage, generously tipping a valet to park it for her. She all but crawled up to her hotel room, undressed, almost fell asleep in her bath, and gratefully crept in between the sheets of the huge bed for some much deserved rest.
The citizens of Las Vegas woke to yet another shock Saturday morning as they tuned into their car radios and television sets, and logged onto their computers at home or at work. Not only had another pipe bomb been discovered--unexploded, to everyone's relief--but it had been found wired in some woman's car while it was parked at a local restaurant. It was definatly linked to the Vegas Bomber, authorities said.
If Las Vegans were fearful before, they were now gripped with paranoia upon the release of this latest discovery. Anxious commuters checked under the hoods and dashes of their cars for pipe bombs or anything resembling one before setting out. The city's mass transit system saw an increase in ridership after the news broke. No one felt safe anymore.
Criss Angel's fans, the Loyals, experienced an even bigger shock when they saw their tributes, those lovingly handcrafted signs, gifts of stuffed toys and MindFreak memorabilia, cellophane-wapped flowers, and the drywall tryptich with its messages of undying love and devotion covering every square inch of space, cruelly and viciously demolished overnight as they arrived early, forms in hand, at the Red Cross station to make a donation for Criss. Many wept, even the male Loyals, while others ranted and raged on and off camera. It was the Bomber, they insisted. Didn't the Sunhat Lady say that she heard that (bleeper) cheering "No more Criss Angel!" after the attack in the desert valley? It was clear that the Bomber was targeting Criss himself. There was a great deal of relief when it was announced that the suspect had been caught in the act and arrested. No word whether or not it was the Bomber, but the Loyals believed, or rather hoped, he had finally been caught.
Their outrage subsided at the sight of a huge black SUV rolling up to the curb with JD Sarantakos at the wheel. Cheers broke out as the eldest Sarantakos brother exited the vehicle and walked up to the entrance of the Red Cross station, his progress hindered by hugs and handgrasps from the enthusiastic Loyals. Finally reaching the steps, he waved his arms for silence. The cheering faded to irritated shushes for silence to allow JD to speak.
"First of all, I want to thank you all for your love and support you have shown Criss and our family during this time of crisis," he began, controlling his emotions. "Your prayers and vigils are deeply and sincerely appreciated. Even though your signs and gifts were ruined by vandals, they are still treasured. We love you all very much."
The Loyals cheered and applauded, but were cut short when someone shouted, "Is Criss going to see again?"
JD swallowed hard. "Criss is doing well; if he continues to improve, he should be off the critical list by the end of the week, if not sooner. He's got one of the best eye surgeons in the country treating him--he'll be having a second operation this Thursday. He tells us that he has a good chance of having his eyesight restored if there are no complications."
It wasn't much, nothing definate, but the Loyals were uplifted by this news. His chances are good, he's got one of the best eye surgeons in the country treating him. they told themselves reassuringly. After all Criss--and the Loyals--had been through, even this slender thread of hope was something to cling to.
By now, the station was open for donations. The staff had been restocking supplies donated from other stations and cookies from a local bakery since six o'clock that morning. Nurse Slemlin took charge immediatly. "All right, line up, have your forms ready if you got them. We need to see some ID and a donor card if you got one." she ordered.
"Hey, JD," a young Loyal teen called out. "You gonna give blood?"
JD was taken aback. "Me?" he asked, bewildered.
"Well, yeah, it's for Criss, you know," the teen reminded him. "We all came here 'cause Felix Rappaport said Criss needed blood. He was having major surgery or something."
"Oh, oh, yeah," JD replied absently, making a mental note to talk to Felix about this heretofore unknown "surgery" Criss was supposed to be having. In the meantime, he figured he'd better play along.
The Loyals allowed him to be first in line to donate, being Criss' brother; someone in the crowd informed anyone within earshot that family members were always given preference in blood donation as they were more compatable to the victim's blood type. JD was given a form on a clipboard by a volunteer to fill out with his personal information, while another volunteer gathered the prefilled forms of the others. Felix, JD said to himself but directed at Rappaport as he wrote down his answers, just what the hell kind of a stunt did you pull?
Lettrille was tired, dead tired. He'd been vertical for forty-eight hours straight on the Bomber case with damned little to show for it. His muscles ached, his eyelids felt weighted down, and his brain was ready to close up shop.
"For chrissakes, Jim!" the chief said to him, "go home and get some rest, willya? Swear to God, they're gonna roll you out of your office with a sheet pulled over your head, the way you've been knocking yourself out!"
Lettrille mumbled an incoherant reply and gave the evidence report one last going over. The footprints from another man's boots, the fingerprints from the rental car, the DNA charts--he'd seen perps convicted on less than that. They had a profile, but no actual person. Whoever the hell he was, he was still out there, probably laughing his ass off over not getting caught. He was literally getting away with murder three times over, and Lettrille burned inwardly over it.
He stared at the evidence report. Who are you, you (bleeper)?
03-05-2012, 05:44 PM
it is very nail biting , i can't to find out who is doing this , more please
03-05-2012, 05:50 PM
03-06-2012, 03:57 PM
Saturday morning, and Jim Lettrille was asleep at his desk, styrofoam coffee cups flanking him on both sides, his head pillowed with the evidence report from the lab. His face was a couple of days away from a shave, and his thinning brown hair looked even more sparse, giving credence to the old joke around the department that Jim Lettrille was going bald from pulling it out whenever he was handling a difficult case. Given the fact that he was a twelve-year veteran on the force, it was a wonder he had any hair left to pull. That was how Officer Rosario Vivera, the administrative assistant from the Vehicle Violations department, found him that Saturday morning. She shook his shoulder to wake him. Lettrille snorted loudly and stirred.
"Hmm? Whaaa...?" he mumbled groggily.
"My God, Jim," Vivera said, "don't you ever go home?"
Lettrille rubbed his stubbly face and looked at his watch: Eight-thirty AM. "Oh, Geez!" he groaned. "Shiela's gonna be so pissed off at me." He made a mental note to buy his wife some flowers to atone for his night long absence and sat up in the chair, stretching his arms and legs to get the blood flowing again. He turned and finally noticed Officer Vivera standing next to him. "Oh, hi, Rosie," he said. "Whaddya got for me?"
"We ran a make on the Lincoln towed in last night from Ubeck," she said, handing him a printout.
Lettrille took the paper and read it over carefully. A smile began to creep over his unshaven face. Suddenly, it was going to be a beautiful day.
It was ten AM when Carey woke up, the bright Nevada sun nearly blinding her. She winced, got out of bed and closed the blinds. She located her bifocals and slid them on. Able to see more clearly, she dressed in her new khaki shorts and white cotton blouse, leaving her winter pale legs exposed to the desert sun. Donning her sunhat, she clipped on her pursepack and headed out to breakfast. She summoned the elevator and went down to the main floor.
The atrium was abuzz with activity. Broken, scorched tile had been chiseled out, leaving bare concrete underneath. Carey watched as a sweaty contractor spread thinset adhesive onto a new tile and painstakingly set it into place. Panes of window glass the size of a wall were carried in and carefully positioned into the frames of the storefronts and quickly caulked around the edges to secure them. Another contractor heat-pressed finishing strips onto the main desk to conceal the raw edges of the wood veneer. The whole atrium smelled of adhesive and sawdust, bringing back memories of her childhood in her father's carpet store, of clambering over the huge rolls of carpet stacked in the warehouse with her brother and sister. Sweet days gone by.
Carey turned and exited the hotel from the side. She figured that by the end of the day the main entrance would be opened again. Big Money bought big results, she thought, and nowhere on earth did the American Dollar command more attention than in Las Vegas. It was the lifeblood of the city, its very reason for its existance; it was the element its citizens swam in. Everything had a price tag, and everyone had their price. Thousands upon thousands flocked to this golden city, hoping to leave with some of its fabled bounty, only to find themselves reduced to penury, their dreams of easy wealth shattered like a fallen martini glass.
Now, that fabled wealth was being used to repair the damage done to the Luxor's atrium, with quick results. How much more damage had the Bomber created in this city, she wondered, and not just property either. Since the initial attack, many of the guests had checked out and either moved into the other hotels or simply gone back home. The Luxor, Carey had found from watching the local news last night, wasn't alone in losing business. Many of the other famous hotels, such as the Mirage, the Aladdin, Excalibur, and others were also losing revenue from the bombing attacks. Casinos reported a drop in patronage as well as the nightclubs and bars. Many celebrities had cancelled their shows out of fear for their safety, resulting in an even greater loss of revenue. Everyone was just plain scared.
Carey stepped out into the bright midmorning sun. She decided to walk down the Strip, maybe find a restaurant she hadn't tried yet. As big as the Strip was, it would probably be noon until she found one.
Everything seemed peaceful enough, she thought as she walked down the street. Maybe the police tracked the guy down and caught him. Maybe the Bomber had been found hiding in that house like the coward he was and arrested. Maybe there was something like it in the paper. She found a newsstand and bought the morning edition of the Las Vegas Sun. The front page detailed the pipe bomb found in her car, though her name was not mentioned, thankfully, and the evidence found around the house where she spotted the car, but no suspect had been arrested yet.
Disappointed, but not entirely so, Carey entered a small bistro advertising a brunch special and waited for a table. They were closer to finding the Bomber than ever, she told herself. They had more clues to his identity and more evidence to send him to Death Row. It was just a question of when.
Lettrille knew that, too; he had the arrest warrant for the Bomber's capture in hand. The car registration from the Lincoln towncar gave the name of Edward Charles Emory, living on 4804 Ubeck Street, the very house where they had found the vehicle. Emory had covered his tracks very well, not leaving any mail or any other document with his name on it. The car was left behind because it had a blown head gasket, leaving it undrivable--another lucky break for the police.
Two cruisers and a police van approached the house on Ubeck, this time silently. Lettrille spied the house and bolted out of the cruiser before it had time to stop.
The front door dangled on broken hinges from last night's raid; Lettrille entered the house, gun drawn, ordering the two officers who acompanied him to spread out. "Emory!" he shouted. "Come out with your hands up! We know you're here!"
A slight movement flashed by the corner of his eye. Lettrille whirled around to see a person run out the back door.
"He's going out the back!" Lettrille barked at the two officers. "Get him!"
The three officers tore out the back door, flinging aside the flimsy screen door, completely tearing it off the frame. The fleeing man tried to dash across the weedy back yard, but the thick overgrowth slowed him down, sending him tumbling to the ground.
"I didn't do nothin'!" Emory protested as his arm were pinioned behind his back and handcuffs clacked onto his wrists. "I didn't do nothin'!"
With a strong sense of satisfaction, Lettrille stood over the man he had pursued for three straight days. A small, vengeful part of him wanted to kick in the guy's face, but his years of discipline and training overrode it.
"You have the right to remain silent," Lettrille recited authoritatively. "If you choose to waive that right, anything you say will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you wish to have an attorney and cannot afford to do so, one will be provided for you before questioning. Is that clear?"
Emory nodded wearily. The two officers hauled him to his feet and frogmarched him to the waiting van. Lettrille headed back to the cruiser. It was over, he thought. This time, for sure, it was over.
Carey sat in the bistro, eating her Eggs Benedict brunch, when the large plasma television flashed a news bulletin. VEGAS BOMBER CAPTURED read the caption on the bottom of the screen. The news anchor related the pursuit and arrest of one Edward Charles Emory, confirmed by the police through the evidence on file to be the Vegas Bomber which had been terrorizing the city and responsible for the deaths of three people and the injuries of over two dozen others, most notably famous illusionist , Criss Angel, who is listed in serious but stable condition.
Cheers broke out in the bistro, so loudly that no one could hear the rest of the broadcast. Complete strangers high-fived each other like fans of a championship winning team. Carey smiled broadly. She knew it! She knew the guy would be captured! It was only a matter of time. Modern police investgation was too sophisticated to let him slip through the cracks.
She turned again to the screen. The face of the Vegas Bomber was revealed to the public for the first time on national television, along with his name, Edward Emory. The cheering turned to curses and fists with middle fingers extended replaced the high-fives. Carey, however, reeled from the slow shock of recognition. She knew that man on the screen--she had seen him before! The red-gold hair and goatee--it was that lousy magician she had met in the restaraunt on her first day in Vegas!
Him?! she said to herself. That lame-ass magician, the Vegas Bomber who couldn't do a decent card trick to save his life? HE'S the one who's been going around throwing pipe bombs? I can't believe that!
The news of the Bomber's capture set off a mini-Mardi Gras up and down the Strip and beyond. Car horns honked and blared; there was cheering in the streets. Liquor stores did land-office business as whole cases of beer and liquor were swept off the shelves. The terror was over! Las Vegas could live again!
Amateur videographers and professional camera crews recorded the tumultuous scene. Many of the revelers took advantage of their presence to claim a few minutes of fame and to send greetings to friends and family, and to send get-well wishes to an injured Criss Angel:
"Criss! We love you! Get well soon!"
"We just wanna say hi to Criss and tell him we're praying for him and his family! It's okay, they caught the Bomber!"
"Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad! They got the Bomber! Okay? We're all safe here! Be home soon!"
"WE LOVE CRISS ANGEL!! WHOOOOO!"
"God! I hope the (bleep)ing Bomber burns in (bleep)ing Hell! I hope they burn his (bleep)ing (bleep)!"
"I just want to say (sniff), that I love you, Criss, and...(sniff), please get well soon. I've been praying every...every day for you to get well and to see again...and...Oh, God, I can't go on! (sob)."
Rosemary Thorton set aside the newspaper she had been reading in the lobby of the Clark County Human Services office and stood up from the uncomfortable plastic chair where she had been sitting with little Bethany Silverman at her side.
She had been summoned by Social Services earlier that morning with word about Bethany's family in Maryland; an aunt and uncle had been located in Bethseda, and they were willing to take her into their custody. She had gathered the little girl's things as quickly as she could and sent for a taxicab, then rode anxiously the ten miles to the Social Services office, tipping the driver an extra ten dollars to please hurry, only to be stuck in the waiting area for the better part of an hour until someone remembered they were out there and called for her. Someone had left the morning newspaper on the side table, so she had something to read while waiting. Bethany read the "funnies" while Mrs. Thorton skimmed the headlines. The Vegas Bomber was still terrorizing the metropolitan area with no end in sight, it seemed. She was about to read more before she was called in.
Mrs. Riley, the social worker, a plump redheaded woman in a blue business suit, escorted Mrs. Thorton and Bethany to her cubicle. She sat down at her desk, the elderly woman and the little girl in front of her. "First of all, we'd like to thank you for caring for Bethany while we located her family," Mrs. Riley smiled.
"Oh, it was no trouble at all, really," Mrs. Thorton said. "She's such a dear, and so brave after what happened."
"Well, the good news is we found Bethany's aunt and uncle in Bethseda, and they will be waiting for her at the airport this afternoon." Mrs. Riley went on. "We've arranged an escort for her with the flight crew to take her home. Can you make sure that Bethany gets to the airport by?"
"Oh, absolutely!" Mrs. Thorton replied cheerfully. "I'll take her in a cab myself, and make sure she gets on the plane safely."
Mrs. Riley handed Mrs. Thorton a navy blue airline boarding pass. "Wonderful! Here's her ticket. Make sure she has it when you get there."
"Oh, don't worry about me," Mrs. Thorton laughed. "My memory's not that far gone, I assure you. I am going to make absolutely sure Bethany gets on that plane for home!"
The two women stood, shook hands and left the cubicle, the little girl in tow. "I'm gonna go home today, Mrs. Thorton?" Bethany asked.
"Yes, dear, you are," the old woman replied. "You are going to live with your aunt and uncle in Bethseda."
"Yes, dear, you are. Now, we'd better hurry or you'll miss your flight."
They left the building and stepped outside into a carnival atmosphere. Bewildered, Mrs. Thorton tapped the shoulder of the first person she encountered, a twentysomething man with both arms sleeved with tattoos. "Excuse me, young man," she said politely, "but, what is going on here?"
"Haven't you heard, lady?" the tattooed man cried exuberantly. "The cops nailed the Bomber!"
Mrs. Thorton was startled at this sudden turn of events. "They caught him? Really?"
"Yep," the tattooed man affirmed with a nod. "Just this morning! His ass is grass, I can tell you that!"
"Oh, my!" said Mrs. Thorton, fluttering a hand over her chest. "Oh, my, that is good news!"
"Damn straight, lady!" crowed the tattooed man as he trotted away to join the other revelers on the boulevard.
Bethany looked up at her guardian, "Didja hear that?" she said eagerly. "They caught 'im! They caught 'im an' put 'im in jail!"
Mrs. Thorton nodded. "Yes dear, they did," she said. "Now, we'd better get a move on. We don't want you to miss your flight."
Bethany wrapped her arms around her guardian's hips. "I'm gonna miss you, Mrs. Thorton," she murmured.
Mrs. Thorton smiled sadly. "I'm going to miss you, too, dear, " she said. "Now, let's get you to the airport."
"Criss, you awake?" a familiar voice spoke through the darkness.
"Marisol?" Criss murmured.
"Hi," Marisol said. "I came to give you some good news."
Criss could feel her smile. "Sure," he murmured again.
"I heard on the news today they caught the Bomber this morning. He's in jail. Isn't that great?"
Criss' dark world suddenly seemed brighter. His voice quavered with emotion. "Thank God," he said. "Thank God."
03-06-2012, 04:16 PM
party over here lol
03-06-2012, 06:20 PM
can i join in ? , i'm glad the bomber got caught :D i can't wait to read more :)
03-07-2012, 04:24 PM
It was late Saturday afternoon, that time of day when Las Vegas begins suiting up for the evening shift of high rolling and nightlong debauchery. Carey had planned to stay in her room that night, drained as she was after the Vegas Bomber's weeklong reign of terror and her part in bringing him down.
The telephone in Carey's hotel room rang twice before she picked it up. "Hello?" she said politely with a touch of curiosity.
"Hello, is this Ms. Carey Conner?" a man's voice spoke into her ear from the headset.
"This is she."
"Ms. Connor, this is Dave Baram, manager for Criss Angel, and we'd like you to come down to the MindFreak Productions office. An Officer Jim Lettrille is here to wrap up the investigation, and since you're the primary witness--"
"I'll be right down." Carey hung up, picked up her keycard and headed down to the atrium. As she descended in the elevator, she sorted through the past week's events like scattered photographs in a shoebox: the Luxor bombing; the Magic Castle bombing; the pipe bomb in her own car; the dented fender and license plate on that old Lincoln towncar; Criss' body flying through the air in the desert valley like a rag doll; Brent flashing his springblade in her face; the crowds of grief-stricken Loyals around the hotel and her little white lie to clear them out of there. God! What a nightmare her dream vacation turned out to be! I'm glad I booked a two-week stay here, she said to herself. I mean, I'm going to need a vacation just to recover from my vacation!
The elevator slid quietly and smoothly to a stop, and just as quietly and smoothly the doors slid open. Carey stepped out of the car and into the atrium. She didn't have the vaguest idea where the production office was, so she decided to cross over to the hotel desk and ask for directions.
In a week's time, the Luxor's famous atrium was fully restored to its former grandeur--indeed, it looked like it hadn't even been hit. The floor was polished to a mirror brightness, new greenery sprouted from marble-lined faux gardens, new windowpanes reflected overpriced merchandise. She remembered suddenly that there would be a grand re-opening of the atrium tonight, and she had received a VIP invitation by none other than the CEO himself. So much for a quiet evening, she said to herself.
As she walked briskly toward the front desk, she heard a voice call out from behind her. "Hey! Where's your sunhat, lady?"
She turned around to see some garishly dressed, body-pierced, tattooed twentysomethings standing by one of the faux gardens. From the Affliction t-shirts and the circle-A pendants, she recognized them to be Loyals. Maybe they can save me a trip and tell me where the MindFreak office is, she thought. She crossed over to the group with a gracious smile. If they gave her any trouble, she figured, she'd have security on them in no time. "Good afternoon," she said to them.
"Hi," a Gothic vampirish-looking girl with bone straight black hair said cordially enough. Her equally ghoulish companions also gave their hellos.
So far, so good. "So, what can I do for you?" Carey said to her new companions with a hint of nervousness in her voice.
"Hey, you did it already," Vampire Girl replied. "You nailed the Vegas Bomber. You are a (bleeping) hero, you know that?"
Carey held up her hands to fend off any accusations. "Now wait just a minute, there," she protested. "First off, I did not 'nail' him, I just picked up a tidbit or two and let the police figure it out. And second of all, how did you know who I am, anyway?"
"Hey, man, we saw you on YouTube. You're famous!"
YouTube? Her bowels turned to water. "You mean, I'm on the Internet?" she gasped.
"Damn straight! Someone taped you at the pizza restaraunt and sent it in!" said a blond haired young man who looked like a cross between a member of the Sex Pistols and the Hitler Youth.
Oh, Lord! Carey groaned inwardly, this, I don't need! "Look," she said urgently, "I need to go to the MindFreak Productions office. You know where it is?"
Vampire Girl took the lead. "Sure, I'll take you there. C'mon, it's this way."
Carey exhaled deeply. "Thank you."
She followed her creepy companions through the atrium, down a corridor and to the door clearly marked MindFreak Productions Office. There was a crowd of gawkers around the large windows like visitors at a zoo exhibit. Some turned and saw Carey and her peculiar escort.
"Hey! It's her!" someone cried out. "It's the Sunhat Lady!"
"Where? Where?" others demanded.
"Right there!" a finger pointed straight at her.
Carey suddenly found herself mobbed by Criss Angel's fans as if she had been Criss himself, forcibly greeted with hugs, handshakes and demands of "Hey, where's your hat?"
Help! she mentally cried out as she struggled to get to the safety of the office. Like the calvary, a couple of security guards came to the rescue; they pushed the crowd back and guided Carey into the office.
"My God!" she gasped as the door shut behind her. "I didn't think I'd get here alive!"
She readjusted her bifocals and walked over to where Officer Lettrille, Dave Baram, the Sarantakos brothers, JD and Costa, their mother, Dimitra, and the CEO himself, Felix Rappaport, were all standing, along with other members of the production staff. "Good afternoon," Carey said for lack of anything better to say to them.
Rappaport was the first to speak. "Good afternoon, Ms. Conner, we're glad you could make it."
So am I, Carey mentally replied, considering I was mobbed out there!
"Well, I am sure you know by now that the Vegas Bomber has been taken into custody, and it was your tip that brought him to justice."
"And you know that there was a reward for his capture." he continued.
"Well, yes, I--"
"So, on behalf of the Luxor Hotel and Casino, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, I hearby award you the sum of one hundred thousand dollars."
A large check was pushed into her direction. Carey took it hesitantly, bewildered over this singular honor. Everyone present applauded as a photographer snapped a picture of the pole-axed expression on her face as she received it. "Uh, thank you, I..I guess." she stammered bemusedly. "I really didn't do much, you know, just picked up a couple of bits of this and that, you know."
"Those 'little bits of this and that' are what finally nailed the Vegas Bomber," Officer Lettrille pointed out. "That car you saw was the biggest break in the case we ever got. And calling us about the pipe bomb in your car was the smartest thing you ever did. We got all the evidence we need to convict him."
"I need to sit down," Carey trembled.
She was led to a sofa and given a bottle of spring water. "Oh, Lord!" she sighed.
Lettrille sat opposite of her, smiling for the first time since she met him. "I suppose you would like to know the facts?"
"All I know is that he was just some lousy magician I met in the hotel restaraunt my first day here who couldn't do a lousy card trick. I never pegged him to be the terrorist type."
"Well, that 'lousy magician' as you call him goes by the name of Edward Emory." Lettrille pulled out an eight-by-ten glossy of Emory's mugshot. "Is that him?"
"That is he, yes," Carey confirmed.
"We ran a make on him. Found out he tried out for a spot on that show Criss Angel hosted last October, Phenomenon, is it?"
Carey nodded. She remembered that show, brief though it was. One contestant, a Jim Callahan or Callaghan--she couldn't remember--had created a ruckus when Criss called him out on a challenge to mentally "read" the contents of an envelope he had in his pocket, and the show almost went Jerry Springer when the angry pseudo-psychic flew into him.
"Well, he auditioned, and he washed out on the first try," Lettrille continued.
"Why am I not surprised?" Carey retorted.
"He still thinks of himself as the greatest thing since Houdini; a legend in his own mind, you know. When he blew the audition, he developed a personal vendetta against Criss Angel. As far as he was concerned, he was the one who should be top of the heap, with all the cars and the girls and the luxury suite. Instead, he was living in a two bedroom house on Ubeck Street which had been foreclosed months ago, just scraping by."
"How did he get the materials for the pipe bombs, then?" Carey asked.
"That's what we are trying to find out," Lettrille replied. "We found only small traces of sulfur, gunpowder and other materials in the basement. The guy tried to sweep it clean, but not good enough for the dogs. He's got to have some supplies hidden somewhere."
An alarm went off inside Carey's brain. If they did not find those bombmaking materials soon, someone else would, and that someone would either use them for their own nefarious uses, or end up blown to bits themselves. Given the volatile nature of explosives, that was not too far fetched. "So, he boosted some klunker right off the street, hot-wired it, and turned it into a rolling bomb, right into the Luxor" Lettrille continued. "No one saw him because he just shifted it into gear and let it roll while he ducked behind a building."
"And the Magic Castle?"
"Passed himself off as a professional magician, smuggled in another bomb, set it behind one of the bars and took off. One of the wait staff recognized his face when she saw his picture."
"And tell her about the boots," JD Sarantakos reminded him.
"Oh, yeah, the boots" Lettrille recalled . "Turns out he slipped in the back of the office wearing a maintenance worker's coveralls, made off with the boots, wore them while he did his dirty work in the desert, and in all the confusion, put them back where he found them."
"Thus trying to frame JD for the crime," said Carey.
Lettrille nodded. "We got his DNA sample from the persperation he left behind in them, and we found his fingerprints on the door. Also, video surveillance caught him in the act."
"Why didn't anyone stop him?" Carey demanded.
"As I said, he was dressed like a maintenance man, so security didn't take too much notice of him."
Carey sighed. Even with the most sophisticated, round-the-clock surveillance that money could buy, human error was always a factor never considered by those who invested in it.
"The rest is history" Lettrille said. "You caught the guy's license plate and a description of the car, and we did the rest."
"But how did he know I saw him? He planted that pipe bomb in my car to get rid of me."
"That is another mystery we intend to solve," Lettrille said. "But you're safe now, Ms. Connor. Emory is being held without bond, so he's not going anywhere. We will have to subpoena you as a witness for the trial, you know that?"
"I understand," Carey told him, "and I intend to see to it that he gets put away for life."
"It won't be life, Ms. Connor," Lettrille said to her. "Emory is facing the death penalty for three counts of second degree manslaughter and one count of attempted murder, among other things. He's a domestic terrorist, a menace to society. And when they strap him to that table and give him the juice, I'll be there with the biggest smile on my face you ever saw."
Rappaport spoke up behind Lettrille. "You, me, and the rest of the city." He turned to Carey. "So, I'll see you tonight at the gala, hm?"
"Uh, yes, Mr. Rappaport, I'll be there," Carey nodded, still unsure.
"Good. We look forward to seeing you tonight." He shook hands with her and left.
"I guess I'd better be going as well," Lettrille said. "Well, so long, Ms. Connor, and thank you for your help. We couldn't have done it without you. You deserve every cent of that reward money." He winked mischeviously. "Don't spend it all in one place!" He smiled and walked out of the office.
Carey stared balefully at the retreating figure of Jim Lettrille. She was about to leave herself when she felt soft fingertips upon her hand. She turned and faced Criss' mother, Dimitra.
"Ms. Connor," she said in a gentle, Greek accented voice quavering with emotion, "I want to ask you a favor."
"Anything, ma'am," Carey said, "anything you want."
"I want you to come with me to the hospital tomorrow afternoon, and see Christopher," she said . "Do you want to see Christopher?"
Something in the tone of her voice seemed to say Do you want to see what that monster did to my son? Carey did not have the heart to refuse. After all this poor woman had been through, she thought, it would be rude of me to turn her down. "Yes, I'd like to very much," she replied hesitantly.
"Good. We pick you up at two." Dimitra wrapped her arms around Carey. "Thank you for finding that criminal who injured my darling son," she sniffled. "May God bless you."
Carey embraced her in return. "You're welcome," she choked. Poor old woman, she said to herself, what you must have suffered this past week! One son nearly scarred for life trying to save her, another blind and maimed with his career all but ruined. And her eldest nearly framed for both crimes in the bargain!
Costa walked up to the two women. "Sorry your vacation turned out to be a disaster," he said to Carey.
Carey released Dimitra and turned to Costa. "I admit, this wasn't in the brochure," she quipped.
03-07-2012, 05:20 PM
Great Chapter :) i can't wait to read more :)
03-07-2012, 10:07 PM
can't wait to read more
03-08-2012, 08:34 PM
The first thing that struck Carey when she arrived at the Luxor Atrium Gala was the glamour, pure Las Vegas glamour, putting all the weddings and formal dances at the old banquet hall where she had worked during her college years to shame. The atrium itself was dimly lit. White-jacketed waiters glided between tables, holding aloft polished silver trays--real silver, not stainless steel--with very expensive looking beverages upon them, carrying them with such practiced ease that it seemed the glasses were permanantly attached to the trays. A meticulously arranged buffet, a masterpiece of culinary art dominated by a large, crystal clear ice sculpture of the Egyptian Sphinx replication outside the Luxor Hotel, stood to one side. A chef in a blindingly white jacket and paper toque stood behind a huge roast, carving knives at the ready.
Carey was quite intimidated among the elegantly dressed VIPs in their tuxes and after-nine gowns, and she in her ten-dollar lavender summer dress that she had picked up at a Big Lots store three years ago. She felt like a party crasher even though she had received an invitation from the CEO himself. Her only claims to fame were her book (and it wasn't even on the best seller list) and being the one person who identified the Las Vegas Bomber, or came closest to it. Maybe this was a mistake, Carey thought. Maybe I should just go back up to my room and forget this whole deal. I don't belong here with these people. Hell, I'm just a hack writer from Southfield, Michigan who saw a dent in a guy's fender and half a license plate.
She spotted the buffet. Well, at least I won't have to order room service, she thought. I'll just grab a quick bite and then I'm outta here.
Carey made her way to the buffet table, only to be stopped by none other than the CEO himself, who had seen her going by and headed her off at the pass. "Ah, Ms. Conner," he hailed her jovially, "glad you could make it."
"Oh, uh, thank you, Mr. Rappaport," she stammered.
"Well, hate to cut this short, but I have to make the dedication speech," he said. "Enjoy the rest of the evening."
"Thank you, sir." Great! Now I'm stuck here. she groaned inwardly. Lord, how do I get myself into these things?
Rappaport climbed up the dais to the podium. "Good evening," he spoke over the microphone. All conversation gradually died down. "Good evening," he repeated to the attentive crowd. "Thank you and welcome to the Luxor Atrium Gala. In case you don't know me, I am Felix Rappaport, CEO and President of the Luxor Hotel and Casino. Since its opening on October fifteenth, nineteen ninety-three, the Luxor Hotel's atrium has held the title of having the world's largest atrium, twenty-nine million cubic feet. By way of comparison, it is as large as most office buildings, if not larger.
"Up until a week ago, the only attack on the Luxor was an explosion in the parking garage on May seventh, two thousand and seven, when a car blew up, killing one of our employees. It was believed to be a homemade bomb." (1)
Anxious murmurs rippled through the crowd. Rappaport went on. "We had thought it was an isolated incident until last Monday, when another car bomb crashed into the atrium, exploding and killing two guests and a parking valet. The two incidents were not related, police say. After three days of terror, with the destruction of the Magic Club and the attack on Criss Angel in the desert valley, the so-called Las Vegas Bomber was finally apprehended."
The guests applauded. Please don't mention me! Carey thought.
Rappaport waited until the clapping stopped. "He was finally apprehended with the help of one of our guests here tonight, whose quick thinking and sharp eye aided the police in his capture. Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Carey Conner."
More applause as a blushing Carey was reluctantly escorted up to the dais. She smiled graciously but nervously at the Cosmopolitan magazine crowd on the floor, blushing furiously. Cameras flashed, nearly blinding her. She had never been the publicty-seeking type, prefering the privacy of the written word. More than anything, she wanted to get off that stage and back to her room.
"Now, it is my pleasure to declare the Luxor Atrium officially open," he said. "Ms. Connor, would you like to do the honors?"
Rappaport gave her a small, white remote with a red button. Carey pressed it and the atrium began to glow brightly from the overhead lights. Gasps of delight and more applause filled the huge atrium. There were more photos and more handshakes. You'd think I was running for mayor or something, she thought.
The rest of the evening was a blur. Carey managed to grab a few nibbles from the buffet table, but every time she tried to make a break for it, someone cut off her path of retreat with the same inane questions about what she saw, what she heard, how she felt about being a hero, and so on and so on. Her hand ached from all the grabbing and shaking. She was tired, she had a headache, and she was growing bored with the whole ordeal. Finally, around ten-thirty PM, when all the alcohol kicked in and made the guests oblivious to her presence, she slipped away from the gala and dashed to the elevators. An interminable wait later, she dived into the first car that opened and was swept away to her room, relieved to be free at last.
Carey peeled out of her dress and into her nightshirt, an oversized purple t-shirt with yellow butterflies on it. Yawning, she pulled on her pink robe and gave the Strip one last look before retiring for the night. She wanted to be well-rested for her visit with Criss Angel tomorrow.
Even from twenty floors up, she could tell that the Strip was livelier than ever; she guessed that people were making up for lost time after the Bomber's reign of terror ended. More cars were on the street, and more people populated the walkways. Life was good in Las Vegas once again. Satisfied that all was well in the world , she closed the blinds and headed for bed.
If she had stayed up a minute longer, she would have heard the all too familiar wail of a fire siren and seen the armor-plated Bomb Disposal Unit van headed for the Mirage.
The nine-one-one call was made just as Carey had made her exit from the gala, reporting what appeared to be a pipe bomb in the rear loading area of the Mirage Hotel. The hotel was not evacuated for fear of alarming the guests, but the ground level in the rear of the hotel was sealed off with heavy security doors.
The BDU set the dogs on the search for the bomb while they scanned the area with flashlights. Meanwhile, up in the surveillance room, security personnel combed through the past week's videotapes for anything suspicious, or at least unusual. After only five minutes' search, one of the dogs wagged his tail and sat down, his conditioned signal that a bomb had been found. His handler praised the animal with pat on his flanks and called his collegues to bring the "can", the reinforced barrel in which bombs are transferred and safely detonated.
Captain Marshall "Hard-Ass" Harding of the BDU since his discharge from the Marines after the Gulf War and acting commander since the turn of the Millennium, observed his men as a sealed pipe, about a foot long, was carefully lifted and deposited into the "can", quickly sealed, and swiftly removed from the premises. He didn't show it, but he approved of the well-executed, professional manner of the retrieval and disposal of the device; it was a classic manouvre, a textbook case.
Harding and his men had been earning their paychecks this past week since the Las Vegas Bomber began raising seven different kinds of hell along the Strip. Now, the son of a (bleep) was in jail where he belonged, but the BDU still received a call. A leftover from the Bomber? Could be. A copycat crime? Maybe--some (bleep)holes would do just about anything to get their fifteen minutes of fame. But it wasn't his to question why, his was to get that bomb the hell out of there before it went off. Let the cirme lab techies handle the whos and whys.
"We're ready to go, sir," one of his officers said to him.
Harding never wasted time with pleasantries, but barked at his men in the militaristic tone that gave him his nickname. "All right! Move it! In the van! Now!"
The BDU Squad trotted up to the van and filed in; the dogs were pulled along on their leashes and led into their own specially designed K9 unit SUV. Once settled, the BDU vans headed back to HQ to deliver the bomb to the techies in the crime lab.
"Think it was the same guy?" BDU Officer Wuliman asked anyone who cared to answer.
"Could be," his fellow BDU Officer Kotlrczak replied drily. "I dunno."
"You think there are any more out there?" Wuliman pressed on. "Some pipe bombs he set out and forgot about, you know?"
"Hell if I know," Kotlrczak shrugged. "Just gotta wait and see."
Sunday morning lived up to its given name. The sun rose in the clear blue desert sky, full of promise and hope. Carey, however, failed to see this glorious spectacle as she was still in a deep sleep and didn't wake up until ten-thirty AM. Once her brain kicked in, she suddenly remembered her promise to the Sarantakos family and bolted out of bed. Once showered and dressed in her green summer suit, she headed down to the atrium for Sunday Brunch. The atrium was cleared of any signs of the previous night's gala, returning to business as usual. Carey hoped Mr. Rappaport didn't take offense to her early departure.
In the hotel restaraunt, she helped herself to one of those luscious Eggs Benedicts and some cranberry juice to flush out what was left of her kidney stones. As she dined in welcome peace, she turned her attention to the large screen television adjacent from her table. It seemed every restaraunt she went to had a plasma television or three in it. It seemed so intrusive, almost Orwellian in a way, even more so when she considered that Las Vegas pioneered video surveillance in their casinos and hotels, setting the standard for security ever since, from convience stores to the CIA. Big Brother, it seemed, had been born in Sin City.
As usual, the set was tuned to CNN. She noted the rolling captions on the bottom of the screen, but could not make them out very well, even with her bifocals. Only when the larger caption read PIPE BOMB FOUND IN VEGAS did she sit up and take notice.
The screen flashed images of the BDU at the Mirage Hotel carrying out what looked like a garbage can. The announcer stated that it was an unexploded pipe bomb reported by a hotel worker. No one was hurt, thankfully. Investigations were underway to link it to the recently arrested Las Vegas Bomber.
Carey finished her brunch and dashed out of the restaraunt. Handle this one yourselves, boys--I've done my hitch. Today, I'm going to go visit Criss in the hospital.
As she waited for the limo to take her to the hospital, Carey saw Amber Woods enter the atrium. She rose to greet her. "Amber, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"Came to see you, that's all." Amber replied. "Did you go to that big party they had here last night?"
"I did, and it was a bore, really," she replied. "I'm not a party person, as a rule."
"So, what are you doing now?"
"Waiting for my ride to take me to the hospital," Carey said, and immediatly wished she hadn't.
"Why? You sick or something?" Amber was concerned.
Carey shook her head. "No, no. It's just that, well, if you promise not to freak out, I'm going there to see Criss Angel by invitation of his family."
Amber did freak out. "You're going to see Criss?" she squealed. "Oh, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease, can I come, too? Pleeeeeeeze?"
Carey sighed like a weary parent with a demanding child on her hands. "Okay, I'll ask to see if you can come along, but try not to be too disappointed if they say no."
Amber hugged Carey. "Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou! You made my lifetime!"
Lord, Carey groaned inwardly as she extricated herself from Amber's arms, how do I get myself into these things?
(1) This was an actual incident recorded by Google.
03-08-2012, 09:14 PM
Great chapter :) can't wait to find out what going to happen next :)
03-08-2012, 11:36 PM
This is getting stranger and stranger
03-09-2012, 02:52 PM
Carey turned to see Dave Baram, Criss' manager, approaching her. "We're ready to go," he said.
"Thank you." She smiled apolgetically. "This is Amber Woods, Mr. Baram. She's a big fan of Criss Angel's, and she was with me when I was on Ubeck Street the night they towed the car away. She also called the police. Would you allow her to accompany me to the hospital before she self-destructs?"
"Please, Mr. Baram?" Amber pleaded. "I won't cause any trouble, I promise. I just want to see Criss. Please?"
Baram thought it over. "Okay," he said to Carey, "but she's your responsibility, got it?"
"Fine," Carey nodded. "We'll keep it brief."
"Oh, thank you, Mr. Baram! Thank you!" Amber squealed. "I won't be any trouble, no trouble at all!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Baram mumbled impatiently. "Let's go."
Carey, Baram, and Amber settled themselves inside the spacious rear of the limosine. Amber pulled out her cosmetics bag and began touching up her face with a powder puff. Baram reached over to the minibar and poured himself a drink. Carey removed her sunhat and set it on her lap; no sense wearing it inside a limosine, she thought. She gazed idly out the tinted window, watching the famous Las Vegas Strip pass by her. Strange how different it looked in the daytime, almost boring, like any other city. At night it came alive, with its gaudy lights beckoning, seducing you to its pleasures like a vampire in a Gothic novel, only to return to sleep at sunrise.
Her reverie was broken by the sight of a fire engine going by. No sirens, no flashing red lights, just a fire truck tooling down the Strip as if on a morning commute. Maybe they were just returning from an emergency back to the station, she thought.
Carey recalled the newscast about a pipe bomb found in another hotel, the Mirage she thought it was, but that was last night. She was about to ask Mr. Baram about it when the limo made a sharp turn to the right up the main drive of the hospital. They had arrived. The limo glided gracefully up to the Visitors' Entrance and slowed to a stop. The driver got out, circled around to the side door and courteously opened it for his passengers. Carey donned her sunhat and picked up her handbag.
Carey, Amber and Baram exited the limo, stretching their legs under the canopy. The hospital staff seemed nonplussed at the sight of a limosine parked in front of the Visitors' Entrance; with all the high rollers and celebrities in Vegas, Carey figured they were undoubtedly used to it by now.
The glass doors slid open as the three stepped quietly into the visitors' lobby. Amber quickly spotted the Sarantakos family, mother Dimitra and the two brothers, sitting in one of the waiting areas. "There they are!" she gasped, trying to tone down her enthusiasm in the stillness of the hospital atmosphere.
The family rose to greet them. Carey stepped forward, hand extended. "Hello, Mrs. Sarantakos," she said as graciously as she could, "so good to see you again."
"Thank you." Mrs. Sarantakos turned to Amber. "And who is this?"
"Oh, this is Amber Woods," Carey told her. "She was with me that night I found the car, and she was the one who called the police--"
Amber could not control herself anymore, but threw her arms around the elderly woman. "Oh, God! Mama Angel, I don't know what to say! I asked Carey if I could come and see Criss! It must have been so hard on you this past week!"
Mama Angel embraced the girl comfortingly as only a mother could. "Now, darling, it's all right. Of course you can come and see Christopher. You called the police, right?"
Amber nodded eagerly. "Yes! Yes, I did! Right here on my cell phone, see?" She held up her pink Nokia.
"All right, come along, then. Christopher is in the sunroom today."
They left the lobby through another set of sliding doors and down a glass encased corridor. To the left was a large atrium-like sunroom, fit more for afternoon cocktail parties than for patient recovery with its beveled-glass doors, its meticulously tended greenery, and tiled walkways. In Las Vegas, even the hospitals were luxurious, Carey observed.
The sunroom was bright in the afternoon sun, but for the lone figure sitting in a wheelchair with his eyes bandaged, it was eternal night. Criss was fully dressed for the first time since his admission to the hospital, in torn jeans and grey t-shirt slid over his wrist cast. He stirred at the sound of footsteps approaching. He heard his mother's voice calling out his name. "Christopher?" she said softly. "We bought you some visitors."
Criss felt two slender arms wrap themselves tightly around him. "Oh, God! Criss!" Amber sobbed. "I always wanted to meet you, but not like this! Oh, please! Say you'll get well again! Please say you'll get your sight back and keep doing magic!"
"Amber, for heaven's sake, get a grip!" Carey snapped.
Criss put his free arm around Amber. "It's okay--Amber, is it?" he whispered. "Everything's gonna be all right. Don't cry anymore, okay? Hush, now, it's all right. Okay?"
Amber sniffled and reluctantly pulled herself away. JD stepped forward and guided her to a padded wicker chair. "You just pull yourself together, okay?" he said to her. "Can I get you some water?"
She shook her head no, still sobbing. Dimitra approached her injured son. "We bought the woman who found the Bomber" she said. "She is right here."
Carey stepped forward. "Hello, Criss, I'm Carey Connor."
Criss extended his free hand. "Nice to meet you," he said.
Carey shook Criss' hand carefully. "You're looking well, Criss," she spoke with feigned cheerfulness. "I see they've been taking very good care of you."
"Thanks," he deadpanned.
"You've already met Amber," Carey continued. "She and I met after the first bombing at the Luxor, and she was with me when I found the car where the Bomber lived. She was the only one who had the good sense to call the police."
"The 'only' one?" Criss asked.
"There were two other guys with us, Raul and Brent," Carey explained. "They were going to tear him a new one and went around back to find him."
"Did they find him?"
"No, he was either hiding or wasn't home. The car had a blown head gasket, so he couldn't drive away. Anyway, Amber got on her cell phone and the police did the rest."
''Way to go, Amber," Criss feebly cheered.
Amber smiled from her chair, still sniffling. She would have done anything for Criss, even given him her eyes if she could. He did not deserve to suffer like this, she thought. No one did, but especially her beloved Criss.
"Tell us what the doctor said about your sight," Dimitra requested.
"Well, they said the prognosis was good, whatever that means. I have another surgery coming up on Wednesday, and if that goes well, chances are good I'll get my sight back if there aren't any complications. I don't feel any pain, which means I don't have any infection, which is good."
"I'll be praying for you on Wednesday, Criss," Amber promised with all sincerity. "All the Loyals will. We want you to see again."
"I want me to see again, too, Amber," Criss quipped. "I hate being kept in the dark like this."
"What's it like, if you don't mind my asking?" Amber inquired.
Criss sighed. "It's like being inside a dark prison cell, in solitary confinement. No faces, no nothing, just voices in the distance. I get scared sometimes, wondering if anyone's out there, or I'm alone and I get so lonely. It used to be I had no time to myself; I was always in some club, or on stage, or doing a demonstration. Fans would come up to me and ask for an autograph or a picture or something. I was always surrounded by people. Now, all of a sudden, I'm alone, isolated in the dark. Hours would go by with no one to talk to. I feel cut off from the world all of a sudden. It's horrifying."
"You are not alone, Christopher," Dimitra said consolingly. "God is with you always. He is always there for you to talk to anytime you feel lonely or scared. God has not abandoned you; He is always at your side. He will bring light into your darkness, and will comfort you when you feel afraid."
"Amen to that," Amber spoke up. "We were at the Red Cross station, and you would not believe the people there, all praying for you, giving blood for your surgery."
"What surgery?" Criss asked, bewildered. "My surgery isn't until Wednesday."
"I'm afraid I have a little confession to make here," Carey said sheepishly, and went on to reveal her little scam with Felix Rappaport to clear away the mob of Loyals in front of the Luxor. Amber was appalled. "You mean I gave blood for nothing?" she said indignantly.
"Oh, it wasn't 'for nothing', dearie," Carey said. "Look at it this way: You and your fellow Loyals completely replenished the state blood supplies, enabling doctors and hospitals to save other people's lives. Remember, there were a couple dozen other victims of the Bomber as well. They needed blood more than Criss did, so the end justified the means."
Criss laughed weakly, the first laugh he had enjoyed since the attack. Amber, however, was still miffed. "I was doing it for Criss," she huffed.
"Amber," Criss said, "come here for a minute, willya?"
Amber got up and went to Criss, kneeling down by his wheelchair. Criss stroked her soft brown hair tenderly, but his head faced forward. "I know you feel a bit scammed right now," he said to her, "but when you gave blood, you were saving a life, even if it wasn't mine. Like Carey said, others have suffered from the bombing attacks like me. I got to see some of them before I was attacked myself. I helped start the Vegas Victims' Fund to help their families, and I put up the reward money for the Bomber's capture. But I only gave money: you gave life itself, and that was more than I ever did. In that sense, you did give blood for me, because I couldn't. You and the other Loyals helped save so many lives in the spirit of saving me. It may have seemed like a dirty trick, but in the end, a lot of people are going to have a second chance at life because of it."
Criss drew Amber's head toward himself and planted a kiss on her forehead. "Thank you for saving me," he said.
Amber embraced Criss, shaking with sobs. Dimitra took over, comforting the poor girl with shushes and pats on the shoulder.
"Thank you for being so understanding about my little scam," Carey said. "I only hope your fans will feel the same."
Criss smiled. "Ah, they'll get over it. Once they realize the good they've done, they'll forgive you."
"Howdy, folks," a new voice drawled behind them.
Everyone turned to see Matt Behr, one of the parking valets from the Luxor, wearing jeans, a plaid shirt, and a big smile, standing at the sunroom entrance, an infant's gerrysack slung over his shoulder.
Criss recognized him instantly. "Matt? What's up?"
"Oh, Ah've just come by t' see how y'all was doin'," he spoke in his native South Carolina drawl. "And Ah brung ya a special visitor."
He walked up to Criss and emptied the gerrysack onto his lap. Criss was startled to feel four tiny paws land on his thighs. He laughed in astonishment, while his mother gave a little shriek of surprise. "Hammie!" Criss nuzzled the furry body of his beloved cat. "Oh, Hammie! Oh, I missed you so much! Yeah, I did!"
Dimitra was a little exasperated. "You bought a cat to the hospital?"
"Weeeell, Ah thought Mr. Angel here could use a bit of cheerin' up, bein' in the hospital and awl," Matt explained, rubbing the back of his neck. "And Ah know he loves his kittycat all to pieces, and Hammie here got to missin' him, so Ah brung him here to see him."
"Matt," Criss said, "I totally owe you, dude."
Amber stroked the soft, smooth fur, down the cat's agile spine all the way to the tip of his rigid tail. She could hear his purring of contentment. She loved Hammie almost as much as she loved Criss himself. Indeed, Hammie had a special place within the Loyal Community, with his own thread on the boards and innumerable photos posted on the Web. Criss' cat had become a celebrity in his own right, it seemed.
"How the hell did you get a cat past the desk?" JD wanted to know.
"It warn't easy, I kin tell ya that," Matt answered. "If they'd a caught me, they'd a given me Hail Columbia for it, shure enough."
"It was worth it, man, believe me," Criss said, stroking his cat. "I can't thank you enough, Matt, believe me."
"God! I wish I'd bought a camera for this," Amber said. "I'd show everyone that you were all right, and everyone would feel better about it. I read on the boards that some Loyals were so depressed about what happened to you, they didn't want to go to school or work or anything."
Criss shook his head. "No, Amber, I don't want anyone to see me like this. It would make them even more upset. Just tell them I'll be back soon, okay? In fact, I want you to give all the Loyals a very special message from me. Will you do that?"
"Anything you want, Criss," Amber agreed eagerly.
He leaned forward. "Tell them: Believe. I will be back."
Amber nodded. "I'll tell them, I promise."
"Good." Criss straightened up. "Matt, you'd better take Hammie back home before the nurses give me Hail Columbia for it."
Matt chuckled and bundled Hammie back into the gerrysack. Hammie purred in angry protest over this indignity but reluctantly submitted to it. After final goodbyes, Matt left.
JD shook his head in disbelief and amusement. "Guy brings the cat here to the hospital and no one knows it," he laughed. "That took nerve."
"It made Criss happy," Amber pointed out. "That's all that matters."
The afternoon began to fade into evening. It was time for Carey and Amber to leave. Carey put on her sunhat while Amber gave Criss one final hug. "Remember, Amber," Criss whispered in her ear. "Believe. I will be back."
03-09-2012, 03:52 PM
Great chapter , i'm really enjoying reading this story :) and i can't wait to read more :)
03-09-2012, 05:07 PM
I had a feeling Amber was going to act like that
03-09-2012, 08:11 PM
Monday in Las Vegas began like any other Monday--another beginning of another work week. Producers held meetings for new shows and other attractions; dancers and other performers held rehersals for those shows; booking agents pitched their cilents' talents to the producers and sweated out salary negotiations; young hopefuls auditioned for those agents to get a toe in the door of fame and fortune while working day jobs just to eat and keep a roof over their heads; stagehands, wardrobe seamstresses, lighting technicians, and prop artists created the sets and costumes which the performers would use to turn their long hours of rehersals into something magical for their audience's amusement; and security personnel scanned whole banks of monitors, keeping watch over all. Just another day at the office in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
This particular Monday, however, bought more trauma for a city already traumatized from a week of bomb terror. Las Vegans read in the Sun that the latest bomb threat in the Mirage Hotel had been an unsuccessful "copycat" crime, a pipe bomb so amateurishly made that it was laughable had been retrieved from the rear service entrance by the BDU. No one was hurt, no damage had been reported, it was not linked to the Vegas Bomber who was still in custody, but it was enough to revive fear and paranoia among the citizenry.
Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas, issued guidelines for all citzens to follow if a pipe bomb or any other incendiary device was located:
1. Any suspicious device found in the vicinity was to be reported to the police IMMEDIATLY.
2. Do NOT, under any circumstances, pick up or even touch any object that may be a pipe bomb or any other incendiary device.
3. Keep children away from any and all explosives and/or other dangerous materials. Parent should warn their children about the dangers of handling said materials, and instruct them to report any such objects to teachers, parents or police.
4. Anyone witnessing someone with a bomb or other incendiary device in or around a building or public place should report it to the police IMMEDIATLY. Witness will be granted anonmynity and will receive a monetary reward for any information leading to the capture and conviction of the suspect.
5. False alarms are misdemeanors. Hoaxes and "crank calls" will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Mayor Goodman also announced in the morning edition of the Sun a city wide sweep for any "stray" pipe bombs left by the Vegas Bomber or others. Citizens were encouraged to cooperate. He called for volunteers to aid in the search. Nervous typed need not apply, the ad stated, only those willing enough--and brave enough--to face danger would be accepted as volunteers. Training would begin on Wednesday morning at nine AM sharp, at the City Municipal Center. A one-eight-hundred number was provided to register; the deadline was five PM that day.
By ten AM, the phone lines were jammed with calls from would-be volunteers eager to end the bomb menace once and for all.
"You sure you want to do this?" Costa asked.
"Sure, I'm sure," JD retorted. "I have to do this, for Criss' sake, and yours." He laid a hand on Costa's shoulder. "This (bleeper) almost Criss. I don't want any more casualties."
"If you're not careful," Costa warned, "you could be a casualty yourself. You got a wife and daughter, remember?"
"Another reason to volunteer," JD argued. "And, anyway, I doubt I'll be handling anything dangerous. I'll just be looking for anything suspicious."
"Just watch your step, okay?"
"They're pipe bombs, not land mines."
"All the same, we want you back in one piece," Costa almost pleaded with him. "When do you go in for training?"
"Wednesday, nine AM."
"That's Criss' eye surgery. Don't you want to be there when he comes out?"
"I can do a lot more by volunteering for bomb duty than sitting in a hospital waiting room," JD told him. "I'll be thinking of him in the meantime."
JD left. Costa sighed resignedly. It was clear that JD had made up his mind about volunteering for the city bomb sweep. He mentally pictured the scars running down his body, grim reminders of the first bomb attack in the atrium. He had a vision of Criss lying on the desert valley floor, broken, bleeding, burned and blinded. Would the Vegas Bomber claim another brother, even though he was in jail?
Costa leaned back in his chair. Should he tell his mother about JD's decision to volunteer for bomb search duty? Would JD tell her himself? Probably, for JD almost never kept any secrets from their mother. Almost never--he didn't want to worry her any more than she already was, what with Criss' surgery coming up. Poor woman had been sitting by his bedside for hours on end, praying nonstop for his recovery. The news of JD's hitch with the city's bomb sweep would only compound the stress she already endured, and at her age, that would do more harm to her health than her last heart ailment.
Costa made up his mind. If JD was going bomb-hunting on the day of Criss' surgery, then he would be at his mother's side. He would be the rock on which she could lean. He would comfort her, pray with her, dry her tears. He would be with her as long as she needed him. He had to be strong, not only for her sake, but for Criss as well. Whatever the outcome, he would be there.
Heavenly Father, Costa prayed, Watch over my brother, JD, and the rest of the volunteers as they search for more pipe bombs on Wednesday. Guide them, shield them from danger, and deliver them home safely. Be with my younger brother, Criss, as he goes into surgery. Bless him and heal him of his injuries. Give him back his sight, so he may continue bringing joy to audiences around the world. Amen.
The BDU packed up its gear in the armored van and led the two bomb-sniffing dogs back to the K9 SUV. Captain Marshall Harding removed his helmet and rubbed his thinning white hair, turning to a familiar figure in red silk pajamas surrounded by a dozen worried Playboy Bunnies.
"All clear, Mr. Hefner," Captain Harding said. "You and the ladies can go back in now."
Spontaneous sighs of relief from the Bunnies. Hugh Hefner smiled. He had just opened his first Playboy Club in a quarter of a century in the Palms--a major investment, one he had no intention of losing to some maniac with a pipe bomb. After the first two attacks in the city, he had tightend the already tight security in and around the club, and this morning had summoned the BDU when he first heard of the Mirage pipe bomb to sniff out any potential threats to his staff and his guests. "Thank you, captain," he said, pointing his trademark tobacco pipe at him and his men. "You did a fine job, you and your men."
Captain Harding nodded and gave the founder of Playboy Enterprises a quick, firm handshake. "Okay, let's clear out of here!" he barked at the BDU team.
He spied some of his men ogling the curvacious Bunnies in their high-cut, off-the-shoulder, black one-piece suits with the fluffy white tails strategically placed just above the tailbone. "Do your daydreaming on your own time!" he snapped. "Let's move!"
The BDU officers filed into the van, some sneaking one last look at the lovely ladies strolling back into the Playboy Club, their fluffy white bunny tails wiggling teasingly. "Daaaaammmmmn!" one of the officers drawled laciviously. "Swear to God, this was the highlight of my career!"
"Only time I'll ever get into the Playboy Mansion is if there's a bomb threat." griped another officer.
Captain Harding ignored the banter. During a bomb run, he demanded--and got--order and discipline; he wanted well trained, committed professionals, no screwups need apply. Any breach of regulations, however small, would result in disaster, as he knew from hard experience, and any man under his command would catch unmerciful hell if they screwed up, as they knew from hard experience. After a run, however, his men could BS all they wanted. It was a safety valve releasing the pressure of a bomb run. Of all the departments in the Las Vegas Municipal Police Department, the BDU had the highest stress level, facing literal life-and-death situations on every call. The last few weeks had pushed that level into the red zone, draining every ounce of energy out of the whole team.
Harding looked over his men. They were all good, the best of the best. They had survived the rigorous training required for a spot on the BDU Team, both physical and mental. Only one in every dozen men (no women ever applied--a good thing in Harding's eyes) made it to graduation, more washing out than succeeding. Those sitting inside the van were the ones who made it, the kernals of wheat sifted out from the chaff. They were the men he trusted with his life and the lives of the citizens.
Citizens. Harding remembered the Mayor's cattle call for a major sweep of the city for pipe bombs. The captain himself would be in charge of briefing a group of untrained volunteers with more civic pride than skill to locate pipe bombs throughout the whole metropolitan area. They had one scare at the Mirage already, but it had been a copycat crime, almost a hoax. They all would be issued the most rudimentary safety equipment: face masks, fire-retardant gloves, orange safety vests. Wouldn't protect them from a firecracker, he thought. He would instruct them to call in on their cell phones if they found anything. He and his men would handle the rest. The last thing he wanted was some innocent civilian getting blown to hell on his watch.
03-09-2012, 08:56 PM
great chapter :) i hope criss's operation will go well ,and i hope jd will stay safe ,can't wait to read more :)
03-10-2012, 07:11 PM
Captain Harding glanced through the double doors of the Municipal Center. Quite a turnout, he thought, impressed but not surprised. Just about everybody here wants to end this one way or another. Can't say I blame them. Let's see who's dedicated enough for the job.
As head of the BDU, he was in charge of training new recruits every year; the first day always bought out a large number of candidates, eager to prove themselves worthy of the BDU badge. Many were called, but few were chosen; nearly half of the candidates washed out the first week. Hell, half of them washed out the first day. The largest group he ever had was twenty-four. By the end of the grueling six-month training course, only three remained to receive their badges. But even those who didn't make the cut had some experience in law enforcement; a few even had college degrees in criminal justice with some background in chemistry. The crowd Harding would be supervising were ordinary civilians off the street, those whom he had sworn to protect and to serve, with no experience in handling explosives or even the vaguest idea what they were getting into. Their knowledge of law enforcement came from police shows on television, and that was a load of bullplop as far as Harding was concerned.
Well, he had to make the best of a bad lot. The mayor called for volunteers, and volunteers he got, about forty of them, male and female. He'd give them a chance to back out, three chances at most. If any of them screwed up, they were out on their asses--assuming they survived.
Captain Harding strode out onto the stage in his navy blue fatigues. He stood stolidly behind the podium, characteristically no-nonsense and all business to give these civilian greenhorns the impression that he was a man who did not tolerate insubordination. "Good morning," he greeted the volunteers without even a hint of cordiality. "I'm Captain Marshall Harding of the LVMPD Bomb Disposal Unit. I will be in charge of this operation, and of your training. First of all, forget all those cop shows. You think you may know something about police work, but you don't. This is the real deal, and if you don't obey orders, you will get hurt. Follow orders, and you'll all get home in one piece.
"Second, get it through your heads that this is the most dangerous thing you have ever done in your lives. You will be dealing with volatile explosives. You could lose an eye, a limb, even your life if you make one mistake. I lost a lot of good BDU officers over the years even though they were wearing flak jackets and helmets. You won't be wearing much in the way of protection. If any of you are feeling a bit antsy about doing this, the door is right over there. No one will call you a coward if you go. It just shows you have more sense than others."
A couple of women rose and slipped out quietly. Harding went on. "Today, you will be trained on how to recognize various incendiary devices: pipe bombs, propane tank bombs, and others. You will learn how they are made up and how they work. You will learn how they are used and where to look for them. Even if you don't see one, look anyway. It's the one you miss that's the most dangerous. You will all be issued code numbers, since I don't have time to learn everyone's names. They will be issued on a first come, first served basis. You will memorize them and respond to them when called. You will be divided into squads, depending on how many of you are still here at the end of the training."
JD Sarantakos sat in the front row, listening intently. You could lose and eye, a limb, even your life if you make one mistake, the captain had said. JD had nearly lost his youngest brother to a pipe bomb, and no one had been looking for any: the bomb had found him first. Well, he had no intention of becoming a casualty. He would learn everything the captain had to teach him, and learn it thoroughly. If that son of a (bleep) had more bombs lying around the city, he'd find them before someone else did and suffered for it.
"You want me to what?" Carey cried over the phone.
"We want you to stay in Vegas for at least another week and get all the info you can about the Bomber," Valerie East, her publishing agent, repeated.
"But I'm supposed to be on vacation!" Carey protested.
"Carey, darling," Valerie cooed. "Don't you realize you are sitting on a best seller here? You've been the primary witness to the biggest thing to happen in Las Vegas since God knows when! We got to get this in print before someone else does! And you are the best source for it that we got! You experienced it first hand, darling! You got the inside scoop!"
"First of all, stop calling me 'darling'," Carey said sharply, "and second of all, if I did go public on this right now, it would jeopardize the whole case. I'm under a gag order by the Las Vegas Police, and being the only witness, I'm under special protection so long as I don't blab to anyone about it. Anyway, shouldn't you wait until after the trial?"
"Carey, it'll take months before the book comes out. By then, the trial will be over and we'll have it first. Yours will be the definitive record of the Las Vegas Bomber. You'll be like that guy who wrote that book about Charles Manson, you know, Helter Skelter."
"That was Vincent Bugliosi," Carey reminded her. "And he was the prosecuting attorney at the time!"
"Whatever," Valerie said dismissivly. "All I know is, you are the only one who can write this book. Your last one sold well enough, but this one could put you on the top! This is big, darling--"
"Stop calling me 'darling'!" Carey snapped.
"Okay, fine, but say you'll do it. This is too good an opportunity to pass up. You'd be an idiot if you turned it down. And you do owe us at least two more books according to your contract."
Carey sighed. Valerie had her there. She had hoped to have at least two weeks of R and R before sitting in front of her word processor back in Southfield. Now she found herself on a working vacation.
"Okay, I'll do it," she told Valerie. "But it's going to be some time, because I don't know when the trial will be."
"Oh, I knew you'd do it!" Valerie gushed. "You have the talent and the inside scoop! This is going to make your career, I just know it."
And make you money, Carey thought nastily as she hung up the phone.
That was the way of the world, she reflected: whenever something of note happened, there were those who sought to capitalize on it. Whether it was the sudden death of the Princess of Wales, a terrorist attack in New York, or the passing of an aged Pontiff, money grubbing merchants peddled "commemorative" merchandise, tawdry trinkets and tabloid variety books and novels, profiting from the public grief. The Las Vegas Bomber's attacks would be just the latest in a long line of tragically hip fads, with Criss Angel as the number one martyr. If he had died, he would have been elevated to the status of a demigod, like John Lennon or Elvis Presley. His market share would have skyrocketed, his merchandise would have sold by the millions. He would have become a cult idol, with pilgrimages to his grave and the day of his death commemorated like a national holiday. Thank God he lived, Carey thought.
To the average person on the street, two hours can be either too long or not enough to get things done. For someone sitting in a hospital lounge waiting for the results of a loved one's surgery, two hours can be eternal agony as Dimitra and Costa Sarantakos could have attested. Sustained only by faith, they waited, huddled together on the only sofa in the lounge, not speaking save for a whispered prayer or two for their Christopher to get through his surgery successfully. Outside the lounge, hospital life went on; nurses made their rounds, doctors were paged from one wing to another, meal carts and gurneys bearing patients rolled along the maze of corridors.
"Where is JD?" Dimitra asked Costa.
Costa drew a deep breath. There was no sense hiding the truth. "JD volunteered for bomb search duty today," he admitted. "But I don't think he'll get hurt. They won't let him touch anything dangerous."
Dimitra sniffled, wiping her eyes with a tissue from her purse. Costa drew her closer. "Hey, it's okay, Ma," he whispered. "JD is going to be all right, don't you worry. He's gonna get through this just fine."
Dimitra sighed wearily. She wanted to sleep. The past week had been a living nightmare for her, the constant worrying had drained every ounce of energy from her system. Bombs and threats of bombs dominated everyone's thoughts. Now, her eldest, JD, was out there, searching for more bombs that may or may not exist. She prayed he would not find any. She had nearly lost her youngest son to that monster they called the Vegas Bomber. She did not want to lose her firstborn, especially since JD had a wife and daughter to support.
She felt safe in Costa's arms, just as she did in her late husband's. She felt herself dozing off on his shoulder, exhausted from all the bedside vigils, the hours of prayer for Christopher for nine agonizing days, and the ordeal following JD's arrest after accused of being the Bomber by the police.
Dear Lord, she prayed, be with my son, Christopher, in the operating room. May this surgery be a success. Be with my son, JD, as he searches for more bombs--I pray he never finds any, but if he does, protect him from harm. Thank You, dear Lord, for healing my son, Costa, of his injuries, that he is with me today in this time of trial. Bless and keep us all safe from harm. Amen.
Dimitra and Costa sat up at the sound of the medical assistant's voice. "Yes?" Dimitra said, eager for good news and fearing the worst.
"I am happy to say that Criss made it through surgery just fine. He should have his sight restored by the end of the week, if not by next week, if no complications arise. So far, everything is looking up for him."
Mother and son joyously embraced. Criss was going to see again! The dark clouds which had hovered over the family had parted, and a ray of sunshine lit up their lives for the first time in over a week. "Oh, thank You, Lord!" Dimitra wept happily. "Thank You, Lord."
"Can we go see him?" Costa asked the assistant.
"He's still in recovery," the assistant told him. "It will be an hour or so before he comes out of the anesthetic. Even then, he won't be much in the mood for talking, he'll be so groggy. Give him an hour or so. He'll be back in his room by then."
"All right," Dimitra sniffed, wiping away her tears. "We will wait."
"The cafeteria is still open," the assistant offered helpfully. "You can get some coffee in the meantime."
"Thank you, but no," Dimitra smiled graciously. "We'll wait here."
The medical assistant smiled and left the lounge. Dimitra sat down again, giddy with relief. Everything was going to be all right after all, she thought. God had seen her son through his surgery with great success. She made a mental note to light a candle in church in gratitude for her son's recovery. In faith, all things were possible, she believed.
She must have dozed off again, because she was not aware of the passing of time, and she received word of Criss being back in his room all of a sudden. Brushing away the mental cobwebs in her head, she rose and walked briskly with Costa down the corridors to Criss' room.
Criss lay motionless in bed, blindfolded with gauze. His other injuries had pretty much healed, leaving him more recognizable as a person. His wrist had healed well, bound only in Ace bandages. There was still some scarring from the second degree burns on his neck and the lower side of his face, but not all that noticable. They would fade in time, and cosmetic surgery could correct the worst of it. Only his eyes remained a source of concern.
Dimitra bent down and kissed Criss on the forehead tenderly. Criss stirred, waving his arm feebly. She took it in her own hand and held it gently, as only a mother could. "Are you all right, darling?" she whispered.
"Mom?" Criss rasped. "Hey, Mom, how's it going?"
"We were going to ask you the same thing," Costa spoke up from behind.
"Costa?" Criss groped for his brother's hand. His brother took it and rubbed it reassuringly. "They said you came out of it just fine, bro'," Costa said. "You are going to see again by the end of the week at the earliest."
Criss smiled. "You know the first thing I want to see?" he said.
"What?" his mother asked, smiling back.
"You," he replied. "I want to see you. I want to see your beautiful face again, 'cause I missed it so much."
Dimitra laughed quietly, hugging her son's shoulders.
"Ah, darling, I love you so much," she sighed happily.
"I love you more," Criss said in return.
Edward Emory pushed a worn out broom across the concrete floor of the Clark County Jail as part of his work detail, ruminating on the unfairness of life. He could have had it all if he just gotten a break. He could have been the greatest magician since Houdini. He should have been headlining at the Magic Castle, the Mirage--hell, even the Luxor. But nooooo! That (bleeper) Criss (bleeping) Angel had to grab all the publicity, all the fame and fortune that should have been his all along. It was just not (bleeping) fair!
Well, at least that (bleeper) Angel was permanantly out of commission--that third pipe bomb did the trick. He would be blind for the rest of his life, never to do magic again. He was a fallen Angel in more ways than one. That, in itself, was consoling. But there was still the matter of himself being in jail, facing a long stretch on Death Row before they gave him the juice. Instead of fame and fortune, he would die an ignonimous death by lethal injection unless he was reprieved by the governor, which was not bloody likely as the cops had found his bomb plans which he had stupidly left behind when he cleaned out the house on Ubeck Street, and when he went to retrieve them, there they were, waiting for him. He knew the cards were stacked against him, but he was not ready to fold. He just had to bide his time for the right moment, and then he would be out of this hellhole, a free man again.
And he would live well, with a little help from Criss Angel.
03-10-2012, 07:20 PM
Great chapter :) I'm glad Criss is on the way to recovery , can't wait to read more :)
03-11-2012, 03:36 PM
The Sarantakos clan gathered in JD's home for dinner and prayers for Criss. JD was late in coming home, having put in a full day of bomb detection training; he arrived home carrying a cardboard box from the BDU. Captain Harding had given the remaining thirty-five volunteers a thorough grounding in explosives: what they looked like, where they could be found, where they might be found, and what to do if found. All volunteers had to report at the Municipal Center at oh-eight-hundred hours sharp! or they were off the team, Harding ordered, suited up and ready for duty. They were to stick to their assigned areas, obey the supervisors, and contact them immediatly if any "devices" were found. At the end of the session, the volunteers were issued a carton containing their safety equipment with instructions to go over the inventory and familiarize themselves with them.
JD set his carton on the coffee table in the living room, opened it and removed the contents as Costa read off the inventory list:
"One regulation orange safety vest."
JD held up the day-glow orange vinyl vest. "Check."
"One hardhat with clear plastic face shield."
"One pair of flame resistant gloves, large."
"One Red Cross first aid pouch."
"One emergency air horn."
JD picked up a small white aerosol can with a plastic horn. He accidentally pressed the red button, sending out a loud, ear-piercing blast, jolting everyone in the room. Embarrassed, he set the airhorn on the coffee table. "Sorry about that," he said as soon as his ears stopped ringing. "Check."
Costa picked up the inventory sheet he had dropped. "Let's see, uh...one municipal map."
JD spread the map on the coffee table. The city had been divided into eight sections. Each squad would be assigned a section of the city to search. Considering there were only thirty-five volunteers, that would be spreading it pretty thin.
"And one orange volunteer arm band."
JD held up the band. "Check."
George Strumpolis, Dimitra's nephew and MindFreak crewmember, stared at the flimsy vest and the thin plastic face shield. "This is it?" he said, appalled. "This is all they are giving you to protect you from a pipe bomb? Geez!"
"Hey, it's better than nothing," JD told him. "And, anyway, I'm not going to be handling them, just finding them. I got a special number to call on my cell phone to get the Bomb Squad to wherever I found it."
"You spent all day at a training session just to be given a phone number to call?" George asked disbelivingly.
"Hey, we had to learn what they looked like and how to find them. From what I learned, I could practically make one myself," JD replied.
The memory of JD's arrest floated back into Costa's mind. He prudently chose not to bring it up. He focused instead on the worried look on his mother's face, a look he was all too familiar with: the same look she wore when Criss did one of his death-defying demonstrations. He reached over and gave her a reassuring hug. JD also reached over to comfort his mother. "Look, Ma, I know you are worried--" he began.
"Yes, I am worried," she said, fighting back tears. "I am very worried. This monster almost killed your brother." She clutched Costa's arm. "He almost killed both your brothers."
"I don't want you to do this, JD," Dimitra said, her voice trembling with emotion. "I don't want anything to happen to you. You have a wife and a daughter to think about. I don't want to see my eldest blinded and maimed like Christopher."
"Mom." JD sat beside his mother, his arms around her frail shoulders. "I have to do this. I'm doing it for Criss, and for Costa, and for Lynn and Little Dimitra. I'm doing it for the city, so no one will get hurt anymore; I'm doing it for that little girl whose parents were killed in the first attack, and for all those other people who were injured. I'm doing this for you, so you won't have to worry anymore."
He kissed her on the cheek. Dimitra sighed heavily, resigning herself to her eldest son's decision. She was helpless to stop him; she could only pray for his safe deliverance. "May God watch over you," she said.
"Criss?" It was Marisol, the day nurse. "You have a special visitor to see you."
Cirss lifted his head. "Who is it?"
"How ya doin, bra?" a gravelly voice spoke in front of him.
Criss recognized it immediatly. "Dog?" Criss stretched out both arms. "That you?"
Duane Chapman enveloped Criss in two muscular arms. "Oh, God! Dog! Oh, God, it's so good to see you!" Criss cried happily.
Chapman chose to ignore the irony of that statement. "Hey, how ya doin', Criss?"
"I'm doin' okay, considering," Criss replied. "You alone, or did you bring the family?"
"Beth is here," Chapman said, "and so is Leland and Duane Lee."
"Hi, honey," Criss heard Beth say, and felt himself embraced in her arms, pressing him against her ample bosom. "You feeling okay?"
"Good to see you again, Beth," Criss said, "even though I can't see you."
"Wassup, bra'?" Leland, this time.
"Hey, Leland, wassup?" Criss shook Leland's hand.
Another hand took Criss'. "Glad to see you again, Criss," Duane Lee said with a smile he could not see.
"Hey, Duane Lee." Criss shook hands with him. "So, what brings you all to Vegas?"
"Well, to see you, first of all," Chapman explained.
"Aw, hey, I'm grateful."
"And to work with A&E to get our show back on," Beth added.
"Hey, you gotta get it back on. I mean, we need you more than ever. We had a psycho bomber running around here blowing up the whole damn city."
"We know," Beth nodded. "We saw it on TV."
Chapman laid a huge hand on Criss' shoulder. "We've been praying for you just about every day, bra'. God's been watching out for you."
"They ever catch that (bleeper)?" Duane Lee asked.
"Yeah, they caught him," Criss answered. "He's in the county jail, held without bond, so there's no worry about him skipping bail."
"One less fugitive to worry about," Chapman laughed.
"Any hope of you seeing again?" Beth asked with a hint of worry.
"Oh, yeah. They said I should be able to see again by the end of the week after my surgery yesterday."
"Well, we're all pulling for you, bra'," Chapaman reassured him. "You're gonna get through this like everything else you've been through--in one piece."
They talked together for the better part of the morning, laughing about the fugitive stuck in the chimney, renewing the underwater escape challenge Criss had failed before, and planning for future shows--Criss' Cirque de Soleil and Dog's own series. For a few hours, light came into Criss' dark prison. He could envision Dog capturing runaway fugitives on television, the underwater escape in which he would finally emerge triumphant, the palms and beaches of Hawai'i, and friendly faces all around. He would see it again, he vowed. He had to see it again. The dark prison in which he had been confined was maddening. He yearned for the freedom of light and color. Soon, he told himself, soon these bandages will come off, and I'll see my mother's face, and those of my brothers, and the lights on the Strip, and everything else I've missed. It won't be long now, just a couple of more days.
Criss felt the presence of the Chapman clan gathering around him in a circle, just as they had before the underwater challenge a year or so before. "Lord," Chapman prayed. "Bless Criss Angel and give him the gift of sight. Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings. In Jesus' Name, amen."
Amber and Raul Alvarez were putting the finishing touches on the new Spanish language Criss Angel website, Cadena Lealista MindFreak, or the Loyal Mindfreak Network, on Raul's mix-and-match computer, which was all mix and no match. Amber's computer graphics and access to online photos of Criss Angel gave Raul's site a colorful, more polished look, better than Raul had ever planned. "Beautiful!" Raul exclaimed. "Muy bueno! This is going to be big, man! Oh, you totally rock, Amber! This is better than I imagined it!" He gave Amber a squeeze around the waist. "Now, we just put it out there, and wait for some hits."
A press of the Send button, and Cadena Lealista MindFreak flew off into cyberspace in search of loggers around the world. Raul stretched his legs until his knees popped. Amber straightened her stiffened spine. It had been a long evening, but it had been worth it. They were both pleased with the results of the new website; they had agreed on practically everything they put in or took out to create the finished product, and could not wait to see the fruits of their labors.
"I'm hungry," Raul said. "You wanna go in for pizza?"
"Sure!" Amber rummaged through her purse for some money. "Here's ten dollars," she offered, handing him two fives.
"Okay, I got seven, so we can order in." Raul called the pizza restaraunt an place an order for a medium pepperoni pizza with a liter of Coke. Amber returned to the computer and logged into the Loyal Community website to see if there was any latest developments on Criss' recovery.
YuKu.com, Loyal Community, General Topics--ah! There it was: Criss' eye surgery. She clicked onto that and scrolled down the prayers and get well wishes, seeking anything useful. His surgery was scheduled for Wednesday--that was yesterday!
A pang of guilt stabbed her. All that time she had been working with Raul, he had been going through with his operation, and she had not even taken time for a prayer or even a thought of it. God, I hope it was a success, she prayed silently.
She scrolled down to the end for the latest posts. Nothing. Well, she reasoned, it was too soon. Surely there would be news by tomorrow. She would just have to be patient.
03-11-2012, 05:52 PM
Great Chapter :) i wonder when Dog was going to see Criss , Can't wait to read more :)
03-11-2012, 06:07 PM
That was nice of Dog to visit Criss
03-12-2012, 04:40 PM
They're coming off tomorrow! Criss thought excitedly. The bandages are coming off tomorrow! At last, I'll be free of this dark prison and see the light! Oh, man, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to arrive! I want to see again! I know I'll see again!
I don't feel any pain, so that must mean I don't have any sign of infection. That's a good sign, isn't it? Oh, God, let me see again! If I do see again, I'll...I'll make a donation to the blind! There's gotta be some organization for the blind. Whatever. If I see again, I'll find that organzation or foundation or whatever it is and make a sizeable donation to it, if only I can see again. And that's a promise, Lord. I guarantee it!
But what if I am permanantly blind? No! I have to think positive. I have to believe! Mom said with faith all things are possible. Well, I gotta have faith. I remember in Bible school about Jesus healing the blind beggar--He said it was his faith that made him well. I have faith, Lord. I know You will make me see again. I believe in You. In faith, all things are possible.
Number Thirteen of Squad Four, also know as JD Sarantakos, peered carefully underneath a trash dumpster behind Joliet's Liquor Store, searching for bombs. His flashlight, a police issue model given to him by Dave Baron (who in turn had borrowed it from the Luxor Security office), sent a few rats scattering away from the glare. No bombs.
JD straightened up. He'd been vertical ever since seven-thirty this morning, reporting for duty at the Municipal Center at eight, assigned his volunteer number and search squad, then sent to the assigned territory in one of the seamier sides of Las Vegas. Officer Jason Bruin, a former Marine sergeant fresh from Iraq, was squad leader. Squad Four consisted of JD, an elderly retiree named Ray Teale; Julia Fitzsimmons, a stocky woman with her own Internet business and a daughter who had been injured in the Magic Castle disaster (she'd been a waitress there); and a downsized corporate drone named Andy Woodlock, who hoped a stint with the BDU would look good on his resume. All wore the regulation face masks, orange vests and armbands. Ray Teale had bought along something extra: a large metal detector which had been sitting in his bedroom closet gathering dust until he remembered it the previous night and decided to bring it along. Captain Harding had given it a passing glance during morning inspection and nodded his approval. Now, Ray was weaving his detector back and forth, so far finding only a few coins, some beer cans and othe metallic debris. Still, he preservered, as did the rest of the squad.
It was almost noon. Everyone needed a break for lunch and Ray needed to take his medication for his prostate condition. Officer Bruin, being reminded that he was dealing with mere civilian mortals, reluctantly allowed Squad Four a thirty-minute respite. Seated in a small Subway shop, the five of them recounted their progress of the morning--or, rather, lack of it.
"This area's looking pretty clean so far," Woodlock said between mouthfuls of a meatball sub.
"Don't be too sure," Officer Bruin said to him sternly. "We just got started. Squads Two and Five just reported a couple of pipe bombs in their sectors."
Julia put down her diet soda. "Were they real?" she asked anxiously. "I mean, were they, you know...?"
"Hot?" Officer Bruin finished for her. "No, they turned out to be duds. There's been a few copycat cases, most of them hoaxes, but--" his voice became more authoritative "--that's no reason to become complacent. The one bomb you do find may be real--real enough to kill you and everyone else around you. So, look sharp."
"Yes, sir!" Woodlock saluted.
JD turned to Julia. "How's your daughter doing?"
"She's fine," Julia answered. "Her skin grafts took hold so well, you'd think her face had never been burned. She'll be going back to school the first of the month. And how is your brother?"
"Well, they said the eye surgery went fine, and Criss should be able to see by tomorrow or Saturday at the latest. He's raring to go back to work. He says he's tired of lying on his ass all day."
"You know, I saw Criss on the street once," Julia said. "He did this card trick that was really amazing. It ended up on the back of this girl's blouse. How long has your brother been doing magic, anyway?"
"Since he was six," JD answered . "He was always doing some sort of trick since our Aunt Stella showed him a card trick, and he never stopped since." JD's voice suddenly dropped a couple of octaves. "Until now."
"Ah, he'll be back," said Woodlock cheerily. "From what I've seen, he'll find a way, even if he does go blind."
Everyone stared at Andy Woodlock, appalled. "What?" he said bemusedly, "what'd I say?"
Julia leapt to the defense. "That is a terrible thing to say, Andy!"
Woodlock was still unclear of his transgression. "What is?"
"That Criss would go blind--I mean, don't even think that!"
"C'mon, I was just saying he's a guy who wouldn't let blindness get in the way of his career, that's all. I meant no offense, really."
"Well, the way you phrased it--"
JD held up his hands. "Everybody, let's just drop it, okay? We've had a long morning, and it's going to be a long afternoon. We're all in this together, so let's not start any fights, agreed?"
"He's right, you know," Officer Bruin spoke up. "You all gotta put aside your differences and work as a team." He rose to full attention. "Break's up! Let's move! We gotta lot of ground to cover before dark!" he barked.
The members of Squad Four finished their meal, tossed the paperware in the trash, donned their face masks, and headed out the door.
The afternoon wore on, with no sign of anything even remotely resembling a pipe bomb. Squad Four were searching residential area with too few residents; many of the houses were abandoned, their windows boarded up and defaced with graffitti. Ray Teale's metal detector swung like a pendulum around one house in particular, a small ranch-style home which had been defaced even more than the others, as if it had been singled out for personal retribution. He entered the back yard, his metal detector preceding him. Waving the scanner over the tall weeds, he heard the telltale whine of discovery. Stooping down, he spread the weeds aside to discover a large metal ring sticking up from the ground. He pulled on it, but it would not budge.
Suspicious, he cleared away more dirt, surprised that it gave so easily; it appeared to have been freshly dug. The metal ring was attached to a piece of plywood forming some sort of trap door. Maybe nothing, maybe something, he thought, but he was going to need help on this one. He pulled out his regulation airhorn and gave it one firm blast. JD was closest to Ray's position, just across the street. He ran to the house, but stopped short when he saw the familiar circle-A logos and Criss Angel's name spraypainted all over the house, with obscenities and threats against the Bomber scrawled next to them. A chill raced own his spine when he realized whose house this had been. JD pressed forward, circling around the back. "Ray?" he called out, "what'd you find?"
"Gimme a hand here, willya?" Ray shoveled away more dirt from the plywood trap door, if it was one. JD stooped to help. The two men dug and brushed away the loose soil, tossing it aside into the weeds.
It was a trap door. JD pulled on the metal ring handle, heaving the plywood sheet from the ground. He looked down inside a deep hole, training the beam of his flashlight to whatever was down there. They saw a large, black-painted oil drum about four feet below the surface, sealed tightly with an aluminum garbage can lid. JD whipped out his cell phone and dialed the BDU number.
"Squad Four, Number Thirteen and Fifteen," he said in a clipped voice. "We are at 4804 Ubeck Street, in the back yard. We found something that may belong to the Bomber."
"Affirmative, Thirteen and Fifteen," the dispatcher replied, "BDU is on its way."
"Affirmative." JD hung up and turned to Ray. "Bomb Squad's on its way here."
"Good," Ray exhaled, making his way to the back patio to sit down on the remains of a brick hedge planter which held nothing but weeds. "Hell of a way to spend an afternoon, isn't it?" he laughed ruefully, pulling out his water bottle and taking a swig. "I did more walking today than on the links. All I need is my golf bag."
JD sat down beside the old man. "You from here, originally?" he asked Ray.
"No, I'm from New Hampshire. Came here when I retired. Wife and I came to Vegas some years ago, liked the climate, so we packed our bags and moved here. Golf's not bad, either. Pretty green for the desert, y'know?"
JD nodded. Though he never golfed much, if at all, he was aware of Las Vegas' many golf courses and country clubs. Criss did an episode on the Baja course once, he recalled, but had found the sport itself boring.
"What about you?" Ray asked.
"Well, I don't mean your uncle! Where you from?"
"East Meadow, Long Island."
"New Yorker, eh? What brings you to Vegas?"
JD told Ray about his brother's rise to fame and his role in MindFreak Productions, somewhat reluctantly adding that he volunteered for bomb duty because of the attack in the desert valley during Criss' demonstration.
Ray shook his head, laughing. "Hate to think of what it was like when he was growing up. He must have been a holy terror!"
"You don't know the half of it." JD laughed in return.
Their good humor vanished at the sound of sirens growing louder as the BDU van sped to the house. Officer Bruin led the charge into the backyard. Ray and JD stood up and met them halfway. "Okay, what'd you find?" he asked brusquely.
The two men led them to the hole. Officer Bruin squatted down and peered inside. He rose quickly and strode over to his fellow officers. "We got an oil drum down there," he told them. "Could be a stash of explosives. Better get the 'can'."
JD and Ray stood aside as the BDU carefully and skillfully extracted the oil drum from its hiding place. From the way the men were straining, there was definatly something heavy inside. The garbage can lid was pried off and the contents carefully examined.
Officer Bruin turned to his two volunteers. "Good job," he said unsmilingly. "We found the mother lode."
Captain Harding listened intently as Officer Bruin delivered his report on the Ubeck house discovery. The oil barrel had been concealed in a six foot hole under a plywood sheet covered with about six inches of dirt. That was why the dogs could not find it when they made the initial search of the premises. Volunteer Fifteen had located it with his metal detector. Volunteer Thirteen duly reported the location of the drum on his cell phone. The barrel was removed and transferred to HQ.
Harding nodded approvingly. He had been initially against the whole volunteer program when the mayor presented it to him, but in the end, it had paid off. Yet the knowledge of two greenhorn civilians with a commercially available metal detector had uncovered what his squad and his two best dogs had missed rankled him.
"What'd they find in the drum?" the captain inquired.
"Five steel pipes, a dozen pipe caps, some coils of wire, and Mason jars filled with saltpetre, sulfur and charcoal, and a coffee can filled with shrapnel. This guy had it all, sir."
"Where is it now?"
"Evidence locker, sir. Crime lab techies are going over it for fingerprints."
"Good job, Bruin," Harding said, nodding. "Bring in the two volunteers. Dismissed!"
Bruin saluted and turned on his heel to leave. Harding returned to his paperwork. He looked up briefly to see Ray Teale and JD Sarantakos standing before him. "You wanted to see us, Captain?" Ray asked.
"Yes" Captain Harding said. "I want to commend you two on finding the Bomber's stash. Good job."
"Actually," JD said, "it was Ray here. He found it first with his metal detector. I just called it in."
"I like that--shows teamwork." His tone became more genial. "Still, I'm never gonna live this down. I mean, I had my entire squad going over that house with cameras, infrared goggles, and two of the best trained dogs we got, and we come up empty. Then a couple of civilians come around and dug up what had been right under our noses with a metal detector and a flashlight!" he sighed in embarrassment and frustration.
"Ah, don't feel bad, Captain," said Ray jovially. "Nobody's perfect. Your men are the real pros. You know, if we had tried to pull up that barrel, we'd have blown ourselves to Kingdom Come. Besides, one hernia operation is enough, I can tell you that."
Captain Harding cracked one of his rare smiles. "Well, we couldn't have done it without you, hard as that is for me to say. You can turn in your gear before you leave. Dismissed!"
"Wait," JD protested. "What, are we fired or something?"
Captain Harding shook his head. "No, no, it's just that the mayor is pulling the plug on the whole volunteer program. A lot of people got pissed off about civilians searching for bombs, and besides, now that we got the Bomber's barrel, we can take care of the rest. Dismissed!"
JD and Ray didn't know whether to salute or shake hands, so they left quietly, shrugging their shoulders. Harding returned to his paperwork, all but forgetting the two men who had just left his office.
03-12-2012, 04:46 PM
Great Chapter :) i hope everthing is going to be ok with Criss and i really hope he get to see again ,also i'm glad the bombs were found, more please as i'm really enjoying reading this story :)
03-12-2012, 10:23 PM
Dimitra will be happy that JD is done with looking for bombs
03-14-2012, 03:00 AM
"So, your brother, JD, called the Bomb Squad and they took out this big oil barrel full of explosives," said Marisol as she wheeled Criss to the doctor's exam room. "He's quite a hero now."
"He's always been a hero to me," Criss said.
"Well, now he's a hero to the whole city. If anyone else had found that barrel, there's no telling what would have happened."
They rounded a corner of the corridor. "Here we are!" Marisol announced cheerfully. "You got the whole family waiting for you!"
"Hey, everybody!" Criss called out, even though he could not see anyone or anything with his bandaged eyes. He did feel the soft, warm embrace of his mother's arms around his shoulders; he would have recognized it anywhere. "Mom," he murmured, "I knew you'd come." He gave her a peck on the cheek.
"Hello, darling," his mother greeted him in return.
"Hey, bro', how's it going?" It was his brother, JD. Criss groped for his hand and clasped it.
"JD!" he exclaimed. "Marisol's been telling me about that barrel of explosives you found yesterday. Way to go!"
"Well, I didn't find it," JD said modestly, "it was one of the other volunteers--Ray, an older man with a metal detector. He found the trap door and called me over to help him dig."
"But still, I'm not going to take any credit I don't deserve," JD insisted. "Ray is the real hero--I just helped."
"Well, okay if you say so," Criss conceded.
Costa squeezed his way between his older brother and the exam table to reach Criss. "Good to see you, bro'," he said.
"Back at you, bro'," Criss replied in kind.
There was an awkward silence. A palpable tension swirled around the exam room. This was the day that Criss' bandages would come off. This was the moment the family had anticipated for weeks, not without feelings of dread; the results of the operations on Criss' eyes would determine his and their future. If successful, he could go back to performing magic, fufilling his contract with the Luxor Hotel and Casino. If Criss went blind (God forbid!), then, well...other arrangements would have to be made.
Finally, Criss spoke. "I have a confession to make."
"What?" his mother asked.
"Last night, I was so anxious about seeing again, I told God that if He restored my sight, I would make a donaton to the blind. I just remembered that now. I said a lot of things last night to Him in my excitement about being able to see again."
"Will you remember that promise if you do see again?" his mother asked him in all seriousness.
Criss nodded. "Yes, I will. Just don't let me forget, okay?"
His mother smiled. "I promise."
A knock on the door. Dimitra reached over and opened the door. A doctor entered the already crowded exam room. "Excuse me," he said politely with a faint MidEastern accent. There was no need for introductions. Dr. Yousef Mahmood was the eye surgeon who had operated on Criss' eyes ever since he had been admitted. He was reputed to be among the best optical surgeons in the country, one of the pioneers in Lasik and retinal restoration surgeries, performing everything from cataract removal to corneal transplants. He had kept the family up to speed on Criss' progress, for which the family was grateful. They were confident in Dr. Mahmood's skill as a surgeon, trusting him completely.
Dr. Mahmood drew the blinds and dimmed the lights just enough for Criss not to be overwhelmed by the sudden brightness, yet leaving enough to work. "All right, Criss," the doctor said with a touch of optimism, "let's see how we did here, eh?"
"Ready when you are, Doc," Criss smiled.
"Now, as I remove these bandages, I want you to keep your eyes tightly closed until they are completely off. Then, I want you to blink a few times before opening them. When you open your eyes, let me know if you can see."
"Got it," Criss nodded.
Dr. Mahmood began to unwind the gauze wrapped around Criss' head. "Your eyes may be sensitive to bright sunlight at first, so remember to wear sunglasses when you go out. Your night vision may also be affected. If that happens, just take a daily dose of Vitamin A, and that should improve it."
The doctor hesitated before removing the last layer of gauze. He bent down beside Criss. "Just remember," he said seriously, "whatever the outcome, we did our best."
"I know," Criss acknowledged. "You did your part; the rest is up to God."
Dr. Mahmood smiled. Inshallah, he thought. God wills it. What happens, happens, because it was divinely ordained by Allah, so said the Prophet Mohammad. Yet all the same he labored diligently for his patients to restore their vision with all of his skill and training; not everything should be accepted so fatalistically.
The last layer of gauze was removed. Criss squeezed his eyes shut tightly. "Now, blink a few times," Dr. Mahmood ordered him.
Criss opened and closed his eyelids hard, working out the stiffness caused by weeks of inactivity.
"Now, open your eyes," ordered the doctor. "Wide."
Criss forced his eyelids open and tilted his head up, facing his mother. A huge smile spread across his face. "Mom?" he whispered. "I can see..." He reached for her. "I can see! I can see again!" he shouted in triumph.
His mother tearfully embraced her son. "Oh, thank God!" she sobbed. "Thank God! Oh, thank You, Lord, for this miracle!"
Criss stood up from his wheelchair and went over to embrace his teary-eyed brothers. "It's good to see you again," Criss quipped through his own tears of joy.
"It's good to see you, too," JD replied, his voice breaking.
Dimitra wiped away her tears and drew a deep breath to compose herself. "Thank you, Doctor," she smiled. "You gave our Christopher back his sight. We cannot thank you enough."
"My pleasure, Mrs. Sarantakos," Dr. Mahmood replied simply. The satisfaction of another successful operation was reward enough. "Now, Marisol will take you back to your room, while your family and I go through the formalities of your discharge."
"You mean, I'm finally going home?" Criss said eagerly.
"Yes, yes, yes, you are finally going home," the doctor answered. "You still need to rest for a week or so for your other injuries. Remember to wear sunglasses outside and take plenty of Vitamin A if you have trouble with your night vision."
"You got it, Doc!" Criss shouted, elated. At last, his ordeal was over! He was finally free of the dark prison in which he had suffered the past few weeks. He was back in the light again and he wanted the whole world to know it! Impulsively, he walked over to the window and yanked open the blinds.
"Criss! No!" Dr. Mahmood cried out.
It was too late. Pain exploded in Criss' eyes. He whirled away from the window, howling in pain and rubbing his eyes. He blinked away the shadows, refocusing on the doctor.
"I warned you about that," Dr. Mahmood admonished him firmly. "Your eyes are still too sensitive to light right now. Sit down."
Criss sat in his wheelchair again. Dr. Mahmood tilted Criss' head back and squeezed a few drops of saline into his eyes. Criss wiped away the excess with a tissue given to him by his mother.
"That better?" the doctor asked.
Criss nodded. "Shoulda been more careful," he muttered. "I almost went blind again."
"I am going to prescribe some eyedrops for you, just in case." Dr. Mahmood took out his prescription pad and scribbled something illegible on it. "Here," he said, handing it to Criss. "One drop in each eye should do it."
Criss read the prescription, or tried to, anyway. He couldn't make out just what the doctor had written on the slip of paper. He knew doctors were notorious for their scribblings on prescription forms; even if his eyesight had been perfect he would have had a hard time deciphering it. I hope I don't get the wrong stuff, he thought.
"You be careful," his mother told him, kissing him on the cheek, then whispering in his ear, "Remember your promise to God." She left the room with Dr. Mahmood, JD and Costa.
"Criss?" he heard Marisol's voice outside the door. "You ready?"
"Coming, Marisol," he answered.
It suddenly occured to Criss that in spite having known his day nurse for weeks, what with her daily news reports about the Bomber aside from her regular duties, he never found out what she looked like. He knew she had a sunny personality and a sweet, friendly voice that would put even the most nervous patient at ease, but her physical appearance still a mystery to him.
I bet she's as pretty as she sounds, he thought. I bet she's got blond hair and big blue eyes, with a California tan and bikini bod! Or, maybe she's darker, like Mexican or something. Marisol sounds Spanish. Maybe she's Hispanic or something like that. Whatever! I bet she's hot either way!
Criss seated himself in his wheelchair, smiling with anticipation. "Come on in!" he called to her.
The door opened, and Criss got his first look at his day nurse. It was not what he expected, to say the least. She was dark, yes, but African-American dark, round and stocky in form, the hem of her nurse's smock barely covering her oversized hips. Her large eyes seemed to bulge from her round head, and she smiled through a train wreck of a mouth. There was no proportion to her at all.
Criss swallowed his initial shock and smiled back at her. After all, this was the woman who had cared for him since he was first admitted here, who had delivered news of the outside world as he lay in total darkness, relieving him of his pain and lonliness of his islolation. She had been there when he needed her. Her voice had been a light in the dark prison he had endured, comforting him, reassuring him. She had become a friend to him as well as a caretaker. Marisol had been his personal angel of mercy in his time of pain and misery.
"You know something?" he said to her.
"What?" said Marisol.
Criss smiled and took her hand in his. "You're beautiful," he said.
It is said that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happened to Criss Angel, however, didn't stay in Vegas but spread worldwide as the news of his restored sight became public. Infotainment sites and fanboards trumpeted the good news to anyone who logged in. Loyals shared their jubilation on and off line, offering prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God for His miracle of restoring His Angel's vision.
A press conference had been hastily arranged for Criss upon his arrival back to the Luxor. It became Las Vegas' biggest media event to date with the Grand Ballroom reserved for the press, and the main entrance mobbed with screaming fans.
The limo bearing the returning Angel tooled up to the curb. Criss, dark glasses firmly in place to protect his sensitve eyes from the flashbulbs of the news cameras, stepped out onto the curb to tumultuous cheers and shrieks of ecstacy from female fans. Criss waved to everyone, making his way up the red carpet, bodyguards keeping the estatic crowd and persistant press at bay. Microphones were thrust under his chin with demands for a statement.
"Thank you everybody," he cried out over the din. "I just want to thank each and everyone of you for all your support and prayers for me and my family. I couldn't have made it without you. As I always said," he continued, his voice beginning to break, "that I have the best fans in the world, and I love each and every one of you. God bless you, and I'll see you soon--and I mean that literally!"
Another rousing cheer as Criss was escorted to the Grand Ballroom for the press conferance. As much as he wanted to take off his glasses, the flashbulbs forced him to keep them on. He did not want another episode like the one in the exam room.
Criss was seated at a table with a row of microphones in front of him. On the floor, more flashbulbs popped as the representatives of the media applauded his arrival. "First of all," he began, "it's good to see all of you. It's good to be back at the Luxor again. And I am looking forward to getting back on schedule with the Cirque show and the MindFreak series. My eyes are still sensitive to bright light, but I am doing fine, I can see again. I thank God for it, and for the love and support of all my fans."
Criss heard his mother's voice echoing in his mind: Remember your promise to God. He went on: "When I was in the hospital, I made a deal with the Lord. If He restored my sight, I would make a donation to the blind. Well, He kept his end of the bargain, so now I'm going to keep mine. I am donating fifty thousand dollars to the National Foundation for the Blind."
His offer was greeted with warm applause. "I figured it was the least I could do." he said with a smile.
There were more questions about the show, JD's arrest and clearance as a suspect and his bomb searching volunteer work ("I am very proud of him," Criss said. "He's always been my hero."), what it had been like to be blind ("Very scary, like being in a dark prison,"), his thoughts on the Vegas Bomber ("Let the court decide," he said. "I am confident he will receive the full penalty of the law."), and if he was for or against the death penalty ("Let's just say, the jury is still out on that one."). Finally, it was all over. Criss went up to his suite for the first time in over a week.
But instead of the peace and quiet he anticpated, he walked into a huge reception of family, friends and hotel management, hosted by the CEO himself, Felix Rappaport. "Surprise!!" they all yelled. A huge WELCOME HOME CRISS banner draped one wall. The drywall tryptich created by the Loyals outside the Red Cross station stood underneath, restored from the damage inflicted by Hiram Block's rampage. The suite was filled almost to overflowing with stuffed toys and other gifts from the hundreds of Loyals who had kept vigil for him.
Criss was moved to tears. "You guys..." he choked.
He saw his mother carrying his beloved cat, Hammie, in her arms. "Someone to see you," she crooned.
Criss gathered his cat in his arms. "Hammie! I missed you!" he said, his voice breaking with emotion.
He cuddled the animal as everyone gathered around him. It was good to see--actually see--the familiar faces he knew and loved. The light was sufficent enough for him to remove his shades without discomfort so he could read the messages on the drywall message board, stopping only to wipe away the tears.
He paused at one message in particular. "Mom?" he said, "can you come over here for a minute? This one is in Greek."
Dimitra stepped over to the board and read the Greek-lettered message inked onto one corner. "It says, 'For Criss Angel, that he may be restored in mind, body and spirit, we pray to the Lord'."
A shadow crossed the board. Criss looked up to see Duane Chapman standing over him. "Hey, Dog," he greeted him.
"Hey, Criss," Chapman said, embracing him back. "Welcome home, bra'."
"Glad you could make it," Criss said.
"Glad to be here," Chapman returned. "Now, where does it say that again? Mind, body, spirit...?"
Criss pointed it out to him on the board. "Right there. Can you see it?"
Chapman stared at the message. "I dunno. It's Greek to me!" he laughed into a video camera.
Criss imitated a vaudeville rim shot in reply. There were more hugs, more kisses, more smiles and a few tears as well. It was the happiest moment of Criss' life to date. He was back with friends and family, basking in the light of which he had been deprived for so long. His heart sang with joy, his creative mind already composing new songs enough for another CD. The terror was over. The enemy had been vanquished. He was healed. All of Las Vegas was free of the Bomber's reign of terror, and the Angel would rise again, triumphant.
Edward Emory sat in his jail cell, waiting. Tomorrow was his outdoor work detail, and if the timing was right he would be a free man. He had planned it down to the last detail. He would leave nothing to chance. If he blew it like he almost did last time, he was screwed. A few days ago he had concealed himself behind a wall next to the gate, hoping to make a dash for it when it opened to allow a delivery truck inside, but he was spotted by a guard and caught. He bluffed his way out of solitary, pleading an attack of faintness, and he was taken back to his cell to "recuperate".
There would be no slipups this time, though, he thought. He just needed luck, cunning and the courage to do it. He had the last two in abundance; the first, however, had been lacking of late. Yet, he would preservere. He would have his vengeance. He may have lost the battle, but he was going to win the war--even if he had to leave Las Vegas in smoking ruins to do it.
03-14-2012, 03:51 AM
03-14-2012, 12:07 PM
Great Chapter :) this is getting very nail biting , i'm glad Criss can see again :) i can't wait to read more :)
03-16-2012, 03:49 PM
Carey Conner spent the better part of Monday at the Las Vegas Public Library. She wished she was back home in Southfield, Michigan, cozying up in her overstuffed recliner with a hunk of chocolate cake and a strawberry-kiwi slush beside her. But her publisher insisted on her remaining in Vegas, at their expense, to write the Bomber book (she didn't have a definate title yet), so there she was, sitting at a library computer doing research on the man who had tried to kill her and Criss Angel. She had left her laptop at home, so she had to resort to pencil and paper for her notes. Information on Criss Angel filled two million three hundred and thirty thousand entries on Google alone. It would have taken a year to read through it all, so she just concentrated on a brief biographical sketch and focused more on the desert valley attack.
Edward Emory, however, proved to be more elusive. Carey had to sift through all the Edwards, Charles, and Emerys to find what she was looking for. There was an obituary for a Captain Edward Emory who was awarded the Silver Star in World War Two, and a Baptist preacher in Georgia named Charles Emory noted for his work among the homeless, but none about Edward Emory save for his arrest for arson and murder.
Carey scrolled furthur. Finally, she hit paydirt: There was an obscure entry about Edward Emory auditioning for the reality show Phenomenon, of which one of the judges was none other than Criss Angel. Now there was a link she could use. She clicked onto it and waited for the clip to download.
The tiny frame flashed a thirty second clip of Emory fumbling through his routine before the judges in the initial qualifying round. He seemed nervous, stammering a little. The judges were unsparing in their criticism, pointing out every little flaw in his performance. Emory was miffed, and he stormed off the stage in a huff, insulted. Was that why Emory tried to kill Criss? she thought. Or is it something deeper than that? This kind of homicidal rage must go beyond mere disappointment over not landing a spot on a television show. Jealousy, perhaps?
Carey made a note on her pad to use that clip in her book, downloading it from her own computer when she got home. She also planned to pay a special visit to Officer Lettrille if he had time to see her. Maybe he had some information she could use.
She checked her watch. Almost one o'clock PM. And she didn't even have lunch yet. She logged off the computer, retrieved her license from the reference desk, donned her sunhat, and left the building. A quick bite, and she'd be back to work.
She walked briskly down the street to a small Chinese restaraunt that did not look too busy. Good. She could use the peace and quiet to collect her thoughts. Meanwhile, the fresh air and sunshine was refreshing after a morning of being cooped up in a computer lab. Her arthritic knee had been acting up that morning from all the sitting; it needed a workout as well.
A frantic honking startled her. She whirled around to see a familiar blue van pulling up to the curb beside her. She stepped up to the van's passenger side and peered in through the window. "Brent?" she called out.
"Hey, Carey!" Brent shouted over the traffic noise.
"Brent!" she repeated, "what's up?"
"I thought you left already!" Brent said.
"I was, but my publisher wanted me to stay an extra week," she explained. "They want me to write a book about the Vegas Bomber."
"Well, here's a new chapter for you," Brent said.
"What are you talking about?"
Brent leaned closer to the passenger window. "I just heard on the radio that the Vegas Bomber escaped from jail!"
"Escaped!" Carey cried in horrified astonishment.
"Yeah, he busted out sometime this morning. They think he rode out in a garbage truck!"
"Oh, Lord!" Carey groaned. "Can you get me back to the Luxor?"
"Sure," he nodded. "Hop in!"
Carey climbed into the van and slammed the door behind her. "I got to warn Criss and the family," she said. "From what I read about Emory, Criss is his primary target."
In the dimly lit bedroom, Dimitra gently squeezed a drop of saline into each of Criss' eyes from a tiny vial. Criss blinked and wiped away the excess with a tissue. "Better?" she asked.
Criss nodded. "Thanks, Mom." The saline soothed his burning eyes, still sensitive to bright light. He had to draw the blinds in his suite during the day, opening them at night to allow the city lights to guide him as his night vision was so poor that anything weaker than a standard night light left him blind as a bat. Dr. Mahmood insisted it was only temporary, prescribing Vitamin A supplements to improve it, but to Criss it bought back memories of his hospital stay, the dark prison of gauze and cotton isolating him from the rest of the world. After his ordeal, he vowed never to take his eyesight for granted ever again.
He looked up at his mother, at that sweet, gentle face, a little withered with age but still beautiful to him, the face he saw above his crib as an infant and in the exam room in the hospital when the bandages were removed. He had clung to the memory of her face while he lay blinded in the hospital, refusing to let it fade as the days passed. It kept his spirits up and his hopes alive, warding off despair and self-pity. The sight of his mother's face for the first time since the attack was one of the most joyous experiences he ever knew, worth more to him than all he possesed.
Dimitra carefully put away the eyedrops in the nightstand drawer. "Did you remember to take your vitamins today?" she asked.
Criss smiled indulgently. "Yes, Mother," he replied with mock obedience. That was so "mom" of her, still looking out for her little Christopher, making sure he took his vitamins, ate his veggies, and went to bed on time at an age when he should be looking out for her. Once a mom, always a mom, he thought.
A loud banging on the door jolted him out of his thoughts. He put on his shades and ran to answer it. He heard his brother, JD, shouting his name from the other side.
Criss opened the door. JD stood there, pale as death. "Hey, man, what's up?" Criss asked.
"The Vegas Bomber escaped from jail this morning!" JD told him frantically.
Criss was aghast. "He what? How?"
"I don't know," JD panted, "but he's out on the street somewhere, and I know he's coming after you! You're the one he wanted to kill!"
Dimitra clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh, Lord!" she gasped. "Oh, dear God!"
Criss drew his mother's trembling body close to his chest. "It's okay, Mom," he said comfortingly. "They got him before, they'll get him again."
"Oh, God, I hope so," she quavered.
"They will, don't worry," Criss insisted. "Everyone knows who he is and what he looks like, so he'll be easy to catch this time. He's a marked man. And besides, JD found his bombmaking barrel, so he can't blow up anything. He tries to dig it up, they nab him."
"But what about you?" she asked him. "If he sees you, he will try to kill you, just as JD said."
"Well, for one thing," Criss replied, smiling a little, "he's got to find me first."
03-16-2012, 05:57 PM
Great Chapter :) i hope they catch the vegas bomber soon , can't wait to read more :)
03-17-2012, 12:14 AM
'chills running down the spine'
03-18-2012, 04:03 PM
"Escaped?" Jim Lettrille shouted in outrage. "How the hell did he escape? He was under twenty-four hour surveillance, wasn't he?"
"From what we heard, he was on work detail at the county jail, and got out when they picked up the garbage," Sergeant Phil Macomb told him. "Either he climbed into the truck or was hiding in a dumpster and dumped into the hopper."
Lettrille cursed under his breath. Only yesterday, Sunday afternoon, he was with his family, relaxing for the first time in over a week, the Bomber case closed, the villian vanquished, the forces of good triumphing. God was in His heaven, all was right with the world. Everything had been all tied up in a neat little bow, signed, sealed, and waiting to be delivered. Now it had all come unravelled. One single lapse in security--a momentary distraction, a small detail overlooked, a bending of the rules--had unleashed another wave of terror upon Las Vegas. True, they had found his bombmaking materials in the yard and confiscated it, but what was to stop him from going to the source where he got them in the first place? He had to have acquired them from somewhere. But where?
"They're ordering a stakeout on Ubeck Street," Macomb informed Lettrille, "in case he comes back to claim his stuff."
Lettrille nodded. "Good."
"Briefing's in ten. Captian wants everyone on the shift there."
"I'll be there." Yes, he'd be there all right, and he'd make damn sure there would be no slipups this time. He'd make every officer from rookie to lieutenant memorize Emory's face until they knew it like they knew their own mugs. He'd have a nonstop search for that (bleeper) if they had to tear up the whole damn city to do it. Hell, he'd call out the National Guard if it would bring back Emory! One way or another, Jim Lettrille was going to bring back the Vegas Bomber, dead or alive. Preferably the former.
By Monday afternoon, all of Las Vegas had been alerted to the escape of the Vegas Bomber. Emory's picture had been posted on every electronic billboard and outdoor television screen on the Strip. News networks and local stations ran "Wanted" ads during commercial breaks, with the one-eight-hundred number to call to report any information about him. The Nevada State Police had been alerted within minutes of the discovery of Emory's escape. Every major highway crossing the state border was heavily patrolled. All states bordering Nevada--California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Arizona--were issued an APB regarding the Vegas Bomber, and warned to be on the lookout should he cross state lines. In just twenty-four hours, Emory had more public exposure than any celebrity headliner in Vegas.
The fear which had gripped the city resurfaced. All of Las Vegas was on red alert. Anxious parents picked up their children after school, leaving their jobs early to do so for fear a stray bomb might cross their paths. Communities hastily organized neighborhood watches to patrol the streets every night until the Bomber had been captured. Some of these watches bordered on vigilantism, its members ready not only to capture the Bomber, but bring him to justice--their brand of justice, whether it was to beat him to a pulp or string him up from a lamp post.
Most fearful of all were the Loyals, Criss Angel's devoted fans. They knew from the electronic grapevine that their idol had been the Bomber's primary target; now that he was on the loose, what was to stop him from going after Criss again? Anxiety, if not outright terror, spread through cyberspace like an epidemic; Loyals feverishly posted their hopes and prayers for Criss' safety on message boards and websites. Hundreds of Loyals acting out of a sense of civic duty scanned and posted the now all too familiar "Wanted" ad on the boards in hopes of a swift capture. The more creative types took advantage of these ads and designed banners villifying Emory in extremis by drawing devil horns on his head and the like, the electronic equivilant of throwing darts at his photo.
For all the terror, however, there was hope. Now that everyone knew who the Bomber was, what he looked like, and where he might possibly be, his recapture would be quick and easy. Emory was a marked man; it was just a question of when he would be caught. It was only a matter of time. Yet, for all the optimism, there was an uneasy feeling, an undercurrent of fear, that time was running out.
The undercurrent was still trickling as day faded into evening, yet life in Sin City went on as it always had, despite the lack of guests and patrons in the Luxor and other hotels and venues. Many had fled after the Luxor attack, more after the Magic Castle bombing, and still more after the desert valley attack, leaving many hotels nearly half empty and costing millions of dollars in lost revenue. Yet there were a few brave souls who courted Lady Luck in the casinos, ogled the showgirls and strippers in the theaters and clubs, and drank their paychecks away in the bars.
Despite doctor's orders to the contrary, Criss threw himself back into his usual grueling work schedule first thing Monday morning, preparing for his new show with Cirque de Soliel, Believe. He was in his element and was as happy as a clam, designing, redesigning, arranging and rearranging the stunts and illusions for the most ambitious project of his career. It was going to have the biggest "wow" factor, even by Vegas standards. Released from the dark prison of temporary blindness and healed of his injuries (at least as far as he was concerned), he was once again master of his own destiny, the Bomber be damned!
There was, however, the problem with his eyesight. He could not tolerate too bright a light, whether it was the sun or the stage, so he still had to protect his eyes with dark glasses, and his lack of night vision left him sightless when the lights went out. No matter, he thought, they would be completely recovered in time for the premiere, so long as he shielded them from the light and kept taking his Vitamin A pills. He kept his vial of eyedrops handy in his pocket, just in case.
As he paced around the stage, directing, instructing, choreographing, and mapping out the set, though he could not see her in the darkened theater seats, he knew his mother was sitting out there, front row center, watching his every move, worrying about his health. Though he could see well enough on stage, beyond the apron was total blackness. His limited eyesight frustrated him, though he realized he should be grateful to be able to see at all. Maybe he should have the house lights turned up...?
Dimitra, for her part, could see everything clearly, which was quite remarkable for a seventy-three-year-old woman, an age when the majority of her generation needed glasses, either to read or just see what was in front of them. She had always been in reasonably good health, despite the heart problem she had two years ago, and even then she had bounced back. Unlike her headstrong youngest son, Christopher, however, she had followed doctor's orders and rested when she had to and exercised when she could. Christopher should have been resting this week after being discharged from the hospital last Friday, but no, he had to go back to work after just a single weekend. So there he was, on the stage, slaving away on his new show, perfecting every little detail just has he had before the attack in the desert. He could do everything except relax, it seemed.
Dimitra shifted in her seat. She needed to use the ladies' room. She got up and headed for the exit, her son's voice directing the cast still echoing up the aisles.
She walked down the corridor confidently. Despite its size, the Luxor was as familiar to her as her home in Long Island, New York. The staff, in turn, were familiar with her; Criss Angel, being the Luxor's biggest star attraction, made Dimitra Sarantakos Queen Mother with all rights and priviliges therein. She had a suite reserved just for her when she came visiting, a standing reservation at the spa; even a record of her medications was kept active in the hotel pharmacy, paid for by the hotel.
Dimitra checked her watch. It was getting late, almost seven PM. She and Christopher had planned to go out to one of the restaraunts in the hotel for dinner, as soon as he could tear himself away from work. She entered the lavish restroom, hoping her famous son would have wrapped up rehersals for the day by the time she got back.
Her personal business completed, she made her way back to the theater. She decided to wait in the "green room", as they called the backstage lounge where the performers relaxed. She knew that her son could not see her in the darkened theater, and, besides, watching those day-to-day rehersals became wearisome after a while. She slipped backstage and down the passageway to the green room. She noted that it was rather dark in there; Christopher would not be able to find his way unless he had help. Maybe she should wait for him in the wings so she could guide him. Yes, that would be a good idea.
Dimitra picked her way past the huge cases of props, electrical equipment, and costumes. Just as she was within reach of the stage, a hand siezed her wrist. "Don't make any moves, Mommy," a voice hissed in her ear. "Just come along quietly and you won't get hurt."
03-18-2012, 04:31 PM
03-18-2012, 05:18 PM
Great Chapter :) , i hope Criss's mum will be ok , can't wait to read more :)
03-19-2012, 12:58 AM
"Okay, that's a wrap!" Criss said loudly to the cast and crew of the show. "We'll pick it up tomorrow, same time, same place, same channel! Everyone, go home and get some rest."
The weary performers walked off the stage, relieved that the long, grueling rehersal was finally over. No one complained, however--they were all seasoned professionals, accustomed to hours and hours of practice for a single show. Every step had to be perfect, every cue followed at the precise moment it was given, or it would ruin the effect, and that would spell disaster, especially for a show with such spectacular illusions as Criss Angel's.
"Mom? Are you out there?" Criss called out to the empty rows of seats in the theater. "Hey! Can someone turn up the houselights for a minute?''
The lights illuminated the darkened theater. Criss could now see the entire room clearly, but no sign of his mother anywhere. Puzzled, he wondered if she went to the restroom or the green room to wait for him. She usually did that during his rehersals when she was here in Vegas.
He turned and walked off the stage. The houselights dimmed behind him, leaving only darkness in his wake. In the dim light of the wings, he was almost completely blind, making out only faint shadows before him. He took it as a sign that his night vision was improving, a thought that made him smile to himself. He was getting better, he knew he was getting better. All it took was time, and plenty of Vitamin A, of course. Those pills were doing wonders for his eyes; he figured he would have perfect twenty-twenty vision by the premire at this rate.
"Criss!" a female performer in a blue high-cut leotard cried to him, "Criss!"
Criss turned to face her. "What?" he said, concerned. "What's the matter?"
"I found this tacked to a wall by the green room." She handed him a sheet of paper with newspaper letters pasted on it.
Criss read the crudely lettered note, horror and rage boiling up inside him:
If You wAnt To see YOur MOM Again yOu MusT HaND OvER ONE mILlIon dOllarS by MiDNite tonite! COme aLone to UBek St. NO MoneY, NO mommy.
"Oh, dear God!" he cried out. "My mom's been kidnapped!"
He whipped out his cell phone and dialed nine-one-one. "Help me! My mother has been kidnapped! I got a ransom note right here! It says to deliver one million dollars to Ubeck street by midnight. Tell the police to meet me at the Luxor Hotel security office. And hurry!"
Within ten minutes, Criss had called everyone he knew about the kidnapping: his brothers and cousins, who came running before he even hung up; his manager, Dave Baram; the CEO, Felix Rappaport, who in turn alerted all security personnel and ordered the review of the security tape in the theater for the enitre day; and chief of security, Lucas Macaffey, who was hopping mad when he learned that an abduction had taken place on his watch and vowed to find whomever had allowed this to slip by and tear him a new one.
Officer Jim Lettrille had been summoned to the scene with Sergeant Macomb and Officer Hewlett. Lettrille read the note while Macomb and Hewlett questioned everyone who had been in the theater at the time of the kidnapping. "Ubeck Street," he pondered. "That was where the Bomber was at." He slipped the ransom note into a Manila envelope for lab analysis. "It's gotta be him."
"But he can't blow anything up," JD spoke up. "We took all his stuff in that barrel, remember?"
"Yeah, but what is to stop him from finding more supplies?" Lettrille pointed out. "If he has a source before he got busted, he'll find it again."
Sergeant Macomb entered the security office. "We examined the corridor leading to the exit," he said. "All the lights were out, turned off at the main breaker. Cameras couldn't pick up anything. We did get some footprints, though." He handed a woman's purse to Lettrille. "We also found this on the floor backstage."
"That's Mom's purse!" Criss cried out in shock. "She must have gone backstage to meet me after rehersal and--" His throat constricted, choking off his words.
"You mark the spot where you found it?" Letrille wanted to know.
"We did," Sergeant Macomb replied, "and they're going over the whole scene right now."
Lettrille nodded. "Good." He turned to a shaken Criss. "Now, don't worry, we'll get your mother back. He said to meet him on Ubeck Street at midnight with one million dollars. Now, here's what I want you to do..."
After an interminable drive down side streets of shabby, broken down houses and disreputable businesses, the car had stopped at a house with broken windows and one side of it scorched from a past fire.
"Get out!" Dimitra's captor had demanded. "Don't try to run, 'cause if you do--"
Dimitra got out of the car, trembling. Her kidnapper led her by the wrist into the house, where she was led into a bedroom upstairs. "Please," she begged tearfully, "please don't hurt me!"
"I won't hurt you if you just do as you are told," the kidnapper said. "Just sit down, relax, and wait."
She found the strength to look up at her captor. In the dim light of the streetlamp shining through the window, she saw the face of the man who had almost killed her son, who had killed that little girl's parents, and who had terrorized all of Las Vegas. "What do you want from me?" she demanded. "I have done nothing to harm you! Why have you taken me like this?"
Emory leaned forward, smiling evilly. "I don't want anything from you, Mommy Dearest. I just want Crissypoo to cough up a cool million at midnight tonight. That is, if he wants to see his pwecious widdle mommykins again. 'Cause if he doesn't, no more mommykins. Get it?"
Enraged, Dimitra's hand flew up and landed a sharp smack right onto Emory's face. "You coward!" she shrieked. "Release me at once!"
Emory reeled from the blow, surprised that an old lady like her could hit so hard. He glared at her. "You do that again, and Crissypoo will be claiming you at the morgue," he warned her. "Meanwhile, you just sit tight, relax, and wait until midnight. And don't try anything funny, 'cause I'll be watching you."
Emory left the room. Dimitra could hear the metallic click of a lock sliding into place as the door shut behind him. She was trapped. Forcing herself to remain calm, she looked around her for any means of escape, anything she could use to free herself from this madman. She looked out the windows for any passersby whom she could flag down for help, but the street was deserted. She could not climb out, as she was on the second floor. There had to be a way, there just had to be.
She wished she could be Christopher for just five minutes. He would have known how to get out of here. He would have escaped without that evil man knowing about it. How would he do it? she wondered.
Dear Lord, she prayed, give me the strength and skill of my son Christopher, so that I may escape this prison and the madman who has locked me in here. Guide my family safely to me, to rescue me. Help me, dear Lord, in my time of trouble. Amen.
03-19-2012, 03:45 AM
Enraged, Dimitra's hand flew up and landed a sharp smack right onto Emory's face. "You coward!" she shrieked. "Release me at once!"
I would of done the same thing.
03-19-2012, 11:11 AM
Enraged, Dimitra's hand flew up and landed a sharp smack right onto Emory's face. "You coward!" she shrieked. "Release me at once!"
I would of done the same thing.
Me too . Great chapter , i hope police and Criss will get to Dimitra , and stop the bomber , can't wait to read more :)
03-19-2012, 07:39 PM
It had been an enjoyable evening for Carey, with a wonderful five-star meal at one of the Luxor's finest restaraunts, with some top-notch entertainment to go along with it. And it was only Monday! It was good to forget the book for a while and just relax. Maybe she could take in a show later. Yes, that would be a good idea. But the show schedule was in her room, so she'd have to go all the way back up there to get it.
She paid the bill, tipped the waiter, and made her way back to her suite. Midway to the elevator banks she saw a commotion at the MindFreak production office, and noticed Officer Lettrille with two other policemen present. Criss was in a state of hysteria, quite unusual for him, she thought. She cracked the door open a bit to listen in, knowing it was rude, but if Officer Lettrille was there, she was sure it had to do with the Bomber.
Lettrile had a black briefcase on one of the desks in front of him. "Okay," he said to Criss. "You take the briefcase to Ubeck Street as instructed. Go up to the house and tell Emory you're there and go in. Demand that he show you your mother first to see if she is all right. Meanwhile, me and my men will surround the house. If he tries to get away, we nail him, understood?"
"Got it," Criss nodded.
"Now I know how much you want to punch this guy's lights out for kidnapping your mother--"
Kidnapping your mother? Carey was stunned. Emory kidnapped Criss' mother and is holding her for ransom? It was inconceivable! How could he kidnap her from this hotel when there were cameras scanning every inch of space? Oh, God! The poor woman! she thought.
"--but if you turn on him, not only you but your mother could get hurt. This guy might be armed, remember that. Once the money's in his hands, we got him. There is a tracking device in the case. We turn it on, we can follow him wherever he goes."
Criss was silent, absorbing everything Lettrille said to him. He would have given anything and everything he owned to have his beloved mother back to him, safe and sound. One million dollars--what was that compared to the woman who gave him life, love, inspiration and support? Was she safe? At least, still alive? He hoped so. He prayed so, because if any harm came to her, God help that (bleeper) Emory.
Carey fled to her room, all previous plans for the evening forgotten. Dimitra kidnapped! She still could not believe it! What should she do? What could she do? She did not want to interfere with the investigation or the negotiaion for her release--that would do more harm than good. She remembered where Ubeck Street was, not too far from that pizza restaruarnt where the pipe bomb was found in her car. Should she go there? Or should she just stay put until the whole thing blew over?
She shook with sobs, pulling her short Claroled hair in frustration. Her eyes burned, forcing her to remove her bifocals to wipe her eyes. Finally, unable to stand it no longer, she called for the valet to fetch her car. She was going to Ubeck Street to see this thing through. If questioned, she could plausibly say that she was going to see Raul Alvarez regarding her book. Otherwise, she would lay low. Pulling on her London Fog raincoat and grabbing her purse, she headed out the door. She got him before, she thought, she'd get him again.
The hours seemed to crawl on hands and knees. It was now eleven PM, one hour before Criss' rendezvous with the Bomber. Still unable to see in the dark, Criss let Lettrille drive him in his black Lambroghini. He clutched the briefcase containing one million dollars in marked bills and the small tracking device wired into it. He had to teach Lettrille how to drive such a sophisticated automobile, but he was a quick study. Officer Lettrile had dealt with cases of theft of such luxury vehicles in the past; it came with the territory, he told Criss.
Lettrille pulled up to 4808 Ubeck, shabbier than ever with graffitti spray painted all over it by angry Loyals venting their wrath upon the criminal who almost killed their idol. He switched off the headlights; only a single streetlamp illuminated the scene. "Here we are," he said, turning off the engine. "You know what to do?"
"I do," Criss said.
"Okay, I'll hide here, you go on ahead. Can you see okay?"
"Okay, let's roll."
Criss got out of the passenger side door, carrying the briefcase. The house was dark inside. He'd be totally blind if he went inside, he realized. He cursed himself for not bringing a flashlight. It would have given him an advantage if he saw the Bomber.
Use your other senses, he told himself. Use your ears and fingers instead of your eyes. Remember when you were in the hospital? You followed sound and "saw" with your fingertips. Don't let yourself get disoriented. You can do this.
Criss pounded on the front door crudely scrawled with his circle-A trademark. "Emory?" he shouted. "I know you're in there!"
He tried the doorknob. It was unlocked. He entered the darkened house, leaving the door open to let in what little light the streetlamp outside could give. "Emory?" he shouted. "Mom? Are you all right? Somebody answer me!"
The door slammed shut behind him, leaving him in total darkness. Criss forced himself to remain still, keeping his ears tuned to any sound, sending out mental feelers for any presence in the room.
"Hello, Crissypoo," a voice purred menacingly behind him.
Criss did not move, but braced himself for any sudden attack.
"I see you came on time," Emory's voice said, approaching him. "You got the money?"
"Yeah, I got it," Criss replied, concealing his rage. "Where is my mother? Where is she?"
"First the money, honey, then we get Mommy."
"I want to know if she's all right. If you hurt her, so help me, God--"
"Relax! She's fine. Just drop the cash and go get her. But..." He was in front of him now. "But, you have only two minutes to rescue her. If you and Mommykins don't make it out of the house in time, you'll both be blown to kingdom come. So, you'd better hurry."
Criss lunged at Emory, but only grabbed empty space as his foe deftly evaded his futile attack. "Ah, ah, ah!" Emory admonished in a patronizing tone. "Naughty, naughty!"
"(Bleep) you, (bleep)hole!" Criss spat angrily. "I'll kill you even if I can't see a thing in this (bleeping) house!"
"You'll just be wasting valuable time," Emory told him. "You only have two minutes before this house and everyone in it goes boom."
Criss heard Emory pick up the briefcase. "Remember, only two minutes. Starting now."
Emory dashed out the back door, laughing in triumph. Criss burned in rage and humiliation, but there was no time for either. He had to rescue his mother before it was too late.
He groped around for a wall. "Mom?" he shouted. "Mom? Can you hear me? Answer me!"
Upstairs, Dimitra sat in her tiny bedroom prison. She saw lights stream brightly through the window. She got up to look out and saw what looked like Criss' car in the driveway. Her heart leaped. Her prayer had been answered! He had come to rescue her! God had not forsaken her!
She watched as Criss got out of the car and walked up to the door. She could hear him enter the house, then the front door slammed. There were shouts, then silence. Then she heard him calling out to her. The house had no lights--Criss would not be able to see in the dark, she realized. She had to let him know she was here. She crossed over to the bedroom door.
"Christopher!" she shouted, hammering on the door. "I'm up here! Please help me!"
"Mom?" Criss shouted. "Where are you?"
"I'm up here in this bedroom! I'm locked in!"
She's upstairs! "Keep pounding, Ma!" he screamed. "Keep pounding so I can find you!"
The pounding on the bedroom door went on. Criss stumbled toward the sound, groping along a wall until he came to the staircase. Scrambling up the stairs, he plowed headlong into a door at the end of a short hallway. "Mom!" he screamed. "You in there?"
"Yes!" he heard her answer from the other side. "I'm in here!"
Criss fumbled for the doorknob. He turned it, but the door would not open. He ran his fingers across the doorjamb and discovered a hook and eye latch secured with a padlock. Criss kicked the door with all his fury. He heard splintering wood, but the door remained firm. Criss knew he had only a minute to get her out before the house blew up. "Mom!" he shouted. "Get back!"
He walked back to the edge of the stairs, letting his fingers guide him, then sprinted towards the door, plowing into it like a football linesman playing offense. The old wooden door exploded on impact. Criss tumbled to the floor, his shoulder aching.
"Christopher!" Dimitra shrieked. "Darling! Are you all right?"
She knelt beside him. Criss came to his senses and looked up.
"Ma?" He clutched her tightly. "Oh, God! Mama, thank God you're all right!" he sobbed with relief.
Dimitra kissed her son over and over again. "Thank You, Lord!" she breathed. "Thank You for sending my son to me!"
Suddenly, Criss bolted upright. "We gotta get out of here!" he told his mother frantically. "We gotta get out of here now!"
He siezed her arm and dragged her out of the bedroom and to the stairs, ignoring his night blindness. They stumbled down the stairs in their haste. Criss was almost to the foyer when he heard a thudding sound and a cry of pain.
"Mom?" he cried out. "Mom? Are you all right?"
"Christopher!" his mother called to him. "I hurt my foot!"
Dear God! Criss reached behind himself, groping for his mother's hand. "Mom! Where are you?"
He felt her soft fingertips brush against his hand. He grabbed her hand, picked her up by her arm and carried her to the door. Dimitra opened it and mother and son limped out of the house, guided by the streetlamp, toward the Lambo.
"Lettrille!" Criss shouted. "We gotta move! This house is going to blow up any second now!"
He yanked open the driver's side door. Lettrille was not there. Criss and his mother climbed into the Lambo for safety. From habit, Criss found himself in the driver's seat. Dimitra sat beside him, nursing the large, golfball-sized lump on her right ankle. It was too dark for him to drive, and his mother did not know anything about the Lambo. Fearing an explosion, he pulled his mother's head down onto the seat. "Get down!" he shouted.
They ducked just under the dash, waiting for the worst. He didn't know just how much protection the Lambo would give them, but it was the best shelter they had under the circumstances.
"Mom, I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too," she whispered back.
"I love you more," he quavered
Lettrille, in the meantime, was in a squad car on stakeout, monitoring the tracking device in the ransom briefcase. The monitor began to beep, signalling its activation. Lettrille read the map on the tiny screen.
"He's heading north," he said over the radio. "All units standby."
"Standing by," the radio acknowledged.
Lettrille followed the signal on the tracking monitor. It wouldn't be long now.
Carey drove south toward Ubeck Street. No police cruisers as far as she could see. Maybe they caught him already, she thought hopefully.
She was almost to Raul's house when she saw someone who looked like Emory running the other way towards her. Upon closer inspection, she realized that it was Emory running up the street, and he was carrying a black briefcase.
Enraged, she turned her car sharply to the left, cutting him off. Emory plowed straight into the front passenger side, sending him sprawling to the concrete. Carey got out of the car and whipped around to his side. She grabbed him by the shirt front and glared into his shocked face.
"Hello," she sneered. "Remember me?"
03-19-2012, 08:22 PM
Great Chapter , it is getting really exciting , can't wait to read more :)
03-19-2012, 08:24 PM
ALL RIGHT CAREY!!!! clapping hands
03-20-2012, 02:56 AM
Emory struggled to get away from Carey, but she pushed him down on the concrete and sat on him; it was the only way she could subdue him. She glared at him angrily, her face directly into his. "What have you done to Dimitra?" she demanded. "If you did anything, anything at all to that sweet old woman, so help me I'll kill you right here and now!"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Emory gasped underneath Carey's weight.
"Oh, like hell you don't!" she spat. "I heard everything at the production office! You wanted one million dollars in exchange for her! On top of all the murder and mayhem you caused, you had to go and kidnap a defenseless old woman! Man, even for you this is a new low!"
"I didn't do nothin'," he growled at her.
"Then why are you running down the street with that briefcase?" Carey countered. "What's in it? Money? Another pipe bomb? Either way, you're screwed, buddy! Once the police get here, you're history!"
"Yeah?" Emory sneered. "How are you going to get hold of them? Once you get up to call them, I'm gone! And you will be too."
"I'm not going anywhere, bub!"
"Oh, yes, you are! I got about five pounds of explosives strapped to my body! All I have to do is push the button, and they'll be nothing left of either of us! If you want to see tomorrow, you'll let me go."
Carey could sense the cylindrical shapes underneath Emory's clothing and she realized he was not bluffing. In her bewilderment, her eyes fell on the briefcase lying in the street beside them.
The briefcase! Carey recalled what Officer Lettrille said about a tracking device planted inside it. It had to be activated by now. If she could just stall for time until the police got there...
"You're lying!" she said, feigning anger.
"You wanna see for yourself?" Emory challenged her. "Just open my jacket up and look."
"I'm not that kind of girl," she retorted sarcastically.
"I'm not asking for a feel, just a peek at what I got" Emory told her. "Or I could just press the little button I got in my pocket and we both get blown, literally."
"You're crude, Emory."
"Hey, you started it."
"Why are you doing this, anyway?" she demanded. "Why did you have to go and bring so much misery on so many innocent people? Why did you have to try and kill Criss Angel? And why did you try to kill me?"
"Oh, for chrissakes!" Emory groaned.
"I want an answer, Emory!"
"You want an answer? Here's your answer!" With that, he rolled over, pinning Carey underneath him. Carey struggled to free herself, but Emory had a death grip on her wrists. "You (bleeper)!" Carey screamed in his face.
"Just relax, sweetie," he purred. "You want to know why I did it, don't you? I did it because Criss stole my career from me. I should have been the one with all the fame and fortune! I'm the one who should have his name up in lights! It should have been me! Not Criss (bleeping) Angel, who everyone knows is a big fraud! I am ten times the magician he is!"
Carey laughed derisivly. "You? Better than Criss Angel? Ha! That's the best one I've heard in a long time! Criss has more talent in his pinky finger than you'll ever have in a lifetime!"
Emory raised his hand to strike her. Carey saw her chance and grabbed his wrist, twisting it as hard as she could. As Emory grimaced in pain, she thrust her knee into his groin, stunning him long enough to free herself. Rising to her knees, her arthritis forgotten, she twisted his arm behind his back. Emory crouched in front of her, helpless.
Looking back later, Carey was surprised at her abilty to subdue her attacker, given her age and lack of any self-defense training, but for the moment her outrage dominated all thought. "Make any move," she hissed in his ear, "and I'll break your arm."
Emory struggled to free himself, while Carey struggled to keep him in her custody. The flashing lights of a police cruiser quickly drew their attention. Emory struggled harder. Carey straddled him again, pinning him under her weight.
"Okay, Ms. Conner," she heard a familiar voice speak to her. "You can let him go now."
"Be careful!" she shrieked. "He's got explosives strapped onto him!"
Officer Lettrille clicked on the police radio. "Seven-one-five here. We have a potential bomb threat here! Request backup!"
The radio crackled an incoherant reply, and Lettrille stepped forward to Emory, handcuffs at the ready. With more force than Carey could ever conjure up in her lifetime, Lettrille siezed Emory and wrenched his arms behind his back, the handcuffs on his wrists with a satisfying click.
Carey stumbled to her car, trembling from the exertion. She wanted to cry. She felt as though she would faint. I'm not cut out for police work, she thought.
Three minutes had gone by, with no explosion or anything. Criss and his mother, Dimitra, sat up in the Lambo, bewildered yet relieved. "Hey," Criss said with a smile, "we're okay!"
Mother and son embraced joyfully. They were free and still alive. Everything was going to be okay now, they thought. The kidnapping ordeal was over.
Dimitra held her son's face in her soft hands. "Let's go home," she whispered.
Criss turned to start the car, but discovered one problem: he was still night blind. He could not drive in the dark like this, and his mother didn't know how to drive any of his imported cars, and after her traumatic kidnapping and sprained ankle, she was in no condition to drive anything. They would either have to wait for the police to arrive or until the morning light.
As Criss pondered this dilemma, he heard a tapping on the side window. He felt for the switch and pressed it. The black tinted window slid down to reveal a young man with spiky hair and a chrome ring in one nostril, smiling at the two figures in the car. "Hey, Criss!" he said. "What are you doing here?"
"Hey, man," Criss greeted him back. "We're trying to get home, but I can't see in the dark. Care to help?"
"Hey, no prob!" He held out his hand to Criss. "By the way, name's Brent diOrio."
Criss extended his hand and shook it. "Brent? Glad to meet you. What're you doing out here, anyway?"
"Oh, I'm on neighborhood watch tonight," Brent explained. "We all got together when the Bomber escaped from jail, and we comb the neighborhood every night."
"Cool." Suddenly, Criss had an idea. "Say, Brent, you ever drive a Lamborghini before?"
Brent shook his head. "No, can't say that I have." he laughed.
"Well, you wanna get behind the wheel of this one and take us back to the Luxor?"
Brent was elated. The closest he ever came to handling any high-end European import was stocking the latest issues of Car and Driver in the auto parts store where he worked. "Does a chicken have a pecker?" he replied excitedly. "Of course I'll drive!"
"Great, dude," Criss said. "I totally owe you one."
03-20-2012, 03:58 AM
Way to go carey!!!
03-20-2012, 08:52 AM
great chapter , way to Carey , Brent and Criss , can't wait to read more :)
03-20-2012, 02:49 PM
The few remaining residents of Ubeck Street were once again awakened by the sounds of police sirens and the flashing of red and blue warning lights. They peeped out of their windows to see the BDU squad truck once again in their neighborhood, flanked by LVMPD cruisers up and down the side street.
Captain Harding, in full Kevlar jacket, marched up to the subdued Bomber and ripped open his sweatshirt to reveal a row of cardboard paper towel spindles wired together and sealed with duct tape, each topped off with nitroglycerin caps and bound overall with more duct tape around his torso.
Harding turned to two of his men. "Cut him loose and get the 'can'!" he barked.
The BDU officers snapped into action, pulling out the reinforced barrel to store the explosives from the van. They set the "can'' down on the sidewalk and relieved Lettrille of holding Emory in custody, pinioning their prisoner's arms behind his back as Harding took out his box cutter and began the delicate operation of cutting away the duct tape around Emory's body without triggering the explosives.
Meanwhile, Carey went over to where Lettrille was standing. It would be hard to explain her presence to him; she couldn't even fall back on her preplanned alibi of going to Raul's house for the book. With the Bomber in custody once again, she guessed it didn't matter anymore. She wanted to go back to the hotel. In fact, she wanted to go back home to Southfield and put Las Vegas and everything that went with it behind her.
"Nice job," Lettrille complimented her drily.
"Thanks," Carey replied in the same manner.
The explosives were carefully peeled away and set gently in the "can". Emory was hauled to the police van and shoved in unceremoniously, the door slamming shut in his face.
"You know how he got out in the first place?" Carey asked Lettrille.
"Well, from what I heard, he hid in a dumpster and rode out in the garbage truck when they came by the jail for pickup," he explained. "He was out before they could stop them."
"I see," Carey nodded. She sighed, nerving herself for the worst. "You know, I have a little confession to make."
Lettrille listened with his usual professional interest as Carey told him about her eavesdropping at the MindFreak office, hearing about Dimitra's kidnapping, and her sudden urge to return to the scene of the crime; her abrupt "encounter" with the fleeing Emory, and what he had told her during their struggle, and how he had five pounds of explosives strapped to his body.
"Five pounds, you say?" Lettrille pondered this fact.
Alarmed, he trotted over to Captain Harding. " Cap!" he shouted. "Our witness says he had five pounds of explosives on him. You got it all?"
Harding thought about it. "Five pounds? Didn't feel like it. Either he was exaggerating or--"
The answer came just down the block as the police van exploded with a jarring force, shattering windows in nearby houses. The shock wave was so strong it knocked down whoever and whatever was standing in the street, and setting off car alarms for blocks around.
Harding and Lettrille picked themselves up from the ground. They stared helplessly at the burning wreckage before them. A uniformed police officer on the scene who still had some sense left radioed Dispatch for the fire department. Other officers pulled out their police issued fire extinguishers and battled the blaze, while the BDU officers, better protected from the flames by their Kevlar suits, struggled to pull out the driver of the police van.
"Son of a (bleep) blew himself up!" Lettrille said incredulously.
"We should have searched him better," Harding added as he and Lettrille watched the smoldering ruins of the police van with the Vegas Bomber inside go up in smoke.
For Brent diOrio, it was as if he had died and gone to Heaven. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine himself behind the wheel of a Lamborghini! And here he was, the humble auto-parts stockclerk who barely made twenty-three grand a year, driving the ultimate sports car that cost about five times that much. And it was Criss Angel's car, to boot. Brent knew that Criss had a warehouse of high-end cars and motorcycles, a whole collection of European imports and American muscle cars. He had some on display at the Luxor; Brent had seen them himself.
But to see a Lambo was one thing--to drive one was the experience of a lifetime. Brent savored every turn of the wheel, every brake at a stop sign, every caress of the upholstery underneath him. He was tempted to take the "scenic" route to the Luxor, but Criss had related his mother's kidnapping ordeal and her sprained ankle, and told him to get them both of them home quickly.
Dimitra? Kidnapped? Brent could only imagine the reaction of the Loyal Community when that was made public. All screaming hell would break loose; they'd probably break into the jail and lynch the (bleeper). Brent didn't want to be in Emory's shoes for anything, not for anything.
The lights on the Vegas Strip flashed and flickered as it had always done for decades. Criss' vision returned in the neon glow. He could see the giant black pyramid with its bright white apex, the very one over which he had soared so triumphantly just two years ago. "We're home, Ma," Criss told his mother, resting comfortably in the back seat, a small thermal ice pack from the first aid kit Criss kept stored in the glove compartment of the Lambo on her swollen ankle. "It won't be long now."
Dimitra nodded wearily. She wanted to sleep. It had been the most horrifying night of her life. The entire ordeal of being abducted, held hostage, threatened with death or worse, then rescued and making a hasty escape--it had drained all the life out of her. None of Christopher's demonstrations had caused her so much fear and anxiety than this. At seventy-three, it was a wonder she did not die from the shock alone.
Brent tooled up the drive of the hotel's main entrance. He could not help but marvel at the reconstruction after the Bomber's initial attack; it was as if it hadn't even been hit. He stopped at the parking valet's kiosk and got out. The valets on duty that night were a bit bewildered, almost suspicious, of seeing a complete stranger get out of Criss Angel's Lambo. Only when Criss himself step out of the passenger side was the mystery solved.
Criss summoned one of the valets. "I need your help getting my mother out of the car," he said. "She sprained her ankle."
"I can order a wheelchair from the pharmacy," the valet offered.
Criss was grateful for the helpful suggestion and took him up on it. The valet got on the kiosk phone and called the hotel pharmacy. Brent and Criss gingerly extracted Dimitra out of the car. The poor woman went limp in her son's arms, forcing Criss to carry her into the lobby.
The pharmacy wheelchair sped to the entrance, powered by a fleetfooted hotel employee all too eager to please. Criss thanked him, graciously brushed off any more offers from the employee to be of any more service, and wheeled Dimitra to the elevators to be whisked away to his suite where he knew his family was anxiously waiting for them.
03-20-2012, 02:59 PM
"How is she?" JD asked Criss as he quietly closed the bedroom door behind him.
"She's sleeping right now," Criss quietly replied. "I think she's gonna be okay."
JD nodded. It had been a night of terror for the entire family--indeed, for the entire city of Las Vegas, for the news networks had been running minute-by-minute coverage of the Bomber's escape, recapture and suicide by self-detonation. Now, it was all over. Edward Charles Emory was dead, and a besieged city breathed a collective sigh of relief. No mention was made of Dimitra's kidnapping, however, to the family's relief, even though they knew full well that it would come out sooner or later. And when it did, all hell would break loose, especially among the Loyals, even though Emory was dead. At least Dimitra would be spared the ordeal of testifying at trial.
When their beloved mother was wheeled into the hotel suite, she was greeted with tearful embraces and prayers of thanksgiving by her sons and nephews. As much as they wanted to hear the details of her kidnapping, she insisted that she needed rest. A bit of fruit to settle her empty stomach and she was settled into bed, an ice pack on her ankle. She was asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.
"Any word on the Bomber's capture?" Criss asked.
"We'd been watching the local news all night," JD replied. "The Sunhat Lady was in the neighborhood and almost ran him down--personally, I wish she had. But the cops showed up, and were taking him away in the police van when he blew himself up."
"He blew himself up?" Criss repeated, not quite believing what he had just heard.
"Yeah, he had some explosives on him, and when he was in the van, boom! Blew himself up right there in the van. And they had already stripped a few pounds off him before they hauled him off."
"Anyone get hurt?"
"Nah, that police van was reinforced with armor plating. The driver got out okay, and there was some damage to the interior, but no casualties--except Emory, of course."
"So, he took the coward's way out," Criss muttered aloud.
JD nodded again, then sighed wearily. "We've been up all night worrying about Mom. What happened when you delivered the ransom?"
"I went into this old house" Criss related. "It was so dark, I couldn't see, even if I had normal night vision. He was there, taunting me, saying I had two minutes to rescue Mom before the house blew up. I know he took the money and ran, but I couldn't see where he went. I heard Mom upstairs, and broke down the door where she was being held prisoner. We ran so fast down the stairs, Mom tripped and sprained her ankle. We ducked in the Lambo, but nothing happened. Some guy named Brent came by on neighborhood watch and drove us home." Criss smiled at that. "He was a real car buff. I think he said something about working in an auto parts store--I didn't catch which one. Anyway, he didn't want to get out of the car when we got here--I practically had to pry the keys out of his hand!"
JD smiled for the first time that night. "Well, the important thing is that you're both back, safe and sound."
"I don't know about that," Criss said doubtfully. "Safe, yeah, but I don't know about 'sound' in Mom's case. God knows what that (bleeper) did to her. If he wasn't dead already, I'd kill him!"
That very same sentiment was shared by thousands of angry Loyals, seething with wrath when the story of Dimitra's kidnapping by the Vegas Bomber was made public. They practically competed with one another to see who could come up with words strong enough to express their outrage. How dared he do such a thing to their beloved Mother Angel! It was bad enough that he almost killed Criss, but to kidnap and threaten Mother Dimitra was, in their eyes, the ultimate sin. The Web was aflame with the most venemous attacks on a single person since Osama bin Ladin became a household name. Every website dedicated to Criss Angel was inundated with hate mail against the Vegas Bomber. Some of the posts were so vitrolic that the Moderators supervising them were forced to delete them, only to find new flaming threads cropping up like random grass fires during a draught.
After her official police statement the next morning, she accompained Criss to his press conference dealing with the entire affair. Criss held his mother's hand tenderly (a sharp-eyed cameraman took a few seconds' footage of it) as she tearfully but courageously related her horrifying experience and her son's heroic rescue of her from the house on Ubeck Street. When asked about his reaction to his mother's ordeal, Criss simply replied, "How would you have reacted if this happened to your mother?"
Carey Conner packed her bags and called for luggage service to take them down to the lobby, where she would take a cab to the airport. She had all the information she needed for the book; she could write it in the comfort of her home.
Home. The very word was as soothing as a hot bath. Carey was glad to be leaving this city at last. Las Vegas may be the Entertainment Capital of the World to everyone else, but to her, it had been a living nightmare. Some vacation this turned out to be! she thought miserably. From now on, I'm sticking close to home! I should have gone to Mackinac Island or something!
Carey heard a knock on the door of her room. She rose to answer it, thinking it was luggage service to pick up her bags. She opened the door, but instead of a hotel employee, she saw Criss Angel standing there, smiling.
Needless to say, Carey was startled. "Criss! What are you doing here?"
"I heard you were leaving, so I came to say good-bye," he explained. "And to thank you for all your help in capturing the Bomber. You're a real hero, you know."
Carey flustered about nervously. "Well, I...I mean, really...I..."
"Yeah, really," Criss insisted. "If it hadn't been for you, this whole city would have been blown up. You deserve a medal for nailing that guy when you did. My brother said you should have run him over completely."
"He's not worth a murder rap," Carey said.
"Anyway, I wanted to show my appreciation for all you've done." Criss said as he magically produced a small white envelope and handed it to her. "It's two tickets to the premiere to Believe, my new show in October, all expenses paid. And no bomb threats, I promise."
"Oh, well," Carey was flattered at the offer. She knew Loyals would have sold their souls for these tickets--they ran up to a hundred bucks a pop. To be invited to a premire showing of any Las Vegas event was a rare priviege. "Uh, thank you, Criss. Thank you very much."
Criss shook his head. "No," he said, "thank you very much."
With that, he took Carey into his arms and embraced her. Carey smiled to herself. Maybe this vacation wasn't such a total waste after all, she thought.
Officer James Lettrille was promoted to Sergeant with full honors and awarded a medal of valor for his work in the capture of the Vegas Bomber.
Captain Marshall Harding received a commendation for the handling of the Bomber case and the retrieval of explosives. He has written a manual for all law enforcement personnel on how to handle bomb threats and their detection; it is now required for all police cadets to take a course in bomb disposal in the state of Nevada.
The Nevada State Legislature unanimously voted down a bill eliminating the death penalty. Supporters of the bill stated that public opinion was too strong in the wake of the Vegas Bomber.
Carey Conner's book, Avenging Angel, made the New York Times best seller list within two months after its release. She has made numerous public appearances, and had been interviewed on Larry King Live. The reward money she received went into her retirement fund, minus an undisclosed amount donated to the Vegas Victims' Fund. Though she made a name for herself in publishing in later years, she will always be known as the Sunhat Lady to the Loyal, Criss Angel's fanclub.
Rosemary Thorton, the elderly woman who cared for Bethany Silverman after the death of her parents in the Luxor bombing, passed away a month before her nintieth birthday. She bequeathed her treasured Houdini penny to Criss Angel in gratitude for restoring her rosary beads. She was buried beside her husband in Portland, New Hampshire.
Bethany Silverman is currently living with relatives in Bethseda, Maryland. She received her parents' insurance money a month after her arrival; her aunt and uncle have invested it in a college fund for her.
Brent diOrio is now studying law enforcement. He claims his knowledge of automobiles would be useful in preventing future car bombings.
Criss Angel's new show, Believe, met with rave reviews. He says that his night vision is improving, and he will perform the desert valley demonstration again at a future date. He has neither confirmed or denied any rumors concerning a TV movie based on Avenging Angel. His mother, Dimitra, returned safely back to New York after her ankle healed.
Dr. Michael Stone of Columbia University and host of the television series, Most Evil, did a segment on the Vegas Bomber, rating him a fifteen on his Scale of Evil, for psychopathic "cold-blooded" spree or multiple murders.
The autopsy on Edward Emory revealed three pounds of highly volitile explosives strapped to his thighs, hidden in his sweatpants. The enclosed van contained the blast within, creating a sealed chamber which created such heat and force it all but reduced him to ashes. His legs were practically blown off, and his upper torso was charred beyond recognition. It was determined that he died instantly. His remains were cremated, and the ashes are currently stored in the Clark County Mortuary. As of this writing, no one has come forward to claim them.
03-20-2012, 03:10 PM
Who would want to claim his ashes they should go down a sewage drain
03-20-2012, 03:51 PM
Great story :) i really enjoy reading it :) i really like the characters Amber and Carey : ) I'm glad Carey help catch the bomber , i also thought the story was beautifully written :)
03-20-2012, 06:10 PM
Who would want to claim his ashes they should go down a sewage drain
Because it's in violation of city ordinance. It is illegal to dump toxic substances into public sewers or storm drains.
03-20-2012, 06:10 PM
Great story :) i really enjoy reading it :) i really like the characters Amber and Carey : ) I'm glad Carey help catch the bomber , i also thought the story was beautifully written :)
03-20-2012, 08:12 PM
Your welcome :)
03-20-2012, 11:18 PM
Because it's in violation of city ordinance. It is illegal to dump toxic substances into public sewers or storm drains.
lol lol lol lol :D
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