Cold Grip

Staring at the straight razor in her hands, Jezebel contemplated life. It was fragile, and it was vague; what was the point of it all in the end, really? Was there a God that one would have to answer to, or was it simply a pitiful flicker of existence before being thrown aimlessly back into the void, into nonbeing. The blood dripping from the razor was already starting to cool, making her wince.

“Can’t have that,” she said, bringing it down to a creamy expanse of flesh and raking deep into the tissue, blood welling from the wound like oil from the ground. A shriek into the chilling night air made was left unanswered, and Jezebel stood up, limping slightly, as she made her way across the room, blood dripping down her thigh.

Leaning forward to stare into the mirror, she wondered what would happen to her should she ever die. What would the Almighty have to say about her, let’s face it, selfish actions here on Earth? She’d been a stripper, a prostitute, a drug peddler… to name a few things. She broke every commandment at least once, most of them multiple times. What would God have to say to her?

And what of Lucifer? She smirked, wiping the blood that had spattered up onto her face away with a pinky. The Prince of Lies would no doubt approve of her ways, wouldn’t he? Here she was, sneaking around, stealing and slitting throats just to make ends meet. She’d hardly accepted the graces of the good lord, so she knew where she was bound to go when she was finally done for.

But that wasn’t going to be for a long time.

Turning to the grisly scene in front of her, she stepped over the bodies towards the briefcase full of cash, picking it up before looking down at herself. When she’d slit the last guys throat he’d bled all over her leg… now it was sticky and foul… oh well, guess she would have to live with it until she got back to her hotel room, ironically four floors down in the Palazzo.

The City of Sin had called to the daughter of the devil clearly, Las Vegas being the perfect home for a rebel like her. She had more acquaintances and few friends, but she always made it through in the end.

Turning, she was startled to find one of the men she’d killed standing, facing away from her, his shoulder slumped.

“Thomas, y-y-your alive!” She said, hoping he hadn’t realized it was her drawing the razor across his throat when she’d first stood up the high stakes poker game between gangsters. The key to this little plot was that there would be no survivors. And here she was staring at one.

He didn’t respond, his bloody hands swinging idly by his side as he shifted his weight from foot to foot. His tousled black hair streaked with red glaze from his own thickened blood, stood high like the plumage of some strange bird. He slowly shuffled in a circle, turning to face her.

She sucked in a gasp of air as she looked at him. His throat was slashed open, dried blood having streamed out and down his front as he’d wrestled to keep himself from dying.

She thought he’d lost.

“Thomas… are you okay?” She asked, looking at his glazed over eyes, blinking slowly as they took in the room.

He was slow to respond. “Okay? Am I okay? I think so…”

His voice was whispery and paper thin, his esophagus sliced partially open, his vocal cords nicked by her sharpened blade.

“Thank goodness!” She said, taking a step forward. “I was worried when the other man cut your throat, I was too scared to do anything.”

“Other man? What other man?” Thomas asked, looking around the room. Three other bodies lay strewn about, two shot with a snub-nosed silenced pistol while the third had been knocked unconscious before being unceremoniously killed in his sleep.

“The man with the knife,” She said slowly, holding the razor against her arm so as to hide it from his view.

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “There was a man, dressed in black. He told me I was to come and claim someone… I can’t remember who.”

“A man dressed in black? Thomas, you’re just imagining things. Here, let me help you…” She said as she took another step closer, setting down the briefcase at her feet.

He looked at her for a moment before letting out a whistling howl of rage, lunging forward to grab her by her hair, one fist colliding with her nose, crunching it with a single blow. Jezebel lashed out with the razor, running it down the side of his face and over his ear, lopping off a chunk of flesh in one go. The gash opened bloodlessly, exposing gray tissue and cheekbone beneath. The hand tangled in her hair pulled her down, throwing her onto the hotel rooms couch, atop another body.

“You killed me,” Thomas said, growling as best he could. “You slit my throat before taking my gun and executing the rest of us like animals.”

“I didn’t kill you, I swear!” She said, but found it impossible to move as two arms from beneath her grabbed her own. Looking back, she looked into the green flecked orbs of the man she’d shot in the chest twice. Already his skin was drawn tight around his pale features, making the scar under his right eye stand out even better.

“She killed you, Thomas, just like she killed me,” Edgar said his grip as hard as iron.

“The man in black sent you back as well?” Thomas asked, looking a little confused.

“He thought you might need help,” Edgar said, smiling his hideous smile. “The gun is on the table… I think you know what to do.”

“No! No please, don’t kill me! I don’t want to die!”

“Neither did we, but that hardly stopped you,” Edgar said, moving bonelessly into a sitting position, Jezebel sitting upright in his lap. Thomas grabbed the gun and closed his eyes as if deep in thought. A wide smile crossed his pale features before he lifted the gun…

… and aimed it at the window, shooting out the double layer of glass, allowing the dry night air to billow in. The sounds of honking horns and the low roar of the crowds wandering the streets of Vegas made it up to the room.

“Throw her out,” Thomas said. “That’s what the man in black said.”

“No! We’re nine stories up!” She said, struggling against Edgar’s unbreakable grasp as he stood from the couch, walking over the bodies of the two other gangsters. “Please don’t do this! I promise I’ll change my ways! I’ll stop swindling people, I’ll start going to church… anything! Just don’t kill me!”

“Anything?” Thomas asked, causing Edgar to give pause.


“Tell us why you killed us tonight.” Thomas coldly asked.

“For the money!” She spat out, struggling against Edgar as he walked her closer and closer to the edge of the window.

“That was incidental. Why did you really kill us?” Thomas asked.

“What do you mean? You had money and I wanted it.”

Edgar tossed her out the window, holding onto her hands, holding her aloft over the precipice of the Palazzo’s smooth walls.

“Last chance before my friends drops you,” Thomas called out above the wind.

“Alright!” She said, gritting her teeth. “It was to prove to myself I was tougher than gangsters. That I was alive. I killed you all because in the end it made me feel more alive than ever before.”

“That’s all I needed to hear,” Thomas said before Edgar let go of her hands, allowing her to slowly get pulled down by the lazy grasp of gravity.

Tumbling through the air, she saw she was going to land in front of the hotel. Screaming, she moved her arms in front of her, so she wouldn’t see the impact. She heard gasps from the crowds of people as she fell through the air until she was seconds from hitting the pavement.

Which turned out to be a splash into the hot water, the pavement sloshing around her as she struggled to realize what had happened and that she was alive. Before she could make sense of her new boiling situation, arms reached up from the molten rock and grabbed onto her, gripping her with searing stone grasps. She watched in horror as people from all over the world snapped photos of her being drug deeper into the fiery pit beneath the pavement.

“Please! Help me!” She tried to call out but found that her throat had been scorched away by molten rock. She lashed a hand out to try and wave for aid, only to look at a skeletal arms sizzling with dripping hot magma.

Slowly, with the actions of a whirlpool, she began to be pulled under by the arms as the stone around her began to solidify and close up over her, pulling her deeper to her fiery fate. What lay beyond this, she hoped it would be better than what she deserved.


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