LUCKY SEVENS by Cynthia Vespia
A contemporary suspense/thriller
Luca “Lucky” Lucazi is a man who lives for the job, until the job starts to threaten his life. A former Navy Seal, Lucky is ideal as the head of security for Lucky Sevens Casino. But when major names at the casino start falling victim to deadly and suspicious "accidents" Lucky must fight his way through a cast of eccentric characters only Las Vegas could spawn, and his own battle with alcoholism, before his lover Brooklyn - the sweethearted stripper - becomes the next victim. But when Lucky faces off with illusionist Christopher King, endowed with real magic powers, will his luck finally run out?
Copyright © 2013 Cynthia Vespia All rights reserved.
The King finally made his appearance almost ten minutes later with a worn out “appear-from-beneath-the-stage” gag that even Lucky knew the mechanics to. The crowd hooted and hollered and The King played off their energy. Lucky could swear he saw the man’s head swelling at that very moment.
They moved right into the next trick from there with King introducing his assistant the Scarlett Sire a.k.a. Shae Stone. Lucky had known Shae for a very long time though as nothing more than pals. She was pretty enough but Shae was too messed up in the head for Lucky’s tastes. She’d been in and out of every show on The Strip. Her name was almost as legendary as Wayne Newton in this town. But the poor girl never realized it was her tits and not her talent that kept her employed. Now in her declining years even those attributes wouldn’t keep her afloat for long.
The house lights went up for a moment and now Lucky could see in full detail The King’s garish wardrobe. He dressed in royal capes and robes like he was a modern day Merlin. Jewels dripped off his neck and his fingers. He even used a scepter in his act instead of the proverbial magic wand.
The King addressed the crowd thanking what he called his “gentry” for coming to watch feats of magic unearthed from long ago. Then he set up an oversized black satin body bag directly beneath his feet.
“Chain my wrists and ankles,” he told Shae.
When Shae missed her cue King went on the verbal attack.
“Lock me up!” he hollered.
She took a double set of handcuffs which she used to bind King’s hands and feet as he asked, or rather demanded.
“Now zip me up.”
Shae lifted the body bag up over King’s head and zipped it closed. King’s muffled voice could still be heard calling out instructions. He asked that a hangman’s noose be set around his neck. The other end of the rope hung from a crane at the top of the stage where a technician waited to start it.
The bagged body of King rose up in the air. The rest of them watched and waited. It was supposed to be a simple escape trick. King would use a hidden key to get out of his binds then slip out from the body bag and appear somewhere else in the theater. Lucky had seen it all before. King was eccentric to say the least but at the moment he looked to be in some sort of trouble.
King’s body twitched like a fish on a hook. Muffled sounds escaped through the satin bag. No one could make out what he was saying. Something had gone horribly wrong, Lucky could sense it.
“He’s suffocating in there!” he stood and shouted.
“It’s part of the act. I’ve seen it before,” Shae told him. “He’s a showman.”
The lack of organization on set truly amazed him. No one seemed to have a clue on where they were supposed to be or what they were supposed to be doing. The professionalism was non-existent and it presented a true problem in trying to get things done, even important things like saving Chris King’s life.
Lucky turned and stared up at the stage. The body bag had gone still. The crowd had gone wild. Lucky moved on to the stage in a bound and tackled the bag to shake it off the hook.
He felt the body of King inside through the satin covering. He was completely still which was not a good sign. Now that the bag was off the crane a crowd of onlookers from offstage gathered around.
“He’s not going to be inside,” Shae said. “The whole reveal is that when the bag is opened King has vanished and appears out in the crowd or as one of the masked assistants.” Lucky wasn't satisfied with that answer. Shae swayed on her heels barely able to stand. She obviously had too much liquor in her to make a sensible decision. He removed the noose from around the top of King's neck which took some doing. It was wedged on pretty tight and Lucky tore up his palms on the rope fibers just loosening it alone. Then he produced a small switchblade from his pocket and began cutting at the bag.
“Wait, what’re you doing?” Shae asked. “You can just zip it open.”
“He needs air immediately,” Lucky said. “You people need to stand back.”
Lucky waved his hand at the crew to get them to step backwards. The satin and nylon resisted him fiercely as he tried to cut the bag but he finally punctured it enough with the tip to start hacking away with the teeth of the knife.
Lucky shook his head and then pointed up at the Russian acrobat Fareid.
“You get down here and help me save your hero.”
Fareid squatted down next to Lucky. “What do I do?”
“Help me pull this apart.”
They each grasped a side of the slit Lucky had made in the body bag and pulled. It fought them but they won. As it gave in they produced a large hole in the bag which started to reveal an embroidered belt fitted with a shiny crown buckle.
“That’s him!” Shae shouted.
“Holy shit!” Lucky said, his voice shaking.
They pulled apart the rest of the body bag until King could be removed completely. He was very still and wasn’t breathing. His arms and legs had been cuffed and chained together. Bruising around the wrists was prominent as though he’d been struggling hard against his binds. Lucky feared they hadn’t gotten to King in time and he’d suffered asphyxiation from the noose around his neck.
As much as a pill King had been Lucky couldn’t just leave him to die. He proceeded to induce CPR on King. Chest compression, one-two-three, breathe, back to compressions. He repeated it several times with no response from King.
“Is he dead?” Shae asked.
“Not on my watch,” Lucky told her.
He increased the speed and rate of the compressions. Sweat pulled down from his brow and his lips were parched but Lucky continued with the first aide. Suddenly he was back in the Gulf with a man down. Nobody got left behind, not out there and not now.
“C’mon King,” he said. “You’re too damn egotistical to go out like this.”
Lucky yelled, and he worked, and he willed King to come back. Finally real magic happened. A gasp of air came from King and he started breathing again.
~Buy LUCKY SEVENS now at B&N.
Cynthia Vespia, "The Original Cyn," has a background as a certified personal trainer; licensed private security guard; award winning video editor, and graphic designer. But the creative outlet of novel writing has always remained her first love.
Today Cynthia continues to write character driven suspense and fantasy novels. With a plot pace to stir the adrenaline and keep the pages turning, Cyn likes to refer to her novels as "Real life situations that you could find yourself in but hope to God you never do." In her spare time she enjoys reading, movies that involve a strong plot/characters, and keeping active through various forms of martial arts and fitness.
Bodies coming back to life. That’s a switch.
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