Deal 679: A Box Trap, Baited

There were rumors, but I could hardly fathom how they could be true. And yet, they were persistent.

Everywhere he performed, girls were missing. The local police were puzzled. The show had always moved on before anyone thought to question the crew, and by the time the questions caught up no one remembered for sure when the girl had left, but she had collected and cashed out her pay from the show the next day.

It was diabolical.

Whether it was a frame, or he really was a serial killer.

Either way, the plot was almost too good.

And now he’s coming to my town, and perhaps I can catch him.

I’m the right size, and his advance team has already advertised for a new girl. I just needed to pad my resume a little, and get through what turned out to be a rather perfunctory audition. And now I’m the girl, and am being trained for a new illusion as apparently he’s become tired of the sawing. So now it is to be stabbing with many flaming spears for me, while I’m inside the box.

So there will be boxes. And we will figure out whether one of them needs to be measured to fit a performer, or whether it really is just a coincidence that one local girl goes missing for nearly every show he’s performed on this tour.

The posters say “One Show Only!!!” just like that, with the madman’s special touch of three exclamation points.

So I will climb inside the box, and I will succeed in my mission.

Or die.

But hopefully not die, I’ll be happy with making a charge of just attempted murder stick to someone. From that, we should learn enough that charges of murder can be brought for each of the previous girls.

To make that stick, we’re laying a trap. I’m obviously the bait.

I’m protected by my wits. It may not seem that way, since I’ve actually volunteered to step into the Box of Certain Death as the posters call it. But we all know it’s a trick. Of course it’s a trick. He can’t possibly be training up a new girl to perform it the easy way for each new date, can he?

And yet, that does seem, coincidentally, what he’s been doing.

So against all odds and reason, I’ll take a lantern with me behind the scrim screen and climb into the Box of Certain Death and the whole world will know I’ve done that from the shadows cast by the lantern. The shadows will make any escape impossible, even as the box is lifted away from its platform, together with the lantern, screen, and me. There will be no possible way for me to be anywhere else when the flaming spears are passed through the screen and through the box. This little chat isn’t helping me feel better about my fate, mind you. It is sounding increasingly like the odds are ever in favor of my not living through the evening.

Up until now, he’s been living like a prince on the deaths of innocent girls. That cannot continue. It stops here. Tonight.

One show only, and then handcuffs and a police escort.

Followed by a very public trial.

Wish me luck, I hear the music, and the curtain is rising.

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