I can't speak. Her words ring in my brain, the name itself a prayer, a poem for me. Ray Holden. This angry blonde pixie claims to be of his blood. The resemblance to myself at the same age makes me shiver and the girl smiles at my discomfort.
"They call you the butcher of Vegas," she says, eyes painted heavy with mascara and eyeliner. "Can you tell me why? The papers don't say."
"Don't play with me. I can assure you it's not a good idea," I say, taking one of the cigarettes for myself and lighting it. Taking a seat opposite Mary, I study her through a thick cloud of smoke.
The girl places a butcher knife on the table between us and I can't help smiling. It's going to be like that. "I'm not playing. You destroyed my family."
"I destroyed your family? I can't wait to hear this," I say, leaning on an elbow. "And do you plan to kill me with that knife?"
"Kill you? It's to protect me from you. My father went to jail for you and my mother couldn't take life alone," she begins to say, crushing the cigarette in the ashtray.
"And?" I ask. I truly do not know what happened to her mother.
"How don't you know?" she asks in anger, gripping the knife. "My mother killed herself."
I don't answer. What is there to say? Nothing I offer will change her belief I caused her mother's death. In truth, I never saw her mother. I don't even know what she looks like. I see tears in Mary's eyes and whites on her knuckles as she tightens her fingers around the handle. Suddenly, she starts stabbing the table. Again and again she drives the blade tip into the wood, tiny pieces flying everywhere.
"Answer me!" she screams. "Tell me why they call you the butcher of Vegas."
I put my hand on hers and remove the knife from her grip. To my surprise, she doesn't fight me and instead wipes a tear from her cheek. I put my phone on the table and search for a particular photo, one I took of the rapist I executed two weeks ago. Once I find the picture, I turn the camera so she can see it.
"That's why they call me the butcher of Vegas," I say, holding her hand firm and forcing her to look into my eyes.
Instead of answering, she drags me from the table towards the bedroom. When we round the corner I can see a man bound to the bed with a cloth stuck inside his mouth.
"Show me," she says.
The man writhes in fear when he sees me, recognition in his eyes. This makes me smile for most men don't have any idea who I am. Yet.
"It doesn't work this way..." I begin to say, but she interrupts.
"This is the man that raped me," she says, lifting her teary eyes to mine, a smile spreading on her face.
"I thought you claimed to be with him."
She laughs and opens a drawer in the nightstand next to the bed, removing an even larger butcher knife than the first. "I've been planning this for a long, long time. It's a very special day and you're going to show me."
"Why today?" I ask.
"Don't you know?" She asks me with a smile. "Today is my thirteenth birthday."