Prologue | Monday
The dumpster reeked of sulfurous rotten eggs, decomposing vegetables, and remnants of the restaurant’s catch of the day. She pinched her nose, regretting the choice of a hiding place. Peeking around the fetid trash, she watchfully awaited her mark.
He’d have to come out sooner or later.
There was a waxing gibbous moon tonight, but the scuttling dark clouds covered any sort of light it may have provided. Due to town ordinances, the limited lights in the parking lot barely spread their glow farther than five or six feet.
The flickering light he’d parked beneath flashed bright one last time and went dark. It didn’t matter; his white SUV sat like a beacon in the empty lot.
Finally, she heard the squeak of the back door swinging open.
The car beeped, and taillights blinked. He walked rapidly, carrying something in his left hand. His head swiveled back and forth, scanning the empty lot.
Silently, she pulled out of sight, going so far as to cover her mouth, even though she wasn’t close enough for him to hear her breaths. The car door closed with a quiet clunk. She waited for the telltale sounds of an engine revving to life. Instead, she heard the back door creak again and poked her head out in time to watch it close behind him.
He’d forgotten to lock the vehicle.
She pulled the sweatshirt hood over her head and darted across the lot to the SUV.
A small brown box sat on the passenger seat. In a trice, she had the box in her hands. The vehicle’s dim overhead light revealed a flash of shiny metal.
The scrape of a shoe and a skittering stone were her only warnings.
She pivoted. “Surprised to see me?”