Joan was ending her work day a little early. She didn’t do it very often. In fact she was usually the one who stayed past closing time and showed up for extra shifts when no one else could come in. But tonight she needed a few hours off. Her manager didn’t mind, didn’t even look twice at the time off request.
But her friend Nancy did. “Hey Joan. What’s up? Why you leaving so early?
Joan smiled at her friend and told her the lie that she had already decided to use. “My sister’s sick. I’m going to watch her kids for a few hours so that she can get some rest.”
“That so?” Nancy asked. “Terrible. That’s terrible. Hope she feels better. See you tomorrow?”
“First thing,” she promised.
The drive out to her place in the suburbs only took twenty minutes. Rochester was one of the biggest cities in central New York, but it had an ever-growing perimeter of suburban communities. Her little two-bedroom house was in one of those.
Actually it was her boyfriend’s house. She lived there with him. She’d moved in with him nearly a year ago, though, so in her mind and his as well it was their house together.
Which was good, considering what they would go through tonight.
Her purple Volkswagen Beetle rattled to a stop in the driveway. Carson, her boyfriend, had told her over and over that she needed a new car. But this one had a history with her. She wasn’t going to give it up until it was time.
She locked the car doors behind her when she got out. Living in the suburbs did not mean there was no crime here. There were bad things that happened after sundown. Especially on nights like tonight, nights with a full moon.
She set her keys down on the kitchen table, letting the front door close shut behind her. “Carson?” she called out. “You here?”