N1t3W4tchr (P4rt II)

I knelt down to examine the box, noticing identical shoebox-sized packages in front of every door down the corridor, like an optical illusion in a house of mirrors. Neatly wrapped in mossy green paper, the boxes lacked postage indicia. He had brought them here. He knows.

I collected the packages and dumped them in my apartment. The sudden clack-ping of the latch across the hall signaled that Mrs. Shetwick, the source of hallway cat hair and community gossip, had been watching from her peephole.

The mild night air begged me to walk. I ducked inside the diner to pry my mind open with coffee—thick and black. The waitress presented me with a slice of carrot cake too big for one person.

“With his compliments,” she said, pointing to an empty stool at the counter. “Well, how ‘bout that. Too bad, hon, he was a real looker.”

I tipped her with a 10-spot and scribbled my cell number on the back of a placemat. “For him,” I said.

“Smart woman,” she replied, brushing my arm. “Don’t let that one get away.”

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