"Watch out for ghosts and goblins. It's awfully dark out there." Megan's new client tipped his chin toward the glass door in the reception area. "I'll wait for you. I don't mind."
Megan glanced at the clock and inwardly groaned. Almost 9:00 p.m., no sense holding him up any longer. "Go home. I'll be fine, thanks. I bet your kids are still up and want to show you all the loot they got trick-or-treating."
She shook his hand and waved as he left. With the onset of snowbird season just around the corner, extended workdays were becoming the norm. She'd been at the office nearly twelve hours, finalizing leases, taking calls, showing property and writing up this last-minute listing, and she still had to shut down the computers and the copy machine.
Her growling stomach reminded her she'd worked through lunch, so she snatched a few pieces of candy corn from the bowl on her secretary's desk. Maybe the shot of sugar would give her the jolt she needed to finish up. The sooner she got home, the sooner she could grab dinner and put her feet up.
After shutting off the electronics and the lights, she entered her office and reached for the pull cord on the miniblinds, mindful of the paper skeleton hanging from it, but movement in the storefront across the street stilled her hand. The building had been vacant for months, since the gift shop had moved to the mall, but there were definitely two people in the display window—a man and woman. She leaned closer for a better look, and her breath fogged the glass.
The woman was young, maybe the man's daughter. No, her skin was darker than his, perhaps Asian. He had thick dark hair and was tall and bulky. His back was to her, but there was no disguising the vicious slap he dealt the woman's face or the brute force he used to yank her long dark hair, jerking her head sideways. The woman backed away, shaking her head. He smacked her again, and she stumbled backward, covering her face.
Bastard. Megan gritted her teeth. She should march over there and stop him, but getting in the middle of a lovers' quarrel or family spat could be dangerous. Her ex-boyfriend had the battle scars to prove that interrupting a domestic assault could be dicey, even for professionals. No, she should call the police. Will would know what to do.
She turned and picked up the phone on her desk but stopped when the man closed his hands around the woman's neck, strangling her. The woman cowered and struggled to escape.
Megan banged on the glass. Oh God, no.Couldn't be.
The woman punched and pummeled him, but her slim frame was no match for his bulky strength and broad shoulders. Her strikes didn't faze him.
Megan pressed closer to the window, unable to look away, transfixed by the terror in the woman's dark eyes.
The woman shook violently, flailing her arms, fighting for her life.
Oh my God! I have to help her.
Megan's hands trembled, and she dropped the handset. She couldn't tear herself away from the gruesome spectacle.
The woman's movements slowed, and her head leaned at an unnatural angle to her shoulder. He must have broken her neck. She went limp, slumped against him, then slid down the man's side and dropped to the floor, out of sight.