A noise on the glass windows startled us both. The dark clouds had turned into rain, and the rain had now turned into sleet. We spent the next half an hour watching people scramble for their cars and soon the square was almost deserted. The sleet continued to fall, but it was still fairly light. I could tell the streets were starting to get slick so I sent Myra home at five. She lives a few miles out of town on a country road. I didn’t want her to get caught in the bad weather.
One hearty soul came in about twenty minutes later looking for a gift for his wife, but that was the only sale I made. At ten minutes before six, I decided it was safe to close and locked up. I straightened the store and gathered the trash before heading to the back. I badly wanted to go straight home and crawl into a warm bath to wash away the stress of the day, but first I had to complete payroll.
It was a quarter to eight before I was finally ready to leave. I went to the bathroom, gathered up the trash, and headed out the door. The sleet was still falling, and I could feel the ice pellets hitting my head. I hurried over to the dumpster setting the trash down by the bin. I pulled back the large lid and propped it against the brick wall. As I reached down for the trash, I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
I looked into the dumpster and saw Isabel Meeks staring back at me. It took my brain a few moments to determine she wasn’t actually looking at me but sitting perfectly still, eyes wide open, a surprised look on her face, and a huge bloodstain on her chest. I had never seen a dead body outside of a funeral so I did what any rational, mature human being would do. I screamed. I then turned and ran as fast as I could back to the store. I fumbled with the lock a moment but finally managed to get the door open. I even disabled the alarm before stumbling to my chair. I sat there shaking and staring at the door trying to process the scene. An image of Isabel flashed into my head, and I bolted from my chair and to the bathroom where I promptly lost my lunch.
Still a little shaky and somewhat nauseated, I rinsed out my mouth and walked back to the chair. I don’t know why it took me so long, but it finally occurred to me that I probably needed to call someone. So for the second time that day, I reached for my phone to call the police.
Dead in a Dumpster will be released on September 23, 2014. Pre-order your copy today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, or Smashwords.
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