From the Author
She didn't waste a moment. She scampered across the floor to the sink. She pulled herself up and turned the spigot.
Why had he left? And why come back so soon? Had she gotten behind the bookcase in time?
She heard a thump on the floor.
She tried to keep her breathing quiet. But--
She still hadn't heard his footsteps come down the stairs. What was he doing?
She moved her head to the small splintered area and put her eye near it. Yes, she could see through.
He was still on the stairs. She could only see him from the waist down. His upper half was out of sight, in the room above, doing something. Finally, he was moving again, pulling the trap closed,carefully, quietly, one hand still reaching through the opening.
She understood. He was holding the edge of the Persian carpet so that it would cover the trap once he'd closed it.
He pulled in his hand and silently let the trap close the last half-foot. He came down the stairs and bent over where she couldn't see him through her hole. When he straightened, he had her purse in his hand.
That was the noise she'd heard--he must have tossed it down.
He'd run upstairs to get her purse? That made no sense.
"Katie," he said, his voice thick and phlegmy. His eyes were still streaming but less so. She didn't move.
From the sink came the loud plunk of a single drop of water.
He spun toward it, then slowly turned back. His eyes stopped when they reached the bookcase.
She didn't think he could see her eye through the hole, especially not in the state he was in, but she pulled back.
And then she heard his footsteps, moving toward her across the concrete floor. Maybe he wanted to look at his "trophies". Maybe he wanted to admire the powerless bees. Maybe--
His hand snaked down and grabbed her wrist. He pulled her to her feet, out from behind the case, and then brought his gun to her head while leaning her against its side. "Make a sound and you're dead."
She'd seen silencers in movies often enough to know that he'd attached one to his gun. And finally everything became clear. She'd have figured it out earlier if she weren't so weak and light-headed.