He’d been mapping her moves for days. Just like all the other bitches, she was so fucking predictable.
She always left her brownstone at 8:15 am. She always walked three blocks to the subway in eight minutes, plus or minus one minute. She always got the second or third subway carriage, because they stopped where she always came to rest on the platform, head buried in her smartphone, earbuds in, totally unaware except of potential threats to her purse.
He grinned as he flipped through his notes. Money wasn’t the prize he was after.
Then she always got off the subway at the same station, walked up the same stairs leading to the street and stopped on the corner to get a soy caramel latte to go from the same coffee shop. Then, still immersed in whatever her headphones were feeding her, she’d walk a further four blocks (eleven minutes, plus or minus one) to her office building, never sipping from her coffee mug with “Magen” written on it in sharpie until she was half way there.
Once she’d disappeared into her building he knew she’d be there for the day. To begin with he’d hung around at lunchtimes, trying to pick up her trail again, but after a week or so he’d realised that she probably didn’t often – if ever – leave the building to lunch. This conclusion was confirmed first by a quick bit of research (he’d rung the building’s management company pretending to be from city’s health department and asked for the contact details of the catering manager), and then, with a big stroke of luck by overhearing two of the woman’s colleagues commenting on her eating habits as they left the building.
“That Magen who works at your office. Does she never stop working?”
“She does, just not for long. She eats a sandwich at her desk so she can go home a bit earlier. We’re on flexitime and the boss doesn’t mind if we do that.”
“Well why don’t you, then? You’d get home at least half an hour earlier, have more time with Roy and the kids… Oh right.”
“Yeah, it’s because I’d have more time with Roy and the kids.”
So after that he hadn’t bothered waiting for her in the daytime during the week. But he was there again every day at 4.30 pm when she emerged from the building and did the whole route in reverse.
Occasionally she stopped off somewhere on the way home. Sometimes she went out again to the gym or to meet friends. But pretty often the only other time she left the house after returning from work was to go for a walk. To the park. On her own. The stupid bitch was just asking for it.
So tonight he was sitting in his van, right by one of the park entrances. He wore a pair of Parks Maintenance Unit overalls and a baseball cap pulled low over his face. And his van had the right Parks vehicle paint job. It had taken him to a while to get that right, but it had been worth it. Nobody would look twice at either him or his van now.
Just as he looked at his watch again, she appeared in his rear view mirror. He slipped quickly out of the driver’s seat and had his hand over the woman’s mouth and her dragged through the van’s side door and into the soundproof interior before she could even begin to think about drawing breath to scream. He held her limp body closely against him, inhaling her scent. He was going to get to know how she smelled real well real soon.
And then suddenly, he wasn’t quite sure how, he wasn’t holding her and contemplating what he was going to do next. He was lying on his back on the floor of the van while she held him by one wrist with a force only just this side of breaking the bone. He couldn’t see her face very well in the gloom, but he could tell from her voice that she was smiling. “I’m so glad you invited me in”, she said. “I was beginning to think you were never going to get up the courage.”
And then he felt her teeth graze his skin, and he was suddenly very, very afraid.