Midnight rolled around. I shook off my thoughts and shuffled about turning out lights to discourage last-minute patrons while I got down to my closing duties: put the stools up on the bar and tables, close out the register, sweep away evidence of the night’s debauchery, and, lastly, haul the bucket of food scraps to the compost bins and a bag of trash to the overflowing dumpster at the far end of the parking lot, where maggots and raccoons could have their way. Still deep in my sulk, I trudged across the gravel parking lot and dumped the stuff, stopping then to put a match to a cigarette.
“Mistress, please let me in,” came a voice out of the dark, frighteningly close to my left ear.
“JEEzuz!” I squeaked. I jumped back, then spun around, and the lit cigarette dropped from my lips down the front of my blouse. I hopped madly in circles, cursing a blue streak, and frantically shaking the smoldering butt out of my shirt while a fleeting shadow slipped around behind me. I couldn’t see who owned that shadow.
Then, in my other ear—more urgent, and a lot more hissy, “Let me in. Please. Now.”
I whirled the other way, feeling clumsy and stupid. “Where? Let you in where?” Peering myopically into the dimly lit lot, I tried to fix on the source of the voice. The shadow flitted to my left and quivered next to the body of my black pick-up truck. Silence.
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