Chapter no 10

The Coworker

I CHECK the local news in the morning, hoping there will be a story about how Dawn turned up in, I don’t know, a Dunkin Donuts or something, drinking an Iced Americano. And maybe all that blood was just a really bad cut from shaving her legs. But no such luck. The news reports that Dawn Schiff is still missing.

But I’m half hoping she’ll be in her cubicle when I get to work, oblivious to the fact that the entire police department is searching for her. But no. Her cubicle is empty.

I walk past her cubicle to reach my own. The first thing I see on my desk is that turtle figurine that appeared yesterday morning. After seeing that huge bookcase filled with turtles, the sight of yet another glassy-eyed animal makes me slightly ill.

Also, I distinctly remember that I took that turtle figurine and shoved it to the far corner of my desk, so I wouldn’t have to look at it. Yet somehow it’s made its way to the center of my desk. Right in front of my keyboard.

Must have been the stupid janitors.

After I found all that blood in Dawn’s house, it makes me rethink what that dark red material was on the turtle yesterday. Could that have been blood? Did someone put a bloody turtle figurine on my desk?

I snatch the turtle off my desk and stare at it. This time, it’s clean at least. No blood or paint or whatever that was. But I still don’t want it on my desk or anywhere near me. I don’t want to see it ever again.

So I toss it into my garbage bin. There. At least that’s one problem I can deal with.

“Oh my God, Natalie!” Kim’s shrill voice rings out in my ear. “Can you believe it?”

“Yeah,” I mumble. My temples are throbbing slightly. I don’t feel like talking to Kim. “It’s awful.”

Kim’s eyes are like saucers. “What did you see in her house when you went over there?”

“There was blood all over the floor.” I drop my eyes. “Like, a lot of blood.”

She clasps a hand over her mouth. “Wow. That’s so terrifying. I hope she’s okay.”

I nod, knowing with every passing minute that they don’t find her, it’s less and less likely that she’s okay.

Kim scratches her nose with her left fourth finger, the one with the giant diamond on it. She developed that habit soon after her engagement. I thought maybe once she got married, she might stop flashing her giant rock in my face, but it’s too ingrained. She can’t help herself anymore. “Are you still going to do the race on Saturday?”

With everything going on, I had almost forgotten all about the 5K this weekend. I didn’t even run this morning, even though I had been trying to go almost every day to stay in shape for Saturday.

But even so, canceling the race is off the table. I’ve raised a lot of money for the cerebral palsy foundation, and I can’t just give up on all that because Dawn went missing.

“I’m sure we’ll have more information by Saturday,” I say. “I can’t cancel though. If she’s still missing, we can run in her honor. It might even end up being a good thing.”

Kim frowns. “A good thing?”

I clear my throat. “I just mean there will be a lot of publicity around the race, and if Dawn is still missing, maybe it will help find her. You know?”

“Oh. Right.”

“Anyway.” I glance over at my computer. “I better get to work. If I can focus.”

“By the way,” Kim says, “Seth was looking for you a few minutes ago.

He said to let you know he wanted to talk to you when you got in.”

Great. What does my boss want from me? I’m not sure I want to know. After Kim leaves, I plop down in my chair, not eager to run over to see

Seth. I pull my compact out of my purse and check my reflection. I look

even worse than yesterday. My eyes are slightly bloodshot, and there are purple circles underneath. I tried to cover them with concealer this morning, but I obviously didn’t use enough. I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, and when I did fall asleep, I tossed and turned.

I start to log onto my computer, but before I can boot up, my phone buzzes. I pull it out of my purse and look down at the screen. There’s a message from Seth:

Please come to my office as soon as you get in.


I sigh. Looks like I’m taking a trip to my boss’s office.

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