It was a sunny day without a cloud in the sky when Morgan Renfro first saw Jessica Thurman. Jessica was standing in a third-floor window of the Biltmore hotel, gazing at the farmer’s market below. Her dark hair hung down below her shoulders. She wore dark-tinted Ray Ban aviators and nothing else.
Morgan stared at her, transfixed and unabashed by his intrusion on her privacy. She wasn’t his type. She appeared older than he and was exceedingly gaunt, thin to the point of being anorexic. No breasts to speak of, but a slight roll of loose skin at her hips that made him think she hadn’t always been so lean. His attention focused on the thatch of dark hair below the loose skin and he felt the stirrings of his own arousal.
She chose that moment to turn her back and move into the shadows of the room. He walked immediately toward the front doors of the hotel where he pushed inside and took a seat in the lobby, choosing a table by the front window. He sat where the sunlight streamed past the painted letters that spelt Biltmore on the glass. Mo was curious and he was a patient man; there was nowhere else he needed to be. Mo waited.
He waited for Jessica Thurman to come downstairs. He didn’t know that was her name, yet, but her image was strong.
Jessica stepped dripping from the shower and dried herself with the thin towel embroidered to read ‘THE BILTMORE.’ It was too small for a bath towel and too large for a hand towel, but it was all she had. Naked, she pushed open the bathroom door and let the steam escape into the bedroom. She opened the window. The room had a musty, damp smell that she needed to abate.
Leaning over and surveying the street she jumped when she noticed the man across the way, only a couple of doors down. It was him, she was sure of it. Jess reached over and grabbed her shades so she wouldn’t have to squint against the glare and to conceal her stare. She pretended to look at the farmer’s market while she studied the man.
Yes, it was him, although this was a much younger version of him. The last time she had seen him was right before fleeing her home and coming to the Biltmore. She’d been scared then. She’d seen him as an ancient workman. He was an apparition standing at the end of the hallway wearing only untied and unpolished boots. His genitals had been pulled in tight as though he was cold and his pallored skin was finely textured, crinkled, and ridged. He’d been small, withered and bent. When he raised his arm and pointed at her, then crooked his index finger beckoning her closer she had turned and run. Wound up here, afraid to go back home, but not sure why.
She realized that he was looking up at her in the window. She realized that she wore nothing but sunglasses. She turned, walked away from the window and began throwing her things into her case. Jessica knew that he had seen her, knew that she had to flee. She hoped she could get away quickly enough. She feared it might be too late.