Nikki Nesbitt never sleeps well. Always a thought to chase in her head until the sun rises and then, begrudgingly she allows sleep to tug at her. Fifty-five years and nothing changes her struggle to fall into unconsciousness. A strange bed, the tenth floor, new surroundings, however, often helped. This morning she thinks she is dreaming. The brown tabby perched on her chest, head low, paws outstretched, stares at her until half awake Nikki slurs, "What is it?" And Lily Cattermal, whiskers lifted and ears forward simply repeats, "They are coming."
Nikki pulls the cover over her long layered brown-gray head, dislodging rudely her feline companion of nearly ten years, who nimbly leaps aside. Nikki uncovers herself. Her sleeveless blue tank shirt exposes the outline of a tan. In nano moments she pulls herself up rigidly against the headboard with one elbow. "Who is coming?" Lily Cattermal only smiles that unmistakeable devious cat grin and is gone. Nikki stares at a partially filled wine glass on the nightstand, seems relieved, and flops back into her sleepy stupor.
In the same hotel, four floors lower, an open window welcomes the sunrise as Lana Millar stands sipping coffee. The balcony overlooks sculptured bushes shaped into animals and ghastly plastic medical paraphernalia molded into body shapes. The air is cool, to be expected in mid-March.
Her once red hair is pulled behind her back and tied with a scarf lost in the twirls. Some wispy hair straggles against her cheeks.
"Marketing," she murmurs to herself. As she turns to sip, three words take shape in her coffee. "They are coming." As if on cue they dissolve. "Imagination is everything," she finds herself quoting Einstein. She smiles and gulps away whatever might or might not have been there.
Jami Jordan is still in the shower on the second floor, enjoying the excessive amount of time she is spending under the nozzle. She isn't accustomed to wasting such a torrent of water, but it feels irresistible to her naked body, a vibrating massage she cannot pull herself away from. She rinses her near shoulder length hair and globs conditioner on to control her untamable curls. The fog of steam makes even her hands almost invisible.
She stares at what appears to be someone's tracing on the shower door. THEY ARE COMING. She smears it away with her fingers, barely rinses the goo out of her hair. She shuts off the water abruptly and cocoons herself into a long luxurious towel. She doesn't like how she feels.
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