On a cloudless night in April an ancient gray Volkswagen drifted through the outskirts of a town called Holy Hill, South Carolina, before pulling into the Sleepy Inn parking lot. The two people inside the car had seen many such towns over the past few days, and many such motels. They parked near the manager's office.
"I'll just get us a room," the man said to the woman driving. She was pretty and thin but too pale. "Remember," he said, "I'll be able to see you from the window. Don't try anything stupid. I don't want to cuff you again."
The woman nodded. She knew enough about that. Last time the handcuffs were too tight and had cut cruelly into her flesh. She rubbed her wrist absently, touching the dark-blue bruises that marked their passage.
The man opened the passenger door and got out, flakes of rust fluttering to the ground, then reached back in and pulled the keys from the ignition. Then he closed the door with a thunk and walked quickly to the office.
He was such a tall man, almost as thin as me, the woman thought. She could see his head and shoulders through the grime-smeared window, and she could see the top half of another man's head. He had thick, white hair and looked like someone's grandfather.
She started to shiver uncontrollably. Help me, she pleaded silently to the old man. Oh please, help . . .
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