The Clearing at the End of the Path-- Chapter One by William Hrdina


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SUMMARY: My newest novel- Chapter One

PART ONE- ANGER

Chapter 1

Ben Ainsley looked down at his wife Molly's dead body. Her face was peaceful- the skin thin and drawn out from her two year battle with cancer. Her face no longer held the pain he'd seen there for so long; which was a relief- but a paltry one.
His eye's bleary with tears, Ben fell down to his knees next to their marriage bed. He leaned over and kissed his wife one last time on her lips, they were already turning cold. Tears fell off of Ben's face and onto Molly's, streaking the make-up she'd insisted he apply every morning.
"I want to look my best for you when I finally go." She would say.
She died at home the way she wished, that was a consolation too.
He wiped the tears carefully away before getting up and nodding to the four technicians waiting patiently in the back of the room.
Feeling more alone than he'd ever been in his life, Ben left the room so the techs could do their work. There were two men and two women. Their white lab coats were clean and adorned with the letters RI over the lapel in bold red letters. The two men worked to unload several powerful computers, while the women worked to set up a high volume satellite dish just outside the bedroom window. Using specially designed suction cups she fastened the tennis racquet sized satellite to the wall and flipped a small switch on the side. A green light let the technician know everything was operating correctly.
"We're clear here." She told the man now sitting behind one of the computer monitors.
"Check twice." The man said.
This was protocol. Time was a factor in their procedures and it was always better to check twice and do once. As requested all the necessary checks were remade.
"We're good." The woman affirmed.
Satisfied, the techs turned their attention to the deceased body of Molly Ainsley. From a medical bag the man took out a set of electric hair clippers and a sheet to collect the hair beneath Molly's head. He slid it under her and started shaving. There wasn't much to do- the chemo kept her bald until she stopped taking it three months earlier. When he was finished, the two women techs began drawing a grid over Molly's entire skull while the other guy prepared a series of electrodes.
Working with practiced precision they placed one electrode at each intersection of the grid until Molly's head was full head of red wires, it looked like she was wearing a clown wig. Once they'd double-checked everything was satisfactory, one of the women sat down at the small bank of computers and began running the downloading process. As the electrodes sent impulses through Molly's brain, her leg would occasionally jump or her hand would flex. The techs paid no attention- such things were normal.
The entire process only took ten minutes from start to finish. Once their task was done they moved quickly, repacking their equipment and making Molly look as comfortable as possible. When they were finished, they left an envelope containing the bill and a copy of Ben's contract on the dresser. They left discreetly. Ben, who was in the kitchen making himself a very stiff drink, didn't even hear them leave.