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The Clearing at the End of the Path-- Chapter Two and Three by William Hrdina
SUMMARY: My fifth book- second and third chapters
The day Molly died seemed to leech past Ben like sand through his fingers. He vaguely remembered going through the normal motions of a day off. He ate; he sat in front of the TV, watching with his eyes, but not his mind. He was deep inside his own head. Remembering Molly. Thinking about all of the good times they'd had.
He knew he was going to see her again, that made it easier.
Still, he was having a hard time accepting the idea that she would never again wake him up in the middle of the night to make love or laugh so hard milk came out of her nose. Instead of growing old together he would only be able to visit her, like she was living in a prison or a sanitarium.
Ben had an appointment to see Molly at his local headquarters of Reincarnation Industries at 10AM the next morning. A complimentary limo was scheduled to arrive and take him to his first visit as part of the package he'd purchased. It was a nice touch. The idea of driving in congested traffic after visiting Molly for the first time wasn't particularly appealing.
He didn't sleep much, maybe a few hours. He kept thinking he could hear her voice, calling for him to get her some water or help her to the bathroom. Those were just phantom memories, they weren't real. Molly was gone.
At 10 sharp Ben was standing in front of his window, watching for the limo's arrival. It showed up on time, beeping the horn as it pulled up to the curb. Ben walked down in a haze and before he knew it the towering edifice of Reincarnation Industries was towering into the sky directly in front of him.
For the first time Ben started to get a feeling of excitement stronger than his grief. He was almost able to smile walking into the lobby, a sparsely decorated modern space of black and brushed silver with large abstract paintings on the wall in bright reds and blues. A pretty receptionist sat behind an information desk, and a stark rectangular opening tucked into the corner housed the elevators.
The driver of the limo gave him a card with "5th Floor- Room 532" written on it. Ben walked to the elevators and waited for a car to arrive. Once he was on Ben hit the button marked 5 and waited patiently for the door to close. By the 3rd floor he was crying again, his mind and heart filled with so many emotions at once it was almost impossible to breathe. He leaned up against the wall and tried to compose himself. He was maybe half way to calm when the elevator doors opened. Another pretty receptionist sat behind a matte-black desk with a console and keyboard built in.
Ben handed the woman his card without a word. He was struggling, with only minimal success, to maintain some semblance of composure. The woman behind the desk, her nametag said her name was Alice, seemed oblivious to his distress. He supposed the employees of Reincarnation Industries saw people in all sorts of emotional states and had grown immune.
While not particularly compassionate, Alice was polite, friendly, and professional, just like the brochures said she would be.