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Lighting the candle

By ZoeMcKinney All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Mystery

Prologue

Lighting the candle on his desk, he readied himself to write the letter he had been deliberating over for months now. He’d wrestled with the subject, considering first his duty and then the tired feeling that had climbed into his bones of late. Yes, his job was important, but how could he possibly perform it to the council’s satisfaction if he could barely force himself to venture out into the world, much less write it all down. People had ceased to make sense to him.

He dipped the pen in the inkwell and sighed. No, this was for the best. If the council cared to, they could always send another to continue the project. Such was not his problem now.

Dear Esteemed Council Members, August 12th, 1912

I regret to inform you that upon your receipt of this correspondence I will have already taken to the long rest. I apologize that I will be unable to respond should this be to your disliking, but as I have always been most dedicated, I expect your judgment will be fair and considerate. All precautions have been taken care of, as is customary in these situations. In my absence, please allow Roderick to undertake the responsibilities of my vote in all maters and the use of any accompanying privileges. Upon awakening I will write immediately for your directions.

Your Loyal Servant,

Lucas Anthony Banvard

Glancing over the document once more, he folded it carefully before applying hot wax from the candle. He pressed his personal seal downward and took a deep breath. Turning in his chair, he directed his attention to the young boy who stood ready, waiting for the letter.

Lucas studied him for a moment; an occupational hazard. The child seemed frightened by being inside the mausoleum after dark. He searched deep inside himself, looking for any sense of empathy, but found none. Lately, he seemed to lack all semblance of human emotion. All of it, everything, had been replaced by a dull ache, a tired feeling of nothing. None of it affected him any more.

“Do you remember where you are supposed to take this?”

The boy nodded as Lucas handed him the note.

“Good.” He reached deep into his pocket, pulling out the promised dollar and passed it to the child, hoping such a payment would ensure a speedy delivery.

“Now go.”

The boy turned and ran up the flight of stairs. Lucas waited to hear the sound of the door being secured behind him before leaning down to blow out the candle. Darkness encompassed him, a black inky nothingness. It seemed fitting. All that was left was to sleep the long rest of the dead.

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