”Dr. Kemp, I advise you to increase your funds, for it will benefit both of us. ”

A calm voice from the other side of the speakerphone reverberates across the room, with a neutral calmness emanating from the womans voice.

In the doctors office on the far side of the east wing of the building, Dr. Herbert Kemp adjusts his glasses as he contemplates his subsequent decisions. He takes a deep breath and then slowly nods his head in agreement as he responds with an affirmative. ”I have spoken with Mr. Riggins regarding this matter. He has agreed that we should move forward with further funding until my funds begin to dwindle. As long as we keep paying Mr. Riggins, that is. ”

”Yes, indeed. That is correct. ” Mrs. Jenkins voice is gentle and reassuring. Her tone reminds Herbert of when he first began working at the facility. It was during one of his initial visits to talk about their current financial situation before the companys board meeting.

The man breathes out a sigh of relief.

After the call, Dr. Kemp decides to go home early.

He walks down the hallway of the East Wing, which is deserted at this hour. The halls are eerily quiet save for the soft creak of rubber soles on the linoleum floor as he goes through each door of the empty hallways. Theres nothing but darkness ahead of him. He tiptoes, not letting any noise leak into the corridor behind him. Not even the occasional sound of footsteps can be heard in the vast silence.

It is nearly midnight when Herbert makes it back to his flat. When he enters, he sees Eleanor curled up on his sofa, sleeping soundly. Shes holding her Laboratory Manual as she sleeps. For someone who doesn like reading much, she sure seems to be interested in what is in this book.

Herbert slips off his shoes and walks past her as quietly as possible. Shes come home early from her job in the hospital. He sits on a wooden chair near the kitchen counter where the kettle sits, waiting to boil water. With all that happened yesterday, hes exhausted. He falls asleep on the wooden bench in front of the kitchen table. A moment later, the kettle whistles loudly as steam rises from its spout, waking Herbert.

He sits up and turns off the stove. He looks at the couch and sees Eleanor writing in the Lab Manual. He thinks for a moment as he watches her read through the pages and then goes to the fridge. Opening it, he grabs his favorite bottle of beer. He unscrews the cap, twists off the top, and then pours himself a large glass.

The phone on the wall starts ringing.

He glances at the clock as he downs half his beer and sets the mug down. Its only 8 oclock. If Eleanor were awake, she would have already answered it by now.

She must think hes gone somewhere because she closes the textbook and stands up, placing the pencil she had been using into her lap.


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