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NotesThe door to the managers' office creaked open slowly. Illuminated by the soft light emanating from a hallway luminary, Richard Firmin ambled over to his desk, laying eye upon a familiar but still-crisp piece of paper.
He had read those words before, many times. G. Andre, the paper was signed.
Firmin smiled, and gently lifted the paper, briefly tracing the signature with a feather touch.
That's when he noticed the rose. It was tied with a black ribbon. Gilles certainly does have a rather singular way of going about things like this.
But affixed to the ribbon was another paper, also familiar. Placing the document on the desk, Firmin peered at the attached memo.
It bore only the words, I know.
Firmin made an urgent mental note to make a visit to the Opera treasury. Twenty-thousand Francs, he reminded himself.
All Here For A ReasonI turned onto a shady, well-manicured driveway that, for all intents and purposes, looked harmless enough. Maple trees lined both sides of the street, and a parade of Canadian geese marched across the road to a wide duck pond with a flamboyant fountain. There were blooming crepe myrtles and rose-of-sharons, and as I grew closer to my destination, neatly trimmed gardens with neatly trimmed bushes.
I stopped to let the geese pass. They looked at me; one hissed. I honked my horn and moved around them.
At the end of the road sat a collection of grayish buildings and a number of signs directing me to the appropriate parking lot. "Welcome to Ten Creeks Hospital," said one of them. "Please enjoy your stay." I parked in the visitor's lot. Surely I wouldn't be staying.
I was shaking when I got out of my car. I had spent the morning getting high. One foot in front of the other, flip-flop noises, hot sidewalk. Mulberry and magnolia trees, freshly shaved grass. A bench and pan for smokers. A set o
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