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The sight of the body did not sicken Ben. Not right away. Guilt was what got him: the mounting consequences rising in his throat, and the truth which would inevitably come spilling out.
Sometime after the events at Duncastor, two men are dispatched to make a delivery. It was a straightforward assignment: take the sealed cargo-a container roughly the size of a child's casket-and deliver it to a reclusive specialist residing in a lakeside cabin. What this specialist did or specialized in was never mentioned. Not that it mattered, when the task was simple-simple enough that even a young and inexperienced bureaucrat like Ben could handle it. If only he weren't charged with keeping an eye on his wayward senior.
The lakeside cabin was the last remnant of a closed down resort, which Ben guessed was bought by a dummy corporation belonging to their employers. All the other cabins were torn down, leaving them with an empty property that served to distance the lakeside cabin from public grounds. Something about it reminded Ben of the horticultural practice of pruning spent flowers to further enhance the beauty of the crowning blossom. Not that it did anything to improve the cabin's appearance he observed, as they stood in front of the stocky wooden building, sheltered under interlacing branches of towering evergreens. Much like the faded photos, an eerie hush permeated the place: no breeze ruffled the reflected image on the lake's surface, nor susurrated through the green needles above. It was all very quiet.
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