Frank sits in his cocoon, contemplating his life.

Frank Opaloch sits down in his huge, midnight-black arm chair that rests square in the middle of his study. The burgundy walls and carpet perfectly accent the chair and give the room a dark, yet oddly serene, feel. Bach's Arioso play's over the small speakers at every corner of the room. First editions and rare copies of every kind of literature imaginable adorn the walls on six mahogany shelves. In between the shelves, art from some of times most accomplished artists ornament the otherwise bare space. The wall without shelves contains a cleverly concealed door which blends right into the rest of the wall. 

   Two pedestals stand directly in front of the wall. On one, a rare edition of Dante Alighieri's epic poem, Divine Comedy in its original Italian, lays suspended inside a glass case. On the other is a small pendant that also seemingly hovers inside of a glass case. The pendant is simple and plain, made up of a silver capsule and a dog-tag style chain. A small amount of liquid fills the inside of the capsule and in the liquid a bubble of air is held captive. There is a small plaque on the pedestal that reads, "Kristine". 

   Frank sips a bit a champagne from a long, elegant glass and relaxes a little, falling deeper into the plush chair. This is his place of solitude and of rest where he can forget the world, if only for a little while. Being a multi-millionaire isn't as easy as most people think. Despite being only forty-seven, he looks more like sixty something. Unlike many of his fellow millionaires, he controlled his company. He didn’t just play golf while some punk kid ran his business into the ground. From an early age, Frank knew he had to maintain control. 

   He had been bullied, abused, taken advantage of, and lied to as a child. As he grew up, he was always told he’d never amount to anything. He was always told that Frank Opaloch would remain unknown, part of the masses, and forgotten. He had proven them wrong. Every last one of them. Some of them, he had even stepped on on his way to the top, and he relished every second of it. 

   Kristine had been the only person who ever believed in him. Kristine, his beloved wife had supported him all the way. She fought along side him and kept him sane. She was his sunshine, his guiding light. She never left his side, until she was torn away by a coworker driving home drunk after a late office party. Frank liked to think she never saw his coming, that it had been quick, and that he who had taken Kristine from him burned in hell for the crime.

   Frank isn’t a vengeful man by any means. He always keeps a cool head, rarely ever succumbing to emotion. That’s what this room was for. A single tear tumbles down his wrinkled, wise face. He didn’t wipe it away, choosing instead to let it run it’s course. The tear felt odd to him, like something that simply shouldn’t be. There was no room for tears. There never had been. Even in this semi-fortress of solitude, he had to keep himself as composed as ever. He didn’t want to admit it, and no one knew it, but he was much to fragile to let emotions take hold. 

   A small, electric beep lets him know someone is invading his cocoon. When the secret door opens, the lights return to full strength and the music stops. A wiry young man stands in the doorway, carrying Frank’s attaché case and the day’s schedule. Sighing, Frank set’s his glass aside and stands up, his joints cracking with age. Turning to the young man, he asks him to leave the case and schedule and leave. Nervously, the man complies and Frank is once again alone. 

   Straightening his tie, adjusting his shirt, and donning his nearby suit jacket, Frank looks as naturally presentable as ever. Snatching the schedule up from the case, he quickly peruses it. Nodding in approval, he picks up his case and begins to head for the door. On his way out, he stops to lay a gentle hand on Kristine’s glass case. For a moment, but only for a moment, his eyes well with tears once more at the thought of her. Bowing his head, he whispers “I love you” , and he leaves the room. As soon as he’s gone, the doors close once more. In the dark, a faint but noticeable scurry is the only warning before a horrible, sourceless wail tears through the silence. Somewhere in the darkness, a woman who isn’t there mourns for the tortured soul of her beloved husband.

"I love you too."

The End

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