by Ray D. Gragg
© 2004 by Ray D. Gragg
Published by Ray D. Gragg at Smashwords
for my wife, Cyndy, and my children: Natalie, Emily, Adam, and Chase
(for putting up with me during the writing of this)
Jack Tillman inserted his card into the slot and pecked his personal I.D. number on the push button plate. A dull THUNK echoed down the deserted corridors as the electronic bolt slid back, and the over-sized steel door swung outward. It was heavy but precisely balanced and pulled easily as he hooked his foot around its edge. Carefully balancing an aluminum tray containing uniform rows of glass vials, he gave a jerk and a half-hop, closing the door. A click...THUNK vibrated the walls.
Jack continued down a corridor lined with countless ornately carved but unmarked mahogany doors, each permanently locked and painted white like sealed crypts. As he walked, these thickly-coated doors with their levered handles began to taunt his imagination. He had heard stories about these rooms from Benton--nightmarish stories, the kind kids tell around campfires. But since they changed a little with each telling, he discounted them as just that--Benton’s stories.