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Almost exactly seven weeks had passed since his graduation ceremony. It seemed a lot longer to him. And yet somehow unreal. Doctor of Law. Summa cum laude, too. And that in Havard.
How on earth did he do it?
He steered the Toyota around a particularly deep looking mud hole. Although the rough and tumble four-wheel drive jeep would certainly have had no problem with it.
That's basically how he had been doing it all these years.
Always dodged the worst holes. Streamlined forward. All relationships used. No unpleasant questions asked.
And now the offer to join one of the most powerful law firms on the entire East Coast.
At his graduation they had given him a handmade Blaser bolt action rifle. Pure luxury, with the most expensive, which was available especially for driven hunts.
It was maybe another 4 or 5 miles to the hunting lodge where they would meet today. Where he was to inaugurate his new magnificent rifle.
Again the fresh green scent rose into his nose. No, it was not the forest, the windows of the Toyata were closed. It was the Creed perfume that Linda had given him She had just burst into his life a few months ago. Totally inappropriate. Environmental activist. Quite radical and uncompromising. And yet they got along very well right away. Actually, he didn't know why at all. They met, talked, laughed. Went together to small, inexpensive places where no one would take their friends. She told him about her origanization, her money problems and legal disputes. And he of his lecturers and rich fellow students.
And then one day she gave him Original Vetiver. "Suits you," she just said.
And somehow that was true. He still knew Vetiver from his father. Vetiver by Guerlain, the real original. For him, anyway. How presumptuous of Creed to claim the word "original".
But - the scent was simply special. Different than expected. Kind of thought around the corner. He didn't have anything rough, as he actually expected from Vetiver. Something playful, yet brave. Something of meadow, even grasses in summer, but also a certain wooden depth, stability, resistance. And above all, a lightness, not quiet, but cheerful somehow. Maybe sassy.
At some point she had asked him if he would rather work as a lawyer where he could make a difference. In your organization, for example. They had both laughed about it. She already had a sense of humor.
Suddenly he realized that he was not so far away from her. A few miles further on the road forks, left towards Belchertown and the hunting lodge, right towards Springfield where Linda lived.
He toyed with a thought for a moment. A weird fantasy performance. He always liked doing that. Get up in the middle of the lecture and pour a latte macchiato in the professor's face. Of course he had never done anything remotely similar. But the performance refreshed him
A bit like that Creed perfume. He sniffed. Above all it smelled - of course. Yeah, not faux. As real as... Linda.
He now drove through a wide heather-like landscape, which spread northward to the edge of the forest, where the fork to Springfield was located.
On the left side of the path, the ground became more and more marshy, water holes reflected the thick cloud mountains that had meanwhile risen.
Suddenly a word came to his mind that characterized the fragrance quite well. A little theatrical perhaps -
but didn't he smell of freedom?
All of a sudden he stepped on the brakes violently. With a jerk the Toyota stood still. He got out, opened the trunk and took out the Blaser rifle. The expensive root wood of the shaft shimmered in the early evening light. Some coot rose from the moor beside him. He took the box in both hands and hesitated briefly.
Then he threw her out into the swamp in a wide arc. It splashed, for a moment she seemed to float unmoved on the mire ceiling. Then it slowly began to sink until it finally disappeared completely into the unfathomable depths. Only a few air bubbles were hiding the spot where she had sunk.
He started the Toyota and drove on quickly without turning around again. At the crossroads, he made a rapid right turn into the deep woods behind which Springfield lies.