C. M. Sinclair / 29/ Freelance Journalist Perhaps it was envy, or a flare of blue-collar classism, but Sinclair found the sheer magnitude of Timothy Herrington’s wealth to be vulgar. That the socialite spent it so magnanimously was even more irksome. It felt like he was flaunting it, feigning altruism to gain favor. Sinclair figured if Herrington was such a saint then he should have been living a more ascetic lifestyle. Sinclair didn’t trust him, or to be honest, he didn’t trust rich people. Money had a way of fostering the worst in others, be it from pecuniary lack or excess. And knowing just how deep Herrington’s pockets ran left Sinclair circumspect. Had he the opportunity to decline, Sinclair wouldn’t have vacillated in the slightest. But he couldn’t. No matter how parsimonious Sinclair lived, he still struggled to make ends meet. Freelance journalism wasn’t a well-paying field. He lacked most of the haughty qualifications too, selling himself on the quality of his work alone. Though, for all the adversities, the job was better than being on the force. The memories Sinclair took from being a police officer were more than evanescent thoughts and restless dreams. They had coalesced in him, had become a visceral self-philosophy. What Sinclair had experienced as a public servant had changed him, and he couldn’t say with certainty whether it had been for the better. As the dense greenery thinned to intermittent, deciduous giants, Sinclair pulled out his cell. The wheel in his left hand, phone in right, he quickly reviewed his notes. Herrington had accomplished so much. The man had saved lives and brought succor to the indigent. Sinclair hadn’t done any of that. His time as a cop was disparate to such feats. He couldn’t even vouch for saving a single life. It left him ashamed and jealous. The feeling only marginally faded as Sinclair reached the wrought iron gates of the Herrington estate. Before he could reach the intercom the passage was opened. He looked suspiciously at the security camera and pulled ahead. The path leading to the main building was flanked with trees, deciduous palisades which the sun flitted through as he drove past. Dense, green foliage shaded him overhead. It opened into a roundabout before the mansion front doors. Surrounding the estate were resplendent arrays of flora, stems bending under the heavy pulchritude of their blossoms. They flourished in contrast to the imposing, Victorian edifice the Herrington’s called their home. In the shadow of dour architecture, Sinclair parked. Though he had faced the threat of death while on the force, the gravity of the Herrington’s was still intimidating. Sinclair crunched down a handful of tic-tacs before climbing the stairs. Expecting similar treatment to what he experienced at the gate, Sinclair was momentarily nonplussed when no one opened the door. They knew he was there, but perhaps formality took precedence. He swallowed his nerves. And knocked thrice, succinctly, an act that would send into motion more than Sinclair could have ever anticipated.