The door of the study opened slowly, a slight creak in the hinges. It had been more than a year since he’d entered this room. A quick glance around told him everything was just as he had left it.
The room was stuffy and piles of books and manuscripts were stacked on every flat surface. A fine layer of dust covered everything. No one had been allowed in here since he last walked out and closed the door behind him one year ago.
A grand old desk sat in front of a large picture window that looked down over the garden. The gauzy curtains that let in the generous morning light needed a good washing.
He let his eyes finally come to rest on the thing he had been actively avoiding ever since Annalise left.
The old Underwood sat, undisturbed and unyielding. Its heavy presence felt like a black hole in the room. Once he clamped his eyes on it, he couldn’t look away. Nothing else mattered but this device, the instrument of his greatest accomplishments and deepest sorrows. As if pulled by a magnetic force, he walked slowly toward the machine and stood over it.
This was it. He would sit here and write this very minute, or he would never write again.