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Dearest Friend,

I write to you, once again, from the cold comfort of my beloved, concealed laboratory beneath the house. I say concealed, and not simply confidential, because the laboratory is both concealed (a secret from my employer) and hidden from the eye behind a stone wall and a clever secret door.

You will find me peculiar, William, but the wall is a new installment, born of my mind and assembled of my hand. I offered Master White my service as a kindness to his family, to divide the room in two. "A wine collection such as yours merits a cellar just as impressive in which to display them," I implored Master White. Don't laugh, William, as I always know when you laugh. I believe the man was sincerely flattered, despite having absolutely no friends or associates to impress with such a display. I will say, and forgive me my self-congratulations, 'twas no simple feat to win over the opinion of my employer, who is by all accounts quite practical.

'Twas a victory for all parties, then: I, with my concealed laboratory and he, with a charming, albeit useless, display at the end of the staircase. We are both quite satisfied with the arrangement, though my employer need not know the half of it.

Reading your letters, Will, conducts warmth to my heart, even in the cold cave of this cellar. I know you must tire of my constant goings-on about my laboratory, and you of all people know that what it means to my soul, but it is, after all, a cellarI have spent enough time underground to feel the cold, dark shadows seeping beneath my skin, taking up residence in my bones. Your words, scratched in ink from your hand, warm my spirit and expel the shadowsat least for a short while.

I cherish the words you sent me last, and I thank you for your considerable care and utmost detail. I feel almost like I was there with you, standing over your shoulder as you filled breakers at the university facility, though not quite.

You must know how impressed I am to have such an accomplished friend. I'm quite absorbed in the account of your latest research, every word so carefully chosen, even in your earliest drafts, so brilliantly compelling. Your mind has always worked in such contrast to mine, William, which is why I'm constantly in awe of your work (and also why I so strongly find us ideal partnerswill we ever work together again?). Where my mind naturally seeks solutions to troubles of the future, yours endeavors to improve pressing matters of today.

Your thesis is most intriguing, William, one I know will bring you great prominence should you succeed in proving it (which I have no doubt you will, given the time and resources you require). Promise me, William, you won't forget me when you go down in history as the man who fed the world?

Following your theory, you could not only prevent the process of rot in meat, produce, dairy, etc., but reverse its effects... The implications of doing so are practically cosmicnot simply life-preserving, but humanity-preserving (should mankind ever need saving). Perhaps our minds aren't so different after all.

William, my letter runs tediously long and my candle burns dangerously low. I will conclude in brief: Write me back in the same manner as the last, with details of your brilliant work and your certainly salacious life. When you do, perhaps I'll be obliged to return the favor.

Your most humble servant,
Edward Poole
24 Thornewood Dr.
April 16th 1789

Malcolm Allan sat in his brother's small hospital room. The room was dark—it was nearly 10 o'clock at night— lit only by a small orb of lamplight beside Owen's bed. Malcolm had just finished reading aloud another letter from the mysterious Edward Poole. Despite his drooping eyelids, Owen had insisted that they finish the letter before Malcolm made his way back home for the night. Staying late was ideal for Malcolm, who was avoiding a term paper for his psychology class. Final exams for looming over Malcolm like a dark cloud, but he never mentioned it to Owen, who was forced to defer his enrollment after the diagnosis. Edward Poole was proving to be a perfect distraction to both brothers.

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