Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Writing Prompt

Supposedly it is going to be 80 degrees this weekend so yours truly will be trying to unburden her yard of broken limbs from the winter ice storms and plant more flowers. I love the smell of spring and the flowers blooming.

In honor of the gorgeous weekend ahead, I thought I would post a new writing prompt.

Prompt: The smell of . . .

Have fun! Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to seeing what smell you write about.


Ceri Hebert April 24, 2009 at 4:26 PM  

The smell of rot woke Carly from a dreamless sleep. Underneath the odor of rubbing alcohol and bleach, the telltale signs of death were creeping in like tickling fingers under her nose.

She didn’t open her eyes, though she was aware of the sun glowing against her eyelids. It made everything a reddish hue with a shadow of black around the edges. Spots drifted aimlessly in the sea of ruddy light. Carly pulled the blanket up over her nose, hoping to barricade the smell, but it didn’t do much good and she knew sleep was not going to reclaim her this time. She opened her eyes and looked around the tiny room.

The curtain and rod hung at an unnatural angle across the room’s one window. Tommy had done that four days ago in a fit of sick rage. Not his usual bad temper which Carly had become used to in the five years of being his wife. This was something more, fury brought on by the fever. By then the Tommy she knew was gone, his mind eaten up by the illness that had taken his father a week ago.

Shoving the tangle of blankets and sheet back with her bare foot, Carly climbed out of bed, careful not to look out the window. She knew what she’d see in the back yard. Two mounds of dirt. Fresh graves of her husband and father in law. Not too deep, she certainly couldn’t dig that deep. She just hoped that their bodies wouldn’t be disturbed by any wild animals. The thought turned her stomach in an ugly mix. She pursed her lips tightly and grabbed a pair of clean jeans and a tee shirt.

Maybe it was hunger that was wreaking havoc on her belly. The last good meal she had was just before Tommy died. Jean Hardy had brought her a casserole. Always thinking of other people, Jean was. Even after her own son was taken and her daughter lay ill. Jean hadn’t looked too good that day, had refused to come inside but left the casserole on the steps and from the distance of the path told Carly about her children. Her eyes seemed sunken in and dark, rimmed in red. She’d been sniffing a lot, holding a well-used handkerchief up to her nose as she spoke. God, she’d been coming down with whatever had taken everyone else. Maybe even now she was gone.

Carly wandered through the now silent trailer, shock mingling with fear as bits and pieces of the past two weeks rolled back to her. Frank, her father in law, had been the first person she knew who took sick. He’d been a long haul trucker. They’d figured he picked some virus up on his last trip. But when they brought him to the doctor, she and Tommy had been shocked at the number of other people who’d been stricken. At that time it hadn’t even hit the news. How it stayed a secret she didn’t know.

Then the true hell rose and swept through the town. They had to bring Frank home, were given instructions on how to care for him, which did nothing to prepare her or Tommy for the blind rage that turned him into a madman. It had been the last and most horrible phase of the sickness.

Then it began in Tommy.

Carly went to the bathroom and leaned against the sink, her eyes squeezed shut. She wanted to look in the mirror, but the fear of what she might see held her in its icy grip. She was afraid more than anything else that she’d look back at the face of a dying woman.

“Look, damn it,” she said through gritted teeth. And if she did and saw the look of death, then what? Who would take care of her? Would she have to go through the same horrifying fits of madness all alone? No one else, if there *was* anyone else out there, would take her in. If it did come down to this nightmare ending she’d rather use the gun Frank kept in his closet.

Carly drew in a deep breath, the same scent of rot filling her lungs. The fact that she had no problems breathing only offered small comfort, but it was enough to give her the strength needed to finally look in the mirror.

The light from the window above the toilet was dim, but enough to show her a pale face, devoid of emotion, just exhaustion in the gray blue eyes that stared back at her. Underneath those eyes the skin was dark, but it wasn’t the same vivid red present in every sick person she’d seen.

She released her breath quickly and looked away. Relief flooded through her like a gush of warm water, along with guilt. Why hadn’t she come down with this? Perhaps in time she would, but for now she seemed okay, healthwise.

Leaving the bathroom, Carly moved through the trailer she’d shared with Tommy and Frank. Not much remained of the furniture or decorations after father and son had gotten through with them. How she survived the destruction, she wasn’t sure. She kicked aside a sofa pillow and set the television set back on its stand. The tube was beyond repair. On his last day, Tommy had put a lamp through it.

Tommy’s path of ruin had gone into the kitchen as well. Carly had to push the little table away from the refrigerator to open it. She slammed it quickly, gagging as a cloud of stink rose into the room. At some point during her sleep the electricity had gone off and everything in the fridge had gone bad.

She had to leave here. Now. She had no idea where she'd go, how far spread this was, but as it stood right now, there was no way she could stay in this dead town.

Ceri Hebert April 24, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

Bet you weren't thinking of this when you wrote the prompt beginning! LOL

Denise April 24, 2009 at 6:34 PM  

holy cow!
that was icky good.
truly excellent description - loved the "tickling fingers under her nose"

Ceri Hebert April 24, 2009 at 6:44 PM  

Thanks! I'm thinking this might work with another wip I have started.

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