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"What is that smell?"
Contest ended 4 years ago 10/13/2011 12:00:00 AM EDT

Contest Info

  • Cost: 5 credits
  • Jackpot: 100 credits

Contest Options

First Place
# 1
By mbraynard (Score: 7.47)

"I HATE THOSE stories. When Sherlock explains how he solved the crime at the end, and you realize you had the same information he did, it always made me feel so stupid. But real criminal investigation doesn't work that way. It's never comes together so cleanly."

Chidchod couldn't hold his silence about his junior partner's choice of reading material any longer. For the past month, Kamol had passed the long hours they spent stuck in Bangkok's traffic with an unabridged copy of Sir Author Conan Doyle's The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes.

"So answer me this," Chidchod continued. "If Doyle was so smart and knew so much about being a detective, why didn't he go catch Jack the Ripper who was murdering all those people in England?"

Kamol looked up from his book. "That's a good question."

They turned off of Sukhumvit Road onto Soi 15 and parked behind the hotel. The detectives' calm demeanor contrasted with the anxious hotel manager who met them at the entrance.

"Room 417," the manager sputtered. "One of my maids found him this morning." The manager escorted them to the room.

"We need to speak to her," said Chidchod.

"Why? She's badly shaken up, and she didn't see anything other than what you're about to see now."

Chidchod repeated himself, but this time with more authority in his voice and while making eye-contact with the manager. "We need to speak to her."

Chidchod and Kamol entered the room and, even before they saw the body, they knew from the smell that this was their case.

"I'm losing count, Kamol." Chidchod sighed.



Kamol searched a pair of slacks near the bed, found a small booklet in one of the pockets, and read the cover. "Aussie."

"Yeah. Well, what I do remember it's your turn to bag him. I'll go talk to the hotel staff."

Chidchod walked into the hallway and found the hotel manager and the maid. They both looked worse than the corpse in the room. He passed them each an envelope and held up a finger. "That's ten thousand baht each. Not a word of this to anyone. Understand?"

"Ka, ka," the maid responded, nodding her head.

CHIDCHOD AND KAMOL arrived at the central police headquarters. A desk assistant told them the vice squad chief wanted to see them in his office immediately.

"You dumped the body?" asked Chief Soontrey.

"Yep. Bottom of the Chao Phraya river with all the others," answered Chidchod.

"And you're sure it's the same killer?"

Chidchod took a deep breath. "Yeah. It matches the pattern. Australian national. Single stab wound between the lower right ribs deep enough to penetrate the lungs, done intentionally to preventing any screaming. And our Ozzie's back is slathered in that same stinking lemongrass massage oil."

The chief stared at a wall map with red pins lining Sukhumvit Road. "How can we have 17 dead Australians and no leads on a serial killer targeting tourists?"

"You mean sex tourists," said Kamol. "No one's getting killed eating at restaurants or buying Prada knockoffs."

Chidchod gave Kamol a look to let him know he was out of line, but Kamol persisted. "Maybe if the vice department focused on enforcing the laws against prostitution rather than shaking down the prostitutes for a cut of their wages..."

The chief's face turned deep red. He lifted a folding chair and hurled it at the map. "What did you say? Are you accusing me of corruption? You insolent punk!"

"Really?" Kamol remarked sarcastically.

"Quiet, Kamol! Show some respect," urged Chidchod at his partner's insolence.

The chief interrupted him. "I hold you accountable for this child's insolence, Chidchod. And I know you're hoping to wait out this case until your retirement, but I'll make you a promise: if you don't close the case before your last day, I'll have your pension terminated. Now you and this son of a whore get the hell out of my office."

Now it was Kamol's turn to become enraged. "What did you say about my mother?" Kamol lunged at the chief, but Chidchod held him back and dragged him out of the chief's office.

THE DETECTIVES SIPPED cold Singha beers at a pop-up bar made from a modified Volkswagon bus. "It's not fair, the way he threatened you about your pension," said Kamol.

"I'm not sure it's any better than his crack about your mother. Until now, the chief has wanted us to put all our efforts into dumping bodies and paying off hotel staff, but he's realized that isn't going to solve the problem. Time to do some real detective work, eh?"

"I guess so. You want to flash our last victim's photo around Soi 15? I'll hit the shops to inquire about any purchasers of our lemongrass massage oil," said Kamol.

"Sounds like a plan, Sherlock."

CHIDCHOD AND KAMOL watched the woman standing patiently next to the tuk tuk stand. "We're pretty confident, chief. A street vendor who sold our last victim a papaya salad says he saw a woman matching her description in the victim's company. Also, Kamol found a shop that sells the oil, and they identified her as a regular purchaser.... No need for backup, we can handle it." Chidchod flipped his phone closed. "Now we wait."

Thirty minutes later, a tall white man approached the woman. "Looks like they're haggling," said Kamol.

"And he's wearing a Freemantle football club shirt, so we know he's her type. Get ready to move."

The man and the woman ended their discussion and begin to walk hand-in-hand. The detectives followed them into the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. Once inside, Chidchod and Kamol watched the couple enter an elevator and the elevator numbers increase until it stopped at seven.

Chidchod pressed the button and waited. Ten seconds passed, then 20, then 30 seconds. "Damn it," he cursed under his breath.

"Let's take the stairs," said Kamol.

"Seven flights? I don't want to catch this girl only to die of a heart attack. I have a better idea, kid. You take the stairs, and I'll meet you up there. It's just a woman, you can handle her, right?"

"No problem. See you up there." Kamol ran to the emergency stairwell.

Kamol reached the seventh floor, burst through the emergency door, and looked down the long hallway of hotel rooms. "Which one did you go to, farang?" he thought to himself. Then he noticed a room service tray on the floor outside one of the doors.


Kamol ran to the door and pressed his ear against it. He heard a man moan.

A bell rang and the elevator door opened. Chidchod stepped out just in time to see his partner kick the door in and rush inside, then heard a woman scream as he ran down the hallway. Reaching the broken-in door, he looked inside and saw his partner sitting on top of the woman who was facedown on the floor with her arms pinned behind her back. The Australian was cowering under the bed sheets.

"Check it out." Kamol pointed at a knife lying on the floor.

Chidchod put on a pair of plastic gloves, picked up the knife and studied it closely. "Pointy tip, seven inches long. This looks like our murder weapon. And that smell..." Chidchod picked up an open bottle of massage oil from the bed table and held it to his nose. "That's definitely the scent. Let's get her in the van."

Kamol took a photograph of the Australian's passport with his camera phone. "Did you know prostitution is illegal in Thailand? Consider this your warning." The Australian responded with a look of incredulous bafflement.

KAMOL'S CELL PHONE rang. He recognized the caller ID, smiled, and answered. "Chidchod! How long has it been? A month? How is Samui?"

"Hey, kid! It's been two months, actually. I took the pay out rather than the annuity and bought a quiet little resort on the north side. Life is good," said Chidchod.

"Glad to hear it's working out," said Kamol.

"So what did they do with our killer? I haven't read anything about it in the news."

"They didn't want the publicity of a trial. Besides, we destroyed all the evidence. It turned out she was illegal - a Hmong. They shipped her back to Vietnam, so now she's their problem."

"Damn. Hey, did you finish your book?"

"Yes, I did. And I thought of an answer to your question, about why Doyle never tracked down Jack the Ripper."

"Oh? Why's that?"

"Maybe Doyle was Jack the Ripper."

"That's hilarious. Alright man, come see me when you get some vacation time. Sawadee krap."

"Sawadee krap."

Kamol hung up the phone, leaned in towards his bathroom mirror and began to apply makeup. He carefully placed a wig of long black hair on his head. After putting on a dress and a pair of high heels, he slipped a long, pointy knife and a bottle of lemongrass massage oil into his purse and departed for the streets below.

Word count: 1504

Thai Term Glossary:

Soi - a side street off of a major avenue.

Ka - a phrase Thai women use that generally means 'yes, I understand.'

Tuk tuk - a small, open air taxi.

Farang - a term referring to any foreigner, but most typically a white foreigner. Depending on the context, it can also be derogatory.

Sawadee Krap - A general term that means 'hello,' 'welcome,' or 'goodbye.' Men say 'Sawadee Krap' while women say 'Sawadee Ka.'

Second Place
# 2
By mbraynard (Score: 7.098)

"Those thighs were raw, Ben. They were raw!" Gala shouted. Her fellow judges, Thomas and Padmi, vigorously nodded in agreement.

Across from the judges' table were four pale, nervous cooks.

Head Judge Thomas, who sat between Gala and Padmi, exchanged glances with his colleagues and stroked the soul patch on his chin. "I believe we know who is going to be eliminated tonight."

"Yes, we do," said Gala. In the two weeks since the competition had begun, Gala had grown larger with each meal. At the end of each dinner, the other two judges always handed their leftovers to Gala, who licked their plates clean.

Padmi was Gala's opposite - both in her character and her dimensions. While Gala insulted the competing cooks, Padmi was patient and charming. Gala gobbled food with her over-filled mouth open, while Padmi sliced her food into small, bite-sized portions and had the table manners of a virginal, antebellum debutante.

A caramel-skinned beauty, Padmi's waist remained tiny despite judging 14 earlier meals. While Gala had become increasingly hideous, Padmi's beauty intensified with each dish she consumed. Her hair grew more luxurious and full-bodied, her teeth a brighter white, and her cleavage more pronounced. With each challenge she wore progressively more revealing clothes. For tonight's challenge, she wore an orange, sequined dress with a bare midriff showing off her flat stomach.

Thomas and Gala turned to Padmi with expectant looks on their faces. "Ben," said Padmi solemnly, "you are eliminated. Please remove your chef jacket."

As the three other cooks realized they were not going to be the losers in that night's elimination challenge, they felt a sensation of relief. Brian tilted his head back and exhaled. Michael clasped his hands in thankful prayer. Jennie covered her face and bent over, overwhelmed at earning another reprieve.

Ben collapsed in tears. Two assistant producers emerged and removed his jacket. Underneath, Ben wore a sleeveless undershirt and an elaborate tribal tattoo on his right arm. The assistant producers picked him up and carried him out of the room. Judges Thomas and Padmi stood up and left while two other assistant producers emerged to assist Gala out of her chair.

Escorted by even more assistant producers and junior assistant producers, cooks Brian, Michael, and Jennie shuffled out of Judgment Kitchen and back to their dormitory.

Brian lay in bed with his eyes open and thought about the Ben's unsuccessful dish. Because he took too long preparing the sauce of roasted almonds and olives, Ben didn't leave enough time to let the thighs finish simmering. Brian thought about how the smell of the almonds filled the whole kitchen.

The smell of almonds.

Brian sat up straight.

The next morning, the cooks re-assembled in Judgment Kitchen. They hobbled through the double-doors, each with dark circles under listless eyes. Each of the last 14 days had begun the same way with one exception: each day, there was one less cook.

Waiting for them in Judgment Kitchen every morning was Padmi who, unlike the cooks, was bright-eyed and cheerful. This morning, she was wearing just a bikini top and a pair of cut-off jeans shorts.

"Good morning, contestants!" she bubbled.

"Good morning, Padmi," the cooks muttered, barely audible.

"You know the drill. Draw a knife to determine your protein for tonight's elimination challenge!"

Michael went first, drawing a sheathed knife from a cutlery block. "BREAST" was printed on the blade. Jennie went next, pulling "SWEETBREADS." Brian went last. "SHOULDER."

"You each have 12 hours to prepare and cook your dishes. I can't wait to taste your food. See you tonight!" Padmi blew the cooks a collective kiss and left the kitchen.

The cooks approached the protein table to retrieve their main ingredients. Brian grabbed the shoulder, then paused a moment to look at the tribal tattoo that adorned it.

While the cooks were allowed to help each other, they never did because helping someone else increased a cook's chance of being eliminated.

"Jennie, I need your help," said Brian.

Jennie glared back at Brian. "Why the hell would I do that?"

"Because I have a plan, and I can't do it alone." Brian beckoned Jennie closer and whispered into her ear so that the producers could not hear him. Jennie's eyes widened. Together, they went to Michael's station and shared the plan with him.

When Brian was confident that Jennie and Michael had memorized the precise details, they each returned to their stations and got to work.

Michael removed ashes from the bottom of the wood-burning stove and put them into the filter of a coffee maker. He filtered the same liter of water through the coffee maker several times over. Then he boiled the water until all that remained in the pot was a white powder. He scrapped the powder into a small dish and went through the process three more times, filing the dish with more and more white powder.

Jennie rubbed a fine grater against the surface of one of the kitchen's old, rusted sinks, then applied the grater to a piece of charcoal. She collected the rust and charcoal particles into separate dishes.

Standing under the under the roaring ventilation fans, Jennie heated a small, ceramic tea cup. When it was hot enough, she mixed in carefully measured amounts of rust, charcoal, and Michael's white powder.

When the flaming stopped, she let the tea cup cool and emptied it into a boiling pot of water, let the water evaporate, and put what remained with more charcoal powder in the heated tea cup. She poured the resulting liquid onto a cooking sheet and placed it on Brian's prep table.

While Michael and Jennie were sacrificing valuable cooking time to help Brian with his plan, Brian was busy preparing what had to be the best tasting dish of his culinary career. Brian knew that every minute he could spend improving his dish increased the chances of the plan's success.

Brian created an elaborate spice mix that he rubbed over the shoulder, which he then seared and placed into a crockpot. For the next several hours, he prepped other ingredients, including dates, honey, and shallots, and added them to the pot. He lost track of time until Padmi burst through the double doors.

"Cooks, you have 15 minutes remaining!"

Then came the part that Brian hated. He opened the pot, used a fork to remove a small sliver of meat and put it in his mouth. He had to be sure it was perfect. A necessary evil, he reasoned. He tried to pretend it was pork and, with sorrowful reluctance, admitted to himself that it was delicious.

Brian cut the shoulder into four pieces. He placed three of them on three large plates, then cut the remaining piece into ten more and plated them on smaller dishes.

Brian then prepared his final two ingredients. He roasted large, California almonds over low heat and broke up the white crystals that cooled on the cooking sheet Jennie had left for him, then garnished each plate with both items. The smell of almonds filled the kitchen.

The judges and the producers entered the kitchen. Gala had grown so large that she could no longer wear normal clothes and was wrapped instead in a white, king-size duvet cover.

Padmi was naked.

"Cooks, please present your dishes," commanded Thomas.

"I'll go first," volunteered Brian. He rolled his service tray to the judges' table and put a large plate in front of each of them. "This is shoulder tangine garnished with roasted almonds."

Before he'd finished his sentence, Gala already had three large scoops into her mouth. Through the food she moaned, "Oh, Brian. These almonds smell so good."

The other judges tasted their plates.

"Wow, Brian, this is solid execution, solid execution," said Thomas, unaware of the awkward irony of his compliment.

"I guess we aren't going to be eating you tomorrow, Brian," said Padmi. "Too bad. I was looking forward to it," she said through a wry smile.

"I made more if the production staff would like to have some." Brian gestured at the smaller dishes on his tray. Because of Gala's plate cleaning, the producers never had the chance to enjoy any of the culinary creations. Brian stepped back as they swarmed the table.

Gala started to gasp and her face turned bright red. Her whole body started to shake. Seconds later Thomas and Padmi began to experience the same symptoms. And seconds after that, so did the production staff.

The three cooks stood alone among the dead bodies. Brian shuffled over to the body of one of the producers and retrieved a set of keys. He used them to unlock his ankle chains and then unlocked Michael and Jennie.

Michael turned to Brian. "You used real almonds to cover for the almond smell of the cyanide. Genius, man. How did you know how to synthesize cyanide?"

"I was a biochemistry major," answered Brian. "Now, let's pack our knives and get the hell out of here."

Word count: 1500
Third Place
# 3
By MShades (Score: 6.64)

The cozy living room of the Browning house smelled of lilies and expensive wood polish. Detective Branden Horne wanted to smoke a cigarette, but dared not. The wrath of Mrs. Browning might momentarily overpower her need to know who killed her husband, which was the whole reason he was there. On top of that, he knew that he would have far too much to answer for before the afternoon was over as it was.

Five days ago, Christopher Browning had been found dead in his metal shop, bludgeoned to death. His wife hadn’t seen him since the day before and wanted to check up on him, but she couldn’t even enter the workshop due to the overpowering smell of solvents and acids that he used in his work. When the HAZMAT team brought out his body and gently removed the ventilation hood from his head, she had to be held back by three officers so that she couldn’t embrace her husband and contaminate the body.

Branden had been assigned to the case, and very quickly narrowed down the suspects.

The four other people in the room were the most likely suspects for the murder of Christopher Browning. Elton was a mirror of his brother, tall and pallid, as though someone had taken a normal man and stretched him out with a roller. Their sister, Trudi, was almost his opposite. She was short and heavy and outgoing, and wore colors so vivid that they hurt to look at. Even during the investigation of Browning’s death, Trudi had been relentlessly cheerful, which was enough to increase suspicion in Branden’s eyes. Neither of them had had their brother’s success in life, and that had driven plenty of siblings to do far worse than murder.

Addie Horton was standing next to Mrs. Browning, with a cup of tea in one hand and the other on the shoulder of her grieving friend. She had brought over one of her hand-made prayer shawls – “A prayer in every stitch,” she’d said when she put it around Mrs. Browning’s slumped shoulders. Addie had known Christopher since they were children. There was romance far back, but they both swore the flames had died.

Finally, Celinda Browning herself. She had been older than her husband when they married - he was a millionaire at thirty-five, and she was a divorced schoolteacher in her fifties. They had fallen in love and retreated out to his hometown, where she taught some local homeschool children while he indulged in his artistic hobbies. They lived a life that seemed idyllic, and as far as anyone knew they were perfectly happy. That still didn’t rule her out.

“Thank you all for coming,” Branden said. “I’ve always wanted to do one of these drawing-room reveals.” He chuckled, but no one else did. No one was even looking at him.

He cleared his throat. “You all know what happened,” he said, “but I wanted to update you on what we’ve found so far.” He took the investigation folder from his briefcase and flipped it open. “Christopher Browning was killed by repeated blows to the head with a large metal object. We think the killer was right-handed, but that’s not much to go on. The killer left no fingerprints and no DNA evidence that we could find. And the isolated nature of Mister Browning’s workshop means that there were no eyewitnesses.” He snapped the folder shut.

Branden took a handkerchief from his jacket pocket, and a small plastic bottle from his briefcase. “There are lots of reasons why someone would want to kill Christopher Browning,” he said as he uncapped the bottle. The faint smell of eucalyptus blossomed in the air, and this finally got their attention. He dripped the pale blue liquid into his handkerchief. “Money, love, revenge – those were all possibilities.” He capped the bottle and put it back in the briefcase.

He put his hands behind his back and started to pace. “I visited all of you, and I think you all had reasons to kill him.” They watched him as he walked back and forth, and he relished drawing out the moment. “As I said, there was very little solid evidence, and I had a lot of work to do.” He shrugged. “Most criminals are stupid. They leave something behind.” He stopped and looked at each of them in turn. “This killer did not.”

He stepped back to his briefcase and took out a small glass bottle, filled with a pale yellow liquid. “That doesn’t mean, however, that the killer didn’t make a mistake.” He uncapped the bottle and swiftly brought the handkerchief up to cover his mouth and nose.

The room went mad. Celinda Browning doubled over and vomited onto her shoes. Elton groaned and held his stomach, his face reddening as he clenched his teeth, and Trudy was on her feet, waving her hand to try and clear the air around her head of the horrifying rotten, sulfurous stench. Branden smiled under the handkerchief. He’d confiscated the stink bomb from his son weeks ago, and had been looking for a good chance to use it. The capstone of a murder investigation was as good a time as any.

He put the cap back on the bottle and went around the living room to open the windows, gripping the handkerchief in his teeth. The smell would never really go away, but he figured that Mrs. Browning would have enough money to get everything ripped out and cleaned. Knowing that his little stunt revealed her husband’s murderer would be some small comfort.

When he turned back, the group was glaring at him, in between heaving breaths and groans. Elton had the collar of his shirt up over his nose, and Trudi was trying to help Addie guide Mrs. Browning to the sofa. After a moment, Branden lowered the handkerchief and blinked a few times at the lingering smell. “Mrs. Horton,” he said to Addie. “How are you feeling?”

“How am I feeling?” she said over her shoulder. “That was an ugly stunt you pulled young man. Poor Cellie is already in enough distress!”

“Yeah,” Branden said. “But I asked about you. How are you feeling?”

Addie stood up, but didn’t say anything.

“You didn’t seem too bothered,” he said, taking a step towards her. “Didn’t that smell get to you?”

Her face went flat and she narrowed her eyes. “If you must know,” she said, “I was born with no sense of smell.” She sniffed, and Branden suppressed a smile. “It’s something I’ve never been terribly thankful for. Until now.”

Branden nodded. “I thought so.” He put his handkerchief and the little bottle in his pocket. “When I visited you, you were doing laundry, right?” Addie nodded once. “I remember that, mainly because I was wondering what kind of detergent you used. The basket in your arms should have smelled like flowers or sunshine or something, but it actually had quite a whiff of metal oils and some of the other chemicals that the deceased used in his craft. Not a smell most people would want lingering among their clean clothes, I thought. Odd. So I did a little asking around.”

Addie Horton had gone pale, and she looked around for someone to come to her rescue. All she saw, however, was dawning astonishment. “You didn’t know what the workshop smelled like, Addie,” Branden said. “You had no idea.” He took another step closer to her and she flinched. “You killed him. The smell stuck to your clothes and you brought it home. And you never knew.”

“You have to be kidding,” she spat. “You can’t prove it was me just because of that!”

Branden nodded. “You’re right – we can’t. But I only said that we had very little evidence. Not that we had none at all.” He smiled sheepishly. “The thing about fingerprints?” He shrugged. “I lied.”

Addie gasped. “Then all this…?” She looked to Mrs. Browning, who seemed ready to pass out again. “Cellie,” she said, reaching out. “I never…” Celinda turned away. Elton and Trudy gathered around their sister-in-law and held her close.

Addie’s hand curled closed and she squeezed her eyes shut. “Why did you do this?” she whispered.

“I needed to be sure,” Branden said. “And like I mentioned, I’ve always wanted to do the drawing-room reveal.” He took his cell phone out from inside his jacket. “You want to come quietly?” he asked as he flipped it open. “Or do I need to call in some back-up?”

The moment hung in the air, and Branden honestly wasn’t sure which way she would go. Finally, she just slumped and nodded. Branden dialed. “It’s over,” he said into the phone. He reached out and took her shoulder. Addie Horton crumpled to the floor, weeping, and Branden caught her in his arms. He held her there, in silence, until the other officers arrived.

Word count: 1481
By BonnySaintAndrew (Score: 6.386)

It was Rollo who found the thing. It was trying to hide - curled up below some black plastic refuse sacks at the end of a dark, litter strewn alleyway, but there was no way you could miss it, really. It was the smell that gave it away. The stink from it was that strong, man - it almost hurt to breath, you know? The smell from the piles of garbage everywhere was nothing compared to it. My eyes were filling with tears and I pulled my jacket up over my nose to mask it some, but there was nothing you could really do. It seemed to get into your lungs and stick there like poison. I felt my throat spasming in protest and my mouth filling with water, and fought to hold it down. I didn't want to puke in front of the guys, but I could see they were struggling, too - their faces were drawn tight in expressions of pure disgust.

Anyway, it was too weak to put up much of a fight. They're actually pretty rare these days; so yeah, maybe we went over the top a little bit, but hey - who really cares about them, after everything they did to us? Even so, I felt sick about it afterwards, man. I even had a couple of nightmares - not that I'd tell the guys about that, you know?

That night there was only Rollo, Ace, and me. There had been more of us, back in the day; but then we've all lost somebody over the years, right? Everyone lost someone back then. And the rest of us - the ones still living, at least - we grew up fearing and hating the things. When they started to get sick, and humanity started to fight back - that fear kind of went away, you know? But the hate didn't. In fact, the hate kept growing. I ain't trying to make excuses for what we did, just telling it like it was. We sure as hell ain't the first ones to go hunting them, right?

We were bored, and to be honest, more than a little loaded when Ace suggested it, and it seemed like a good idea. Why not? We knew it wouldn't really be dangerous; and if we found one - so what? Nobody cared; and we thought we'd be putting it out its misery. There haven't been any of the strong ones for years, not since the Government released the V-AIDS Virus and began the Great Extermination. Remember before all that, when they were still powerful? When you were so scared you could hardly breath? When you could hear the screams outside every night? I was just a kid, but I sure as hell can. Every night, huddled together, praying they wouldn't come for you... I'll never forget how it felt.

Anyway, when we found what we were looking for, we went kind of wild. All those years of hate and fear... it was the first time I'd ever seen one of them up close like that - infected, and helpless. Rollo was grinning when he dragged it out by the ankle from under the garbage bags. Exposed, it was hideous - pale, ravaged and impossibly thin, writhing and mewling as it tried to pull away. Face down, it clawed at the ground.

"Awwwwww, baby!" he said, his grin twisting as the smell seemed to thicken even more.

"Man, lookit that thing!" Ace said, with a look of amazed revulsion on his face, hand over his mouth to ward off the awful cloying reek of its rotting flesh. I saw he had his cellphone in his hand, using it to film the pitiful thing on the ground. Rollo stepped back and wiped his hands on his jeans, his expression dark. It was trying to crawl back under the pile of garbage. He leaned over it and spoke gently, as if he was genuinely curious.

"Where you going, beautiful?" he said, and suddenly swung a vicious kick at it, his heavy boot thudding into its ribcage. I winced. The thing shrieked and rolled onto its back, and we saw it in its entirety for the first time.

"Ohhhh... no WAY!" I said, disgusted. I couldn't believe how ravaged it was, even although I'd seen humans with advanced cases of malnutrition before; this was more like a skin covered skeleton, and that awful thinness just made the rest of it worse. The skin was pale to the point of translucency, mottled with mold and dreadful fleshless areas; the eyes milky and obscured by cataracts. Patches of long, filthy hair were plastered to its scalp. Its mouth was working, fluid dribbling down its chin.

I watched as the huge incisors bit futilely at the air; dark blood was leaking from just about everywhere - nose, eyes, ears. It thrashed its head and I jumped back as a gout of blood splattered onto my boots. Rollo stamped hard on its wrist, pinning it. I heard a dry snap as he ground his heel down.

"Aw man, that's nasty," Rollo said. He pulled a switchblade from his pocket. "Don't you know it ain't polite to spit?" he said. With a quick motion he leaned over and sliced off one of its ears. Man, the noise it made! I wouldn't have believed it still had the strength to make a sound like that, and I took a step back in alarm. Ace stepped forward and drove a kick into its face, cutting the sound off with a horrible crunch.

Well, you know the rest, right? You've seen the video? I had nothing to do with setting the website up; that was all down to Ace, but it sure didn't take long for it to go viral. Five hundred thousand hits and counting, man. People are sick, ain't they?

So anyway, that kick was the signal for us to go wild. I don't really remember much about actually doing what we did; but yeah, we sure made it suffer. None of us had a wooden stake, so it wouldn't die, no matter how many bits we sliced off. In the end, I poured lighter fluid on what was left and set it alight. It was still screaming, even then; and that's what gave me the nightmares, later on. It was still screaming. To be fair, I thought I'd heard somewhere that fire would finish the damned thing, but then again - that's the thing about vampires, its pretty hard to actually kill them. The V-AIDS virus doesn't kill them, just deprives them of whatever it is they get from blood that made them strong; whatever makes them invulnerable.

Sometimes, man, when the nightmares come and I'm lying awake in the dark, I think about them. I wonder about that night, what we did. I wonder how long it had lived, and how many people it had killed or turned in its lifetime. Some people say we should study them in case they ever develop immunity and come back in numbers, but believe me - those folks are a minority. They're weak, we can do what we want to them, and nobody really cares.

We stood around for a bit and watched it burning, but the smell was even worse now it was mixed with the stink of burning flesh - and honestly, I think we all felt a bit weird about what we'd done. As I said, maybe it was a bit over the top. We didn't say much as we headed home.

Truth be told, we haven't really said much to each other since then, you know it?

Word count: 1264
By WVJim (Score: 6.268)

They sat around the same table they had occupied every Friday night for the past umpteen years, at Bill’s Tavern, across the street from the meat market. The five of them were fixtures, more so than the faded mirror behind the bar and the “Free Beer Tomorrow” sign above the cash box. As always, they sat holding semi-warm glasses of ale, the table wet from the condensation dripping off of the mugs in the August heat.

Julius was the unofficial leader of the gathering. He ordinarily led the conversation, or at least started it in that night’s direction. Directly beside him sat Julian, called Jay by the group, so as to lessen any confusion between their names. The group had tried to call Julius “Freckles” but he would have none of that. So Julius it was. Julian, on the other hand, tried out one nickname after another on himself, first “Lefty” then “Butch” and even “Killer,” but none fit him, so he just went by Jay.

Jonny was the clown of the group, the one who invariably embarrassed one or more of them before the night was done. At a little over 5 feet tall he was warm and feisty and prone to practical jokes. And he loved mysteries, usually asking more questions than everyone else put together.

Jorge, thanks to two college degrees and a job with more letters than a can of alphabet soup, was known as the brains of the bunch. He was the quiet one, sitting and taking in all of the arguments for that evening’s mystery, formulating his answer twice before speaking once.

Alphonse was the newest member, having participated in the end of week ritual for just a little over a year. Try as he might, he didn’t feel accepted, for a number of reasons: he was the new man, and had ‘invaded’ the tribe; he had yet, in his year aboard, solved one of the mysteries; and (surprisingly, the main reason he felt like such an outsider) he was the only one whose name didn’t start with the letter “J.”

The mysteries they mulled over each week were usually true stories from the news that perplexed authorities, giving rise to public speculation and Friday night sleuths.

“His body was found in an empty, locked storage room; locked from the inside, mind you, as was the only window. And being on the third floor overlooking the busy street the window was virtually inaccessible,” said Julius, pointing at the market across the street. The police tape was still strewn across the front door.

“He had been stabbed once in the stomach, a large, jagged wound. He was wearing heavy work gloves and an apron. His body was surrounded by blood. The wound itself was almost cauterized, as if by fire.”

“His wife was charged with the murder, I believe?” queried Jonny.

“Yes, and it was her son from a previous marriage that asked me to discuss this with the four of you; he believes she is innocent,” answered Julius.

“She was the only other person in the building at the time of the murder?” Jonny wasn’t shy about asking the obvious.

“That’s one of the mysteries; the police aren’t exactly sure when the murder took place.”

“Why?” Jay chimed in.

“Well, the body was cold, of course, but it was too cold. And since this happened on the third day that the power had been turned off at the market, in this blazing summer heat, everything in there was stinking hot.”

“So that smell that permeates the neighborhood right now isn’t his body, but rather …” started Jonny.

“The odor of rotting meat from the freezers,” finished Jorge.

“And therein lies another mystery within the mystery,” continued Julius. “The room wherein lay his body was virtually odor free. In fact, the police say that when they finally broke down the door the only odor that was discernible was a sharp, acrid smell, taking their breaths away, and making it virtually impossible to breathe. They had to wait a full twenty minutes before entering.”

“With the power out, how did he keep his meat frozen?” asked Jonny again.

“Apparently he’d gone out and purchased every cube of ice in a ten block radius. Even Bill chipped in and gave a good portion.”

“Ice! He was murdered with ice!” shouted Jonny. “The murderer forged a blade from ice, shoved it in his belly, and walked away. We’ve all heard that story before.”

“And then locked the door from the inside?” answered Jorge. “Impossible.”

“The police have heard that legend as well, and have assured me that it was, in fact, impossible. There was no water present. And if he killed himself, where could the murder weapon go, but to melt and lie on the floor with his blood?”

“Wait minute; he kept his meat frozen with regular ice?” asked Jorge. His mind was obviously working.

“That would be virtually impossible. Ice melts quickly, and would have to be continually replenished.” Now Alphonse was chiming in.

“Yes, it does, but apparently he supplanted his ice with carbon dioxide. This would have been good enough to keep the regular ice frozen, if kept supplied with the CO2.” Julius relished his role as ‘master of ceremonies’.

“But the smell …” started Jonny. “The meat is rotten. The ice must be gone by now.”

“It was gone the day of his death, or so say the police. It was, after all, the odor of rotting meat, what they called the ‘smell of death’, that first attracted the police to the crime scene.”

“And he was last seen alive …?” Jonny asked what everyone wondered.

“The day before his body was discovered. This is why the condition of his body is so perplexing to the police. In one day, how did his body chill to a temperature below that of a normal ‘dead’ body?” Even Julius, their unofficial leader, had questions.

“And on the third floor, the hottest place in the building,” added Jonny.

“So let us review: he was murdered with a sharp, jagged object, which was taken by the murderer and discarded. The door was then locked from the inside. The wound was burnt in a fashion, yet there are no signs of any open flames or heat, save for this dreaded summer sun. The room had an acrid odor, virtually unbreathable, yet had no smell of death. The body was cold, colder than it should have been in the heat of the third floor.” Julius laid it all out for them.

Silence fell over the group, as together they picked up their, by now, warm mugs of half finished ale, and looked at the market across the street.

“Ice, ice everywhere, and none for my drink.” Alphonse’ mantra was almost inaudible. Suddenly, he burst out laughing, startling those around him.

“Are you mad?” asked Jonny, spilling what was left of his warm ale as he jumped.

“No,” said Alphonse, “merely happy, because I’ve finally solved a mystery.”

“How? How was he murdered?” they asked in unison.

“That’s just it, my good friends; he wasn’t murdered. He killed himself.”

Even Bill, who normally sat stoically behind the bar, leaned forward to hear the solution.

“It was the ‘smell of death’ comment that solved it for me. The ‘acrid odor, virtually unbreathable, yet had no smell of death’ convinced me I’m right. It turns out that Jonny was correct, in a fashion. His death was caused by ice.”

“But the lack of water …” started Julian, only to be interrupted.

“Yes, I know, there was no water. But he wasn’t killed with regular ice; he died by dry ice.” And Alphonse sat back, took a big swig of totally warm ale, and let that sink in.

“Dry ice? What in blazes is …” Jay started to ask what they all wondered.

“It’s the name informally given to frozen carbon dioxide. It is ‘dry’ because it never becomes a liquid. The solid form melts dead away to a gas.” Jorge, the brain, answered for him.

“And ‘dead away’ is the perfect term,” agreed Alphonse, and then continued.

“The marketer was losing his meat, and his business. He apparently decided to take his own life as well. He gathered the last hunk of dry ice he had, carried it up to the third floor, locked the door behind him, and plunged the frozen carbon dioxide into his belly. The dry ice doesn’t melt, it evaporates. As it did, it displaced the oxygen in the room, explaining the ‘acrid odor’ when the police entered. It also explains why the body was so cold, colder than a normal dead body. The dry ice was so cold that it cauterized the wound.”

“He nearly got away with the perfect murder … his own. But the smell of death, or the lack thereof, gave him away.”

Alphonse signaled to Bill, and yelled, “Barkeep, another round of, this time, cold ale for my friends. I’m buying.”

Word count: 1492
By akhenatenator (Score: 6.22)

The sky was bruised like swollen eyes that had no tears left to cry. Louis pulled his coat closer around him, as though daring the icy-fingered wind to take a step closer. The sound of footfall on wet pavement quickened, almost in time with his heartbeat. He stopped. Silence. A few more steps echoing his own. Silence.

This time the silence stretched onwards, even the icy breeze stopped dead in its tracks; it was as though bird and beast held their collective breath, while time itself stood still. The sober clock face stood motionless, while the bell, mid-toll held its tongue. Amid this moment of emptiness, Louis caught the scent of orange blossom, and with it flooded a torrent of thoughts and images - something akin to childhood memories, of oriental orchards in the early evening, of fine inks and crisp, clean vellum. These memories, though, were not his own. Louis' childhood had been spent in distinct mediocrity at a boarding school in the city that his parents could ill-afford.

His breath came easier as he felt the chill breeze once again, plucking at his hair and clothes, while the church bells welcomed their guilt-ridden congregation. Louis glanced behind once again, but the footfall was no longer sinister, rather filled with chatter and hats and finery.


A storm was swelling in the distance and the sky seethed and rumbled, thick with anger. Mokmoku Ren had been sitting out on the porch all evening, waiting. His pen and nib lying before him were older than time. Purple thunder rolled around the hills in the north. All roads lead here... eventually.


A dusty mauve of a melancholy twilight lingered, draping itself forlornly upon the patch of horizon from where the sun had fled, shedding its last apologetic light through the sterile blinds. Jessica's thoughts were empty. Her baby was dead. Yet still its lifeless form needed to be delivered. She turned and looked at the needle as the icy anaesthetic was drawn into her veins. She was cold, motionless. And through the sterile atmosphere came the scent of orange blossom. In her mind's eye, Jessica fancied she saw blue skies in playful patches between the orchard blooms. Though this memory was not her own, it was somehow familiar; perhaps it was of the childhood her stillborn child was never destined to have.

Jessica opened her eyes. Alone. She was no longer burdened with the weight of motherhood within her empty womb.


Mokmoku Ren looked out across the wetlands towards the ocean where the storm pulsed. He smiled. It would not be long now... The hurt, the guilt, the anger was seething, burning through the veins of a world which could scarce contain it. And thus the storm was raised upon a blackened horizon. Mokmoku Ren lay down his tiny tools and examined his miniature garden, perfectly formed in every way, as though shaped over a millennium. And the he looked out upon his orchard; the scent of the delicate blossom chasing upon a breeze, pure, yet filled with foreboding.


It had gotten later than he'd thought. The moon was already high in a mournful obsidian crystal sky. The stars could have been the tears of the Gods cried by ancient myths. The lights of the late night lock in faded away as Alex rounded the corner. And suddenly it was as though an eye was upon him in the darkness. His breath came fast and shallow. He peered into the darkness, but it was like chasing the shadow of a ghost. The warm glow of the whiskey fled leaving an icy tread upon his heart. The world stood motionless, and weaving through his thoughts and senses, there it was; the scent of orange blossom, spiriting him back to a long forgotten, half imagined orchard, filled with the blooms of youthful vigour. The sunlight just glanced upon the fine calligraphy tracing across the crisp vellum, just falling out of the reach of his imagination.

Alex shook off this apparition as these insubstantial thoughts were replaced with the unopened bottled waiting for him at the lodge.


Mokmoku Ren looked out with not only his eyes, but more than that. He pressed his soul into the wind and called... He looked upon them for he knew that they could hear him, feel him... smell him.

The purple storm clouds gathered straight above now. Lightning ripped apart the air, and thunder tore through the clouds and into the heart. Time rested for a moment, away from ticking clocks and rising tides. And it was through these cracks that the first ones came, mesmerized, drawn to a memory, a hope, a solace... a scent of orange blossom.

They wandered through the orchard, each caught in their own reverie, and Mokmoku Ren looked out from the porch, his arms wide in welcome. With each step that they took closer to the house, he drew them further into his will. And with each step, the garden began to lose its luminescence, purity and hope; the blossoms faded, fruits appeared and withered. And all the while the scent grew putrid.

These were the first souls to enter the house of Mokmoku Ren. He smiled and closed the door.

Out in the orchard, the crows pecked at the flesh and blood of rotten oranges.

Word count: 885

"I love the smell of bamboo growing," Brad said.

"The earthy smell mixed with the grassy scent of the bamboo is rather nice," Shelly said.

"I was thinking that it was the smell of money," Brad said, "There must be a hundred and one things that you can do with bamboo, from making floors to socks to scaffolding."

"Not to mention flutes and windchimes."

"I think there's a company even making bicyles out of bamboo."

They were deep into the stand of giant grass and the sunlight was changed to a magical green by the tall stalks. There was everything from tiny shoots to huge plants more than a foot across. The cool breeze played a gentle tune on the bamboo.

"What people do with the stuff is less important than the money they are willing to pay for it." Brad stopped and took a deep breath. The odour on the breeze was even richer than usual today.

"There you go being all romantic."

"I have to be realistic," Brad said, "Romance never put food on anyone's table. This little stand is going make me rich. Trees take a long time to grow and you have to replant each time you harvest. This stuff," he patted a particularly large stem, "This stuff grows a foot a day and you never need to replant."

"Come on then," Shelly said, "You were going to show me something special."

"Right," Brad said, "This way."

He pulled her even deeper into the stand. It was impossible to know that there was any world outside of the giant grass. The earthy smell was stronger now, and there was an extra element that made Brad's blood stir. He felt the trusting warmth of her hand in his and it was difficult to contain his excitement.

Bamboo wasn't native to the area, but was carefully cultivated by Brad to be sold to whoever wanted to use the new green material. That it provided a virtually soundproof screen was a happy bonus.

They arrived at a tiny clearing in the exact centre of the stand. He let go of her hand to open the picnic basket that he carried in his other hand.

"I do love a picnic," Shelly said as she sank effortlessly to the ground, "but I can't say I've ever had a picnic on the set of a kung fu movie before."

"What?" Brad paused in his unpacking to look at her.

"You know, Crouching Tiger and all those movies. They all have scenes in which people run up and down the bamboo and fight with swords." She licked her lips and ran her hand up and down a small stem in a way that made more than his blood stir. Brad swallowed and finished laying out the picnic.

He poured a couple of glasses of red wine and passed one to Shelly. She lifted it to her lips and smiled at him over the glass. The heavy smell of the wine mixed with the other smells of the clearing and made his head spin. She reached for her wine and knocked the glass over. Brad laughed and refilled her glass. Once again she shot him a look over the rim.

"A picnic isn't complete without a little ... dessert," Shelly said and her fingers were fumbling with buttons on her blouse. Brad leaned over and helped her. She giggled a little.

"I don't normally do this," she said and kissed him. He could taste the wine on her lips. Her hands suddenly no longer fumbling were at his belt then his zipper. Without any rush their clothes fell away.

Brad had never experienced anything like it. It wasn't part of the plan, but he wasn't going to argue.

He hoped the special ingredient in the wine didn't take effect too soon. Shelly suddenly took control, her hands guiding him to where he had never been before, at least not with someone willing and alive beneath him.

A heady new smell surrounded them, and he breathed it in. It was like the undercurrent that swirled through the clearing from his other visits but stronger. It was intoxicating. His heart raced even faster.

It was really too bad that he was going to kill her, but the need was upon him and it was even more powerful than the sex. But he didn't have to do it just yet. The wine would take hold soon enough, and until then he would enjoy the ride.

He was sweating and breathing hard, and Shelly was digging her nails into his back. Suddenly she flipped them over so she was on top and the world exploded in pain and pleasure as she hit him with the wine bottle and blackness took him.

He woke still naked on the ground. Shelly was crouching at the edge of the clearing watching him.

"You know, when you were listing all the uses for bamboo, you missed some. They're more recreational than economic so maybe they just didn't occur to you."

Brad tried to sit up and discovered that he was tied securely to four stout bamboo stalks. Shelly laughed and ran a hand down his side. His body half reacted in spite of the pain that shot through his head. She laughed again.

"No, I don't think so," she said, "it was fun in its own way, but you aren't really that good." She picked up some splinters of bamboo. "It's time to take it to the next level. I think we'll start with the fingers. That's a classic isn't it? Feel free to scream, no one will hear you." She took his right hand in a steel grip and shoved one of the splinters under his fingernail. The pain made him gasp, then he screamed.

"But then you knew that already didn't you?" She grinned and pointed up into the bamboo grove. "I did some redecorating for you. I'm surprised you didn't notice."

Brad saw the bodies of his other girls impaled on stalks of bamboo.

"How?" he asked.

"You will find out soon enough," Shelley said. She looked at her hand and pretended to be shocked that there were still splinters in it. "Can't let these go to waste." She gave him the same smile she had shot at him over the wine glass, but now it made him try to shrink away from him.

He screamed for quite a while. His hands were white hot with pain and his voice was a shattered croak. She still had one splinter left.

"Now where should I put this?" she asked with that same smile and Brad found himself begging for mercy. But that steel grip found his centre and he felt a pain that made everything else seem minor. He would have screamed but he passed out instead.

When he came to this time it was dark and the scent of death overwhelmed the earth and grass smell of the bamboo. Brad tried to move his arms and learned that he was still firmly tied down. Strangely, the ground beneath him felt different. He had been moved for some reason.

"There is something that I've been wanting to try ever since I saw it on TV. It will take a little while though, so you will need to be patient." Shelly's voice floated out of the darkness. "I know that you aren't really a very patient person. You don't do much work checking out your victims other to make sure that they aren't local girls who will be missed. I don't suppose you know how insulting it is to be lumped in with that sorry collection of lambs." Her hand stroked his side and he tried to twitch himself away. Shelly laughed with a throaty sound that, impossibly, made him stir again and moan with the pain. "As you might have guessed," she said as she stroked him again, "I'm no lamb."

"You were wondering how your little lambs got up there in the bamboo." Her hand was tease and torture. "I can tell you now," she said, "The bamboo lifted them. As you pointed out bamboo grows at a tremendous rate. I just put your corpses over shoots and up they went. You spent so much time 'courting' me, that the poor darlings were well up in the air by the time you arranged our little picnic." Shelly laughed again.

"Now we are going to find out if it will work on a live person."

Brad tried to strain at the ropes holding him, but the pain made him feeble. He gasped for air and breathed in the scent of earth and blood and death. He also smelled the green odour of healthy bamboo stretching madly toward the sky.

He thought he felt a tickle between his shoulder blades.

Word count: 1468
By juliarisca (Score: 3.954)

Owner of a sensitive nose, she often felt scents that no one noticed. As a child she was able to, just by the smell, tell if a fruit was beginning to rot without even looking. Because she felt so many different smells, both good and bad, she didn’t knew if she was gifted or a cursed. The truth is that if she lacked that nose she might never have known such unknown and rare flower as the Midnight Flower.

One night while returning home felt a mild sweet perfume that caught her attention. This episode was being to repeat night after night. With each passing day the smell was becoming ever more present, denser, more inviting. She had never felt so perfect scent like that, seemed to be calling her. Then, following her nose, eyes shut, ended up entering a residence. Took a deep breath and, with eyes closed, felt different aromas. Leaf, dew, earth, hand cream, talcum and, of course, the most remarkable of all, the reason for her coming. By opening her eyes she realized she had jumped a wall six feet tall and fell into a garden where there were some bushes and low grass.

She had invaded the property of a frightened middle-aged woman and felt ashamed. Head down she apologized to the lady. And when she began to explain that was to follow a perfume that she had arrived there the lady interrupted her.

- Can you smell that?

Yes, the girl replied quickly. And she began to explain how wonderful the experience had been when she felt that great perfume, and how she would like to know its origin and if she could feel it more closely. The lady then showed her the owner of the smell. It was a small white flower, similar to jasmine, but it was just the stem and bud, there was not a bush or tree.

Pointing to the flower the lady told her that few people were able to feel its smell with such clarity.

- She’s called Midnight Flower, because her fragrance reaches its peak around this time. Look! The moon is high, it's almost midnight.

The young woman bent down to smell it and for a brief moment she was numbed by so perfect odor.

- I liked this fragrance, if you would allow, I would like to visit it a few times to be able to feel it again. I was delighted and would like to know more about this flower.

Taking her hand the lady said to her that it was difficult to care for the flower alone, it needed special treatment and that she was getting old for this job. She asked if the girl wouldn’t want to help her. The young woman said a vibrant "of course", which let out her excitement.

- When can I start? I'll be glad to help you.

- By nine o'clock tomorrow night, Miss Midnight needs to eat early to bloom at the right time. - Said the lady with a wink and smile on her lips.

Quarter to nine the young woman was already on the lady’s front door, eager to know what the compound used to make the flower with incredible perfume was. The lady was happy with the punctuality of the young woman, and then asked if she also had the vitality to carry and grind large pieces of meat. Protein, so that was the secret of the fertilizer.

And how singular was that piece of frozen meat and bone, it seemed no known butcher cut, and as she wasn’t very fond of cooking, she couldn’t tell what kind of animal was. The smell was different, light, sweet, good. Thought to ask the lady which kind of meat was that, but decided to be discreet and expect a good time to ask her about it, after all was her first day helping to grind the meat.

With the each passing day the girl became accustomed to the work and stopped worrying about the meat. Moreover, her affection for the flower was increasing as she was nursing it and feeling its delicious fragrance. She was so comfortable with the situation that she would cheerfully chat with the lady while she fondled the delicate flower.

The lady saw the dedication and affection that the young woman had towards the flower, and found it good that after so much love it was time to tell her secret. So on the first day that there was fresh meat took advantage of the occasion to reveal the truth.

- Dear friend, do you like the flower? Can you keep a secret? Know how to use a chainsaw?

Why do so many questions, thought the young lady. Yes, she liked the flower. Yes, she could keep a secret. And no, never used a chainsaw, but could learn. The young woman nodded her head three times, while making a serious face. Then the lady invited her into the basement, and before opening the door she took her hand.

- You may not like what you will see here, you can also from now on not like me, nor the flower. But know that to maintain such a beautiful perfume it is needed proper nutrition. And first of all ask you secrecy about what I’ll show.

The girl nodded her head affirmatively. The door was opened, a sultry smell of cleaning products invaded the air. The young woman inspired and felt a different fragrance, remarkable, the well-known mild and sweet aroma of the meat.

The light was turned on, and a neat and clean basement could be seen, with two large freezers and various cleaning products in two shelves with perfect organization, but what really drew attention was the huge wooden table with a full naked body lying awkwardly.

There was no more life in it and it hadn’t smell of decomposition, the meat was fresh, with a nice odor. She then understood the origin of the beautiful and perfect perfume of the flower. It was a flower able to capture that kind of aroma, empower it and pass it through its petals. The horrible idea of killing someone just to enhance the scent of a flower seemed terrible, but to feel the pleasure of that smell it was valid action. Love that the young woman felt for the flower was large enough to look upon the dead and instead of seeing him as person without the life she saw as an ideal aliment.

The young woman looked at the body, sighed, and went through the basement moving toward the electric saw. Holding it in her arms she said:

- Can you teach me how to use this?

The lady was startled to see the reaction of the young woman, but felt happy for seeing her realize that to create such a perfect fragrance energetic measures were needed of equal value. It was explained to the young woman that the flower needed to feed from what had the best aroma, whether it was animal or vegetable. And she was told that when the flower reached the height of perfection of it perfume it would generate a sprout. At this time the girl was fully aware of the whole process of nursing the flower. And they were in tune. After feeding it saw a small sprout that had emerged. She was happy, delighted. She could not take your eyes it. Looking at that scene the lady gave a sigh and a smile of tranquility.

- This is your sprout, you can take, this is the gift that flower gave you as payment for care you’ve put on her.

The young lady was so moved that small tears ran through her eyes.
She took her sprout in a small pot that the lady gave her.
And as she returned home, and the day was dawning, she embraced her sprout, glad to have it. It hadn’t a smell of its own, the only smell it gave off was the perfume of its origin, which was very weak and barely noticeable. She was so glad that for a second she forgot that her little plant could feed on living things, as she remembered that she stared the small sprout and wished that fruits would be enough to feed it.

A few days passed and the young woman had not yet felt a fragrance she would consider perfect for powering her small sprout. And as the sprout was fading the girl grew increasingly desperate to find the perfect odor. Everywhere she went she paid attention to all smells. In the fair put all the fruit below the nose to feel if at least one would be ideal. And when she was tired of searching, just around the corner coming home saw child in the distance coming toward her. Still far found it beautiful. Curly hair, walking loose.

When they passed by each other she felt a strong smell of childhood, marked, sweet, numbing... perfect.

Word count: 1488

This is my first entry and I wish I can entertain you with my story. So enjoy!


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