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This isn't about you and your loud mouth,
This is about me and my fucking beard.
Since last post: 2529 days
Last activity: 2153 days
| I’ve always been known for my sense of smell. It’s not that it’s necessarily stronger than the average person, or that it is more refined. What makes my sense of smell so unique is its power of selection. Since childhood, my knack of sensing important aromas has gained me the nickname of “Rover” amongst my family. From smelling the slight accidental addition of detergent in my mother’s spaghetti dinner at the age of 6, to the hidden pet droppings stashed away in the living room at 13, it’s almost like fate guides me by the nose and says “Here is the key. Unlock the door.”
This is the story I try to tell before explaining how I found Dad. Sometimes, it’s hard to have a sense of humor about this, but I know this is how he would’ve wanted the story told. I knew from the first moment I walked in the house something was wrong. I smelt the absence of life. For the rest of the day, in between tears, I tried to think back, and it just seems like I had sensed the truth the moment I woke up. It just took a few hours for my eyes to catch up with my nose.
Acting by his will, we handled his affairs as quietly as possible. A simple obituary was posted, short notice before his funeral would arrive. We found a cheap funeral home in Crestwood Funeral Services. It was a large, ancient-looking building, more like a castle than any funeral home you’d see today. The director, Thomas Crestwood, informed us of his years of expertise and sympathy with our family’s financial plight. Mom and I looked over the bill a few times, desperate for some hidden catch. There wasn’t any.
The days before the funeral were a blur. Amidst all the affairs that had to be settled, I had little time to ponder anything. Mr. Crestwood was a huge help for Mom and me. When one of us would become overwhelmed, he would swoop in and draw us in his bony arms, pulling apart our woes like they were mere cloth. He even talked out Mom’s guilt over being on vacation when Dad passed on, something I thought impossible. He was an angel when we needed him. Our angel cloaked in a flared tuxedo.
With the ring of brass shattering the overcast morning, the day of the funeral had come. I entered the home and quickly realized this was not my time to grieve. I was forced to siphon the masses from parlor door to the viewing floor, fighting the rapid currents of woe they brought with them. This was no easy battle, and soon I found my self stripped of jacket and tie, now informally dressed among the newcomers, sweat on the small of my back. I had no time to find them, as the procession began.
Mr. Crestwood started the ceremony with a surprisingly moving speech based on Mother and my own recollections we’d shared with him. His high, powerful voice, slightly scratchy, moved many of the viewers to tears. Had I not smelled blood that very moment, it is likely I would have cried as well.
Mom was up next. She pulled out a wrinkled piece of printer paper, stained with tears. She tried to read about our trip to Disney World nine years ago and how my dad had packed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for every day we explored the amusement park, and how he used to cut the grass before the sun would come out. She couldn’t. Everyone understood.
Now it was my turn to speak. I hadn’t really been given the time to think of what to say before, so I scanned the crowd now, looking for inspiration. When my eyes passed Mr. Crestwood, I felt the pools of blackness he called eyes boring into me. I saw in his face the words I could’ve said, but now seemed unable to access. I allowed myself to tear up, blamed my lack of speech on emotion, and sat down. Everyone understood.
As I helped carry the casket to the grave, I smelled it again. Blood. I couldn’t understand it then, but the smell of dried blood filled my senses, and occupied my thoughts. I watched my father lowered into the ground and the shadowy mass of mourners disperse. I stood, immobile, in the rain, until the smell of blood was masked with mud.
As I turned the ignition of my car, I realized I had forgotten my jacket and tie at the funeral home. I quickly returned, planning simply to jump in, fetch my
belongings, and parting. I hopped up the steps, pushed open the doors, and made
my way to the viewing section. Unsurprisingly, the jacket was curled up on the
floor, wrapped around a seat. I pulled it loose and made my way for the door.
Before I could make it to the parlor, I felt my body freeze up. The smell of blood had crept before me again. This time, I was going to get to the bottom of it. Off to the right was a quiet hallway, illuminated by candlelight. Following it down into the building, a growing fear filled me.
Soon enough, I found a door, slightly ajar, filling the dark hallway with a harsh light. As I debated my choices, I felt Fate seize hold of me. It had given me
the key. I must unlock the door. I stepped forward and immersed myself in the
blinding light of the truth.
“Oh, young man.” Mr. Crestwood lamented as he finished squeezing the human heart in his hands dry of a glowing, silver fluid. “Why did you do this to yourself?”
I saw in his face the words I could’ve said once, but now seemed unable to access.
“Yes, I know this isn’t embalming. I assume you’ll want a full explanation of what you’ve just seen.”
I nodded slightly, only to show I was still alive.
“You see, in a man’s life, he is faced with dilemmas. He must decide where his heart lies, and must follow it until the bitter end. I, like all men, was faced with such a dilemma. For me, however, it has been some time since I made it. Five hundred years, to be more precise.”
I should’ve shown more disbelief, more astonishment and fear, but my features were frozen, and his words seemed far more commanding than I remembered.
“It’s not so wrong, really. I just collect the life force the freshly dead no longer use, consume it, and extend my life. As a funeral director, I enjoy the unique power of being paid to remain immortal. However, the freshly dead only give me so much, so I must settle with bargain prices to ensure a constant stream.”
I took a step forward, truly impassioned.
“Did you really do this to my father?”
He looked at me with dumbfounded curiousity.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
I grew furious.
“Who chose you to live forever?! What do you think gives you the right to feast upon the dead?!”
He looked at me again with those unbelieving eyes.
“Fate. I did not seek these rituals, spells, or immortal life. It chose me. It fed me the method, and the meat. It has guided me by these age old hands and unlocked the door for me.”
His words hit too close to home.
“This ends here, you monster!”
“So here we are, two men of Fate’s design at a crossroads. Only she can decide who is right.”
I lift the rusty surgical saw to my left. He clenches his scalpel. We both move forward.
I smell blood.
Got the idea from a story idea generator:
The story starts when the protagonist smells something strange.
Another character is a mortician who claims that s/he has been alive since the 1500s.
I've just noticed that I have a habit of including villains in my stories that prey upon humans for some form of satisfaction (Mulligan, as well.) They tend to be manipulative, skillful with social interaction, and adept at pulling off personas. Maybe this is just my send off to Mulligan after putting so much work into it. Better to get it out of my system now before I start working on my next script. Really not happy with this story, but better to post it and get criticism then do nothing at all. Anyway, enjoy and feel free to leave comments!
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