I didn’t think of it at the time, but it was the smell that lingered.
In those horrific moments I wasn’t thinking. I was just moving. I was acting. No, that’s not true at all. Truth was, I was stuffed away in the back of my own mind, while my body operated. I heard the sounds, the screams and the sizzling flesh. I saw the carnage, but the smell came later.
And it was the smell that lingered.
It’s the one thing I that I can’t get rid of. I’ve blocked the visuals as much as my feeble mind will let me, the sounds are more like something I read in a story and my imagination filled in the blanks, but the smell. That Goddamn smell, it won’t leave.
And that’s how I know It’s still here.
Because the smell of boiling, puckering, and peeling flesh wasn’t from their bodies. It wants me to believe that’s where it originated. It wants me to think it’s something I’ll be cursed to live with, but that’s the lie. And don’t get me wrong, Deacon had smelled it for months too.
But the truth is, that smell?
That smell means It is lingering. It has much more planned and wants us to pay attention. The bus crash last fall, right before the news broke, I smelled it. The scent so strong I could almost see It grinning. Bastard. When Aurora Bristol had a heart-attack at the school dance, I almost passed out from the that stench.
God, bless her soul.
I won’t waste your time. with the laundry list of accidental deaths and worse, that have been plaguing our town since that day. No need to draw you down the drain with the rest of us. You get the gist; It is tied to every bad thing that occurs to anyone having stepped foot in our little town.
It’s the other part you may need a little help understanding.
The part about Deacon and his old man. The part I haven’t wanted to talk about, not because it’s too painful–which oddly it is, even after all of this tragedy–but because it’s too… Not complicated, that word is too simple to describe it. Because it’s too… Too… Unnatural.
Because what happened to Deacon’s old man.
The story you know. The story I experienced. Well, that’s not really what happened. That’s not the gospel truth. Not that I lied, because I didn’t. I told you every square inch of my truth. Of what I witnessed. But that wasn’t right. That isn’t what bled into the future reality–if that makes any sense, which I’m sure it doesn’t.
Just bare with me.
Because I was where you were. I was trying to curl back the pages to understand, to spot the place where it went awry. Where I started to believe my own lies… A coping mechanism, perhaps? Because the truth is Deacon’s old man didn’t die on July 4th. He died in June. Four years earlier. But that couldn’t be right, could it?