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Even though the body was removed weeks ago, I can still smell the sharp tang of death in the flat. It lingers in the air like a ghostly presence, heavy and lazy; a snake fat on its kill. I don’t realise it now but I will be able to recall this smell, this moment, for the rest of my life. Just like I will be able to smell her favourite perfume in empty rooms or in a passing crowd.

I have been dreading doing this ever since she died. The next of kin clear up. Going through her accumulated life and deciding what needs to be thrown away and what needs to be kept. Deciding her worth by the material possessions left behind.

Where do you start with shit like this? The bedroom? Bathroom? Lounge? Maybe the kitchen. How fucking hard can it be really? I mean it is only a small apartment. It’s only stuff. That’s it. Just look at it as stuff. Fuck it. Get fucking started.

Really, the hard bit was coming back here and opening the door. Letting the memories flood back. That tight, vice like grip on my chest. That kick in the stomach at the mess and decay. The rest of the day, sorting through everything, is just going to be more of the same. I need a drink. A smoke. Fucking anything.

*****

You can read the rest of this story in the published collection, From The Lodge To The City, due out on 1st June 2011

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