Crossing through the doorway, the smell that greeted me was redolent of wet leaves blanketing the floor of a deep, dark forest – a sweet and earthy fragrance. The wild woods were taking over the ruins, reclaiming what it could. From the road, the abandoned building showed little resemblance to its former self.
As I ventured farther into the house, dying daylight streamed through splintered rafters and broken windows, fractured over time by encroaching brambles. Musky algae papered the bathroom walls, concealing blood stains under a velvety green stencil. A phantom odor of lavender hung in the stifling air, masking the underlying stink of evil.
At the center of the rubble, I turned in a narrow circle, processing my unease in silence. My journey into hell started and ended here. Rising out of the fire, my wounds cauterised, only then could healing begin.
Holding an open box of matches in my hand, the image of a bikini clad cowgirl on the cover, I breathed in their sulfur perfume. Found among the belongings in his bedstand, the firestarters were the only thing of value he left to me.
Piles of decaying dreck and detritus, blown into the corner of the room, served as my funeral pyre. With each lit match, with each spark that ignited the fire, I felt my dark memories rising with the cinders and smoke, billowing up through the rotting timbers.
Walking away, my back warmed by the inferno, I relinquished the fiery demons of my past, the night illuminated by their macabre dance.