House warming

old bathtub

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.

Week 7: Inspired by “the sense of smell” and/or the word “Elixir.”
This week’s Studio30 Plus theme is “Gigolo rhymes with __,” and/or “dark.”

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Annabelle says:

    Such great imagery all the way through this piece, and I like the idea of matches being the only useful thing someone left behind. Well done.


  2. Whoever said arson wasn’t constructive didn’t have a decayed relationship like this. When the matchbook is the only thing left of his that has purpose, you strike a match and purify your past with cleansing flame. Yes, this post is exquisitely crafted and I, too, am envious of such a display of talent. Well done!


  3. You did an amazing job capturing that combination of disgusting and sweet smell that comes with decay; I particularly appreciated the hint of lavender, because it left me wondering more about what the place was like before it became a mess of mold and memories.


  4. Brianna Soloski says:

    Excellent. Seeing the photo really brought the piece to life.


  5. Outstanding writing. I hope this is a novel in progress. It’s my first time visiting and I definitely was NOT disappointed. The sensory details in this writing are wonderfully crafted.

    I loved every word:~) Also, if that picture was taken by you. It’s very well done and perfect for the story.


  6. Valerie says:

    Outstanding writing! I’m looking forward to reading more of your work in the future!


  7. Cameron says:

    The algae as a “velvety stencil?” Oh, Tara, THAT is gorgeous.


  8. debseeman says:

    Your imagery is outstanding. I could see feel and smell the setting.


  9. Carrie says:

    Great use of smell to really enhance the scene. I was breathing in the rotting wood and the sulpher


  10. There is so much to like here, not least of which is the title.


  11. Marie says:

    How profoundly dark. I truly love this!


  12. wow! that photos looks like taken from a horror movie… great though!


  13. Lance says:

    If “the devil is in the details” , then the demons released here are through perfect word choices and excellent prose. I loved this. The opening few lines were addictive.


  14. Kir Piccini says:

    if it were really that easy to burn the bad dreams, I’d probably do it once a week. ;)

    “A phantom odor of lavender hung in the stifling air, masking the underlying stink of evil.”- I loved this line, how it refers to something that might have been pleasant in another place and time, that even in the midst of the durge our minds try to find a happy memory.

    what does that sound say “Let the m**f** burn?”, alright, then.

    it’s pieces like this that make you truly incredible.


  15. deanabo says:

    You use of imagery is amazing! Terrific as usual!


So, tell me what you really think:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s