Hot Room

The door crashed inward off of its hinges and air was exchanged. What came in was so fresh it was almost green. It pushed cool tendril breezes into the room and swept into the darkened corners. What went out was fetid and dank, a miasma of stale body odor and other expelled gasses, richly mixed with the stink of decomposition. As the door frame crumbled there was a perfect, beautiful moment where the invading sunbeams held the dust of the intrusion in a glimmering suspension. Then the dust rose, and grey clouds roiled in the threshold.

"Something's dead in there, I'll bet my bonus," Hallman said, and pulled his neckerchief up to cover his nose and mouth. I thought he looked like a bandit with his face half-covered like that.

"That's not a bet anyone with olfaction would take," I said. I grimaced and stepped away from the destroyed door. "No need for a stack and clear. Look at that pile of mail. No one's been here in weeks." I nodded and Hallman entered the room. "See about clearing a window, try to get some more light in there."

It was stifling hot inside the apartment, a few degrees short of baking temperatures. The smell was overwhelming, and I could tell that the inside was winning the battle against the out, keeping the fresh air at bay. I didn't mind it, though. I'd been in worse. Scorched blood and bodily fluids was bad. Whatever had happened in unit 11 had been gentle, and to my senses the odor of rot was more of the vegetable variety than the flesh.

"Full catbox here," Hallman said. "That's nasty." He stepped over something and rounded a corner. A moment later a shearing sound followed by an orange light filled the room he'd entered. "Yeah," he called. "We got our perps."


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