You’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘they can smell fear’ but let me tell you, smell is only the beginning.
Not only can they smell fear, they can taste it, touch it, see it--fear cradles their five senses like a mother cushions a newborn and they crave that sweet touch.
If they know you’re scared, if they catch sight of beads of sweat pooling on the tops of your brow or catch the trivial stammer at the end of your sentence they’ll end you. Maybe right there, maybe a little later but they’ll always end you.
Other than fear, they only care about one thing. As if this situation wasn’t unsettling enough, I have that one thing. It’s sitting in the trunk of my car. Thankfully they can’t smell that the way they do ripe fear. Not yet, anyway.
I hadn’t had it very long, maybe a few hours but I knew they’d be searching soon. They’d realize its sudden and suspicious disappearance and begin their hunt. I was on my way to hide it. I thought it would bring me jubilation and maybe for a period it did. That rich satisfaction promptly bleached into a festering angst. I needed it gone, camouflaged so well I could be long gone before they found their precious.
The ride was uneventful and rather dark as I descended not only further into the night but further into the bog’s fat trees. I had a hiding spot picked out already, far off and full of matter to keep the senses occupied. Sight, touch, sound but especially smell. Alabama marsh in the middle of the summer brewed a stench so robust they’d never catch scent of it.
It was strenuous to move, sizeable and solid. The heat surely didn’t help, I felt sweat leaking from every pore and my steady breath developed into a hasty pant. I did it, though. I moved the bag it had been stifled in right into the bayou. Beetles hit my face and burly flies bit the back of my legs but alas, it was finished.
I can’t say I stuck around to admire my hard work, I left and did so quickly, the panic inside evaporating the further I got from the dump site.
By the time they find James’ body the fear will have left mine. He’ll be too decomposed to tell a story, I’ll be too anchored to be blamed.
Remember, they don’t just smell fear.
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