As I opened the door...

As I opened the door, I was shocked. I didn’t need to switch the light on as my hand instinctively covered my mouth. My stomach heaved, the bile threatening to spew forth like lava. Something soft and gooey squelched under my foot, seeping its way through the soles of my shoes. I could almost feel it oozing between my toes. Trembling, I fumbled for the light switch while my wretched gagging echoed throughout my flat. With each breath I exhaled, a foul odour entered my mouth. It stuck to the back of my throat. It competed with my stomach. The bile wanting to rise while the stench felt the need to reach further into my being. In a moment of insanity I thought both were doing a good job and began to wonder which would succeed.

Where was that damn switch?

I wanted to cry out for Danny, only to be jolted back to the reality that he was no longer here. No more laughter. No more smiles to brighten my days. No more tenderness of his gentle love-making. Danny was gone. I was alone…almost.

I heard the louvre windows in the kitchen rattle as my fingers found the light switch. The darkness disappeared and a swathe of yellow light filled the room. I looked down at my feet and once again the churning in my stomach threatened to come forth. I moved towards the kitchen, counting bodies as I went. A bird. A baby possum. Oh Lord…one of next door’s ducklings. Another bird, this one bigger than the other. Even worse was a large native rat with its teeth bared in its desperate fight to live. And more was rotting away in my unit.

‘Well, we are a right pair,’ I said turning my attention to the kitchen window.

- Maria Benson