The Scent of Loss: CNF for Fiction Fragment Friday

The sky is the black of a bruised plum with a cobweb of stars scattered across it. The air no longer smells of stale cigarette smoke nor does it smell of his pungent cologne. It was a cologne kept in a green glass bottle on a high shelf that you sometimes uncorked to marvel at the power of its scent. The air is empty. It smells of dry, autumnal leaves, and there is a chill. It makes you wish you were at a bonfire or anywhere but here. You are curled up on a reclining chair, wearing your favorite sweatshirt. Inside, there is no fire roaring in the fireplace like usual on a Friday night. There is no fresh homemade bread baking in the oven. All the grown-ups are outside. Your mother’s eyes are bloodshot from crying. Even your father’s eyes are red-rimmed.

The moment is dark and heavy.

It is as though they have forgotten you curled up in your favorite chair. You slip out the garage door past the knot of adults. You plop onto a gigantic geode that sits in the rock garden in the front yard, its many facets shine in the silver of the moon. As you inhale the air, you smell other fires in other people’s fireplaces. You think of bonfires and candy apples and of Halloween. Halloween is only eight days away. You think of your costume still in its bag slung over your chair in the bedroom. You begin to hate Halloween. The red pencil you are writing with is the only sound as it scratches against the bone-white paper. You tell yourself you will never forget this feeling, this moment. He is gone, and the world as you know it ceases to exist.

Darkness closes around you, but you do not cry. Though you are only eleven, you are aware of the darkness inside and outside of you. The air is empty.

The night is cold, and you are alone.

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