"Whoa. What's that smell?"
Tracy stepped out of the elevator behind me, sniffed deeply and gagged. "It smells like . . . " She stopped mid-sentence, her mouth opened and her fingers clenching the end of her nose.
Tracy nodded and nasaled out, "Yeah."
"Or an old folks home. Pine cleaner and rotting adult diapers and..." I paused while my heart skipped to double-time. "And death."
A ding sounded and the elevator abandoned us before we contemplated fleeing. My attention was drawn further down the hall, to a lifeless foot protruding from an alcove, and a neon sign blinking for us to LOOK HERE! LOOK HERE! Like idiots, we did.
"Oh my God, is she dead?" Tracy let go of her nose for a second before squeezing it shut again. "I'm going to puke." She looked around, apparently needing a trashcan. "And what the hell is with the smell?"
"I've heard when you die your body purges itself."
Tracy stared at me in a new kind of horror. "She shit herself? Is this what you're telling me?"
I cupped my hand over my mouth and nose but it didn't help. The smell seemed to invade the pores. "Yeah," I breathed out. "I guess no one ever told her . . . Never, never order the chili at Del Taco."
Dialogue: Brenda Bradshaw.....The Next Line: insanity