doodleninja

United States

18

~your local angst-y Christian girl~

ARMY <3

soli Deo gloria!

Message to Readers

FINAL DRAFT!

Thank you to Arasulgil for that review and suggesting some last-minute changes!

Now to return to actually writing this whole novel! (NaNoWriMo is eating my soul :D)

petrichor

November 17, 2020


The moment before it rains is always the worst. 
    For a split-second, ground and sky trap me in this in-between of soggy air and nearly wet dirt that clogs my sinuses.  
    I sneeze. 
    I pull my medical mask higher up past my nose, fogging up my glasses in the process, careful to take oxygen through the mouth. One of the downsides to being able to discern cinnamon from citrus a mile away: a delicate olfactory system, easily upset, even by a simple rain shower. 
    The moment passes and the world can breathe again, doing so by sending buckets of rain down on the city. Mist already shrouds the city skyline, and the lampposts flanking the trail flicker into a full glow. Afternoon turns into evening in less than a minute. They must’ve trimmed the grass here in the park again. The aroma permeates my flimsy face covering. 
    The moment passes but the memory forms in my mind, first in wisps, then in clouds.
    We huddle together outside the school fences, making a game out of it, like eight-year-olds do. Cade stands next to me, and I wonder if anyone would mistake us for twins; two boys with tawny brown skin, about the same height, and Cade's hair looks the same stark black color as mine on this cloudy day.
    "Hey Emilio," he inches closer to me as the wind whips our hair around, revealing the stitches on his forehead. "I betcha your mom will show up first to pick us up."
    A bet, a real bet, because we've been getting into poker lately. 
    His hand disappears into his pocket and rummages around the many toys and knickknacks I know he hides in those cargo pants. His wager: a puzzle piece, one of two he says survived a fire that burned down his grandpa’s house. 
    I don’t even have time to agree to his offer before a honk grabs our attention. He’s lost the bet, but he lets me keep the piece anyway before climbing into his car. 
    One by one, the children leave, and the chain-link fence is my only companion. 
    I wait as the atmosphere fills up with moisture, as the stench of petroleum from a rumbling truck triggers a headache. 
    Maybe this time.
    Maybe this time.

    There is hope the moment before it rains, that hesitation the sky has before releasing its precipitation. 
    But it quickly passes. 
    Petrichor, the smell of rain on dry ground, is when your own mother forgets about you. 
    I suck in a breath. 
    Peppermint.
    I need a peppermint.
    My bangs cling to my forehead, slick with water. I pinch my nose; the smell, the smell, it’s too much. 
    Thankfully the supply in this jacket hasn’t run out, and I open one from my stash, inhaling its calming scent. The memories are like ghosts; they fade away, but they'll eventually come back to haunt me.
    Something must’ve triggered the flashback. 
    Taking a risk, I pull down my mask and “perceive with my nose” as Si likes to call it. I’ve learned that every oddity has a meaning, every trail has a starting point, every clue has a purpose. My nose must’ve picked something up, something that had to do with that day, something about Cade…
    No. 
    Let’s not go there. 
    He’s already gone.
    Two years as an amateur detective will make you vigilant, but twenty-two years of living life without any constant emotional or mental support will make you even more wary of your surroundings. Even if the others like to tease me about the obliviousness I tend to display, it’s not like I don’t see certain things. 
    I think.
    The clouds darken and I catch a whiff of butternut squash soup, the one the pizzeria sells as autumn gives way to winter. 
    I turn around. 
    No one there. 
    The crumpling of a leaf. 
    I tense.
    No, just a squirrel. 
    I should really get home; the others will be wondering where I've been. Hopefully they've been doing more work on those missing persons cases and not slacking off. I trust them though. 
    They're my family. 
    My original one didn't exactly work out. 
    I pull my zipper all the way up, burying my chin into the collar, trying to preserve some warmth in the cold rain. I'm nearly at the end of the path, where nature morphs into a sprawling city. I pass a particularly thick tree, stripped bare of its foliage by the weather.
    Only in the lamplight do I spot the torn piece of yellow tape we used to mark off the crime scene a few weeks ago. 
    I wonder if the rain will wash away the bloodstains. 
    We caught the criminal (he reeked of garlic), but he wasn’t the one we’re looking for. 
    We will find the culprit though, this kidnapper, this killer. 
    I have my team on my side and that's all I need. 
    Eleven years ago, Cade went missing and no investigator could ever find him. 
    I won't let another person feel the loss that I did. 
    I can't. 
    I can't go through that again.
    Otherwise I'd...break. 
    I continue forward, sneezing as the smell of petrichor strengthens, billowing into a suffocating fog. 
    The yellow tape unravels, fluttering in the wind. 
    
Word Count: 870

The (slightly tweaked) beginning of my novel WIP for NaNoWriMo 2020. 

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12 Comments
  • rosewrites

    Ahhhhhh!!!! This is amazing! I love love love love love it. The wording is amazing and I love the concept. Now I want to know what happens! I love the short little paragraphs and the description of the different scents. Sense overload (in a good way)!


    6 months ago
  • pyrrhic

    re: thank goodness SOMEONE got it, even if it wasn’t directly! ;))


    6 months ago
  • Emi

    OOOh, I'm seeing the next great detective novel in the near future! I love this character already; great backstory too!


    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    Re: Definitely ambi-something. I skimmed over a bunch of works and I can see it bright as day. I don't know where to start in reading all of your stuffs.


    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    200th follower!


    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    This is interesting though.


    6 months ago
  • Minvra

    Character has sensitive olfactory
    me: dull sense, can't tell if her cheese is sour smelling or not


    6 months ago
  • books4life

    oh my goodness. at a loss of words after reading this masterpiece of a work! AMAZING JUST LIKE YOU!! :)


    6 months ago
  • Jj101

    Re: Thank you so much!! They do really help!!


    6 months ago
  • Jj101

    Totally random(great piece btw) I was wondering if you had any art tips I’m practicing but I suck so. And I wish I was homeschooled!! You don’t have to reply to this lol.


    6 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    This entry just might be my sentimental favorite. It's just so visually and emotionally stunning and it's a beautiful overload of the senses.


    6 months ago
  • Love, Rose

    this is stunning


    6 months ago