Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

The Lingering Scent

by Bruce Whealton

I could sense it on her
Just as well as she could
Sense it....

I'm not talking about the smell
Of smoke, though it is something
Like that.

Trace wasn't a smoker
but people in the house
where she was staying
did smoke
and you could smell
it on her.

Yet there wasn't something more
that she was describing to me...
a sense of evil.

She was convinced
that the man staying
in that same house
was evil
and that somehow
she was contaminated -
dirty, sickening
and I could sense it too.

She was at once beautiful
and yet at the some moment
somehow I felt repelled
by something about her,
or on her...

Though not given to superstition,
I wanted to tell her to bathe
in garlic and holy water
and to cross herself,
as I do, often, for protection,
in the name of the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit.

Because, you see,
I've been in the same room,
myself, with that man,
and somehow I still feel
his shadow in my life,
these many years later,
as if he is sometimes
in the same room with me.

© 2010 Bruce Whealton

Bruce Whealton has been the co-editor and publisher of Word Salad Poetry Magazine since 1995 and their newest publication, Haiku Ramblings. They publish both on the web at WordSaladPoetryMagazine.com and in print. Bruce has a Bachelors Degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master's Degree in Social Work. He has been writing and studying poetry for many years with various mentors. His poetry has been published recently in The Horror Zine, and the associated Anthology called “And Now the Nightmare Begins: The Horror Zine. His poems have also appeared in “lines written w/a razor,” “Childe Bryde,” “lunatic chameleon,” “the thin edge of staring, “Chance Magazine,” Venus Rising, the Wilmington Star News' Port City Poets, and “Gravity Hill,” and “Simple Vows Anthology” which is put out by St. Andrews College Press.

Find more by Bruce Whealton in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.