Sharon’s note: So, I’m teaching myself to write horror at the same time I’m writing this, and because romance and horror are oddly similar in style, I think they’re starting to bleed together. Meh, it’s probably fine. My husband takes me on dates to horror movies after all. Warning: Creepy and cute, but not quite creepy-cute.
A cardboard ghost cut out popped out with a loud clank. Jim jerked. “That’s like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Somebody’s going to walk right into that thing. What are you doing?”
Wendy, while she was still holding Jim’s hand, was tugging gently while she stood on tiptoes, scenting the air. “Looking for something unusual.”
“With your nose?” Jim teased, nudging her in the shoulder.
She grinned sheepishly. “Your senses can pick up more than you realize. If something’s wrong, they’ll try to tell you, if you’ll listen.”
“So, what is your sense of smell trying to tell you?” Jim’s stomach clenched as he took the chance to reach up and boop her nose. Elation raced through him as she giggled and leaned into his shoulder.
“That someone peed in here, and someone else spilled a beer, and before that they used a lot of bleach, but it doesn’t cover up the fact that not that long ago there was a lot of blood spilt in here.” She leaned in and sniffed near his neck. “And I really like the smell of your body wash. It smells a little like oranges. I love oranges.”
Heat crept up Jim’s face, and he decided her attempts to be creepy were adorable. “You have a really good sense of smell. All I’m picking up is the beer. And the piss, now that you mention it.”
She shrugged, then looked at the floor speculatively. “I could probably get down low and track it like a hound, but it is really gross down there.”
“Let’s just keep looking. Maybe we’ll find where the smell is coming from. They could be using pig’s blood as a prop.” The idea was as cool as it was gross.
She scrunched her mouth while she considered that, then shook her head. “I wouldn’t think so. It would be really inefficient. They’d have to keep it refrigerated otherwise it would go bad. Even if you didn’t have a great nose, you’d smell rotting blood. It’s a very loud odor.”
The idea made the funnel cake swim in Jim’s stomach. They continued walking through the trailer, looking at exhibits of wax witches and an animatronic vampire that reached out its arm half-way, made a strange clicking noise, and retracted it with a loud, mechanical whir. As they passed through a dim room with hanging chains and a scratchy screaming soundtrack, a gagging sweet smell hung in the air.
“Someone was wearing too much perfume.” Jim pulled up his shirt to cover his nose.
“No, someone sprayed a cheap body spray directly into the air to cover up another scent.” Wendy tugged at his shirt until he let it fall. “You should be able to get this one. Take a deep breath through your mouth and make sure you draw the air over your tongue. Really taste it. Close your eyes too. Sometimes that helps.”
Jim smirked, but did as she asked, closing his eyes and inhaling deeply. The perfume was horrible. Now that he was really focusing on it, he caught the aroma of alcohol in the air, but under that . . . his stomach revolted and his jaws snapped shut. With a hand over his mouth, he said, “Oh, God, what is that? Is . . . is something rotting in here?”
“That would be my guess. Or maybe it’s something under the trailer. We’d-” She paused, then quickly dropped Jim’s hand to wrap her arm around his waist and pull him close to her side while she stared hard into a dark corner. Her body radiated heat, and his heart jumped into his throat.
A girl with a white tee-shirt covered in bloody handprints and matted hair came screaming out of the dark. Wendy relaxed against him as the bloody girl disappeared down a hallway. He stared after her in confusion. “Is . . . is she where the smell was coming from? Were they actually using rotting pigs blood?”
“Nah.” Wendy laid her head against his shoulder and Jim was awash with many opposing feelings. “I smelled sugar. It was just colored corn syrup. Come on. There’s definitely something fishy going on here, but I don’t think we’re going to get to the heart of it in here. Let’s go find the ferris wheel. A good view might widen our perspective.”
Jim chuckled weakly at her pun, but the uneasy feeling in his stomach wouldn’t go away wouldn’t go away while he could still taste something spoiled.