The Smell

Cyrus woke up that morning without the familiar scent of pine. Even in his sleep soaked mind, Cyrus immediately recognized the change. Something was wrong. He opened his eyes, searching the little room for any noticeable differences. But no, the dresser, the desk, the chair, everything was there. Everything except for the subtle, clean smell he woke to each day. Thinking about it, he didn’t even know where the smell had come from or when it started. Cyrus only knew that it had become the most comforting part of coming home every day. The thought of being in his tiny apartment without it sent a pain through his heart that he didn’t fully understand. Cyrus sat up in bed. He knew, with an almost mad determination, that he would need to find his smell and bring it back.


First, Cyrus started in the bedroom, carefully combing through every inch of the space. Papers, notes, letters, the usual. He smelled each one, but there was nothing. Not even a hint of pine. Cyrus moved on to the living room. So many things lying about, not one of them smelling quite right. Kitchen now. Cyrus tore apart his refrigerator, then each drawer. Food and knives laid on the floor when he was done, smelling of everything all at once. Everything except his pine. Heart beating faster, he ran back through the apartment. Maybe the smell lived inside the mattress or at the back of the dresser. Perhaps it hid in the couch cushions or in the space behind the refrigerator. Sometimes he caught tiny whiffs of his scent, like it was taunting him. Or maybe he was just imagining things.

After hours of tearing up the apartment over and over, Cyrus sank down against his front door. Looking around the room, he did not see the destruction caused by his search. He only felt the absence of pine. And with it, he knew that his world would never be right again.


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