I lay there in the sludge and rotting sewage of Paris, where I had come to lie everynight, my new home, with nowhere else to go. Chilling, pain ridden screams and howls arose from behind the concrete walls of the prison waking me from my deep slumber I was greeted by the smell of cold, hard steel and the irrepressible stench of rotting flesh and blood from the lucky dead. There was a constant rattling of chains and the smell of stale sweat and week’s or months of rank urine.
My incredible sense of smell could pick out anything and everything but it was useless now. As I drearily gazed around I noticed a human shape move ever so slightly in the shadows as I looked closer however I noticed the skin on his face was raw and scolded probably from some horrific torture; then he was gone. It did not bother me in the slightest the most feared men in Paris were kept here behind the solid iron gate it was also here that they were reduced to blubbering fools. Arising from the ground I set about gathering the essentials of the day (food and water) this had become my main aim in life now that I had lost everything.My first stop would be the fish market where I would feed on the festering scraps and thrown out fish guts that even the starving flee ridden rats had rejected. On my way down the road to the market I had to pass the Maison des Invalids and as I approached I was greeted by a malodour of urine, congealed blood and the sweat of the doctor’s next unfortunate patient.
I moved on not wishing to know anymore. A little up the road and on the opposite side was le Place de Bastille where hundreds of soldiers were trained day after day with the atrocious odour of their accumulated sweat drifting over the walls and into my nose. However the tanned leather of the horse’s saddles decreased the intensity of the sweat. Looking around me as I left the Place de Bastille behind me all I could see was a couple of old women chattering and gossiping outside one of the old, crumbling buildings. Then at a quick glance I noticed him again, the man with the scolded face.
Was he following me? I kept my head down and kept walking all the way to the fish market thankfully not seeing him again.Noticing a pile of scraps so far maggot free I began to eat beginning with some stale bread. I wiped off the green and was just putting into my mouth when there was a sharp blow of a whistle, La police? I didn’t stop to think and began running immediately, what? Why? When? Thoughts rushing through my mind but at the front the incessant drive to keep running, twisting and turning throughout the streets, not stopping to pause for breath.There was a large crowd up ahead I could smell them the powder of women’s wigs, the sweat and grime and some poor attempts to conceal them.
Quickly I dodged and took a side street but I was beginning to tire and the police drew ever closer, seeking me out relentlessly. Pain shot through my ankle, I had pulled it this was it what am I to do if I cannot run they are bearing down upon me drawing closer, ever closer. I tried doors as I went but they were locked all locked pushing as hard as I can to try and force a door but its to late now…I limp down to the end of the small, cramped alley and stared in horror at what I already knew. It was a dead end. I stared in anguish at the slimy, moss encrusted wall trying in vain to find a way over I could smell the concrete, the sewage from emptied chamber pots, a festering corpse of a rat and the maggots crawling beneath its skin.
The burly policemen grabbed me by the shoulders pulling me violently down the old cobbled street I could smell the sweat that had built up on there bodies from the chase. I was taken to a cell in the prison, the same one that I had been sleeping just out side of early this morning.I was kept in the cell for weeks with barely enough food to stay alive having to feed on cockroaches when the hunger became too painful to bear. The smell inside was tenfold what it was outside on the streets the rotting straw beneath me creating an awful stench. I was just falling into a fitful sleep when a man came to the cell door but he was not one of the usual guards that brought the food and water, he marched forward and pulled me upright mumbling something like “Serves you right”. I ignored him not sure what to make of it trying my best to keep up with his prompt pace.
Drawing closer to the door a man grabbed me forcing a hessian bag over my head, it smelt musty and irritated my neck but when I called out I got a sharp, painful blow to the stomach. I was grabbed firmly by the arm and heard the massive wooden doors creak open, leading me out into the open a brilliant light pierced through the small holes in the sack scorching my eyes which had become used to the dark and dull cell. Suddenly there was uproar a verbal onslaught of cursing and screeching a soft, tender object hit the side of my head I immediately could smell it was a tomato even amongst the stench of hundreds of unwashed, repulsive people. Suddenly we stopped and in a booming voice a man read what I assumed was my sentence; then it hit me I knew what this was about.Around 5 years ago now just before my life took a turn for the worse I had smelt the most perfect, pure and precise smell I followed it trying to the best of my ability not to lose the trail. Then I saw her, she was the cause of the unique perfume I got closer indulging in the delightful scent. To late I realized I had gotten to close she turned, paused then began to scream I panicked not knowing what to do then it was all over in an instance.
She lay there motionless her now lifeless body still smelt of that amazing scent. I had broken her neck..
.Remembering where I was I realized the man reading the sentence had become silent, the hessian bag was removed and before me in all its bloody glory was the guillotine. The crowd had now began to cheer my head was placed upon the wooden block and I took in the smells of paris one last time: the tree’s, the rivers, the sea water, the grass, the mud and higher than the stench that of even paris the clear, clean and fresh air.
An order sounded and as if in slow motion the blade of the guillotine slid down piercing the weak skin, flesh and bone of my neck in one quick clean cut.There was only one man that had not been cheering as my blood was splattered along the faces of the over eager onlookers. Who was he? I did not know but he had known me of that I’m sure whereas I only knew him as the mysterious man with a scolded face…