Excerpt: The Life of Henry Charleton

For the first time, the moldy smell of his room hit him upon entering. He froze, inhaling through his nose. This stench, that he was so afraid of, one that he had unconsciously associated with old people’s homes, was present right where he lived. Of course, it was faint, nothing close to the thick air it formed in those horrible buildings, but it was there, filling everything up, turning the air into concrete, crushing everything around it, Henry as well.

He rolled back, hysteria clogging his throat. “Teddy!” he shouted, his voice panic-stricken. “Come here at once!”

After what seemed like weeks of the sound of feet dragging over the creaky floor, Teddy turned up next to him. “What now?”

“My room is… Open the windows or something. It smells awful. Get it out!”

Teddy moved forward a few feet, sniffed, then turned around, looked Henry straight in the eye and remarked: “The whole apartment smells like that.”

“No!” screamed Henry, shoving Teddy’s words away, not allowing them to register in his mind. “Get it out!”

Groaning, Teddy shuffled away, quietly shutting the door behind him. Henry remained where he was, the realization of his age crashing down on him like an avalanche. His heart ached, his eyes stung and every part of his body that was usually filled with fire and strength had turned silent, leaving him in what felt like a hollow shell; meaningless and unwanted. 


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