Alice woke in the dark with a gasp. Sweat dripped from her brow.

That smell…

She was disoriented, awakened with a start from a horrible dream. Her brain was fuzzy; she couldn’t tell if she was awake or still asleep.

But that smell…

It was sharp and pungent. So awful that it had dragged her from her sleep. So cloying that it was suffocating her.

It pushed its way up her nose and forced its way down her throat. It was the smell of the devil. The smell of death, of rot. The smell of evil.

Her eyes watered from the stink of it. It was so hard to breathe. She was scared.

She couldn’t remember everything from her dream, but she knew something had been after her, something her conscious mind was too afraid to remember.

There had been demons, hellfire, brimstone.

In this hazy half dream world in which she’d awakened, surrounded by this stench of decay, she was sure whatever terror it was had followed her here.

For a moment, she felt paralyzed. But slowly she blinked the grit from her eyes, her vision focused. She could make out the dresser in her bedroom, the painting on the wall.

But that smell was still there, hovering over her face, heavy and putrid, thick in her throat.

Suddenly she turned and slapped her husband on his arm. “Oh my god John, did you fart?!”

 “Yeah yeah sorry,” he mumbled half asleep, as he turned from his back onto his side.

Jesus! Ugh!” said Alice, as she opened the window wide to the frigid winter sky and left the room to get a glass of water.