The boy just wanted to vomit. The place smelled of hydrogen sulphide and urine. Even his saliva tasted very bad.
He cursed himself for choosing the shortcut. The path ran behind an ancient public toilet. Decades of heavy rain had made the building green, making it look haunted. Lichens grew on the mud walls though ever-increasing pollution these days is making such a mutualism very rare.
Pipelines leaked, as a result, toilet floors had a 24×7 hours wash. Structural sinks of the toilet thwarted with mud, human hairs, pan masala wrappers and cigarette buds. As a result, water that leaked gushed out through the threshold forming a puddle and joined a channel after cutting across the path. The channel was not fully closed. Openings that it had were full of garbage. Now it served as breeding grounds for rodents, mosquitos, flies and various parasites spreading dangerous diseases.
The drunk toilet keeper was nowhere. Perhaps he was not drunk enough to tolerate the smell which was then very very bad. The smell was making him nauseous. He should not have come by the putrescent crosscut. The sheer number of crows scrounging the ground alarmed him.
As it was raining heavily for the past few days, break in the continuous downpour had brought those birds out of their nests. They had to eat their fill to live through the precipitation. Maybe the nature took pity over them and provided their fill in its own twisted way.
The mort, which was then scoring so much attention from the scavengers, was in the channel opposite the toilet. Some birds were fighting over a piece of flesh while others were simply causing a racket flying about the place. Some flew away with protest as he floundered over the puddle towards the dump.
He wouldn’t have gone anywhere near the smelling dump if it was not for a crow which flew away with what looked like a part of a shirt sleeve which had a shiny watch hanging from its cufflinks. It started to drizzle, may be an indication of a fast approaching storm.
A wave of obnoxious smell hit him as he peeked into the channel. Buzz of insects welcomed him. The mort that was the reason for the scavengers’ feast seemed to have stuck at the opening by heaps of bilge and the channel slab cover.
The boy’s curiosity got the better of him. He found himself poking the blockage with a long stick. The bilge gave away to let the effluents out. What came with them was not a site for anyone.
The boy screamed. Drizzle that had just turned in to a heavy downpour almost hushed the high-pitched shout.
At the same time, three hundred sixty kilometres away, four words appeared on a plasma screen:
STAT: GHOST BODY’S FOUND.
To be continued…