Cliff’s grandfather built Hook Run Farm on forty-two acres thirty miles east of the city, a half-hour’s easy drive most days. Now, when dirty winds shifted at night to flee the west, Cliff lay beneath beige-gray sheets and sniffed a once forgotten childhood memory: a decaying mouse he’d found inside a discarded soda pop bottle. Borne atop the newly bloating stink of Grandpa’s barn and paddocks, this recollected scent visited every evening. Rich, sweet, corrupt, ageless.
Things happen overnight. Objects materialise that weren’t there before, popping up like mushrooms, taking their permanent place in the world. Sometimes when I wake up, I see trees on the street and boxy civic buildings in the distance, that weren’t there the day before. At night I hear the workers on hushed coffee breaks, pretending not to be there.
The three brief occasions when she had gone “up top” were her dearest memories. In the deep of the night, when the gangs roamed outside the draughty windows and the spotlights from the Enforcer’s wagons slid across the walls, scaring the cockroaches and scorpions, she would close her lids and take her thoughts to the sun-kissed meadow and the startling blue of the sky.