by Mr. Mean-Spirited
A woman dying of cancer has a breath that smells like Satan’s nail polish remover.
When an individual’s organs start to fail and the body slinks toward death, the flesh secretes a curious odor. Death has a particular scent. There is a smell to dying.
You never forget the aroma of death. If you have ever been around a dying person, you will carry the smell of death around with you forever after – a stink of sauerkraut mixed with Jolly Rancher candy. The body emits a stench that contaminates the bystanders. You can smell it in your clothes no matter how many times you run the fabric through the washer; you can smell it in the folds of your skin no matter how many times you scrape at your flesh with a ragged bar of deodorant soap. That smell has now entered into you.
Anything you sniff will now carry that faint hint of rotting flesh. Even the whiff of a newly blossomed rose will now remind you of decaying tissue. Even the fragrance of warm devil's food cake will make you remember festering wounds.
It may surprise you that an obnoxious misanthrope like me actually has family members, but I just watched my little sister take her last breath. The hospice nurse went home at the end of the evening shift, so I was given a morphine hypodermic and told to administer the syringe in her final hours; it is not her death rattle that I recall as much as the odor coming from her mouth. The vapors coming out of her were as thick as steam. The entire room took on the smell of someone’s innards. Sometimes it is better not to say "good-bye," just to push the plunger. In the end, her body was all curled and contorted like an old blanket in the dryer. No matter how much she squirmed in her hospital bed, she could not escape the fog of death – and neither can you, my dear reader. Fatality does not sneak up upon you – as much as you discover that it has been there with you all along.
But the next person to die is certain to be you, my online reader – you can smell your own death beginning to ooze out beneath your fingernails. There is nothing you can do. The stench of death is already upon you.