The smell called up memories of battle field hospitals, of blood, of rot, of sickness, of life that insists on remaining despite the death surrounding it. I covered my nose with my right hand but the odors were in my mind now, I no longer needed the actual scents. I breathed shallowly through my fingers. My hand did not actually filter the air. I knew that. But having a distance, if only a mental one, seemed to help.
The sound of Doctor Kempton retching brought me aware again. Even the sour stench of bile and half digested potatoes seemed safe in comparison to the foulness that permeated the pit. Kempton gagged and coughed for a minute or two before finally mastering himself. “What is God’s name did they dump in that hole?” he choked.
“From Alison’s description,” I said, “they dumped all the body parts they weren’t otherwise using in there. And then, one day, the parts organized themselves and climbed out.”