eresa hadn't been in the attic since she was twelve.
Tonight, thirty-one, she ventured up with Roger, steel buckets and cigarettes in hand, to close up their dead parents' house.
Up here, she smoked her first cigarette, played dress up; was raped by Tommy.
Like memories, a rancid odor fled from behind the attic door.
Teresa could still feel Tommy inside her.
Roger found his way through the stench to the worn leather trunk where they used to hide cigarettes.
The old leather odor of the trunk--over which she was violently deflowered--forever tainted Teresa's dreams.
Roger opened the trunk. A fresh, pungent reminder of time and death escaped the leather tomb.
"Oh man. Teresa, do you remember Garbo?"
"Mom's cat? God, daddy hated that cat."
Peering over Roger's shoulder, she saw Garbo's lifeless form, twisted, mostly decomposed.
"Oh, there she is."
A bullet had torn all nine lives from Garbo's skull.
"What an odd picture this would make for the family album,"Teresa lamented. Roger, suddenly uncomfortable, half-smiled, half-grimaced.
Teresa adjusted Garbo's remains into a fetal napping position.
Garbo lay balled up peacefully on Tommy's twisted skeletal remains; just as they'd left him nineteen years ago, only less skin.
"Think dad found him?" asked Teresa. She lit her last cigarette.
Roger shrugged, and emptied his bucket over the corpses; Teresa's spilled out onto the floor. Sulfur, tobacco and gasoline overtook death's stench, quickly superseded by burning leather.
Teresa and Roger left the attic.
First published: August 1998