“What the hell is that smell?” Lucy gasped.
“I have no idea. That is ripe. Jesus, did I forget the bin?”
“Well if you did I hate to think what you have in there.”
It wasn’t the bin in the kitchen or the one in the little cloakroom under the stairs. “Check the veggies for me, will you?” Suzanne” said.
“No, no problem here. Just your spuds, a couple of wrinkly carrots and a swede. Nothing stinky though.”
“Yeah, I need to get to the shops. It’s not the fridge.” Suzanne said.
“It’s that, it’s that parcel.” Lucy reached out and prodded at the package on the table. She leaned and sniffed at it. “It is, it reeks. Bloody hell, put it outside. I can’t imagine what’s in it but it’s gone off.”
Suzanne unlocked the back door, and with thumb and forefinger, she took hold of the string. “It hasn’t got an address on it. No label at all. Is this kids messing about, do you think?”
“Could be but have you had trouble lately.”
“No, there was some bother on Halloween, but it was all something and nothing. Woman up the street had eggs thrown at the window, but honestly, I didn’t blame them. She’s a bit of an old witch and she sort of asked for it, yelling at them and what have you. But we don’t have that many young kids around here, do we? The older ones hang around the shops or go into town.”
“Have you upset anyone?”
“No. Well, not that I know of. But there is the shower curtain thing.”
“Are you going to open it then?”
“I suppose I have to. It’s a bit heavy. It’s squashy. It does stink though. Pass me the knife off that block.”
“Here, put your Marigolds on?” Lucy said.
“Well, we don’t know what’s in there. It could be something toxic. You don’t want to be touching it with your bare fingers.”
The paper peeled apart easily. Under the brown paper wrapping was a stained polythene bag tight around the contents. Suzanne held the parcel with the tips of her fingers and sliced at the plastic with the blade.
“So, what is it?”
“It’s grey. It’s wet and God it stinks. Hang on let me open it a bit bit more. Aw, Jesus!”
“What, what is it.?”
“It’s a thing – an animal. It’s a dead animal. All wet and stinky”
“What sort of animal?”
“I don’t know. Something furry. It’s like a cat. No, look.” Suzanne pointed with the knife. “Look there, see the ears. It’s a rabbit. It is, isn’t it? Some poor dead rabbit.”
“You need to get on to the police again. That’s horrible.”
Suzanne was crying as she tried to wrap the creature back in the bag. “You know what this is, don’t you? It’s like that film, can’t remember the name now. That bunny boiler thing.”