I didn’t finish tonight.

I had the dream again last night. I woke up on my bed, which someone had apparently placed while I was sleeping in a field of lavender. The flowers’ perfume mingled with the smell of a rotting carcass in the distance. With a mixture of disgust and curiosity I was compelled to search for the  offending stench. I finally found it–a torn, mangled, and gutted doe being fed upon by millions of grubs and maggots, stomachs bulging under their pus-colored flesh.

I woke up with the overwhelming need to throw up, but despite my strained heaving at the toilet’s edge, I couldn’t summon forth anything more but phlegm and spit.

I had no idea what it meant, but I know that I was starting to have trouble with the smell of lavender, which was especially bad considering that I’d been working at Miss Gertrude’s flower shop for some four months. Miss Gertrude–an old woman who insisted on being called “miss” despite her age and the fact that she was still married, albeit to a man who had been catatonic for some seven years–loved the scent of lavender and enjoyed sprinkling all of her bouquets with it, and some gypsophila to break up the intensity of the colors.

During the mid-winter months, Miss Gertrude spent more and more time away, tending to a tulip garden that flourished only when the soil was cold. I was left to care for the store. To give my nose some respite, I rearranged the bouquets, ordered more gypsophila than lavender, and sprinkled the shop with carnations–a delicate smell that my nose found far more pleasing than prickly lavender.

But the smell of rot would not go away. In fact, like a mold it spread into my waking hours, and even in my dreams began to blend with carnation until even that silky scent began to test my gut’s ability to hold its meals.