The Nature of Decay
by Daniel Hatadi
Mould is a decomposer of wood, plants, and animals. Its spores are found wherever there is dead matter. A pile of leaves, manure, compost. A carcass or a body, lying in the rubble alongside the wall of an old building.
The spores move easily through the air, feeding on moisture and warmth, crawling up the wall next to the body. Inside the wall, copper pipes rusted with age provide the flaking paint with water. A speckled pattern appears on the surface, random and chaotic in its beauty.
In the alley next to the wall I wait.
I wait among the garbage and the flies, the smells of long-soiled foods. I wait for those that make the alley their home, surrounding themselves with fortresses of cardboard boxes. As if this would offer them protection.
I wait for one whose hair is matted and grey, face riddled with liver spots, whose life is not far from its end.
I wait until he sleeps.
The spores flee my body like wasps from a nest. They fly towards the old one and seep into his tattered clothes until his decaying skin is covered completely. He will wake and he will scream, but who would care for him in the dead of night, in this sewer of an alley?
No one to help him, but he helps me. He sustains me.
Mould is a decomposer. As am I.
[Sydney crime fiction writer Daniel Hatadi has been a musician, a petrol station attendant, and a software engineer in the poker machine industry. All great fuel for writing about crime, if not committing it. His writing has appeared in Crimespree Magazine, Shots UK and Thrilling Detective.]