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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: Cold Ceramic Receptacle
By Pam Ford Davis
08/04/10


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Oh, my stomach… Lord, I don’t want to throw up!

I roll out of bed, holding my hand over my mouth. Running to the bathroom, I slump down on the bare linoleum in front of the toilet. The room is spinning; I gag and everything comes up and out of my wrenching stomach.

Must be something I ate. I feel gross! Won’t be able to go to work… need to let them know.

“April, Lee… time to get ready for school…”

“April, call Daddy for me. Tell him I’m sick, will not be coming in.”

My daughter makes the call for me; tears run down my cheeks and I continue to heave green slime into the cold ceramic receptacle.

I can’t stop; feel like I’m going to die!

Both children are now sick, too. I begin to think of everything we ate….

“Could be the soy hamburger”.

“Daddy isn’t sick.”

Must be the meat.”

My husband is a vegetarian, because he didn’t eat the meat, he is the only one who is not sick.

Our newly rented mobile home becomes an unstaffed infirmary, with all three of us suffering with loss of strength and vomiting. I remember an episode of Emergency. John and Gabe respond to a call and find an elderly couple in their home, vomiting and weak. The couple believes they have the intestinal flu; paramedics suspect they are victims of carbon monoxide poisoning!

We started the furnace for the first time this morning…

He turned it on right before he left for work


“We’ve got to get out of here!”

I put on a robe and help the children out of the trailer, too sick to drive to a hospital, I ask for help from a perfect stranger outside his home.

“Can you take us to a hospital?”

With my children lethargic at my sides in the back seat, I explain our plight on the way to the emergency room. Upon arrival, doctors begin thorough examination of each of us. Blood tests confirm a diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning!

Hospital personnel contact my husband; fire department and gas company personnel meet him at our locked trailer. The testing equipment reveals our home is full of the odorless, tasteless gas. The trained officials post a condemned sign on the dinosaur furnace.

Back at the hospital, I learn the children are doing fine. My case of poisoning is more severe because greater amounts of gas reached me in the elevated area of my sleeping area.

“Are you ready to go home?”

My husband’s presence relieves my fears. Rest and time will ease my nausea, quivering and chest pain. The memory of our close touch with death will continue to haunt me.


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This article has been read 486 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
This is a great story. I like that fact that carbon monoxide is odorless. It's a great twist on the topic. And if it's a true story Thank God for ER and John Stamos :)
Jeanne E Webster 08/06/10
A "non-smelling" story with a reverse topic slant. Very well written and suspenseful. Nice flow and ending, with clarity as to a real danger lurking in the air we breathe. Perhaps a different title?

This was a good read and the reader could sense the urgency here in the main character. Nice job! :)
Phee Paradise 08/11/10
I loved the title, although it promised something it didn't deliver. The story flowed well and had a nice ending. But I found all the italics a bit distracting.
Patsy Hallum08/16/10
Great way to point out CM poisoning. I almost did not read it because of the title tho. Glad I did. Keep writing.