The smell of death was overpowering.
The stale air of the apartment was heavy and sickly sweet, with an underlying bitterness that clawed at the senses while the sweetness choked.
Komiya pressed his sleeve over his mouth and nose, but the cheap polyester fabric did little to block the stench. Death invaded his body with every breath.
Shit... he was going to puke like a rookie out on his first assignment.
The middle-aged woman who'd opened the door to the tomb looked back at him with a lifeless gaze. There were moth holes in the collar of her faded black kimono, and her face was pale and drawn.
She reminded Komiya of his mother, even though she was a good twenty years older and her greying hair was dark where his mother's was bleached blonde. The resemblance was all in the eyes.
"Sugita Setsuko-san? We're the..." He tried to speak, but the invisible hand of death had grabbed him by the throat.
He pressed a hand over his mouth and tasted bile and convenience store curry on the back of his tongue.
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