The Smell of Blood

Maryanne Kane, PhD


Having never actually smelled blood, she instinctively realized that sickly smell from the basement was blood mixed with urine, possibly feces.

Don’t go down there.

Yet, a magnetic overpowering force compelled her to unlock the latch, pry open the heavy wooden door and descend the uneven, broken staircase.

This is like a scene from an old Alfred Hitchcock horror movie. Turn back around.

Ignoring her own inner wisdom, she continued down slowly, cautiously in the dark.

I hope there’s a light switch at the bottom of the stairs.

There wasn’t.

This is what it must feel like to be blind.

Using her hands as feelers, she gingerly walked in no particular direction until her head banged into a low hanging rotten piece of wood.

Odd that didn’t hurt.

She tripped over a massive lump at her feet, causing her to fall forward.

Again, odd it didn’t hurt.

On hands and knees, she crawled back to the lump, feeling her way in the blackness.

What is this? It stinks and it’s wet.

An ax broke down the thick wooden door. Portable flood lights filled the musty cellar.

Two vested, helmeted FBI agents appeared with pointed guns.

I already opened that door. Why an ax?  

She screamed, “Over here.”

Ignoring her, one agent shouted, “Clear,” the other shouted, “We found a body.”


Looking at the smelly mess, she saw her own face.



Maryanne Kane has a Ph.D. in research in Music Education from Temple University and 30-plus years of teaching experience in private and public schools in Philadelphia and Delaware County . She has been published 7 times in Newsweek Magazine.