Challenge #02299-F109: I Smell Your StinksteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  5 months ago 

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Hey mom, hey dad.
Glad to hear everything's going well back at home. Hope lil sis is still practising for her band tour. Everything here's good, except for one thing. My roommate is kind if the equivalent of a sentient space skunk. I mean, I don't blame them, but you know how strong my nose is! I bet it's not even that bad! So yeah, everything else is fine.
Love you guys,
Katie -- Anon Guest

Humans tend to boldly go where they really shouldn't belong. On a colony world called Gloom, eyesight became secondary to smell, and dark-adapted humans could -eventually- sniff out their fellow beings by scent trails alone. Call it obstinacy. Call it impracticality. Call it being stubborn. The Gloomies simply found it easier to live with their under-lit world rather than bringing the light with them.

Now they brought an intensely perceptive sense of smell with them as well. Not such good news for Katie, who was rooming with a species who had... shall we say... very detectable musk glands. Katie knew it was rude to comment on Thaak's distinctive odour, but...

There was just something about hir that make Katie's eyes water. For the first two weeks at the Academy, she dreaded going back to her dorm. She could sleep there with the benefit of discrete nose filters, but... being awake with that smell everywhere was not her ideal situation. Then, without warning, the strongest notes of the odour stopped cold. Thaak's scent became... way less offensive.

Katie was too polite to ask about it. For two months, things were much better. For two months, she could socialise with Thaak and spend time with hir between classes. She could even begin to add her own personality to her bunk space. Then... without any warning... the Smell came back.

It, like the Foul Ole Ron of legend and lore, was a Smell that had its own personality. It's own presence. Its own gravitas. It was a Smell that should have been paying tuition fees if those were still a thing. It was a Smell that needed its own student pass for sure.

Tears streaming from her eyes, Katie broke. "What happened?" she asked, trying not to overtly gag. "Why?"

Thaak swore. "Sorry. Sorry. It's a fertility thing. Hang on." Ze went scrabbling through hir belongings and ducked into a privacy corner to adjust some things inside hir clothes. "Sorry. I give off more musk when my fertility cycle comes around. I thought you didn't mind."

Oh, so it was like... certain Human necessities. "I was being polite. We don't mention anything you can't fix in a few minutes, y'know?" Crimson mortification invaded her face and razed her normal skin tone to insignificance. "I just... avoided the problem."

"Oh," said Thaak. "Like I avoid you during your bleeding time."

Katie hadn't even noticed that one. "That bothers you? I thought I was being discrete."

"My... predatory instincts can be curbed. Thanks."

Katie took a deep breath. "Okay. Obviously we need to practice being rude to each other. You have a way to contain your... uh..."

"Musk."

"...musk. And I can look at better ways to contain the blood scent for you. We're roomies for a long time. Might as well figure out how to be amenable."

Hospitable Negotiation was meant to be one of their advanced classes. These were among many who got started early on that one.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / mantonino]

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This is one of the most delightful, original, well-written stories I have read on Steemit. I cannot say enough. Usually, I'm kind of a silent critic, because...who am I to judge? You know? But here I can be honest. Really honest...just like the characters in your story. Except, you don't have to change anything. This is perfect.

I'm glad you like it. Tell your friends. Share links with your other social medias. As some wise robots once said: life is short so spread the love.

Thank you so much for this comment. It truly means a lot to me.

I am resteeming. Always spread the love, I agree.