The dying grass, limp tree branches and putrid smell were all I needed to know that I was on the right track. I had no map and no directions, but as long as I followed the stench I would find what I was looking for.

Of course, the guy who was gonna tell me the directions died before he could spit them out. Years of living in this climate had finally caught up with him. Coughing and crying as he went; I’m surprised he lasted this long. Although I should have had some pity on him, at least that is what I thought to myself, but I didn’t. It was his choice to run the place and he knew what was happening.

In fact, it had poisoned his paymasters and just a few days back they were all found dead. Now he was alone, vulnerable and scared. Scared I was going bludgeon him to death, but I wouldn’t have. His poor old heart just gave out before he could say anymore.

My attention was caught by the sight of a single yellow barrel.

It was nestled in amongst some bushes, its rim was starting to rust, and yellow paint had brushed off on to dead weeds around it, but I could still make out the edge of a toxic symbol printed on its side. This another clue that I was heading in the right direction.

Every step increased the toxic impact a notch. The air was rancid and it stuck to the back of my throat. I kept going, wondering why I had to do this. Why this task had fallen on to me. And why didn’t I bring a gas mask?

Another barrel and then another. I knew I was on the right track. Finally, the trees parted, the woods opened up and a great field appeared in front of me.

There in the middle of it sat a monster, a concrete behemoth that still billowed out smoke and threatened the land near and far.

But it was me that was going to tidy this place up! I had no idea how, but I knew that I would. And since the collapse of society somebodies got to do these dirty jobs!

This flash fiction was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge Number #12