Death in Tivoli Gardens

Photography by Peter Dean Rickards

The pictures don’t say enough, there is blood splattered on the walls, there are holes through the windows and marrow on the floor, they are gruesome, but they are not enough. It is the smell that lingers, that which struck us most upon entering that house, that smell, like meat left for weeks in an unplugged freezer, these were human remains, it is the unmistakable stench of death.

It is oddly quiet in the community, despite the bustling traffic on its exterior, unsupervised children play games on the concrete and I wonder for a moment if this is the right place, then we draw closer. There are easily more than one hundred tiny bullet holes in the tin window on the top floor, but from a distance, on the outside the house looks like any other on its scheme, a two-storey wedged in between other two-stories. Inside it is a slaughterhouse, like something out of a movie I had never wanted to see, and I feel the temperature fall as I step inside out of the stifling Tivoli heat. Complete and total disarray, like a storm had blown through.

Sunday dinner remains seasoned and uncooked on the kitchen sink, and the flies watch as their larvae wriggle to life. There are pictures strewn all over the upstairs floor not far from the front page of The Outlook; even the dresser, the bedroom closet, a Styrofoam box has bullet holes, life has been interrupted here. The bloody, bullet-holed pillow sitting on top of what I assume had once been used as a dining table screams that this was no small effort – had they stripped him here, the one whose blooded, tattered jeans remain?

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