With no sign of the dog he stepped through then closed the door after the sergeant had entered. A furious barking began from the front room.
White reached across and twitched aside a ragged curtain. The wan light that managed to filter through the grime illuminated floor to ceiling piles of boxes interspersed with drifts of rubbish from old tea bags to half-eaten microwave meals. The house stank of decay, decomposition and--
“Dog shit.” Peters stepped around the inspector, testing each foot as he manoeuvred further into the kitchen. “How can someone live like this?”
“Habit.” White pulled a tiny LED torch from his pocket and shone the beam into the corners of the kitchen not serviced by the grimy window. Stacks of rubbish towered as high as the wall cupboards while at ground level the decomposition had progressed as far actual soil. He could see small seedlings struggling to survive in the light from an air brick, though mould covered part of the walls and mustard fungus had colonised the window frame. “Something traumatic happened and he didn't take out the rubbish one day. Then he became accustomed to it and the piles grew until eventually it seemed to be normal behaviour to live like this. I've seen it happen before. Someone obsesses about a particular brand and begins to save the cartons it comes in. I saw a house once where two students had sub-divided a room with cigarette packets.”
“I know what you mean. I covered my garage walls with egg boxes when I was a teenager in the belief that people couldn't hear me playing the drums inside.”
“I didn't know you played the drums, sergeant.”
“I don't, sir. Not any more. The wife won't let me have any.”