Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ghost in the Grass

The other day, I went out for a walk, trying to find time for some peace and quiet. I was in a reflective mood, trying to make sense of life. When I emerged from a heavily wooded area, I waded through some grass that was knee deep and immersed in sunshine.

I couldn’t see all that well, and I tripped over what I thought to be a root. Turning to take a second look at my unseen spoiler, I stopped and stared at a sight too unbelievable to accept. I had tripped over a skeleton!

My years as a police officer kicked into gear and without thought, I reached for my phone to dial 911, so I could report the death to Sheriff Waller. I cordoned off the area immediately surrounding the body and began a cursory search to see if any other bones might be lying around, desperately hoping that there was only one death to report, and not several. Please don’t let this be a mass grave of some serial killer…

It’s a queer feeling when you happen upon death unexpectedly. At first, I thought of foul play, and assumed that the attacker might be surveilling the area for possible signs of detection. Then I rationalized that the body was decayed to the point of skeletal remains, therefore the odds of the killer hanging out where limited. The next thought I had was, “what if this person died of a heart attack?” The idea upset me because this individual died alone, and in some stage of peril. What if he’d been attacked by a bear? But, the skeleton was intact, so there were probably no wild animals attempting to devour the body.

While I waited on the police, and the longer I stared at the body, the more I began to wonder about this person’s identity. Who was this person? What was his or her name? What were their hopes and dreams? And then I wondered—why are there antlers growing out of his head?

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