Old Leaves

6 11 2011

It was early spring and time to clean up the garden. He went out and looked around but decided to wait a few days, there was a lot of work and the leaves of more than one autumn on the beds.

A few days later, he went out and started picking up the old leaves. He was doing that by hand, mostly because the plants were already coming up and he didn’t want to damage them with the rake or the blower. He knew it was more time consuming but he thought it was worth the effort. It would also give him time to see what was growing there. He had purchased the property late in the autumn, the leaves already down and had moved in shortly before the first snowfall. He filled several large plastic bags before he stopped for the day and went in hoping it wouldn’t rain for a few days.

He worked out in the garden a few hours every day and was making progress. He started close to the house and was working his way toward the fence. As he was working he realized that there was an area somewhat apart from the rest of the garden. That would be the last of the work.

It rained overnight two nights later and he was somewhat annoyed that he’d have to wait till the leaves dried out before getting back to picking them up. He knew he had gotten a lot done, most of the work, in fact. He had work to do on the house too, so did some of that while the old leaves dried out. It was warm and he was sure thing would dry out in a day or two.

The day dawned bright and clear and he decided to spend the whole day working on picking up the leaves, wanting to try and get that job finished as soon as he could. The morning went fast and he filled bag after bag with the old dry leaves and other debris. He stopped briefly for lunch and to make a phone call then went back to picking up the leaves. He finished most of the work, all but the somewhat separated area. He noticed it was rather dark there now, even tho it was only midafternoon. He brought the big bucket he was using to hold the leaves as he picked them up before emptying them into the big plastic bags.

He was irritated, the leaves in that area were still quite wet. The sun hadn’t dried the leaves there because it was so shady. Since there wasn’t really much else to do he just kept picking them up, trying not to put the earthworms into the bucket.

As he worked he noticed he was finding odd little things there under the leaves. Bits of bone, the odd button, a belt buckle, some change, small scraps of fabric and with the next handful of wet leaves, what he thought was a stick. When he saw what he had actually picked up he froze in horror, it was a bone, a long bone, with a knob at one end. He stood upright looking at the bone there in the bucket of wet leaves and felt queasy.

After a few moments he backed away from the bucket and turned toward the house. He called the police, who he realized didn’t seem all that interested. He finally said it looked very much like a human bone, that did get the attention of the person he was speaking to and he was told an officer would be along in awhile.

He waited on the porch till he saw the police car come along the road and turn into his driveway. The officer didn’t seem all that concerned. He took the officer to the shady area and showed him the bucket with the bone sticking out of it told the man he’d also found coins, a belt buckle, bits of fabric, and so forth. As he talked to the officer, that man was gently moving leaves aside with his fingers, exposing more bones, the remnants of a belt, a metal zipper, more buttons, a ring, a watch. As the leaves were being brushed away they both noticed that the remains were in a very shallow depression, enough that the leaves covering them were not mounded at all.

The police officer had obviously found enough and said he really had to call the coroner, they had disturbed the site enough. He left the officer talking on the radio and went to sit on his porch. Suddenly the day felt cold, the sun unable to warm him. He went in the kitchen and washed his hands, several times, before making coffee. He brought a mug out to the police officer who gladly accepted it. They stood there, quietly, drinking their coffee and waiting for the coroner to arrive.

They were still out there, special lamps had been brought and the coroner was very carefully removing the old wet leaves from the remains. He sat on the porch, not wanting any dinner, watching the goings on in the shady area of his garden. He’d asked the police officer if there had been any problems at that property, a murder, anything and was told nothing had ever been reported. He was tired but couldn’t go to bed, he didn’t feel like trying to sleep with that going on in his garden. He made more coffee and the coroner and his helpers had some when they took a break, thanking him for the kindness. They finally stopped around midnight, stringing yellow tape around the trees and telling him not to touch anything inside that area. He never wanted to go near there again, was beginning to wonder if he really wanted to stay in the house. Finding the remains was the most disturbing thing he ever had experienced.

The weeks passed, the garden wasn’t being tended, the weeds growing as well as the other plants, all benefiting from the removal of the old leaves. The police had finished with their investigation, the officer stopping by to tell the finding but found no one home. He tried again a week or so later then it just slipped away amid the daily business.

That autumn the police officer happened to be nearby and decided to see if anyone was home. He drove into the driveway, the car was there by the garage so he knocked on the door, there was no answer. He walked around the garden, noting the weeds and now falling leaves. He went to the shady area and stopped suddenly, looking in disbelief. There was the man, the one who had called him. He was dead, had been for awhile, the old leaves starting to cover his body and the new fallen ones taking their place too on the corpse. He looked carefully at the corpse but disturbed nothing, went to call the coroner and felt a shiver down his spine.



5 responses

18 09 2014

I can’t seem to find a post I haven’t read – just wanted to let you know I was here.


19 09 2014

Thanks, I’m in the midst of a very difficult time. Settling enough to let things flow just isn’t possible right now. I’m hoping the situation will improve within the next six months. I do appreciate your visits. Love what you do on your blog.


19 09 2014

Thank you, I really appreciate your visits. That’s why I felt guilty that I could not return the favor. Hope things settle down for you soon. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Hang in there!!


8 03 2012
dog snuggie



18 12 2011
Multiplication Chart

i like it


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