Today's Reading

Bodies tend to get found because of poor burial. I don't want that to happen. I really don't. That would definitely not be the outcome I'm after. And a poor burial, like a poor anything else really, comes down to three things:

1. Lack of time
2. Lack of initiative
3. Lack of care
 
In terms of time: I have three to six hours to do this. Three hours is my conservative estimate. Six hours is the daylight I have left. I have time.

I believe I have initiative; two brains are better than one. I hope. I just need to work through this step by step.

And number three: care? God, do I care. I care. More than I have ever cared in my entire life.



Three feet is the minimum depth recommended by the ICCM (Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management). I know this because I Googled it. I Googled it before I started digging. See, initiative. Care. I squatted down next to the body, wet leaves and mud malty underfoot, and I Googled how to bury a body. I Googled this on the body's burner phone. If they do find the body...they won't find the body...and manage to retrieve the data...they won't retrieve the data... then this search history is going to make fantastic reading.



Two full hours in, I stop digging. The hole is just over three feet deep. I don't have a tape measure, but I remember that three feet is around crotch height. The height of the highest jump I managed on the horse-riding vacation I took before I left for university twelve years ago. An eighteenth-birthday present. Weird what sticks in the memory, isn't it? But here I am, waist-deep in a grave, remembering a gymkhana. I got second prize, by the way. I was very happy with it.

Anyway, I've dug approximately three feet deep, two feet wide, six feet long. Yes, that took two hours.

To reiterate: digging a grave is very hard.

Just to put this into perspective for you, this hole, my two-hour hole, is: 3 ft x 2 ft x 6 ft, which is 36 cubic feet of soil, which
is 1 cubic meter of soil, which is 1.5 tons of soil. And that—that—is the weight of a hatchback car or a fully grown beluga whale or the average hippopotamus. I have moved the equivalent of that up and slightly to the left of where it was before. And this grave is only three feet deep.



I look across the mud at the mound and slowly hoist myself out, forearms trembling under my own weight. The body lies across from me under a torn tarpaulin, its brilliant cobalt a slash of color against the brown forest floor. I'd found it abandoned, hanging like a veil from a branch, back toward the layby, in quiet communion with an abandoned fridge. The fridge's small freezer-box door creaking calmly in the breeze. Dumped.

There's something so sad about abandoned objects, isn't there? Desolate. But kind of beautiful. I suppose, in a sense, I've come to abandon a body.

The fridge has been here a while—I know this because I saw it from the car window as we drove past here three months ago, and nobody has come for it yet. We were on our way back to London from Norfolk, Mark and I, after celebrating our anniversary, and here the fridge still is months later. Odd to think so much has happened—to me, to us—in that time, but nothing has changed here. As if this spot were adrift from time, a holding area. It has that feel. Perhaps no one has been here since the fridge owner was here, and God knows how long ago that might have been. The fridge looks distinctly seventies—you know, in that bricky way. Bricky, Kubricky. A monolith in a damp English wood. Obsolete. Three months it's been here at least and no collection, no men from the dump. No one comes here, that's clear. Except us. No council workers, no disgruntled locals to write letters to the council, no early morning dog walkers to stumble across my quarry. This was the safest place I could think of. So here we are. It will take a while for it all to settle, the soil. But I think the fridge and I have enough time.
 

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