I came home the other night about midnight, and in the yard across the road, a widowed neighbor was intently digging under a flood light, between his house and his new garage. The hole was massive, but when he saw me drive by he turned off the light. By the time I turned the car around and pulled into my parking space, I could no longer see what he was doing, although I could still hear him digging. It was a curious event. My investigative mode kicked in and I started wondering what (or who) he was burying.
I finally decided nothing that bizarre could be happening on my mountain. After all, that guy helped me dig out my car wheels one icey afternoon. He was probably just burying what was left of an illegally bagged deer, or maybe he was doing some construction digging without a building permit, right? But I logged the event in my imagination, in case I might ever write a local crime novel . . .
Over the weekend, when I came home from church, he and the next door neighbor were talking in his yard. The only phrase I heard, before the men went back to their separate houses, was “she was fifteen years old…” Probably no connection to that digging episode, but I instinctively added another piece to the crime-novel file . . .