The Woods Behind The Golf Course

It was where I used to go when I didn’t want to go to school. I could be alone there. Sometimes I would take a book with me. Occasionally it would rain heavily, and I would create an improvised shelter using an old plastic sheet that I tied to some tree branches. Once I found a metal cannister with what looked like the word ‘toxic’ printed on the side in large yellow letters. A closer inspection revealed that it actually said ‘tonic’. Later on I found a porn magazine, the cover weather beaten but the insides still intact. I would bury and then dig up the magazine repeatedly over the following weeks.  And then there was the body.

I was looking for a secluded spot to take a piss when I saw it. It had obviously been buried in a hurry,  covered in a shallow layer of dirt and leaves which had soon been uncovered by wind and rain. It looked back at me with vacant eyes. There was dried blood down the front of the denim jacket and a strong but not quite overpowering smell. The urge to run battled inside me with the urge to find a long stick with which to poke it. It was the former that won out, and I was halfway home before I realised that there was still an hour until I was supposed to finish school. I walked the rest of the way as slowly as I could, and snuck into the garage to hide for the remaining three quarters of an hour before going into the house.

When I walked into the kitchen my mother asked me how my day at school had been. I hesitated, thinking that she had found out that I hadn’t been in, but was relieved to see that she was focused on a crossword. If she had known or suspected then she would have been watching me to see if I was lying. I wanted to tell her about the body but, scared of the repercussions of admitting my own wrongdoing, kept silent.

For weeks afterwards I checked the local paper obsessively for any mention of it. Not out of curiosity, but the fear that some physical evidence would prove that I had been there instead of in school. I avoided the woods from that point on, and never missed a day of school. Eventually it began to slip from my memory, to the extent that I began to doubt that it had even happened. Then one day on the way to school, I decided to walk through the woods.  Apprehension and fear gave way to disappointment when there was no sign of the body. I stood there a while, looking around, kicking the dirt around in hope of uncovering part of the body, or even the remnants of the porn mag. There was a rustling sound and looked I up to see two foxes running past. I watched them disappear into another part of the woods, then continued on my way.

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