Here's something that came to me last week. Mainly just a scene. I'm not quite sure where it's going, and so far haven't figured out exactly how to advance from here. But, for what it's worth:
No cross. No flowers. No marker at all.
He didn’t want the grave found.
After scattering the leftover dirt from the hole he’d dug and then filled, he made a broom from a pine limb with its needles still attached to wipe away his footprints and the unnaturally smooth cuts of the shovel into the soft forest loam. Dead leaves and twigs added to the camouflage over the grave, and when he finished his work and stepped back, he thought: Nothing will find you here. And nothing will smell you either. Not the animals. Not even the Others.
At the bottom of the hole, over the lacerated body, he’d interlaced layers of fresh cut pine boughs. They made a fragrant shroud, redolent with a spring season this dead one would not see again. Over that he’d put a paving of stones.
A fragment of sound brought the man’s head up. His right hand dropped to the .357 at his hip, rough fingers curling around the worn grip. Nostrils flared. His yellow-brown eyes searched the surrounding wood. He smelled longleaf pine, and Yaupon holly, and the first blooms of the blackberry brambles. He smelled other things, new things on the earth. But these new things weren’t dangerous. And he saw only the same things he smelled, and no movement except a flutter of leaves and pine needles in the breeze that soothed his sweat.
Perhaps an acorn had fallen. Or a twig. Still, he did not relax. He never completely relaxed. Not any more. But the steel spring tension in his muscles eased slightly, and the breath slid once more into his lungs through tight-drawn lips.
The sweat had dried on his chest and back now, and he walked over to the tree where he’d hung his shirt and hat. The shirt was cotton, and had once been white. The hat was flat brimmed, of black leather. He slipped them on, then picked up the shovel and his rifle and walked away from the grave of the little girl he’d just buried.
--- end ---
So, did he kill the child? Find the child dead? Is he a good guy or a bad guy? And who are "The Others?" What do you think?