I knew the bones had not been there yesterday, but where had they come from? And were they human? They seemed to be too small to be human, but I wasn’t sure. Should I call the police just in case? I stood at the edge of the forest and stared at the bones on the ground. Maybe they had been there yesterday or for weeks and had just been brought to the light of day by the massive downpour we had had the night before.
Even if I didn’t call the police about the newly surfaced bones, I knew somebody else would. This was a well-used hike into the woods and people came and went at all hours of the day. I knew I was on the edge of getting in trouble with the police because of the wreck I had caused the week before so I finally made up my mind to continue on with my hike without making any sort of phone call. Growing up, my father had made me so paranoid about getting in trouble, now I couldn’t face any kind of consequence. I knew the illegal lane change the week before had been the cause of the crash between the other two cars, but I hadn’t stopped. The shame still followed me like a hawk, but as no one was injured, it was beginning to fade.
Just like I knew someone else would find the bones and call the police. I knew I couldn’t look a police officer in the eye and tell them what I had been doing when Virginia had gone missing. I knew there was a good chance this was Virginia because these were her favorite trees, her favorite forest and definitely her favorite hiking path. But, again, I had lied to the police about her disappearance and I knew they wouldn’t let me get away with another story. So I kept on hiking, knowing my life would never be normal again. But when had I ever had a normal life to begin with? I looked at the sky and started humming along with the birdsong, knowing I would never return.