A story haunted these trees. Remember that man who was killed. A knife was involved. It happened ten years ago. It happened in winter. There was a lot of snow between December and March. The man was killed on the eve of a terrible storm and his body remained undiscovered for almost a month.
The papers described the man, when he was dug out of a drift, as ‘a frozen statue with hands outstretched and face turned toward the sky.’ The journalist who wrote these words felt they were poetic while still performing the task of informing the public.
The man wasn’t from the neighborhood. He wasn’t from the city. He’d been visiting a relative who declined to be interviewed by the press. One of the local television stations tried to get her to say a few words and she closed the door of her house.
For a long while after the incident people talked about how it was to live close by a place where someone had lost his life in a terrible fashion. Some people moved away from the neighborhood. Others stayed, but no longer enjoyed life as they had before.
People told the story and their passion in telling imbued the story with power. This is how they spoke the words of the story. Back in ’75, clench the fists, Stranger in town, pause and hold breath, Went for a walk and never seen alive again, exhale with a long drawn-out sigh.
In a strange sort of way it was a good story. Some stories, they come to an end and you wonder what the point was in hearing them. These are cheating stories. These are stories that rob you of precious time, the one commodity that none of us can buy any more of, not for all the money in the world.
The story about the woods held onto a listener like a gila monster. It was one of the best stories in the neighborhood. The story about the woods and the terrible events of ’75. After hearing this story something deep down changed inside. Hard to say what. Something important. Something vital.