He knew every inch of his land like the back of his hand. He ought to, after all. He had lived there his entire life, and started working as soon as he was old enough.
For more years than he cared to count, he had walked the land each day. It was a routine that had become almost ritual; walk the land. Check the crop.
He opened a gate and walked through it, turning to walk along the fence towards the corner. There was a tarpaulin there, covering an awkward, lumpen shape. He knelt beside it and gently lifted one corner of the tarp.
“Hello again,” he whispered. The naked woman under the tarpaulin said nothing. Her lifeless eyes stared upwards.
“Flies haven’t found you, yet, then,” he muttered. He took a camera out of his bag and took some pictures of the dead woman. “Bye for now,” he said. Gently, he replaced the tarpaulin and set off across the field.
There was an old truck parked at the opposite edge, in a particularly sunny spot. As he drew close, he could see the flies swarming around inside.
“Flies have certainly found you,” he said, peering through the window. There was another dead body inside; almost unrecognisable already. He took more pictures and set off again for the next corpse.
There were thirty seven dead bodies on his farm, all told. Some had died from shotgun wounds. Some in traffic accidents. Some through disease or old age. Some lay out in the open, some were covered, a few were stored in vehicles or sheds.
Each told a different story; stories that would help others to find justice. It may not have been the crop his father expected him to tend, but it brought him far more satisfaction.
He took a photograph of a young woman hanging from a tree. The data she had provided had already helped catch the killer of another teenage girl, miles away from here, whose stepfather had tried to fake her suicide. The man had been convicted just the day before.
“Ellie would like to say thank you,” he said. The girl’s body swung slightly in the breeze. The body farmer nodded, as if listening to a voice on the wind, and walked on.
© Kari Fay