Into the darkness he carried a rusty shovel, slung precariously over his right shoulder. A well-wrapped burden was doubled over his left. Deep into the woods he traveled without aid of flashlight or lantern. The abrasive sound of crunching leaves and twigs from his labored boot-fall drowned out his morbid mantra:
“You never suspected your mortal end was nigh. The reason for your death only I know why. Down the cellar stairs you tumbled and died. Deep beneath the sod you’ll forever lie.”
The destination of his clandestine mission was finally reached. The old man began digging with both purpose and precision. Each slice of the spade parted the earth a little more. It’s distinct rasp cut into the stillness of the night air. A tidy pile of dirt began to collect on the opposite side of the excavation. All the while, he continued to whisper his disturbing poem with gusto.
Once the proper depth was reached, there was nothing left to do but toss the heavy bundle in. He carefully redistributed leaves and ground cover over the spot. Soon enough, there was no visible sign the soil had ever been disturbed. The old man smiled at his deft handiwork and then returned to the cabin. He had some cleaning up to do.
In the bathtub, the body was already bloated and decaying. The smell was rank but it didn’t phase the old man. The stench of death never bothered him. It was part of the job. He removed the swollen corpse and wrapped it in a shower curtain. It would be easier to transport that way.
Under the cover of nightfall, he set out with his deceased burden. Though scraggly pine thickets and hardwood the old man trudged. Eventually he made his way to ‘the crossing’ and located a suitable spot for interment.
“Beneath the bathwater you slipped and drowned, in your grave you’ll never be found.”; He chanted as his shovel met the dirt. Each of his jingles were unique and personalized to the circumstance. Once the pit was the requisite depth, he lowered the body in and covered it up. Five minutes later, the spot bore no evidence of disruption. The old man paused a moment to check his gold pocket watch. He grimaced when it became apparent that he was running late for his next appointment.
“The hanged man was no victim, for he died by his own hand. His life was surrendered willingly, death came as he planned.”
Old man Mysterios was clever at making up his poetic rhymes. He composed the morbid melodies to occupy his transportation time, up to the crossing. He pulled the person’s body down from his suicide rope and gathered the necessary supplies. With dawn approaching, he elected to tidy up the location first. There wouldn’t be time left to clean up, afterward. The cover of darkness would be elapsed by then.
This cadaver was heavier than most but the old man was stout as an ox. It was all a matter of maintaining good balance when doubling over the body. His progress was slow with the dead weight on his shoulder but he was determined to get it done. The world needed mystery, fear and imagination. The unexplained disappearance of those he buried at the crossing between life and death, would help maintain that fading mystery in the world. It was important, satisfying work. The reaper still needed to be respected and feared. He was happy to be the silent partner.