Someone has died close to the bush track where we run. We can smell the body. It’s beginning to rot. As I race between the trees, my nose wrinkles. What a foul odour!
“Someone in our street is a murderer,” I think. “Or maybe someone in our street is a victim… or both could be true.”
I run through the danger zone out into fresher air. But the smell hits me again on my next lap along the track. I think, “I bet those loud shots we heard on New Year’s Eve weren’t all fireworks." Someone had a gun. Yes, a big gun. Someone shot the victim and no one suspects a thing.
The murderer thinks he has got away with his deadly crime. He’s probably sitting at home, with his feet up, feeling secure. You see, no one knows about the body. Only me. And even I haven’t gazed it in the face. I have no idea whether it is male or female. I don’t really want to find out. I much prefer to keep on running. I am running well. I can’t afford to break my rhythm. You see, I’m on target for a record distance.
“What will the police say when they discover the body?” I ask myself on my third lap through the crime scene. Will they discover I knew about the body first? They’ll see my footprints. They’ll track me down. Will they suspect me? Or will they say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us sooner?’ Will they understand about rhythms and running and record distances?
I run and run and run. I run a record distance, 8 whole kms. I feel good. The girls are happy too. They’ve also run a long way. “Good work team!” I say as I tip back my bottle and gulp down mouthfuls of water. “That was a great run!”
“Pity about the dead body,” says Sophie.
“Yes, what an awful smell,” says Gemma-Rose
“I had to run faster along that part of the track,” says Imogen.
“Dead body? You know about the dead body too?” I ask.
“How could anyone miss it?” asks Charlotte. “What a stink!”
So the dead body is no longer my secret. Five of us know about it. It’s there in the bush, alongside the track where we run. We wish it were somewhere else. It smells awful. It’s interrupting our rhythm. It's spoiling our runs.
What should we do? Perhaps we ought to tell someone about it after all. The police might come and take it away. But what if they rope off the crime scene, draw a dead body shape around the victim and insist everyone stay far away? We won’t be able to run along our track. It will be out-of-bounds. No, that would never do.
“What are you thinking about, Mum?” asks Sophie, as we stroll back home.
“The dead body.”
We look at each other and we giggle.
“What do you think the smell really is?” asks Gemma-Rose.
“A plant with smelly flowers?”
“No, this smell is far too big for that.”
“Someone has dumped something under the trees?”
“Like a dead body!” We giggle again.
“No, like garbage!”
“We could investigate. Have a look around?” Imogen suggests.
But that would mean stopping, breaking our rhythm. No, we couldn’t do that.
So we still have no idea what’s making that terrible smell in our beautiful bush. But it’s not a dead body. Oh no! We wouldn’t joke about a real dead body.That would be terrible.
Funny the things we imagine as we run through the bush.