Thursday, May 7, 2015

Water, Water Everywhere, and all the (Potential) Crimes It Reveals #mystery

We've had a very wet winter and spring - that's something you won't hear people from Texas say with any sort of frequency. But this year it's true. (Every drop of rain is welcome after the drought of 2011. Even when they come in a torrent. Day after day. And drown your garden. We could do without the tornadoes, high winds, hail, and lightning strikes, but the rain is good.)

It's interesting to see how the land reacts to so much water. Our house and some of the best pasture are on high ground, which drops away steeply to hardwood covered bottom land, and then to a creek at our property boundary. This year the bottom land flooded, and looked like this:

The water was deep enough to cover the bottom strand of the electric fence and in places, the top strand. We needed a jet ski instead of a tractor. The good news is that since we couldn't get to the bottom land, neither could the cows, so there was little risk they'd make a break for it to graze along the roadside. (Honestly, the grass is greener...)

Because of our land's topography, we experience quite a bit of run-off. This year the rain has moved dead timber, washed away soil, and uncovered potential evidence of a crime.

We were checking the damage from a strong storm and peeking from the earth were bits of fabric: a baby blanket, baby clothes, women's clothes, a sheet, a single baby shoe, toy shoes, and a spoon. (You know where I'm headed. This can't just be somebody's trash. There has to be a murder involved. Or at least a disappearance.)

I would've been irritated with the neighbors if I'd found this stuff near the back fence, where trash occasionally gets dumped. And I might've figured the people who rented our house back in 2005 tossed out a bag of clothes because they couldn't be bothered to go to the county dump (they weren't the cleanest of people). But these clothes were in the middle of our property, nowhere near the house or any fences.

They've been here for a while. It's not like the clothes were just sitting on the ground. Some were close to the surface, while others were buried under several inches of soil. Some were rotting, and the styles could be from 1980s onward. It's hard to believe all of these clothes didn't get put here at the same time. So what are the possibilities?

A woman and her child were on the run from her abusive husband. She snuck onto our property and picked a sheltered location to spend the night, but had to flee when her husband found her, and she left a bag of clothes behind. Or maybe he killed her and buried the bodies.
A drug addicted woman got kicked out of her home. She packed clothes, her drugs and a spoon to cook them in, and she and her child ended up living on our property. The former property owner surprised her and she took the baby and ran, leaving the clothes and spoon behind. Or maybe he killed her and wild hogs ate the bodies.

A woman and child were on the run, but the person they were running from caught them, killed them, buried the bodies, but didn't worry about the clothes. (Our place is big enough that you could bury a body here and we might never find it. That's not an invitation, by the way.)

A woman steals a child and hides on our property. The police surprise her and she runs, leaving the clothes and spoon behind.

A family falls on hard times and is walking, looking for work, carrying their few belongings. They sleep in pastures at night, but this night the land owner surprised them and they fled, leaving the clothes and spoon behind. Or maybe he killed them all and...well, you know the rest.

The wife of one of the oilfield workers who come on and off our place on almost a daily basis gave him a bag of trash to toss and instead of taking it to the dump, he left it on our place.

Isn't it great? All of these scenarios (except the last one, unless the land owner sees the oilfield worker toss the trash, kills him, and buries the body) could find a home in one of the Cass Elliot novels. All thanks to the rain.

What about you? What weird things (and plot lines) has the weather uncovered for you?

(Were these clothes somehow linked to a real crime? Probably not. The guy we bought the land from left the gates unlocked and people came on and off to hunt, fish, and who knows what else. As my husband suggested, this is probably just a bag of trash someone dumped, but it's much more fun to think there's a crime behind the clothes.)

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