We bought the house for the garden. An acre of land which just screamed "country" although by the time we moved in "country" had evolved to "jungle". We stood in the doorway on our first night, arms round each other, glasses of merlot resting behind us on the ancient tumble dryer left behind by the previous owner.
"This garden holds some secrets," you said.
I remember how hard you worked, mowing and digging and trimming whilst I busied myself ordering antique wallpaper and trying to get to grips with the Aga. You would come inside after a hard day's landscaping to find that I'd burnt another pie and we had to jump in the convertible and drive to the pub. You cringed every time we went over a bump and I would spend the time complaining about another unwanted piece of rubbish I’d found as I was going through the rooms. We’d never existed together in so many rooms before, the space was a luxury. We turned some heads when we first walked in, but after the initial silence people were friendly enough.
"So you've bought the old Allinson place, have you?"
We didn't know what the old Allinson place was but we nodded anyway. I remember we'd been in there three weeks when you called me into the garden.
"Look at this," you said.
I started screaming then. Hysterically. You had to slap me round the face and take me inside for a medicinal brandy.
"It could be an animal," I said when I could speak again. I had romanticised visions of a kitty funeral, father saying the last rites as the children wept.
"No, it couldn't," you said solemnly. It was your 'I wish I wasn't right but I am' voice. The one normally reserved for squashing my recurring dream of opening a bed and breakfast, or spending £10,000 on a chaise-lounge once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte, with no authentication certificate.
"It’s human," you said. "Definitely human."
The police didn't come straight away. There were some vandals down on Lower Farm and once they'd established that our problem was neither mobile nor particularly fresh, they said they would be there when they could. We went back out into the garden and stared down at the shallow grave. It didn’t look like much. A hole in the ground, a bin bag with a tear in it where you’d struck it with your spade, yellow skull smiling out at us. It didn’t look like a person.
"This is where the roses were going to be," you told me. I said that I absolutely couldn't think about roses right now, I felt too sick.
"That poor soul," I said.
The policeman, when he finally arrived, was nice enough.
"We're going to have to get a forensics team out here," he said. "Probably dig up the whole garden."
"I wish I'd found them earlier," you joked. "You could've have saved me a job."
I could see how disappointed you were. It was your garden, your project. I was upset at the thought of muddy boots trampling all over my reclaimed Victorian parquet flooring.
That night, we went to the pub again. I couldn't face cooking.
"Oliver," you said, putting a reassuring hand on my leg as we pulled into the car park. "It will be ok you know."
"I disagree Tom," I said, turning away. "I don't see how it possibly could be."
The news had obviously already gone round the village by the time we got there.
"I hear you found Linda Allinson," the barman said, giving us our drinks on the house. "Folks've been looking for her for years."