too many words by laura lemay

nice neighborhood, except for the dead people

This weekend on the road right near my house they found a body — human bones scattered in a ravine. The road is closed right now while the sheriff investigates.

This isn’t unusual for the mountains where I live. There have been a dozen or so bodies found in this area since we moved here eight years or so. Even as Silicon Valley inhales deeply with tech growth and expands out east and west the mountains to the south remain dark and impenetrable and mostly empty. Our road is the first mountain exit off the freeway so when people in the valley do bad things they come up here to get rid of the evidence. People also come out here to hide, to disappear, or to end their own lives. When they’re discovered — sometimes months or years later — their stories are unearthed with the bones. Sometimes they are famous. Sometimes they are ordinary local people who became locally or even nationally famous when they vanished. Sometimes we never find out who they were; the mountains swallowed up their identities as well as their bodies.

We don’t know the story behind these new bones yet, although there are rumors they are those of a woman who disappeared a number of years back. On the radio station they interviewed the local sherriff, who said: “We don’t have any information on whether the bones belong to anyone at this time.”

Call it a hunch, I think that the bones belong to someone.