UKArchive ID: 6530Landscaping By Moonlight by chrisk
Originally published on May 17, 2004 in Fiction

Loosely based on true events. All the names have been changed.




A full moon peeped out of the clouds as Nigel was digging. A solitary figure in a field

that used to grow corn. The field was reached by walking down a valley overgrown with shrub and some gnarled trees. Foxes and rabbits and some cats roamed there at night. A few trees had birds’ nest in them, high up.

He had killed his wife and was trying to bury her. The sudden brightness from the sky startled him. It was a cloudy night when he started his work and now he was exposed to the houses that overlooked the valley and the field. The houses were situated way up and unless one was awake at 1a.m and had a pair of binoculars, it was difficult to see that far down the field. So for the time being he was safe.

He finished his digging and having had a cursory look around, he dragged the lifeless body and placed it doubled up in the hole. The young woman lay there wrapped in the black satin king size bed sheet that she had bought only a few days ago He filled it up with the earth and slowly placed the top part of the earth with all the weeds and other growth over it. He had cut it out carefully beforehand so when any one looked at the ground which he had just dug up it didn’t show any disturbance. A few days and it would be undetectable. Clever Nigel.

The body had a name. Jane Jones, wife of Nigel Jones, Landscape Gardener, and had been married for four years. The gardener had not been doing any landscaping for some time now. Of course jobs were available but he was not interested as his wife had inherited some money from her aunt and the cheque for some £50,000 was duly deposited in their joint account. You see all finances were in the control of Nigel as his wife was not very good with figures and implicitly trusted him. She was also deeply in love with her husband, but the husband was deeply in love with someone else. That was the problem.

For the last three months all they did was shop, shop and more shop. All credit cards were paid up and new store cards were being given by generous departmental stores, generous until the end of the month when the money is due, if you didn’t pay promptly, then they would add generous interest on it. This couple never had so much money and why then should Nigel do any work or his wife do any part time work in the Woolworth’s? £50,000 is going to last for ever!

In a family when old people start to die they do it in quick succession. It is as though they were supporting and encouraging each other to live and some times when one goes the other usually follows suit. You call it heartbreak or something like that. A few months after the auntie’s death the very rich uncle followed her to the grave. The uncle left everything to the only niece, Jane, the wife of Nigel.

The whole estate was worth around half a million pounds. The couple were rich beyond their wildest dreams.

The day before the killing, the cheque arrived from the solicitors who were administering the estate. It was brought in by one of the staff from the company and duly handed over to Jane who in turn immediately handed it over to Nigel, her true love and husband. It was a Friday and too late to go to the bank The bank can wait until Monday and the cheque was not going anywhere. It was, it was going Nigel’s way.

A year ago Nigel had met a girl, the daughter of a rich widow who had commissioned him to landscape her large garden and had promptly fallen in love, deeply, madly, lustily! She was just eighteen and her attention to him, a much older man had flattered him and she was beautiful, sophisticated fresh meat unlike his wife. However being a hand to mouth person he was not going to be able to keep her in the way she was accustomed to. So for the time being it was just love and sex.

Now the situation had changed! Nigel planned his actions carefully. He was going to kill his wife and after getting rid of the body he would tell every one that his wife had gone away to her country of birth, Ireland, and he was to follow her later. She couldn’t say goodbye to all her friends, as she had to look after her late uncle’s affairs back there and the solicitors wanted to see her in a hurry. She had no other relations here in U.K., apart from her husband.

On Saturday, the day of the killing, he had told Charlotte, the young girl that his wife was leaving him and going back to Ireland to a remote village in County Cork or somewhere, as they had been unhappy for a very long time. She had already asked him for a divorce. He kissed the young girl and held her and made love to her in her room and never wanted to leave. The fire was burning full furnace. Hot! He had decided that he was never ever going to make love to his wife. She was cold and old, much older than this young beautiful thing.

That night while his wife was sleeping he suffocated her with the pillow with the black satin cover on the king size bed with the satin bed sheet. The lady struggled for a while and then went limp. She was a tiny little thing anyway. It was so easy, like suffocating rabbits that he used to do as a kid. He had killed many times, but this was his first human.

Having buried the body he came back to his house over looking the valley, showered. He would have to remove and get rid of some of the clothes and her handbag etc to make it look as though she had gone on a journey. He will also buy a ticket to Dublin through the Internet in his wife’s name and that way cover all the tracks. He went to the bedroom and through the window he could see roughly the area where he had just been. He made the bed that was in a mess and looked at the big cheque, which was lying beside the bedside table. He picked it up and kissed it, ummma…

Before turning in he decided to have a last look at the site. He picked up the binoculars and looked down the field to wards the spot. The moon was shining so bright everything around was visible in a milky sort of way. He even noticed a fox sniffing around the spot.

Everything went Nigel’s way. All the people concerned accepted his version of her not being around and in a few months she ‘died’ in Ireland and he disappeared for a few days only to re appear and tell every one how sad the funeral was. Nigel married his sweetheart and lived happily ever after, until a construction company purchased the land and wanted to convert it into a theme park with garden, fountain, play area for kids and a few shops.

Nigel panicked. They will soon start digging the place up and that would be the end. The body had been there for a year. There is no alternative but to dig it up and bury it somewhere else, but where and how? Going downhill was easy and the body was freshly killed. No smell of decomposition but now he has to bring the body uphill, at night unseen by any one. He no longer lived in the house where he killed his wife and from where he could see the burial site. He was now half a millionaire with a new rich wife and that enabled him to buy a house in a posher part of the town, a few miles away. However the job had to be done or he was finished, end of the road, kaput.

One night he went down with a spade, big garden refuse bags, tapes and all the necessary paraphernalia to do the job. He dug the body up which was decomposed and soft but somehow managed to put all the body parts in the bags. He even had to fill the bags with soil from the immediate area, as they were all discoloured and gooey. It took him about 3 to 4 hours to fill his car boot with the bags. By the time he finished, the boot was jam-packed and it took him a lot of force to close it. Dawn was fast approaching as he started driving away from the area, a very tired and exhausted man.

The car stopped by the seaside. Dozens of small fishing boats were on the shore and he had hired one. The idea was to take the body parts to a distance of about a mile or two into the sea and just dump them. The fish and the crabs will do the rest.

Nigel parked the car by the side of the promenade where by now there were early morning joggers and walkers. Some with their hungry dogs who would get their food when they get home. One dog that was very hungry pulled its master and started to sniff around the boot and seeing the liquid oozing out started licking it. Soon a few other dogs gathered around with their masters who were all trying to pull them away with their cries of Tiger, Flop, Patch and Rover. Pandemonium broke. The stench was overpowering to humans but to the dogs it was a treat, like the aroma of the chicken tikka masalla to the humans.

This man was now well and truly trapped in the car. If he gets out he would have to confront these dogs and their masters. This particular model of his Jaguar had a switch inside which would unlock the boot. He was fiddling with it, contemplating whether he should or should not, and suddenly in his nervous state, pressed the switch and the boot door was unlocked, and as it was jam packed to the brim, it partially opened up and one of the bags fell out. The dogs immediately went for it and started tearing it into pieces revealing a partially skeletal hand and a hairy skull. One of animals started to bite off whatever flesh was left on the body parts. One should remember here, that dogs can be taken to all kinds of obedience and behaviour classes but they are pack animals and if two or three of them get together they can behave badly, like their wild ancestors.

All Nigel could hear was the frantic barking and growling of the dogs and the chorus of the approaching sirens.

© chrisk (chrisk on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 6530
Archived comments for Landscaping By Moonlight
ish on 2004-05-18 09:51:21
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
I think the fellow is languishing in a prison nearby.
I remember this incident some 5 years ago. It is simply told, and then, you always do.

Author's Reply:

chrisk on 2004-05-18 12:32:55
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
Hi Ish
Think he got life. Many thanks for ur comments. I did get some help from one of the Police officers who was at the scene.

Author's Reply:

marym on 2004-05-18 14:50:40
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
... felt a bit scared after reading this -- barking dogs do that for me...
can you tell me which place this happened (if it doesn't reveal too much).

much regards, Mary

Author's Reply:

chrisk on 2004-05-19 02:37:19
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
Hi marym,
Thank u for ur comments. There is a proverb here in UK, 'Barking dogs do not bite'. However it would be wise to remember that a doberman or a pitbull terrier would'nt know that such a proverb exists!
This incident took place in the South of the British Isles.

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2004-05-19 14:42:31
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
This sort of happened!!!!! How awful! I like the way you've told it. I enjoyed the read it had me hooked.

Author's Reply:

chrisk on 2004-05-19 15:33:52
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
Well now this is manna to me from heaven. I was not happy the way my writing went on this. I even posted my feelings on the critique , but John G, told me to just get on with it. I suppose he meant 'stop moaning and groaning'!
Thank u, u made my night lol

Author's Reply:

dancing-queen on 2004-05-20 18:34:09
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
Hi Chris - saw your forum post and quickly scooted over here to check out your story. I thought it was an interesting read, although I'm not sure it reads as a short story, more like a report of the incident. It's under the 'horror' category, so I don't know if, indeed, you wrote it as a short story. Anyway, I'll assume for now that it was a short (correct me later if I'm wrong).

I didn't notice any dialogue in here, or even the main character's thoughts. Perhaps, if you were to do a rewrite, it might be an idea to let us see the mind of this murderer at work, rather than having the whole thing related to us second hand, if that makes sense. I just think it would make the whole thing a lot more intense and horrific for the reader. You're usually so good at the dialogue in your writing, it really brings the piece alive.

Um...a couple of typos I spotted:

'...overgrown with scrub' - do you mean shrub?

' covert it into a theme park' - should be convert

I would also remove the bit about the chicken tikka massala as it makes it sound a bit jokey, which seems a bit out of place considering the circumstances (IMO).

I think you made a good effort considering it was your first attempt at this type of crime/horror genre. It certainly is a gruesome tale, isn't it? Those poor people with the dogs who discovered the body parts must be having nightmares about it. I know I would!!

If you need any more help just give me a shout (okay, a PM then, since you're all the way in Brighton) LOL.

Regards - DQ x

Author's Reply:

chrisk on 2004-05-21 05:25:12
Re: Landscaping By Moonlight
Hi Leah
Thank u so much for taking the trouble to read and your valuable comments. I an correcting the typo error now.
I see what you mean and I will try and rewrite but it going to be a herculian task.
Will talk to u soon ok? Ya PM is a good idea, but last time I send u 1 u never replied lol

Author's Reply: