2018 'Write in The Week' Competition Winning Story

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The theme for this year's competition was '...now I can go home and tend my garden...'


Digging Deep by Val Ormrod

The police came, dozens of them with spades and shovels and bags to collect samples. They didn’t find anything of course. They searched the house and garden and all the outbuildings, even sifted through my compost heap before they started digging. They completely turned over the vegetable garden and made a right mess of the rose beds. Not a bit of concern.
Flowers don’t take well to being unearthed and tossed around or left in the sun to dry out. They like their roots to be left buried deep in the soil.

They kept me for hours at the station, digging away there too, asking the same questions in different ways and trying to catch me out. But I’ve got an excellent memory and I managed to keep to my story. They didn’t like the part about the argument though.
‘Just because we had a slight disagreement,’ I reasoned, ‘doesn’t mean I’d want to kill her.’

‘Lots of men do,’ the older detective, the one with a bad haircut and a paunch said, looking at me closely. ‘Crimes of passion. Was your wife having an affair? Or were you?’
I denied both, of course. They gave up in the end, though grudgingly, I could tell.
That small, dark-haired detective with a face like vinegar didn’t want to let me go. She thought she could see into my soul and perhaps she could.

They released me at last. No evidence. So now I can go home and tend my garden. Time to start putting in the new vegetables. The wife’s roses may never recover. When she gets back from her month-long meditation at the Buddhist retreat in the Cairngorms she’ll be miffed about that. But we’re getting on a bit now and the heavy maintenance jobs have been getting harder. It was our son’s idea to tell the police about the body. I just happened to mention the argument and how I hadn’t seen my wife for a week. That last bit was true. The roses are a small price to pay for getting the rest of the garden dug over.