One foot deep.
The light brown haired man, in his mid forties stopped digging to catch his breath and wipe the sweat from his brow. The man shivered as the cool night breeze blew over him. Looking towards the sky, he saw a break in the cloud cover and a three-quarter moon peeking out at him.
The man figured it was almost midnight. According to an earlier weather report, a storm front would be moving in early the next morning. The man had been working for nearly half an hour and planned on being long finished before the storm arrived. It wouldn't really matter if the storm came early, he thought as another cloud moved overhead to cover the moon. Rain made the ground easier to dig.
Two feet deep.
Another brief break in the clouds allowed the moon, now directly overhead, to illuminate the area around the man. About thirty feet to his right stood a large elm tree swaying in the steady wind. A large iron fence beyond the tree separated this garden from the city beyond.
The man, while taking a short break, reflected on his present situation. Since being laid-off during his company's restructuring program nearly fifteen years ago, and subsequently being left by his wife, Maureen, and their son, Tommy, he had drifted from job to job, trying to make enough money to live and not need to depend on government assistance.
Three feet deep.
The breeze was picking up, bringing with it the heavy cloud cover of the lead edge of the impending storm front. The man thought again about the task he was near completing. As if to reassure himself he reached into his pocket to pull out a welfare check. Striking a match to illuminate the check he saw his name, Thomas Becket, staring back at him. The check was degrading, laughing at him and his inability to earn enough money to keep himself alive. In a fit of rage he lit the check with the match he had been holding and went back to work.
Four feet deep.
The tip of Mr. Becket's shovel struck the mahogany box he had been searching for. As he pried open the casket's lid, Thomas wondered to himself. If poverty had driven an upstanding citizen such as himself to become a grave robber, what might have happened to Maureen and Tommy?
The last time he had spoken to Maureen, nearly ten years ago, she'd mentioned that Tommy had run away from home. It saddened Thomas to think of his son living on the streets, but he had no idea where to even start looking for him. He'd probably be better off in a gang anyway, Thomas reasoned.
Gathering what jewelry he had collected from the female corpse into a brown canvas sack, Thomas picked up his shovel and walked towards the gate. As he opened the gate, Thomas saw two younger men talking at the end of the alley before him. Hoping they wouldn't suspect what had just taken place, Thomas planned to close the gate quickly and walk away.
Before he could close the gate, Thomas saw his life flash before his eyes as the young man on the right pulled a gun from under his coat and shot him. Thomas collapsed just inside the cemetery fence, blood seeping out of the hole in his chest. Lightning flashed as Thomas took his last breath and saw the name on the tombstone of the grave he had just robbed. "Here lies Maureen Becket."
The wind howled around the young man standing still as the elm tree, holding the smoking gun in his right hand.
"Hurry up. We gotta get rid of the body," said his friend setting the man's canvas sack aside and dragging the body towards the open grave.
"He made it kinda easy for us, didn't he?"
"Take 'em as they come, man. Beats robbing a grave for ourselves. Give me a hand here."
The two men dragged Mr. Becket's body to the open grave and tossed him inside with the corpse of his ex-wife. Using Thomas's own shovel the two men buried him and made a quick exit from the cemetery as the first rain started to fall.
"What's wrong with you, man. You've been awful quiet. It's not like we never killed anyone before."
"I don't know. He kinda reminded me of someone."
"Don't worry about it, Tommy. Everyone looks like somebody."
Six feet deep.