The Body On The Beach: 17

A preliminary report was with Simmonds the next day. It stated that the victim’s body had been so badly burned at such a high temperature (it probably having being doused in an accelerant), that it was impossible to determine a cause of death. It was however possible to ascertain from what was left of the skeleton that the remains were most likely those of an adult male. Examination of the cross showed it to be well constructed of factory sawn timber. Given the estimated weight it would have required more than one man to move it manually. It had been sunk into the ground to a depth of approximately two feet, and had been braced either side to support it vertically. Obviously a great deal of thought and planning had been involved. There were a variety of marks on the ground but nothing discernible from the fevered activity of Simmonds and the other men that night. How the cross was placed there undetected was baffling.

Simmonds concluded that such effort would surely only be expended to communicate some meaning, to make some statement, to manifest some power. Someone who saw the spectacle that night must have understood it’s purpose, but as to what that purpose was Simmonds found himself completely in the dark.

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