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Bob was thinking of breaking for lunch when his spade turned up what looked like the remnants of a black plastic bag. Five years working on this garden, and still we're finding somebody else's rubbish, he thought. He pulled at the plastic with his hand, but it tore under the weight of whatever the bag contained-just earth, it seemed. He dug some more. He was used to turning up odd things here at the bottom of the garden: old tennis balls, a broken bucket, plant pots, carrier bags of garden refuse, bits of bone, troublesome rocks. Someone had just dumped stuff here, as far away from the house as possible. Bob got his spade in under the remains of the black plastic bag and managed to get most of it out. He liked things to be tidy. And Amelia did too. They might have slightly differing definitions of "tidy", but they both generally worked towards establishing order. Amelia was the really ordered one, the one who had had the vision of what the garden could and would become. "I'm just her labourer," Bob would say. "She gives me the list of things that need doing in the garden. And I do them." Not that Amelia didn't labour. Now that she, like Bob, had retired, she spent every day she could in the garden, putting the finishing touches to her dream. Although, of course, a garden was never finished. "You finish a painting or a novel or a piece of music," Amelia would say, "but a garden is never actually finished." However, the knowledge that her vision of the garden would as near as damn it be achieved-and the knowledge that it would be here and still blossoming when they were no longer around-was what made their life worth living. And the fact they were together, of course. Bob and Amelia had been married for over 30 years, and their partnership seemed even stronger now, after the passage of time, after bringing up their daughter, and after some pretty awful times when things had more or less broken down between them. They were one of those rare couples who knew what it was like to be in love with each other for the long haul, with a passion that had been through the fire and transmuted into something cooler but more solid. Bob's spade hit a small piece of bone. Another one of those bits of bone that turned up in the soil, he thought. He picked it out and put it alongside the red plastic trug full of weeds. Amelia had asked him to give this bit of ground a good going over so that it was ready for planting. Another bone. Was there no end to this? But this one sounded different. Sounded different, because it had a sort of ring to it. Almost like a musical note. Almost like it was singing out from the deep, slightly damp earth. Bob tried to shift it with his hand. Tried to pull it out. But it wouldn't come. He had to dig still deeper. He had a terrible feeling, a literal fluttering of the heart. It was as if he knew what he was digging up. But how could he? He dug some more. Then he got down on his knees and worked at the soil with his hands. It was something he had never really seen before but yet he knew exactly what it was. It was loose now and he pulled at it. It turned as he freed it from the ground, and he stared at it with only the sound of his heart beating, and a wood pigeon repeating its endless calling. It was a skull. A human skull.