I used to walk to grade school every day. This was many years ago, when there were less crazed oddballs kidnapping kids. I used to cut through two empty properties so I could shave some time off of my stroll, since I was perpetually late.

My older brother had left before me. I packed my books and started running to school, taking my shortcuts as always. One of the properties was heavily overgrown with vegetation, and I never saw her until I had tripped over her.

She was an older woman (in her late 30's I'd guess), bleached blonde hair and a hard face. She was nude, her clothes were thrown off to her left, and her shirt looked ripped. There were a few liquor bottles nearby as well, but I didn't know if the were there before. She was stiff, and her eyes and mouth were slightly opened. I had never seen a naked woman in person before, only in my older brother's porno magazines. She looked nothing like them. She was paunchy, had red patches on her arms and just looked like she had led a hard, unhappy life.

It took me a few minutes to realize that I was looking at a real dead human being. There were three red cuts on her chest around one of her breasts. One had a lot of dried blood, the others almost looked like afterthoughts. I stood up and walked slowly to school.

When I arrived, I was much later than normal. The attendance lady in the office was very familiar with me, and she started to hand me a hall pass when she saw my face. She knew something was wrong, so when she asked I told her what I had found. She called the principal, the school nurse and the counselor, then called the police.

I really don't know what I was thinking, perhaps I was numb from the shock. They tried talking to me before the police arrived, but I didn't say anything. The nurse left to call my Mom.

The police arrived, and I started to cry. I blubbered out what I had found. I left with the two officers and the principal to go to the lot where the dead body lay peacefully. I led them right to the spot, and when I looked at her face again I saw ants had started to crawl on her. One of the officers led me back to the school and started to ask me questions. I remember crying a lot, and wondering why I was crying. My Mom arrived and held me as she talked to the officer. She was hysterical when they told her what I had found. She also started crying, getting her waitress uniform all wet in the front.

I don't remember much more from the incident. The school had me visit a psychiatrist for a while. I remember my classmates asking me about the dead body weeks later. I can't remember her face exactly like I used to, perhaps it was my psyche healing itself. I think that was the day I discovered the world is not the perfect place I had imagined with my eight-year-old mind. I left my innocence somewhere between the woman's body and the empty liquor bottles, out in an anonymous field of green.