From the window, the lump under the tree out back looked like a large rock. A closer view transformed the rock into a sleeping body. My intrepid granddaughter, bundled against the cold, ventured close enough to touch. The body was quite dead.
I phoned the authorities for instructions. They said the next step depends whether death resulted from a road accident or natural causes. And if the hole in the body’s side suggested neither? Unlike a bullet, I was told, the bolt from a crossbow leaves a clean exit wound. I chose not to turn over the frozen carcass to investigate.
This may not have much to do with history or writing, or maybe it does. Details from the mystery—the lump, the unexplained body, the evidence of shooting, the uncertainty what to do—may resurface in some future tale set in medieval Europe, the deer transmuted to human form. The hole in the crossbow victim's corpse may match the one out back. As I blogged last May, it’s all autobiographical.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.