He was digging where he buried the body.
He'd been at the thick, black mud for maybe four hours now, switching from shovel to trowel, chopping away an odd root or two with his axe. He'd wondered for awhile if there had been enough time for roots to grow over it, but he wasn't sure, now. He wasn't sure of much of anything, his eyes clouded as they were by tears and rain. Every hole he dug, every time he got six feet down, every time it wasn't there, he'd panic, the trowel would go into the four inches of water and mud at the bottom, and he'd frantically push around his hands in the soil, finding nothing.
That wasn't to say he hadn't found anything at all. An old necklace, a lost ring, coins, even a maize-cutter's mouth knife. That one had worried him; he hoped that they hadn't come and found the body. He heard they eat corpses, but he'd also heard they could walk through walls and smell hatred. Even so, he'd been on the lookout for them, watching for those distinctive two and a half toed footprints or the cut marks on the trees where they'd been climbing or leaving messages to each other.
Of course, the rain had to kick up then, coming down in horrible, blinding, sideways sheets, kicking off the rainy season. That was a good thing; it meant any investigations in town would be slow, or at least they wouldn't send any teams from the government. There wouldn't be any roads for some time, and they wouldn't risk sending an airship through those winds and these kinds of storms. Even so, he cursed his current near-blindness.
His hands struck something, and he jumped, fishing through the water only to find a curved bit of stone and not the pelvis he thought he'd run across. He took in a sharp breath between his teeth, then spat as bitter water cleared its way across his tongue. Collapsing against the wall, he fished around in the mud again for his trowel and shovel, and threw them over the edge of the pit, using roots and slick handholds to pull himself back out.
He fell into leaves and sticks covered in dirt, and started to crawl halfway again, and a hand gripped his wrist, tightly enough he almost felt bruised, and pulled. Suddenly afraid, but not wanting to draw suspicion, though a man digging what looked like a grave out in the jungle certainly was, he allowed himself to be helped partially up, and he rolled to a position on all fours before looking.
She was crouched like a vulture, smiling gently like a jungle hunter, waiting like cattle on the chopping block, her face wet in the rain, and she had her hair all up in an old chongo hairstyle, with thick feathers now soggy folded down over her forehead, wide rings and necklaces of white bone and gold teeth hanging from her neck and shoulders, and a heavy corn silk cloak over her body, with a white raven sitting on her shoulder, its head and beak pressed up against her ear. He thought for a moment he could hear it yammering on, but in the rain, he couldn't tell much. Her hands couldn't be seen, and for the most part, she was just a cloak in yellow with black diamond sewed into it with a face. She looked left at his pile of findings and the three or four other holes he'd dug, and right at the six over there, and back at him, all very slowly, and the sounds of the rain and even the flashing lightning stopped entirely, as if to allow her to speak clearly.
“Find anything interesting?” she asked.