Eden.

It was late August, with the sun shining so brightly you'd think it was a wonderful day. But that was the day we found her. For months a young girl had been missing. She was in her twenties and lived alone. She had thick, white curls that swept her lower back. With dark green eyes and plush peach lips she was by far a natural beauty. She stayed to herself a lot. Didn't have many visitors and was at home most of the time. She had a pet cat. A calico that followed her around, even out the door, but never strayed from her side. I wonder what happened to that cat. I wonder if she was there too.

"Order! Order in the court!" yelled the pudgy judge. It's now March and the court is finalizing punishment for Martin McComb. McComb was the town's sweet heart. At least that's what we all thought until we found out he was a sick creep who's art was photographing women covered in various foods. "Mr.McComb, if you are unable to stop speaking profanely I will make the sentence ten years longer. Do you understand?" boomed the judge's voice. McComb stiffly nodded once and sat back down.

I was in the pews with everyone else, watching this all unfold. "I call Greg Winters to the stand" announced McComb's defender, Peter John. I got up slowly, looking around at all the widened eyes in shock. I buttoned up my suit jacket, I was nervous. I walked to the front of the court room, all one hundred or five hundred eyes on my now damp body. I pushed through the gate that divides the bystanders in the pews and the lawyers and jurors in suits, making my way to the desolate chair next to the judge. "Mr. Winters, you claim to have seen one of McComb's victims, Eden Atwood. Is this correct?" asked John.

"Yes, she lived across the street from me." I replied.

"And did you ever speak to Ms. Atwood?" John asked.

"No, Sir. She didn't speak to anyone really. She always kept to herself." I said respectfully.

"I see. So how did you become of this happening. Were you spying?" He asked snootily.

"No, Sir. I was not spying. It was late on a Tuesday night so I was taking out my garbage. I noticed the mail piling up in Eden's mailbox and found it strange sense she's usually home, especially when her car is in the driveway. I decided to ignore it and went back inside." I began with impatience in my voice.

"So you were snooping." He right out accused with his eyes smeared shut and a quirk in his smile.

"No! I was not snooping, I was looking out for her like I do for all my neighbors d*** it!" I launched with no more tolerance, "It wasn't until the next week did I realize that not once had I heard or seen her enter or exist the house. The mail was now laying on her front porch and her car still managed to be in the driveway seemingly unmoved. I was worried. I had already heard on the news about other young women reported missing. She didn't have family from what I could tell and everyone needs someone to look after them. That's how my momma raised me and I've always stuck to it."

"Since you weren't snooping nor spying, how did you come about her body?"

"It's a long story, Sir, that can't be shortened." I said wearily.

"Why can't it be shortened?"

"I believe in a dilemma like this any detail, whether a room was dusty or not, is a very important detail that cannot be left out otherwise the wrong suspect could be taken down, freeing the actual psycho that's sick enough to do whatever they did before, again."

"I see. I couldn't agree with you more so if you please, Mr. Winters, spin us what you experienced the night you found Eden Atwood."

"Like I said before, that first Tuesday night I was taking out the trash since Wednesday morning they pick it up. I pulled the garbage bin out to the curb like always and noticed that Eden's mailbox wasn't shut all the way. It was dark, sure, but I could still see her mailbox filled. And her car was out front in the driveway. From what I've been able to tell she doesn't have any family. She only leaves the house for shopping and her black and orange calico comes with her. I always found that odd, but hey she's all she has so what the he**. And it's rather adorable.

"It wasn't until I went out Sunday morning did I start worrying. The mail was piled on the front porch and her car was still in the driveway. I decided to go over there and knock on her door. I knocked, shouted, and even tried to peak through a window to see any sign of life. I never did get an answer that day. Afterwards I went around to the other neighbors asking if they've seen her come out, but all of them were so bent on their own issues that none seemed to notice anything strange happen. It was then that I notified the police. A lady answered after I waited for several tedious minutes and rudely answered with a 'Hello what's your problem?’ I was overtaken by this and stuttered at first. I told her how I believed my neighbor was either dead in her house or missing. She said they'd get on it as soon as possible, asked for the address then hung up abruptly after.

"With that done, I decided to take things into my own hands a bit. I kept a close eye on things in the neighborhood. I watched the neighbors from the window and I kept a very close eye on Eden's house. At one point, I even tried to find a way into her house, to make sure she wasn't a dead body lying on the ground or she got bitten by a snake she might have had or something. I even looked in her car. After another week with no news from the neighbors, and the police never showing up, I decided to ask people around town. I was aware about the young girls being killed around town and nearby towns so I was as careful as any man searching for a murderer could be.

"As careful as any many searching for a murderer could be!" interrupted John, "As careful as could be. And what does this have to do with the murder? Do we really need to know about her 'adorable' cat, hmm?" the judge banged the table to quiet him with a stern stare. He then motioned for me to continue my story and I presumed.

"I wasn't getting anywhere. After another three weeks with no leads and the police still not checking her house out, I was about to give up. That was until I had a late-night hankering for cheesecake.

"I crawled out of bed around 2:30 in the morning, I was having trouble sleeping and my stomach roaring at me to eat something creamy and sweet didn’t help. I quietly tip-toed down the spiral stair case as to not disrupt the Moon's peaceful silence. I made my way to the kitchen in the dark towards the fridge. I was careful with my movements, trying not to make unnecessary noise like a kid sneaking out of the house with lightly slumbering parents up stairs. I made my way to the fridge and I roamed the crowded arctic for my prey, landing my eyes on the soft, delicate cheesecake. I set it on the counter next to the window and caressed it open. I then dug in with a fork and soon got out a glass of brandy to help make sure I would fall asleep.

"While eating the cheesecake I heard a noise outside the window. It was a strange sound and I searched eagerly for its source. That's when I saw a light!" I said the last part with a bit too much of excitement.

"So the noise was coming from a light?" asked John, with no true care about my reply.

"No. the sound was an owl sitting on my front porch. The light! However, was what led me to Eden." John now perked up in his chair he had drawn to sit in behind the table next to McComb.

"The light came from outside. It was in my neighbor's upstairs window. I decided to check it out because he was supposed to be on vacation that weekend. I quietly crept to my neighbor's downstairs window, using his curtains as a shield. I crouched lower, noticing a shadow move across the walls. I couldn't make out his face at first because his back was always to me, so I thought that maybe it was someone who broke in. He was busy setting equipment up. It all surrounded a figure like a human body. The murderer then delicately manipulated the poor body into a seductive slouch across the lounge chair. That's when I saw her, she was the poor body dressed in a Victorian dress that he was now pouring honey on. I gawked at the site. At how sickening it was. I quickly scampered away from the psychotic man's window, but as I turned around for a glimpse of the truth again, I saw his face. I could see the disheveled brown hair, and the twisted French knob mustache that belonged to our beloved neighbor, Mr.McComb.

Gasps clouded the room as all the eyes popped out of the owners’ heads. Even the judge, now jaw on the ground and eyes bulging out, gasped at the truth. McComb, on the other hand, looked around anxiously, then stood up so fast his chair fell backwards. He didn’t care though, because he was shouting gibberish about my ‘lies’ and ‘insanity’.

“This is ridiculous! I would never harm anyone, like he said I’m the town sweet heart! TOWN SWEET HEART D*** IT!”

“That’s enough McComb!” shouted the judge, who was hammering the desk while the court-room police hand-cuffed McComb. “I find him guilty and i do believe all the jurors do as well,” he said looking over at the nodding men and women on the side in the stands.

I looked around the room, still sitting in the confession booth, watching everyone slowly grab their things and walk out through the double doors with murmurs of what all just happened. I watched Martin McComb, our former town sweet-heart, get walked out through a single door on my right, being told his rights and all that stuff you hear and see when a man gets arrested in movies.

I was the last one to walk out of that court room that day. I drove home in my white station wagon, opened the door to my house, and smiled. I smiled at the beautiful peace of art i now had hanging on my wall. A piece of art i made myself of a beautiful young woman dressed in a Victorian dress.





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