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It was an average day, in your average town, in your average neighborhood. But this certainly was not your average crime, nor was it the average crime scene. The garden air was thick with the scent of roses. Each flower and bloom more magnificent then the last, ablaze of colors, the flowers more vibrant and blinding then my eyes could stand. The yellow crime scene tape looked faded and worn by comparison.

I crossed over the line.
“What do we have here?” I asked the police captain on duty as I tried to tug at the plant thorns that had grabbed onto my coats hem.

“We’re not sure, Alex. It’s a missing person.” His voice trailed off, “Or maybe worse.” Captain Chen looked off into the depths of the garden, he continued, “Probably worse.” He was tugging at his pants hem now, which had been caught up in some thorns as well.

Captain Chen sighed and turned, pulling and tearing the bottom of his pants free from a stray thorned limb. I stopped to think how odd that was in such a well-manicured garden.

“Their in the house.” He nodded towards the attractive well-built brick transitional.

I walked up the back deck, pulled open the sliding door.

In the family room sitting on large overstuffed floral chairs was a young boy of fifteen and a middle-aged man.

“Alex.” Called out a familiar voice. I turned and saw Joe the local sergeant leaning up against the wall.” I guess they bought in the best.”

I smiled and answered back “Yes, I guess they did.”

What do we know?”

The son says his stepmother disappeared this morning, the father just got back from a business trip and says he hasn’t seen his wife for two days.

“What’s the step sons story?” I asked, as I looked over at the father pale and sweaty. I couldn’t help but think how the chair the father sat in was swallowing him up.

“You ask him.” Joe said, “He just says she walked out to water the plants and he heard a scream and all that was left was this.” Joe pointed to a plastic bag on the counter in it was a single floral gardening glove, on it smudges of blood and some thorns still sticking to it.

I held the bag in my hand hoping it would send me some telepathic report. Nothing.

I walked over to the boy. What’s your name?”

“William.” He bent his head, he showed no remorse, only hatred in his eyes.

“Tell me what happened.” I tried to sound empathetic.

“I told the other guys”, William answered back irritated and angry, a bad mix for a teenager. He’s a hard kid I thought to myself. Trouble.

“I don’t care what happened to her, I am glad she is gone.” His voice was strong and unwavering at first then he turned away, I caught a glimpse of a tremble in his jaw.

The father looked shocked and sank deeper into the chair.

“That’s hard boy.” Captain Chen snapped back at him

“Listen she’s gone, we get the money and no more crazy lady nagging. Maybe she ran off. You know all she ever cared about was that garden of hers, Dad and I were just bothers. They were her life. “ He snapped equally back at Chen, two angry dogs on short leashes I thought each one determined.

“Those flowers of hers. She fed them special food, took pictures of them, you would think they were her children, not me.” His eyes had started to tear up.

I am pretty sure at this point that William was the criminal. An angry stepchild, neglected by both parents. As I prepared my thoughts on how I was going to charge William. One of the crime scene techs came into the house.

“Alex you’re going to want to see this.” He looked like he was going to lose his lunch.

“OK, what?” I asked. The tech looked down and just shook his head, he smelled like he already had lost his lunch.

“You just better come out here.” His face was white, his lips were red, the tech looked completely drained.

I walked out the back door and down to the garden, the stone path seemed to move as I walked through it. The plants pulled away from the path as if to let me through. At the far end a beautiful bush stood, with the most pure white stunning flowers. Its fragrance choked me as I neared, foul and disturbing it stung my nostrils.

The pasty white tech pointed to the ground beneath one of the pure white trumpet flowers. There lay a white rubber gardening shoe the partial red bloody foot still inside. As I looked closer at the pure white trumpet flower I realized the center was red with blood. The tag beneath the plant read White Pitcher Plant, Carnivorous.

“So what is it?” the tech asked, he was green now from the smell of death, flowers and his own sweat and vomit.

“Well” these are meat eaters, they feed on mice, but this one seems to have had a different diet.”

I walked out of the garden, Captain Chen looked at me quizzically.

“Your going to need some weed killer. Chen” I said, closing the garden gate behind me.





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