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Monday, April 29, 2019

Microstory 1091: Maud

My name is Maud Benson, and I am not innocent in all this, but I did not kill Viola Woods. Welcome to jail, Alma. I hope they’re treating you well. I certainly can’t say the same for me. I’ve been in here for months, awaiting trial, knowing that I should not be here. This crime totally freaked out the town’s local law enforcement. They watch a lot of television, and were worried about the feds coming through and taking over, so they were real motivated to find someone to book for it. I’m not saying they didn’t do a thorough investigation, because the reality is I have no clue what they did. All I know is that they picked me up the day her body was found down creek, and held me until they thought they had sufficient evidence to arrest me officially. They’re not incompetent, but they’re scared, yet I can’t sit here, and honestly tell you that they had no reason to suspect me. I was there that day, and unlike Gertrude, I remember everything that happened to us. First of all, I wanna talk a little bit about me and Viola. I know what she was, but I didn’t always. Once she turned five, she started using her amazing gifts to help people. She would always stay pretty close, but not too close, to Blast City. She didn’t want to be too far from her family, but she didn’t want to be recognized either. She was wise to begin with easy missions, so she would know what she was doing by the time she got older, and they started getting more dangerous. Her parents realized early on that there was nothing they could do to stop her. She was destined to do this, and when she told them she knew for a fact she wasn’t going to get hurt, they believed her, because she had long ago proven herself to know a lot more than a normal child her age should; or anyone, for that matter. But at her seventh birthday farm party, which I attended, they sat her down and told her that she needed to take a break. They were worried, not that she wasn’t being safe and careful, but that she wasn’t enjoying her life. If she spent all her time only trying to help others, she could lose sight of why it was good to help them at all. They said on the day after her eighth birthday, she could resume her duties, if she felt so inclined. This was, I guess, like one of those soul-searching adventures that Amish people go on, to decide if they want to stay in the city, or go back home.

Welp, she needed a guide, and I was the most obvious choice, because I was one of a handful of her peers who had any clue what she was up to. I actually hadn’t know anything about it until the party, and accidentally overheard their conversation. Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have believed any of it if I hadn’t been so young and impressionable. I taught her how to be a kid, and ignore all the terrible things that were happening in the world. She couldn’t completely shut off her absorption of the world’s troubles, but I helped her learn to filter out all but one at a time. She couldn’t be in two places at once, so there was no point in her dwelling on all the missions she would never be capable of even attempting. If you think FOMO is bad, you should walk a meter in Viola’s shoes. It would drive you insane. Harriet and Clarence would go on to serve these kinds of roles more permanently, and in a more official capacity, but I was her first true friend. I would have never killed her, even if she had asked me to. There were a number of times where she would give me a little job, and it was oftentimes really weird out of context, but it would always make sense in the end. But there are some lines you don’t cross, and though I can imagine a world where she knew she was going to die, and in fact, thought she had to die, but I wouldn’t have allowed myself to assist her with that. It may seem random of me to even volunteer that information at all, but when you start interviewing all the other kids that were at the creek that day, they’re gonna do everything to make you think I was at fault. Some may say I did it maliciously, but most will probably just claim I thought I was doing the right thing. I am here to set the record straight before those creatures have the chance to fill your head with their lies. Here’s what really happened that awful day—

[Reporter’s note: Maud Benson was escorted back to her cell the moment she opened her mouth to reveal her truth regarding the day of Viola’s death; suggestive of a cover-up at the police station. They have not allowed me to continue my interview with her since, but I will go on with this series—with discerning skepticism—and update if I speak with Maud again.]

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