A man walked up and introduced himself.
"How do you do?" Stella extended her hand to him. They shook hands, then the man sat down next to Stella. The man looked at Stella's school work.
"How do you do that?"
"The backward writing."
"Oh. Actually, it's just easy. I thought for years that it was normal. I really believed that the government was lazy and just refused to print everything in both directions. On a conservative standpoint, it does save on a lot less paperwork and such. After a while, I figured the left to right direction was just as good, but I did prefer the right to left direction myself."
The man smiled at Stella.
"Why do you do it, Stella?"
"Do what? And how is it you know my name?"
"This school work. Why do you keep at it? Why is it so important to you?"
Stella sighed sadly. She looked directly at the man.
"I have to. I really have no choice. I have to clean up the crap against my past."
Stella looked rather puzzled then. "Its' difficult to remember that it all happened. It's like a bad nightmare I woke up from. For the most part it's over now.
"You should know all that, of course. If you know who I am, then you've obviously had me investigated. I'm sure that those investigations showed me in a pretty bad light. It now makes me wonder why you even bothered to resume finding me. Why are you really here? Morbid curiosity? So you can see for yourself what a wierdo I am? Get yourself an eyeful, for it'll be your last."
"No, Stella. I didn't seek you out to only see you once. At least, that's not my intention. Why would it be my last, Stella? I didn't have you investigated, but I wonder if I should now."
"Yes, mayhap you should. Then it really would be for the last tyme."
"Why's that? I don't understand. I searched for you because I have some unanswered questions I can only have answered by meeting with you."
Stella smiled sadly at the man. "You must forgive me my doubts. I expected you to show up a long tyme ago. When you never did, I felt pretty sure you had me investigated and therefore chose to stay well away, as if I were a leper."
The man looked at Stella puzzled. "What's happened to you, Stella? What have you done that could be so horrible? If I investigated your background, what would I find? Is there a police record? Are you a criminal?"
Stella smiled sadly. "No. Nothing like that."
Stella looked at the man, smiled and shook her head.
"Oh no. Nothing so simple for you, my dear. Suffice it to say that I was a victim. A victim made out to be the criminal.
"The few who grow up are normally killers. They lash out in anger. An anger that's so common to us and unknown to others like yourself, who grew up in a normal household."
The man looked at Stella puzzled. "I don't follow you."
"Normally those who live through a past like my own either become killers, rapists or both.
"I've thought about killing some humans. In this too overcrowded world, and with the guilty conscience I have, it'd be too easy to get caught. Then I'd have to live in a prison full of hundreds, if not thousands, of Butchdyke's. No thank you. One was more than enough for me."
"I'm sorry. I don't understand a word of what you're saying."
Stella smiled as at a joke.
"Don't worry about it."
As Stella spoke she was unzipping her pack. She took a package out and handed it to the man. "Mayhap this will enlighten you.
"No, please don't thank me. What I've said in there is not all so wonderful. You may come to hate me before you reach the end of it."
"No, Stella. I could never hate you."
Stella sighed. "I hope you're right, but you'll have to read all of what's on the disk first before you can know. Please make no promises until after you read and understand everything I've written in it."
The man was looking at the package as at a rattle snake.
"Don't worry. It won't bite. It's just a disk with some writing in it. You'll find everything you need to know, and then some, is in there. Please. You must take it. I want no secrets unshed. Besides, it's a past that I no longer recognize as my own. Even so, that's why I'm here in this school. I have to try to correct the mistakes of the past."
The man looked at the package now in his hands. "I don't understand."
Stella smiled sadly. "Don't worry. You will soon enough. I wrapped it up so because I didn't want any prying eyes to have easy access to it. That's also why I put a password on them."
"Prying eyes. You have kids?"
"No, not of the human gender. I have a husband, though so far."
"Yes, unfortunately. It's a long story." Stella sighed and rubbed her eyes in weariness.
"I'd still like to hear it."
"No, you wouldn't. Anyway, for the most part, it's on the disk you now have."
"I don't have access to the disk right now. Tell me now."
"Very well. I'll try to put it in a nutshell as much as I can." Stella sighed as she resumed her story.
"Once upon a tyme I fell in love with a young man, or I thought I did. For several months we dated. It seemed as if for the first tyme I knew what it was like to love and be loved. Then one fateful day it ended."
"I received a phone call from my boyfriend. He was all excited. He was offered a job in another state. I knew by the sound of his voice that he'd take it, no matter what.
"Sure enough, he took the job. He never understood why I was so depressed. I couldn't go with him. He said it would only be temporary, and he'd be back in a year. It was only a career move. Sure. Fat chance of that.
"The day came and he left. As the garage door closed, I felt my very soul beginning to die.
"A week had passed. I was nearly dead in my soul. I was exhausted. I collapsed on the bed and the next thing I saw was a faint light. Although I was nearly dead, my curiosity was always strong, and I went toward the light." Stella gave a short laugh. "It's funny that a gift from the cats should also be responsible for saving my soul."
"Never mind. That's another story altogether. Over the next three months something happened that I can't explain. Even if I could, I wouldn't want to. I know there are some things man is not ever to know. They not only can't be harnessed scientifically, but the knowledge would be too dangerous anyway."
"I call it the '83 experience. Since it has nothing to do with this part of the boyfriend and the story, I'll just say that when the three months were over, I recovered in my soul. I couldn't remember the past three months at all. Not for some years later, anyway. It's as though I was unconscious the entire tyme during those three months, then I woke up one day and it was all over."
"On that day to this, I was never to love the boyfriend, now husband, ever again as before he left for his 'job career' jump. You know what's ironic about the whole thing?"
"The job career was a big waste. It has nothing to do with what he does now. He's not even in the profession any more. He works for himself. I jump ahead of myself, though.
"The boyfriend returned and seemed to be more in love with me than he was before he left. It's ironic because I didn't love him at all.
"A lot of things happened while he was gone. One was the most sinister plot the parents ever devised against me. It was their intention to use their legal hold as my closest next of kin and have me legally locked up. They almost succeeded."
Stella looked at the man and smiled sadly, then looked away. The man was horrified. "Oh, no. You must be wrong. I don't believe it. People don't act so callously to their own kids. Not one of their own, surely. Were you adopted?"
"No, I wasn't adopted, although I often asked them if I were. It was hard for me to believe that I wasn't adopted since I was treated so badly.
"Believe it. Humans do often treat their own, and those around them, so callously. Like yourself, I tried to deny the truth, but the truth will be denied at a heavy price. Had I tried to remain in such a state of denial, I'd be locked up today and forever sedated on thorazene or something equally as effective or worse."
The man shook his head in denial.
"No, you must be wrong. You just never understood them. I'm sure your parents would never hurt you or cause harm to come to you."
Stella 'popped' her neck again, as she normally did regularly every day. Her neck made a dull but distinctive popping noise.
"What was that?"
"I thought I heard a popping noise."
"Oh, that. It was probably my neck. It's always been rough since the mother tried to kill me on the cement floor. It nearly broke my neck. Left it rough instead."
He looked astounded at Stella. "You're serious."
"About the neck? Yes, it's rough."
"No, your mother."
"Yes, that to. I remember the event.
"That surprises you. Mayhap you've never known such horror in your life as I have had in mine. You're lucky. Mayhap your parents truly wanted you, considered you a blessing instead of a curse. Mayhap you were well loved and cared for as a result. In a way I envy you that. You grew up knowing, and having, a part of life I never knew or will know. Yet in another way I can't envy you."
"Oh? Why's that?"
"Because just as you cannot give what you've never had, you can never envy someone for something unknown and unknowable to you."
"You refer to love?"
"What about the first several months you just told me about with your boyfriend?"
"When I think about those months, I see how those months truly were. It was not love." "Then what was it?"
"Kindness. Friendship. I thought I found someone else who like myself loved non human animals as much as I. I was pretty excited about that. When it was destroyed, I was alone again, as before, left naked to my enemies once again. When I recovered after the three months, it was as though the boyfriend never existed. The difference was that the parents were still plotting to have me legally committed.
"They couldn't. They'd need two doctors to sign the papers, saying you needed to be committed. No doctors would agree to have you committed after talking to you."
"If they ever saw and talked to me, you mean."
"What do you mean?"
"You'd be surprised at the things the parents were capable of doing. It's amazing what most 'humans' will do for money and their short term goals. Damn the consequences. It's me first, no one else even counts. To hell with them all, so what if they get hurt? That's their problem. Then again, being rich, I'm sure you've been able to get away with a lot of things the not-so-rich man would be jailed for. Don't try to deny it.
"The sister slept with a lot of doctors. The doctors would be willing to do anything to keep the sister from ever telling their wives about her."
"So what'd you do?"
"I played my cards carefully. The boyfriend believed that I still loved him. Then the tyme came when the boyfriend got an apartment. He insisted that I move in with him. I didn't need too much coaxing, since I needed the added protection of more distance between the parents and myself as well as the better security it provided. At least the parents wouldn't have a key and be able to barge in on me unawares."
"Barge in-didn't you ever change the locks where you lived?"
"Well before the boyfriend appeared, yes. It did no good. The parents managed to get a key without my giving one to them. So you see, I knew that if I didn't do something fast then it wouldn't be too much longer before they thought of the idea of barging into my room, restraining me as they held me down and sedated me in my lair."
"That's horrible. How can anyone be that way? I can't believe that your parents would actually do that."
Stella was massaging her neck.
"Would you believe it if you had the evidence before your eyes?"
"Really? That's amazing. I've shown evidence to others, and after they spoke to the parents, all the evidence was worthless. I was made out to be the liar, the criminal."
Stella was 'popping' her neck as she spoke. "I'd like for them to explain how I gave myself this nearly broken neck when I was just under 18 months old.
"Anyway, as far as the boyfriend was concerned, I loved him. Since I didn't have to spend 24 hours a day in his presence, I could put on the temporary act whenever I had to."
"I had to. It was the only way I could remove the legal hold the parents had over me."
"So you did what you had to solely for the purpose of avoiding being locked up?"
"I agree. I feel bad that I had to use the boyfriend so, but he didn't seem to mind. He was convinced that he was still in love with me. It worked in my favor since it allowed me to eventually marry, thereby getting rid of the legal hold the parents once had over me."
The man shook his head sadly. "I'm so sorry. I thought you would've been different. I would never have expected you to act as you did."
"Yes, I know. You thought I'd just sit back, spare the boyfriend, and allow the parents to play their scheme out. I'd be locked up now if I hadn't done what I did. It was wrong, it was selfish of me. I couldn't even love the husband properly. I assure you that he used me more than I ever used him, even then. It's never a one way street. He was convinced that he was in love with me. Still is, I think."
"Like I said, I cannot know what remains unknown and unknowable to me."
"That's sad. So what will you do now?"
"As soon as I can I'll live alone. I'm very tired. I'm tired of having to play out a role as a loving wife when I never was or could be to someone like the husband."
"Did, does he beat you?"
"No, he knows better, anyway."
"What do you mean?"
"He has to sleep sometime. If he didn't kill me, I'd surely kill him the first opportunity I got.
"I shock you. Just as well you know the truth. Then can you know for yourself that my decision to live alone is for the best. I'm a possible danger."
"No, I'd never believe that."
Stella smiled sadly. "You have more faith than I do."
"What will you do if you find you can't get away and live alone?"
"Probably resume the old habits of committing suicide on a regular basis. Mayhap I'll get lucky and one of the attempts will work. I'd like to think so. I really am tired of having to live with this after effect from one of the attempts."
"I don't know what to say. I don't know if I can see you again, if I should even try. I wish I could help you."
Stella looked at the man sadly. "Empty words, empty promises. You should be very careful about what you think you want. You might get it. All too many tymes it's not so wonderful as you thought.
"No, not empty."
"Really? Knowing how events pop up, changes take place, cancelling out the best of intentions, I'd never make any promises. Especially long term." Stella smiled sadly and gave a short laugh. "Hell, I can't even see most of the tyme beyond the next week for my own survival. Most of the tyme I can't see beyond the next two days for my own survival.
"Read the disk, then make your mind up from there. I'm sure your thugs have already poisoned you against me. They'd love it if they knew you didn't want anything more to do with me."
"Just read the disk. I've given a copy to a few others, so you may as well have one as well. Mayhap then if a few more are better informed, this horror will stop. "I had a cousin once. Never met him, although many I knew had at one tyme or another. He was referred to as the 'Man In Black.' Know why he claimed to wear only black so long?"
"It was his intention to never wear anything else until all horror was abolished. One problem being that you can no longer determine what's good from evil if one or the other is abolished.
"Wouldn't it be grand if you had the goods on the thugs, even if we never communicated in any way again? One other thing. Don't let anyone else read it. If you do, I could easily be killed. If you decide that would be best, go ahead and let the 'thugs' read the enclosed. It may give them a laugh or two, it may anger them, it may even stir up their anger enough to seek me out and kill me."
The man smiled at Stella. "All right. I'll read the disk as you request. You'll have some explaining to do then."
"We'll see. Since everything is on the disk, you may never require an explanation. All I could do is repeat, mayhap in different words, the same things." Stella smiled sadly at the man. "Please don't try to find me again, unless you are serious. I wanted so much not to have to take the actions as I did. I'm resigned to living my life alone. Although it's like a death sentence when there's no alternative, I'm not so sure that it'll be so horrible.
The man sighed as he looked at Stella who seemed to be older looking than when he first saw her.
"I wish I could help you. I don't know what I can do now."
"There's nothing you can do. I may be embracing eternal death soon, and I'll go to my grave alone. I sure wish it'd hurry up, since I'm so tired of living as I am forced to do. I wish I could believe it could've been different. That's another lie, I'm afraid."
"I don't follow."
"Oh. No matter. Just the creative mind speaking.
"Just don't try to make any empty promises. We both know that it's too late in this so corrupt world. Get what you can from the writings. At the very least, wouldn't it be nice if we could just remain friends? Alas, even that is too much to ask for these days.
I don't know how the sister did it, but mayhap she had the right idea. No, never me. It's a major step backwards. 'I Am A Rock' Simon & Garfunkel, if only to avoid such a life of fair weathered friends as she had.
"If you can, try to not hate me. Those like myself are the results of a social structure gone wrong. We just reflect it more than others." Stella was putting everything in the backpack she was carrying.
"If you ever do think of me on occasion, try to send some waves of love my way. I may recognize them. I can't guarantee anything, but I'll try to send what love I can your way. No, nothing violent, I assure you. Even if I were to make my fantasies reality, you'd be safe from any violence. Not because of any thugs, either."
He looked sadly at Stella as he stood up. "I'm so sorry. I wish I'd known."
"You didn't know, there's no way I was going to tell you. Mayhap, if nothing else, you'll be better prepared to recognize and prevent some of the abusive ways of some, if any, around you. I'm an outcome to avoid."
"Oh no, I'd never say that."
"Yes, I am. You don't need to deny it. Anyone who leaves their parents, for whatever reason, is to be shunned, left as an outcast in society. Mayhap you can prevent such an outcome from ever taking place in the lives of some others around you. Make sure that as they grow up they never go through such a horrible ordeal that causes the grown child to leave forever, never looking back, and burning their bridges as they go."
"I'll do my best. If that's all I can give you, you have my word I'll try."
"Thank you. Goodbye." Stella walked away. The man went in the opposite direction, looking over the package.