Heather J. Kintyre

Stella enjoyed walking along railroad tracks. She always wore black. It served her well. Ever since Jan. of 1980 Stella always preferred to all black. It was probably a strong gene since she had a second cousin who was well known for wearing all black as well.

Johnny Cash may have been an actual relative, but in many ways Stella felt that her spirit was more similar to the spirit of Jim Morrison, almost as though she and Jim Morrison were brother and sister. Both had suffered abuse growing up, both had a father in the military. Jim Morrison and Stella both were subject to the horrors of those past memories that cause them pain. The memories forever haunt their lives every waking moment. Jim Morrison drank so he could 'learn to forget.' He committed suicide by taking an overdose of heroin and drinking beer. It paralyzed his central nervous system as he was in the bathtub. Stella knew that had she acquired a taste for alcohol, she also would've gone the way Jim Morrison finally did.

Many times Stella tried already some unsuccessful suicide attempts. Now that the source that created the desires for Stella to make those attempts had been removed, Stella was no longer subject to such actions. All the same, the past has left it's mark deeply buried in Stella. The memories are still painful, so she tries not to think about the past too much from all those years ago.

As Stella was walking along the railroad tracks thinking all of these thoughts and more, a man in an old dark green Chevrolet pickup that was well chipped accosted Stella. It looked like whoever had the pickup at the time tried to take a can of household paint and repaint the truck themselves.

A man of about thirty got out of the pickup as Stella started to walk past. It was though he was waiting for her. Stella was walking faster now. The man started walking fast as well as though to keep pace with Stella.

"You can stop there."

"I wouldn't hurt you. You can trust me."

"Yeah, you and everyone else. What do you want from me?"

"I was just wondering if you would show me some of your boobs. You have such a nice body and all."

"No, I won't." Stella was disgusted. Another one of the many who always tried to pick her up.

"It's just that I'm in between girlfriends and I was just wondering, hoping that you could help me."

"You're barking up the wrong tree. I can understand why you're having girlfriend problems. I wouldn't want you either." What Stella really wanted to say was that he was a pervert, however Stella knew how dangerous it would be to show any kind of reaction like that. This man's body language said he was dangerous when provoked.

"What do you do?"

"I write horrors. If I can make Stephen King faint, I'll probably stand a chance."


"Really. And if you don't get out of my face in the next ten seconds, I'm going to turn you over to the Cold One. The Cold One within me is going to turn you into hamburger. Then I'm going to give your meat to a fast food restaurant. They never turn down free meat. Do I make myself clear?"

Stella was mostly bluffing, but she did have a Cold One who laid dormant inside of her. Many years ago the Cold One took over, making sure Stella would suffer minimal damage physically after her car bicycle suicide attempt. For twenty five years Stella wouldn't be able to recall how the event took place.

The man held his hands up. "Sure. I'll go."

He got in his truck and left. The bluff worked. Stella smiled to herself. She refined the art of bluffing, and getting the upper end of someone else so they would feel fear by watching some old Bruce Lee kung fu movies. Watching how Bruce Lee used his body language to create the fear in the opponent was what would win the battles most of the time.

Disgusted by having been interrupted, Stella continued walking along the railroad tracks.

A short time later Stella was being followed by a motorcycle. Supposedly the motorcycle ran out of gas. The man looked about forty five. There was a woman on the back. Stella didn't hear what was said, nor did she care. The vocal tones she couldn't help noticing, though. All of a sudden the woman started sounding rather angry. Her voice raised in volume, although Stella refused to hear what she said. It was none of her business. This was Stella's time to be alone, and she wanted nothing to do with any unnecessary eavesdropping.

The man and woman continued on past Stella after they paused and kept pace beside Stella for a bit.

Apparently the motorcycle really was out of gas. The man had asked Stella if she had any gas in her backpack. Stella laughed as she replied no and continued walking. The man and woman continued on past Stella then.

Stella walked another mile and was looking at some poison oak when she saw an old car go by. Shortly after it passed Stella the car did a 'U' turn. More alert for something wrong, Stella kept her eyes on the car. Sure enough, the car stopped level to where Stella was. The man got out of his car. The woman wasn't in the car. It was the same man who was on the motorcycle that ran out of gas a little ways back. Stella was beginning to wonder if the man purposely killed the motorcycle engine to make it seem to have run out of gas.

When the man got out of his car he climbed up to where Stella was. Stella started walking backward a bit as the man tried to approach. The man stopped when he saw Stella backing away from him.


"Hi." Stella was very leery of this man. She wished more than ever that she had her dog repellent with her now.

"Remember me? I'm the man who was on the motorcycle that ran out of gas."

"Oh, yeah. I remember."

"I couldn't help noticing what a nice body you have."

"Thanks." Stella was getting alarmed, but she knew it would be too dangerous to show her fear to this man. He didn't have as high a tendency for violence as the other guy, but he also had a violent streak in his body language.

"Especially the boobs. I'm a boob man myself. I was wondering if you needed a ride. I won't hurt you." Stella was slowly backing away as the man talked. She really didn't want to be bothered.

"No, I'm fine. I had to get out. My husband is trying to make a recording and it's awful. He'll never be David Gilmour overnight."

The man smiled at the joke. "Oh, I see. I understand. Well, I promise I won't hurt you. Could you at least show me some of your boobs then?"

Stella was slowly starting to walk backwards again. "No, I don't think so."

"I understand. I promise I won't hurt you. I could masturbate in front of you, just over there. You could show me your boobs and it might turn you on."

"No, really. I've got to go."

Stella was walking backwards with larger steps.

"Okay. I wish you'd at least show me a little bit of your boobs. Just a flash. Nothing more."

"No, I really don't think so. I've got to get back."

"I could give you a ride. Please. I won't hurt you. I promise." The man tried to look as innocent as possible, but Stella knew that if she got in his car she'd have no choice but to do whatever the man wanted, or he'd kill her.

"No, I'm sorry. I purposely am out for a walk. I don't need or want a ride."

"All right. I'll be here if you change you mind."

Stella turned and started walking back the way she came. She kept her eyes on the man. The last thing Stella wanted was for the man to run up on her unexpectedly and grab her from behind. The man kept motioning Stella to turn all the way around. He stayed on the edge on the path where he climbed up to the tracks. Although he never moved, Stella was nervous.

A little later, when Stella turned the corner, the old dinged tan car passed Stella. Sure enough, it did another 'U' shortly as it passed Stella. Once again, the man stopped level to where Stella was.

"Are you sure you don't want a ride? I promise I won't hurt you."

Stella looked at the man troubled. "No, I'm fine. Really."

"Okay, I'm sorry. Really." He drove off.

After some time had passed, Stella looked at her shirt. It wasn't tight, but it was rather revealing. With a sigh Stella thought she must've asked for that one. When Stella got home she was going to throw out all the shirts that were so revealing.

With a sigh, Stella couldn't help feeling melancholy over the sad situation. What was the world coming to when no one could take a leisurely walk without someone trying to pick them up all of the time? Were all men so horny and desperate? Weren't there any women left who could take care of these maybe unfortunates and leave those like Stella alone? Or were there more criminals and would be rapists out there today than there used to be? The only way Stella could be left alone is when she carries her dog repellent.

Some years back a man tried to be so bold as to attempt an attack on Stella. Stella gave him a dose of the dog repellent. For the next week, the mans nose inside burned whenever he breathed, he tasted nothing but the dog repellent. Whenever he saw dog repellent, he stayed well away from the person who carried it. Sometimes it takes such an action for the attacker to learn respect With all these thoughts going around in her head, Stella couldn't help feeling disgusted over the entire episode. Would she forever be subject to the pesky humans who would never leave her alone?

With a sigh, Stella shook her head. If they only knew the truth about how Stella really felt and thought about everyone who acted so. Then mayhap instead of trying to bother Stella for her attentions they'd all treat her like a leper who had big hunks of flesh falling off all the time. The imagery made Stella smile and helped relieve the disgust of the past confrontations.

A couple weeks later Stella was approached by another man. He looked familiar, although Stella never confronted this man before, certainly not like the ones who tried picking Stella up.

"Hello," the man said.


"Are you the, can you, do you know how to write backwards?"

Stella looked more closely at the man. Now she was pretty sure who he was. He was very nervous.

"Yes, I do. Don't tell me. You can't, and you never could write backward."

"No. I can't."

"That's weird. It's so easy and natural for me to see everything forward or backward. I write better backward as well."

The man wasn't sure what to say. "I, can I ask you if you'll, would you be willing to, oh forget it."

"No offense, but no. Certainly not now."


"I don't know you. Why should I?"

"I'm sorry. I thought, I mean, you're so attractive and I thought you must therefore be, oh never mind."

Stella sighed, shook her head and smiled sadly. "Yeah. You and every red blooded male in the god damned town who's between thirty and sixty years old. Do all men think every woman who looks like me must be an empty headed idiot?"


"Some are as young as eighteen."

"You're kidding."

"Don't worry about it. Don't ever mention or attempt such a pickup with me again, please. I'm very tired of having to keep fighting off everyone who tries to pick me up. That's why I carry dog repellent when I remember it. The rest of the time every man tries to pick me up."

"I'm sorry if I came across badly. I didn't mean to. You are attractive. I didn't know you were bombarded so all of the time, or I wouldn't have said what I did. Please, forgive me. I didn't know."

"Well, now you're a little wiser." Stella smiled. He looked like she just delivered a wound to him.

Stella looked at the man sadly. "Listen. This isn't doing either one of us any good."

"You're right. I'm sorry. I'll leave now. I won't bother you ever again. Goodbye." He started to walk away.

"Hold it. Before you leave, please take this." Stella took a small package out of her backpack and held it out to the man.

"What's this?"

"An explanation. Also a warning."

The man looked puzzled as he looked at the small package Stella handed to him. Stella smiled sadly at the man.

"I'm so sorry. I sure hope that I'm wrong. It's kind of funny. So many times I hope I'm wrong. I never want to be right with certain scenarios and future events. All too often I'm proven correct. It's devastating then."


"When you read the enclosed you'll understand. I hope."

The man started to walk away. Stella spoke up again.

"One more thing. Nothing said in there is in any way meant to hurt you. Only inform so that mayhap you can better understand a few things."

The man looked at the package and turned it over. "Thank you." He walked back to where he came from. Sure enough, Stella never saw or heard from him again. He died not too long afterwards.