A Story

Heather J. Kintyre

A young woman was walking along the sidewalk. She just finished doing some leg exercises at the recreation hall weight room. It was her intention to go into a record store she frequented. Instead, just as the woman got up to the windows of the record store, she knew that the store didn't have the records she was looking for. Instead the woman continued walking to the second record store she would frequent.

As she was looking at some records, a young man walked in. She didn't pay any attention to the young man at first and continued to look over the records. Shortly after the woman started looking over the records, she felt the young man's eyes upon her. She kept getting nervous. A cold sweat was running up her back that had nothing to do with her workouts. The young woman took what records she had and went to the counter to purchase them. The young man followed. Now the young woman was in trouble. She left her dog repellent at the house.

The young man introduced himself. His name was Mark. The woman was really nervous now. No one normally came up to her since the woman always kept herself well away from others. As soon as she'd see someone start to come her direction, the young woman would take off.

"How do you do? My name's Stella."

"Quite a selection. Mind if I come over and hear them one of these days?"

"I don't think so. I'm not home a lot."

"Oh? What do you do?"

"Nothing you'd be interested in." Stella handed over the money, got the change and left before the young man could follow.

A couple days later Stella's mother answered the telephone. In a puzzled voice, she called Stella and told her she had a phone call.


"Hi, remember me?"

"What-how'd you get my number?"

"I had to ask around. Fortunately this is a small town."

Stella sighed. "Yeah. Too small."

"Please. I'd like to see you again. How about a date?"

"No, I don't think that'd be a very good idea."

"Why not? I promise I'll be on my best behavior."

"Famous last words."

Mark sighed on the other end. "Is there something wrong? Did I do something bad? Please, tell me."

"No, it's not you. I just don't want to talk. I've gotta go. Bye." Stella hung up before Mark could respond.

Stella took off then for her daily run on the beach. Then as soon as she went home she got her bicycle and took off, spending the rest of the day looking over the countryside as she raced through the most scenic areas. The next day the tide would be best for running around late morning.

Stella ran down to a house where she always left her shoes, as she liked to run barefoot on the beach. When Stella got to the beach, she saw Mark waiting. Stella tried going well around Mark, but Mark caught up with Stella and started running with her.

"Why won't you talk to me? Am I repulsive to you?"

"No. Just don't like talking." Stella was maintaining her steady pace which was too fast for Mark to maintain.

"I've got to stop. I've got a stitch in my side."

"I'll see you later then maybe." Stella kept going.

"Where do you stop?"

"At the road." Stella waived as she kept running.

Sure enough, Mark was waiting when Stella finished. As Stella was walking up to get her shoes, Mark followed and started asking Stella questions.

"Do you like me, Stella?"

Stella looked at Mark directly. "Yeah, you're okay."

"Then why won't you talk to me? Why won't you take my phone calls?"

"I never was very good at conversations. I won't take any phone calls because I don't like phones."

"Aren't you going to ask me how I found out that you'd be on the beach?"

"No. I figured since you were able to track me down with me phone number then it'd be no problem locating one of my regular areas."

"Amazing. Never knew anyone to think like that." Mark shook his head puzzled.

"I suspect you were expecting me to be someone I'm not. If you don't mind, I'd like to clean up as I'm nearly back home. I'd invite you in, but I hesitate since the parents are there at the tyme. Sorry to disappoint you. Maybe now you'll decide I'm not your style. Goodbye again." Stella ran up the front steps of her house and went in.

After Stella cleaned up, she looked outside and saw no sign of Mark. She then got ready to go for one of her walks. She took a book because she enjoyed reading on her favorite rock that jets out into the ocean.

As Stella got to the beach again, she saw Mark. He was waiting patiently for her. As soon as Mark saw Stella he ran up to her. "Where are you off to? Can I walk with you?"

"Just a walk. If you want, I guess. It's a ways, though." As Stella was walking, Mark started asking Stella questions.

"How long have you lived here?"

"About six years."

"You like it?"

"Yeah, I can be outdoors every day for the majority of the tyme."

"Are you training for the Olympics?"

Stella looked puzzled. "No, never really thought about it. Just like being outside."

"Do you always answer in the shortest form possible?"



"Don't like talking very much. My speech goes bad after a while."

"Why's that?"

"Never acquired a well developed speaking ability I guess."

"Why not?"

"Never liked talking to the humans around me very much. Always preferred the other animals. They don't care about whether your speech is good or bad."

"Humans? Don't you mean people?"

"If I felt I was truly a human like all the rest, I'd say people, or person."

Mark was lost in thought over what Stella told him so far. For all Stella's short answers, Mark was learning a lot. Something wasn't quite connecting right.

Now Stella looked directly at Mark. "Disgusted yet? I would be. Never liked having to tolerate 'plastic faces.' I felt it was best to not beat around the bush."

"What do you mean by 'plastic faces?'"

"Liars, criminal minded humans. Sociopaths. They all deceive you then reel you in once they've got you hook, line, and sinker. Only then do they show their true colors."

Mark was beginning to like Stella more as he talked to her. She wasn't the regular run of the mill he first thought she was. It was disappointing that Stella was not what he thought at first, but Mark still liked her anyway. It was rather refreshing.

"Is that why you prefer the animals to people? You don't like the liars?"

"You've got it. Bear in mind that humans are animals also. Just another breed."

"Surely the animals can't give you the enjoyment people can."

Stella looked hard at Mark. "What's pleasurable for some is torture for others. Mayhap I should introduce you to the sister. Sounds like she's more up your alley."

"Does she look as good as you? Is she your age?"

"Probably looks better. She's older. Never could understand her reasoning. Humans are a continual puzzle for me." Stella was shaking her head as if trying to get rid of something unpleasant. "Oh well."

"What are you talking about?"

"Nothing you need to know. I'll maintain the company of the non-human animals. At least their body language is honest."

"Body language?"

"Yeah, humans have some of the most complex body language there is. It drains me to be around too many at one tyme."

"I don't understand. How can that 'drain' you?"

"It's exhausting to be around too many. Takes a long tyme to recover. Sometymes weeks or months. Depends on how large a crowd gets."

"That's a first. I never knew anyone to feel 'drained' by others."

"Probably never knew anyone to be raised amongst other animals mostly. They're the best teachers if you know how to listen." Stella started climbing the rock that overlooked the waves in the ocean.

"I like coming here a lot. It's a good place to be alone."

"Maybe you shouldn't have shown me this place. How do you know I won't tell others about it?"

"Your body language told me. If I had any doubts I wouldn't have brought you here." Stella looked at Mark puzzled.

"Do you mean to tell me that you can't read body language?"

Mark looked up at the rock they were climbing. To lose concentration could cause him to fall into the water below, smashing against the rocks as he fell.

"No. Not that I know of."

"Why not? That's very strange. Every mortal life gives off signals all the tyme, unless they're dead.

"Haven't you ever met someone and your first impression is one of dislike?"

"Yeah, I've met a few like that. Got over it, though."

"Weird. You should never ignore your better judgement. That was body language."

"No, everyone always called it woman's intuition. I'm no woman."

"Obviously." Stella looked rather disgusted at Mark.

"So you ignore, even get rid of, your ability to read body language. Has no one ever pointed out to you that reading body language can tell you the truth about a liar?"

"No, not until you did just now."

"You learn something new every day, I guess."

Stella stopped on the rock she just climbed up to. "This is one of the better places to get away from it all. I like being able to look out on the ocean from here."

"Yeah, it's nice." Mark sat down and motioned for Stella to sit beside him. "Don't worry. I won't bite."

"Actually, I think I'd rather continue my walk, thanks anyway." Stella smiled briefly at mark with a sadness in her eyes.

"What troubles you, Stella? Are you afraid of me?"

"No, not you. My future, yes. It's always been black to me."

"Is that why you wear all black?"

"Yes. Not to mention a strong family gene."


"Yes. Some famous man who's a second cousin."

"Tell me more."

"No thanks. I'd rather continue my walk.

"You look tired. Rest up here, then you can go back to wherever your vehicle is. You're in no shape to keep up with me." Stella lifted her hand as if to silence Mark. "Don't give me any of your macho ways about a girl getting the better of you. I've been doing my activities for years. It's no shame on your part. You're just not in the shape you need to be."

Stella started walking down to the path away from the rock where Mark was still sitting. Mark was dumbfounded by what Stella just said. It was almost as if she was reading his mind. That both scared him and made him more curious, wanting to know Stella better.

"Stella, wait!" Mark called out to Stella who stopped and turned, waiting for Mark to catch up.

"How'd you know what I was about to say? Can you read my mind? Are you psychic?"

Stella smiled and looked at Mark sadly. "No, nothing so 'spectacular' as that, Mark. I could read your face. Your body language is raw. A kindergartner could read what you're thinking. That's why I think the sister would be better suited for you."

"No, no one's ever 'read' me like that before. Why is it you can with such apparent ease?"

"I told you. The non-human animals are some of the best teachers. All you have to do is listen."

"Why do you keep referring to your sister as 'the' sister? What's wrong, Stella?"

"Next tyme you see a psychiatrist, ask him or her. Mayhap they'll know."

Mark was looking at Stella funny. "Why is your speech more slurred?"

"I told you. I don't speak very well for too long. Takes a lot of concentration after a tyme. Why? Do I sound like a drunken sailor yet?"

"Well, yeah. You could put it that way."

"Great. I don't even drink liquor. Mayhap I should. Already have the ready made speech for it." Stella shook her head in dismay. "I'll see you later."

Stella started walking away. Mark started walking back to where they started out. Sure enough, Mark had a car. He didn't know how Stella knew this, but since they met fifteen miles away, Mark assumed it must have been an obvious assumption for Stella.

By the tyme Mark got back to his car he made up his mind that Stella was going to be his next girlfriend. Mark was determined to find out what was bothering Stella so greatly that she would refuse to talk about it. If at all possible, Mark was going to help Stella overcome her fears. Along the way Mark would try his best to convert Stella to his way of life. With a sly smile to himself, Mark started his car and left for his home.

Tyme went by as Mark kept pursuing Stella. It was a major struggle. Whatever happened to Stella in her past was bad enough that she didn't trust anyone. Even though Mark never made any attempts or did anything to warrant the continued lack of trust, Stella was reluctant to trust Mark. Gradually Mark got Stella to relax, although she never trusted Mark completely. Then one day Mark was offered a job in another state. Mark couldn't wait to tell Stella the good news.


"Hi, it's me."

"Hi Mark. What's the occasion?"

"I was just offered a job in another state. It'll be a job promotion." Stella knew before Mark said anything more that Mark would go.

"In what state?"

"North Dakota."

"Wonderful. I hope you'll be very happy." Stella was sounding very depressed. She knew she couldn't survive in one of the colder states. "What's wrong? You'll be coming with me, won't you?"

"No, I won't. You don't know what you've done by accepting."

"I haven't accepted it yet." Mark was worried by Stella's tone of voice. "I won't go if you don't want me to."

"It's not up to me to make a decision like that. If I did, you'd grow to resent then hate me."

"No, I could never hate you, Stella."

"Oh, you would. I've seen and done enough to know that every tyme you looked at me you'd always remember what you gave up and wonder if it would've been better to have gone. I therefore cannot ask you to stay or leave."

"You sound as if you've seen the future. There are tymes I wonder if you're truly psychic."

"No, never psychic, Mark. Such a conclusion is too obvious. I've known it to happen every tyme. There are no exceptions. Therefore the decision is yours alone. I won't be responsible for influencing your decision."

"You are the most puzzling woman I've known. I don't understand."

"Well, don't worry about it.

"I have some things to attend to. Mayhap I'll see you around sometime. Goodbye."


Mark was completely puzzled now as he hung the phone receiver up. He didn't understand a word of what Stella just said in her rationale. All Mark knew was that he was excited about the job promotion, and Stella should be as well. He couldn't understand her depression over the good news.

Mark didn't let it bother him too much. He was ecstatic and too happy to allow for any thoughts that might warn him that there was anything wrong in what he was going to do. Mark had already decided that he was going to take the job, regardless of whether Stella was going to go with him or not. Mark would be back later, anyway. It was only for a year, so what could be so bad?

Mark got in his car and took off for a friends house to tell him the good news.

Stella knew after the phone call that she lost Mark permanently. She was already starting to miss Mark. She treated Mark from then on as a distant stranger. There was a chance that if Mark ever changed his mind Stella might be able to get closer to Mark as before, but not until then.

Mark never changed his mind. He told Stella it was only for a year, and he'd be back for her. Stella knew the chances of that were slim. Many things change in a year.

The day came that Mark left. Stella could feel the rupture of her soul taking place as she watched the car pull away. She tried her best not to let her grief show. Tears would never solve anything, just make it worse. Life is cruel that way. Just as the dearly departed have a tendency to leave the living to take care of themselves the best they can, regardless of how badly they're left crippled inside. There is no choice, that's just the way the cookies crumble.

A week had passed since Mark's departure. Stella's soul was almost dead. Stella felt tired more than usual after she returned home after a run on the beach. She went into her room and decided to take a short rest.

Barely had Stella closed her eyes when she saw a faint light far into the distance well beyond the galaxy that houses her home planet earth.

Although Stella was nearly dead in her soul, her curiosity was still strong. She went towards the light, wondering what it was. Stella seemed to travel a long tyme. When she got close enough, the lights gravity was starting to pull Stella in. Then Stella felt the evil that the light emitted. In Stella's weakened state, she couldn't fight the strength of the lights pull. She had no choice but to continue towards the light. Hopefully it would finish her off. Death was better than the life she was forced to live in. In resignation, Stella continued her now forced flight.

Upon reaching the rim of the lights source, Stella saw horrors man created upon himself and others as well as a lot of horrors undreamed of. At least she was only an observer so far.

Stella didn't know how long she had been watching the 'pit of hell' but then she was pushed in and became one of those tortured souls along with the rest.

It seemed like an eternity had passed. Out of nowhere some life force appeared. It didn't have a physical appearance. Everything had stopped. Stella was in a void. She never knew such darkness before. At least the horrors had stopped. Now she could evaporate completely, dying peacefully. To finally be rid of having to deal with life was a situation Stella was looking forward to.

Unfortunately this wasn't to happen. A voice from everywhere all around Stella was heard. It asked Stella if she wanted to go back.

"No, thanks. I'd much rather stay here and slip away quietly."

Something was being wrapped around Stella. She couldn't see anything, but something was happening. The voice spoke again.

"I can't allow that to happen, Stella. I have one more question to ask of you, then you can rest. Do you agree to give up a portion of your soul in exchange for our help?"

Stella sadly laughed. "There's not much left. Take whatever's left. Just let me go quietly."

"No, you're not going to die now, Stella. That's not going to happen for some tyme yet. Rest now."

Stella could feel herself going into a deep sleep, deeper than any she ever was in before.

Upon waking Stella looked around. She saw semi-transparent colors all around her. There was a certain formation to them all.