Bad Man Comes (Part 3)

Bad Man Comes (Part 1)

Bad Man Comes (Part 2)

The early morning was gray, dreary. Daylight was just beginning to throw shadows over Wooster. The heat and mugginess oozed onto the new day like thick syrup on a stack of pancakes. The motel door stood open. A black sports bag sat unzipped at the foot of the double bed. A black t-shirt and dark navy jeans, folded to perfection, lay on the bedspread next to the bag. Black socks were positioned atop, followed by a pair of brightly striped, boxer briefs.

red victory judge motorcycleA brief case rested open on top of the dresser, showing a laptop, a stack of photos, and a couple of power cords. Tucked in the pocket was an unopened packet of Wrigley’s spearmint gum, two pens, and an inexpensive journal. An iphone rested in darkness along side the case. A worn, brown, leather wallet had been tossed onto one of the pillows. It was stuffed so full that dollar bills had pushed their edges and corners out. On the small table next to the window, a box with two almond granola bars, and two bottles, one orange juice and one water, lay in wait. On the chair was a red helmet to match the red Victory Judge parked outside.

He rode into Wooster one week ago so that he would have a chance to look around, prepare himself for today. This was going to be a special day, one he’s waited years for. The excitement was almost too much, sleep was not an option last night. Turning that thought in his mind, he felt his muscles tense. No matter, it had to be done today.

Grunting, he moved to close the door, as there was no relief from the stagnancy. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, his thoughts turned to Silvia. “Dear, sweet, vile, bitch,” he said. Humming a verse from the song, ‘The Last Carnival’, he turned the shower on cold and began to undress, folding each item before placing it neatly on the counter. A quick intake of air, goose flesh instantly visible; he embraces the cold shower.


Sitting on my bed, unable to sleep, I pick up the envelope from my nightstand. I haven’t opened it yet, but I’m sure I know what’s inside. He’s sent these before, pictures of me at grocery stores, at my job, and once coming out of my house. I wonder why he watches me instead of approaching me. It’s like a game of cat and mouse. As soon as I see the photos, I pack up and leave. He taunts me, allows me to get away, just so he can chase me again. “Sick bastard,” I said, shaking my head and wondering what I ever saw in him in the first place.

I use the very sharp letter opener, that I keep in the nightstand drawer, to slice open the envelope. A picture of me walking to work, and a picture of Bruce and I sitting together at the front desk of the warehouse. I sensed his arrival, my refined intuition has been working overtime. I don’t know why I wait for confirmation. In the beginning, nearly twenty years ago, the moment I had any inkling he was near me, I would take off. Maybe I’ve grown accustomed to his ways. Maybe I’ve become too comfortable, playing his game. I’m not sure how ready I am if he decided to full on attack me. I’m tired, completely worn out from all the running, the looking over my shoulder.

I turn my alarm to off before it has the chance to ring. This is the first time that I haven’t known what to do, or instinctively done it. My brain is foggy, yet I am aware of impending doom. It feels like the end. I head to the bathroom. It looks like the top of my head is sliding off to the right, some kind of monster staring back at me.

Today is my day off. I put on my one and only summer dress, an attempt to feel a little girly and of course to assist in alleviating the heat. My hair is still damp from the shower, and I decide to wear it loose today.

On my way out the front door, the cab pulls up to the sidewalk. Once inside, I direct the driver to take me downtown. Carefree and happy, I’m not, yet the temptation to go to the mall and do some shopping has taken over. This is unlike me, but I go with it anyways. Ten minutes in and the traffic is slowing, finally coming to a halt. I’m grateful for the air conditioned vehicle. We inch forward little by little. There are flashing lights up ahead crossing to the other side of the highway. An ambulance and a couple patrol cars block oncoming traffic. I peer out the window as we gradually come up to the scene.

“Oh my god,” I whispered at the horror of it. A red motorbike and a truck pulling a trailer looked to be the vehicles involved. The paramedics were expanding an occupied stretcher in order to roll it to the ambulance. Like in a lagging video, I craned my neck to glimpse the face of the victim. Breathless moments passed, my mouth drooped, my eyes unblinking. The thunderous sound, I discovered once passed the accident, was the rapid beating of my heart. The back of the cab, once cool and welcoming, was now a barren and icy, cramped space. I was puffing out short little breaths, and I caught the cabby’s eyes in the rear view mirror. “Are you alright, miss?” he asked with a furrowed brow and a gentle tone.

“Yes,” I said. Not willing to spurt out anything incoherent, I kept silent. I let him drive me to the mall, where I unloaded myself, heavy and slow, to the sidewalk. A half turn faced me in the direction from which we came. “It couldn’t be him,” I said, suddenly aware that I needed to sit down. I was so hot, perspiring enough for it to drip from my face. One good reason for keeping kleenex in my purse; without too much thought I dab at my forehead, cheeks, and neck. “Oh god, I need a drink.” Slightly more composed with the passing of a few minutes, I retrieve a water bottle from a vending machine just inside the doors. It’s almost gone with the first guzzle. Returning to the same bench, I sat upright and stiff. Thoughts careening one another in my mind. I couldn’t seem to keep anything straight or think a complete sentence. According to my phone, I’d been sitting there for one and a half hours. Not in the mood for shopping anymore, I called another cab, and went home.

With no television, I use my laptop for updating myself on current events. It was in the local paper later that day, a description of the accident and the one dead victim. They showed his picture, his name below it. Joshua Galli; he had joked about only having two names. Catatonic would be the descriptive word used by doctors, if they were to fetch me in that three hour period. Then the floodgates opened letting loose a storm of tears, drool and snot mixing in rivers down my face, interrupted by gasps and grunts in an attempt to breath. Exhaustion finally overtook me.

Waking with a pounding headache and a bloated face is not my idea of a good time, but this was different, leaving me lighter, loosening the ring that gripped my insides for years. I am free. My family is free. Anyone I had come into contact with was free. In such a weird and wonderful twist of fate, I was free.

The End

Hope you enjoyed this! Comments are always welcomed. Let me know what you think!



My Precious

If I had to name an item, a physical object, my most-prized possession, it would not take much time or thought to know what it is. It is not a childhood memento of mine, although I suppose at some point it could be for someone else. It is not a flea market find, but it certainly would be a splendid find, for the lover of the saturday flea market. It is not a family heirloom, not yet, anyways.

The future for this object holds some uncertainty, as the best laid plans can change. However, I have a grand plan for it’s future, a desire to pass on, the beauty of it and the emotion that it holds.

It was many, many years in the making, passing through my thoughts as time went by. I had seen a few of them, and was always drawn into the beauty, of the idea that it held. Like building or creating anything, you will have a finished product to show for it. A house, a craftily designed room, a piece of artwork to hang on a wall. Something for you to admire, and bring with you into the future, even if only on film. The memories, right from the moment of conception, are given new life with each and every glance. I experience emotions from years gone by, good or bad, happy or sad, it doesn’t matter which. I love that I can be reminded to get my act together, again, or to be awestruck at the perfection and beauty.

When I wear it, I feel as though I am wrapping myself in love, and taking them along with me on every adventure. I hold them in my hand, or slip them into my pocket, protecting them in a sense. I carry their spirits with me, a closeness which is my substitute for the real thing. Nothing can touch the real thing, but the memories it provokes, go far and beyond the fact that it is just a ring.

Unlike my engagement and wedding rings, which held meaning for only a few years, my family ring will hold fast. Yes, the dad’s birthstone is on it, and rightly so, as he was a part of this family that we created together. It wouldn’t feel right any other way. I will treasure it to the very end, and hope that it will spark someone else’s memories, as it did mine.

Writing 101 last day.

Comments are always welcomed!

The Twelve Year Old

She comes out every morning in a silly, orange and pink, housecoat. I think she’s had it forever. It looks like she can hardly make it down the two steps to the walk-way. That’s where the paper lands, once it leaves the older boy’s hand. He rides by very fast, I don’t know how he gets it in the same spot every day. I’ve seen him around, other places–“Oh! Here she comes,” I whisper to myself, feeling some sort of weird excitement.

I sit on the front steps of a neighbour’s house, in the morning before school. I walk their little boy to school, and they pay me. At the same time every morning, I see the old lady’s door open slowly. Everything is slow about her. She is old, I guess that’s why. I don’t want to get like that, all wrinkled. Mom and Dad are getting wrinkled too, they are so old. It took her fifteen minutes, according to my beautiful new watch, payed for with my babysitting money, to get her paper and go back in the house.

I heard my parents talking about her a while ago, something about her getting kicked out. Mr. Pauley died three months ago, and the house looks like it’s going to fall apart any day. I think it had something to do with her not having any money left. I remember Mr. Pauley, he used to be the one to come out and get the paper, but he would stand outside with his face up to the sky. I think he was a bit looney. That’s sad that he’s gone now. He said hi to me once, and asked me how I was. He seemed okay.

I didn’t know that she had kids, who were all grown up now. I’ve never seen them visit her. I don’t think I like them very much. I’m pretty sure that I would visit my mom, if she was alone like that. I wonder if that’s one of her kids. Why are the police coming. I watch intently, a little on edge, at the scene play out in front of me. The police were taking Mrs. Pauley out of her house. It looked like she was pulling back, but they didn’t let her go. She still had her housecoat on. “She’s in her housecoat,” I shouted as I ran across the street. “She’s in her housecoat. Where are you taking her? She needs to get dressed.”

Mrs. Pauley sat in the back of the police car and stared out the window. It looked like she was crying. No one spoke to me. I watched the car as it pulled away. Jimmy called to me from his front steps.

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!

Writing 101

Lost and Found

lost and found tagAs a child, I don’t recall much loss, and the same throughout my teenage years. There must have been some, and at the time, I assume I responded accordingly. My life was filled with so much happiness and love, that I suppose I was able to just get on with it, or I blocked it out. As a young adult, I remember the loss of family, hitting me hard, but not lasting any great length of time. I can look back now and see the stages of grief I went through, depending on the relation, and how close I was to them in life. My focus seemed to lie with how my parents felt about the loss, not so much me. I can remember thinking about how much they were hurting, and that is what made me sad.

When I married, and had kids of my own, the idea of loss was much greater. I had so much more to lose, much more that was precious to me. I also had a clearer sense of how I responded to loss; part of my journey on getting to know myself better. (…and I just noticed that I put my comfy shorts on inside-out; I wondered why they seemed darker…brb)

There are many different types of loss: death, ability, material things, relationships, plus. At one time in my life, the loss of material things was much greater. Now, yes I will be upset at it, but I will also recover very quickly from it. Even my photo albums, with all the wonderful expressions, and celebrations, and thoughts on the pages, don’t have a hold on me anymore. Again, I would be ticked, but what I have in this world with me now, is of much greater importance.

The loss of my marriage, of the white picket fence, the fairy tale, hit me the hardest, and I also learned the most about myself. My worry for my kids was front and center, and yet I knew there could be no other way. It was the best thing for everyone, and everyone will, in their own time, see that. I came out of that with a wealth of self knowledge and wisdom, that I can draw from.

With aging parents comes my experience with the loss of ability. It is like beginning the grieving process, and putting a hold on it, until the next noticeable change in behaviour, mentally or physically. For me, it feels a little less traumatic, spreading out the anguish into little parts, instead of one giant cry-fest. Learning to adjust to the changes in smaller increments, less pressure, less stress, a transitioning. As I go through it, I can discover my patterns, and adjust my behaviour, my reactions, with a sense of knowing, and an understanding.

As my kids grow into young adults, I experience second-hand loss. I watch their challenges, wins and losses, and grieve on their behalf, for I only want everything in the world for them. I’m not sure how much they actually process, when I share my life experiences with them, in hopes of alleviating some of their hardships. Even though I’m well aware that we have our own journeys and life lessons, I am full of great advice.

With the years beginning to add up on me, I’ve accumulated some losses, and looking back, the best conclusion I can see is; the less we have in material things, the greater the space in our minds, the less traumatic a loss will be. If you have the space to feel and to process and to love; less trauma, more peace. A knowing that the connection you’ve created from clearing the clutter (say that fast five times), will give you strength and the endurance that is needed to continue on. In loss, you find life.

Feel free to add your comments, they are always welcomed!

Writing 101


tiny flowers snowy intuitionDear Intuition,

It is with some concern that I write to you today. I’ve been worried, you have not shown yourself in a while. There have been some difficult choices, burdensome decisions, that I have had to make, of my own accord. I could have used you, I needed you.

I know I’ve not always believed in you, cast you aside many times, thinking I was in control, had some control. Those were foolish thoughts, and I know that now. We are so good together, and I feel safe when you are with me, when I open myself up to you, follow your instruction. You have never failed me, although I might have given you that impression, a time or two. I’m sorry. I am weak, scattered, struggling, when I’m not in your presence. You have the strength and character, to pull me through anything, despite the sometimes overwhelming, adversity.

Thank you for your reliability and protection. Please find it within you to return to me. My faith in you is much stronger now, and I will never let you down again.

Yours truly,

The Host

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!

Writing 101

Bad Man Comes (Part 2)

Bad Man Comes (Part 1)

The dampness hangs, heavy and listless, in the air. As I move through it, I feel its slickness, gumming my hair and my oversized t-shirt, tickling my flesh. Movement is slow, after a storm. It feels as though I’m trying to breath underwater. The house is old and offers minimal protection from the elements. It lacks double-paned windows, decent weather stripping, and most of all, a dehumidifier. My stress-induced asthma doesn’t help much. I didn’t move here with the intention of fixing up the place. It merely lends itself to being an out of the way, sort of hidden, shelter.

Everything is damp, the windows are covered in condensation, the mould has commenced climbing the sides of the window panes from its usual place at the bottom. I even see it coming through the wall in places. All the linen, comforter, towels, anything that is out, is slightly wettish. The classic mildewy scent fills the air. It’s May, in Northeast, Ohio. There have been a few thunder storms lately, adding greatly, to the mugginess. “You do know how to pick em,” I say out loud to the broken, reflection in the bathroom mirror. “You’ve really outdone yourself this time.”

My funds were running short, a bus ticket and some rent money, was all I had access to on short notice. I lucked out, Wooster had a job opening for a UPS Package Handler, something I’ve done before. A bachelor’s degree in museum studies, was near completion seventeen years ago, when my good intentions strayed. The boyfriend, the charming bad boy, swept me off my feet, at a time when I longed for adventure. However, it was the third bad boy, in the series, that sent me spiralling. That seemed so long ago now. My life, along with anyone I cared about, was turned upside down two years after I broke it off with Joshua. My assumption–psychopath. So I take what I can get now, preferably behind the scenes. I’m still hopeful, that I might one day finish my degree.

blue house wooster ohioThe house I ended up in this time, is old, not much to look at, and located in the sketchier part of the city. This is not unusual. Minus several coats of paint, a newer stove and fridge, and I imagine a few half-assed, patch-up jobs to the outside, was all that this house had seen in lots of years. Rent was cheap, it was furnished, sort of, and I was in need. The first thing I do, is put in a security system. Not just any security system. I consider myself a DIY artist, after years of practice. No one is getting in easily, and not without my knowledge.

A quick shower, a semi-dry towelling off, and I pull my hair back into a ponytail. Dressing in the lovely shade of brown, that is the uniform, I’m off to work. Since I don’t own a vehicle, I’m grateful for the short fifteen minute walk. “Hey Bruce!” I said as I walked through the office door.

“Good morning to you Silvie!” He greets me with a big grin and a wink. “How are you this wet morning?” He is such a nice, happy, man. I do find solace in the people I’ve met over the years. Those people who work behind the scenes, keep life moving forward for everyone else, my temporary families. I flash my best, teethy grin at him, followed by a long, eye-roll. “There is an envelope for you Silvie. Just got through the last bag. It’s over there on the desk,” He points to it without looking up from his task.

“Thanks Bruce.” My heart beats faster, my breath shortens, and I can feel the perspiration sliding over my lip. My back to Bruce, I turn the envelope over and over in my hands.

© Gerri Leathley 2014

Comments are always welcomed. Let me know what you think!

Writing 101



“I know what I saw,” the boy said with a strained look on his face.

“I don’t think you do,” replied the boy sitting next to him. He seemed older, more confident, maybe the older brother? I was sitting two seats down and across from them on the train.

train tracks treesIt was quiet, a handful of passengers scattered among the chairs. I wanted to watch them, but I kept my eyes down to focus on their conversation. I know, it’s a twenty minute commute for me, and I was bored. So I eavesdrop, many an interesting topic has been discussed on these short trips.

They didn’t speak for a couple of minutes, and I was ready to pull my attention from them, when the younger boy said, “I wouldn’t lie about that. I wouldn’t say it was him, if it wasn’t.” His brow creased and the corners of his mouth turned down, tightening his lips into a pale, thin, mark on his face. One lone tear dripped from his left eye, landing on his folded hands. He smeared it with his thumb. I know I said I wasn’t watching, but I sneak a peak every now and then.

“Jayden would not have been there, and you know it. What I don’t understand,” he said, “is what you were doing there. You need to stay out of my business Tommy.”

Tommy turned his head to the side, facing the older boy. “It was a mistake. I had detention. I didn’t want mom to know, so I took the short cut home. In the alley, that’s where I saw him, in the alley.” His head slumped down again, eyes to the floor. I saw a few more tears let go.

“You can’t say anything to anyone. Is that clear?” The change in his tone was blatant. From concern to threatening. I quickly turned my face away from them. His facial expression had hardened, and was shockingly, chilling. My breath shortened. He continued, “Tommy, you know what I will have to do, if you say anything, if you let on that you know.”

“I’m sorry. I promise, no one will know.” Tommy had straightened up in his chair, no sign of lingering emotion, no sign of tear stains. I had looked past them, scanning as I turned my head. I could see fear in Tommy’s eyes, despite the dead stare. I wanted off the train.

With relief, I stood up and moved to the door. As soon as they opened, I scurried away towards the staircase, to safety. Sweeping the station, I stepped onto the escalator, and turned to face down. They were standing at the bottom, looking up at me.

© Gerri Leathley 2014

I have not been privy to any conversations like this, thank goodness, and I’m not sure why I always seem to head in the direction of ‘thrillers’. I don’t know where any story is headed until I get there. Oh well! Leave your comments, positive or negative, dramatic or thrilling!

Writing 101