Cotton Candy Girl
Part One of Three
The summer after she lost her innocence, the ground shook as what should have been Judy’s streetcar lurched past her on its tracks. This happened as she strode in front of the monstrous old Occidental building at Bathurst and Queen Street West. The structure had always given her the creeps, with its Roman arched windows and Gothic trim. Just as the streetcar passed her by, another woman screamed unintelligibly as she sprinted down the sidewalk, bleached blonde hair waving in the wind.
Judy shivered with adrenaline. The summer had felt innocent until a stranger named Debbie Silverman disappeared. It was all over the newspapers, TV and radio that vivacious 21-year–old brunette Debbie had been abducted from the hallway of her Bathurst street apartment early one August morning, leaving behind nothing but a purse.
That summer, Judy was fifteen, and worked taking tickets for rides at the CNE. On this particular morning she felt exceptionally beautiful, in a pale yellow chenille top, tartan bell bottoms and lace-up brown platform shoes with her hair carefully feathered at the front, long brown tresses trailing down her back. She’d taken an extra five minutes doting on her hair with a curling iron; hence the missed streetcar. Making sure that nobody could hear her, she softly hummed the same Bay City Rollers song that she sang to herself every day that she had to work.
A man stopped her about twenty minutes later, a few minutes shy of Dufferin Street, where she planned to catch a bus the rest of the way down to the lakeshore. "What is a sweet little girl like you doing walking around alone at this hour of the morning?" His smile was smarmy and reminded her of the man who lived next to the boiler room in her apartment complex in Regent Park.
"Um...just going to work!" She smiled and tried to act less afraid than she felt.
The man had jogged to catch up with her and was now right by her side. He grinned. "Work? No, no no! Pretty girls like you don't ever have to work." He grabbed her arm. "You need a man to take care of you." All of Judy's blood felt like it was swirling down a drain in her throat. His grip was strong, and it had stopped her from moving.
"I'm fine," She kept trying to smile. "Just gotta get to work on time so my boss doesn't get mad." She pulled her arm away and finally his grip loosened.
"Don't worry about your boss." Suddenly the man seemed very sure of himself. "I'll deal with him for you; tell him you're not coming in today." He kept smiling, standing still with his hands now in his pockets. He looked relaxed.
Judy started up walking again, much faster this time, the heels of her platforms clicking on the concrete. "I have to go, sorry!" She was running now and her beige leather purse flapped against her back in the wind. She wasn't sorry, but she had a habit of saying the word.
"See you after work." The man yelled. He was still smiling broadly.
Put Your Face In It is a reader-supported publication. Paid subscribers enjoy access to podcast recordings, and the serialized short story “Cotton Candy Girl.”
Can’t wait for part 2…. but a predator for sure. Scary.