The Siren of Kiliaen

She wasn’t always like that you know, she was raised by good people in a good town, she had a good education. Sometimes things happen and there aint a darn thing anyone can do about it. They just happen. I’ve known the girl her whole life, knew her parents when they were dating. I was just a kid myself when they were married but I knew they’d last. I graduated high school when she was born and kinda fell into the coffee shop that summer and never did anything else.
I’ll tell ya boy working in that coffee shop was the best thing I ever accidentally did, I got to be the eyes and ears of this town, that’s how come I know so much about everyone.
Julianne was born to two folks who loved each other more then they knew how to. They raised her with just as much love as anything. She did her homework everyday after school like she was told, got good grades. Was in bed by 7 in grade school, 8:30 in junior high school, and 10 in high school 11:30 on weekends. She had responsibilities and carefrees; just enough freedoms for a teenage girl and not a bit more, or less for that matter. They raised her well. It wasint her raisin’.
Her daddy was a good man, one of the best. Respectable drank only on Fridays after 5, worked 10 hour days 6 days a week. Good to her momma and her too, never laid a single hand on either of em. Her momma was a remarkable woman. A school teacher for the special needs children. And she volunteered with the church every Christmas season trying to raise money for the poor landing in bed every year with phenomena. They taught her hard work, and compassion. So it wasint her parents’ fault, even though some thought it was.
She was baptized in the church by Father Mychal “Job” Fitzpatrick a good man, and attended that same church till she just about ruined her own life. She lead bible school when she was old enough, made her first communion, and confirmation. Julie even sang in the church choir for some time, beautiful voice it was like an angel’s. She had the bible memorized, could tell you any scripture it was pretty amazing. God was in the child’s life, that’s for sure so it wasnit that
I knew her friends too, a good bunch of kids. I knew all the kids in town; coffee shop was the hangout after school I saw everything that went on with the kids. I’m probably one of the only ones who know about Mags and the truth about Laura.
There were cliques when she went to high school don’t get me wrong, they weren’t average cliques though. It was more like groups of people. There were the party kids which usually included the jocks and really pretty girls involved with everything at the school except acting and singing. There were the smart kids that stayed away from the party scene and focused on school, most times they were the ones that left and never came back. Then there were the kids that Julie, Mags and the rest of ‘em were floaters. They did a bit of everything. They played sports they acted, they sang, they played an instrument, they debated. They did everything but party, unless it was a special event, like prom night. Even then they didn’t go too overboard. Julianne had good friends. It wasint that either.
No sometimes I just think bad things happen and there aint no explanation for em’. They just happen. Maybe to teach us that at any moment things can go bad, to teach us of evil in the world? I don’t really know. I’m just a humble coffee shop owner that appreciates patronage and knows a few good stories. The answers to the world they aint in this head covered with grays.
I remember when her life started to go downhill, after all that’s what you’re here for to know where it all began and what happened when it did. I don’t know too much but I’ll tell ya what I know.
The man I think that changed her mind, the one that set her off was McGraw Crouton, a nasty man with a funny name. He was in town on business from Texas. He was part of the Hill corporation trying to get a big department store in Kiliaen not realizing that this little town wasint as big as his native land Tex-ass. He lingered in town for a few days trying his hardest to get the city board to cave to his wishes. Thankfully his charm wasint enough to get what he wanted unfortunately it was enough to ruin the poor girl’s life.
She came into the coffee shop that day and he was sitting at the counter drinking his coffee the first day city council shot him down. He was trying to re-gather his thoughts he saw her and, boy he couldn’t help himself.
Ya see Julianne was one of the more beautiful girls in town; she took after her momma with her daddy’s eyes. The brightest blue anyone had ever seen. She had dark brown hair, almost black. And the sweetest face. With that combination she had her share of second looks and whistles. Being a man McGraw may not have fallen for her with just the sight of her face, I think it was her body that got him, or at least the combination of the two.
Now let’s be clear right now. Julianne didn’t sleep around she wasn’t that sort of girl before McGraw. She was an early bloomer that’s for sure. She had a big chest (for a girl her age), little waist, and a tight little bottom. Many boys in school called on her time after time and if her daddy wasn’t enough to tell ‘em no she was. She was a strong spirit and knew better then to get mixed up with their kind.
No, like I said before Julie was never like this.
Whatever that man said to her changed everything I knew about the girl. Maybe it was the fact that he was an older gentleman with “class”, a successful sort. I’m not quite sure what she saw in him or any of the men she danced around with after him but it gave her a high no drug could match. He may have told her she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Now Julie was no fool, she knew that she was a good looker but coming from a man who could have any woman around his age group meant something. He was older he was successful. He drove a car and had a job.
Attention from a man like him was something she had never gotten before. Once she realized she could gain attention from men like him she couldn’t get enough, like I said. Well I’m starting to sound like a broken record so moving on.
The moment that man saw her I could see evil in his eyes. It was bad enough he smelled of it but you can wash a smell off you can’t get rid of a look in someone’s eyes. That sort of evil is deep inside of ‘em. It is part of their soul, so ya see removing their eyes aint exactly the best method of getting rid of the evil that you can wash off. It’s different, that look in his eyes just told me everything about him.
The two exchanged smiles and she sat down with Mags who was doing homework in a booth. He looked at me and asked about her. Maybe it was my fault it all happened but I don’t like to think so it makes me feel worse about it. I told him her name and specifically how old she was, I thought I might have had an idea about what kind of danger he was going to offer her. I should have gone with my gut feeling right then and thrown him out.
Well he sat there till Mags left and Julie sat there alone sipping on some soda pop reading a book. He paid his bill and moved over to her booth, “Mind if I sit here,” he said.
Looking up at him she smiled a nervous sort of smile, naive and young she said, “Yes.” She blushed the entire time they conversated. She was impressed a man like him wanted to talk to her. They talked till about 9:30 when the telephone rang. It was for Julie. Her momma had called looking for her. She had to say good-bye to the man who was so kind to her.
The scum took it another level and asked her if she’d like a ride home, thankfully I intervened and told her Red would take her home. I immediately phoned the garage and Red came right over.
Red was the only mechanic in town but he was the best in the state, he was. His real name was Fredrick. A gentle soul with a rough exterior. If ya knew Red you’d know he was a big teddy bear but to a stranger he was a very scary man.
He said Julie didn’t say anything on the way home, just that she was upset with me and excited about McGraw’s attention. That’s when he got involved. Together we tried to help Julie avoid her fate but that’s the thing about fate. Once it’s made its mind up about something you just can’t change it. Can’t fight fate, I always say. We should have been smarter to know that but what were we supposed to do just watch as a young girl we had known since birth throw her life away? I like to think God has other plans for us.
The next day he was of course shot down by the city, it was Friday. He ran into Julie outside of the shop. I can’t be to sure of the words they exchanged outside the door, but I imagine it was something along these lines.
“Hello again.” McGraw said slimily.
“Oh hi,” Julie said looking away blushing again.
“Do you have any plans this Friday night? Going anywhere with your friends?” He said trying to set the stage.
She shook her head no, “Maggie and Connor are catching a movie. I was just going to hang out at home, maybe watch some television, read, why you ask?”
Flashing a smile that made her almost melt, I could tell by her body language, “Well I was going to Beverwijck tonight for a show on Broadway. I have two tickets and only one me. Would you like to join me?”
Smiling, again taken away by his charm and interest in her, she said “Yes.” At that moment fate began to build the foundation for what was to happen later on.
I can’t be positive the night it happened but McGraw was in town until Tuesday. One of the nights he took her out something happened to her that made her an addict to a man, a man older and successful. It happened in his car I think. I witnessed something one night, like I said I don’t know if it was the first night or just a repeat of the night before.
I had been walking down to Red’s with dinner. His daughter Florence was out of town on business for the hotel, she usually made his meals. With him gone I took on the task. I didn’t mind really, that night I closed up the shop a little early and walked down Ulrich road to his garage with a plate of food. I passed a car on the way, it was McGraw’s rental. The windows were steamed up like some bodies were in there doing a deed. I figured he was with a war widow or something like that. I got the shock of my life when little Julianne got out of the car, her hair a fray and her clothes wrinkled. She didn’t see me, which was probably a good thing. I did try to stay out of sight going onto a side road when I noticed the car door opening.
She got out of the car and started walking. He got out of the car and started chasing after her. They must have been having a fight. I couldn’t hear what was being said and I could hardly read their body language because I was so far away but they resolved it and started kissing each other like a solider and his wife. Not like a 16 year old girl and a 28 year old man! He brought her back to his car and when I made my way back down Ulrich road to my home with Red the car was gone. It was a shame too because Red had planned on towing it.
When I told him what I saw he planned on towing his car, and when they both popped out of the car we’d take her home and take his car to the garage. Problem solved. Not likely, fate had its hand in the deal.
That Tuesday when he left he didn’t say a word to the poor girl. She sulked around the town for a few weeks after till she realized she wanted the attention she had gotten from him all the time. She started dressing differently. Her folks hated it but she didn’t care. She wanted what she wanted.
Eventually she got the attention of one of the older men in town, no one had been in town on business since ol’ McGraw went back to Tex-ass, and so she had to resort to the men in town.
He was a married man with a 3 year old and another one on the way. For whatever reason he had been having trouble in his marriage. Stacy and Peter were good kids I knew since they were babies they could have worked through it if Peter didn’t find Julianne at a moment in weakness. After he danced around with her, he kept going back for more.
It wasn’t until the new baby was born that Stacy learned of Peter’s antics. They fought over it bad. She sent the 3 year old and new baby to her mother’s while they fought at home. Ultimately they decided to get a divorce. It was the first in the city’s history. Poor Stacy moved out of Kiliaen with the babies and aint no one seen her since.
After Julianne heard about what had happened between her lover and his wife she was determined to break it off right then and there. Peter was heartbroken, he really was. My cousin who owns the only bar in town, he saw Peter go through all the heartbreak. When Stacy left with the babies and Julianne kicked him to the curb and started looking elsewhere for male companionship Peter was left broken and alone. It was just the beginning of the broken, lonely men in Kiliaen.
The stunt she pulled with Peter and Stacy got her some bad opinions in the town. Some had heard about her and that Texees fellow they weren’t too surprised when she ruined a marriage. The name calling didn’t start till the third or fourth marriage she ruined. Now don’t get me wrong I believe it takes two to ruin a marriage especially along the lines of infidelity. It wasn’t entirely Julie’s fault but she sure didn’t help the matter and it wasn’t like she didn’t lead them on.
If I recall properly though the time she got the name that stuck. The name she became known as not only in Kiliaen but in Beverwijck too, was the Siren of Kiliaen.
He himself was a good man. I’ll never have a bad thing to say about him. Frank Lukas was a good man he just got caught up in her song and met his death, in a manner of speaking of course!
They met in my coffee shop naturally. He had just come in from Ulrich road, the only way into Kiliaen, and it was raining. He wanted something warm and a tow. I handed him a cup of coffee and phoned Red. She saw him and couldn’t resist. For once the role was reversed. She was playing the predator.
Maybe that’s what it was. She felt victimized by McGraw and vowed to herself to never let it happen again. It could have been a sadistic little promise she had going in her head to never allow herself to become victimized by another person again because of naivety. McGraw turned her into a monster in my opinion. He took an innocent girl, showed her the evils of the world and turned her into something that just aint good for the environment, if you want my opinion.
So there Frankie was in my shop sipping on a cup of coffee when she danced over in her short skirt, and low cut shirt. It was in the middle of December you know?! She had a short skirt on fluffy winter boots and a big puffy jacket with a low cut shirt showing all the lord gave her. I wasn’t sure what she was trying to do, catch attention or a nasty cold. Either way her intentions would give her something awful, if ya ask me.
She sat down in the empty stool next to him and introduced herself. He did the same, bashful and shocked that someone that looked like Julie had wanted his attention. He took full advantage of it.
I later heard back in Beverwijck he was the talk of the town, every woman wanted to be with him. He wasn’t interested in any of that though, Frankie was already involved with another woman. He loved her, he really did. The two of ‘em were married hardly a year and they had been having problems and she wanted him to get another apartment to give her some space. He being such a gentle soul complied and was looking for one in Kiliaen. While in town he did a bit of business as he usually did when he came into town. I knew the kid pretty well. He came into town bout twice a month. Stayed at Florence’s hotel, ate at the diner. Kept to himself to the point he wasn’t rude, and socialized to the point where we got to know a little of his humor. Everyone knew about him and what’s her face there, we all knew how much he loved her though if you wanted to know what I was thinking I never thought they should be together.
I’ll never know what was going on in that city girl’s head when she told Frankie to get another apartment but the day she found out about him and Julie was a day that you should have been there for. I can tell all that happened and everything that was said but it doesn’t do justice to seeing it in person. Boy was that something. In a little town like this when something happens it’s talked about for days, hell sometimes years. It gives us townsfolk something to squawk our gums about.
She drove down Ulrich road going 55 in a 30 mph zone in the middle of the road. Totally forgetting about the lanes we had there. I was over visiting my good friend Jenny from grade school; she lived next door to Frankie, when it happened. She got out of the car looking like she stepped out of a magazine. She had heels on that were bigger then she was, jeans that looked like they were painted on her, rings on all her fingers if she moved her fingers the right way I’m sure she could have signaled a plane with the way those things shined. Her hair was all sorts of crazy; blonde on the top, black underneath with red streaks. The girl had anger all over her face it was plain as the expensive car she had just slung gravel with.
Jenny and I watched as she marched right up the two steps he had and banged as hard she could on that door. When Frankie answered the door, the poor bastard he had no idea, with a big smile on his face I think that made her even madder. She hauled off and smacked him one right upside the head. They had words let me tell you, right there on that porch in front of anyone who wanted to watch.
She said, “Francis Scott Lukas!!!! What piece of ass have you been fucking with?” Poor Frankie was thrown off, worse then a drunken dog coming off a tilt ta whirl, he just looked at her. “You dumb shit!” she screeched, “Who’s this bitch you’ve been sticking your dick in!?” This girl had the worst language, so foul. It was no way should a lady be talking, I’m telling you.
Like I said before I never thought he shoulda been with her. They were night and day. Now don’t mark me wrong. I think two people, night and day people, can make it. These two though. They were much more then night and day you know. They just weren’t right for each other. I can tell. I know these things.
Anyways he just stood there dumbfounded. Finally after she got through screeching at him he snapped out of whatever daze he was in and said something to her. “Jackie I don’t know what you expected me to do! You send me off to another city to give you a break, give you some room to breath. You won’t return my phone calls, you refuse to meet me. For god sakes I haven’t touched you in months. What do you want from me JACKIE!!! WHAT?!!”
Starring in disbelief at him she said two words and walked back down and got into her car with tear filled eyes, “A divorce.” Now I’ll never know if she ever really loved him, if she loved the idea of him, or if she was just so convinced he’d never hurt her the way he had that had her head spinning but she put up a believable act for all of ‘em. My guess is she loved the idea of him and found someone she never thought would hurt her.
It wasn’t entirely Frankie’s fault, she did push him away and after hearing a little bit of his side of the story I understood to an extent how he got tangled up in the mess he had. Still I couldn’t help but feel horrible for all the parties involved. Once that incident blew up in the coffee shop Julie was permanently labeled with that awful name. Her parents were ashamed as ever of her, still they took care of her.
Of course Julie kicked Frankie to the curb; after he was openly available, no longer off limits to her. Poor kid, he saved himself though unlike poor Peter. I’m not sure whatever became of Peter, if he ever got to see his kids or Stacy again. Sad story that one.
No Frankie was down in the dumps for an awful long time. I think it was little Laura that brought him up from them through.
Julie lost herself when she was a mere 16 years young. By the time she was 17 she had chased a woman her new born baby and toddler out of town, basically killed that woman’s husband with mind games, slept with a few business men who knew it was wrong but did it any way (I left that part out thought it would too much of a bore), and ruined a new marriage from a another city. At the end of her 17th year and a few months after the Frankie there were rumors flying round that she was pregnant.
See while Julie was being stupid by sleeping around with all these strange men she still stayed in school. Her parents weren’t completely aware of what their daughter was doing, mind you. Had they’ve known it would have been stopped a great deal better. They could never be too sure what their devious daughter was up to.
Julie was a master of faces you see. Laura got that from her mother actually, you could never be quite sure what Julie was saying was truthful or not. She was a wiz at manipulating men and her parents, poor things.
So staying in school Julie began to develop morning sickness. The school nurse, Patsy Daniels, nice girl really nice girl. Named after Patsy Cline! Her momma sure did have good taste in music. Anyway she was a young girl only been a school nurse maybe about a year or two noticed Julie’s morning sickness. Julie tried to play it off as a stomach flu. I’m sure the child had no idea that she had a baby growing in her belly so there wasn’t too much effort into pretending it was what it wasn’t.
Well anyways Patsy noticed it and didn’t say a word to Julie she just let it be, but on Monday when I went to Barbara’s Beauty Shop to get my hair done for the week she was talking to some of the other ladies about it. Said Julie might be with child but she wasn’t sure. Word spread though and eventually it got to her momma. They took her to the doc’s and sure enough. Six urine tests, and a blood one Julie was going to be a mommy.
You can sure bet they knew what she was up to then. They made her finish school until she couldn’t no more because of the baby. A month before her 18th birthday Kiliaen was given their first baby from an unwed teenage mother. It was scandalous! Of course I didn’t pay no mind. The rest of the town though it was unheard of for them. About 2 months after Laura was born, Mags had Matty. That pregnancy was one that threw the whole town for a loop. No one had any idea whose it was. No way it was Connor’s they had broken up a few months before she gotten pregnant, although they were seen together after the Senor prom. Together Mags and Julie went through hell.
I think it was Laura’s birth that brought Frankie out of his slump. No one had an idea about who the baby’s father was, but Julie, Frankie and myself believed it was Frankie. We can’t be sure of course but I always thought it.
While he thought it she never said nothing to him about it. He tried to get her to tell him, and she wouldn’t. For a brief time she tried to get her life together. It was Laura. She wanted to fix her life for that precious little child. She didn’t want anything to do with Frankie. After a while he gave up and went on with his career as a lawyer, came in handy a bit later on down the road.
Julie tried to bring Laura up right, for a while she had a great deal of help from her parents. After a while when Laura was about 2 Julie finally got out of her parents house and into an apartment of her own, one right across from Mags and Matty; unlike Mags though Julie had men over frequently. Eventually she fell back into her old habits and got pregnant again. One week she left for a week, Laura was home alone. She went over to Mags to have her sippy cup filled and that’s when everyone learned what Julie had done. Being the angel she is Mags took the little one in and took care of her until her mother came back. At the time Julie was several months along with Ryan. I honestly thing the only reason she came back was because she was close to labor.
When she came back she and Mags had words of course. And after that Mags vowed to always protect Laura. To sorta take her on as her own daughter, but things between her and her mother would never be the same. It was a shame too because they had such a beautiful friendship and they were so cute with the kids.
Years went on and Julie kept popping kids out. After Ryan she had Johnny and Samantha. Then little Samantha died of SIDS and who but Laura found her. She ran across the hall to Mags, Laura at the time could have only been about 6 or 7. Tears running down her face her two little brothers in dirty diapers and their mother only god know where she was.
Mags took the boys and Laura and brought them down to the shop, I watched them for a little while she got everything in order. Julie lost her babies and their grandparents got another chance at having babies. I felt so bad for Julie’s parents; they got nothing but grief from their daughter you know.
A few weeks later when Julie came back she was madder then a wet cat, I tell you! Then when she found out that the baby died she left town for a few years. Went over to Beverwijck what I was told. Don’t know what she really did over there but I heard some stories; heard she got into all sorts of drugs, alcohol. You know the works; city life isn’t the kind of life for someone running from their problems. They just fall into deeper holes and break more mirrors.
Then when Laura was about 14, maybe 15 Julie came back this time with twin baby girls only a few days old. Laura was ecstatic to see her mother and her new sisters. Julianne the siren she is lured her parents and her little girl into her stories. She said she wanted this time to be different. She wanted a new life with the kids, another chance. It was all a siren song though because she was gone the next morning.
I wish I could tell ya Julie had a happy ending but I don’t know that. The day she was in town with the twins was the last time I or any of her kids ever saw her.
Ryan became a firefighter. Good kid. Has a new wife, a baby on the way. Helps take care of his grandparents. I reckon his grandfather is going out any day now.
Johnny left Kiliaen. Didn’t go too far though, he met a nice girl and moved up to Castle Falls. Only about an hour away from here Ulrich road turns into Route 27 which leads into Castle Falls. He’s a writer now. I don’t think they have any children he doesn’t come into town very often he does wire money though for his grandparents.
The twins were adopted by a nice family in Kiliaen they have no idea what kind of mother they had or who their real siblings are. There’s no connection of them to that family at all. When Julie took off her parents had to do what was best for them and give the girls up for adoption. Laura swore she’d never forget them, I think she did though eventually.
Oh Laura? Well that’s another story for another day. For now though at least you’ve learned about The Siren of Kiliaen and all her victims.

The Siren of Kiliaen


Rensselaer, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

This is just a short story about another character’s mother. It’s told through the eyes of the coffee shop owner, Abigal Booth.

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