For anyone interested, read the story below and I have placed a link back to the news article which inspired this piece.
If I have place it in the wrong section of the forum I apologize and encourage the admin to move it to an appropriate area.
MJ Preston aka RCS
THE OLD MAN IN THE RAIN – Word count 970
By MJ Preston
I don't know what spurred me to follow him that day in 1977. I was 12 years old, knew who he was, so curiously I ventured out and began to move stealthly up Yale Road East as the old man trudged ahead of me. The sky was overcast, a callous mixture of depressing grey black clouds and the rain tapped away on the ground as we pushed up the street toward town.
I was wearing a blue jean jacket that day, made by GWG as I recall, and my shoulder length hair was a tangle of wet curls. The poor old man was wearing a suit and hat, as men from his era often did. I felt a pang of guilt in my heart for this unintended victim, but I could not abandon the pursuit. The rain came down a little harder on us, but we continued on, a few hundred feet separating us.
I had to keep my pace at a minimum as the old man moved slower than I and if I didn't I would no doubt pass him. He'd traveled a couple blocks now and I decided to cross to the other side of street to avoid being noticed. As I did this I took a glance at his house and wondered if his wife was in there alone.
It didn't matter. I had to make sure he didn't see me as I followed, and I cut my pace a bit more looking away, as though I were trying to find a house on this side of the road. What is he thinking, I wondered.
We had walked better than two miles now and were in the center of the town. The streets were not all that busy today and the bench he decided to sit down on was situated where five roads intersected in the little town of Chilliwack. This place was aptly called "Five Corners" and it was still the heart of the town's business district. I stopped and watched with guilty fascination as the old man stared off into the distance. He was broken, his eyes weary and tired, his heart battered and he could not see me or anyone else as the rain fell a little harder.
I leaned against a telephone pole, my jean jacket was spongy with water and the air smelled moist sending a cold shiver into my bones. Did he know I had followed him? I doubted that now and I wondered whether or not I should approach him. He was an extremely sad spectactle sitting there in the rain trying to make rhyme or reason of the madness. Perhaps I could sit down beside him, tell how sorry I was for his troubles, but no, I would never do that.
How long did I stand there watching the old man in the rain? Ten minutes? A half an hour? I don't know, for a 12 year old boy standing in the rain it felt like an eternity, but it was not.
He's dying, I thought. This is killing him.
And it was, but there was nothing I could do about it.
The night before I had been camping two doors down with a friend of mine, named Warren. We had decided to camp out in Warren's back yard. At first I raised alarm. "What about the killer?"
Warren laughed. "That guy is five hundred miles from here."
Not long before this night, a group of five young teens had ventured down to the Fraser River to party. On that night a gunman came out of the woods and ambushed them. Their names were Leola Gulliker, Evert Den Hertog, Egbert Menger and Jan Den Hertog. Of the five, the only survivor would be Ed Menger who ran after the first shot rang out. The only female victim Leola Gulliker's body was not recovered at the crime scene. The news media dubbed the killings: THE ROSEDALE SLAYINGS as they occurred in proximity to the farming community of Rosedale, British Columbia.
All of the kids were talking about the murders, my older brother went to school with the young victims. To us, the Rosedale killer was a monster, perhaps a guargantuan man without a soul and there was speculation that the missing Gulliker was still being held by this monster.
An hour after Warren and I had set up the pup tent the street was awash with red and blue police lights as the RCMP cordoned the street off. One of the meighbor kids came by the fence and said, "the cops are arresting someone."
"Who," I asked.
"Probably some drunk," Warren rolled over and went to sleep.
The next morning we found out different. They had arrested the Rosedale Killer and he was not anything like we had painted him. He was a teenager as well, an average looking young man, tall thin, glasses. He had gone to school with these people and for reasons only he could offer, he decided to ambush them on the river. When news broke I smacked Warren in the arm and said, "five hundred miles eh."
He was speechless.
Now, I was watching the Father of Walter Murray Madsen sitting in the rain staring into the abyss and trying to comprehend what his son had been arrested for. He was a sad figure sitting there in his suit, while the rain dripped down on him mercilessly. I truly felt for him, but there was little I could do and I eventually withdrew leaving him to his sadness.
Approximately week or two later the news would announce that the old man had died of natural causes, but I knew better. He died of a broken heart.
The following spring Leola Gulliker's body was recovered from the Fraser River.
MJ Preston 7 Aug, 2010
Related article: from 2008
METRO VANCOUVER — Gerald Guliker told police he was going to Hope to kill himself before his vehicle collided with an SUV on Ferry Road in Agassiz on Sunday, just a few hundred metres from the scene of a quadruple murder that took his sister’s life 31 years ago.
The RCMP now believes the collision was a murder-suicide and the investigation has been taken over by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
Guliker and the driver of the SUV — a 40-year-old Chilliwack man — both died at the scene, while three adult passengers and a three-year-old girl who was strapped into a safety seat survived the crash.