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    The Missing Shoe

    Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

    Walking home, you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is its owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all of these questions or just one to explore what happened.

    Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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    119 Responses to The Missing Shoe

    1. Icabu says:

      Picking up the muddied shoe, now protected in an evidence bag, I entered the Hall, hope springing from my well of despair. I’d walked my wife’s jogging route a dozen times before without even a hint of a clue. Finding this shoe at least gave a starting point.

      “What’s this?” Missing Persons Captain Wellsby asked, inspecting the shoe through the bag.

      “My wife’s. Last night’s storm must have uncovered it. You can open a case now, right?” I knew the rules regarding missing persons, but this was my wife and she wouldn’t have gone off without telling anyone – especially while jogging.

      Leaning back in his chair, Wellsby looked from the shoe on his desk to my hope filled face. “How long’s she been gone?”

      “Twenty-six hours now.” I left off the thirteen minutes.

      Wellsby nodded and began typing into his computer. “We usually wait until forty-eight hours, but this,” he nodded toward the shoe, “makes for a curious case.” He typed for a while, the click-clack filling his office. “I know you Homicide guys always see the worst case scenarios, but here we find that most missing people want to be missing and got that way on their own.”

      “Not my wife.”

      Nodding, Wellsby handed me the printed form. “Fill in any and all details from when you saw her last. You know, anything that could help find her.”

      Sitting on the edge of Wellsby’s visitor chair, I scrawled the last moments I had with my wife two days ago. My chest ached as reliving those moments stirred more intimate details: her smell, the softness of her skin, her laugh – none of which belonged on the report, but kept close to my heart.

      I slid the completed report across the desk. Wellsby picked it up and read it thoroughly. “I’ll put Cryzinski and Spellman on this.”

      “I appreciate this, Captain.” I stood and shook Wellsby’s hand. I knew Crazy Cryzinski wouldn’t let go of the case until he found all the answers. He was the best Missing Persons had and along with Spellman the Bloodhound, it wouldn’t be long before I had my wife back.

      I took my wife’s shoe off Wellsby’s desk. “I’ll give this to Cryzinski on my way out.”

      I stopped a few steps from Cryzinski’s desk. The M.E. was there with an evidence box resting on the desk. In his hand was a bagged match to the shoe I held. In the box I could see more bagged evidence – a pink material that resembled the jogging suite my wife wore that fateful morning.

      “Hey,” Johnson, the M.E., said, “where’d you get that shoe?”

      “Where did that come from?” I asked instead of answering, my voice barely audible.

      Johnson tossed the shoe back in the evidence box. “Jane Doe down in drawer twelve that came in early this morning. Just came up to see if there were any Missings that may fit.” He nodded toward the shoe I clung to. “What about that one?”

      “My wife.”

    2. Ratboy111 says:

      The Ballerina Shoe Part One
      I started walking home from the store when something peculiar caught my eye. I approached the glistening object and to my surprise, it was a girl’s size eight ballet shoe. But it wasn’t just any girl’s ballet shoe. It was one of the ruby-red ballet shoes with a green bow attached that Scarlet, my best friend, wore to her ballet recitals. The last time I saw her wear them was last night while we were on our movie date at the theater. There was this one scene in the movie that made us look at each other as if we were more than friends. That night, I kissed her on the lips and she didn’t hold back. After that flashback, I decided to do a little investigation of my own first by carefully placing her shoe in one of the grocery bags and heading towards her house where her older sister, Violet, lived. I knocked on the door and Violet opened the door. “Violet, there’s something I have to tell you.” I spoke. “Where’s Scarlet?” She asked. When I gave Violet the shoe, she burst into tears. “What happened Teal?” She asked me continuing to sob. “I was walking home when I came upon Scarlet’s shoe.” I explained. “Did she have any family members or friends that she didn’t get along with or any enemies outside of the family?” I asked Violet. “Nobody I knew, but I did receive this threatening letter a week ago. It says:
      Dear Violet,
      Something bad will happen to Scarlett if you don’t pay up. So, come to the old studio near your old school with the role you stole from me.
      Love,
      Anonymous
      P.S. Come alone or else.
      I didn’t realize this letter was legit.” Violet explained.

    3. sydneybear says:

      Summer is finally here. School is finished for the year and it is time for some fun. I can’t wait to go camping with all my friends. It’s going to a memorable weekend. I’m almost home and it is time to pack. I ring the bell and the bus stops to let me off. I can’t wait to get home.

      As I round the corner to my house I see a shoe on the side of the road. That is weird, there are not too many orange running shoes around. I bend over to pick it up but something else catches my eye. A watch is laying there in the tall grass beside the road and 5 feet from the shoe. I stand up to go pick up the watch when an ambulance squeals past me with it lights flashing and sirens blaring. I look to where it is going. It stops just up the road from where I am standing.

      I wonder what is going on? I continue up the road toward the ambulance. I see a person sprawled on the ground. Arms and legs at odd angles. I think to myself, that person must be in a lot of pain. I do not hear any yelling though. I get a little closer. I see one foot with just a white sock on. This must be the owner of the shoe.

      My heart starts beating in my chest as there is only one person that I know of that owns a pair of orange runners. I walk slowing toward the person and my heart sinks. It is him. Chad must have come by to help me pack.

      I run up to him. The police have arrived and they tell me to stay back, but I push my way through. I must see Chad.

      I fall to the ground beside him. The paramedics stand back to let me in. Why aren’t they doing anything? I look up into their sad faces. My eyes well up and I look at Chad and his eyes are closed.

      “Chad, it’s me Sally.” I take his hand in mine. It is lifeless. I start crying. I then hear a faint voice. I look up to find that Chad’s eyes are open.

      “I’m sorry Sally. I wanted to beat you home to surprise you with this.” He opened his other hand to reveal a ring. “I love you Sally.”

      “I love you too Chad.” I bend over and kiss him on the lips. As I sit back, Chad’s eyes are closed and there is a look of peace on his face. He had used his last breath to tell me that he loved me.

    4. Nocturnal Mermaid says:

      Coming home after a long and miserable day at work was pure heaven!
      I turned the corner when I noticed that one boot pair of Doc Martens was lying on the ground. I picked it up and noticed that it was mine! It had that hole in the back. Did my mother come home and throw it away? I looked around for the other boot but it was nowhere in sight.
      Still holding onto the boot, I ran home and expected the lights in the kitchen to be on; but they weren’t.
      I checked the lock. It was open! I pulled out my pocketknife and entered the dark house.
      “There you are, Jenny!” my mother shouted.
      A light came on and my mom was sitting next to the two men I saw last week.
      “Mom, why are you sitting in the dark with them?”
      “I don’t know! I was cooking dinner for you and these fine gentlemen came in, sat me down and then turned off the lights!” she explained.
      Why did she sound happy?
      I noticed the front of her dress was smeared in what appeared to be blood.
      “Mom, back away from these men!”
      “I don’t want to. They said they’d free me from my suffering! Imagine that, darling!”
      “Jenny, what a beautiful name!” said the man, taking a step towards me.
      “Back off, asshole!”
      “Such a mouth for such a pretty woman!” he said, opening his mouth. “You’re mother here was cooking dinner for you. You know, we’re hungry too!”
      My eyes darted from one man to the other. They began hissing and approaching me, slowly.

    5. don potter says:

      I walk the same country road home everyday after work as long as the weather is decent. Otherwise, I have to hang around town to take the bus that runs past my folks’ farm every two hours or so on weekdays. The two mile jaunt is usually pleasant; besides I need the exercise.
      Along the way, one beautiful Monday afternoon, I saw a size ten running shoe on the side of the road. Since people thoughtlessly throw things out the windows of their cars and trucks, I did not consider it unusual to find this discarded right sneaker.
      The next day, there was a size ten, right foot work boot not far from where I found the running shoe. I wondered who throw away the footwear and why?
      It rained the next day, so I took the bus home.
      On Thursday I was back to walking again. As I neared the spot where the shoe and boot were found, I increased my pace anticipating what might be awaiting me. I was not disappointed. Within a few feet of each other I discovered a right loafer, brown in color, and a right foot black dress shoe. Both were size ten.
      My curiosity began to take over. Whose shoes were these? Did they belong to the one that tossed them out of their moving vehicle? What happened to the left-footed shoes? Was there something dark behind this situation? There must be an explanation.
      Quitting time on Friday could not come fast enough. My shift at the coffee shop was over at four, so I high-tailed it out of town as soon as I counted up my tips. There was a light drizzle falling, but that was not going to deter me from walking and possibly finding another shoe. Maybe I would discover something that would provide a clue to what was going on.
      There it was. I could see the hand stitched cowboy boot several yards before coming to it. Yes, it was a size ten. Right foot too. This was the fifth one in as many days. I had to get to the bottom of this. This was about as big a mystery as we get out here in the country, and I was going to be the one to solve it.
      That night after supper, I borrowed my father’s pickup and drove to the patch of road were the shoes lay. I gathered them in my arms and was about to put them in the truck bed when a car came speeding down the road. It slowed when the driver saw me and stopped once he noticed I was carrying the shoes.
      “Here. Add this to your collection,” he said and dangled an old army boot out the window.
      “Why, it’s you, Clint Perkins. When did you get back from Afghanistan?” I asked and peered in the car window.
      “After I lost this,” he said and pointed to where his right foot should have been.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I was expecting something macabre in nature and was startled by the reality of wars in lands far away that make no sense to my reasoning. Those who fight for our freedom are easily put aside with the business of life. We need to remember always, the sacrifice our men and women in uniform, give to us. You really drove the point home in your story. I enjoyed it. Even the pain of it.

    6. LizzieC says:

      It all happened so suddenly – I had to move! My boyfriend kindly said he would help me pack and that everything should fit in the back of his truck. Wonderful. However, as time slipped by nothing was packed and everything was a last minute rush.
      Bedding, clothes, towels, plus books and other items were hurriedly stuffed into boxes and dumped into the back of the truck, which I must add, was open to the elements! The higgledy piggledy assortment of my life including a few pieces of furniture were precariously stacked for all to see. Thank goodness it was a fine day but the road had rather too many potholes. As we bounced along I prayed that everything in the back would come to no harm.
      When we finally arrived I was sorting through my box of shoes when, to my horror, I found that one of my favourite Jimmy Choo’s was missing! Where was it? It must have fallen from the truck when we hit that particularly large pothole. I now envisaged it laying forlornly in the road or, heaven forbid, had been run over by a transport.
      My boyfriend could not understand my hysteria and floods of tears.
      “It’s only a shoe” he said
      “Iiit’s a Jimmy Choo” I wailed, “don’t you realise that they cost hundreds even thousands?”
      “And you paid hundreds for a pair of shoes! Are you mad?”
      ‘Well, I did get them on sale, but even so they were just over two hundred. And they were my favourites.” I sobbed.
      Give him his due he did put a consoling arm around me and tried to dry my tears. But he just didn’t get it, then he’s a man and men are not like us were shoes are concerned.

    7. mimipii says:

      I retraced my steps searching the sidewalk for the missing shoe. Moments earlier I had arrived home only to discover my two year old daughter sitting in her stroller, her right shoe gone. With a sigh of frustration, I did a 360 and walked right back to the park. I searched every nook and cranny on the way but the was no sign of that purple toddler shoe. With the flowers on the side. Dont forget about that or said toddler will be quick to remind you of it. We reached the park and I searched every shrub, garbage can, bench, swing and finally slide that we’d been near. I expelled an audible sigh of relief when I spotted it under the slide. WHEW!

    8. rubystambaugh says:

      I’m walking along a busy street in town at night and I come across a shoe. A single pink female 11DD shoe. Whoa. I pick it up and head towards the nearby garbage can.

      “Drop it, you bum!”
      I look around.
      “Yeah, YOU! Drop it!”

      Across the street, strutting directly towards me, dodging traffic, are two chickens. One is wearing a single shoe. The other is laughing hysterically.

      “Alice, look at you!” the one chicken shouts. “You’re teetering back and forth like Frankenstein!”
      “Shut up Francine!” Alice says. They take advantage of a break in traffic and rush over to me.

      “Okay. Gimme my shoe, you thief!” Alice says.
      “Hey! Watch with the name calling,” I say. “I’m not a thief. I just found this here on the road. I wasn’t going to keep it, just toss it in the garbage.”
      “Well, it’s mine,” she says. “Give it to me.”
      “Now hold up. Hold up there Alice, my Little Chickadee.”
      Francine lets out a roar. Alice glares at her.
      “How do I know this is really yours?”
      Alice lays on her back and holds up both feet – one pink shoed and one without.
      “Satisfied?”
      “Yeah. I guess so. Hey – aren’t these about 11DD? How do you keep them from falling off your tiny feet?”
      “A heckuva lot of laces,” Francine says.
      “Francine, shut up your big fat beak!” Alice says. She snatches the shoe from my hand and proceeds to put in on her foot with a heckuva lot of laces. She’s having a hard time.

      “So what are you gals doing out so late? Colonel Sanders go to bed early?”
      I laugh. They don’t. Now even Francine is angry.

      “You got a smart mouth,” Francine says. “I think we’ll hustle back to KFC and tell him all about you. Yeah. And who knows? Maybe later tonight you’ll get a pleasant visit from some of the Colonel’s fighting rooster lieutenants. Now make sure to keep your guard up. They’re experts at pecking out eyeballs.”
      “Ha! I’m not scared of any roosters.”
      “Or eyeless sockets. Right.”

      Suddenly across the street a KFC delivery truck screeches to a halt. A burly rooster driver blows the horn and motions for them to hustle over and get in.

      “There’s one of them,” Alice says. “I think I’ll tell him all about this and we can get this over with right here and now.”

      The driver blows the horn again. Alice and Francine begin to hustle. Alice’s loose shoe falls off next to me. She doesn’t stop. They run into the busy street and pause at the dividing line and look back. They laugh. I pick up the shoe and stare at the cackling chickens. And I think about pointed beaks drilling into my eye sockets.

      MORAL OF THE STORY:

      Now we know why they cross the road.
      Sometimes it’s to your advantage to wait for the other shoe to drop.
      You really can kill two birds with one shoe.

    9. Snoggins says:

      Prompt: Walking home, you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is its owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all of these questions or just one to explore what happened.

      It was a shoe like any other: a shoe that became worthy of note simply by being so very ordinary. There is something about an ordinary, lonely shoe that captures the imagination of the unimaginative and forces them to spew trite metaphors three or four at a time. This was just that sort of shoe.

      “Much like a man,” our theoretical unimaginative creature would begin, “a shoe is useless without a proper mate.” And then he would go about sipping on his coffee or tea or some-such while feeling supremely blessed for being made cleverer than the rest of humanity.

      Made being the key word, of course. We are talking of the sort of man who, upon seeing a lone shoe on the side of the road, thinks things like “My, what exquisite beauty exists in the mundane!” This sort of man never believes that his ‘gifts’ were the result of any special effort of his own. Of course, whether these ‘gifts’ deserve to be named such is a question you should answer on your own.

      At any rate, upon passing this lone shoe on the highway I was immediately captivated by the powerful churning of imagination that this commonplace item had awoken in me. Perhaps I am precisely the aforementioned sort of man, or perhaps I was merely drawn to the footwear simply because the surrounding expanses of dusty Midwestern corn-fields long since harvested were simply astonishingly boring. This lonely red Chuck Taylor provided a welcome burst of visual stimulation of a very satisfying sort, scratching an itch in my cortex that large expanses of dull browns and almost-greens simply can’t scratch.

      As I continued walking, I began to ponder what sort of dramatic series of events could have led up to Lefty’s presence out here in the middle of the highway. (I had taken to calling him ‘Lefty’ at almost the precise instant I noticed that the shoe was crafted very specifically to fit a standard right foot.)

      Visions of wild adventures flooded my head; naturally all flights of fancy with distinctly human elements. I pondered one spectacular scenario after another– Rapes, murders, crime sprees, fantastically gruesome automobile accidents: all those sorts of things that one hopes never happens, but secretly wishes they could witness. Just this once. As long as it’s not anybody I know, of course.

      “This shoe,” I thought, “has a fantastic story to tell. It is a tiny piece of the life story of other human beings; a snapshot of somebody’s story that I will never know. The uncertainty IS the beauty, and there is magic in the infinity of possibilities!” I had suitably impressed myself, mentally patted myself on the back, and continued my journey.

      All this while, a lone red shoe sat on the side of the highway, thinking that it must have been at least forty-five minutes since it had fallen off its truck. “And what in the hell,” the shoe wondered, “is that weirdo doing walking alone on the side of the highway?”

    10. Snoggins says:

      It was a shoe like any other: a shoe that became worthy of note simply by being so very ordinary. There is something about an ordinary, lonely shoe that captures the imagination of the unimaginative and forces them to spew trite metaphors three or four at a time. This was just that sort of shoe.

      “Much like a man,” our theoretical unimaginative creature would begin, “a shoe is useless without a proper mate.” And then he would go about sipping on his coffee or tea or some-such while feeling supremely blessed for being made cleverer than the rest of humanity.

      Made being the key word, of course. We are talking of the sort of man who, upon seeing a lone shoe on the side of the road, thinks things like “My, what exquisite beauty exists in the mundane!” This sort of man never believes that his ‘gifts’ were the result of any special effort of his own. Of course, whether these ‘gifts’ deserve to be named such is a question you should answer on your own.

      At any rate, upon passing this lone shoe on the highway I was immediately captivated by the powerful churning of imagination that this commonplace item had awoken in me. Perhaps I am precisely the aforementioned sort of man, or perhaps I was merely drawn to the footwear simply because the surrounding expanses of dusty Midwestern corn-fields long since harvested were simply astonishingly boring. This lonely red Chuck Taylor provided a welcome burst of visual stimulation of a very satisfying sort, scratching an itch in my cortex that large expanses of dull browns and almost-greens simply can’t scratch.

      As I continued walking, I began to ponder what sort of dramatic series of events could have led up to Lefty’s presence out here in the middle of the highway. (I had taken to calling him ‘Lefty’ at almost the precise instant I noticed that the shoe was crafted very specifically to fit a standard right foot.)

      Visions of wild adventures flooded my head; naturally all flights of fancy with distinctly human elements. I pondered one spectacular scenario after another– Rapes, murders, crime sprees, fantastically gruesome automobile accidents: all those sorts of things that one hopes never happens, but secretly wishes they could witness. Just this once. As long as it’s not anybody I know, of course.

      “This shoe,” I thought, “has a fantastic story to tell. It is a tiny piece of the life story of other human beings; a snapshot of somebody’s story that I will never know. The uncertainty IS the beauty, and there is magic in the infinity of possibilities!” I had suitably impressed myself, mentally patted myself on the back, and continued my journey.

      All this while, a lone red shoe sat on the side of the highway, thinking that it must have been at least forty-five minutes since it had fallen off its truck. “And what in the hell,” the shoe wondered, “is that weirdo doing walking alone on the side of the highway?”

      • Amy says:

        Lots of philosophical introspection… I kept reading thinking the actual story would pick up somewhere, but it didn’t. In my humble opinion, you have lots of darlings that maybe don’t need to be there. I really love the last line of your third paragraph, though. It shines.

        • Amy says:

          Sorry, I meant fourth paragraph.

          • Snoggins says:

            Hey, thanks for the comments! I had no idea where I was going with this one, and decided to just turn it into a free-form sort of, essay. I appreciate the comments though: i’m not really a ‘writer’ as such, and part of the reason I’ve joined this site and started to do these things is because as much as I love sitting down and spewing out a few pages on any number of topics I have virtually zero experience in crafting a complete story.. which seems like something I should fix. So it’s no surprise there’s no story here, but just doing the prompt has got ME wondering who this person is and what he’s doing, so maybe we’ll see where he goes!

            I liked your entry on this prompt: normally not my favorite style/genre of stuff as a reader, but I was amazed at how vividly I was able to picture the scene and characters in so few words!

    11. AmberRenee3 says:

      The Black and Yellow Shoe

      Walking through the crowded streets as I minded my own business. The Chicago area lit up the night like some Christmas lights. Voices, alarms, police cars, and sirens of an ambulance echoed into my ears from the distance. I entered another alleyway looking for something-food. i haven’t had a decent meal in days and I used all of my salary money to pay the rent- so what the heck. My stomach had been growlin’ all day-which annoyed me. I might as well eat something. I went in an alleyway between a fancy restaurant and a five star upscale hotel that had rich people who always wastes stuff.

      Opening the trash can I could smell the foul air of mixed nasty smells in there. From food to miscellaneous things them rich people practically love to waste. Digging in the trash can I founded some half eaten chicken, untouched cake that is in a bag, a little rice, and-

      Black and yellow Jordans.

      My first thought went to ‘why in the world would someone throw perfectly nice Jordans in the trash.’ I had an after thought.’Rich people sure do throw things in the trash.’

      The black and yellow Jordans were all covered up with the trash. Its okay for me because all I have to do is clean it all up and make it all new, and then take it to the pawn shop and get me some money.

      Throwing the nasty scrappings of food back in the dumpster. I took the Jordans for a trip to my apartment and to the bath tub where it had a nice little bath. It smelt and looked all shiny and new before I took it to the pawn shop and trade it for $200.

    12. margi33 says:

      I walked carefree on my daily jaunt toward town. As I was rounding the corner, I caught a glimmer of red, peeking out from the bushes. Upon closer inspection, I was astounded. By heavens, it’s a shoe! But not just any shoe, it was a red leather neaker. It sported three white stripes down each side. Wow, model 351. I had never, in all my days, seen something so beautiful as this shoe. It was fancy – just as fancy as the ones on the bleepy screens that flashed advertisements all day long – ads that made me want things I could never have.

      In One-Shoe Land, you were pretty well off if you had a shoe at all. And certainly no one ever found a shoe lying around without an owner attached. It was understood by everyone that once death found you, your shoe would be immediately sucked off of your foot by the Gods. My Aunt even saw it happen when my Uncle passed. She said it flew right up into the sky and disintegrated. The Gods must have missed this shoe, and what a prize it was.

      The neaker was a striking contrast to the shoe on my foot. My shoe was brown, faded leather with tattered laces. The sole was rubbed through in so many spots, I wasn’t sure it protected my foot at all. But I was proud that I had a shoe. Most likely I would wear it, like many One-Shoers, until it was nothing was remaining except strips of leather tied around my foot, flopping around with no sole remaining. I might give it to one of the unfortunate No-Shoers, if I could ever afford a new one.

      I knelt down, trying to decide if I should or shouldn’t touch the shoe and glanced around to see if anyone was watching. I shot a look to the sky above, expecting a bolt of lightning to come down and strike me dead. I surely did not want to anger the Gods. They might take my only shoe and that would make me want to cease living. I have to have that neaker though.

      I pretended to examine the spiky yuka bush where the neaker lay. It wasn’t unusual for the yuka be studied by a passerby. It only flowered once every five years and was close to its next flowering.

      I methodically unlaced my shoe, moving slowly, so I wouldn’t attract attention. Next, I unlaced the red neaker, and then took one last glimpse over my shoulder. A curly haired yapper scampered through the grass nearby, startling me. Just a pet, I better hurry before the owner arrives. In a flutter of activity, I made the swap. I poked at my old shoe, nesting it deep in the twisty roots of the yuka. Gods you may have this one – I hope it pleases you.

      I stood up, pirouetted on my new possession, and strolled along, whistling merrily. I knew my life would be different. I was now one of the Elite

    13. Kevron617 says:

      It was just past midnight when I set out in search for him. Leaving my friends alone at the club. They all swore I’d lost my marbles but I’d never see him there before and I needed to find out why he left so abruptly. Especially since we were hitting it off so well. As my pace quickened, my thoughts did also. At one point I even found myself running, so I slowed down as my friend Chloe’s words rang in my head.
      “If he was interested he wouldn’t have bolted. He got a text and barreled out of here… he’s probably married or has a girlfriend! I’m coming with you.”
      “No.” I said.
      “Seriously Carly you’re going alone? It’s after midnight!!”
      The emptiness of streets suddenly got to me and I started to feel vulnerable but I never felt as if I were making a mistake.
      I’ve heard of love at first sight but I’ve never truly loved a man. I always thought that I did but honestly I didn’t know shit about love. But this guy was different, in the small amount of time that I spent with him, I felt a warm feeling inside that just made me think he was right for me and I prayed that I was right for him.
      I couldn’t have been more than three blocks from the club when I noticed a shoe lying on the sidewalk next to overflowing trash barrels. It looked out of place and I recognized it immediately. It was his shoe and my gut told me it was a sign. I’ve never chased after any man, they always chased after me but I’ve also never met anyone quite like him and I feared that I would never meet him again. I stopped at end of the street and realized I was far away from the club. The neighborhood had changed. I was no longer in the club district or the college district. Truthfully in the past I’ve avoided these neighborhoods like the plague. I noticed a few dudes jiving on the corner as I made my past. When I rounded the next corner my fears came to fruition as they started to follow.
      The louder one, whom I suspected was the leader was cat calling and referring to me as “Baby”. What the hell did I get myself into? I suddenly felt my stomach drop and fear settle into my bones. When I heard their feet trampling toward me I fled running as fast as my legs would take me. I reached a baseball field and started across. I’d ran a few marathons so if it came down to distance I had them beat. My world came crashing down when the loud one landed on top of me. He kept saying “Be cool baby, it’s okay.” but continued rob me rifling through my purse and snatching my jewelry faster than I could keep up. I closed my eyes and prayed to God to get me out of this.
      I’ll never forget that sound. It was someone dropping a bowling ball off of the roof onto the pavement and I’ve never seen someone move like him, in fact, I’m not sure I even saw him move, all I saw was the wake of his destruction. Three highly capable men on the ground moaning and writhing in pain. He helped my feet and I gasped when I saw his eyes again.
      “How did you know?” I asked still sucking for breath as he cautiously led me away from danger.
      “I lost my shoe. I came back looking for it and I found you.” He said pulling me in close to the safety of his sculpted arms.
      “Why did you leave?” I asked as we walked up the steps to his house. He opened the door and I saw his Mom sitting in the chair her legs socked off before the spot where he feet once were.
      “She’s diabetic and not to mention forgetful. She missed her insulin shot and went into a seizure.”
      His Mom smiled at me genuinely and replied.
      “Sorry to ruin your night love birds, is the wedding off?” she said with a chuckle. We never called police but prayed that injuries to the men who robbed me were not too severe.

    14. tmcasler says:

      Jumping Barefoot

      Robert Frost’s poem always in mind, I make a conscious effort to take “the road less traveled by”. It may take me upwards of two hours to walk home from work. No iPod, no phone calls, just my feet working mechanically and my mind taking a break from work for a change. It is almost as though I go into a trance, a walking nap if you will. One particular Tuesday, however, came with a rude awakening. It was early spring, when you never know if you will need a parka or a bathing suit to be comfortable. The day started out beautifully, and being an optimist, I selected a floral print dress for my attire while disregarding the potential need for a jacket or umbrella. By the time I got ready to take my walk home though it was raining enough to scare Noah. I didn’t mind so much, and still decided to walk along the river. There is something eternally freeing in walking along a waterway while rain is falling and the skies are gray. It has its own unique kind of beauty. As I came to a bridge, I decided to sit down under it and enjoy the sound of rain on pavement far above. I plopped my bottom down on a rock and allowed my senses to stretch out and delve into the surroundings. I really could not say how long I sat there, but it most likely would have been some time longer if not for the next series of events. I was staring out into the rain when I thought I saw something fall into the river. Being downstream, I simply waited for it to float past me. It quickly did, and I took note of the object as it passed. A pink beaded flip flop. Curious for the sake of curiosity, I stepped out of my shelter and looked up in an attempt to spot the source. Naturally, my vision was impaired from the pelting rain and mist and the sheer height of the bridge. Yet, I could make out a figure at the top. This alarmed me because it appeared as though the figure was standing on top of the railing and facing me. I began waved my arms and yelling, panic instinctively seeping into nerves. If the figure saw me, it made no notice. The reality of the situation settled upon me and began running up the path which would bring me to the top of the bridge. Adrenaline made me swifter than my usual pace and I was on the pedestrian walkway quickly, yet saw no figure. I ran to where I estimated they had been standing. Reaching it, my heart tightened painfully and my lips let out a slight gasp. There by the edge was the matching pink flip-flop.

    15. slayerdan says:

      Reilly Coop sat on the edge of the wall that separated the emergency room bay from the dilapidated building next to it. The summer months were particularly hot and even though it was near midnight, a trickle of sweat would form now and again. Her small, lithe form chose this spot two years ago, around her tenth birthday. She could see the whole bay from that spot, each ambulance as it arrived a story for her to watch. Sometimes the E.R. staff would wave to her. A couple of times they even brought her food, and one night a blanket as she watched from her perch on a cold, windy night.

      Reilly Coop, Latcher to the other street kids, was there for something else entirely.

      It had been a week or so, and every night she had left the wall empty handed. She would return to the others with stories of what she would see. Women giving birth, screaming like banshees as they were whisked into the hospital. Gunshot victims, of which there were plenty in gang riddled Chicago. Families with sick children. Parents bringing in their children made Reilly fidget and sometimes she could recall a snippet of her own parents.

      Always just a snippet or so, never much more.

      Reilly though was there for the ambulances that brought in people from car wrecks. More to the point, victims from the car wrecks. Easily identifiable by the sheet that would cover their heads, these were what she waited for. They were her nightly goal. She rarely saw a body uncovered so it wasn’t the blood and gore. It wasn’t the lifeless body that would be quickly wheeled to the morgue.

      It was the shoes.

      In their haste, ambulance workers would unload the ambulance quickly and get back out. The night air brought out the evil in people and the ambulances ran all night, often nonstop. As they unloaded, many times they would drop belongings of the deceased. A torn shirt. Pants. A hat.

      And sometimes, shoes.

      Reilly watched several come and go as she began to feel herself getting sleepy. It was as she was planning to jump down that she saw it. In the last ambulance drop bay.

      A shoe.

      Dropping from her perch with catlike precision, she moved to the bay without a sound, her own shoeless feet barely touching the ground. Reaching the spot, she knelt down for a moment and stared at the shoe, to remember it as she had found it. She then grabbed it around the back lip of the shoe and made off around the bay and into the darkness.
      ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
      “So, whachi get Latcher?” asked the little girl, barely eight years old herself. The little girl and five others, ages 7 to 13, gathered in the center of the large room that was on the second floor of an old building. Muted candles gave light. Latcher smiled as she saw the others had found food for the night.

      She smiled to herself as well, readying the story she would tell about the shoe and the person that sacrificed it for them.

      • Amy says:

        Nice job of developing Reilly in so few words. I had a very clear picture of her as I read.

        • slayerdan says:

          Thanks—when I worked the ER there was this girl that would always linger around and she would take random things–loosely based on her. I did it on the fly and wasnt totally thrilled with how it came out, but its been a busy week. Thanks for the words though.

    16. Arazimith says:

      My sister would constantly cajole me to exercise. Due to genetic laziness, this amounted to walking around the neighborhood at a leisurely pace and never getting my heart up much beyond a normal resting rate. It was on such a walk that I found the boot. It was lying on its side in the storm culvert next to county road that led to the subdivision where my house was located. It was not usual to see all manner of debris in the culvert. Old shoes were one of more common types. The attention grabber on this occasion was the unfathomable fact that it was an astronaut’s boot.
      I have seen enough movies and TV shows to be able to distinguish an astronaut boot and an expensive ski boot. I immediately began to create some possible scenarios that could explain its presence in a culvert next to an only moderately travelled road. A pickup full of spacesuit replicas hit a bump and the boot popped out of the truck bed. Jim Lovell is traveling to a convention with his spacesuit when, in a fit of pique, he grabs one of his boots and throws it out the window. A certain Melody Pond, after her fateful encounter with the Doctor, time travels to this location and tries to hitch a ride by showing a little leg. None of these make any sense. Spacesuit replicas are expensive. Having a truck bed full of them seems self-indulgence. There isn’t a convention center anywhere near here for Jim Lovell to attend. The whole Melody Pond thing is just wrong. After her final space-suited encounter with the Doctor, she would definitely not be in the frame of mind to show a little leg.
      As I stood there contemplating the possibility of time-traveling astronauts, my next door neighbor pulled up in his RAV4.
      “What’s the problem? Lose your dog?” he asked.
      I pointed to the boot and said, “We have a barefoot astronaut on the loose.”
      He looked at me. Looked at the boot. Then he drove off. I do believe that my neighbor does not have a high opinion of me. After watching him make the turn into out subdivision, I returned my attention to the boot. I thought about picking it up and taking it home. Without knowing how long it had lain there, I had no idea what form of scaly or spindly critter would creep its way out of the boot and start crawling up my arm. I shivered with the thought.
      It was a single horrify thought that kept me from picking it up and taking it to place next to an Apollo 11 mission patch my sister got me as a gift. The troubling possibility that the boot belonged to the ghost of an astronaut. I was not willing to harbor the spirit of an astronaut with unfinished business and one bare foot. I had to walk home and give this some thought.

    17. droohi says:

      Every day I walk to the tuition, four PM in the evening, heat burning my skin. And I hate tuition, tests every day. Teenage sucks! No one is going to let me in to their colleges with these crappy grades. That sucks! Every day, on the pavement, I see a shoe. A new, I mean brand new, shiny shoe on the ground, everyday. The first day I saw it was the third day at tuition. I was disenchanted, disgruntled, dis-something else. And I saw a brand new shoe lying on the ground. It looked expensive. Whoever threw away such a good shoe needed, excuse me, deserved to be robed. I stopped, stared at it for a while. Next day, same spot, I looked for that shiny shoe, I had an exam in tuition, I wasn’t prepared. I looked around, I couldn’t see it, and then it hit me; it was there except that now it had gathered much dirt. I stared at it for a while then started moving to my demise.
      Next day, I came to the same spot than looked for the shoe, now it was dirty and scratched. And suddenly I realized, there wasn’t much dirt around the shoe, and it was an abandoned pavement, no one walked on it, that was the only reason I walked on it. Between tuition and high school, I was dying for five minutes of privacy. Then how was this shoe getting so dirty and worn out? I wondered but then walked to the tuition. I kept thinking about it the whole day, like I had nothing better to do. Next day I was looking forward to running into that shoe. I entered into that area and I was suddenly shocked, the shoe was torn and not that wears and tears kind of torn but the kicking kind…. That was odd, but I was late for tuition.
      Next day, I was curious and I needed to kill the mystery, I went to that pavement after school. I walked to the shoe. I looked around, there was nobody there, but the shoe was right in front of a shop across the road. I wondered for a bit but then I went to the shopkeeper.
      ‘Hi, do you see that show over there?’ I asked stupidly.
      ‘I have been seeing you eye that show for week son.’ Shopkeeper looked amused.
      ‘So who destroys it every day?’ I wasn’t hiding my curiosity anymore.
      ‘You want to meet him?’ Now the shopkeeper was just teasing me.
      ‘Sure’ I said. He pointed in direction of the pavement and I noticed.
      A dog was barking besides the shoe.
      ‘The owner of this shoe killed a four year old who owned this dog, in a car accident, when he got out of the car and realized what he had done, he ran away leaving his shoe behind. Now the dog comes everyday at the time of accident and topples the shoe.’ Shopkeeper said with tears.
      I fell silent….

      • Suzanne says:

        I feel you have a good story line here. However, if I were to guess, I would guess English is not your first language which detracts from the story line. My first hangup was with the word “tuition”. After reading the story through, I think the word you mean is “tutoring” – which makes a lot more sense. The main character is walking from school to after school tutoring in subjects he/she needs help in. Grammar a bit stilted as well. So, the observation from here, is that you have great ideas and a great way to tell a story, you need to work on your grammar. If I had to choose between the two: learning how to craft an intriguing story and learning more about English grammar, I’d choose grammar. That can be taught. The other, which you already have, is instinctive. Keep up the good work.

        • droohi says:

          Oh Suzanne, thank you so much for your appreciation, I am glad you like my story. Yes English is not my first language but the reason I have serious grammatical errors in this story, is that, I wrote it in my office, while sitting right beside my boss and posted the story without any editing what so ever. So I need to work on my carelessness along with my grammar.. I am so gleeful to read that you think I have instinctive story telling skills. That is such a great thing to hear from other people. Thanks a lot.

    18. stevebolie says:

      Several years ago I moved my family from our house in the middle of the small town where we lived and where I was the principal of the local high school to an acreage just outside of town. It was within easy walking distance from the high school and I liked to walk to and from school. It gave me time to wind up for the day in the morning and wind down at the end.
      Walking home one evening I saw a shoe in the weeds along the road. It was weathered from years of rain and sunshine but even the years could not hide whose shoe it was. I had never and have never seen such a large shoe worn by someone I knew, especially a high school student. It clearly belonged to a student, I’ll call him “Steve,” who had graduated years before and whose shoes at even that young age were size 15EEE. This shoe had to be one of his and that knowledge took me back to how it got to be beside this road.
      Steve was new to the school having moved to town in his junior year. He was an average student in most every way but there was nothing average about his feet. They were large and flat. They were also the source of considerable teasing. Now we would call it bullying but then it was viewed as something more harmless. I knew it was happening even then but, I am ashamed to say, did nothing about it following the sports maxim, “No harm, no foul.”
      Each day after lunch the high school students would gather outside the main doors of the school waiting for afternoon classes to begin. As the spring went on, a couple of classmates, Neil and his friends, started teasing Steve about his feet. One thing led to another and Neil started taking Steve’s shoes off his feet and parading around with them. One day, things got out of hand and Neil and a friend took a shoe and drove away from the school. When they returned they had no shoe and said they had thrown it out the window somewhere outside of town. I and several of my staff drove the roads looking for the shoe but never found it.
      Needless to say, punishments escalated as word of the harassment reached home and calls came into the school. Neil was ordered to pay restitution, a considerable sum for shoes of such size, and the bullying never happened again.
      Now, twenty-odd years later I had found the shoe. But what to do with and about it? Why should I resurrect old wounds? On the other hand, whatever wounds there were already were present and didn’t depend on my bringing them up. Maybe the discovery could even be a source of healing and reconciliation. On the other hand…
      When I got home the evening I picked up the phone and started a series of calls.

    19. Amy says:

      This is sort of a prequel to my story for the “Sting Operation at the Post Office” Prompt. This is meant to take place right before that one.

      As she squatted down to pick up the lone sequined pump, Claire Daniels closed her eyes to shut out the chaotic scene of a fresh investigation all around her. The rusty scent of blood that had seeped into the pavement overnight filled her nose and she cringed, reigning in her primal appetite. It was only from decades of practice that she was able to staunch her thirst and remain in control. She imagined herself here just hours ago, the sounds of the bar packed with college students drifting down the alley as it had every night before, and retraced the steps those high heels must have taken before one was abruptly parted with the other behind the dumpster. The victim’s blood mixed with the scent of her alluring perfume, spiking the air with flirtation and danger. A tiny charm had been cracked and flung off her bracelet, probably while the perp was holding tight to her wrists. It caught the moonlight and made it dance on the wet pavement.

      Her hand went to her lips as she imagined the sensation of a pulsing vein beneath them. The eyes, blood-red and gleaming in the dark alley, would have closed in ecstasy as he pierced the tender flesh of the victim’s neck with a soft kiss of death. Liquored up on Cosmo’s and no doubt aroused by the charms of a predator, the owner of the Jimmy Choos never saw it coming.

      “It was Bert, again,” Daniels said to her partner, eyes still closed to the image of last night’s gruesome scene.

      “You sure?” Conlin asked. He had been standing behind her, watching as she relived the affair. After being partners for a year, watching her work a crime scene still fascinated him.

      “Yes.” She opened her eyes and Conlin caught a glimpse of the red demon just before it retreated from the whites of her eyes. “I can smell him.”

      “Um, Conlin? We have a lead on the perp’s whereabouts,” another agent cautiously approached. “We think he might be holed up in a post office over on Fourth. Is your, uh, partner going to be done soon? The forensics team is itching to get in here.”

      Daniels was out of her crouch and in the agent’s face in a fraction of a second. He didn’t even have time to blink before she was staring him down.

      “It’s all yours, boys,” she replied. Her lust for carnage still raged deep inside, but she knew how to stifle it now. The monster was on a tight leash. She was anxious to bust this trafficking ring and finally nail Bert so she could take some much needed time away from the blood and butchery of the Hunters’ Unit. Her Detective status in her past life was a calling she couldn’t ignore even after she was turned, but lately she found herself walking a precarious line.

      Daniels and Conlin sat in the parking lot next to the post office trying to devise a plan. Daniels knew she couldn’t be of any use to her partner outside of the UV protective glass of her SUV. The sun was peaking high overhead, taunting her.

      “So you can’t go in or you’ll fry, and he’ll smell a Hunter from a mile away. How are we going to do this?” Conlin asked as he scanned the lot.

      Just then, a small white pickup pulled into a spot in front of the building and a young girl got out with a pile of letters in hand.

      “I think I see our way in,” Conlin smiled, his eyes fixed on the girl.

      • smallster21 says:

        Good writing as always :) Enjoyed the story. I’m a fan of speculative, fantasy, sci-fi, so you had me at ‘her primal appetite’, and I read the post office story and knew vampires were coming, so yay! Great job on introducing the third agent; I could feel his hesitation around Claire just through his dialogue.

        Isn’t much to critique, but to offer a suggestion, I think you meant stanch instead of staunch in the first paragraph and I suggest trying something besides the cliche ‘kiss of death’ in the second paragraph as cliches can be in themselves the kiss of death.

        • Amy says:

          Thanks for the comment. It’s always nice to have a fresh set of eyes view my writing. The “kiss of death” thing didn’t bother me at first but after some space I came back to it and felt the same way.

      • Ooo. This was very entertaining. I definitely want to read more of Claire’s story.

    20. Bianchi Cat says:

      As a cyclist I often see a wide variety of lost and tossed items on the road. Tools, pants, mattresses and even the dead. Dead animals I mean; dogs, cats, squirrels, some raccoons and snakes. I just keep moving. Not much reason to stop I suppose. I stopped once for a nice hand tool, but that’s been it in 20 years. On my second stop, I could have only wished it’d been another hand tool.
      I saw it sitting on the side of the road along the shoulder and butted up against a good sized rock, leaning to its side. It was clear it was a cowboy boot, the heel facing me and the shape of course. Like I said, I don’t usually stop for such things. Then again, I don’t usually see a shoe, or in this case a boot, that still has the foot inside it. Had it been a complete boot, I’d probably never had stopped. The boot had been cut all the way across about six or so inches up the shaft from the heel. Contained inside were the remains of the lower half of someone’s leg.
      I got off my bike and took an even closer look. What was odd, other than an occupied half boot sitting on the side of the road, was how clean the cut was not only to the leather of the boot, but to the skin, muscle and bone. I’ve seen what saws, knives and even a lawnmower can do to limbs. This wasn’t those. It looked like what a hot knife does to a cold stick of butter – smooth. The boot’s leather edges had a burn appearance. The skin and surrounding tissues also appeared to be charred, but the muscle and bones were cut flat with absolute precision. I saw only a few tablespoons of blood on the rock it leaned against and some on the pavement.
      Most days I ride, I carry my cell phone. Of course the day I find something that somebody, somewhere might be interested in knowing about – I leave it at home. The shortest route back to my house was about 30 minutes away and with around an hour till dark, I figured a passing car could stop and we could call the Sheriff together; unless they forgot their cell phone too. Thirty minutes later I began to realize that if someone did this to somebody else and they start missing this piece, they might come wandering back for it.
      I made excellent time getting back to the house. The only store along the route was closed. I did see two cars pass me, but I thought about that conversation, “Thanks for stopping. Can I borrow your phone? I found a boot on the road that still has the foot inside it.”
      The actual conversation to the Sheriff went pretty similar. Trouble is, when they met me back at the exact spot where I found the boot, it and the blood spots were gone.

    21. randi100 says:

      “That’s it!” “I’m done!” exclaimed Abigail.
      Those heels went flying out the window so fast it’s shocking that she didn’t break the windows of the car next to her.
      Abigail was sitting in her car in the parking lot where she worked. Well, where she used to work. Now, she was unemployed.
      She wanted to quit that job for years and apparently today was quitting day.
      The day started off like any other. The alarm went off, she showered, dressed, ate breakfast while running out the door, she was running late as usual. This was her life for the past 10 years. 10 years of busting her butt at work, for what? “For nothing” she thought.
      The paycheck wasn’t worth it, the benefits sucked. She imagined for years about what it would be like to quit. It would have been wonderful to walk out but the bills have to be paid, she was up to her eyeballs in debt.
      By the time she got to work today the daily morning meeting had already begun. She quietly entered the conference room by the back door hoping to go unnoticed. That didn’t really go as planned. She was so busy worrying that someone would notice her that she didn’t see the very long (and obvious) cables on the floor. Her beautiful new, shiny, amazing silver heels (an irresponsible splurge by the way) got caught on one of the cables. Everyone noticed her, everyone. The administrative assistants, the bosses (all 7 of them) even the CEO noticed her. She couldn’t land gracefully of course. Oh no, she had to fall flat on her face as the jam packed manila folders flew out of her hands and into the air. The contents flew up to the ceiling and floated back down covering the entire room.
      Abigail didn’t even try and gather the papers. It was the straw that broke the camels back. She went to her office, typed up her letter of resignation and handed it in. Her boss didn’t say anything either. He took it, read it, and didn’t utter a sound. “He could care less that I am leaving!” marveled Abigail. “10 years at this place” “10 years and I didn’t even get a thanks” “Good luck in whatever you do Abigail”
      She sat in her car and tossed those heels.
      “Where ever I end up, I will not need those!”

      She drove away, headed home, not knowing what was coming next and she didn’t care. She was free.

      I was walking through the parking lot on my way home from work as always. Working the night shift at the diner wasn’t great but it paid the bills. I’ve seen some strange things in the parking lot on the way home. Seeing a pair of heels in one of the parking spots certainly falls under the strange category. “I wonder how these got here”….

    22. Kerry Charlton says:

      ON POINTE [Revised]

      The quickest way home from high school, led Tony Desmond through the Virginia forests to his home in Fairlington, a city of four-plex apartments on the outskirts of Washington D. C. The country was engulfed in the Second World War but Tony had problems that taunted him. Always the new kid because of his father’s military transfers, Tony had no friends to talk to.

      He tread the long way through the woods that day for he wanted to walk in the Civil War trenches dug by the Union army to protect Washington. On the side of an embankment, Tony noticed a worn ballet slipper. The inside label had faded from age but he managed to read, ‘Freed, On Pointe, Size 5, 1892. Tony searched for the missing shoe but found none. Drifting through moss-coated trees, he heard Tchaikovsky’s score of ‘The Nutcracker Suite’. In the distance he saw a young ballerina, dressed in white, pirouetting across the forest floor in time to the music. He ran toward her, the music rose to a crescendo and a girl of seventeen turned and faced Tony.

      He knelt before her, his face in awe.

      My name is Karen, she said. I am a principal dancer with the London Royal Ballet. I’m grateful you found my slipper; would you lace it for me?”

      She placed her dainty foot on Tony’s knee. The shoe fit as a glove. As Tony tied the silk lashes, her slipper turned to a brilliant white, matching her other shoe. Tony’s gaze fixed on Karen’s violet hued eyes. He rose to his feet, spellbound.

      “Thank you, Karen said.

      “You’re welcome, Tony replied. “You dance beautifully to ‘The Nutcracker’”.

      “I’m still learning the score,” Karen said. “The world premiere is two weeks away and I have the lead.”

      It startled Tony, she would say this. He knew the ballet had premiered in the late eighteen hundreds. But then, he remembered the date inside her slipper. The magic aura between the two of them, swept all sense of reality away.

      I’m so proud of you Karen, It will be a stunning performance.”

      “I hope so. Mr. Tchaikovsky has faith in me, but I won’t disappoint him. Would you care to dance, Tony”

      Tony puzzled how she knew his name, but took her hand in his, placed his arm around her tiny waist, and the couple took the cue from the sparkling music of Strauss’ ‘Emperor Waltz’, cascading through the trees of the forest. Her feet danced as light as a butterfly and they whirled to the music. As Tony held her, he fell in love, spontaniously.

      Strauss’ waltz dwindled to a whisper as leaves dancing in a soft breeze. Tony held her in his arms as she kissed him. They walked side by side under a canopy of dappled sunlight, filtering through the forest. He said to her, shyly,

      “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”

      “You’re very sweet,” Karen said. But I’m late for my rehearsal. I wish we had more time together.”

      Tony cupped her face in his hands. “You’ll be magnificant in the opening,” he said.

      Karen threw her arms around Tony. “Remember always,” she said. “Look toward the rainbow. I love you Tony.”

      Their lips entwined as one. As he opened his eyes, her vision faded into the mist-laden trees. Tony knew her heart beat with his and she had returned to her world. In his nimd he would hold her secret. To honor her, he would always look toward the rainbow.

      • This is great. Strangely, part of me likes the other version better. I don’t know why.

      • smallster21 says:

        I think if this were extended to a longer story, you will have more room to work in the Nutcracker part of the plot making it all mesh together and flow nicely (so instead of forcing the backstory, maybe Tony learned about the play in class that day, or there are ballet auditions occurring at a theater in town)…and with a longer story, you’ll be able to explain what a ballerina about to perform in Russia is doing in Virginia :) Maybe she was an American ballerina, and she was supposed to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Russian premiere, but was killed in some tragic way, thus letting the lead role go to the back-up Italian ballerina Antoinetta Dell-Era! And your MC has to break her from this perpetual cycle of practicing for a ballet in which she’ll never perform! Sad :(

        Oh, and unless the rainbow shows up in the beginning and leads the MC to Karen, I’d get rid of it. Try to tie it to her in some way.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          Oh, these are gems of ideas. I will write a longer story, about 2500 words or so. This is the story length I’m used to writing. You’ve given me enough avenues to take the story wherever I want it to go. Unrequited love affairs are my favorite stories, ever since I fell in love with Maureen O’Hara in her swashbuckle movies. Thanks for all your help. Kerry

    23. Winfilda says:

      “How many times can one forgive?” I fumed; I had promised myself that I was not going to get into this again. “Such a lying cheat,” he had a nerve, to come four o’clock in the morning with yet another story. I could not believe I was seeing his shoe a couple of blocks from our house, a totally opposite direction from where he said he had lost it. His excuses and lies could actually make a best-selling book titled, “The Chronicles of a cheating husband.” He was so skilled in lying that I am sure he had reached a stage where he actually believed his own lies.

      A couple of weeks ago he had done it again, saying he had a flat tyre and was stuck for almost ten hours by the road side and had to sleep in the car. A week ago, he had too much to drink and had to sleep again in the car to sober up only to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Today, he had another cocktail of stories saying, he had narrowly escaped from the thieves when he was leaving the pub. Oh this was a good one almost had fallen for this one, the swollen face, the torn jacket and the missing shoe, who wouldn’t.

      I had taken the longest route to work so that I could recollect and have time alone with God, asking him for a way and hoping that maybe, just maybe he would show me the way. Oh, he sure did show me the way. The shoe caught my eyes easily because; the vision of Benmark walking into the house barefooted with one shoe in his hand was still fresh in my mind. I had taken the one shoe intending to throw it away since it was pointless to keep it and ended up forgetting it in the bathroom when I was getting some painkillers for him since he was complaining of a terrible headache.

      There was no mistaking that this was Benmark’s shoe. I would identify it anytime of the day because of my four year old daughter habit of drawing on the soles of every shoe within her sight. I looked around for some clue on how this shoe could have ended where it was. There was definitely a story behind this shoe; it was a waste of time to ask Benmark because he would weave another story or claim ignorance on how it ended a couple of blocks from our house when he had said he had lost it about a two hour drive from our house.
      As I was about to continue walking a man walks to me and say, “shame hey, can you believe it a ten year old marriage ended because of the owner of that shoe.” I asked him what he meant and gladly enough the man explained that the owner of the shoe was caught with his pants down cheating on another man’s wife and in the middle of the brawl, the man fled leaving behind his shoe. “I wonder what he told his wife, because gossip says he is also married.”

    24. EfiTaph says:

      Walking home from school was a daily routine of mine. I hated the bus ride for all the bullies and unbearable brats I was forced to sit with. So, weather providing, I found myself walking home every day. It was nice to stretch my legs and enjoy the fresh air. It was also quite entertaining. On more then one occasion an item or two would be found tossed off to the side of the road. Most often trash, but occasionally other things, like lawn ornaments, or plush toys. It was on an occasion such as this that I stumbled upon a headstrong shoe, attempting to make it’s mark on the world. Not as much a shoe as it was a slipper though. A small golden one to be precise. No, not made of gold, but a golden colored satin as many a slipper have been. Glancing at the lost article I couldn’t help a chuckle at the forlorn slipper. Perhaps that of a fairy tale princess I dared to imagine. But of course I didn’t stay to speculate. I was late enough on getting home and a great craving for roman noodles and a good book was calling me. Bidding the poor slipper adue, I continued on my way, not bothering to ponder if the owner would miss it, or even ever return. After all, it was just a simple dollar-store slipper.

    25. Ducknutz40 says:

      Phil was walking home one day and noticed a boot by the side of the road. This was no ordinary boot and only a true cow poke would notice the cowboy boot had a roper heal made for bulldogging calves. He laughed as he walked past but a though struck him…Where in the world was the other boot? He knew a cowboy and his boots was an unified force, not one easily separated. A cowboy in his boots was like thunder and the heavens, leaves and trees, ice cold beer on a 4th of July; some things were just meant to be together. So where had this cowpoke run off to? Had he been riding his trusty pony along the road and been bucked off? Was his girlfriend mad and in a rush threw his boot out the window. Phil laughed at this thinking of a cowboy at a rodeo with one boot on. Maybe the cowboy had just given up and decided he was not a cowboy anymore. Maybe the cowpoke bought a new pair of boots….NO WAY! A cowboy would wear his boots until they fell apart and then he would wear them some more. What was the story behind this one lonely boot? Phil was caught up in wonder and his imagination took off on a journey of what ifs and maybes when suddenly a beat up old truck came barreling down the road stirring the dust and blowing a little cloud of black smoke out of a trashy looking stack coming out of the bed of the truck.
      “You want in son?” asked a skinny bearded man as he spit a jet black stream of tobacco juice from his mouth like a missile out of a silo.
      “Ya I could use a hitch.” Phil answered. He wasn’t in a hurry but was tired of walking. The man driving the truck wasn’t bashful and they hit off into conversation about this, that, and the other. Phil could tell the old boy was a hard man that had seen a few things in his life. And then the conversation turned to rodeo. The skinny man that Phil was sitting next to just so happened to be one of the greatest bull riders that ever lived and Phil was taken by complete surprise. All he could do was stare, star struck, at the retired bull rider. When they had reached Phil’s place the bull rider spit a jet stream of tobacco juice out and told Phil that if he saw a old cowboy boot in the ditch in his travels to hang it upside down on a fence post so that it might keep the weather out and he tore off down the dusty road before Phil could get a peep out about the boot he had found in the ditch not a mile back.

      • swatchcat says:

        Your descriptions of the driver and the spitting of tobacco was nicely done but I got the feeling that something was left out in the end. Sometimes endings are left undone and others are all tied up in a pretty bow, I felt left hanging. There were a few typo’s and was/were flips. It’s all good though.

      • smallster21 says:

        I thought this cow poke’s rambles were entertaining and enjoyed his monologue of the relationship of a cowboy and his boots. Very nice :) Also, liked the unique tobacco description. But, I didn’t see the point of the story. And, I don’t believe this guy, who presents himself as a cowboy expert, would be ignorant to the fact that this skinny bearded man was the greatest cowboy that ever lived. The beginning was nice and then the rest of it felt forced.

    26. frankd1100 says:

      Joe attended 7:00 a.m. mass and by 7:35, he was on the ‘track,’ a mile long walkway around the city reservoir. Retirement killed ex-homicide detectives but Joe was determined to beat the statistics.

      As he made the turn at the one mile mark, a flash of red caught his eye ten feet into the wooded border. Curious, he looped back and found a woman’s black shoe with a red sole, a pricey brand that wouldn’t have been discarded casually.

      Joe flipped it over using a stick found lying at his feet. The soft leather was streaked with grit from the surface of the track. He returned the shoe to its original position, walked in another fifteen feet or so and stopped before a leaf covered mound, six feet long and four wide. He called his former squad then backed out, retracing his footprints. Once on the track, he had only to wait for the cavalry.

      The Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Memorial Hospital had been married for ten years to a staff physician in Internal Medicine who was fifteen years her senior. They’d met during her residency and married soon after. She’d been having an affair, over the past year, with Ike, an iron worker, who was working on Memorial’s new building. Her gun toting husband caught them in the act parked behind the reservoir in her Mercedes. She had grabbed his gun arm allowing Ike to sprint for his life, up the embankment, onto the track, but the speedier husband caught up and fired three rounds into Ike’s back, killing him instantly.

      She attacked like a rabid dog as he dragged Ike’s body from the track. He whacked her across the ear with the gun causing her to collapse in the mud where she sat barely conscious. He buried Ike behind a log, muscled his wife into the rear seat of his car and drove home. He injected her with a sedative and returned on his bike to retrieve her car and the shoe he’d discovered missing after they’d arrived home.

      He never found the shoe. When she woke next morning, he threatened to say she had conspired in Ike’s murder, if she turned him in. She didn’t, but Ike’s iron worker pals did, relating in graphic detail Ike’s escapades with the Chief of Surgery. The courtroom testimony of Ike’s friends seemed to excite her, but broke her husband’s heart. On the third day of his life sentence, he tied a smuggled string from a bed to his neck. He lay on the floor and stretched the string tight until it strangled him. His wife was paid on his life insurance policy despite the suicide, because he had paid extra for ‘ platinum ‘ coverage.

      A young detective, who had worked on the case visits her at her new, St. John’s vacation home in the Caribbean, whenever he can get a few days off. The rumor is they’re to be married during an island festival over Christmas.

    27. Kerry Charlton says:

      ON POINTE

      The quickest way home from high school, took Tony Desmond through the forests of Virginia to his new home in Fairlington, a city of four-plexes built in 1944 on the outskirts of Washington D. C. The country was engulfed in World War Two but Tony had other problems he considered troubling. Always the new kid because of his father’s military transfers, he had no friends to talk to.

      Tony tred the long way through the trees that day for he wanted to walk the Civil War trenches dug by the Union army to protect Washington. On the side of an embankment, Tony noticed a worn ballet slipper.The inside label had faded from age but he managed to read, “Freed, On Pointe Size 5 1893.

      Tony looked for the matching shoe but found none. Drifting through the trees, Tony heard Tchaikovsky’s score of ‘The Nutcracker Suite’. In the distance he noticed a young ballerina, dressed in white, dancing through the forest in time to the music. He ran toward her, the score reached a crescendo and a girl of seventeen, turned facing Tony.

      He knelt before her, his face in awe.

      “My name is Karen,” she said. “I’m so grateful you found my slipper, would you like to lace it for me?”

      She placed her dainty foot on Tony’s knee. The slipper fit perfectly. As he tied the silk laces, the shoe turned a brilliant white, matching the other. Tony looked into her violet-blue eyes, too spellbound to speak.

      “Thank you,” Karen said.

      “You’re welcome,” Tony replied.

      “Would you care to dance with me, Tony?”

      He puzzled how she knew his name but took her hand, placed his arm around her tiny waist, and the couple took the cue from the soaring music of Strauss’ Emperor Waltz. Her feet were as light as a butterfly as they whirled to the music. Tony felt love enter his heart for the first time.

      Music lowered to a whisper as wind rustling through leaves and he held her as she kissed him. Tony managed to say, ‘”You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”

      “You’re very sweet,” Karen said. “Remember always Tony, look toward the rainbow.” She kissed him again and as Tony opened his eyes, he saw her fading into the forest. In his mind, he knew she was a dream but in his heart, the beauty of a ballerina would always dwell with him. For the rest of his life, his gaze would always look toward the rainbow.

    28. Hannah says:

      Ellen cradled the tiny white sandal in her palm, clutching at her chest. A pink leather flower missing two petals because Shelby found scissors. A black scribble on the side where Shelby had tried to write her name in Sharpie. A grungy strip of cloth taped to the back strap because Shelby complained it cut into her heel.

      A golden insignia of a blooming orchid glowing on the sole.

      “Oh, please no,” Ellen whispered, trembling from head to toe. Each breath caught in her throat and came out as a small gasp. Not Shelby. Not her baby. Couldn’t They have stolen someone else? Someone she didn’t know and didn’t care about? Why did it have to be Shelby?

      Stomach churning, Ellen stumbled forward, her legs nearly giving way. Only the chill, driving sensation rushing through her veins kept her moving. One step, and then another, and then she was sprinting through the lush grass alongside the road. Her bare feet slapped the ground in a frantic rhythm, oblivious to the sticks and stones biting into them. Home. She had to reach home.

      To the right, a gravel lane melted into churning shadows cast by a symmetrical pathway of ancient oaks. Ellen plunged in. Dappled light sparkled in the air, drifting through the web of branches overhead, and a puff of air hissed through the leaves. Ellen’s chest tightened, and her heart beat against its walls.

      Before her eyes, the stone house of her youth rose from the fading light, standing stark against the clouds grumbling in the sky. Ellen raced over the blurred colors of the flower-bed. Up the cold steps. Into the empty foyer where she finally paused, legs aching, her every ragged breath echoing in the stillness.

      “Mom?” she cried, then more desperately repeated, “Mom!”

      Nothing. Just the creaking of the screen door shutting behind her.

      Shaking, Ellen swept a hand across her eyes. Two hours on her own, and this was what she got? A lifeless mansion?

      “What have I done?” she murmured, arms hanging limp at her sides. It should have been safe to leave Shelby with her mother—her mother, who had been so helpful since Will passed away, and who was now also missing. Ellen should have known better. It seemed that They were bent on taking out her entire family, one by one.

      Clenching her fist, Ellen took a deep breath and approached the only piece of furniture in the room: an elegant, dark-wood cupboard with ornate swirls and plenty of corners for hiding secrets. “No,” she muttered, yanking open a small drawer on the left, “I won’t let Them win this time.” For once, she would fight back.

      In the dying hours of day with thunder shaking the air, Ellen withdrew a small, yellowed envelope from the compartment. She held her breath and dumped its contents into her hand. It was a key. Old fashioned, bronze, only the length of her thumb. It was the key, gifted to her early in her childhood.

      The envelope fluttered to the floor, and Ellen focused on the sacred item she now held. Perhaps it wouldn’t work. More likely, it would lead to trouble. But her daughter’s life was on the line.

      “Open the path, Lord Faolán,” she whispered, clasping the key in her hand. “You said long ago you would grant me one free passage. Now I call upon the power of that vow.”

      As Ellen closed her eyes, the metal began to burn in her hand, and she felt tendrils of mist licking her skin. I’m coming, baby, she thought. Already, the wooden floor was transforming to spring grass, and the storm was being drowned out by chirping birds.

      “Welcome,” said a husky voice, “To the Land of the Fey.”

    29. anon88 says:

      In my dream, floating through space. My hands search for something, but grasp only air. My legs kick, looking for something solid to stop their movement through space. The sky is still above the ground, but there’s no connection between my body and the earth. The gravity doesn’t pull me to the earth, but it’s not letting me go either.
      Then after flailing and grasping and connecting with nothing for what feels like forever and an instant all at once, I am able to focus my eyes on a colorful sneaker with long laces, tied in a sloppy bow, a matching shoe beside it. For some reason, I feel drawn to these sneakers. In the midst of this vast landscape, the shoes are of the least aesthetic significance. But they’re grounded. Just sitting in the middle of everywhere, a pair of sneakers that have caught my wandering eye.
      Once my eyes have focused on this pair of shoes, I become curious. My curiosity and newly purposeful limbs propel me, compel me, to these sneakers.
      The closer I get, the louder my heart pounds in my head. When I’m almost within reach, I get overly excited and my limbs momentarily forget their new purpose.
      Closing my eyes, I picture the shoes and their position in relation to my body. Once again, I propel myself through space. My arm reaches out and my fingers find the loop of the laces, closing around them and pulling the sneaker toward my body. Upon obtaining a better grip on the shoe, I do several somersaults through space while attempting and finally managing to dizzily slip on one shoe, then the other. They fit perfectly. I am instantly grounded and the force jolts me out of my dream.

    30. ag58925 says:

      A SHOE

      I told him no harm would come to him. I promised him I would always protect him. I’ve broken many promises, yet I intend to keep this one.

      My eyes scanned the terrain in front of me, I took in the large, overbearing trees and the verdant forest floor, and I prayed for his safety. For as I looked into the forest, I caught sight of the animals that lived in it. I saw the snake coiling around the thick trunk of a tree, but to most people, the snake would look only like a harmless vine. I saw the beautiful purple berries on the bush, and hoped he had not consumed its venom. The wildlife here was deceptive, and his naivety would allow him to succumb to the nature’s beauty.

      If only, if only I hadn’t turned around, if only I had kept my gaze on him for one more second, then this wouldn’t have happened, then I wouldn’t have broken my promise, then we would’ve been sitting at home in front of the fire place.

      But I didn’t, I didn’t do any of it, and now I was paying dearly.

      Taking a deep breath, I trekked onwards into the forest, looking for any signs of him, my younger brother.

      Unable to help myself, my mind wandered back to the day he disappeared. I had been told to take care of him while my parents were gone, and I had complained, like always.

      “But I don’t want to,” I had whined, glaring at my menace of a younger brother.

      My Mother, as she slipped on her coat, had replied, “Too bad.”

      And with that, she disappeared, leaving me in charge of my younger brother, who was only seven years old. So obviously, because he was only seven, he dragged me by the arm outside and demanded that we go to the park.

      And because he was seven, obviously, I agreed.

      So there we were, him racing down the slide and me sitting on a swing. I was texting my friend, we had been planning to go to the mall that day, but that was before my Mom surprised me with her request.

      That was all it had taken, one glance down at my phone, one reply back to my friend, and my brother slipped down the slide and he vanished from my eyes.

      I have never regretted something so much.

      3 days later, I had followed his footsteps into a forest, and now his footsteps had disappeared too.

      I collapsed onto the ground, angry tears streaming down my face as I imagined my brother, hungry and alone, wondering where his older sister was.

      That was when I saw it, a shoe flashing beneath the vine. I frowned and peeled off the vine and observed the shoe. It was one of those that lit up when you walked in them.

      I recognized it immediately, and instantly wondered where the other shoe was, and the other shoe was found about half a mile in front of the other one.

      This is when it clicked, my brother had always loved Hansel and Gretel, and he always had me read it to him at night.

      He was giving me a trail, and with that knowledge, I had hope once more.

    31. JOHN’S RUN
      ==========

      John was in the zone. His stride was smooth and his breathing was even. He felt like he could run forever at this pace.

      Ace was ahead of him, thrashing in the brush investigating whatever dogs investigate when given an unleashed opportunity in the wood.

      It was cool and slightly damp. The spring ground fog was only beginning to lift. The weather said it’d be a scorcher later. John had decided it best to get his run in early. He had a full docket at the courts that day. His prosecution of Billy Maynard weighed heavily on his mind.

      Ace was trundling along the opposite ditch. All John could see was his bright ginger tail poking above the dead reeds and dirt of the gravel bank. A bath was going to be necessary unless they made it to the lake sooner than late.

      John whistled for Ace and picked up the pace. His best friend gave a bark and made for his master at speed, his ears pressed tight to his head and his tongue lolling out the side of his snout like the clown he was. Water and mud formed a dusty spray behind him as his galloping feet struck the fresh crusher dust. He was soaked.

      He loved this route. The logging road had been freshly graded. The trucks and equipment would soon be busy on this stretch of wild once things dried up and the frost heaves settled. Most of the road was in pretty good shape, with only a few repairs here and there at the little brooks and streams that would wash out the road over the winter. The new gravel rolled a bit under John’s feet, but he was pretty used to it.

      As they rounded a bend, they saw a black wriggling mass in the center of the road at the crest of the next rise. John couldn’t quite make it out, but with an excited yelp, Ace took off – another new adventure to tackle. John wished he was a dog like Ace, not for the first time. He sprinted after.

      The setter was barking like a mad fool as he approached the mystery ahead. There was an explosion of feathers and cawing as the crows scattered at the approaching interruption.

      One stubborn blackbird remained trying to lift whatever the frenzied murder was squabbling over.

      Ace grabbed at the object and the tenacity of the crow was astonishing. The larger animal won the prize. The bird took wing and cursed Ace for the theft and indignity.

      John slowed to a walk, a little blown out and huffed. Ace was loping back with what looked like a shoe.

      However, it didn’t look quite right. Ace was holding it from the side as if the shoe was something separate. As the dog approached, John saw and understood why the crows would be fighting for a sneaker. White bone and flesh jutted out the other side of Ace’s muzzle as he happily brought his winnings to his owner, tail wagging proudly.

      Ace dropped the dismembered foot in front of John. It was picked at by the crows but otherwise didn’t look rotted. It was a ladies sneaker, a left foot. John figured it to be a size five, like his sister’s.

      He had a moment of panic as he remembered the threats made by Billy’s brother Alan. Prosecution of the Maynard organization wasn’t expected to be easy. Their network reached far.

      John was torn between calling his sister and calling 911, but it didn’t matter. He left his cell back in the car five miles back. He didn’t like the weight and bounce of it while running. He even left the keys tucked behind the gas cap.

      Ace had wandered off in to the woods again and was barking with an urgency that made John’s stomach heave and his heart sink.

      He followed the sound of the barking.

    32. wanderwr8ter says:

      Damn You, Cinderella

      If she had known that glass shoes were doorways to his world, she would’ve never picked them up.

      A sigh escaping her lips, Cindy Lox kept the shoe on the tips of her middle and pointer finger as she walked down the blue halls of Crystal Castle. The last time she was here, the scrapped Princess herself started a bunch of drama with the Prince and that caused him to be in a less than charitable mood towards her successor. She had to go play exterminator at the Silver Plains, where all those overgrown rodents were staging another failed rebellion. It was no hassle, but she preferred not to be summoned in the middle of a movie date with her friends.

      “Wonder what he wants this time,” she mused aloud, wiping the sweat off of her brown skin. “Why’s it so hot all of a sudden?”

      Cindy made it to the throne room and got her answer. The Prince, in his throne of crystalline violets and ruby roses, was absolutely flaming…literally. His lithe form was consumed in a midnight-colored flame, but his flesh (or gaudy robes) didn’t perish. However, he did seem to be uncomfortable. His bushy, red eyebrows were turned down over his opaque eyes in an expression that Cindy desperately wanted to laugh at. She valued her life, though, and didn’t give in to her heart’s desire.

      “Old Cinderella?” she guessed, brown eyes alight with amusement.

      “Cinderella,” the Prince managed to ground out from between clenched teeth. He watched as the seventeen-year-old made herself comfortable on the marble floor. “I…summoned you here to…free me…of this.”

      “All right.” She threw the glass shoe at the Prince’s forehead and the flames diminished immediately. “There you go.”

      The redhead, a bit peeved, if not, relieved, cleared his throat and stood to straighten his flowing robes. He left the comfort of his throne, making sure to grab the shoe that threatened to dent his forehead and approached Cindy.

      “Thank you, my lovely,” he said, a charming smile crossing his freckled face. He placed the shoe down next to her, taking her hand. She sucked her teeth at the action. “What is the matter?”

      “When you get all lovey-dovey, it usually means that you want something,” she explained as she stood up. “So what is it?”

      The Prince kept a calm front, standing up as well so he wouldn’t have to crane his neck to talk to his newest Princess.

      “I have no idea-”

      “Let me guess: you want me to keep her hostage…again?”

      “There are no words to describe my undying love, my dearest Cinderella,” the Prince coyly complimented, long eyelashes fluttering over flirtatious sky-blue eyes.

      “Don’t call me that.” Cindy rolled her eyes, exchanging her left sneaker for the glass shoe. “Go ahead and zap me.”

      With a quick gesture, the Prince sent her to the cobblestone streets of Cinderella’s hometown.

      “Damn you, Cinderella,” she cursed, giving a longing stare into the sky before heading down the road.

      (Yay, I met the 500-word requirement!)

      • Wow. This was fun. You created a world here.

      • frankd1100 says:

        I enjoyed the imagery and the unique fantasy that is worth staying with. This deserves a bigger stage…

      • smallster21 says:

        This was fun to read and had some nice fantasy elements. I was confused about what exactly was going on though.

        • wanderwr8ter says:

          Yeah, I tend to lean towards fantasy. As for what was going on, I suppose I wanted to put some sort of twist on the Cinderella story by making the name Cinderella like a title that gets passed on. Each Cinderella works for the Prince. The Cinderella that we know and love, due to some disagreements (maybe a unwanted marriage proposal/or marriage gone bad? ;) ) she had with the Prince, is causing as much mayhem as she can to tick him off. The main character ends up having to clean up her messes.

          • smallster21 says:

            Oh, I see. That sounds like a neat idea. I think a large part of my confusion when reading then came from the ‘Cindy’, ‘Old Cinderella’, the newest Cinderella, her successor and all the interchangeable pronouns. I do like the plot idea.

    33. calicocat88 says:

      Again, I apologize for the length, but what can you do?

      Carys ran down the ditch along the highway, her damp clothes clinging to her body. “Dexter!” she barely had enough breath to call out her best friend’s name. He’d answer…if he would even hear her. She sucked in a lungful of cold air and a mixture of rain and ice stung the back of her throat. “Dexter, what the hell?” she stopped mid-ways and looked around frantically.

      He couldn’t have gone far, maybe a mile of two from where the car had broken down. The gas station would be three miles on foot, tops. Carys could feel bile flood her cheeks as something long and too abnormal of a green to be grass or shrubs caught her eye.

      Dexter’s shoe.

      Rain pounded down and Carys wiped the wet hair out of her eyes, it was suctioning like thick white mats against her neck and arms. Cars hummed behind her and zoomed by loudly as the school traffic began cluttering the highway. A small flower of terror bloomed inside her chest as she waved hopefully for help, but regretted it instantly. The drivers all had burned skin pulled tight against their hollowed looking faces. One woman in a bright pink Bug turned her attention to Carys, her mouth hanging open and just barely attached by long ragged tendons, her eyes two milky orbs. A knot formed in Carys’s stomach as she blinked hard peeling her attention away from the morbid traffic scene and to Dexter’s abandoned shoe. Her father had warned her about how truth could be manipulated, not changed. And she knew that the dead couldn’t walk or drive to pick their children up from school…at least she hoped.

      She knelt down to pick up the shoe, but jerked her hand back as a small black rope slipped out of one of the shoelace holes—

      No, not a rope. Carys screamed as a dozen tiny black snakes began weaving in and out of the lace holes, their beady red eyes like drops of blood in the pools of mud accumulating in the ditch. She staggered to her feet, losing her balance and falling over herself. What was happening to her? Was her father there? Playing a joke on her? He did have a way with messing with people’s minds. She stared, wide eyed at the snakes, making sure none of them got brave enough to stray from Dexter’s shoe before she called out again.

      “Dexter!” she looked over her shoulder down the highway. The old Ford Escort was just a small red blob in the sheets of rain. What was going on? “Dad…?” she tried and then felt stupid.

      She heaved herself from the wet ground when the feeling of being watched prickled the hairs on the backs of her arms. The alarm ringing in the back of her head couldn’t have been any more obnoxious. Instead of turning around, she began walking at a steady pace down the ditch, her arms braced ready to swing if she had to.

      “It’s okay,” she thought to herself. “Calm down. No one is following you.”
      She shook her shoulders and stuck her hands in the pockets of her wet jacket, fingering the pepper spray on her key ring…

      They were gone.

      Panic scraped at the back her brain. She must have left her keys in the car. Or did she give them to Dexter? He had been the one who was driving. A twig snapped behind her and she quickened her pace.

      “Okay, okay,” she thought, blinking through the rain, “People don’t murder each other during the day. They would get caught—”

      “That’s assuming they can’t alter the time of day,” said a voice behind her.

      Carys froze. Every cell in her body insisted that she run, but instead she felt herself slowly turning around.

      “Carys Hunter,” a boy, no older than she, with curly dark hair and wide eyes stood just a few feet away. When Carys didn’t speak, he smiled and jangled her keys in front of her. “Well, your father was right about one thing, you are incredibly impulsive.”

      “Do I know you?” Carys fumbled in her pockets for anything sharp. She came up with a handful of Dexter’s empty gum wrappers.

      “Yes,” he said slowly,” We’ve met.” He took a step closer and Carys back away.

      “Don’t come any closer or I’ll—“

      “What?” he drawled. “You’ll scream? Run away? Call the police?” The boy looked at the crowding line of traffic and grinned, the large drops of rain making his lips look full and red. “I don’t know what’s more amusing, that he thought you’d stay in the car or that he believed you would be able to fight me off.”

      Something in what the boy said hit home and Carys glared. “Where’s Dexter? Is he dead?” she balanced on the uneven ground, the rain pelting her head and shoulders.

      The boy raised an eyebrow. “Do you think he is?”

      “No,” she said, looking into the boy’s familiar dark eyes. “But I know you took him.”

      “Dexter is at home,” he said, fishing a phone out his jeans pocket. “I’m Sam, by the way. Here,” he held out the phone. “Call him if you don’t believe me.”

      She chewed her lip. Her father would kill her if he’d see how she was casually talking to this random boy in the middle of a highway ditch…a boy who may have kidnapped her best friend. Her father also didn’t believe she could take care of herself.

      She took the phone. “How do you know me?”

      “I know your father,” he said, slowly. “I thought that much was evident.”

      Carys narrowed her eyes at him disbelievingly and held the phone to her ear. Dexter picked up on the first ring. “What’s up, girl?”

      “Dexter?” Carys gripped the phone so tight that the skin on her knuckles burned. “What—how…what are you doing at home?”

      “I live here,” he said, and then added cautiously, “Is everything all right?”

      “You’ve been home all day?” Carys looked at Sam who shrugged half apologetically.

      “Carys do you need—“ Dexter said.

      “No,” Carys cut him off. “I’m fine. Just call my parents and tell them I broke down on 26, okay?”

      She didn’t wait to hear his response and hung up, handing Sam the phone. “I drove here with Dexter. I saw him, spoke with him.“

      “You saw what you wanted to see,” Sam said. He rolled up his jacket sleeve and then held out his arm. “Look at my skin and tell me what you see. I can promise it will be as exciting as everything else you’ve seen today.”

      Carys frowned, but did as he said. What was so special about Sam that…

      She screamed.

      Covering Sam’s skin were oozing ulcers, maggots crawling and feeding off the scabs and pus. A slimy black tentacle slid out from his jacket and slipped over his wrist, the suckers making a sick slurping noise as they left ragged bloody tears, exposing the veins. Blackish blood squirted out at her.

      Carys hunched over as she emptied her stomach of all its contents in the woods. She nearly fell into her own puddle of vomit when Sam’s arms were around her, steadying her.

      “Carys—“

      “Get away,” she screamed, lashing at with her nails. “Get away from me, you’re like my parents! One of those people who can…” she struggled for the right words. What were her parents, really?

      Sam flinched and backed away shaking his head. “You really are as innocent as he says.”

      “Who?” she said. “Who says?” her throat felt like it was clogged with sand.

      “Your father,” Sam said. “Look at me again, and this time, really look at me, Carys.”

      Whether it was something in his voice or just that Sam used her father as a bribe, she looked at him. Looked at the pulsing sores on his arms, his neck. The tentacles with their suckers feeding off of his body—

      “I can’t,” she moaned.

      “Try harder,” he spoke softly, but there was urgency in his voice. “Let your mind open. See what you won’t allow yourself to see.”

      Carys tried to relax her mind. She imagined seeing the warped angle of Sam’s arm fixing back into place, the sores healing, the tentacles dissolving.

      As fast as the horrifying images had come, they vanished leaving smooth dark skin and a line of faint veins and muscles. She looked up at Sam, his eyes were wide and warm against perfect cheekbones. He looked perfectly normal, a faint memory playing on his face as he smiled, but she couldn’t place it.

      Had everything changed? Or did he make her think that was what she saw?

      “You can alter my thoughts,” she said.

      Sam nodded. “I can make you see anything I want,” he gestured towards the edge of the woods. She jerked her head to look at Dexter’s shoe and in the place of the snakes was a beautiful blue and black butterfly.
      Carys stared at Sam. “You really are like them, my parents I mean. Why are you following me? I can’t do the things my parents can do. I’m just…” Plain, normal, a genetically sound human. Even the thoughts sounded bitter stinging at her mind.

      Sam sighed. “I’m not here for you. I have a message for your father.”

      Carys twirled a piece of her hair. “Oh.”

      Sam took her hands, pulling her so close that he could whisper in her ear. Her blood ran cold at his next words.

      “Tell your father,” he said, “They found us.”

      And then something hard connected with Carys’s head, turning everything black.

    34. Dutchguy says:

      Wild Shoes

      There are many different kind of shoes. For example there exist killer shoes, penguin shoes, honest shoes, rotating shoes, smoky shoes, cooking shoes, barking shoes and rainy shoes.

      The shoe that I found sleeping in the soft green grass next to my driveway was a nomad shoe. A subclass of the wild shoes that once roamed these streets. But the ever growing number of garbage cans that the city council had installed in their campaign for a cleaner city were wiping out the shoe wildlife.

      Even I myself, though sympathetic to the shoes’ hardship, no longer set my old shoes free when it is time to buy new ones. I sell them on, via Ebay or the local second hand clothing shop. Some argue that selling them on is even worse, as those shoes are condemned to be trot on for another shoe’s lifetime. But I think that life bound in shoelaces is still better than rotting away in a garbage bin.

      So, you can understand my surprise as I noted the endangered shoe specie basking in the late afternoon sun. Careful not to frighten it I approached. It was a beautiful specimen. Its dark red leather looked very sophisticated. Yet, the curly patterns inscribed on its nose gave it a certain playfulness. Stylish, but not too formal. It looked in excellent condition as well. Clearly, it had managed to take good care of itself in the face of the city council’s threatening campaign. The sunlight was reflected from the metal rings through which the loose shoelaces flowed. No knots, completely free they draped over the grass beside the sleeping shoe.

      It was a beautiful peaceful sight. Something I would not disturb. Slowly I backed away. Wondering whether I would ever see such a thing again I went inside. It tore at my heart, the demise of those free spirited creatures. But what could you do? There was no such thing as a list for endangered shoes. Their fate was written in stone. The city council would clean the streets of all litter including the wild shoes. Fighting them was a lost cause.

      I knew that. The futility to try was clear to me as I looked back to the sleeping nomad shoe. Yet, still I found myself leaving my shoes on the porch as I closed the door behind me. The three of them would run free once more.

    35. smallster21 says:

      THE SHOE MUSE

      Clip clop, clip clop.

      I turn around quickly hoping to catch my pursuer, and again I see nothing, but the tunnel of oak trees overhanging the dirt path. A few feet away, I spot a few boats paddling atop the turquoise glacier waters towards the lodge across the lake.

      I continue walking, rationalizing its stress. I’m 150 hours into studying for the unlawfully arduous exams forged within the depths of AICPA hell that will certify me to take over their stupid business. My mind must be at the point of bouncy skewed images and sudden cracks of pseudo sounds.

      A few hours ago, I had escaped to my usual writing spot, but the ever present nagging in my mind tore through the entrance of my imaginary circus forcing me to trek back upon the path they’ve paved.

      As the clip clopping starts again, I decide to endure the insanity weighing upon my shoulders, as I carry the heavy weight of the textbook in my bag. I shut my eyes as the sun breaks through the canopy above, but then feel my bag ripped from my shoulder.

      I look down to find a shoe clip clopping atop my bag. The large red tip is hooting victoriously, and its elongated white length is shaking its heel around like its throwing a dance party atop my possessions.

      “What are you doing!”

      The shoe’s laces tie into bunny ears, round like eyes that stare at me. “He, he! Squeaky squeak!” it laughs and hops around my feet.

      “Lord,” I proclaim looking up to the heavens, “if I’m meant to be schizoid, why must you send me an ass clown shoe? Why not a white horse carrying a rugged half naked man to ride me into the sunset of my psychosis?”

      “Grrrrr!” the shoe seems offended and bites my foot.

      Kicking the shoe, I bend down to collect the contents of my bag, and as I retrieve my textbook, the shoe latches onto it and savagely whips it about like a dog toy.

      “Let go! This book cost me $300! I’ll rip your insoles out!”

      The shoe jumps up and whacks me in the head before grabbing the book. It hops to the lake, and before I can reach it, the shoe flings the book into the water and then break dances across the pebbled beach.

      As I stand there dumbfounded, watching my book float away and contemplating whether I should swim out after it, I hear whistling. The shoe is near my bag nudging something towards me. It is my journal, and its red nose is holding a pencil, scribbling me a message.

      I sigh as I read it and say to the shoe, “Is my mind taking this opportune moment of insanity to tell me what I am denying myself, or are you really a psychic clown shoe?”

      The shoe jumps to pat me on the back. I smile and turn from the path to follow the shoe back to my writing spot. I close the pages of my journal, leaving the inscription in its squiggly writing, “Screw the rents! Squeaky squeak!”

    36. danceswithhorses says:

      Okay, this one’s something I typed up really quickly, and it’s probably not even good. Oh well, I tried.

      There’s a cross on the right side of the dusty road, and even though three months have passed people still slow down here, paying their respects. Lots of things have happened at the foot of that cross – people were jolted into looking at things in a new light since…it…happened.
      I never look at it.
      To me, the place is marked in a different way, that’s somehow more bearable, less final. It’s the left side of the road that draws my eyes, every day to and from work. No one bothered to pick it up after the accident.
      Negligence? Reverence? Or maybe it was supposed to be my job. However it happened, I’m glad it’s still there.
      It’s hard not to hate that driver for what he took from me, but over the past three months I think I’ve managed it. He’ll live with the blood on his hands forever. They never caught him, you know. Hit-and-run, that’s what the police said. It doesn’t matter. There’s no punishment great enough to fit the crime.
      The sun is hot as I trudge slowly down the road, shimmering on the horizon. She runs towards me, eyes alight, arms stretched out. Hair flying past her shoulders. Welcoming smile. Her body whole and unscathed by the car that slammed into her.
      I blink, and there’s nothing there. All that’s left is a dusty pink tennis shoe, lying in the ditch, waiting for her to reclaim it.
      We have something in common, that shoe and I.

      • smallster21 says:

        If you tried then you shouldn’t criticize yourself.

        The imagery was good. I could see the cross, the shoe, the image of the little girl. And, I liked the symbolism of the pink tennis shoe. I can relate to the story. Two of my friends were killed in car accidents and there are crosses not far apart along the roads near our high school. They’ve been there for almost ten years now. I liked how I was able to relate to the story.

        And, as far as criticism, I think you had more room to develop and express the story further. As far as grammar, I don’t think the set of ellipsis are necessary in the first paragraph. I stumbled over it. I think maybe you meant to put emphasis on the significance that something happened at this place, but do that by showing or expressing it. But, that is my own opinion, and others will differ in how they read it.

        • danceswithhorses says:

          Thank you so much. Reading over it again now, yes, it was lacking. Oh well, I might edit it and repost it later. I really appreciate the constructive criticism.
          The last few prompts I did have been heart-wrenching…I don’t know why I feel so tragic these last few weeks. :)

          • smallster21 says:

            It’s not that it was lacking, the emotion was there and I enjoyed it. I’m suggesting you had about 250 words more to make it stronger with more reflection, describing significant setting details, briefly resting upon the relationship between the MC and victim of the car accident.

            And, I hear ya on the tragic. My brain tends to lean towards insanity, tears, pain and fear…and in today’s world and the media keeping us up to date on horrible atrocities, it’s hard not to…which is why I slapped myself in the face with that clown shoe this week :) Gotta focus on the good stuff sometimes! Squeaky squeak!

    37. BobM says:

      “Oh, no.” I say. “Not again.”

      Lying in the gutter was Tommy’s shoe. Nobody else wears pickle green Converse sneakers. The laces were missing and it looked as if someone had tried to pull the tongue off the shoe. It was torn all the way to the toe.

      I squat to pick up the shoe balancing the sack of groceries in my other arm. My heart breaks. I’m just sure the neighborhood bullies have been getting after Tommy again. I wish they would leave him alone. I look up and down the road, turn, and head up the drive to our house.

      As I walk through the door I can hear sobs floating down the stairs. I set the groceries on the hall table and headed up to find Tommy lying on his bed face down. I sat down next to him.

      “Honey.” I say softly, caressing his back. “What happened?”

      “It was Devin, Christian and Ethan.” Tommy said into his pillow.

      “I’m so sorry Tommy. Why don’t you tell me what happened.”

      I coaxed him up from his prone place on the bed. He sat staring into his lap, sobbing. There was a wet spot in the middle of the pillow from his tears. I put my hand under his chin and lifted his young face to look into it. It was then that I noticed the angry purple bruise under his left eye.

      “Oh no.” I hold his head with both of my hands so I can get a good look at his budding black eye. “Who did this?”

      His answer came spilling out. “Devin. They were calling me a nerd, dork, panty-wipe. So I called them a name back and then they ran after me saying they were going to beat me up. I tried to run away but they knocked me over and Christian and Ethan held me down and held my eyes open while Devin hawked loogies and let them drop into my eyes. I kicked him in the nuts so then he took off my shoes and tried to rip them apart. He said he would teach me not to kick him. He started kicking me in the ribs and punched me in the face. I got away and ran inside and they were laughing at me. Calling me a whimp.”

      “Oh, honey.” I pull him close to me. Why did kids have to be so cruel? I debate calling my husband, Dave, at work. No, I’ll wait ‘till he comes home. Maybe he would talk to the boys’ parents and put a stop to this.

    38. JustAPerson says:

      I stare at the worn out leather boot. I knew it was my father’s, he loved this old boot. I sighed. Father was getting old these days, his mind must have slipped once again. He probably left it in the rain and didn’t even notice. I might as well bring it in for him. I grab the tip of the boots, but instead of the feeling of cold leather I feel something warm.
      Blood. It dripped from my fingertips. I immediately jump backwards trying to make sense of what just happened. I realized the blood was still warm. I shouted my father’s name and ran around the street looking for him. I kept thinking to myself, what if this was his blood. The thought was so sickening that I couldn’t bear thinking about it. I looked around the block and kept shouting for him. Still no luck. I was about to call the police, but then I saw a horrific display.
      My father was on the floor, covered in scars. I sprinted towards him and screamed until my lungs were about to burst. I stopped right in front of him and leaned my head down towards his chest.
      I couldn’t hear a heartbeat. I almost broke down right then, but a scar caught my eye.
      On his foot, there was a fraction that said, ” two out of twenty”. Two? Out of twenty?
      I wasn’t sure what to do next. All I knew was whoever killed my father is going to kill seventeen more people.
      And I’ll finish the rest.

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