I wanted to try some more Flash Fiction in the new year. I used to use prompts from the Flash Fiction Friday (F3) site, and enjoyed the variety. I hadn't started until challenge 74, so there are still earlier ones to try. The original site is gone, but luckily there are others that did those - such as my friend Joyce – so I’ll be able to find them. Just a reminder, these are quick little pieces, written in an hour or so, just to get the creative juices flowing. Usually dark, with a twist. At some point I’ll go back and polish, maybe expand a little, maybe submit online.
F3 - Cycle 1 challenge.
Prompt is the first sentence - 'Why aren't shoes ever abandoned in pairs?' My story is 548 words.
A Red Shoe
Why aren't shoes ever abandoned in pairs?
It was a nice looking shoe, or rather had been at one time. Under the mud the smooth leather was dyed a deep crimson, and swooped down into a gently pointed toe. Nice lines to it, even to a woodsman’s eyes. The heel was maybe three inches, modest but still unusual for this walking trail. He'd noticed the unusual footprints earlier, as the owner had obviously tried to walk on the balls of her feet, but still occasionally left a deep heel mark. The last few tracks had been deeper, further apart, as if the owner had decided to try to run for several steps. Then obviously she had taken them off, as the prints stopped. Strange that she'd left one, as they looked expensive. He picked it up, just in case he caught up with the owner. The leather was smooth, hardly worn at all, much nicer than his girlfriend ever bought. Looked like her size too.
The air still smelled a little damp from the early dawn shower. Whoever had left these tracks had done so before the rain, some time last night. Maybe one of those kids that he'd heard, out celebrating the end of school. The noise from the parking lot had carried all the way to his cabin - laughter, a breaking bottle, the loud music from a car stereo thumping like a pulse through the forest. Awake anyway, he'd got up for a pee, and checked the bolts on the doors. He'd left a window open to let the freash air in though, and peered between the bars into the forest, bright under the full moon. Nothing, just a few swirls of mist between the bushes. He was about to close the window against the distant noise when the music stopped abruptly. He heard yelling, a door slam, then screeching of tires. He was relieved that they had left. It was not a good night to be out.
Unfortunately, from the look of things, someone had decided to take this shortcut to the main road. She'd have been safer the long way around, following the access road back. Even the few lights along it were enough to keep things at bay.
He'd walked this trail often by day, even some evenings, hurrying back to his cabin as the light faded. Last night the path would have been well lit by the moon, a tempting route, but he knew the surrounding forest would have remained dark, the tall pines watching like sentinels, the shorter spruce just blobs of black, imagined shapes in the distance. The gentle breeze would have whispering through the trees, rustled the aspen leaves like gentle footsteps.
The path was just under a mile, a quick walk by day, a longer one by night.
He was nearing the highway when he saw the mate to the shoe he carried. He almost missed it, but the red caught his eye, off to the side, about ten feet off the ground. The foot was delicate, the ankle slender, with the glint of a gold chain. The whole leg was there, jammed high in a fork of a tree, saved by the beast for later.
He wondered if he should try to retrieve the second shoe.