I've an excuse for being a bit quiet on the blog recently - the next round of edits arrived for Kingstone, so I've been working through them to make sure Bink have the completed and polished version in plenty of time for publication in June.
I've still been scribbling, though: I've entered a couple of competitions with some flash and a couple of short stories I've written for other things (I don't usually go for comps as they can be very expensive, but these are local and somewhat cheaper than usual) and I've been scribbling with NIBS.
Last month's theme for NIBS was feet.
We kicked off with a description of a walk, and there were plenty to go on... A favourite walk on the parade at Wells-next-to-Sea; a walk in shared silence with a family member; favourite moments from walks with the dog; a walk to school, and a list of sayings which involve walking - like 'a walk in the park', 'walk this way', Ministry of Silly Walks' and so on.
Then we had some story openers, choosing one from the following:
One more step...
Her feet were killing her...
There was something on her shoe...
The floorboards creaked under her feet...
The bloody footprints led to the basement door...
I chose 'one more step' and wrote a rather fractured piece about a rogue muck raker robot that had its 'head' knocked off by a farmer... I know. Bananas!
And then we turned to pictures for our final task. You know the saying, 'If you want to understand a man, you have to walk a mile in his shoes'? I thought it'd be a good idea to find some photos of different shoes and we could write about either the people who they belonged to, or the shoes themselves.
However, in my quest for something a bit different to farmer's boots or slippers or stilettos, I typed in 'Ridiculous shoes'.
I found centaur feet shoes. Rattlesnake cowboy boots. Winged biker boots. And then I found a pair of crocodile shoes. So here's my short story for you to enjoy...
The advert seemed innocent enough.
One pair crocodile shoes. Worn once. Size 7. £15. Collection only.
Crocodile costs. You've seen those designer bags...hundreds of pounds, if not thousands. And here's a pair of shoes going for less than twenty quid? Fashionistas like me know a bargain when they see it. I whipped the card off the noticeboard and rang the number as soon as I got home.
"Yes, we've still got them. Cash only. Bartock's Shoes. Midden Way. Behind the Post Office, you can't miss us."
The windows were streaked with grime and plastered inside with brown paper and flattened out shoe box lids. I pushed the door open and walked in.
"I've come to collect the crocodile shoes."
"Oh yes. Money?"
I counted out three plastic fivers.
A wooden shoe box - wooden? - was thrust into my hands, and I was outside and on the pavement before I could say "thank you", propelled by hands that felt even keener than my own.
"But - " I turned back.
The open sign flicked to closed.
I trudged home in the rain, clutching my bargain to my chest, resisting the urge to peek. The wait would only increase the pleasure...
Inside at last, I prised the lid loose, shut my eyes and held my breath as I slipped my hand inside.
I screamed and snatched my hand back, staring in disbelief at three fingers and two bloody stumps.
Crocodile shoes. They weren't kidding, were they?