Printed from WriteWords -

One Shoe

by  DerekH

Posted: Saturday, September 18, 2004
Word Count: 740
Summary: An idea I've been wrestling with...revised too many times now. Any comments and criticisms very welcome.

One Shoe

Si said this was where the Ripper lived. We were on a mission, he pushed me in first. The broken door swung shut behind us, sending an echo through the place, and a cloud of dust into the torchlight. Si slapped the back of my head, and the glittering beam darted from the peeling wall paper, to another door; hanging off its hinges, wood split, and once white paint now spattered with shitty brown.

“Go on then you poof…go in that room,” Si didn’t like to hang around.

I would have argued, told him to go first, but I had the torch so I had to go first, that’s the rule. Isn’t it?

This must have been the living room; orange foam erupted from an old settee. The windows were heavily boarded. There wasn’t much to see; a pile of empty beer cans, one old shoe, not much else.

“Who leaves one shoe?” I asked.

Si took the opportunity to show off, “Shit shoe anyway,” he gave it a slow kick, just so I could see his brand new Adidas.

He shouted his next order. “This is crap, try up stairs,” and waited for me to go first again. I did my best Igore. “Yeth Mathster!” and got another slap on the way past him. The stairs felt like the ones in the fun house, without the fun. Si pulled the airgun out of his belt and held it by his face, pointed at the ceiling, like he was in The Professionals.

“Did you bring yours?”

I pulled it out of my pocket and waved it back at him. He wasn’t impressed.

“That’s a shit gun.”

It was a shit gun, a Gat gun actually, one step up from a spud gun; on loan from the bottom of my Dad’s sock drawer. We stopped on the landing and scanned with the torch. The bathroom with the smashed toilet bowl smelled like the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussauds; but luckily we needed to be at the front of the house. The front bedroom door was to the left and already wide open. Like the living room, there wasn’t much in there; an empty wardrobe, a stained and stinking mattress, a crusty old magazine, more cans. A weak stream of yellow light slipped through the broken window board, projecting our faint shadows onto the paisley wall.

“Perfect,” Said Si, gun held up to his right shoulder. He looked sideways down at the street. “Right here’s the plan… the Ripper always comes in at half seven, you take this position, and watch for him coming back. If he sees you…shoot him!”

I replied as ‘Doyle’, “OK Bodie.”

Si rolled his eyes, and continued, “If he doesn’t see you, we wait until he gets up here, and I’ll blow his brains out.”

I checked my Spaceman watch, 7.28, nearly 29. I looked out again. An old man walked under the street-lamp, stopped, and looked around.

“Target sighted,” I hissed at Si.

“Has he seen you?”

“No…shit yeah I think so!”

“Shoot him.”

I pointed the gun and did the sound effect, “Peow! Suspect is down, Bodie.”

“It’s not a game you spac…SHOOT HIM.” This was Si’s no messing voice.

“Si, I don’t wanna play anymore, he’s just an old bloke, let’s leg it.”

“Duh… all them graves with RIP on ‘em aren’t there for nothing.”

“Si, we asked the Vicar, he said it means rest in peace, not Ripper.”

“Well he’s in on it ‘n’ all, he’s building a Frankenstein from the bits…shoot him dick ’ed!”

“Can’t, he’s gone.”

“Shit, he must be in the house…hide, quick!”

That was enough for me. I switched off the torch, belted over to the wardrobe, got in, shut the door, and waited. Nothing happened, no noise. Where was Si? I strained my ears for a sound; nothing… Creaking floorboards, maybe…Then nothing, nothing at all…I listened harder, eyes screwed shut, hands over my mouth and nose…Something hit the wardrobe hard. Next, the sound of feet fast and heavy on the stairs, followed by the slam of the front door. I waited, shaking.

I pointed the torch at the spaceman. The spaceman said 7.45. Still no noise.

“Si…” No answer.

“Si…” No answer.

“Dick ‘ed,” whispered under my breath, just in case.

I edged out of the wardrobe, and followed the beam. Something flashed back from the stained carpet. One shoe, three luminous blue stripes.