That’s it! All done!
Congratulations to everyone who got their head round its being a Thursday, and sent us their QuickFic entries.
This was the prompt:
What are they? Shoes, yes. But what are they *really*?
We had lots of great submissions, and at least one perfect use of the word ‘aglet’.
Indeed, the entries were SO good, we’ve got two runners up. But there was one clear winner.
And here they are:
RUNNER-UP: Laura Pearson
When she came to collect her stuff, she left her favourite trainers behind. Battered but still potentially useful, they were me in shoe form.
Was it a message? Was she asking me to come after her, to kiss her feet and slip them on? Were there Cinderella connotations?
I slept with them next to me in bed for a week. The cat was furious. He’d never liked her. Every morning, I threw back the covers to gaze at them. I imagined her in them, which was weird, because she’d never come to bed in shoes. I was in a bad way. I can see that now.
I called her.
‘Oh…you left something here.’
‘Your red Converse.’
‘Oh, bin them.’
She hung up. I lay on the bed, phone in my hand, and didn’t move for over an hour. Eventually, the cat started nudging my feet, checking whether I was dead.
I put them outside, by the wall. I angled them a little, trying to make them say ‘take me’. I thought if they disappeared, it would help. In my corner of London, people will take anything. Old rolls of carpet, wooden chairs with missing legs, cracked toilet seats.
But day after day, I passed them on the way to work and on the way home. I’m pretty sure the cat pissed in them more than once. It didn’t stop me bringing them back inside a few weeks later.
We co-exist: me, the cat, the trainers. We get by.
RUNNER-UP: Paul Jenkins
Any amateur psychologist would trace the start of this collection to the death of your mother. Soon after the funeral, you came across a real find. A giant Perspex letter H, fallen from the side of a local factory. Impact font. You dragged it down the alleyway, crossed into the lane that your house backed onto. It was an effort, heaving the little rugby posts through the back gate.
In the winter you trained yourself to see these things before others. Lone gloves, lost scarves, a bus pass, a Madness cassette. Nothing as large as that H, but everything else just as precious.
Sometimes the finds felt wrong, but only for a second. An engagement ring in a swimming pool locker, a walking stick against a graveyard gate. The shed became a museum. You bought a padlock with a fiver you saw fall from a paper boy’s pocket on Christmas Eve.
You hadn’t told anyone about your collection. It was sacred to you, a secret from the world. When the first item appeared outside your back gate, you thought it a coincidence. A bucket and spade, the castle turrets still flecked with old sand.
Soon, other items appeared – a skipping rope, two bibles.
Then the knife.
Now you don’t want to go out. But the urge is so strong. What will be outside today?
You pull on your tattered red Converse, the hole in the right foot getting bigger. You pull at the gate and it already feels too late.
WINNER: Tim Roberts
“This is the last time, I promise.” I tell the store owner.
The old man groans and glances at the clock on the wall with his one good eye. “5 minutes, kid, then I’m closing.” He says. He runs through the options again, ticking each one off on his yellow, twig like fingers:
“Black is x-ray vision.”
“Green protects you from fire.”
“Red makes you irresistible.”
“Blue lets you walk on water.”
I tell him it has to be the red ones and, before I can change my mind, he snatches the £2.50 from from my open palm and throws my purchase into a creased paper bag.
“Make sure you don’t do anything stupid with them.” He says, as he ushers me out of the shop. I begin to tell him that I am going to use them to win over the girl of my dreams, but he doesn’t hear me over the clatter of his window shutters being pulled down. Then he is gone.
Monday morning, I walk into school ready for business. As I step through the corridors it feels like every pupil has assembled to point and laugh at my dirty, hole-ridden bright red boots. Everybody except Shelley, that is. She leans against a poster advertising the school disco, twirling her ginger curls, as she watches me pass. For the first time ever she has noticed my existence, and she offers me that cheeky smile; the one she reserves for all the cool kids.
Congratulations all three – but particularly to always-the-bridesmaid Tim Roberts on a crushing victory!
And to everyone who entered, thank you, and a very happy Friday. Tomorrow.
Click here to find all the winners of previous QuickFics, and all our other writing competitions.