Insistent

“What the …?”

Groggy somewhat for the short three hours of sleep, he rose up from bed trying to forget the last few days of extreme swings in his luck, from a nobody to a somebody to possibly back to his old status of wallowing in self-pity.

Still removing with his finger the dried rheum that accumulated at the corners of his eyes, he walked toward the door like a zombie, staggering out slowly. Unfortunately, he did not see the objects on the floor which nearly tripped him over.

“What are they doing here?” he asked himself, seeing the dreaded shoes at the center of the doorway.

He was alone upstairs, a correct observation since the noise downstairs came from his brothers and sisters. They could be so annoying that he preferred to be alone most of the time.

Without any intention of wearing the shoes, he hid them on a cupboard near the second-floor bathroom. He was sure his siblings would not bother to rummage through it.

They were watching TV, uncannily silent while viewing a once-popular video that could be older than them all.

He went directly to the kitchen where his parents shared a late breakfast. It was only Wednesday but a holiday so everybody had a day off.

“Can I go to the town center?” he asked, interrupting their small talk.

“What was that last night?” his father asked, still undecided to give him permission.

“Oh, just a nightmare,” he said casually. “Nothing more to it.”

“Your brothers and sisters asked us earlier if you were afraid of something.”

“Me? Afraid of what?”

“Ghosts!” shouted Max from behind him, startling him momentarily. His brother, a year younger, would not pass a day without irking him. “Your shoes walk around at night.”

Wilson would really like to give his brother a deserved slap on the head but he controlled himself. Besides, he would appear guilty if he did so, especially in front of his parents.

“You are just jealous!” he retorted. “Your shoes have holes.”

Defeated, Max frowned and complained directly that he be bought a new pair, too.

“In time, just wait,” their father said, diffusing the tension.

“You can have the shoes if you want,” Wilson sounded charitable.

“Do you mean it?” Max could not hide his elation. “Are you sure?”

“Your brother is teasing you,” their mother said. “He is very fond of them.”

“I can still manage with my old pair, Ma. Max deserves new shoes than me.”

“Pa! Ma! Please agree! I want them!”

“Are you sure Wilson?” their father asked. “It would take time before I could give you money to buy yours.”

He nodded, smiling at his younger brother. Deep inside, he was celebrating for dumping what he believed a curse to another person, the irksome Max.

“Say thanks, Max! You should be proud to have a very understanding older brother.”

“I won’t pester you again, Wilson. I promise.”

“I am sure your classmates will envy you!” he said, gently patting Max on the head.

His parents looked proud, sensing that their eldest was starting to learn what maturity was about.

“Can I go?” he asked once more.

“You have our permission. Just be back before four.”

“Do you have money?” his mother asked.

“I still have my change after I bought the shoes,” he replied, showing them the hundred peso bill.

(to be continued)

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Untrue

“Nooooooo!”

The dead of the night was shattered by his scream. It was his all right: he heard its last stains added to the fact his mouth was wide open.

There was a relentless knocking on his door. Everyone inside the house was awakened and they probably waited outside to hear about his explanation.

Wilson was literally wet with perspiration; his hands still shaking.

He opened the door, ready with his alibi.

“I had a nightmare. Sorry for …” he stopped, seeing no one was there.

He wished he did not look down: two severed foot wore his shoes.

“Noooooooo!  Nooooooo!”

He shook all over: he was thankfully awake.

Strange! No one knocked on his door. His scream could have awakened the entire neighborhood.

If no one came, that meant only one thing: he had a soundless scream.

He tried to ward off the knowledge of the crash and everything connected to it. But happy moments of other events in his life were hard to come by. All his mind could think of were feet.

Wilson removed the blanket off him and decided not to continue his sleep. He was not prepared to enter the dream world again.

Noooooo!

It could not be! How could it be?

He could not find any explanation why he wore his shoes while sleeping. It was the oddest act he never did before. Until now.

Why?

The hurried knock on the door gave him mixed feelings. On one hand, he was terrified: the severed feet could still be there minus the shoes. On the other hand, his parents could have been concerned hearing his most recent distressed sound.

“Ma? Pa?” he called out.

No response.

Wilson turned the knob, slowly opening the door.

He checked the floor first: nothing there.

When he turned his gaze up, he was too scared to watch two figures approaching him that he immediately closed the door and locked it.

Noooooo!

His scream was too loud. He saw from his bedroom window that their neighbors’ lights were immediately turned on.

“Wilson!” cried a female voice from the other side of the door.

“Son! What’s happening!” yelled a male voice that sounded like his father. “Open the door!”

“Go away! You’re not real!”

“Open up or you’ll be sorry!”

Wilson could not be mistaken. That was his mother’s usual warning. He was awake for sure.

When he finally opened the door, he could not blame himself for being frightened. Without the light turned on, they appeared ghoulish to his troubled mind. His mother, wearing a white night gown with her long hair uncombed, frowned at him. His father, tall, dark and muscular, wore no shirt and only in his underwear, looked dead serious.

“What are you screaming about?” his father took a towel from a chair to cover himself.

“Why are you wearing shoes?” his mother asked, taking a seat on the same chair.

“I don’t know,” he replied absentmindedly, trying to recall what really happened to him.

Wilson’s parents looked at each other and pretended they had a nightmare, a nightmare involving their son who seemed to be obsessive with his new pair of shoes.

“Take those off and go back to sleep!”

They went out the door shaking their heads, believing they wasted time and effort for nothing.

“I can’t go back to sleep,” he replied, his shoes removed.

“Then, let US sleep!” his father stressed, his voice trailed off in the unlighted hallway.

Wilson walked straight toward the window and opened it. With one quick swing, he hurled the shoes out.

(to be continued)

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Walk Out

“Are you going to school?”

His mother did not hide her doubts when he nodded, the suspicious glance at him was both a warning and an ultimatum: behave.

Wilson had every reason to attend his classes. For the first time, he felt overly confident that he was about to change how his classmates treated him. He was less of a beggar-looking with his newly-acquired shoes. And, he had no intention to tell anyone where they came from.

Punctuality was not his best trait. As usual, he was late. But only a few minutes, which was also a first. Ordinarily, he was often reprimanded for coming half an hour into the session.

When he entered the door, he saw them looking down: his shoes were instant magnets to their sight.

At recess, curious classmates admired his shoes, milling around him as if he was Cinderella who fitted the glass shoes.

“Where can I buy a similar pair?” chorused those envious.

“It’s one of a kind,” he boasted. The lie was essential to his plan: someone would buy it from him for triple the price he paid for.

“I’ll ask my father to get one done for me,” Sonny said, carefully inspecting the design. His foreign-made sneakers looked cheap beside Wilson’s footwear.

Wilson was the center of attraction, for once. As long he wore his pair, he would be for a long time.

- 0 -

The silence of the morning was disturbed by his agitated alarm.

“Where are my shoes?” he hollered. “I left them outside my room.”

His younger brothers and sisters came out of their rooms, thinking there was a fire. Figuratively, there was. Wilson eyed them menacingly, wildly guessing that one of them or all of them decided to make him an unwitting victim of a prank.

“Stop shouting!” his mother yelled back from downstairs. “Come here and tell me what exactly are you mad about.”

“My shoes,” he said meekly. “They’re not upstairs.”

“I saw them outside,” she said, angered by his disturbance. “You forgot, as always, to keep your things where they rightfully belong.”

Wilson could not remember if it was his fault or someone did indeed hide the shoes while he was asleep.

- o -

He flaunted them with a lively gait, as if he was a prized horse in a dressage competition. Those who saw him walked in such manner offered him different reactions from friendly grins to malicious smirks.

Wilson did not care what they thought of him. No one could spoil his high spirits.

However, in school, he was dismayed to find out he was relegated to second fiddle, not because Sonny wore a similar pair like his, but due to a more sensational information that even he was nerved to learn about.

He pretended to tie his shoelaces near a group of underclassmen, near enough to overhear their conversation.

“Have you heard about the crash a kilometer from the town center a week ago?”

“Yeah! That was awful! The lone victim lost his feet!”

“There was talk going around that the police has not recovered them. They disappeared.”

“What do you think happened?”

“They probably walked away unharmed,” jested someone, a bit insensitive to the news.

“That’s not funny!” another listener angrily admonished the joker.

“The police met with one of the victim’s relative who informed them that the dead wore expensive walking shoes.”

“No wonder those feet disappeared. Someone took them for the shoes.”

“I am sure that whoever took them would never wear them but rather sell them for a hefty price.”

Everyone agreed to the assumption.

Wilson, too, arrived at a similar conclusion.

Involuntarily, he stared at his footwear. The thought that someone originally owned them, a dead man if it was true, gave him the chills. Recalling how the pair who sold the shoes to him were too relieved for the sale, Wilson was not sure if he was still willing to keep them.

(to be continued)

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Finder

The following series is based on a personal experience. (Not mine.) With some literary licence to add and subtract certain events from what actually happened, I have removed some of the characters to create a fictionalized short story.

Holiday Everyday!

Tomorrow would be Monday again! Darn!

Wilson threw a shoe on the paper calendar hanging on the wall. It was not even his idea to decorate his room with all those useless facts: his mother insisted upon it.

Bored inside what he called a prison cell, he could not leave the house because he was grounded for the weekend. Someone at school called his parents that he skipped classes for an entire week.

Well, it was an inaccurate report, he reasoned out. He attended two hours of P.E. in between days.

His father did not say a word: he was once an athlete. And he was specifically forbidden by his wife not to interfere with their son’s studies. She took the whole responsibility by herself.

“You’ll be an engineer!” she banged her hands on the dining table.

Wilson wanted to argue but he was not finished with his meal. The last time he did so, he was unceremoniously sent to his room and starved the whole night.

That memory was interrupted by a video he had not seen before. He was familiar with the song, something his father used to listen to when Wilson was a child.

He sat up and watched.

“Come down here!” he heard the call for the fourth time. his mother would come up after the fifth time he would not respond. She was a strict woman but she never hurt him physically.

He turned off the television and proceeded downstairs. Missing breakfast made his stomach grumble. Missing lunch, however, would make it protest till supper was served: he needed sustenance fast.

“Your father gave me money for your shoes,” she said, arranging the food on the table. “It’s not much but you have to make do. Go to those second hand shops.”

She placed the bill near his plate and said nothing more.

As a teenager, Wilson wanted something similar his friends’ wore. But his family did not possess the affluence they enjoyed.

He hated school. As a middle class student among wealthy classmates, he felt left out in almost everything, materially especially.

“A thousand pesos!” he stared at the bill with disdain. “Formal slippers cost more!”

In a way, he was delighted to get out the house.

“Nothing beats freedom!”

When he reached the town center after a fifteen-minute jeepney ride, he noticed a somewhat fiesta-like mood. People from the interiors trooped to several makeshift shops that lined up the main avenue: it was closed to traffic for the duration.

The unlikely pair who tended the corner footwear stall, looked dead. The man stood like a lamp post while the woman sat on a chair as if a painter ordered her to stay still. Customers seemed to avoid them.

Wilson was a different buyer. He haggled relentlessly until he was satisfied he got the lowest price for his purchase. He even mastered the technique of pretending to leave so the seller would accede to his wishes.

He saw them hanging above the woman’s head and right beside the man’s face. The shoes that looked brand new and in style seemed to call on to him to be their new owner.

“How much?” he asked without further ado. “I want them!”

“Nine hundred,” whispered the woman, her lips quivered.

Wilson wanted to haggle but the low price was a steal. No need to beat around the bushes, so to speak, so he handed her the thousand peso bill.

The man handed him the change and nervously placed the shoes on a plastic bag.

Wilson thanked them profusely, hurrying to get some distance before they realized their error.

“Yes!” he yelled with jubilation.

When he glanced back at the stall, he was dumbfounded. The pair looked livelier, smiling and laughing as if they celebrated one of their best sales. People came over and crowded the stall.

He peered inside the plastic bag: he now owned the walking shoes made of genuine leather.

(to be continued)

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Considered

We can just listen and be free to decide for ourselves. Freedom.

Need to sleep now, guys and gals!

Goodnight!

Be well.

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Getting There

A new find for me!

I wish I tried learning to play the guitar. So many great songs out there!

One eye still awake! :)

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Lazy

Hello fellow bloggers!

For  me, this ain’t a good day for being creative. I woke up early this morning, tired and foggy.

Frankly, I am a bit grateful for the long power outage and intermittent internet connection. (I cannot believe I said that.)

I will try to stay awake but sooner or later it will be sleep and rest.

Hope everyone is having an excellent day!

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