She arrived on the eve of the carnival, weaving her way amongst the crowds of flushed faces.
She hovered for the briefest of moments, casting a dark curious eye across the cacophony of sugar coated confectionary, before stopping slowly to pin a small hand-penned notice to the trunk of the grand copper birch that stood, naked of its leaves in the centre of the small town.
One pair of shoes, heel trodden, curled up and wrinkled like owners face.
Condition of shoes put down to weight of expectation and over use.
Any price accepted, and can deliver. However near, however far away.
The writing was looped and faded grey, as though it had been written some time ago, and kept, folded until now in the pocket of her heavy brown coat.
The frisky autumn wind that blows nobody any good whispered at the corners of the paper, making it billow then press flat against the bark of the tree.
She peered at it, expelling a sigh as her memory recalled the time when those shoes had walked out. Pretty shoes, ruby shoes, wrapped around sixteen years of ambitious feet.
All the men that had mattered to her, she had met in those shoes. But, one had no heart, one no brain, and the other no courage.
Now she was old, the thrill seeking spark within her had dwindled, and her dark hair had lost its shine, and had paled into a soft grey.
And those shoes, those ruby slippers no longer fit, now they strained against her swollen feet and pinched her toes.
But how much had rested upon them, how long ago it was now that those ruby shoes had danced carelessly upon golden cobbles.
However, the time had come to leave those days behind, and when she left of the tail of the carnival, a sense of freedom painted a smile onto her thin lips, and the smell of candied sweets and handsome treats pranced on the wind, like a dose of warm honey, creeping through the veins.
She walked with purpose, short meandering steps, thoughts wandering in the vague way of children.
The cold wind had started to blow harder now, and the dream of friends yet to meet, and challenges yet to face flicked at the tail of her skirts, teasing the hem of her imagination, tempting her with the dream of adventures yet to come…far off places yet to visit…
For someone else next time.
Natascha Tallowin is a writer and poet from Suffolk, England. Whilst most of her time is spent writing poetry and sitting in patches of sunlight on the floor listening to David Bowie, she is also working on a magic-realism novel entitled ‘Guylian’s Magic’.