The Shoe in the Forest

Written with the prompt:  a shoe falls out of the sky!

Mary and Larry were hiking in the forest when quite unexpectedly a shoe fell out of the sky, crashed noisily through the tender fringe of redwood greens and fern feathers to land on the trail between them, just in front of Mary, right behind Larry.

“Oh!” Mary gasped, and Larry, thinking incorrectly that Mary had thrown something at him, cried, “What the hell!”

They both jumped away from the shocking object—Mary back, Larry forward, and then stood there like skittish felines, glaring at each other, each expecting that the other may have an explanation.  Failing that, in unison their heads bowed and their gaze lowered to stare at the men’s black dress loafer with tassel, and matching black sock trailing out of it.  They were silent, staring for what seemed a long time, but what was actually only a few seconds.  Slowly they lifted their heads to gape at each other.

“Is there a foot in it?” Larry whispered.

Mary pushed her chin into her chest.  The man had always been squeamish, nearly vomiting at the smell of soiled diapers when their twins were toddlers, unable to deal with dog droppings, kitty litter boxes, and bricks of neglected cheese that had grown green fur in the fridge.  She released an exasperated sigh, knowing it would fall to her to examine the footwear.  But she knew she was up to the task.  She said nothing, neither shrugged, squirmed, nor rolled her eyes.  She stepped forward gingerly and poked at the shoe with her walking stick.  The sock slipped out easily and Mary could see that the shoe was unoccupied.

“Empty,” she declared.

“That’s a relief,” Larry said, and Mary clenched her teeth to avoid saying something she might regret later.  “But where did it come from?” Larry continued dreamily, raising his hand to shield his eyes from mottled sunlight that darted through lacy branches.

Just then the sound of a heavy uneven gait shook the trail ahead of them.  Larry looked toward it in horror, seeing nothing but anticipating something very large.  He whipped around Mary on the trail and grabbed her as if he intended to use her as a human shield.

This time Mary could not hold back her decades of exasperation.  “For Christ’s sake!” she blurted.  Then, as if her outburst had been a prayer, she was struck with a sudden thought.  She pulled away from her husband and stooped down to pick up the shoe.  She planted herself in the center of the trail, extending her stick in her right hand like a sword, thrusting up the shoe in her left like a crucifix before a vampire.

Presently he appeared:  a tall man with unruly hair and beard in a somewhat rumpled pinstriped suit and one black loafer with tassel.  “I found you!” he declared, blinking in the sunlight as his gaze lit upon Mary.

She assumed her stern parent demeanor, a type of bad cop role Larry had always thrust her into.  “I suppose you’re looking for this?” she said humorlessly as she raised the shoe.

“No,” he said.  “I’m looking for you.”

She lowered her defensive stance, suddenly wondering how her hair looked.  “Say what?”

He lifted her into his massive arms and she noted his eyes were a haunting shade of green.  “Marry me!” he demanded insistently.

Mary looked at this handsome creature and somehow knew he wouldn’t whimper about cleaning up after the dog.  “Oh,” she lamented.  “I’m already married.”

“That’s right,” Larry echoed in a voice as forceful as he could muster.  “She’s already married.”

The new arrival paid Larry no mind.  “We can worry about that later.  My helicopter awaits.  Shall I carry you or would you prefer to walk?”

Mary patted his bicep.  “This will be fine.”  She reached around to hand Larry her walking stick.  “You might need this,” she said, not unkindly.  “I’ll be in touch.”

A rope ladder appeared out of nowhere, and off Mary went on the adventure of a lifetime.


To read more short essays and flash fiction, please download a free copy of my e-book Wild Imaginings, by filling out the form on your right.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.