"Fun with Colors" by Brady M Tayor
*Trigger Warning- This story does contain themes of child abuse
The Shoes loved her. Red ones, black ones, striped ones, ones with high heels, and some with no heels at all…they all adored her, and the little girl loved them back with her whole heart. They were all she saw; they were her world. Oh, she had looked up once or twice when she was younger, but those blobs of flesh with the harsh, unfocused eyes and vulture lips had torn her apart each time. Much better to look down at the Shoes; the Shoes always saw her.
Days were filled with endless games that the Shoes taught the little girl. They pulled her feet over the skipping rope or down one of the long halls in a race that left the little girl gasping for breath in excitement. Together, the Shoes and the little girl walked outside, through the gardens, sometimes putting their imprints in the soft mud next to the cobblestone path. The little girl would always look in envy at the graceful, round lines of the Shoe’s imprint next to the jutting, tentacle-like imprint of her hand. Yet, the Shoes would only laugh at the little girl in the high, bell-like chuckle which rang out every time they touched the stones on the way back to the house.
Quite often, many of the games would bring the shiny black shoes named Father, or the pretty, high heeled shoes named Mother to stand before the little girl in anger.
“Be quiet!” the authoritarian Shoes would spit, making the long talons they always carried around reach out to deliver a stinging slap, filled with bright bursts of red and white. The little girl would stare at Father and Mother as they paced around her slowly, telling her how much they wished she would just disappear. But no matter how much they wished it, even Father with his long mustaches tied into neat little bows, or Mother with her backs proudly arched to accommodate her long legs couldn’t make the little girl disappear. As long as the Shoes could see her, she knew she was still alive.
That day, the little girl and the Shoes were playing their favorite game, which involved the Shoes running and jumping down the long wooden staircase, then waiting at the bottom for the little girl to come carry them back to the top again. Shoes were very lazy things, the little girl had discovered. Once, she had grown tired of having to carry the Shoes up the stairs each time they rolled down and had simply left them at the bottom. Those Shoes had been so angry at her for abandoning their game that they had run away and never returned. Now, the little girl made sure to carefully pick them up and carry them to the top as many times as they wanted.
The little girl watched the beautiful blue Shoe she was currently playing with bounce just a few steps down the staircase before getting stuck on a rather precarious perch near the top. She rose to rescue the beautiful blue Shoe but froze, hearing Mother’s harsh Click, Clack approaching from the hall behind her. Scrambling behind the banister, the little girl held her breath as Mother, today in vibrant purple suede, carried the splay of limbs to the edge of the stairs and down. Being her unobservant self, Mother failed to see the beautiful blue Shoe laying on the step and abruptly came down upon it.
The little girl watched, wide-eyed, as the beautiful blue Shoe tried to get out of the way by sliding forward, but it couldn’t get out from Mother’s tall, thin legs. A sickening snap resounded through the empty foyer as the beautiful blue Shoe’s back broke and Mother’s leg collapsed, sending her burden of limbs flying down the staircase and creating a pinwheel of color which dazzled the little girl’s eyes: blue, purple, white, and every now and then, a garish splash of red. Over and over this magnificent display of color revealed itself in all its glory, almost like the fireworks the little girl had seen from the attic window last year. Finally, blue, purple, white, and a lovely climax of red like a fountain came to rest at the bottom of the staircase in an exhausted pile. The little girl slowly made her way down to stare at the jumbled heap in amazement. Why hadn’t Mother ever played with her before?
Reaching down to lift the beautiful blue Shoe, the little girl carefully supported its broken back and noticed how its skin was stained with sticky red. She hoped it wouldn’t be too angry with her and hurriedly attempted to wipe it clean. Before she had a chance to also try to get Mother cleaned up, Father came running into the foyer, his Clomp, Clomp halting abruptly at the sight at the base of the staircase. Mustaches twitching in their bows, Mark shuffled towards the little girl, stopping only inches away. The little girl wondered if Father would be angry that Mother had played with her and gotten all dirty; however, before she could ask, Father came up to meet her face in a crunching blow, which made her wonder if she had screamed or it had been him. The red and white hit was, this time, brighter and had a lovely black finish that swallowed everything.
The little girl woke up in her room, trying to see through the red haze that still covered her vision. She was in awe of the magnificent game she had gotten to play; never before had a game lingered in her vision! When she finally managed to cut through the hazy red wall, the first thing she looked for, as always, were the Shoes. The shelves across from her narrow bed were empty! Panic flooded her as she forced her limbs to move to the end of the bed to see where her beloved playmates were hiding. There they were, lying scattered over the dirty, brown wood of the attic floor. Something bad had happened…the little girl gripped the cast iron of her bedpost in horror.
Every single Shoe had been ripped, broken, torn apart, and left to lay in a disorganized collection of corpses. Falling down with a scream beside the remains, the little girl gathered scraps and chunks into her arms, shuddering at the touch of death but trying to find one of her friends who could still speak to her. None acknowledges her pleading cries, but instead, lay still in her arms, accusing stares aimed from dead, unfocused eyes. Standing before the long mirror upon her wall, the little girl dropped the ripped bodies of her dead friends and stared into emptiness.
They had made her disappear.