Walking Shoes... Chapter 4
July 5th, 1936, just another day in history. The year brought with it moments and events that would last a life-time.The first flight of the Hindenburg, the winter Olympics in Germany, Hitler telling the world of his newest vehicle, the Volkswagon all happened in 1936. Gone With The Wind was published as was the first edition of Life Magazine. By the years end, China would declare war on Japan. All of these historic events were huge, except to a little girl named Eliza. At eight years old, she wasn't concerned with what Adolph Hitler was making or if Parshell, North Dakota had set a record for the coldest day on record. Little girls don't worry about such things.
July 5th, 1936 would hold a different memory for Eliza. The days events had been a day like any other day. The morning and afternoon nothing remarkable. The evening... would change everything for the little girl that lived in the house on Marshall street. School was out for the summer and she could run and play all day if she liked. Her Governess, Ms. Lance, could call until she was blue in the face but Eliza would not hurry to the house. Angering Ms. Lance was a daily happening that Eliza had come to rather enjoy. Not a bad girl at all, she would think to herself, just a typical little girl.
Darkness had fallen on this day and dinner was served and finished. Eliza sat in her little room in the attic, admiring her new walking shoes. She thought about her mother and father. Tears ran down her face as she recalled Ms. Lance telling her that they would not be coming home from their road trip. She would live with Ms. Lance until the state decided what to do with her parents property. Joshua, a boarder, along with his parents, would also stay there. He was a mean little boy, always stealing her things and hiding them. He had not yet found the walking shoes her parents had sent to her. Eliza kept them hidden in her cubby.
Her shoes were the most important thing she had. She had the "old" pair, but she preferred the new shoes. Ms. Lance only let her wear them when they took their evening stroll to the edge of town and back. Her old shoes were tattered and made squeaking sounds when she walked across the wooden floor of the attic.The new ones made no such sound. Eliza slipped them on after she had gone up to bed at night. She sometimes fell asleep with them on her feet. Ms. Lance would surely whip her if she ever found out.
Evening, July 5Th, 1936, the shadows from the trees that surrounded the big old house, moving across the attic walls like huge spiders that had crept out of their holes in the walls. Tree branch shadows, reaching into the attic windows, causing Eliza to curl up in the corner of her loft, scared that one of the long finger-like shadows would touch her and snatch her away. Long, bent fingers, like that of the old man that stared at her on her walk home from school each day, his gaze more than just a look. Her thoughts were interrupted by Ms. Lance's voice.
"Eliza, you must be very quiet. Do not come downstairs until I tell you too." There was fear in her voice, a sound that Eliza had never heard before. "Put your shoes on in case you have to run."
"What is it, Ms. Lance? Why must I stay up here?"
"Just do what I say, child! Damn you, for the first time, just obey me!"
She heard the sound of voices downstairs. Something, a lamp perhaps had shattered against a wall. A man, yelling and then the screams of Joshua's mother. Eliza cowered beneath her sheets, trying to shut out the screams. Silence for a moment. Eliza slipped over to the opening of the attic. She looked down just as the knife was disapearing into Joshua's mother. Blood covered the kitchen floor. How could his mother have so much blood? Looking towards the back door, Eliza saw Joshua's father, face down on the floor, the blood covering his body. Beside him, Joshua lay, motionless, dead, she was certain. The old man from down the street stood and looked around the room. He disappeared into another part of the house.
A tap on the window behind made her turn. The face of Ms. Lance stared in at her. Eliza raced over to open the window. Rain poured into the window as she held it open.
"Listen to me, Eliza. Put on your new shoes so they won't make a sound. Then when you hear me scream out here, run. Do not wear your old shoes. Run as fast as you can and do not look back. Do it now!"
Eliza went to her cubby. Her new shoes were not there. Joshua had found them and hid them. She would not have worn them anyways, she thought. They would be ruined in the rain. She heard Ms. Lance scream. It was a horrible scream that made Eliza shiver inside. She grabbed her old shoes and slipped them on. As she ran across the attic floor, the boards creaked and moaned loudly. She was almost out the front door when her shoes squeaked, as they always did. She heard the backdoor slam. She pulled the old shoes off and ran outside. The rocks and gravel slipped under her feet. They cut into her soft soles, slicing them and making them bleed. She ran as fast as she could, but... he was faster.
Eliza looked down at the two girls. She prayed that they were alright. She didn't want them to die as she had. They could be her friends alive as well as dead. She looked up at Ms. Lance.
"Why can't they live? If they die, who will put my walking shoes on me? I can't go until I have my walking shoes. I have tried to put them on but they disappear every time I get them on my feet. It has to be someone living that outs them on me."
"We may have to find someone else to do that. You should have had them on, that night! You might have not been caught!!!!!"
"It wasn't my fault..."