Tag Archives: shoes

Where You Left Them, Part III

Continued from Part II.

Lensker shook his head as he stood up from the table. “No idea, Chalk. No idea.”

“Really?” said Chalk, who suddenly seemed to loosen up and release the tension from his chest. “How strange. I could have sworn that they were right here in front of me.” He held a foot out from under the table. At the end of a blue pinstripe trouser-leg hung an unremarkable brown shoe, polished and laced and neat.

Alarmed, Lensker took a step back, but then felt a strong grip upon his shoulder. He turned around and came face-to-face with a man who look exactly like… himself? Same face, same hair, same build…

“Two hundred samples of your DNA,” said Chalk. “One taken each day from the cutlery you used at this restaurant, and we were able to create a clone.”

Lensker stood, frozen in shock, as his identical persecutor put hands round Lensker’s throat.

“He will be my spy,” said Chalk. “He will pretend to be you, people will hire him, he will learn their secrets and share them with me.”

“What are you going to do with me?” said Lensker.

“Does it matter?” came the reply. “You are a fraud and a coward. Did you do anything with your life? Change anything even just a little bit? Did you ever make the right decision… or just the easy one?”

Lensker began to choke.

“You didn’t really live your life, Lensker,” said Chalk. “So now we’re going to do it for you.”

The End

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Where You Left Them, Part II

Continued from Part I.

“Are they made of platinum?” asked Mr. Lensker. “Are your shoes covered in diamonds?”

Chalk shook his head. “They are a perfectly ordinary pair of shoes. I bought them in Kylos last year. They are comfortable, they are dark brown, they are unremarkable.”

Lensker shrugged. “So buy a new pair.”

“You must understand how disconcerting it is,” said Mr. Chalk, “to lose something so… personal… as a pair of shoes. I am a fastidious man and I run my life like clockwork. So when something so simple and private goes wrong, I have to suspect the worst. Disloyal staff? Industrial espionage? Who is plotting what against me, and how far advanced are their plans?”

“Do you think I can find your shoe thief?” asked Mr. Lensker.

“I’ve heard you’re the best.”

“Oh,” Mr. Lensker laughed. “I’m certainly that. You see, this isn’t our first meeting. We have had this very conversation exactly two hundred and fourteen times. Every day, without fail, you call me to meet in this restaurant. And every time, Mr. Chalk, you fail to notice that I slip something into your wine that erases your memory.”

Mr. Chalk jerked upwards, one hand releasing his wine glass while the other went to his throat.

Mr. Lensker sat back once more, face girdled with wide mouth and unkind eyes. “Thanks for the consultation fee, Chalk,” he said. “I’ll see you again tomorrow.”

“Wait!” said Chalk, gripping the edge of the table. “Just tell me something. Where are the shoes?”

To be continued…

Where You Left Them, Part I

“I tell you something, Mr. Chalk, this is not the kind of place I usually meet my clients for the first time.”

Sunlight glanced off the chandelier. A waiter stood several paces away, armed with a bottle of wine. A private dining room in the city’s most expensive restaurant.

“You’re moving up in the world, Mr. Lensker,” said Chalk. “This is my playroom, and if you’re going to work for me you’ll have to adjust to the décor.”

Lensker sat back and regarded his lunch companion with a raised eyebrow. “Solving the Smith case really got me some attention then?”

Chalk nodded. “Your talent is useful to a man of my considerable resources.”

“Well don’t tease me,” said Lensker. “What’s the job?”

Chalk’s shoulders tensed and he leaned forward, voice dropping to a conspiratorial timbre.

“I’ve lost my shoes.”

Lensker’s eyes narrowed. “I’m aware you have enormous wealth, Mr. Chalk. But that does not give you the right to waste the time of those of us who must work for a living.”

Chalk held up his hands.

“I am not joking, Mr. Lensker,” said Chalk. “I am a careful man. I know the exact totals of all my accounts. I know the whereabouts and contents of every shipping container that bears my name. I know the contents of my fridge and the scuff marks on each of my thirty sports cars. But,” he concluded, “I can’t find my shoes. That worries me greatly.”

To be continued…

The Heavens of the World Beyond

The three Dancers of Fate fell from the sky onto the edge of a square pane of glass. Their feet touched the hard, shiny surface and cracks appeared beneath them. The cracks circled gently around where the Dancers had landed and then roared outwards across the pane in jagged lines, splitting the entire square into angry patterns, which took on the dazzling reflections of the iridescent heavens above.

The Dancers’ parachutes floated slowly down behind them, falling beneath the edge of the pane and then pulled and folded towards the Dancers’ backs by the strings that attached them. In seconds the parachutes had become small pouches between the Dancers’ shoulder blades, with a few small folds of material left billowing in the breeze.

The spirit of the Book Mistress sprung forth from the Dancer’s shoes. The spirit sang in soft voice, the tones reminding them once more of the chimes that had swayed in the wind above their cradles many hours before. It congratulated the Dancers, complemented them, praised their efforts so far, reminded them of their mother, recommended that they steel their souls against the trials ahead, and finally welcomed them to this pane of glass upon which they had landed.

This pane, it said, was called the Godlock. Without it, all the terrifying powers imaginable would pour forth. It should now be either strengthened or destroyed. The choice lay in the expression of Fate that was about to take shape through their movements.

The music started.

They danced.