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Simple Red Heels
It all started with a pair of shoes. A pair of red, two-inch heels, size nine. At least, in Kelly’s mind, that was how it had started. Oh sure, other people were filled with their own reasonings, explanations, and theories, all concerning those recent events. But Kelly was the who had witnessed it all, who knew each and every fact.
Kelly sighed as she locked the front door and walked to the back store room of Every Shoe Fits, the shoe store where she had spent four long years working. The short, stout woman was in her mid-thirties. Her blonde, wispy curls bounced behind her as she made her way to a pile of boxes. Though the store was technically closed, she was still working, pricing the new shipment of shoes. She sat down on a small wooden stool, pricing gun in hand, ready to start her work. It was the same routine every time: grab a box, pull out the shoes, make sure the pair contained one left shoe and one right shoe, (you really would be surprised how many times a box had two left shoes, or only one shoe instead of two) place the pair back into the box, stick a price tag on the box’s cover. It was boring work, but someone had to do it, and it paid her phone bill, at least.
The first fifteen minutes of her work was uneventful. Then, as she picked up a pair of black flats, her mind wandered to what had happened. She tried to push it out of her head; it was pointless to linger on it. But the attempt was hopeless, for she couldn’t help but to remember.
It was a normal day at Every Shoe Fits. Kelly was the only cashier there; Sunday was the slow day and the store really didn’t need more than one person working. That particular Sunday seemed to be slower than usual, for not a single customer had been in all day. Suddenly, the little bell above the front door rang, and Kelly looked up to see an unfamiliar figure walk into the store. As the figure approached her, she realized it was a boy of about eighteen. He had long, black, shaggy hair, that covered most of his eyes, and his height of near six and a half feet caused him to tower over Kelly. He stopped in front of her, so she plastered on a fake smile and said her well-rehearsed opening lines.
“Welcome to Every Shoe Fits! My name is Kelly, and I’d be happy to assist you in finding just the right pair of shoes!” Oh, how she despised her job.
“Thank you,” a deep voice said to her, “but I think I’ll just look around for now, if you don’t mind.”
“That’s absolutely fine, please let me know if I can help you,” Kelly automatically replied. The mysterious boy in front of her then smiled, causing her to shiver slightly. As he turned to walk down an aisle of hiking boots, she caught a glimpse of a silver chain hanging around his neck. At the end was a silver charm in the shape of a snake. For some reason, the sight gave her an uneasy feeling. She did not have time to dwell on it, however, because at that moment the front door’s bell chimed yet again. "That’s odd…" Kelly silently thought. "For five hours, not one person comes in. Now in less than five minutes, I have another customer?" She watched two people, a boy and a girl in their late teens, walk into the store. They were obviously a couple, as his arm was wrapped tightly around her waist and she looked up lovingly into his eyes. “Welcome to Every Shoe Fits! My name is…” Kelly trailed off as they walked right past her down one of the aisles. Figuring she had nothing better to do, she decided to follow them. It had almost become a game to her, following people around the store and listening to them, watching them. She had probably learned more about the human behavior than if she’d taken college classes on the subject. She slipped into an empty aisle parallel to the couple and peered through a display case of brightly colored sandals.
“Aden! I love these shoes!” Squeaked the girl. “Don’t you love them!”
“Sure Evie, whatever you like,” Said the boy nonchalantly, as he twirled a piece of her chestnut hair around his finger.
“Hello.” Kelly did a quick double-take at the scene in front of her. It was the same boy who walked in before the couple. But where had he come from? Last she knew, he was on the opposite end of the store. Aden and Evie seemed just as confused, and Aden took a step in front of his girlfriend to block her from the stranger.
“Can I help you?” He demanded, a bit rudely.
“Sweetie, be polite,” the girl mumbled to him, before wrapping her hands around his left arm.
“My name is Devlin,” said the unknown boy, seemingly oblivious to Aden’s defensive attitude. He extended his hand to Aden, who hesitated for only a minute before returning the gesture.
“I’m Aden, and this is my girlfriend Evie,” he said, putting emphasis on the word girlfriend. He was apparently a jealous boyfriend, indeed. Evie smiled brightly and nodded a hello to Devlin. “So, um, not to sound rude or anything, but, seriously, is there a reason you’re talking to us?”
“I just wanted to recommend these shoes,” Devlin said, turning to a box on the last shelf of that aisle. He picked up the box and motioned towards Evie.
"Where did those come from?" Kelly asked herself. She had just priced the new shipment yesterday, and she didn’t remember that box at all. It was completely black, and on the side a sticker of an apple glimmered under the store’s fluorescent lights.
“Thanks…I guess,” Aden shook his head, puzzled. Devlin smiled his eerie smile and put the box down at the couple’s feet. Then, without another word, he walked quickly up the aisle. The chime of the door’s bell assured everyone he had left the building. “That was…odd,” said Aden, chuckling a bit. “So, do you want to-“
“These shoes really are cute!” He was cut off by Evie, who had retrieved the box left by Devlin. A pair of simple red heels was inside. “And they’re my size, too! I think I’ll get these!”
“Um, well, whatever you want, hun,” he told her. They began to walk up the aisle, so Kelly sprinted the opposite way to the front of the store. She made it to the register several minutes before the Aden and Evie. As they approached with the box, she was still wondering where those shoes had come from. She was certain they weren’t there before. Shaking her head, she smiled at the couple and checked for a price tag. Sure enough, there was a tag from the store on top of the lid, reading $29.99. "I guess they must have been here all along, then…" She thought to herself. Evie slipped off the shoes she had been wearing and handed them to Aden, then stepped into the pair she had just paid for. Yet for some reason, as she handed Evie her receipt, Kelly was filled with a feeling of dread. She subconsciously reached for the little gold cross she was wearing. The couple walked out of the store, chatting to each other as they left. Shaking her head, Kelly wandered through the store. Hard as she looked, she couldn’t find a single box that looked like the one Devlin had suggested to Evie.
The rest of her day was uneventful. She sold an elderly man a pair of slippers and a mother with two little girls two pairs of sneakers. But even as she was leaving for the day, her uneasiness about her first sale continued to bother her. She tried to shake it off, but something still didn’t feel right. When she arrived home, Kelly sprawled out on her couch, her kitten in her lap. She had planned on watching a movie before bed, but decided to to watch a bit of the 10:00 news, instead.
“Today, three people were murdered on Main Street,” the announcer proclaimed. Kelly gasped and turned up the volume. “It is believed this happened around seven this evening. Shortly afterward, a fire was reported at 472 Octive Road. Though the fire caused no injuries, the house was completely destroyed. Investigators believe it was likely arson. We will have more on these two stories after a quick update on the burglary that happened late this afternoon at the Union First Bank.
Kelly turned off the television and stared in wonder at the black screen. She had always lived in such a safe, friendly city. She would have gone as far as to say the city was boring. But now all of this crime had happened, and all in one day? She couldn’t help but find it too strange. "It’s like people have become the Devil in disguise, or something." The though popped into her head before she had even realized what she was thinking. She shrugged it off quickly and went to bed, hoping in the morning, things would be back to normal.
"It seems the world really has been turning…evil…" Kelly thought, as she continued to price boxes. In the past two weeks, more and more crime had been taking place. People were afraid to go outside at night, and businesses had begun installing all of the latest security systems. Kelly hadn’t seen Evie or Aden since that day, or Devlin, for that matter. But part of her still found too many connections to that old Bible story… It all made sense to her. The snake, the apple. Even their names… Could everything really be just a coincidence? Her thoughts began to wander again. "It’s not like the Devil could find a way to tempt today’s modern world. He couldn’t control anymore. There’s not even proof that Devil actually exists. Right?"
At that moment the too-familiar chime of the store’s front door rang. Kelly frowned and stepped out of the store room. Hadn’t she locked the door? She looked around, but it seemed no one was there. Her palms were sweaty as she reached for the closest phone. With all of the burglaries taking place around the city, she wasn’t about to take any chances. Before she could dial, however, she heard laughter. Spinning around, she tried not to panic and she placed the source of the sound. Standing in the far right corner was Devlin. The snake necklace dangled around his neck as he continued to laugh at her. Kelly blinked, unsure of what was going on. But as she opened her eyes, he was gone.