• Keri Heath

Green shoes


Their mothers didn't know where they were heading and if Candice and Raylie had their ways, they never would. That's why, when they went to the Underground, they never got anything too bright, too sparkly or too loud, or anything that exploded. But when Candice saw the shoes, she knew she had to have them.

"Guaranteed to take you on the ride of your life," read the sign above the brilliant green heals. The mint shimmers floated inside the shoes, which flashed emerald every time someone walked past. Between the seven league boots and the winged sandals, they were certainly the most exquisite shoes on the table.

"You can't get those," Raylie said. "They look like they're going to start singing any second."

Candice strode closer to the little shoe stall. "Oh come on. I could keep them at the back of my closet in a box, under all those old clothes. My mom would never know."

Raylie crossed her arms over her bright pink crop top. The edges flashed in bright letters that read "bad witch" over and over. It had taken Raylie twenty minutes to wave her hands the right way to get the lights on.

"Yeah, she would," Raylie said. "Remember the singing box incident? We almost didn't get away with that."

The stall keeper sidled up to the front of the booth. "Did I mention these shoes are 15 percent off today? We're having a special on cool colored shoes."

Candice turned to Raylie and raised her eyebrows. "See? 15 percent off."

Raylie rolled her eyes. "We didn't come here to buy shoes. We came here to go the party."

Raylie pointed across the street at the glittering dance club. As in actually glittering. It was a charm. Every so often, a few dancers would materialize right above the club and perform a few complicated moves before bursting into fireworks. Tonight was supposed to be the party of the month complete with fire eaters, the latest hit tunes, and a ritualistic summoning at the end. Everyone knew the best parties had summonings.

Their mothers thought they were spending the night at Lauren's.

"I could wear the shoes to the party," Candice said.

"We'd happily hold your old shoes for you to pick up on your way home," the merchant said.

Candice beamed. "And they'd happily hold my old shoes."

Raylie hit her forehead. "Fine. Do whatever you want. But when you get caught, don't say anything about me coming her with you."

Candice looked amazing in the shoes. They literally lifted her off the ground an inch so she towered over Raylie. People smiled at her while she danced. And at the end of the night, they asked her to be the anchor for the ritual. The anchor!

When she got home in the morning, she walked around in her room for an hour in her green shoes before she could bring herself to put them in a box and away under the bed. Even though she knew her mother would have killed her for owning something magical, she still wanted to show them to her when she came to ask Candice to help her in the yard that afternoon. If I wear my new shoes, I won't step on any of your plants by accident, she wanted to say.

Candice wanted to go back to the Underground that night so she could wear the shoes again, but Raylie was too tired. So she went by herself and walked up and down the Underground street by herself, enjoying how it felt to let her feet float above the ground. Candice got a fizzy drink and strolled from spell book store to the cat and bat shop. Above her, the stars winked in the dark, dark sky. She watched them, tracing the constellations with her eyes, and for a moment forgot how she'd switch her shoes on the train ride home or that her feet had ever touched the ground in the first place.

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