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Red Shoes Scribd

Red Shoes Scribd

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Published by Ed Burton
A short story following the shifts of power in human interactions
A short story following the shifts of power in human interactions

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Published by: Ed Burton on Oct 04, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/04/2009

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Red Shoes
Word Count: 4,090
 The coach trundled down the Spanish motorway on its way to Cuenca inthe Spanish region of Castilla de la Mancha, just south of Madrid. As the oldvehicle jolted on the potholed road, it bumped one of its passengers intoundesired consciousness. As his sunglasses fell across his cheek, a ray of sunshine peered past a thin curtain and woke the Spaniard. A tall figure, hisperfectly groomed features showed a hint of irritation at the reminder of hissituation. Awake now, he peered around. To his left sat a plump Irishman, facelaying on the window in a deep slumber, a hint of dribble falling down hischeek. A steady rythmatic breathing arose from his sleeping body.So the Spaniard looked through the crack in the seats to his front, wheretwo young women sat talking quietly. One of them sat perched cross-legged onthe seat with heavily braided hair and loose clothes. Her relaxedness was asharp contrast to the woman at her side. With her perfectly styled blond hairand her crossed hands on her lap she had a properness that was somehow outof place.‘Hey.’ The Spaniard spoke with an American tinge to his English. ‘Anyidea how long?’ The two women stopped their conversation and both turned to take noteof the handsome man.‘I think we’re nearly there. We were told two hours, it’s been… One hourforty.’ The blond replied.‘Really? That’s cool. My name’s Sergio by the way.’‘Sarah.’ Continued the blond, reaching an elegant hand across to beenveloped in a strong but soft embrace. The other woman pulled down a pair of dirty shades over her eyes andrested her head on the windowsill, feigning disinterest as the pair continuedtheir conversation.‘Excellent, pleased to meet you!’ Sergio continued, ‘Any idea what toexpect?’‘How do you mean?’‘Well, will we be sharing rooms? How many kids will there be? What age?Have you been told anything?’‘Fifty teenagers, one university campus! That’s all I know!’
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Sergio laughed. ‘Fifty Spanish kids, five adults, in the middle of nowhere!Are we mad?’‘I think we must be!’ Sarah smiled in return, ‘I’m sure we’ll be fine.’‘Well, if we’re finding it a bit difficult we can always get rid of some!’ Avoice called out from across the coach.Sergio broke eye contact with the blond woman to turn and register thenew voice. Sprawled comfortably across two seats of the coach the prostrateman spoke with a loud confidence. The brashness grated on its recipients buthe continued regardless.‘My name’s Will!’ Will stopped to clear his throat, ‘I’ve worked for thecompany before, you’ve got nothing to worry about, it’ll be fun!’‘The children are ok then?’ Sarah asked.‘The children!’ Will laughed, ‘It’s not the children you need to worryabout! Last time I worked with Conner there,’ Will nodded in the direction of the snoozing Irishman, ‘He got so drunk that he started a game of tag in thetown centre! We were picking kids out of bushes until the early hours!’‘Drunk?’ Sarah interrupted. ‘You can’t drink when you work withchildren.’Sergio pulled down his shades with a smile and leaned back in his chair.‘First time in Spain?’ Will asked.‘Yes. But why. What. What has that got to do with anything?’‘Things can be a little bit different here!’ Will nodded towards Fran whowas now gently snoring at her side.Sarah looked at her sleeping companion with a slight feeling of shock.‘Look.’ Sarah said, ‘I’m a teacher! We’re here to work. We have a job todo, children to look after!’An atmosphere slowly arose in the back of the coach and Sarah turnedto face her front. Smiling to himself, Will leant back down on his crossed armsand joined the rest of his new colleagues in a gentle slumber.About thirty minutes later the coach rolled up outside an old stonebuilding. Rising high into the sky with a nineteen-sixties efficiency the blandarchitecture spread its influence around to its worn gardens which encircledlike a moat. Standing in front of a low stone wall was a small figure. Hints of grey matted the combed hair and a tight-fitting dress suggested a
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combativeness to the inevitable onset of age. She leaned purposefully on thewall behind her, casting an appraising eye as each of the five young adultswalked from the coach, retrieving their heavy suitcases from the luggagecompartment. As they wheeled their possessions to stand across from her shegreeted them with a beaming smile that betrayed her tightly controlled poise.‘Welcome!’ She shouted in an Australian accent, ‘I’m Maria. You mustbe, Sergio, Will, Sarah, Fran and Conner?’ The woman nodded her headcorrectly towards each of the figures as she said their name. ‘The next threeweeks will be hard. They will be long, they will be tiring, but they will also befun! I have a few rules, if you listen, we will get along just fine! Firstly, you arehere to work. When you are working, you are working. I don’t want to see anyof you slacking. Understood? Secondly, there will be no drinking. In threeweeks time you can do what you want, while you’re with me you will be diligentand you will be sober. Ok?’ The five figures nodded their heads up and down in shock at theforcefulness of their boss’s tone. As the words sunk in Maria walked up anddown handing each of the workers a piece of paper.‘What you have in front of you are your schedules. Read them. Once thissinks in the place will run like clockwork, then we can start to enjoy ourselves!’Maria forced a smile and breathed out as she reached the end of her speech,‘Now as you can see, you’ve two hours to find your way around, your roomsand settle in! See you in two hours!’ The five figures stared in bewilderment at the spider’s web of textwritten in front of them.***Sergio’s t-shirt matted itself across his broad frame, glued on by theriver of sweat pouring from his body. Although he had no problem holding thetwo crates resting on his shoulders, the fifteen minute walk through the brightsun was beginning to take its toll. As the late afternoon sun lingered in the skyit reminded him that he had not yet had a break today. Since seven-am in themorning he had been labouring and teaching until his mind had degeneratedinto animalistic simplicity, simply continuing to push his body further andfurther. And so, with a shaking in his hand that he barely registered he droppedoff the afternoon meal by Fran’s class.
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