Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Little Red Shoes

 

by Lynn Clement

vodka

 A tear dropped from the corner of his eye, as Josef stared at the little red shoes. He dabbed at the wet with his folded handkerchief.

The shoes reminded him of Liesel.

He left the room and lowered himself onto a large rock, positioned just by the wooden door. He wondered if it had been put there for that purpose.

Reaching into his jacket, he pulled out a black and white photograph. He touched the little girl, with her curls tied up in a red ribbon. He knew it was red. The ribbon matched her cheerful shoes.

She smiled at Josef through the camera.

Josef was back there in that cobbled street. Liesel was shouting at him.

’Higher, Josef, higher,’ as he tossed her in the air.

‘Make sure you catch her,’ scolded his mother. ‘Not too high!’

Liesel was shrieking with delight.

A warmth was in his chest. But this particular photograph brought pain too. It was taken the week before their mother handed the house-keys over to them.

‘Hurry up,’ they kept saying, as his mother’s arm delved into the carpet bag.

He remembered his fists clenching and unclenching.

There on the stone, Josef watched the sky grow dark, as a cloud moved over the sun.

He shivered.

Liesel, on the sardine-packed train, in the penetrating cold.

Him putting his jacket over her, as she slept.

Her red ribbon holding onto the curls, stopping them falling over her little face. Her shiny red shoes poking out from beneath the jacket.

‘Are you okay?’ asked the guide in the doorway, and her breath froze in the air.

Josef looked up.

She put her hand on his shoulder.

He closed his eyes.

He was lifting Liesel from the train. The night was thick and starless. Frost gripped the rails.

Josef was prodded with a gun.

’You turn left,’ he was ordered.

But Liesel and his mother turned right and were quickly swallowed up by the weary shuffling crowd.

**

The Crematoria were next on the Auschwitz tour but Josef didn’t go there.

 

 

About the author

Lynn has been writing for six years. She enjoys writing flash fiction, short stories and poetry. Most of her work, much of which pulls on the heart strings, is based on observations of people she’s met or places she’s been.

Lynn has written for Café Lit since 2017. She has had some success with local competitions, winning prizes for both her poetry and her flash fiction.

Currently, Lynn is enjoying the editorial process of having her first collection of flash fiction published by Bridge House Publishing.

 

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