Selling Her Sole

“What?” Donna answered the phone with a harsh whisper. She sat in a dark, bathroom-sized storage space with her back against the closed, locked door. The only light in the room came from her phone’s flashlight. When she answered the phone she illuminated the wooden wall to her right.

“Hey. Are you okay?” her friend, Edgar, asked through the phone. Donna replied, still whispering, through gritted teeth.

“If I was fine I wouldn’t have texted you for help,” she hissed. “Why are you calling and not helping me?”

“I’m on my way, but I need to hear you say it. You need to hear what you texted me out loud.”

“I’m wearing a magic boot that lets me levitate!”  Is this new situation really that much more fantastical?” Donna asked, then she heard Edgar’s hearty chuckle on the other end.

“Yes,” he replied. Donna sighed and rolled her eyes.

“I’m stuck in the storage attic because there’s a teleporting, talking cat chasing me. It’s on the other side of the door and I don’t have anywhere else to go. There, how close are you?” Donna pulled the phone away from her ear to avoid Edgar’s heavy laughter.

“I got your text right when I pulled up,” Edgar continued laughing. “I just wanted to make you say it because you never freak out.”

“It’s a talking cat! Would you get in here and help me!” she yelled, dropping the whisper altogether.

“I’m already in the store, hold on a second. Hanging up.” After the call ended Donna stood up and backed away from the door. Within a minute she heard a muffled conversation on the other side of the door. After several more seconds, someone knocked on the door.

“It’s okay to come out,” Edgar said. “She’s not trying to hurt you.”

“Then why is she chasing me?” Donna replied without moving toward the door.

“She likes your boots,” Edgar laughed.

“What the hell?” Donna threw the door open. Edgar stood on steps next to a black cat with a red skull-shaped pattern in the fur atop its head. “Why didn’t you just tell me you liked my shoes?” Donna asked the cat.

“You ran when I said, ‘hi,’ ” the cat replied with a soft, feminine voice. Edgar immediately doubled over with more laughter.

“See?” he said between laughs. “Told you a talking cat was more fantastical than a magic boot.” Donna took a moment to glare at Edgar through slitted eyes. His laughter disappeared with a sudden throat clear. Then, she looked back at the cat.

“You chased me to compliment my foot-wear?”

“No,” the cat said. It looked to Edgar for a second, then back to Donna. “What I told your friend is that I’m here for your boot.” Donna stepped backward and closed the door partway.

“Or what?” She asked, afraid of the answer. The cat disappeared. Then Donna heard the female voice in the room behind her.

“I’m willing to barter before resorting to threats,” the cat said.

“I told you she teleported!” Donna yelled at Edgar. He only saw humor in the situation and chuckled.

“I’m going downstairs, you don’t need me to work it out,” he gave a dismissive wave and retreated down the steps. Donna turned to face the cat, thankful that the open door let light in.

“Barter huh? Okay, how much are you offering?”

“Not money. Let’s say a wish. If you could wish for anything, other than money, what would it be?” Donna did not hesitate, she’d always had her ‘one wish’ planned out.

“I’d kill to be young again,” she smiled. Though she was only 34, she wanted to be young again with everything she knew up to that point. The cat’s head dipped slightly as if it nodded.

“No time travel, you’d be you now. Just younger,” the cat explained.

“You can do it!?” Donna dropped to the floor and started working her right boot off.

“If you agree to the deal. I’ll grant your wish if you give me the boot.” Donna managed to pull the right boot off, and the boot on her left foot disappeared.

“YES!” Donna yelled. She put the boot down in front of the cat.  The cat bumped it over with its head and looked at the sole. Then it nodded.

“Okay, it’s good,” the cat said, then swished its tail. A small black circle appeared on the ground, swallowed the boot, then disappeared again.

“Oh yeah, did that number mean something? 22?” She asked. The cat’s tail flicked again. A football-sized black portal hovered several inches off the ground, and two items dropped out of it. A black business card and a small vial of red liquid.

“Yes, but I don’t feel like explaining it. Drink the liquid, hold on to the card. If you come across any other magical items with a number between 5 and 53 on them, use the card.” Donna collected both items and stood up. She uncapped the liquid but paused to ask a question.

“How do I use it?” She asked and swallowed the single gulp. The cat had opened her own portal while Donna drank, and was half-way through it when she responded.

“Just touch the magic item. You’ll earn another wish.” It turned to walk away again, but Donna yelled.

“HEY! I’M STILL OLD!” The cat disappeared into the hole, but Donna heard an answer before the hole vanished into thin air.

“You haven’t killed anyone yet.”

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