For sale: Baby shoes, never worn (R.I.P.)

It was a cold rainy night in the lonely and dark streets of London. A couple with their 9-month-old son huddled inside a small umbrella. The baby started bawling loudly. ‘Oh, baby! Don’t worry. We will find a shelter soon.’ Said the woman sweetly as she took off her jacket and carefully swaddled her son. ‘Hey! What is that?’ The man spoke as he pointed towards the end of the street. There was a faint red glow at the end of the street. As they walked towards it, they could slowly make out the words ‘Hotel Murdelia’. The couple looked at each other then back at the sign. ‘Hey, honey! We found a hotel! Now, you won’t be cold anymore.’ Said the woman to her baby as she gently rocked him. Standing tall in front of them was a 3 storied cabin made of pine. It looked a little dusty. Engraved on the door was ‘Murdelia’. It was quite unlike general hotels which looked modern and had glass doors and windows. The small family elated to find a hotel pushed the door open to see a magnificent brick fireplace in front of a white sectional. The couple let out a synchronized ‘Woah’. There was a small wooden reception beside them. They were still mesmerized by how the hotel looked like when an old lady interrupted them. ‘Hello, welcome to Hotel Murdelia! Congrats! You have such a cute baby. She said sweetly as played a small game of Peek-a-boo with the baby who started laughing. She introduced herself as Mrs. Florence. ‘Thank you. My name is James. James Wood. This is my wife, Shea and this is our son, Jake. We would like to book a room, please.’ Said the man. ‘So, Mr.Wood, would you like to get to your room right away, or would like to have dinner first?’ Questioned Mrs. Florence.

‘Oh, you can call me James. We would love to have dinner first.’

‘Well, you are lucky! I just made dinner. Let’s eat before it gets cold!’

‘After you, Mrs. Florence.’

‘Ah. What a lovely meal! You sure are a good cook.’ Said Shea who slowly got up and started picking up the dishes. ‘Oh, dear! Leave the dishes to me, you are my one and only guests.’ Cried Mrs. Florence as she took the dishes from Shea. ‘One and only?’ Asked James in confusion. ‘Things have been tight lately as there haven’t been any customers recently. My daughter used to work in a coffee shop to make ends meet but she was in the shop when it caught on fire…’ Mrs. Florence’s voice trailed off. ‘I am so sorry for what you are going through. I can’t imagine what I would do if I lost Jake.’ Shea said as she patted Mrs. Florence’s back. ‘Well, including the dinner and your room it costs you $15.’ James took out his wallet and handed her $20. ‘The rest are for you. Our room is 302 right?’

Mrs. Florence nodded gently. Shea took Jake out of the high chair and started singing him a lullaby as she rocked him in her arms. ‘I think we should go up now, good night, Mrs. Florence.’

The room was pretty much… wooden? The bed, dresser, doors, ceiling, floor, walls were made out of wood. The canopy bed stood in the last corner of the room. On the right side of the bed, there was a wooden door with a brass doorknob. It led to the bathroom. There was a white oak dresser with a mirror next to the bed. On the dresser, there was a marble vase with a bouquet of eucalyptus flowers. ‘Wow! This is good for just $15.’ Exclaimed Shea after checking the room out completely. She slowly put Jake on the bed. Jake started to crawl all over the bed and gave an ear-to-ear smile. ‘Haha, this kiddo loves the bed, eh?’ James said before letting out a loooooong yawn. ‘It has gotten late. Everyone off to bed!’ Shea said — actually, ordered as she came out of the bathroom in her pajamas. ‘Yeah, I will just-’ ‘Knock Knock.’ James was interrupted in between by someone knocking on the door. Shea went to open the door. It was Mrs. Florence outside holding a wrapped box. ‘Hi, Mrs. Florence.’ Shea greeted. ‘Hello, Shea dah-ling. This is a gift from me to your little Jake. Hope he likes it.’ Mrs. Florence replied as she handed the box to Shea. ‘Oh thank you so much but we can’t possibly take it.’ Said Shea as she handed it back to Mrs. Florence. ‘I insist.’ Shea hesitated for a moment and finally took the gift and thanked a million times. After a short chat, Mrs. Florence and Shea said good night to each other. ‘Mrs. Florence is the sweetest. Look, Jake! Mrs. Florence got you a pair of shoes.’ Exclaimed Shea after she opened the box. The shoes were musky blue with grey soles and details. They fit Jake perfectly. Finally, everyone went to sleep.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Mrs. Florence was sharpening one of the knives. She laughed while sharpening the knife. When she thought the knife was sharp enough she held it and examined it, while laughing. Not in a good and sweet way but in an evil way. Ever seen a killer laugh just before he kills someone? Right now, Mrs. Florence looked like the killer.

‘AAAAAHHHH’ Was the first thing that came out of Shea’s voice when she woke up and saw Jake. Jake was lying beside her. Dead. He was stabbed right into his heart. The moment James heard Shea scream, he woke up.

Shea and James were leaving the hotel when Mrs. Florence interrupted them. ‘OH, DEAR! Why is Jakes’s swaddle covered in blood?!’ Shea was sobbing. ‘Mrs. Florence, someone murdered my son while we were sleeping! How did a killer even enter the hotel?!’ Yelled James who was furious. Even though James was furious you could notice his bright eyes had turned into dull eyes full of misery. Mrs. Florence’s hand sprung to her mouth in shock. ‘WHAT?’ ‘We are leaving. I will make sure to have a full investigation on this.’ After that, the Wood family left. Mrs. Florence smirked and muttered ‘Idiots.’ and called someone. This is what she spoke — ‘A couple with a dead baby. Burnt to bones. Now.’ After a few minutes, she heard a loud blast.

Mrs. Florence was standing in front of a shop holding a rectangular cardboard box. ‘The shoebox’ was written on the banner hanging up the store. Mrs. Florence went inside. A man greeted her. ‘Welcome back, Mrs. Florence’ ‘Hello, Taylor. I would like to donate this pair of baby shoes.’ Mrs. Florence said as she handed the box to Taylor. ‘Another? You are so generous. According to the record, this is your 25th baby shoe donation.’ ‘Thank you, these are just like the other ones, totally new.’ ‘Let me see them’. Taylor opened the box to see a pair of lovely musky blue shoes with grey soles and details. Taylor quickly but carefully placed the shoes in the main display with all the other 24 baby shoes Mrs. Florence had donated. A sign hung above the shoes which said — ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

~Arya Bhingradia

A baker, a student, a dancer, a writer, an artist, a daughter, a best friend. Ready to kill someone if they hurt someone I love. In need of a pet.

A baker, a student, a dancer, a writer, an artist, a daughter, a best friend. Ready to kill someone if they hurt someone I love. In need of a pet.