It had started to drizzle again, just like it had yesterday, and the day before yesterday and the day before that and countless such days, while I lay here absolutely helpless. Incapable of doing anything, I keep staring listlessly at the now clouded night sky and watch it gaze back at me night after night, with my hopes of returning home ever again, rising with the rising sun and setting as the sun took away the last shade of crimson with itself at the end of the day.

It seems like ages ago when I too belonged somewhere, had a home, a family and the perfectly compatible life partner. The mere thought of him opened the floodgates to a gazillion of such distant memories—all the days we had spent together, the nights when he held my hand tightly in his, promising to never let go of it no matter what, little knowing what Providence had in store for us; if only I had known that one day I would be lying all alone, deserted in the woods with open wounds here and there on my bare body covered in mud, cheering up only at the slightest noise of the rustle of  dried leaves fallen carelessly all around me. 

I close my eyes and feel the lasting impression of the cursed day engraved vividly in my mind. The savage countenance, the beast’s wide grin revealing his menacingly sharp set of teeth, the twinkle in his eyes , his salivating mouth at the mere sight of me, the feeling of being dragged away into the oblivion of the deep dark woods far away from the safety of  home, and then an absolute blackout. The next thing I remember is waking up smothered in mud and an excruciating pain running through my entire body preventing the slightest possible movement whatsoever, with no sign of the beast anywhere for he had certainly abandoned me to decompose alone in the woods after I fell prey to his whim. I was left with no choice but to lay still, helpless, waiting relentlessly for someone to come to my rescue; with the hope of reuniting with my family before I give in to the injuries and the affliction—both physical and emotional. 

I do not know for how long I have been reminiscing when I fell unconscious. My eyes opened to the sound of the rustle of dry leaves and distant human voices, gradually making their way to what I hoped, was towards me. I mustered up whatever strength was remnant in me after days of all the torment and sufferings I have been through, and let out a futile cry for help. Clearly my shrieks were drowned in the cold night air before it could reach the ears of my supposed redeemer, for I heard the sound of footsteps retreating, tracing their path in the direction opposite of where I was left alone to suffer for an eternity at the hands of the natural forces, and the beams from their flashlights growing fainter, each step away from me slowly extinguishing the last burning ray of hope for the retrieval of my body. Just when I was about to let go of all the ties binding me to the material world, I heard someone say , “ Come back here, I think I have found something”. The footsteps waded their way across the muddy path and the dried leaves lying everywhere on the ground, steadily approaching nearer and then the light fell on me, calling attention to every little detail serving as an evidence of the horrific night and the all the agony inflicted on me,  that the darkness of the night had so long tried to conceal—my injured bare self, lying devastated, ripped of all the beauty, the dignity and the grandeur that I was once a proud possessor of. “Here it is, the other one of the pair of my imported shoes,” came the voice filled with excitement, which now I reckoned, belonged to my 16-year old mistress, Bella. She walked towards me, knelt down, picked me up and after a prolonged close examination I saw her head turn around and directing her gaze to a figure in the dark, exclaimed in a quivering voice, “ Look at the mess you have made. I will never be able to forgive you for this.” I strained my eyes into the night to see who it was at the receiving end of all her wrath and reproof, when I saw him again. The beast with his tongue dangling out of his mouth and the noticeably familiar twinkle in his eyes. “Why would you do that to my favourite pair of shoes, Bruno?”, Bella continued, this time almost on the verge of breaking down. He stood there wagging his tail and his barks echoed through the night, as if providing with an explanation for his act of savagery, while all my cries for help went unheard. 

The relief was however short-lived. The promise of a secured future in the comfort back home was momentary and was shattered with the words that came out of her mouth next. “What am I going to do with this disfigured piece of footwear?” She loosened her grips and slowly let go of me while I felt myself falling back to the same muddy pit she lifted me from. The shallow depression on the earth now felt like a bottomless abyss devoid of an exit for me, as I watched her dispassionately retrace her way back home. 

The very thought of being replaced by another pair of expensive and in all probability, a better pair of shoes took over all the physical agony which I could barely feel now. With the ultimate realisation of how everyone, in due course, will forget I ever existed, I prayed to be reborn as anything but a shoe. I allowed my once expensive body get overlaid with the mud while the darkness of the cold winter night enshrouded me eventually.

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