Wind-Up Shoes, by Ali McGrane

Two kids, pre-teens, full of sass, skinny as fawns. They just walk over and grab my bag. I hang on. Everything slows, my shocked blood, the street hum, the handle’s rip.

Balloons, candles, party poppers and favours, rainbow out, feather-light. As they land, time speeds back up like someone turned a dial.

One kid bends to the bright packets, something in his face I don’t want to see. I can’t stop this crazy pant-laugh. He picks out the tiny wind-up shoes, the kind that keep walking, into walls, off the edges of things. He stuffs them in his pocket. Runs.

Author bio: Ali McGrane lives and writes between the sea and the moor. Her work has appeared in Fictive Dream, The Lost Balloon, Ellipsis Zine, Cabinet of Heed, FlashBack Fiction and elsewhere. She was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award 2019 and nominated for Best of the Net and Best Microfictions 2019. Find her @Ali_McGrane_UK