Coy sighed. Another crackpot. Then she looked into the woman's mysterious green eyes. "I wear heels often. I love shoes, period. How much are they?"
In a breathy tone Shela replied, "They aren't for sale."
Hearing Shela's response, Coy became anxious. "But, they were mixed in with the other items." She pointed in the direction of the shoe rack. "Won't you please consider selling them? I'd really like to have them."
Shela placed her finger aside her nose. "I tell you what, Coy Van--Alstine. Answer my question, and I will give you the shoes."
"Give?" Coy narrowed her eyes. "Answer a question and the shoes are mine for free?"
Feeling as if she should walk away, Coy pursued Shela's offer. "Let me make a donation or something."
Shela rolled her eyes. "No." She put the shoes in her apron's pocket, then placed her hand on Coy's shoulder. "Seven years of marriage. A beautiful male. No sex. You love him dearly. What would you do?"
Coy stood blinking. She pursed her lips. "Is that the question?"
"Is it too simple?"
"No, it isn't. Well, if I loved him, we would find other ways of sharing our affection."
Shela looked toward the sky, then smiled. "Are you the one?" she whispered.
"Inside your purse, there is a keepsake, one that you cherish. You've carried this item since childhood. Let me see it."
Coy was puzzled, but picked up her purse. With eyes committed to the woman, she opened her large bag and rambled about. Her fingers met the cool metal of her keys. Immediately, she recalled the precious trinket on her keychain.
When Coy was ten, her family went on a picnic. While playing in the woods, Coy and her brother had found a pebble. There was nothing special or unique about it. This particular stone was smooth, sandy in color, but with a streak of blue embedded throughout the rock. Because that day had been magical, Coy equated the rock with family, togetherness, laughter, and good times. It was only a keepsake of that special day.
Since that day, she kept the stone in her possession. During her last year in high school, she had the stone encased in a golden lace holder, later she turned that holder into a keychain."It's only a rock."
Shela raised a finger. "But--a very important rock." She held out her palm. "Let me see it."
After passing her keychain to Shela, Coy shifted her weight and watched.Shela examined the trinket as if it were a diamond.
This woman is creepy. She must be some sort of witch or something? Talks weird. I'm getting a little bit nervous. I'd better leave.
Shela raised her eyes, catching Coy off guard. "Will you possess the shoes, or will the shoes possess you?"
Coy widened her eyes. "Excuse me? I didn't quite understand."
"I said, will you possess the shoes, or will the shoes possess you?"
Coy opened her palm to receive her keychain. "Neither. I think I'll pass on the shoes."
Shela held the shoes before Coy. "You seem like a level-headed person, and of course, the shoes are free. But..."
Pushing her arm through the loop of her handbag, Coy reached up and tugged her earlobe. "I don't know." She backed away. "They're nice, but I think I have a pair at home just like them."
The woman stretched her eyes to an abnormal size. "So, you do lie. These shoes are unlike any shoes you will ever own. Once you wear them, your life will never be the same."
"That's what they say at Supreme Shoes Outlet." Coy paced, anxious to leave Shela's cryptic presence.
Holding the shoes, Shela pressed on. "I'm going to give you my card. You may have these shoes free of charge. If you decide you no longer wish them in your possession, they must be returned on the seventh day, of the seventh month, at precisely seven minutes after seven, and seven seconds. Return them to this address."
Coy reached for the card and grimaced. "So, you're going to loan me some shoes, based on some mumbo jumbo date."
With a haughty expression, Shela flared her nostrils. "So to speak."
"If I decide I don't want them, does it matter if they're not perfect?"
"It doesn't matter at all. Do you want these shoes, I say?"
Again, Coy nervously tugged her earlobe. "I love these shoes, but I can't help but feel that something is wrong with them."
"Then return them."
"What happens if I decide to keep them? May I offer you a few dollars, then?"
Raising a long finger, she pointed directly in Coy's face. "Before long, you'll know if you want to own them."
Shela paired the shoes, and gave them to Coy. Once they touched her hands, the sky darkened. In wonderment, Coy lifted her dark brown eyes.
Bluish gray clouds darted quickly across the troubled sky. Drawn to each other, clouds gathered in one enormous heap. In a haunting spectacle, lightening crawled across the sky. Thunder boomed loudly, sending the crowds scurrying for cover. Winds blew in powerful gusts, causing trinkets to take flight, and swirl violently on the winds.
Watching the sudden event, Coy held out her palm. She realized there was no rain. Holding the shoes near her breasts, she shielded her eyes with her forearm, as trash flew all around her. Finally, the wind subsided, leaving behind a horrible aftermath.
Strangely, the sun returned, beaming brightly. Once again, it was unbearably hot. Witnessing this oddity, Coy turned to confer with Shela. There was no one there. Coy searched all around the area, but Shela had disappeared from sight.