Mammoth metal monsters grind their teeth against masonry, as the screech and squeals of screaming tortured stone and steel scream out with unheeded pity. The metal maws crunch the roof timbers and brick work to dust as the debris rains down. Piles of mashed bricks that surround the walls of the old garage. The dust of so many years hang in the air, turning a bright summers day into a thick soupy gloom. The noise is deafening as the mechanical behemoths battle it out against the roar of the slowly shredding building.
A gigantic yellow JCB manoeuvres through the debris towards the front of the building with its large shovel lowered, aiming at the stout double doors. These same doors built to pass a double decker through or at least it had been some 30 years ago. Was it really so long, it didn’t feel that long ago. My fingers gripping the safety rail in front of me, so tight, they were going numb. The bull dozer pushes through the massive wooden doors, sending green splinters flying everywhere. I let out an involuntary scream of pure savage emotion, as the full wall implodes as the doors give way. The whole demolition site disappears in a blinding haze of dust.
Everything disappears in a cloud of swirling debris. The image of that building with its huge green doors set so firmly in my mind swirl before me as the Particles of dust become flurries of snow that are carried fast with a driving wind. Day turned to night in the blink of an eye. The big green double doors of the dilapidated garage were there before me, lit dimly by the one street lamp. The tall thin light swayed to and fro with the gusts as it cast a strange wavering wash across the doors. The snow turned to hail and pelted against the paintwork like a thousand tiny tap shoes dancing gleefully on the wood.
I should be freezing in this change of weather, but I wasn’t. I was frozen to the spot. A voyeur of the weather and location. A different tapping sounded off to the right, what ever was making it was hidden from view. Blocked by the curve of the road, the wall and branches of the bushes that rustled and danced in the wind. Click click. Click click, the noise grew louder as they grew closer. A faint sing song voice joined in with the rhythm of the high heel shoes, tip tapping out the songs beat on the path.
A bang near the run down garage whipped my head back around, one of the doors was ajar. The wind had caught hold of it and set it to rocking back and forth on its old rusted hinges. A shadow materialised, as the door stilled its motion abruptly. Silently the shadow slipped away into deeper shadows alongside a nearby building's wall.
The voice was still singing its merry little Christmas jingle to the tip tapping of shoes. A young woman passed under the circle of light from the still swaying street lamp. Head down, chin tucked into her chest. Her hands clutching her clothes tightly together around her as the wind tried to strip the wet cloth away from her body. Long damp hair whipped back and forth across her lowered face, as she tried to avoid the sting of the freezing winter storm.
The clicks of those tall heels stuttered for a moment as she lost her footing on the icy path. Her frozen hand releases the jacket and clutches at the wall beside her as the wind takes advantage and whisks its way underneath the thin jacket. As she fumbles to wrap the wildly flapping jacket back around her body. The wind catches the hem of her short skirt and lifts it showing flashes of very pale thighs. Angrily she slaps down the skirt, grabs the jacket back under control and steps forward into the wind. Eyes lowered to watch her footing, no song joined the resuming tip tap rhythm this time.
With eyes on the path before her she couldn’t see the shadow lurking behind the plinth of the garage's drive entrance. I could. I tried to shout a warning as the two figures converged. My mouth filled with hail each time I opened it to scream. Foul tasting gritty snow, flowed into my throat making me choke and splutter. Unable to utter a sound except a muffled chocking cough. I could only watch what occurred before me.
The tip tap shoes moved into the open area level with the garage doors the plinth behind her. The two shapes merged as the shadow wrapped its arm around her throat. Another arm around her slim waist lifting her up and arching her backwards. They disappeared into the shadows together, just her pale legs kicking and stumbling as they tried to gain their footing. I saw them again they reached the big green doors shadow and lady in a macabre dance. The glint of a knife was the last I saw as he forced her into the building. Thankfully the door slammed shut against the wind and my vision.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I looked around the street desperately looking for help. Only the weather moved in that deserted road. My eyes fell on a small shape in the darkened driveway. It reflected the waving light from the swaying street lamp. A single red high heel shoe. I forced myself to draw in a deep breath and before the dirty snow could fill my throat I screamed as loud as possible. A long drawn out scream of desperation.
I coughed and spluttered as water flowed across my face and filled my mouth, a wet rag followed the waters flow. A deep reassuring voice kept saying the same words over and over again. “Your all right love, your safe now.”
Hands gently wiped my face again with a sopping wet cloth. “Lie still flower, let me wash the dust from your eyes.”
The sun slowly filtered through my cleanly washed eyes. A lovely blue sky appeared above two concerned faces, there yellow hard hats gleamed in the sunshine.
"Drink this,” says one of the men as he offered me a bottle of water.
Between sips, to clear the muck from my throat, I inquired of one yellow hatted workman. “What happened?”
"As the end wall collapsed the other walls must have been to old and weak they all crashed outwards sending dust and bricks flying everywhere. We all got caught up in the mess.”
"There’s going be hell to pay for this.”
"Health and safety inquiry, cops even.” The other man agreed, as they helped me to my feet.
The dust had settled, only a mangled heap of bricks and wood remained where the old garage with the big green doors had once stood.
I reached behind my back and pulled an object from the bag still hanging there. The men watched quizzically as I gently tossed the single high heeled red shoe into the pile of bricks.
"Just laying a bad memory to rest.” I told them quietly. They nodded, they seemed to understand.
I recently travelled back to the place where it happened. Unfortunately no one has demolished that old garage. The big green doors are still there. The red high heel shoe is just part of my memory. I don’t know what happened to it when it was dragged from my feet. The skirt and jacket, I had brought specially for a Christmas party. I ripped to shreds and hid in the very bottom of a rubbish bin. Maybe one day that garage will get blown down by another winters storm and I can visit the town of my youth and lay a real red shoe on a real pile of bricks.
By Tracey Owen & Brian.Rueby
copyright Oct 2011