A boy discovers that he has the power to change into a person by wearing their shoes. But each action has a consequence. Perhaps the boy is not as young as he thought. Perhaps he had another life. As memories begin to resurface, so do old enemies and Cole, realizes that his rediscovered power may be his only chance at staying alive.
You ever heard of that proverb "Don't judge anyone until you walked a mile in their shoes?" Yeah me too. Well that quote means something entirely different to me than it does to you. To you it's an adage. A hackneyed phrase. A cliche. To me... well... it's a lifestyle I guess. Let me tell you about myself, maybe that will make it a little more clear.
My name is Cole. I'm an orphan. I'm 13 years old, I think. I haven't celebrated a birthday in so long that I've almost forgotten. I've been living on the streets since I was 8. That was when I finally escaped the orphanage. I'd been in the orphanage for as long as I could remember. But then again... I don't know for sure. For reasons I'll tell you about in a minute. I hated the orphanage. Ready for a cliche? I'm sure you already know what I'm going to say, but I'll say it anyways. As I grew up I was smaller, weaker, and smarter than the others.
Basically, I was different, and they hated me for it.
Each day was it's own private hell. This morning for example, my roommates were kind enough to give me a wake up call. With a fist. I found it rather pleasant actually. Yesterday they used a knife. The day before that, freshly heated candle wax. My eyes flared open, I drew a sharp breath. I blinked the sleep from my eyes, and looked around at my circle of tormentors. David, Eric, John, and Frank. The usuals. I tried to get my thoughts into order. Sometimes if I played my cards right I could get them to go away. Other times they would just continue beating me. Which day would it be? I smiled, and deduced that Eric was the one who punched me. He was laughing the most, and his hand was still in a fist.
Just call me Sherlock Holmes.
Teasing him while he was in a group would activate defense power Testosterone so that was out. Acting afraid would maybe get him to go away, or maybe make myself look vulnerable and give them the green light to pain time. Maybe a compliment with confusion on top? I looked at Eric and said,
"That was the best hit I've received all week... how do you do it?" Eric just spread his arms and said
"It's one of the benefits of not being a tiny prick like you."
I replied "Yeah I guess... but then again if I were fighting someone who was correctly ratioed to me as I am to you, the odds of me appearing to be a grandiose ruffian like yourself would be astronomically improved." I looked at them. They gave me a blank look in return.
Then John said "Sounds like he's full of crap... maybe we should help him by beating it out." The others started laughing again, and closed in. I had been awake for less than five minutes and already had gotten one beating. It was a slow day. After the bang gang left, I started to cry. Not because I was afraid, or that the beating hurt, which it did but that wasn't the point. The point was that this whole setup sucked. It frustrated the hell out of me. I couldn't take it. I didn't want to take it. Suicide was becoming a constant thought. A more tangible option. It wouldn't be hard. It wouldn't hurt for long. But then I discovered it. My power.
I was running from one overgrown bear of a child or another, and I ended up outside the orphanage. I hid behind the first thing I could find, a garbage can in this case. Turns out it wasn't necessary. They had simply locked the door on me. All I had was a rag of a shirt and a pair of tattered shorts. All the caretakers had gone to bed, and all the kids were in on the joke. I had to hoof it for the night. But as soon as night fell I began to shiver. I had no shoes, no adequate protection against the wind and chill of the night. I started to rummage around in the garbage cans for anything I could use to keep myself warm.
I found a pair of shoes. Almost as ratty as my clothes, but I wasn't picky. I put them on, and my life changed. Literally. My body began to tingle and ripple. I began to grow. It was frightening, but also exciting, as this process happened I remembering thinking "Is this what puberty feels like?". My arms and legs lengthened. Muscles began to form. My hair grew longer until it was almost shoulder length. I was a completely different person. I still had my own mind, but in the back of my head I could feel a set of knowledge and memories that had belonged to someone else.
I began to walk around. Streets that I had never traveled before felt familiar. I knew that if took a left here, I would find myself at a backdoor. The backdoor held real significance. I could feel it. I sat down and waited, because I knew something was going to happen. I didn't mind waiting; my new body was more resistant to the cold. It's feet rough and calloused, the cold of the ground not penetrating them. After about a half an hour the door opened and feminine face peeked out. I didn't know her, but she knew me. The recognition was unmistakable. She frowned, and I tensed ready to make a run for it if this recognition was not a favorable one. It wasn't necessary. Almost as soon as the frown came out it was gone, replaced with a smile.
"Roger!" She cried! "I'm so happy to see you! I thought you were leaving yesterday! What happened? Why are you dressed like a hobo?" She was right. I had left yesterday. I was sailing for France, to learn... art. My passage was booked on the Mariot a liner bound for the port city of Bordeaux. What could I say? What should I do? I thought hard for a split second then spoke.
"I was. But the ship's captain went missing. They asked everyone to remain on board while they looked for him, but... I had to see you again." She leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. It felt... foreign, yet normal like it had happened before. It probably had.
"Oh baby, that was sweet of you, but you should get back there. What if they've already found him?" She looked worried but expectant at the same time. I reciprocated her... kiss, and that seemed to be what she wanted. When I was almost touching her, she angled her face towards mine and my kiss landed on her lips. It was electric. She pulled away, albeit grudgingly and said
"Now get moving! Don't forget to email!" I turned and ran back down the alley and around the corner. My breathing was heavy, but not from the running. It was the... kiss. It was this body. It was whatever this was that I had discovered. My power.
It was a curiosity. One that I wanted to discover. I thought it was the shoes that were magic at first. But a couple days later I began to experiment with shoes that I stole from the others in the orphanage. It wasn't the shoes. It was me. I was taking control of people. Or rather I was becoming their clone. I existed simultaneously with them. In the simplest terms I can think of, I turned into a copy of them. If I was stupid enough to, I could go up to them and interact with them in their own form. It was exciting. The more I practiced the more at ease I felt. The more... infinite I guess you could say. I also began to find that I could control it. If I calmed myself down before I put the shoes on, nothing would happen. If I was emotionally compromised, or thought about turning, then I would change. With the changes came the persons thoughts, important memories, and knowledge. By changing I was learning more. It came to the point where I knew more than even the caretakers. It frightened them. So they acted accordingly, and by accordingly I mean irrationally. How else does someone act when they are afraid? They began to isolate me, avoid me, they even called in a few doctors with whom I played innocent and oblivious, appealing to their disbelief. I could get a life. I could get revenge. I could escape.
The possibilities were endless.