As Kim kept moving the flashlight, she caught sight of two bare feet poking out
from behind a box. She could see them quite clearly: pale, translucent feet with
well-kept nails; and she realized the intruder must be young. Kim was surprised to
see a child down here in the basement.
The sound of crying slowly filtered into her awareness. Feeling compassion for the
young person who must surely be lost, Kim walked forward, carefully avoiding the
spilled milk and shattered glass.
She went around the boxes and shone her flashlight on the legs, noticing a lacy
hem line on a linen dress as she ran her flashlight up the stranger’s body.
Her hands were still shaking, but she continued to raise the light, inch by inch,
uncovering every detail, fascinated by each discovery.
She drew in a breath sharply as the light finally revealed a young girl, about ten
she guessed, cowering against the wall, with her head down.
The girl’s outfit was an old-fashioned skirt with lace frills around the edge, and Kim
remembered lace like that on her grandmother’s table. Her grandmother had
crocheted it herself: fine, crocheted circles and pineapples and shells.
“Are you all right?” she asked the girl.
The girl remained sitting with her head hung low, her mop of red hair obscuring her
face. As Kim spoke to her, she began raising her head until her face came into
view. Kim screamed in surprise.
Above the small, dark mouth, the eye sockets ran deep and empty, nothing but
blackness behind them, the hollow recesses of the braincase echoing back at her.
Kim was struck hot with terror at the realization that she was looking at a ghost.
She expected this kind of surprise would make her even colder than she was now,
but it didn’t.
Kim felt a strong surge of compassion and pity for this ghost before her. Even
though her skin prickled in fear, the deep emotional connection she felt with the
spirit overrode her body’s reactions of horror and disgust. After all, hearing about
a ghost, and seeing one, were two different things, really. She stood her ground,
and then saw the dark mouth open and ask her a question which sent a chill
through to her bones.
“Have you seen my red satin shoes?”
“You’re dead!” Kim shouted. As the words rushed out her mouth, she felt more
alive than she had in years.
“Have you seen my red satin shoes with the buckles?”
“What are you talking about?” Kim asked.
“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” the ghost inquired.
“I must be losing my mind,” she said, although the ghost didn’t even turn her head
at the comment.
Kim closed her eyes tight and rubbed her fingers against them until beautiful
colors formed. Even behind her closed eyelids, she could still feel the girl’s
“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” the eyeless ghost demanded.
Kim snapped her eyes open. She was still there, and the eye sockets were still
empty dark holes. Kim finally comprehended the ghost wasn’t a hallucination and
wasn’t going to go away just because she wished it or rubbed her eyes.
“I’ve never seen your red satin shoes!”
She wasn’t sure if the ghost misunderstood her or was simply lost in her own
purgatory. “So you have seen my shoes? I knew it, you lying thief! Give them back!
Give them back! Give them back!”
With each repeated command, the ghost’s voice grew fainter and fainter, as if it
was being pulled farther and farther away from her. Then the ghost disappeared
from sight entirely and the tension in the air eased to a more normal level, as if the
ghost had never been there at all.
In the vineyards of Sonoma County, young Kim O’Reilly watches
as a thunderstorm knocks out power to her house. Going
downstairs to fix the power, she discovers a ghost who wants to
know what happened to her red satin shoes. The horror only
grows deeper when she explores the mystery of the red satin
shoes, only to uncover dark family secrets hidden by her
|The Red Satin Shoes
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