I know I haven’t posted in well over a week. That’s my bad. To bribe all of you, how about a short story I wrote a month ago!

We’re getting closer and closer to the official release date of On The Border. This story and its characters have taken control of my life for the last two years. Every story I’ve tried to write not around them has somehow written itself around them.

So this is a short story that possibly takes place after On The Border; it’s vague enough to really take place whenever I feel like making it take place. Don’t worry, it doesn’t spoil anything.

Based on the song “Bad Sneakers” by Steely Dan, off their album Katy Lied.

Cassidy Sundance was going insane, or so she felt. Never had she felt so alone surrounded by crowds – waves – of people. With no one by her side to give her a metaphorical shoulder of support, she stood on the concrete sidewalk in a pair of bad sneakers and laughed. The weather in her head was more frightening than the cold rain in which she stood.

She had no questions about her current situation, and that was what led her to believe she was going crazy. Not in quite some time had she lived in the moment without wondering about potential consequences or end results. People stared as they walked past and gave her a wide berth. Dangerous criminal or deranged lunatic? They did not see a suffering woman.

When the crowds passed and she found herself alone on the street corner once more, Cassidy’s gaze fell to her feet. These sneakers had become her best friend. They were the pair she had worn when running cross country track in high school. Those years, those times she had been running for competition and sport, had felt freeing to her. They were nothing compared to her last bit of running.

Her last running had consisted of boots. They were an item she refused to wear now. Bad sneakers – laces fraying at the ends, the soles worn down to almost nothing, and the front of the shoes peeling away from the rest – knew her pain. She shifted her feet and wondered what insight her partner-in-crime would have had. She assumed it would have been some sort of song lyrics about shoes. Maybe having a song about her shoes while he had a song about something else. If she knew music better, she could have filled in for his absence.

But she had lost him some time ago, and her search for him resulted in this: crazed laughter on a street corner in an unfamiliar city while it rained. She was close to him. But she did not know which way to turn. North, south, east, or west – which was right and which was wrong? Or which was right and which was left?

She did not need to hear glimpses of people’s conversations walking past to know that times were hard everywhere. They had been hard when her first journey started; they were even harder now. Strangers did not know the beginning of hard times.

It had been some time since she had felt this alone. The start of her running had been that way, but after a point, someone had always been next to her. Since this next leg started, there was no one. Not a long stranger, not a doting old friend, not even her family – they were all too afraid to get close. Home no longer existed to her. She wandered from place to place. It was the only way she felt comfortable.

She let her sneakers guide her feet.

(The song she mentions about shoes is “Madison Blues” by whatever artist you prefer)