Inside Shoes

By Daphne

“I swear that I saw him. It was when I was waiting for my father.”

“Are you sure it was him? You weren’t mistaken? Pass the ice cream, please.”

“Dawn, I wouldn’t swear, if I wasn’t sure. If I’m wrong, you can borrow my green sweater that you’re jealous of,” passing the ice cream. “Don’t scoop all the peanut butter cups out, leave some for me.”

Dawn stuck her tongue out as she scooped around the peanut butter cups. “I do want your green sweater, Hannah, but I’d rather you be right about what you saw.”

The girls swapped lines back and forth along with the tub of peanut butter ice cream as they enjoyed their sleep over at Hannah Hoxley’s estate. The fall wind whipped, outside the security and warmth of Hannah’s large and posh bedroom. Spindly fingers of a tree with less and less fiery leaves every day, clicked away at the window. Dawn Meadows was spending a sleep over at the Hoxley mansion as had become a repeat custom in the year that her parents had tragically passed away, leaving the Meadow’s fortune resting on her 16 year old shoulders.

Dawn and Hannah were classmates at the Ivy Ridge prep academy and their elite financial status, left them somewhat isolated socially, and thus they shared a certain kinship. Their passion for journalism and differing personalities left them rivals, so their kinship was delicate at best. Despite these differences, Dawn and Hannah swapped sleepovers at their respective mansions, and took what they could out of the frail bond they shared, as there was little other deep connections they had with the other girls at school. Being too wealthy did have its drawbacks.

“I can get you in,” continued Hannah, licking a spoonful of ice cream teasingly.

“What do you mean?” inquired Dawn suspicious of Hannah’s methods.

“Let’s just say one of the bank tellers owes me a favor,”

Dawn frowned in judgment.

“What?” cried Hannah, a wounded look on her face. “A lot of times, I’m left waiting for my father to finish up at work for a long time, and so I wander around, I talk to people, I pay attention, and I gather information. Sometimes that information has value. Sometimes people don’t want that information to go places.”

“You’re going to blackmail one of the tellers?”

“Oh, Dawn. You make it sound ugly. I’m merely using drawing upon a favor, for you I might add, so that you might further your crusade of truth and justice,” Hannah replied sticking her tongue out.

Dawn wrinkled her nose, and held her frown. She disapproved of Hannah’s method, but was there an alternative? Hannah’s father was the manager of the most prestigious bank in the city. As a result he dealt with many of the wealthiest people in New York. In those dealings, Mr. Hoxley was certain to have dealings with dishonest people. This was not to say Mr. Hoxley was dishonest. Quite likely he was often unaware of the true nature of his clients, as it was certainly none of his business. One of these particular clients had recently drawn the attentive high school journalistic eye of one sleuth, Dawn Meadows.

While she was doing some routine research, Dawn had stumbled upon some headlines about stolen government documents that covered some defense plans. While the documents themselves were kept is separate locations, and acted as puzzle pieces, they had been systematically turning up stolen over the past several weeks, and like any puzzle, when the pieces are put together, can be solved. In regards to defense plans, this could be used for good, or more likely in this case, for evil.

Dawn’s further investigation led to her to a suspect that she felt certain was using a safe deposit box in the secure vaults of the Hoxley bank. This individual was most likely using the security and anonymous of the bank to store the puzzle pieces until he had compiled them all. Dawn felt certain that she could prove it, only she was a 16 year old girl with no access to the high security lock boxes far beneath the surface in the vaults of the Hoxley Bank. Thus she could only grudgingly be thankful that her often rival, Hannah Hoxley was also her sometimes friend, and treasured daughter of the bank manager.

“Well, what do you think?” Hannah asked, waving her hand in front of Dawn’s blank face.

“Oh! Yes, of course. I can’t afford to let this lead slip by,” agreed Dawn.

“Great, then we’ll go to the bank after school tomorrow. While I’m waiting for my father to finish work, I’ll get you the access you need. Now let’s get some sleep, you’re going to need it for all the sleuthing you’re going to be doing tomorrow,” Hannah giggled slyly.

Dawn rolled her emerald eyes, dropping her blonde head to the lush pillows on Hannah’s bed as the lights slowly dimmed, leaving the room bathed in the gentle starlight cascading from the window, the monotonous clicking of the tree’s fingers against the glass lulling her into sleep.

The next day after school…

The wind whipped the short and flowy lavender skirt around Dawn’s long slender thighs. Even in her sheer barely black pantyhose, she felt scandalized by her struggle to maintain her modesty, holding tight the recalcitrant hem, while the bow ribbon tied at her waist tossed about. Her matching lavender heels clicked on the pavement as she hurriedly crossed the distance from the taxi to the looming entrance to the Hoxley Bank. In the grand shadow of the building, her slender arms shivered and gave rise to goose bumps, with little protection in her dainty pink tank top. Dawn grimaced at the looks the she garnered as she hurried up the stone steps, holding tight to her little skirt, aware she was a pretty young thing looking the fool at the foot of a professional institution.

Inside the marble floors clicked and clacked with in harmony with Dawn’s tiny heels, seeming so much louder in the quiet grace of the magnificent lobby, where thankfully the wind was not welcome to harass the girl’s skirt. Smoothing out her long windswept hair, Dawn opened her luminous green eyes and scanned the intimidating large are for a familiar face, Hannah’s would do just fine.

“Dawn! Over here!” came a raised whisper to her left. Several heads turned to the commotion, causing Dawn’s cheeks to stain a bright pink. She put her head down, taking quick but short steps trying to minimize the click of her heels as she crossed the lobby to a small adjacent office where Hannah was poking her head out. She ran the last few steps, ducking into the office and seeing that it was comfortably empty beyond the two of them, she plopped down in a comfortable looking chair letting out a big dramatic sigh over the difficulties of being a teenage girl. Hannah took one last peek outside the door, and then closed it with her back to it, letting out a giggle over Dawn’s exasperation, getting it completely. Those people out there, the city out there, obviously had no idea what it was like to be a teenage girl.

The pink in Dawn’s cheeks was fading back into the perfect porcelain she was known for as her humiliation passed and she distractedly played with the knees of her nylons, slipping her mischievous feet in and out of her school dress shoes. Hannah was holding something in her delicately long fingers. It looked like a credit card. Dawn stopped playing with her hosiery and raised an eyebrow, question mark nearly visible above her blonde head.

“This little thing is your ticket to your scoop,” answered Hannah seeing the question in the sleuth’s emerald eyes.

“Okay,” replied Dawn, eyeing the card in Hannah’s hand, waiting for more information.

“Let’s just say I got our mutual friend to loan this to me… in exchange for keeping some things just between us,” smiled Hannah with a bit of pride.

“Is she, is she going to get in trouble?” asked Dawn, ever the Good Samaritan in matters such as these.

“Relax, Meadows. She said we have until 4:45pm until the card needs to be back. As long as you’re not caught snooping down there, nobody will be the wiser to who had it. It won’t seem any different than if she was down in the vaults running a routine check for the bank.”

“If I don’t get caught? What does that mean? What happens if I get caught?” asked Dawn nervously, though she knew that it couldn’t be anything good.

“If you get caught, well you can expect to royally tick me off, because my dad will definitely ground me until like forever, and you can forget about us having another sleepover ever again. And that’s not even taking into account the… no, never mind,” scolded Hannah.

“No never mind what?” pressed Dawn. “What were you doing to say about happening to me?”

“It’s nothing, it’s just… the teller told me that this guy you’re investigating… No I didn’t say anything to her about your investigation of him so don’t give me that look!” exclaimed Hannah, in defense. “Anyways, as I was saying, she said this guy has recently paid my dad to have the security updated down in the security vaults. My dad said it was a strange request, but when the man told him that all the clients of the bank would benefit from the enhanced security and that he alone would be picking up the tab, my dad couldn’t really see a down side.”

“So what kind of enhanced security are we talking about?” asked a now timid sounding Dawn.

“She wouldn’t tell me. She was sort of cryptic about it, said that she couldn’t go into detail for security reasons, just that as long I’m careful, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

“So she doesn’t even know I’m the one going down there?”

“No, nobody does, except me. I didn’t even let the teller know about you. She thinks I’m going down there. And I doubt that she would be sending the manager’s daughter into any kind of dangerous situation. So just get down there, get the proof you need, don’t get caught, and get back up here with the card before 4:45pm, sound good?”

“Piece of cake,” replied Dawn, smiling sheepishly. Looking at the antique clock on the wall of the deserted office that the girls had taken as their personal hideout for this case, she saw that it was 4:06pm. “I better get going then,” stated the intrepid sleuth as she uncrossed her long nylon clad legs and stood up from the decidedly super comfy office chair.

“I’ll expect a front page story, Meadows,” Hannah said with a wink and smile as she handed off the security pass card to her rival junior journalist. Dawn simply rolled her eyes, as was such a custom between the two girls. Taking a deep breath to get her courage built up, she mentally checked off the directions Hannah had previously made her memorize to get to the stairwell leading to the downstairs vaults at last night’s sleepover.

Posture in check, dressed neatly, heels clicking in even pace across the marble floor, indicating a comfortable confidence, Dawn marched directly toward her destination with no hindrances. One of the advantages of being a beautiful young girl is that through all of the attention your get from eyes, none of it is suspicious of foul play. Dawn had all she could do to suppress a smile at how easy this was going. At this rate, she would be back from the vault with her evidence of the theft of government defense materials, and return the security access card long before her 4:45 deadline.

The further she wound down the several flights of marble steps, the less people she saw and yet the more she could not shake the uneasy feeling that was creeping up and around her slender body. She suddenly wished that she had a sweater to wear over her flimsy pink tank top. There was nobody around and yet she had the sudden dread of getting caught so far away from where she knew she was supposed to be. The evidence that she did not belong unaccompanied in the high security vaults of the bank seemed visible in the air. As a result, Dawn found herself starting to creep on the tiptoes of her dress shoes, attempting to mask her presence even though there was nobody around. Hannah’s retelling of the teller’s words about making sure not to get caught began to gnaw at her hard earned flat tummy and even on the tips of the toes of her dainty heels, she couldn’t help but grate her teeth at the sound.

When the panic began to manifest itself as a bead of sweat on her smooth forehead, Dawn decided to gingerly slip out of her school shoes, and make her way in her stocking feet. Holding the little lavender shoes by the fore and middle finger of her left hand, she sneakily crept onward on the tips of the reinforced toes of her sheer barely black pantyhose. The first thing she noticed was the texture of the floor was unusual. It was like a grated floor only the holes were so tiny that she had not noticed in heels, as it had not caused her any trouble walking. But the texture definitely revealed itself to the sensitivity of her nylon-clad soles. The second indescribable thing was that the floor seemed both cold and hot at the same time, as if it was alternating temperatures. The one thing that was apparent was that the floor appeared evidenced of high technology.

The thought occurred to a creeping Dawn, and caused a lurch in her gut. What if this floor was part of the new security that Hannah had vaguely spoken of in the teller’s words. The floor felt strangely alive beneath her arched stocking feet, communicating somehow. Whatever it was, it had not reacted until she had slipped out of her school shoes. The questions that pestered the nervous teenager sleuth’s mind were destined to get answered sooner rather than later as menacing looking robot came wheeling down the hallway directly toward Dawn.

The mysterious robot rolled determinedly on one wheel, was modeled somewhat humanlike with a white metal torso coming up from the lone driving wheel, two flexible metal arms, with functioning hands, a white metal head that bore a large menacing red eye. The robot rolled up on Dawn’s frozen form with such speed that she stumbled and fell on her backside trying to avoid being run over. The strange and scary robot halted with precision accuracy inches away from the teenage girl’s fallen form. It leaned forward, glaring at her with the large red eye; she could feel the gears inside focusing and appraising her. She lifted her skinny arms up in front of her face defensively while she managed to draw hers knees up together and not give the robot a show up her short lavender skirt after an unceremonious fall on her bottom.

“Halt intruder, you have been identified as an intruder,” came the very manufactured electronic voice of the robot under the glare of it’s menacing red eye. Dawn risked a peek from between her trembling fingers.

“I swear, I’m not an intruder, please don’t hurt me,” she managed to squeak in her fright. She wasn’t sure what harm the robot meant her, but she was terrified to find out. The robot did not immediately respond, but she could hear the sounds of data processing in whatever hard drives existed in the metal torso.

“Personnel scan complete, no match found, intruder alert,” stated the robot succinctly, as it strangely turned it scanning red eye to focus on Dawn’s nylon clad feet, involuntarily causing her to curl her reinforced toes beneath the scrutiny. Why is he looking at my feet? She asked herself curiously. Then she remembered that it was only after she removed her shoes, did it come racing down the hall toward her like an attack dog. It must have somehow detected or reacted to scent, temperature, DNA, or something too scientifically confusing for a teenage sleuth to fathom. “Intruder alert, non personnel,” the robot’s generated dialogue seemed more threatening this time around. Dawn’s panic stricken mind searched as she raced to put this situation together.

“Wait!” she exclaimed. The robot backed up ever so slightly unless she imagined it, at the sound of her outburst. “Wait!” she exclaimed again to buy herself one more second. “I, here,” she said forcing herself awkwardly into a stance under the scrutiny of the robot. Carefully she reached into her purse and pulled out a wrinkly pair of sheer pantyhose, unraveling them in front of the robot’s red eye. It was a long shot, but not outside the foolishness that many of Dawn’s decisions took on in perilous situations. The nylons actually belonged to Hannah. Afraid that she might run the pair she had worn the day before, Dawn had asked her friend to borrow a pair for school tomorrow just in case. Hannah did not have any unopened new pair, but she had a few freshly clean pair in the top drawer of her dresser that Dawn could help herself to. If an emergency popped up, Dawn was grateful for Hannah’s generosity to lend her classmate a spare pair of hosiery.

As it turned out, an emergency was popping up, and as Dawn let the wrinkly sheer nylon garment hang pathetically in front of the dangerous looking security bot, she prayed that whatever scan feature that allowed it to tell she was not personnel from her own stocking feet, might detect something of Hannah in these flimsy nylons. Dawn bit her lip and hoped against hope as she heard the sounds of the data processing again, risking a nervous look at the robot.

“Personnel scan complete. Subject Hannah Hoxley,” stated the robot monotonously. Dawn sighed in relief. It worked! “Object identified, feminine garment. Owner is subject. You are not subject. You are not owner. You are not Hannah Hoxley. Halt intruder, stop thief, subject possibly in danger. Activating defense systems.” The robot straightened up and the sound of data processing was mingled with gears and lights flaring up behind the red eye mounted in its head.

“No wait, that’s not it! Hannah’s my friend! She’s right up!” Dawn tried to explain the situation but it was too late. Her hosiery defense had backfired, and the robot was glaring at her with its menacing red eye that was glowing hotter and hotter. Without any further warning, a curling blue beam of force shot forth from the robot’s angry eye and hit the startled teen directly in the center of her pink tank top stretched tight over her breasts. Her mouth dropped wide open as her terror stricken emerald eyes stared down in shock at the beam boring into her chest.

The blue energy quickly enveloped the frightened teen sleuth’s slender body, outlining her wholly completely. The waves caused her short flowing lavender skirt to dance as if in a great wind, lifting up, revealing the tops of her nylon clad hips, and humiliatingly the panties she wore underneath. Her long blonde hair billowed around her and she stared without understanding at the blue energy that flowed around her long arms, down around her slender hands, right around her graceful fingertips. The sensation of heat was unbearable that started in her chest and spread all the way down her long lean legs, to the curling reinforced toes of her pantyhose.

Through all the shocking developments, Dawn realized that this must have been what Hannah had been trying to warn her of. “Nice going, Dawn. NOW you’ve done it!” she thought to herself. The next moment, teenage girl was reduced to a wisp of herself, a trembling statue of salt. It resembled her with her lovely long hair, slender youthful body, long never ending legs, only that scared expression frozen on the salt face not understanding what was happening to her. Bit by bit, she crumbled a grain at a time, slowly dissolving into a few piles of salt on the high security floor. All that remained mixed within the piles of Dawn Meadow’s former self were her sheer barely black pantyhose. The security bot stood in what appeared to be a proud pose over Dawn’s salt pile remains, having zapped her into oblivion.

Later that week…

“Hannah, the maintenance crew dropped this by my office today,” said Mr. Hoxley as he popped his head into his daughter’s bedroom, dropping a manila envelope on her bed. “How many times have I told you not to go wandering around the bank, and please try not to drop your school things carelessly, especially something like these,” he added, his own face turning a faint shade of red. “I do try to maintain a professional reputation at the bank. This life of yours doesn’t pay for itself,” he added with a gesture around at her room and all it’s lavishness. With a grin for good measure, he pinched his daughter’s big toe, and left her in peace, satisfied in his mild scolding.

“Yes daddy,” replied Hannah in her good girl tone, rolling her eyes girlishly. She reached for the manila envelope after her father had made such a fuss over. Dumping out the contents of one pair of nylon pantyhose onto her comforter she made a shocked expression with her face, “Oops”

-The End

Illustrations by Nippy13

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