The Ruby Slipper

This story is paired with Chapter 23 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 

Liquor laughed on her lips. Tipping her head back she giggled at a cold, clear sky. Stars, glittering as sequins, silver, made her mull over the legacy of literature she wore on her feet. Two twinkling red, ruby red, slippers, with a zebra striped slut heel to hold it all up.

The colour was wrong though. She should have been the colour of space, of orbits and shooting stars; the shoes should have been silver, like stars. But instead, they were red. Crimson (cripes! So crimson!) for a rushing, ready, Technicolor world.

She would have been happier in gunmetal, or grey, or silver shocking white. Quite at ease in sailor blouses, straight cuts, long sleeved long sweaters. But instead, they were red; her shoes, her lips, her face.

Dorothy was sold in an electric auction and entered Oz with rainbow eyes and little fear of predators.

These feet, wearing scarlet shoes, were ready to flee from beasts that lurked in city streets (where crime is folded into an unseeing shadow). She would run, if fashion had been cheaper than drink. As it was, she wore her textually inaccurate slippers, and laughed up at the moon. Her tinman had left her hours ago, and now something else came lurching out from the club (the door was a mouth, belching bad gas into the night). No lion, no scarecrow, no heart or brain, but plenty of false courage.

The creature grinned, swayed, staggered towards the taxi rank. No carriages were waiting after twelve. They would have to pause for their return. A row of benches to choose though… only… he would choose hers, wouldn’t he?


She closed her eyes and clicked her heels and desperately wished for home.

NBR3-06ClarephotooriginalSarah Clare has recently completed a BA Creative Writing with English Literature. She is the supporting Editor to Cæsura magazine—poetry, prose, the written word makes her tick. She firmly believes that life is a test of language.