Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Bedtime Story (23/3/2016)

Today's bedtime story is inspired by two of my great loves - shoes and Doctor Who.  I feel as though this could be chapter one of a new children's book...  What do you reckon?!  Let me know in the comments.  

To listen to this story as a podcast, click here!

Niamh And The Time-Travelling Shoes

The shoe shop was eerily quiet.  In one corner, an old lady was trying on a pair of comfy looking slippers.  In another, a teenage boy was trying to decide which pair of trainers he liked best.  Niamh sighed as she scanned the shelf.  Nothing stood out.  Pair after pair of black shoes, with very little detail lined up like soldiers.  She shook her head at her mum.  "I can't see anything I like."

Her mum gave a weary sigh.  "Well, you need some new school shoes," she said.  "Yours are falling to bits and they're getting too small for you.  Have another look.  There must be something here."

Niamh stuck out her lower lip as she glanced at the shelf once more.  She shook her head and turned back to her mum.  "Can't we look somewhere else?"

"This is the last shoe shop in town," her mum said, almost laughing at the question.  "We're not leaving until you've picked something."  She sat down heavily on the shop's worn old sofa, as if to make a point.  "Remember, they're only for school.  They don't have to be amazing shoes.  They just have to fit."

Niamh groaned, rolling her eyes as she reached out to take a shoe off the shelf.  Her arm brushed a big, cardboard sign saying "20% off" and the sign fell to the ground, clattering against the shelves on its way down.  Niamh blinked at the shelf.  In the space where the sign had been was a pair of shoes.  They looked just like normal black school shoes, but there was something about them that made butterflies stir in Niamh's tummy.  They gave her an excited, yet slightly nervous feeling, like the one you get when you reach the top of a big rollercoaster.  Niamh picked up the shoes and held them out to her mum.  "I like these," she found herself saying, almost without realising the words were coming from her mouth.

"Sit down and try them on, then," her mum replied.

Niamh slipped her feet into the shoes,  A black buckle ran across each foot and as Niamh did them up, she realised that each buckle was patterned with tiny pictures, woven into the fabric.  Stars, trees, houses and even people peeped out at her.  Niamh glanced up at her mum.  "They fit perfectly."

"How much are these shoes?"  Niamh's mum called to the shop assistant.

"They're on special offer," he replied, hurrying over with a smile.  "Only fifteen pounds, down from twenty."

Niamh's mum turned back to Niamh, who nodded and grinned in response to her unspoken question.  She definitely wanted these shoes.  She wasn't sure why, but she knew she had to have them.

After Niamh's mum had paid and they'd left the shop, Niamh clung tightly to the box containing her new shoes.  All the way home, she felt a bubble of excitement growing inside her, until she could barely keep it in any longer.  When they finally arrived back at their house, Niamh practically flew up the stairs, desperate to put the shoes on again.

"So... What's your secret?"  She asked aloud, as she removed the shoes from the box.  She lay them on the floor and sat, staring at them.  She was almost sure they were making a noise - a strange, distant hum.  And when she touched them, they felt as though they were heating up, somehow.  Niamh put them on and hurriedly did up the buckles.  She walked around her bedroom, as if waiting for something to happen.  When nothing did, Niamh couldn't help but feel disappointed.  She stomped around her room, trying to see if the shoes would flash, or make a sound.  But nothing happened.  Niamh slumped to the floor and stared at her feet.  Why did these shoes feel so special, if they didn't do anything special?

It was then that she noticed the writing on the soles of the shoes.  Very faint, silvery words, difficult to make out at first.  Niamh rubbed the soles with her hands and, to her surprise, the writing began to glow.  There, on her left foot, were the words: "Three jumps to travel."  And on her right: "Four jumps to home."

Niamh scrambled to her feet.  With her heart in her mouth, she jumped.  "One," she counted.  And another jump.  "Two..."  Her last jump was her biggest, yet.  "THREE!"

The walls of Niamh's bedroom seemed to evaporate before her eyes.  Where her furniture had been, stars whizzed past.  She thrashed wildly, unsure of what was happening, before just as suddenly, she landed on the ground with a bump.

Niamh glanced all around, blinking and staring with her mouth hanging open.  She was sitting in a wide, open glade, with tall trees all around the edge.  Where was her house?  More importantly, where was she?!

Niamh looked down at her feet, again.  "Three jumps to travel," she said, aloud.  "So... These shoes make you travel places?!"  She paused, looking at the words on her right foot.  "Four jumps to home," she reminded herself.  "So, if I want to go home, I just have to jump four times..."  She slowly stood up and dusted herself down.  "Well, I don't want to do that just yet.  I'd rather explore, first!"

For what felt like hours, Niamh walked through the woodland, wondering just how far away from home she was.  There didn't seem to be any houses for miles around and even stranger, there weren't any people.  In fact, she hadn't even seen any birds...

"Where have you taken me?"  Niamh tutted, glancing down at her shoes.  "We're in the middle of nowhere."

Suddenly, a crackle of branches caused Niamh to stop in her tracks.  From high up in a tree, Niamh finally heard the beating of wings and saw what looked like a strange cross between a bat and a bird hurry away, into the sky.  She stood, staring up into the clouds.  "That was the weirdest bird I've ever seen..."

A loud thump interrupted her thoughts and Niamh span around, her eyes wide.  Another loud thump was enough to convince her it was time to run.  She turned on her heels and fled back the way she'd come.  The thumps carried on behind her and she felt her heart pounding in her chest.  A sudden roar, unlike anything she'd ever heard before echoed all around Niamh and when she finally found herself back in the glade, she fell to the ground, gasping for breath.  The thumping sound kept coming.  Whatever it was that was heading her way, it wasn't giving up.  Niamh hurried to her feet, just in time to see an enormous shape, heading through the trees.  It was bigger than any animal she'd seen in a zoo and Niamh shook her head as she desperately tried to work out what it was.

She didn't have to wait long.  With another fearsome roar, a dinosaur came bounding out from the woods.  Niamh's younger brother Archie was obsessed with dinosaurs and Niamh recognised it straight away; it was a Tyrannosaurus Rex!

"But... But you're extinct!"  Niamh stammered, backing away from the T-Rex as it eyed her, hungrily.  She glanced quickly at her feet.  "So... When it says "three jumps to travel," it doesn't just mean distance... It means travelling in time!"  

Niamh didn't have much time to dwell on her new discovery, as the enormous dinosaur kept on coming towards her.  Its nostrils flared and it flashed a set of razor sharp teeth.  Niamh knew what she had to do.  She squeezed her eyes shut and jumped as fast as she could.

"Four jumps to home," she breathed.  "One, two, three, four!"

As she jumped for the fourth time, her feet landed on something she knew wasn't grass.  The frightening roar was no longer echoing in her ears and she couldn't feel the breeze on her skin.  Niamh opened her eyes slowly and, to her relief, she found herself back in her bedroom once more.

What seemed like a million questions swirled around Niamh's excited head.  Could she control where she travelled in time?  And if so, how?  Would the shoes work forever?  Where else was she going to end up?!

From downstairs, Niamh heard her mum calling her to dinner.  Niamh slipped off her new shoes and put them safely back in the box.  The truth was, she had no idea what was going to happen next time she wore them and jumped three times... But she couldn't wait to find out.  As she walked out of her bedroom, Niamh turned back and smiled at the shoe box, sitting proudly by her bed.  She felt that excited, nervous feeling in her tummy, again.  They were certainly no ordinary shoes.  And now that they were hers, Niamh had a feeling that her life was about to become extraordinary, too!  She didn't know what was going to happen next, but she was definitely ready to buckle up for more adventures.

Niamh closed the door and trotted down the stairs, smiling a secret smile every step of the way.


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