A fictional short story. A tale of misadventure, from the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the journeys between. A journey like a Kafka joke, could this be real? Juxtaposition of ordinary and surreal. Would I be able to escape unharmed? What was to become of me?
“Frightened, I stood, surrounded by my few belongings. I couldn’t help but stare at the sand covering the toes of my new shoes, black, pointy toed, with a flash of red at the heel. Like me–just a flash of the possibility of intrigue. The heat feels like 40 degrees. Cars careen by at outrageous speeds, but this is only in the periphery of my consciousness. There is nothing but sand and freeway and two individuals arguing in a language I can’t understand. Two cars parked at an angle at the edge of the bleak desert. My mind can hardly grasp the reality of what has happened. So far from home, I am frozen in the sand. Were I to see myself from above, I might look like a modern day gargoyle. All I can think in that moment of me staring is: ‘…oh, my new shoes are getting ruined. If only I had worn my black takkies.’
Nothing else seemed possible. No running, no fighting would help me now.”
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite.Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes is an adventure short story written by Carol Knox. Dr. Adiba of Journal English was supposed to be picking up the young professional woman from the Dubai airport. She was carefully and suitably dressed and excited about her new opportunity in Abu Dhabi. Things started feeling wrong from the minute she met the young man with the shabby car who was supposedly doing a favor for an employee of the company. She began to panic as he drove recklessly and didn’t seem to be heading towards her destination. When a cop flagged the car down and arranged for a taxi to take her to her hotel, there was some relief, but it was short-lived. The hotel employees acted strangely, and her efforts to call her daughter had been unsuccessful from her first attempt back at the airport. What had she gotten herself into?
Carol Knox’s short story, Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes, is suspenseful and exciting. Her heroine is polished, urbane and successful at her business, but it is when she’s faced with danger that she becomes alive and in the moment. Knox’s plot swiftly propels the reader into her dilemma, and I could vividly envision the woman standing perplexed and tense by the side of the road. Her inability to make a call to her daughter reminded me of a recurrent nightmarish dream where I’ve been unable to make a very important phone call. Knox builds the tension subtly from her protagonist’s first apprehensions through to her strategies for leaving what appears to be a very dangerous situation. Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes is an excellent short story with a satisfying and complex plot. It’s highly recommended.