One week from now, someone might find her body. She would lie caught in the undergrowth, a discarded doll once a cherished companion. Her dress would be mud-stained and shredded, much like her arms and legs, a result of the brambles that snagged on her skin as she spun through the woods. She would be cold to the touch, her muscles pulled taut with over-exertion. And if anyone managed to remove her shoes, they would blanch at the sight of her chaffed feet. No one would understand how she could have danced to death.
Six days from now, she might finally tumble to the ground, her legs limp from the ceaseless motion. The chilly night air would gnaw at her, but she would feel nothing but the fire in her body, hear nothing but the blood rushing in her ears, and see the world through the fog of tears in her eyes.
Five days from now, she might stop hearing the music, the melody that spun in her head ever since she laid eyes on the shoes. Instead, she would hear in its place a discordant symphony, scraping and clashing and jarring. She would come to hate the sound of her shoes tap-tap-tapping against the ground, the sound of her voice raspy and broken from her cries for help.
Four days from now, she might think of chopping off her feet. Anything to make herself stop dancing.
Three days from now, someone – possibly her sister – might realise she was missing. Emily would peer into her room and frown at its emptiness, trying to recall the last time she saw her. Possibly she wouldn’t remember; possibly she would tell their mother. But they could comb the city and still not be able to find her. By then the sky would be different where she was, with stars strewn liberally across it, unhindered by the shadowy skeletons of skyscrapers.
Two days from now, she would wonder why she had stolen those shoes, despite the Not for Sale sign attached to it. She would glance down and recognise them for what they were: cursed and sinister, with a mind of their own. She would call out for help, but no one would hear her. All they would see was a pair of gleaming scarlet shoes skipping down the street. Some would run after it, but it would duck out of sight, out of grasp, before they could lunge for it. Her legs would continue on in their merry skip-hop for miles and miles to come.
Tomorrow, she might stop dancing. But that was unlikely.