I rolled out a crick in my ankle – my ankle! – as I hobbled up the streets, grimacing at the momentary stab of pain in my new bones. The bottom of my feet were beginning to hurt too, first from the rough texture of the gravel and then very quickly by the hot sun, heating the road as I walked.
‘These really aren’t all they were cracked up to be,’ I frowned, resting against a strange metal post and lifting my leg to inspect the soles. They were red and angry, peppered with little brown and grey rocks that I’d picked up in my pilgrimage.
I sighed, gently letting my foot rest back onto the ground and looking up at my surroundings. I still had no idea if I was anywhere near the best podiatrist in the Cheltenham area, and the few locals I’d spotted had quickly turned away from me and run, covering their eyes.
I was still getting used to seeing people up close, but I could have sworn some of the young women were… blushing?
A sharp tap of a siren caught my attention, and I turned to face it, lifting my hand to block the sun from my eyes. Two large men in puffy coats and strange hats were walking towards me, flashing blue and red lights whirling from the top of their car behind them.
‘What’s going on here, pal?’ the one on the right asked me, hooking his fingers into his belt. ‘You get lost on the beach? Forget where you put your clothes?’
‘It happens to the best of us,’ the other one nodded. The first man frowned slightly, but decided not to press his colleague.
‘I’m looking for a podiatrist,’ I told them, trying to sound friendly.
‘Podiatrist won’t help you much, pal,’ the second man laughed. ‘You’re gonna need a lot more than compression socks to cover that up.’
I frowned. Cover what up?
The first man coughed and looked pointedly at the top of my legs.
‘Is there something wrong with my legs?’ I asked, suddenly nervous. What had that witch done to me?
‘Maybe you should come with us.’