The student news site of Olentangy Liberty High School

Patriot Press

  • November 23The next issue of THE CANNON will be sold on Dec. 10th
The student news site of Olentangy Liberty High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Olentangy Liberty High School

Patriot Press

Dorians Tap Shoes By Abhi Kadiam

The oblivion of the night permeated the skies of Ark City. The flame-tinted leaves, laying dry and crisp on the sidewalks, signaled a coming autumn breeze. During the afternoon, men in beige overcoats carried their leather briefcases through Cantosine street, but nightfall reduced the men to small factions. Mimi’s Groceries sealed the garage with great security ever since a group of rascal orphans had looted the store a month back. The raid had left vegetables and crates sprawled on the dusted tile floor, enraging Mimi, stirring up tensions between the store and Sawney Orphanage. Darkness shrouded Cantosine Street as nighttime pushed everyone to their homes.

From a deserted alleyway near Pablo’s Tap Academy, Dorian ran out of the dark corridor. He emerged on the sidewalk across the academy. His discolored jeans hung loosely from his waist as the orphan’s quickened movements navigated through the people of Cantosine Street, who glared at the boy in his mangled clothing. Running towards the orphanage, Dorian embraced a pair of dark tap shoes in his arms. He had stolen them from the tap-dance academy.

After running a couple of blocks away from the dance studio, he reached Sawney Orphanage, as his hands fell to his knees, gasping for air. The lights in the upper room of the orphanage were off, and no childish shrieks could be heard. The orphans had finally fallen asleep, but Dorian couldn’t sneak in there. Even if he could slip into his bed without anyone noticing, where would he put the shoes? Dorian needed some space from the orphanage for the time being. Simply being in the presence of those immature animals would ruin his poise. He needed space. In fact, the shoes demanded it.

Dorian walked behind the orphanage to the playground. Passing the basketball court, he moved into the surrounding forest, as trees enveloped him from the darkness. Lady Truman, who took care of the orphans, had said that the forest was off-limits, but her aging condition made it difficult for her to enforce her own rules. Regardless, the forest didn’t intrigue many of the orphans, so they had made no moves to enter the thicket of trees. Dorian, however, was captivated by the enclosure as he made weekly visits to “his spot”. He needed solitude.

Hugging the tap shoes in one arm, Dorian used his other arm to navigate through the thicket of branches and vines. His feet had a mind of their own as they strode towards “his spot” of peace. The trees, submerging the outside of the forest, had spread to create Dorian’s place of solitude. The grass grew shorter in this area, so his feet felt less irritated. Dorian walked towards a rough rock, about the size of his chest. After thoroughly wiping down the slab with the inside of his torn beige t-shirt, he placed the black tap shoes on the surface of the rock. The jet-black tap shoes reflected the oblivion of the night, as the throat of each shoe curved in such a geometric manner. Despite the darkness that shrouded the forest, a light emanated from the jewel that rested before Dorian. Dorian felt that simply being within the range of the orphanage polluted the heavenly weight. He lifted the sole of the shoe, reading the name engraved on the top piece—Tom Truman.

Tom Truman was Lady Truman’s son. He was a couple of years younger than Dorian. The boy was an avid artist as his tap-dancing showcased his youthful passion in such an elegant manner. Dorian remembered Tom’s jet black tuxedo and his cream pants, enveloping his adolescent form. The boy’s face had always maintained a reddened tone as his flushed mannerisms depicted a sense of innocence. Tom didn’t interact with many of the orphans, and none of the children ever talked to

him. In fact, many of them mocked the boy for his exaggerated mannerisms. The aura of the boy could never be understood by the orphans of Sawney Orphanage, who poisoned everything they touched. Tom had his own separate room in the orphanage near Lady Truman’s, untouched by the chaos of the beds above. Dorian had caught glimpses of Tom’s effortless dancing through the dancer’s practices. His quick glimpses, however, soon grew into obsessive wonder. Tom had always kept his most prestigious tap-dancing accessories in Pablo’s Tap Academy, a couple of blocks away from the orphanage. Once Dorian learned of this, he had formulated a plan and stolen the tap shoes—the ones resting before him now.

Dorian took off his disfigured footwear. The strap on one of his flip-flops was detaching from the base. His battered flip-flops reminded him of the orphans and their indecency. Dorian resented them. The children of Sawney Orphanage never strived to be any better than the filthy clothes they wore. Their animalistic attitudes only propelled society’s degrading perception of them as they embraced their stupidity and immaturity. The orphanage poisoned his passion for life. He placed his scarred feet into the tap shoes. Despite his cracked skin and damaged toenails, the tap shoes enveloped his feet perfectly. The elegance of the tap shoes rushed through his veins, curing him of the poison of the orphans. Dorian remembered the steps Tom Truman had taken when he had observed the boy dancing in his flushed innocent feet. Dorian tried to replicate the steps but initially faltered at first. The technique of the tap shoes seemed to conflict with his lack of experience. However, Dorian’s movements gained momentum as the memories of Tom’s taps became his muse. Soon, his feet had a mind of their own as Dorian’s life poured into the tap shoes. The yellow leaves that surrounded him, awakening from autumn’s slumber, soon awakened a new life in Dorian as his feet danced and clinked to the melody of the night sky. Tom Truman—the boy’s flushed skin, his innocent elegance, his passionate leaps—had become a mirror; and now, Dorian could do nothing more than to imitate.

An hour passed by as the dark sky entered into tomorrow. Dorian didn’t want to make a scene in the morning, so he placed the shoes in his secret spot in the forest, making his way back to his creaky bed in the orphanage. His eyes drooped as sleep overtook him—but Dorian’s resting face didn’t match the movements of his feet. Under the torn blanket he slept in, a strange life had entered his feet, as the mimicking tap movements fluttered violently, despite his resting state. And soon, a strange flush reddened his feet with a new sense of innocence.

Weeks passed by as Cantosine Street entered the month of October. Autumn was more present than ever as chill breezes occasionally swept through the area. Through weeks of practice in his spot of isolation, Dorian’s passion grew as his tap-dancing techniques evolved, the muse of the flushed Tom Truman emboldening his desires. Whether it phased Dorian or not, his feet had undergone a transformation—an almost impossible transformation. The scars which had initially plagued the bottom of his feet smoothed into innocence; the mud that lurked beneath his toenails cleaned into elegance; and his discolored skin polished itself into a reddened flush of passion. Dorian embraced this physical change with the transformation that seeped into his soul. The once, murky orphan blossomed into a boy of strong emotion. The tap shoes carried Dorian’s new life as his rhythmic motion continued passionately in his daily visits to the thicket of the forest. Autumn’s prominence burst the trees into reddened flames, flames that emboldened Dorian’s passion, as his pink flushed feet pranced on the pink leaves.

Dorian’s attitude towards the other orphans changed. His initial irritation and resentment devolved into bitter hatred and a feeling of arrogance flooded him. The elegance he possessed couldn’t dare be in the presence of immature animals like them; and so, he pursued the solitude of the forest. From the concealed trees of the forest, Dorian occasionally observed the orphans in the playground, their natural habitat. Impulses ran rampant among the children as they rushed in the crevices of the most impure of areas. Dirt stained the hems of their torn shirts as their disfigured jeans practically fell down when the children engaged in reckless movements. Dorian remembered one incident where an orphan, a couple of years younger than he was, ran completely nude through the playground as the other kids moved away in horror while laughing at the atrocity. Did the child have no shame? The children gave themselves away so easily. Dorian watched as their lack of composure spilled all their thoughts, impulses, desires—things that Dorian would have kept secret. The orphans relished in their battered clothing, embracing the crummy destiny they were meant to lead. Dorian couldn’t let the impulsive emotions of the children plague his newfound elegance. He remembered Tom Truman’s graceful movements, showcasing his dignity while concealing the animal nature, which lurks in every human. Dorian could never release those animal emotions. He could never give himself away.

Although Dorian had cured himself of the poison of the orphans, a new poison started to corrupt his urges. Tom Truman’s tap shoes had given Dorian a hint of elegance—and now, he wanted more. The wonder, which initially captivated him, deteriorated into obsessive envy. Dorian sneered at Tom’s movements, observing the boy’s new tap shoes. Jealousy plagued his soul as his teeth gritted at every glance at Tom. Dorian’s arrogance and high-esteem over the orphans soothed his urges, as dignity charmed his fantasies. But Tom Truman was above Dorian. In fact, the elegance he had relished in for the past couple of weeks had come from the boy. Every glance at the flushed face began to incite dark and devilish emotions, far worse than Dorian had seen in the orphans. Malice, hatred, and envy soon boiled in the pits of his soul.

Autumn reached its peak in late October. Crimson red leaves flared from every tree, engulfing the forest in autumn’s flames. Dorian sat on a rock as his flushed feet rested in the tap shoes. His movements faltered. Every tap on the ground uttered a discordant clink. Every step moved out of sync with the rest of his form. The strange life that had once entered the tap shoes now seemed to conflict with Dorian’s movements; and Dorian had a feeling he knew the reason. Tom Truman had plagued his soul. The passion he initially flourished in deteriorated into the poison of comparison; and now, comparison was a puppeteer, and his strings enslaved Dorian. His elegance seemed only to branch from Tom’s, and this irritated him. Dorian rubbed his temples vigorously in frustration as malice built up in his soul. Tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. Why did Tom have to be the wielder of this abundance of magnificence? Dorian felt he was just as capable as the insignificant boy. The jealousy had always been there since Dorian had first set eyes on Tom. The shoes seemed to have given him a chance at elegance, and he relished in the passion. But the strong emotions degenerated into animosity, as the idea of perfection, so close to his hands, crashed into oblivion of impossibility. This realization exploded as the devilish emotions Dorian had pent up for weeks broke out of their cage. The crimson red malice, burning in his soul, liberated Dorian’s cacophonous cry as the blood-red trees failed to contain the release of his darkest emotions.

Dorian had always viewed elegance alongside composure. Composure and solitude were key in controlling one’s emotions, especially the savage emotions that creep in the deepest parts of the human soul. The moment the world heard the deepest emotions, the grim secrets, the devilish passions, the composure and elegance that one had maintained was gone. The cry he screeched showcased his true darkness, a darkness which plagued his soul.

Dorian had given himself away.