This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living, dead or otherwise is purely coincidental. The ideas and thoughts that follow are pure fantasies. In real life, at the very least they would be unpleasant and probably illegal. Fantasies are like that; daydreams where we can contemplate and imagine the sensations without suffering or inflicting the pain, despair or humiliation.
Tears rolled down Deborah's cheeks and whimpering with the pain as each step moved her slowly forward, she cursed Brian Goddard, her domineering boyfriend who'd insisted she wore the new and expensive walking boots he'd bought a few weeks earlier, the emphasis being on the amount he'd paid for them rather than her comfort. Her plans to start breaking them in on the two previous weekends were foiled by inclement weather and a personal commitment and now with the hot, dry July day and the rough going, the hard leather gnawed relentlessly at her soles, heels and ankles and with her feet swollen with the heat and the boots being slightly tight, her toes rubbed against each other causing blisters between them. "I bet inside the boots my feet are a mass of raw blisters but I daren't take them off because I won't be able to get them on again and if I wear my thin slippers, my only other footwear, the sharp stones will quickly shred them," she reasoned. Slowly plodding along the rough track, carefully and delicately putting each foot down and hoping she'd soon arrive at a road where, if luck favoured her, she might get a lift. "Sod you Brian, I'd have been fine had I worn my old hiking boots, now I'm suffering worse than on any previous walks. I suppose you'll be back again soon to chivvy me to walk faster. I wish I could." She cursed him bitterly.
"Hi there, you having foot problems? Where are you going?" A lightly clad, late teenage girl wearing large sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat caught up with her.
Glad of an excuse to rest Deborah slipped the heavy rucksack off her back and sat on it. "I'm Susan, Susan Shepherd, Sue to my friends," the girl volunteered, holding out her hand, "Can I help you?" They exchanged pleasantries and Deborah explained the situation and learned that Sarah, her brother and parents had a cottage about three miles away and she'd been out for an afternoon ramble. "You're not going to get far with feet in the state they are and that weight on your back, swap rucksacks with me, mine only has a waterproof, although with this hot weather I don't know why I brought it, and a couple of bottles of water. Would you like one?" She offered Deb a bottle and they discussed the problems she'd have for the rest of the week if she missed staying in the Youth Hostel that night.
"I can manage," Deb protested, but Susan insisted on taking the rucksack with all the gear needed for a fortnight's walking holiday.
Even with the lighter weight, after the rest, to Deb every step seemed even more painful and progress pitifully slow, yet Sue kept with her and chatted non-stop although the replies she received were minimal. Brian appeared at a junction of the path. "At last," he spat, I've walked back along this track for two miles and have been here at least half an hour waiting for you to turn up. At this rate we'll be lucky to arrive at the hostel before dinner. Stop making so much fuss over a little blister. Is she coming too?" He nodded at Susan,
Although her conversation with Deb had warned her of his dictatorial attitude, Susan's blood boiled. "You chauvinistic pig!" she retorted vehemently, "Can't you see she's in no fit state to walk anywhere? Aren't you a little concerned over her welfare? Do you really believe she's putting on an act to slow you down? Get real man! And, no, she's not going to the hostel, she coming home with me. Get on your way, bully-boy, I'll take care of her seeing that you can't or won't."
Susan's attack threw Brian off balance; he wasn't used to women questioning his authority. "Yes, Brian, you go on alone, I cannot walk much further and I'll be fine with Susan," Deb added quietly. In the short time she'd known Susan she felt she could trust her and in any case after his attitude to her suffering, she'd decided to terminate her relationship with Brian.
"Oh, so you want a bit of lesbian sex now, perhaps you'll do better in her bed than you did in mine." Brian spitefully spat out the words; "Just don't come running back to me when you tire of it. I'll collect my stuff when I return. This is going to be a poor holiday for me if I have to carry you for most of the way." He turned his back and headed for the hostel at a brisk pace.
"Did you really mean that I could stay with you? I'm not sure if I can walk the three miles to your cottage. And I'm not a lesbian."
"Neither am I." Holding up a mobile phone Sue exclaimed, "It's time to bring in the cavalry." Speed dialling a number she spoke "Hi Mike, it's me. Can you pick me up at the gate that leads to Hobson's Meadow?"
"What a little walk worn you out?" Deb overheard the reply.
"No but I've picked up a girlfriend for you. She cannot walk. Feet badly blistered so you'll have some repair work to do before you can take her out." They tormented each other in a friendly way for a short while until he said he would be there in ten minutes.
Suddenly Deb had second thoughts and wondered if she did the right thing in accepting their hospitality. Both Susan and Mike sounded friendly enough but what if it was a facade? Did she really expect him to be my boyfriend? However, she couldn't see any other alternative and hoped it would all work out for the best.
A short cut across a field brought them to a minor road and they'd hardly settled down on the verge when the car arrived. "This is my old brother, Michael, Mike," Sue introduced, "Mike this is Deborah Pyle, Deb."
Mike, a rather ordinary twenty-three-year-old boy, three years younger than Deb, smiled and shook her hand, "They could be sisters," he thought, "Deb's a little taller but she's almost as slim and they both have similar dark hair."
"How bad are your feet?" he enquired and on learning she had difficulty in walking, suggested, "If I were you I'd unlace the boots a little for now but keep them on until we get in the house and can bathe the blisters. You won't have to walk far after that." Nodding her agreement she wormed her way into the front seat and on the short journey briefly explained her original holiday plans were to do a circular walk in the hills, staying at hostels and B & B's and averaging about 15 miles each day.
"From what I've seen of your walking, you won't do one a day for a little while." Sue remarked.
In the kitchen, with Susan supervising and commenting on what he should do, Mike produced a bowl of warm water and very carefully removed the offending boots but even with all his care, Deb cried out with the pain when the leather scraped the still unseen wounds. The amount of blood that had seeped through her socks caused them considerable concern especially as it had dried in many places causing the woollen material to stick to the skin, or what was left of it. "We'll need to soak your feet with the socks on until they are free enough to remove without tearing the underlying raw flesh. Do you have a pair of shorts or a skirt in your rucksack because your jeans are too tight to roll up out of the way?" Mike asked.
"Sorry, no, I only packed spare jeans." Susan volunteered to loan her a pair and fortunately they weren't that different in size and found a baggy pair that would do. Mike didn't leave the room but turned away while Sue helped replace the jeans with shorts. Although no one remarked on what mess they would find under the socks, all realised from the amount of blood still oozing through the wool, the skin would be raw with open lesions. They were not wrong.
"I'm taking you to the hospital," Mike announced when he'd cleaned the feet as best he could and wrapped tea towels around them to keep them clean, "This is beyond a home first-aid job and they'll probably give you an injection against all sorts of nasty bugs and better pills than we have to ease the pain. How do you feel about that?"
"At least he asked my opinion, which is more than Brian would have done," Deborah compared Mike's attitude to that of her boyfriend or, now, ex boyfriend. She had to agree.
"I'd better stay behind and prepare a meal for our parents when they return and for when you two come back from the hospital, with luck you should get back before midnight if there's not a long wait in A & E," Sue stated causing Deb to wonder again if Mike's sister really intended for her to be his girlfriend and was staying behind for them to get to know each other better. Mike wheeled her on an office type chair, through the house and easily carried her to the car. Again she noted the difference in his attitude to Brian's and had to admit, enjoying the feel of his arms around her. At least by then and not having to stand on them, much of the severest pain had gone but both feet still hurt and hurt badly.
At A & E, Mike found a wheelchair and, after only an hour's wait, the doctor sprayed a salve on and lightly dressed the feet. "I don't know how you managed to walk a single step with feet in that state," he commented, "As far as you can, keep off them and leave them exposed to the air for the wounds to dry up. Spray them twice a day. They'll scab over in a day or two but you won't walk on them properly for a fortnight at least." He prescribed painkillers and antibiotics and a nurse gave her an anti-tetanus injection. Mike remained by her side the whole time and held her hand.
.... There is more of this story ...