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“Hm? A tiny guy?” The enormous clerk turned to face the source of the noice, bewildered at the miniature figure making the noise. Miyano stares down at me curiously, before her slender hand darts down, plucking me from the floor.


       “Hey… it’s ok, I got you now. Wait, you’re the cutie who came in a bit ago!’ I braced as Miyano stands back up.


       As the clerk walks back to the counter, she grimaces slightly.


       “Agh, my feet are so sore, I’ve been so busy.” She sets me on the counter with these words. “What’s your name, little guy?”


       “Jacob,” I reply.


       “Well, Jacob, I just had an idea. My feet hurt, and you are juuust the right size to help me out with that. Basically, I’m going to put you in my shoe, and if you do a good job, I’ll take care of you, so good luck and work hard! Don’t worry my feet aren’t that stinky!”


       I can only watch in terror as she swings her enormous leg onto the counter, slamming down her bus-sized shoe in front of me. She quickly unlaces them and a wall of hot, foul air blasts me as her ankle-sock clad sole leaves the warmth of her powerful shoe. As one would expect from a girl on her feet all day, the stench hangs thick in the air, and as she pulls her shoe off, the brown footprint of her worn sock is clearly visible.


              “Alright, now get in!” Miyano chirps, setting the opening of the shoe in front of me, turning the blackened heelprint into a wall before me. “Or I’ll crush you!”


              At her ominously cheerful threat, I force myself to climb onto the rim of her shoe, radiating heat and noxious foot funk. As soon as I get in, she tips the shoe back over, sending me crashing onto the heel-shaped crater under the mouth of the shoe.

              “Start running, or you’ll be smashed under my feet!”


              There’s nothing I can do but run as she begins to slide her shoe back on, quickly replacing the open air with her filthy sock. My little legs do not even begin to compare to her massive sole as they quickly run me over, trapping me under her toes. The damp sock grabs ahold of me and begins to toy with their new prey as Miyano idly squirmed her toes in the shoe. My ability to move was casually suppressed by the weight of her toes as she set her foot back down onto the ground.


              The next few hours left me crammed into the musty, boiling hellhole of the clerk’s well-worn sneakers, trampled under her nasty socks while she went about her day. My understanding of what was going on outside was limited to whatever muffled sounds I could attempt to interpret as her foot continued to toy with me. Occasionally, she would tap her foot on the ground, battering me around for her amusement as she went about her tasks. Occasionally, I heard the entry chime and the chatter of my owner and another customer, clearly unaware of the tiny currently suffering in the cheerful clerk’s shoe.


              After several further hours of movement, trampling and other torments, the squeaking of tile under the shoe gave way to the sound of concrete scuffing against the treads. High above me, Miyano clambered onto her bike and pushed off onto the street. Within the shoe, my world rose up and down repeatedly with each push of the pedal, and I struggled to not become sick from the repetitive motions.


              More time passes and Miyano coasts to a stop. As she dismounts, the force of her shoe slamming onto the ground feels like my entire body has been hit by a truck. Miraculously, the force spares my fragile tiny body from her full, crushing weight as Miyano jogs into her home.


              As she comes to a stop, light begins to re-enter my world as Miyano peels off her shoe.

              “My feet reek, wow! You alive little guy?” Miyano inquires, dumping my battered body onto the floor.


              I squint my eyes as the burning daylight stings my eyes. The smell of fresh air, untainted by the girl’s nasty soles feels rejuvenating in my lungs as I try to take in as much as possible.


              “I’m… alive, why did you do that?” I moan, still bruised from her rough treatment.


              “I needed a foot cushion, and I’d say it’s a fair price to pay for keeping you safe from pests or people’s shoes. I could’ve just crushed you like a bug under these shoes, as could any other customer who spotted you. Tell you what, in exchange for your safety and my care, you’ll now be serving as my insole when I’m at work.”


              I sigh, in no position to resist my new owner’s whims.


              “Fine, fine.” I mutter, accepting my new role in life.


              “Good choice. Now, I have night shift tonight so get some rest while you can. Expect another hard day tomorrow, so I’m going to rest, and you’re going to sleep in my shoes tonight to hopefully get you more prepared for your new life!”


              After reading out my sentence, she peels off her socks, and tosses me back into the disgusting shoe, plugging the only escape with her sock to keep me inside.


              “Sleep well foot bug!” She laughs, rising to her feet and walking away, condemning me to my new fate as an insole.

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