A pair of men's hand-knitted woolen socks.

That's all they were.


Nothing special.

Just socks.


His beloved Drusilla had pulled them on over her dainty white feet after he had removed them from his considerably larger ones as they prepared to sleep through the coming day.

Naked, she had gone padding around their stolen room, giggling at the way the toes flopped loosely over her own, at the cuffs sagging 'round her slender ankles.

With the constant, remembered scent of dust tickling his nostrils, William sat there on the big four-poster bed, watching his beloved take simple pleasure in wearing his socks; socks that he had once watched his mother knit in her good parlor of an evening or two, from merino wool, grey, in front of the fire.

As her hands, feeble from the ravages of consumption, slowly, patiently, shaped the cuffs, the heels, the length of the feet and then the toes, William had read to her from a Bowdlerized copy of Shakespeare so that she would hear nothing shocking.

She then presented them to him for his birthday.

They hadn't been all that much of a surprise.

Still, he'd cherished them.

Woolen socks.

That's all they were.

Woolen socks, grey.

Nothing special, really.

Just socks.

And because they were nothing special, William coaxed his Drusilla into removing her newest toys before he cast them into the fireplace, one by one, where they smoked and stank of burning wool, mingling with the remembered scent of dust.