On Footprints in the Sand

Welcome to the aFa Footprints Challenge. I issued the challenge in this past post, but in a nutshell, participants will develop a story of 150 words or less from the image below.

Not only is my story in this post, I’ve asked participants to link their story here – so I invite readers here to follow the Pingback links in the Comments to more stories. Other writers my provide a link within their comment. There is no question in my mind that readers will find a wide variety of styles and adventures. In a way, another challenge is to read as many of the other stories as possible.

As I stated in the challenge, fiction is outside of my comfort zone. Thanks to participating writers and to all the readers. Enjoy the offerings!

PS: No need to panic because Pingbacks will display upon approval at this end.

Footprints in the Sand

The air is brisk. Yesterday’s rain and wind wiped away footprints, chair marks, and tire tracks from the past. The beach’s sandy surface is smooth except for a fresh set of footprints.

Someone walking alone …

… barefoot …

… a female …

… with short steps …

… using a cane …

… moving toward the water.

Warmly dressed to combat the chilled winds, she reaches the water’s edge. She stood looking in different directions, thinking about her love for the water, the beach, and its sand.

She slowly walked a short distance along the water’s edge – close enough for the occasional lap across her feet. She turned and paused to think about memories. Times when she wasn’t alone – the family vacations – the hand-and-hand walks with the one she loves.

Hooded and alone, she retraces her steps off the beach toward her quarters – the place where someone watched her every step.

(148 words) – Comments about this story? Who was watching?

116 thoughts on “On Footprints in the Sand

  1. Pingback: Footprints in the Sand | Inside the Mind of Isadora

  2. I had my story saved from Saturday. It looks like I am the first to see your fine story, aFrank.
    It seems like she was only allowed to wander so far. Perhaps, a daughter or son is allowing her the independence she has always enjoyed yet ever vigilant to ensure her safety.
    A lovely tale of beautiful memories she enjoyed in her youth.
    Isadora 😎
    ps – I added the pingback to my story but don’t see it here. Just in case, my story below:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Isadora,
      Glad you enjoyed the story. A family member watching is a possibility ;… but I will leave it at that for now as I wait to see what over say. The Pingback is now here (just above your comment) … they don’t show up until I approve them.

      Thanks for participating … and I encourage readers here to read about the serenity you painted with words.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Archon,
      Ambiguity was important to me in this as I was actually had Sherlock Holmes in my mind.

      I invite readers to read your tale of a kid with a traditional Archonian twist and turn. 🙂 … Thanks for joining in!


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  5. Pingback: Footprints in the Sand | Ocean Bream

  6. Hi Frank, what a lovely peaceful story, and then the odd, abrupt ending! I loved it, there is an entire myriad of possibilities! I don’t know how to ping-back, but I have linked this post in my challenge response! I really enjoyed this challenge, it was a great writing prompt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Footprints Challenge by aFrank Angle | Fiction Favorites

    • Pauline,
      Thank you … and at this point you may have read more than I … but I’m in the process of working through all of them.

      Actually this is my second story. A few years ago I did a Tango short story that followed with a challenge. I recall you giving me suggestions. 🙂 … Meanwhile, since you made this comment, there are more stories linked here … including one within the comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great writing here, Frank! You had me hooked and then there was the shift at the end with the “watcher” – ooooh I hope it’s someone with good intentions rather than bad 🙂 I wrote my story on the weekend and will publish it now. I’ll link back here to get the pingback, and I look forward to reading the other entries! Thanks for the creative prompt xx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: aFa Footprints Short Story Challenge Accepted! | Poetic Parfait

  10. Can I paste my story right here? I’m not good at the techno stuff:
    As I walk the beach alone, I watch the sun rise in soft pinks intermixed with peach and lavender. My mood shifts from gloomy – I’d hoped to not be solo this year – to surprise.
    With each step on the squishy sand, the earth softens underneath my feet. I leave behind an indentation that seems larger than my own size 8 woman’s foot. When I stop and look behind me, I notice smaller hollows also – the dent of a child’s foot – besides my own.
    But no one else is near me. Or in front or behind. My sunrise stride is solidary. Yet, someone is beside me. I listen to the gull’s cry and watch the sandpipers chase the tide. Closing my eyes, I see the child I once was, walking this same beach, holding my father’s hand.
    “Dad?” I whisper.
    “I’m here,” the sea sighs in return. “I’m always here.”

    Liked by 10 people

  11. Interesting, Frank. The way I see it is, as the watcher is someone at her ‘quarters’ and she is now ‘alone’, it’s a pet, pining for her to return. (Although why she didn’t take the pet with her opens more questions!) 😀

    Liked by 2 people


    • Jo,
      Thanks. Although fiction isn’t my focus, this was fun for me … as well as a personal challenge.

      Only memories watching is another interesting twist that I had not considered … thanks for that!

      Thank you for participating and I will be over soon to read it. NOPE – you are not late to the game … not at all!


  13. Pingback: A Challenge Accepted! – To Breathe is to Write

  14. I enjoyed your story, Frank. I think she is at the end of her life and just remembering past good times.
    Hope everyone enjoys mine. 🙂
    I’m late of course to the party but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Footprints In The Sand | Queen's end

  16. Hi Frank! Love your story! This was fun, and a bit nerve wracking. It’s the first challenge I’ve accepted. Hope the way I did my Pingback worked. 😀
    Okay, now I’d like to read some of these stories. Cheers!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: On Footprints in the Sand – All About Writing and more

  18. An excellent story which came off to me as a poem. I had the combined feelings of hoping not to share the woman’s experience, but knowing I would remember what you wrote if I did.

    Liked by 1 person

      • What a lovely, haunting image. Yes, like a poem which does give a hidden story. Age and loneliness: Too often they walk hand in had. I wonder how many writing prompts for fiction writers could come from poems. Cool!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Greta!
          Welcome to my little corner of the world .. the place where someone we know frequently visits. Thanks so much for the kind words about my short story. Fiction isn’t my forte – well, actually not even close – but it was fun to try. Speaking of poems, a poem challenge concerning on the my beach walks is a possibility! 🙂


  19. Pingback: Answering a Footprints Challenged | amycaudill.net

    • Amy,
      Wow …. that was fast! 😀 … Glad to know my story influenced yours a little. I’ll be over soon to read yours. Meanwhile, thanks again for joining the fun … and I invite you to read the others. BTW – … just because I like to know … where are you located?


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  22. I interpreted this as a woman who is being stalked by her own mortality. Maybe this is the end for her and she is thinking back on one of the places she loved most of all- the ocean. And each step is moving her into the next reality.

    Hey Frank, I have not forgotten about this challenge. I wrote something up for it and it’s in drafts at Drinks. I have just been on a writing tangent lately. I was going to post my entry to your challenge tomorrow.I hope that’s not too late. As it is, i loved this idea of yours and the replies to it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: Footprints in the Sand | Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  24. Well, mine is even later. I’ve been writing haibun recently, so I was tempted to add a haiku at the end. 🙂 I hope the pingback works, Frank.
    I liked your story. I’m not certain who is watching her, but I don’t think he/she/or it is benevolent because she has to return to her “quarters.” And since whoever or whatever is watching her every move. . .
    Now off to read others.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Merrill,
    Hooray … it’s #15 ,,, and I’ll be over soon. The pingback worked – (it doesn’t appear until I approve it). Glad you enjoyed my story. Many option for the watcher … and I like the idea of a pet. The readers here have a wide-range of thoughts. Maybe I’ll put a list together for the next OITS. Thanks for participating!


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  28. nice job. seems to me someone “special” is watching, and she knows it. i like how – intentionally or not – it seemed she might be so full of sorrow and longing that she was going to walk into the sea and never return, but then she turned back. could be that was her plan but she changed her mind when she may have sensed someone watching. and this could all be in previous comments, but they are too numerous and give me a great excuse not to read them all.

    Liked by 1 person

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