Take a walk across the sand and see what stories emerge. Sand is both impressionable and shifting. It can provide a rich or barren setting; exist as an opportunity or challenge; and add to the overall tone of a story.
This week writers take to the sand for their inspiration. Just as there are different beaches, you will find different stories.
The following are based upon the October 12, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a walk across the sand.
Creek Bank Memories by Ann Edall-Robson
I was once the rock in your vision. I was once your strength to lean on. I have crumbled in your longing. My memory starts forever ago, when you were young. Skipping me across the crystal clear waters.
Returning to the place you found me. Thrown here time and time again to transform. No longer solid and dancing aimlessly under the glass.
Lounging in the eddy of the stream. Relaxing. Inviting you to bask in the sun with me. Messaging your mind from the soles of your feet. The solace you seek. The hourglass of memories beneath your toes.
Line In The Sand by Sherri Matthews
Red-hot sand scolded her feet, like she gave a shit.
An hour earlier, she swam through the breakers and bobbed up and down in the sea with Tom, her legs wrapped around him like seaweed. Now he ignored her as he smoked another joint, getting wasted.
Her first time in California; golden sands and sky-high rollers, so different to Brighton with its pebble strewn beach and dark, swirling ocean where she had played as a child and longed for adventure.
But now she squashed her American Dream with every footprint.
She was nothing but a stranger far from home.
Building Sandcastles by Norah Colvin
The sun shone. A gentle breeze kissed the children’s cheeks, cooling them, as they shared the bucket and spade to build castles and dig moats. She gathered shells and seaweed for decoration. He filled the moat. Parents smiled, satisfied.
Suddenly, he jumped onto the castle, gleefully twisting from side to side. She protested; she’d not finished. He laughed. She cast aside the last of her ornaments and stomped away. He shrugged.
Remorseful, he went after her, “Wait. I’m sorry. Let’s build it again.”
“But make it bigger this time.”
Hand in hand they raced back to start again.
Virga Sands by Elliott Lyngreen
So I keep practicing sandcastles
So surreal, so the tide vanishes
So the initial magnified eye of vital dawn,
Perforates a virga in the sky
So they become long bright sands above
And white furrowed shimmers
Completely fortified, formed
Of the whooshes that erode
So the rooks float, so the horizons warm,
The washing cannons, loaded
Only extend the mote
I am spent, preparations
Whistles while I worked
Exhaust the fortifications
The thinner walls
Yet the stronghold castles of thought
But never touching dawn
So smooth, so bulky enthrall
Overcomes the shores so morphing
More and more
Stranded by Sarah Brentyn
The strip of sand is thin. Stretching for miles, snaking around the island like a serpent waiting to awaken. The remaining land is rock, worn smooth by the sea.
I walk along the beach, wet sand soft and forgiving beneath my feet, squishing between my toes.
I am lost before I am done.
My footprints washed away, waves cresting, crashing, hushing my breath, erasing me.
Weeks crawl by, worries creep up. Will I see another human before I die here?
A set of footprints.
Someone else’s? Or the ocean playing tricks, saving one of my own to torture me?
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
I’ll never forget that stupid little boy running around at the beach, swatting at butterflies and being a complete pain in the ass. When he saw Mom he stopped and gawked. Mom, who’d always looked so natural in a bathing suit, before chemo left her sharp and bony, her hair patchy and ravaged. I planted my feet in the hot sand. Waves smashing down with my anger. I could’ve kicked that boy in the jaw, which I did in my thoughts. Finally, his mother led him away, and only then did I turn and find Mom gawking. At me.
You Don’t Own Paradise by Anne Goodwin
I remember hot afternoons, postcoital in a tangle of limbs, listening to the crashing of waves against the reef. I remember dressing lazily for barbecue dinners on the beach. Now I lie alone, tortured by visions of your arms entwined with hers.
Friends advised against returning to our honeymoon hotel. But you don’t own the waiter’s smile as he sets down my plate or the pale crabs sideways scuttling across the sand. You don’t own the apricot sunrise, or the rainbow fish the bronzed boys try to catch by hand. You don’t own my feelings. You don’t own paradise.
Running the Beach (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Looking skyward, Danni noted how the clouds, water and land curved like a snow globe illuminated by an unseen sun. A bald eagle scouted the beach beneath cloud layers, and the two young pointers zigzagged across the sand. Biddy plodded behind, slow but with head up and ears perked. Gripping both leashes, Danni ran heavily, the sand hindering her steps, but she pushed through, laughing as the two dogs bounded and pulsed with matched vigor. Breathless, she let go and both dogs galloped, tongues flapping.
Michael passed Biddy and caught up to Danni. “What did you do that for?”
Waco by Bill Engelson
Their vigil continued.
Heat pummeled them ruthlessly.
If for no other reason than the unrelenting inferno, Dobbs knew the outriders would soon arrive.
Deserts drove men mad. Mad men easily lose their way.
He’d born witness to that some years earlier.
He and Waco Braid had been returning from California in late July and had underestimated their water supply. Waco’s horse gave up the ghost early and then Spark, his long-time companion, crumpled under the barrage of heat.
Though rescued by Casper Wallace, an engineer looking for Borax, Waco’s mind was shattered.
He slashed his throat a week later.
Ancient History? by Jules Paige
After the storm. That was always the best time to look for
bits of coral on the gulf shore. Or the Atlantic or Pacific
coasts for that matter. The coral bits were mixed together
in one jar. Somewhere there was a small purple piece that
some ocean had given up. Was that from the Caribbean?
Or maybe from Maui? It really didn’t matter – they were
just symbols of time spent together, eyes only slightly misted.
There would be other times that her feet would be welcomed
by warm soothing sand.
coral told the story
of life lived
Flash Fiction by Florida Borne
My birth in South Florida condemned me to a childhood of sand. My first experience with anything but grit that refused to grow more than Bermuda grass came during a vacation to Central Florida. I wanted to know why their sand looked like poo.
The beach was a 45 minute drive. After an expressway cut through town, it took 15 minutes. For a child, anything longer than 5 minutes is an eternity.
My love for the beach ended at the age of 23 after a moonlight walk with my date left welts on my legs. Two words: Sand Fleas.
Footprint in the Sand by Drew Sheldon
The next day we decided to walk by the scene again. There were still two half-empty water bottles lying there. No one had noticed them in the chaos, and now they were probably just seen as litter. There were lots of footprints around, most of them smudged and indistinct. One stood out, though. “Doesn’t this look like the tread from those fancy boots he always wore?” It definitely did. We wondered if that might’ve been left by the last step the man took, but neither of us decided to ask. We just picked up the bottles and walked away.
Sandy Soul by Diana Nagai
Daphne let the shower cascade down as she hugged her knees, tears indistinguishable amongst the water streams. She was desperate to feel something other than survivor’s guilt in the wake of the fatal car crash. Daphne succeeded, finding the bottom of a vodka bottle. She now felt broken.
If water mercilessly erased history along beaches, then why couldn’t this shower erase her hers? Instead, rivulets carved a fissure in her soul. Before on one side, after on the other. Sands of memories would continue to shift, burying the imprints, but would never close the chasm.
The Best Laid Plans…by Geoff Le Pard
‘Oh bloody hell.’
‘What’s wrong?’ Mary put down the cup.
‘That bloody dog. Look.’
Mary stifled a giggle. In the carefully pressed sand that Paul had spent hours levelling a set of canine paw prints stood out.
‘I spent hours getting that right.’
‘Maybe we should all make a footprint. Like they do in Hollywood.’
‘I’m making a patio, not Sunset sodding Boulevard.’
Mary waited until he smiled. ‘It’s a point though. Maybe Penny and Charlotte could leave hand prints when you do the concrete. Nice memory for them.’
Paul nodded. ‘Those sort of memory triggers are so important.’
Sand Treasure by Pensitivity
Walking across the sandy beach, I could see it.
Treasure, and it was all mine.
Half buried in the sand, glinting in the sun.
I picked it up.
Riches beyond belief.
There were ten of us.
Yes I had enough.
I stood in the queue, waiting patiently.
I looked behind me.
Grandpa was soon by my side.
I showed him what I held so tightly in my fist.
He grinned, knowing exactly what I was going to do.
It was my turn.
‘Ten cornets please!’ I asked.
‘That’ll be two bob’, came the reply.
I handed over my ‘treasure’.
Flash Fiction Challenge by Tena Carr
The wet sand squished beneath her bare feet but Monica felt nothing, nothing but numbness. The sun shining, the birds chirping, they meant nothing. Over and over her mind replayed the events of that day. Jeff getting on his cycle and heading into work, the sight of uniformed officers showing up at her door. She recalled smiling in recognition, the smile dying as she caught the serious expressions on their face. Heard the screams as they shared the bad news…. A drunk driver had run Jeff over. He had been pronounced dead on scene.
Invisible by Irene Waters
Jemma ran around the beach, arms outstretched, zooming, summersaulting. Zilla followed, treading in her sister’s footsteps. At times she was on her sister’s heels, at other times she carefully walked backwards in the marks her sister made, leaving no imprint of her own.
“What are you two girls doing?”
“Daddy I am going to be a pilot when I grow up.” Jemma continued her flying.
“And I am going to be invisible when I grow up” Zilla said.
Jemma’s first brief, to defend the elusive beach house thief, excited her until Zilla greeted her from behind the bars.
Crossing the Sand Dunes (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
Mary swaddled baby Charles to her chest, and clung to him with one hand, while keeping the ever curious Lizzie close with the other. The older boys walked behind. Sally whined to her husband Leroy that the sand was too hard to walk in, and though Mary agreed, she kept stepping forward and sliding back in silence. At the knoll, the boys giggled, running and sliding downward. The wagon teetered and Leroy coaxed the mules. “Easy!” Then it tilted again, dangling momentarily. Sally screamed as the wagon toppled. Leroy rose to his feet, reigns in hand, sand in mouth.
Author’s Note: The McCanles family never crossed the sand dunes in Nebraska, but they were bothersome to the Mormon Migration that did. They simply up righted the toppled wagons and continued.
Footprints in the Sand (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
Jane stops walking and sits, letting her backpack slide down her arm. The sand is wet, soaking through her jeans immediately.
She pulls her boots off, then her socks, digging her toes into the cold sand as if it was summer and warm. It’s comforting anyway. Sky and water kiss in the distance.
After she’s done with this foolishness, goes home to warm up and let the horizon fade from her eyes, keeps on keeping on, trying to live a life, the wind and tidewaters will erase all evidence she was even here.
Like life itself.
That’s comforting too.
Anxiety’s Sands by Kerry E. B.Black
When she received a less-than-perfect science grade, Betty felt the earth shift beneath her. Nobody else noticed, which she thought odd. Maybe it was an earthquake that caused the disruption. Maybe something else.
It happened again when she discovered her old dog died. The ground gobbled up her feet, pulling and miring like wet sand.
She phoned her bestie, Margaret, but Margaret sobbed, “My parents are divorcing.” Margaret’s tragedy trumped a lost pet. Betty’s head spun with worry, and she stumbled, weak-kneed.
Life continued, as it will, and with every setback, Betty sunk deeper into sands felt by Noone but her.
Great writing, as usual, Charli!
Thank you, Noelle!
Sands are shape shifters, like the stories written in response to your challenge. Quite a variety. I couldn’t see one about sandcastles, though. 🙂
And sometimes the sand shifts to reveal what was not seen! Sandcastles must have been in the sky or on a coastal beach. All are properly in place now. 🙂
Many of us build sandcastles in the sky. We have to remember to not look up when they start disintegrating. We’ll only get grit in our eyes. 🙂
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