Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Drawings in the Sand

FLASH FICTION PROMPT copyright KSBrooks all rights reserved white sands 1998 drawing
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph to the left as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.


Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left.  The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2016.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

16 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Drawings in the Sand”

  1. To: Dr. E.R.James, @TechStudiesInc
    From: Dr. J.D.Thomasi @NewWorldsTechInc.
    Date: April 1, 2016

    This aerial photograph of a newly discovered geoglyth, reportedly taken on the western coast of the Americas, has been forwarded to me by a colleague at Westmount Technologies. As you can imagine, he is most anxious to know what we make of it.

    Like the ancient Nazca culture lines in Peru, these lines are only visible from above. The projections seem to be pointing towards various astrological bodies. Perhaps evidence of a pagan religion? Our colleague thinks the lines may represent constellations and play some part in a water ritual. He estimates the age of the lines as being first millennium BC, although admits they could be much older.

    Satellite mapping technologies are in place, which will undoubtedly give us much valuable information. In the meantime, I know you share my excitement at this discovery and are as honored as I was to be included in the preliminary study.

    We look forward eagerly to mining your expertise on this groundbreaking discovery.

    To: Dr. E.R.James, @TechStudiesInc
    From: Dr. J.D.Thomasi @NewWorldsTechInc.
    Date: April 1, 2016

    Ignore previous message… I just noticed the date…

  2. Ashleigh didn’t care about the growing pile of clothes strewn across the closet floor as she rummaged through Jack’s closet. She felt pants pockets and tore shirts from their hangers, glancing at their collars before dropping them. She’d talked to a friend who’d seen Jack with another woman, holding a ring box! How could he? A former boyfriend had cheated on Ashleigh, and Jack knew she wouldn’t stand for that again.

    Then she spied an old shoe box. Hot tears fell unnoticed onto her shaking hands as she lifted the lid. Her tears quickly turned joyful as she read the hidden love poem. Ashleigh’s guarded heart warmed when saw the picture he’d snapped of her playfully drawn beach sand selfie.

    Ashleigh, the day we met was the best day of my life.
    I told you that day at the beach that you would be my wife.
    You weren’t ready, as your heart had recently been broken.
    I have longed to give you this diamond and gold love token.
    I know our wedded days will bring both happy times and sad,
    And, if you become my wife, you will make me ever so glad.

    She glanced at her buzzing phone. Jack texted a picture of himself with his sister saying that he missed Ashleigh and that his sister had met him for dinner after work. What he didn’t say was that they’d gone ring shopping, too.

    Ashleigh vowed to love and trust Jack forever as she restored order to his closet.

  3. Jonah walked up the beach to his adorable five year old daughter, who was drawing in the sand, “Hi Sandy, where’s Mommy?”

    Sandy pointed to the stick figure she drew in the sand, “There Mommy,” then she drew another long wavy line.

    Looking around he didn’t see her anywhere on the deserted beach, “No Sandy, where did Mommy go?”

    Sandy looked up at her daddy and smiled pointing to her stick figured and said, “Mommy go with Hal Ten Tickles.”

    Her Daddy looked around on the sand and saw his wife’s foot prints coming up to Sandy, but they didn’t go anywhere else. Puzzled he mulled this over as he looked at Sandy’s stick figure of what appeared to be her mother with a long scarf wrapped around her neck, nervously he asked, “Where’s Mommy?

    Little Sandy pointed to the long scarf and with a huff said, “Mommy play with Hal Ten Tickles.”

    He stood there looking down at his daughter drawing in the sand as she added another stick figure with a long scarf, “Is that Hal?” He asked her.

    She replied, “No! Daddy play with Hal Ten Tickles.”

    Before Jonah could say another word, a giant tentacle snapped out of the sea and wrapped around his waist pulling him in. All he had time to scream was “Help Tentacles!” before the Kraken pulled him under the waves.

    Sandy watched as her Daddy disappeared under the waves, “Mommy and Daddy have all the Fun!”

  4. At this altitude, in the papery air, the sun scorched her skin as soon as it crested the peak. David was gone when she awoke. Now he was back, asking stupid questions.
    “Where’s that odd picture Joshua drew last week, when we were in Colorado.”
    “Why?”
    “Did he say anything? Act strange about it?”
    “Say anything? We’re talking about our son. What would he say?”
    She remembered the picture, primitive, childish, when his drawings were normally so sophisticated.
    “Can you just get it?”
    “Keep your voice down, I don’t want to wake him yet.”
    “Get the picture and come with me.” He snapped.
    “And leave him in the tent? Are you nuts?”
    “Just to the top of the hill there. He’s eleven years old for crying out loud.”
    “And completely unpredictable, even on a good day. Now I think the altitude is screwing with his dosage.”
    The panic in her husband’s eyes was too compelling. She grabbed the picture from her backpack. They ran to the peak. She saw it, a perfect duplicate of her son’s scrawl, three hundred meters high, etched in the desert sand. She lost her grip on the drawing and a gust took it over the edge. David lunged for it and slipped on the gravel. One sharp cry. Then eerie silence until the crack of his head on the rocks echoed up to her. Then the shuffle of bare feet.
    “Mommy? Go back home? Me you?”

  5. It was Twenty years ago and we had just graduated from high school. Every member of our class made it to our graduation party at Silver Sands beach. That wasn’t a surprise as our class of ’96 was less than fifty kids, which made us closer than family. We were innocent. What did we know about life?
    It was on this very spot that she drew her self-image. There wasn’t any likeness, except for the smile. We laughed when I drew my image next to hers and she quickly scratched it away. We were lovers, but headed to different parts of the country. I think she knew I wasn’t going to be in her life.
    She was right. We went to separate colleges, settled in different states and eventually married other people.
    Five years ago, our class planners advertised it as just a simple class reunion. It was so much more than that.
    I felt the hot sand burning my feet now, as she drew her image in the sand again. She didn’t scratch out my image when I drew mine next to hers. We both had matching smiles this time.
    I hugged her tightly and felt the tears of happiness running down my cheeks.
    “Daddy, are you crying because your feet hurt too? Where’s my picture?”

  6. Tondalullah Lipschitz looked down at the figure scratched into the sand. “Son of a gun,” she chuckled. “He wants me to find him!”

    She turned the Jaguar around and headed back to Malibu, the wind whipping through her blonde hair.

    Once inside her apartment, she slid open the deck door and inhaled the salt air floating in from the ocean. Easing into the director chair, she propped her feet onto the railing, linked her hands behind her head and closed her blue eyes.

    Why did he send his drawing of the figure with an X over it to me, she wondered. This meshuga serial killer chopped up 17 men, women and children, leaving the childish figure carved into their foreheads. If I can nail this guy I’ll be able to open my first Private Investigator office, she mused. “Imagine! Me! Tondalullah Lipschitz! P.I.!”

    Next morning Tondalullah, or LaLa, as everyone called her, opened her filing cabinet and went through the ten folders. Each contained information on her attempts at various professions. She fondled the one labeled P.I.

    Dunking a bagel into her cappuccino, she grumbled, “If I fail again, I’ll just have to look for another career.” She licked the cream cheese from her fingers, opened her folded newspaper and gasped “Heylik drek!” at the screaming headlines – “KILLER OF 17 CAPTURED. All mutilated victims were blue-eyed blondes”.

    LaLa poured some Mogen David into a large glass, slumped into the couch and turned to the want ads.

  7. Knock,knock,knock. J’Daddy, the promise!’
    ‘Certainly my daughter.’And had to wake up my tired bones to get refreshed in the bathroom.
    I joined her for early and heavy breakfast and envied how she smeared jam and butter on the bread.
    Her mother, a nurse had left to attend to a nearly dying patient who had vowed not to take medicine in her absence.
    She had prepared her daughter, breakfast and packed to satisfaction of the tour she had longed but only to miss in the line of duty.
    My daughter and i finished breakfast and with our light luggage locked the door behind us.
    My four wheel drive vehicle was full tank and ready to tear the tarmac all the way to the beaches of california along the coast.
    We were all movie lovers and each one of us missed the declared scenes where real action took place.
    Her great wish was if ever we could at least get some of the actors in action and likewise carried the wish along with me till we got there. With restricted areas the authorities had seen it better not to run shows during school holidays to minimise entry but the guide opted where we could enjoy especially the girl.
    We played and enjoyed. She missed her mom and drew her on the sand and made me miss her.
    We became homesick and left.

  8. ‘That photo—’ David pointed out on the wall, ‘Can you remember Sweetie?’
    How could I not?
    ~~~
    John was five then, and Jessica was lap-baby. David and I were proud parents of the two. We four and my mom-in-law; a complete happy family it was.

    ‘Mom, can’t we go for outing this weekend?’ asked John.
    ‘Well, David, could we?’ I readily forwarded the request to John’s dad.
    ‘Hmm, certainly my queen, but where?’
    ‘—Town Beach!’ John exclaimed in joy, before I could say anything.
    ‘Dad!’ John continued, ‘Can we take the baby-sis with us?’
    ‘She is too young, son, how could we? She will stay at home with your grandma’
    ‘Oh, no! Please. I want all together’
    ‘Okay, okay everybody. That’s my responsibility’ I assured, ‘I’m her mom. You need not worry. I’ll manage the baby’
    ‘Okay then, I’ll arrange the rest’ agreed David.
    ~~~
    John was running and playing nearby, freely, engaged mostly in himself.
    We were few feet away, enjoying the cool, pure nature. Baby was in my lap.
    John suddenly called us, ‘Mom, Dad, Granny! Come here, see’
    ‘Yes. What’s wrong?’ David paid attention.
    ‘See what I created in the sand. Come here’

    We followed him.
    ‘What is that Mr. Artist?’ David joked.
    ‘It’s my cute baby sis, Jessica!’ John boldly announced.
    ‘I must take a photo’ I took.
    ~~~
    National Academy has announced the best artist of the year. It’s our John, now 22. Seeing the photo I could not resist tears of joy.

  9. “Come with me Darling. It’s time to go home.”

    “One more minute Mama, pleeeeeease.”

    “You said that five minutes ago. Come now, Papa will be waiting. We mustn’t keep him waiting.”

    The young girl stomped off the beach with her buckets and shovels. Her bottom lip sticking out as far as it would go.

    “Stop that pouting now, we’ve had a fun day at the beach. Don’t go ruining it or we won’t be able to come back.”

    “I just wanted to finish my picture in the sand.”

    “It’s very pretty and the next time we come to the beach, you will have time to finish one. I promise.”

    Mother and daughter climbed aboard their spaceship where Papa was waiting for them.

    “Papa! Can’t we stay a little longer?”

    “Not today Darling. I’m expected back on Jupiter in two light years. We must leave immediately or I’ll be late.”

    “Alright Papa. But look down at the sand. It’s a picture of the little creatures that live here. What are they called again? I forgot.”

    “Humans Darling.” Mama reminded her.

    Papa leaned towards the window to take in the view from his seat. “Well done sweetheart! Mamma, did you know our daughter had so much talent?”

    “It’s extraordinary Darling! Such a good likeness of the humans. Maybe next time we visit Earth you can draw a picture of our family. The humans would be very interested to see it, I’m sure.”

  10. Lieutenant Danielle Montgomery was ecstatic about being included on the first Mission to Mars. Being selected to secure the landing site was an extra honor she was enjoying as she stepped from the landing module to inspect the immediate area. She focused on the outer rim from where she stood and cocked her head slightly. Was that a fringe of vegetation? Her heart began to beat faster and she moved closer to inspect what her eyes were already telling her – it was vegetation. Her pace quickened and as she leaned over to look more closely at the ochre-colored fringe she stopped, her hand inches from touching the top of this rare find on a planet long believed to be devoid of all life, including vegetation.

    Her eyes moved slightly back from the fringe of natural growth and refocused on the sand just past where she stood. There, drawn in the sand so it was unmistakable, was a stick figure, so reminiscent of that any child from Earth might have drawn that it caused this astronaut to stop breathing for a moment. She noticed something was drawn as extending from the head of this figure and wondered if it was supposed to be hair or..?

    Motion just off to her left caused Danielle to slowly slide her gaze that direction, just in time to see the creature this drawing was based upon stepping out from behind some large rocks, two long tentacles wiggling from its head and extending toward her.

  11. “Hey mister, we got you some more sticks!”

    I raised my head from the sand not sure what to expect. We’d been stranded on this desert island for three days now and they still call me mister.

    “Thanks girls.”

    So far they’ve brought me a variety of twigs and branches. This time, to my surprise, they’ve actually found a stick that would be ideal for a splint. They watched as I bound the stick to my left leg with strips of torn fabric.

    “What are you doing?” Susie was the younger of the two and always asking questions.

    The storm had appeared out of nowhere, tossing our boat around like a bath toy. That was when I saw a wave sweep the girls off the deck. I dived in and reached them just in time. Suddenly a huge wave engulfed the boat and then it was gone. The girls clung to my back as I swam. That was when I discovered Susie’s inquisitive nature. It was a very long swim before we found the island.

    “I hurt my leg on the rocks. Remember?”

    Susie looked into the sky as she thought, “Oh yeah, is that why you’re always crying?”

    “I’m not always crying.”

    “Yes you are, but don’t worry we finished your sand drawing for you,” Anna added helpfully.

    “What?”

    I climbed to my feet and hobbled down the beach until I could see it. The O of my SOS sign now had a smiley face, pigtails and a body.

  12. I thought they were wrong. I don’t know why, but something in me kept denying the obvious. I took a phone shot of the drawing, as they frantically dug for the box with the child.
    It was too obvious. The kidnapper had been clever in all previous crimes and this was not clever.
    I kept looking at the photo. It was a typical kid stick figure. There were scratches in the sand around the head, obviously hair–girl’s hair. I kept looking at it.
    “It’s a map!” I yelled. “The arms and legs are arrows pointing to that huge rock formation. Come on.” I was running and then climbing and falling and getting bruised and skinned and crying and cussing and I found her.
    Curled up in a bushel basket She was dead.
    The bastard had lied. He had been so sure that we would not find her that he killed her before we had a chance to look.
    I lugged the basket back to where the digging had stopped. Some had not believed me and stood shamefaced. He mother was among them. She cam to look at he beautiful child. Four yers of love were mirrored in the tears falling across her cheeks.
    She sobbed and touched the pale forehead. Then she pointed to the hole. The basket fit perfectly and Mother’s apron covered the little casket. We filled the sand. She drew a stick figure on top.

  13. It was an unbearably hot day as Investigator Richardson made the long trek from the parking lot to the beach. Gazing at the waves gently rolling in the distance, he wished that he was there for pleasure, but that was not the case. Since the beginning of summer, there had been an influx of beach-goers as well as unexplained disappearances. The one common characteristic in all of the cases was that this beach was the location that each person was seen last.

    The beach was almost empty, probably a result of the incidents that he was investigating. The investigator spent the morning wandering around and talking with the few visitors who had not been scared away. After several hours, he had discerned nothing that could be of use to the case. Frustrated, he made his way to the farthest end of beach so he could think unbothered.

    Investigator Richardson sat down on a rock among some dune vegetation and gazed out at the ocean for several moments. As he got up to leave, he noticed a crudely drawn stick figure in the sand. Looking around, he saw more. There were ten, the same amount as the number of disappearances. He bent down, brushing aside the surrounding sand in search of anything that could prove that these drawings were related to the case. He was so intent on his investigation that he never noticed his body submerging into the sand until it was too late. Another stick figure appeared.

  14. Walking along the shore one afternoon, I came upon a drawing of a little girl in the sand. I stopped and stared at her, wondering how she’d gotten there.
    “Hi,” she said. “What’s your name?”
    I straightened up and stepped back half a step.
    “I’m Angel,” she said.
    I stared at her, wondering if I should run away.
    “Why are you afraid?” Angel asked.
    “I don’t know. You’re just a drawing in the sand. You’re not alive, are you?”
    “I’m quite alive. I’m here for a special purpose.”
    “What’s that?” I asked.
    “To be your friend.”
    I couldn’t help but smile.
    “You’ve never had a friend, have you?” Angel said.
    I shook my head. “No, but I’ve always wanted one.”
    “I know. I saw you walking along the beach all alone and I decided to materialize.”
    “You what?” I asked, not knowing such a big word. I’d just finished first grade, and we had never learned that word.
    “Materialize. It means to appear out of nothing. Of course, there’s no such thing as nothing. There’s always something. So I appeared from where I was.”
    I dropped down onto my knees and looked at Angel, her lines in the sand. She was beautiful. She had the biggest smile and the largest eyes.
    “I know your name,” Angel said. “You’re Amanda.”
    “How do you know my name?”
    “It came to me the moment you materialized on the beach.”
    “Materialize. It sounds like magic,” I said.
    “It is,” Angel said. “It is.”

  15. “Hello YouTubers. Gunther Davidson here. It’s my tenth visit to the Moon, and this time I’m taking you along.

    “In case you didn’t know, with the fall of NASA, the Moon became open-season for anyone who could afford to make it here – until LunaMed purchased it. Now it’s private property. LunaMed even has a security system which notifies them if someone is trespassing. Not sure why – who’d want to squat here – where would they get breathable air?

    “This time I’m checking a security camera that stopped working. Probably just needs to have a battery replaced. One of the techs – she looked at me all weird when I told her I was headed up to check it out. She told me to be very careful. Not sure why. No one’s up here.

    “Anyway, from up on top of this dune, I can see the post the camera’s supposed to be on. Maybe a bolt came undone and it floated off. Good thing I have a spare in my bag.

    “But – what? A little shrub? This is history, folks! A plant growing on the Moon! But, wait – this can’t be right. A stick figure drawing? Is this some kind of–”

    ~~~

    A man sitting in a high-rise office straightened the LunaMed pin in his silk tie. “Are we good?”

    “Yes sir,” another man responded. “The video was never published.”

    “Good. It’s a doozy.” He turned back to his computer and pressed play in time to watch Davidson’s blood splatter the screen.

  16. “That’s Sumerian, isn’t it? I recognise the forms.”

    “What?”

    “It’s Nibiru scriptures as transcribed by the Anunnaki back before The Great Flood. It was on the tenth tablet, I think.”

    “What? But it’s a child’s sand drawing…”

    “No. No, it’s not. Give me that thing…” Travis took the photo from me and turned it about, tilting it up at an angle. “There you are. Now tell me that’s not writing!”

    I had to admit it looked like something I’d seen before. Maybe an etching on a stone I’d seen in a catalogue I’d read from a museum somewhere. Years ago.

    “Look. It’s easy. You just need to transcribe it.” Travis pulled up a notepad and began to sketch, copying the sigils from the image. “Now tell me, where was this taken and when?”

    “Earlier today, I think. At Smugglers Cove. Does that make a difference?”

    “You gotta bet your bippy it does. The latitude and longitude are crucial. The alignment to the sun. It’s all of the utmost importance. You read this from the wrong angle and the meaning can change. It could be a prediction of the end of the earth. The planet Nibiru’s in another dimension but it crosses over into ours sometimes. We’d never see it until it emerged and then..”

    “And then what?” I was beginning to get worried.

    “Global annihilation. The whole shebang. That planet’s the size of Neptune. Or so they said. But wait… what time’s high tide?

    “Half an hour ago,” I said.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: