Prompt: Footsteps


I opened the curtains of the window that overlooked the small city park. It was covered in the dense snow that had fallen overnight. Once-tall grasses bent low with the weight. It was early, barely light, and I thought I might crawl back into bed, when I saw a lone woman approach the park.

For some reason I felt compelled to watch her. Maybe it was the way she looked around before she entered the park. Maybe it was her coat, so obviously oversized, or her old-fashioned rubber boots.

She walked carefully in the snow, leaving clear, deep footprints, and made a slow half-circle which took her to the center of the park, where there was a very small, now dry, fountain. Once there, she stood very still for a moment, then began to walk backwards in the precise same footsteps that had taken her there. She held her arms out straight beside her as she carefully backtracked into the footsteps. Slowly, almost losing her balance but righting herself just in time, she reached the footprints at the entrance to the park. She eased backwards into the steps just before they veered off the sidewalk.

She looked at her handiwork. As the sun rose, shadows were cast inside the footprints and they were distinct, tracing a curved path to the fountain where they… disappeared.

Pedestrians might pass and think someone had walked into the park and been taken up into the sky.

She pulled up her collar against the cold, and continued walking down the street. I watched her until she turned a corner, out of sight.