Story Seeds Prompt: Shoes

Story Seeds Prompt: Shoes

Stretch and flex your creative muscles with this prompt. Post your flash-fiction piece of no more than 300 words in the comments. Your story can be of any genre, though we ask you to keep the content PG-13.

Please include the following in your post: A title, your word count (not including the title), your twitter or FB handle so we can contact you if you win.

We’ll pick a winner next Friday.

Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Questions to Help Spark Ideas:

  • Whose shoes are these?
  • What happened just before he/she/they took them off?
  • What is stuck in the sole of the right shoe?
  • How old are these shoes?
  • How long have they been sitting there?
  • Do these shoes have any special, magical powers?

11 Comments

  • A Mile in His Shoes (298 Words) by Jonathan Goodwin on Facebook

    The man reached down with a starched white handkerchief, gold cuff links peaked out from the sleeves of his topcoat, he wiped the water spots off my highly polished toe with a few firm, confident stokes of his aged hand. Aged, but still strong, the fruits of his two hour sessions three times a week with a personal trainer. He has different shoes for those sessions. He settled back into the deep, heated seat of his limousine, a small smile on his face as the wipers silently glided back and forth in a rhythmic, hypnotic motion across the windshield. His meeting had gone well. The small, but lucrative, family-owned business he had just acquired for his vast portfolio never stood a chance against his power and wealth. It was always inevitable.

    The man’s shoulders slouched as he closed the heavy door behind him. He shuffled down the alley, turning his collar to the wind and rain, cold water soaked his sock through the hole in my sole. He felt no anger towards the old couple who had taken a chance on him years before. They had given him a job when many would not, and they gave him a small but fair wage that kept a roof over his family’s head, and food on the table. He would have to cut a new piece of cardboard to cover the hole in his only shoes, but that was not what was on his mind now. Now his only thought was how to tell his wife that the small family-owned business where he worked had been bought by some corporate big-wig and was to be closed and torn down next week. He stopped at the corner, adjusted his tattered collar against the cold once again, and waited for his bus.

    • vjorden

      So much strong, sensory description here. And I love the movement of time and space as we follow this man through the different stages of his life. He seems to remain constant, but the world around him takes on a darker cast. Well done!

  • THROUGH THE SOLES OF HER SNEAKERS (298 words) by Judith Cosby

    Olivia woke to the blaring sound of her alarm. As she rolled over from under the warmth of her covers, she clumsily reached to end the shrilling noise. Squinting, she confirmed the time, five AM. She was three weeks into her running regiment and a year into making significant changes to her life.
    Rolling back on her pillow she looked up to the ceiling repeating her mantra, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
    Flinging the covers off, she leaped out of bed and got dressed. Olivia looked at her tired face in the bathroom mirror and smiled. The deep facial scar that marred a part of her pretty face no longer haunted her. Brushing her long blonde hair, she quickly put it in a ponytail. She walked towards the door where her sneakers waited for her. As she sat on the bench, tying the smooth white laces, she looked down at them.
    Those sneakers did not hold magical powers, but they could have. It had been a hard year. A horrible year. The car accident that changed her life. It disfigured her. They said she would never walk again. But she did.
    Her physical therapist had challenged her every step of the way. She fought it at first. She was so angry. But little by little she began to walk miles, then she began to run. Running felt so good because she could focus her pain through the soles of her feet, releasing it into the universe.
    Those sneakers saved her life. That miraculous day she saw them in the shoe store window. They whispered to her “run with me.”
    She bought them that very moment and they have been her inspiration ever since.
    Completing her ten-mile run, she placed the soulful sneakers back in their sacred spot.

    • vjorden

      I love a story of triumph over adversity. And the hint of magical realism here, the idea that a pair of shoes called to her and inspired her to do the impossible, made me smile and wonder if I need to go shoe shopping! Nicely done!

  • The start of my Shoes piece is missing – SHOES
    My feet hurt – they ache and burn
    As I force them into fashionable shapes.
    I can’t hop to attention,
    Nor run if I’m chased.
    There are no kicks to punctuate my screams.
    I blame my feet.
    They will not conform to the newest obsession
    They are too fat, to flat just a rebellious gathering of toes.
    My feet hurt.
    They resist being stretched, stuffed and
    Crammed into the wrong pair of shoes.
    I clumsily stumble unable to balance
    In a fashion multimedia show.
    Brilliant creations drafted by artists
    Who personally hate my feet.
    Aching complaints sedate and control,
    Inching forward on tippy toe
    Each stride hobbles my sense.
    Paying top dollar to vogue’s hefty toll,
    Immobile with no rational defense.
    My feet hurt.

    • vjorden

      Love the rhythm and texture of this. The price we pay to fit in or be fashionably often doesn’t take comfort into account. Or even different shapes and sizes. I think a lot of us can relate to the theme here. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve said those exact words…my feet hurt. Well done!

  • Converse High Tops by Lisa Hase-Jackson (295 words) @HaseJackson Twitter

    Converse High Tops where Dale’s favorite kind of tennis shoe because they didn’t make his feet sweat. He started wearing them as a middle-schooler and went through a pair every six months, a point his mother emphasized every time they bought another pair from Champs. He would sleep in them if he could, his mother complained, which wasn’t true at all. He always removed his shoes at the front door when coming home from school so they would last longer. Dale knew his mother worried about money.

    Friday after school, Dale and his friends walked a couple of blocks over from campus to check out a house that had burned down the previous Tuesday. Billows of smoke had hovered over the neighborhood as ash and soot settled on the school’s rooftop. The scent of melted vinyl and charred lumber still permeated the air. No one knew what had started the fire. No one knew the family who had lived there.

    Standing stark against the lowering sun, the house’s burned-out framed stood ominously. Something about the totality of destruction invited the teens to seek out remnants of the evacuated family’s life. Dale was stepping gingerly over broken glass amid the ruins when he lost his balance and put his foot down hard to steady himself. Sudden pain made him draw his foot quickly back as his sock filled with blood. There among the rubble he saw the business end of a wickedly-long nail sticking up from a blackened two-by-four.

    Soaking his foot in the bathtub with Epsom salts that evening, Dale thought of ways to keep his mother from noticing the hole in the bottom of his right shoe and its blood-stained insole. He wondered how to make this pair of shoes last another five months.

    • vjorden

      It always lights me up to see so many different perspectives on a prompt. Here these shoes represent so much…a mother’s love, a sense of belonging, a sense of ownership. I love the little details that make this feel like this story could belong to any of us. The last line carried so much impact for me. Well done!

  • vjorden

    This week’s prompt has closed for contest entries. Feel free to post your short stories if this prompt inspires you. To enter our weekly Story Seeds flash fiction contest, visit the Story Seeds page.

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