He felt soft sand beneath his back and heard a vast crashing of waves against shoreline. By some stroke of cruel misfortune, he’d made it to land. If only he’d died, erasing his wretched identity. His body remained cold and numb, but to his amazement, he was free from his restraints. The raft lay nowhere in sight. He sat up and his head swam. He fell back down; waited for his head to clear, for feeling to return to his extremities. On the second attempt he managed to remain upright. The white-sanded beach, sparkling in the moonlight, crawled with crabs and sand hoppers. The beach sloped up past him. It ended at a forest of dark palm trees and sprawling plants.
What was this place?
He inspected the sand around him. He found it covered in countless footprints of different sizes. The footprints led away from his position on the beach and into the forest. But there was something strange about the prints. When he peered closer he realized they were not footprints after all. In fact, he couldn’t discern even a single footprint.
They were handprints.