Proof of Life

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is by Danny Bowman. Thank you, Danny!


Proof of Life

by Jan Brown

The planet was desolate. Depressing. Could I put “depressing” in my report?

My mind wandered back to my family home on Earth. I remembered my treks through the Kau Desert to the Kilauea Volcano. The soil was barren, just like this. Impermeable.

In the 18th century, humans fled from Kilauea’s burning fire and lava. They left their footprints in the scorched Hawaiian earth, and they are still there for hikers like me to gaze upon in awe.

Here, on this planet, there were no signs of life—until I walked in the sulfur-drenched desert and saw footprints. Thousands of footprints.

1790_footprints_Kau_Desert nps-gov-havo-historyculture-footprints-htm

Footprints in the Kau Desert
Wikimedia Commons

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49 thoughts on “Proof of Life

  1. Jan, I love that you placed the narrator on another planet while still referencing something here. I’ve seen the footprints in Hawaii… such a mystical place! You capture that sense of mystery, with this story.

    • Thank you! I know the picture was taken in Tanzania, but the foreground looks a lot like the pictures I’ve seen of the desert surrounding Kilauea in Hawaii. The footprints that are forever embedded in the hardened lava seem fascinating to me, too.

  2. You’ve been to the Big Island then. Did you enjoy your visit? It’s always nice to come across a post of my island home. hugs for stirring up some old memories…

    • Thank you! Never been to Hawaii, but find it fascinating. I enjoyed your story about the goddess Pele. Haven’t read all the FF stories yet–I wonder if anyone else will feature Kilauea….

  3. I love an understated story – and this was beautifully understated drama. The pace, and the quick shift towards horror… extremely well done.

  4. You’ve so effectively placed the true place against the imaginary I’m ready to believe your narrator has really been off-world and seen the footprints. I love this story, Jan.

  5. Loved this Jan-the reference to the fleeing human footprints in Hawaiian earth seen as only a piece of tourist attraction is kind of horrific-what voyeurs we humans are and then that chilling end-somehow it has an ominous feel-I hope the narrator is not in trouble now(putting it mildly) 😉

  6. Interesting to speculate what the narrator will find if he/she follows the footprints….you never know what might lie at the end of the trail. Good story, Jan.

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