“No one may leave here,” said the Leader. “We must commune with the great Cosmic Eye. And after–”

“And after,” interrupted Smythe, who had catalyzed this rebellion against the Leader of the Sect of the Cosmic Eye, “there will be  more of the same. You will interpret the Eye’s signals in a way convenient to you–as ever!”

There was a murmur of agreement from the sect’s assemblage in the great hall they’d built in the forest. “Wait!” called Luella Fiske, known for her flares of inspiration. “Yes, our leader got lost in vanity and fell into darkness! Let us pray to the Eye and ask if the leader gives us light or darkness!”

Even as she said it the Eye at the Center of the Cosmos sent its reply: Though bright with noon light, in the next moment the room was plunged into unbroken darkness; an obscurity deeper than eclipse enwrapped them. The Leader yelped in fear,  ran gibbering out of the building, and was blinded by the sunshine when he passed out of the pool of black the Eye had imposed.

The others chose to stay in complete darkness, until the Eye should lift the shadow on its own. As the days and nights passed, their other senses became more acute, as if the darkness forced them to subtler feelings, an exquisite sensitivity that slowly allowed them to see again using a light conducted from within, so that the pool of darkness slowly dissolved, and they saw the world once more.

Then they went their own way, none of them ever needing a Leader to tell them about the great Eye again, since they each  looked on the world with the eye of the Eye.

KINDRED – another rediscovered flash fiction

Harry brought Norris a golden knife. Norris had been Harry’s fence for twelve years, and they were, if not friends exactly, something close to it.

Norris told him how his kids were doing and when his wife was getting out of the state pen for women and how to hide things from the IRS and how a person actually had to buy a house.

Harry had figured he’d get a good price for that stolen knife. He’d got it when he went into someone’s house with a carpet cleaning crew—which he did mostly so he could steal things. Yes, he figured he’d get a good price because Norris loved gold: he had gold watches, six gold rings, a gold pendant, two gold chains, a gold painted car.

Norris surprised him by offering him a low price for the knife. “That’s solid gold, man. Fine workmanship, solid gold. I checked it in an antiques register. Solid fourteen karat. Sharp and in mint condition. I want three times that.”

Norris refused, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the knife. So Harry, still surprised, shrugged and put the knife back in the gym bag and said, “I’m outta here,” and he was even more surprised when Norris jerked the bag away, took out the knife, and stabbed him in the chest with it.

Norris stood over him with tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry, man. I’m sorry. I always liked you. I didn’t want to pay for that knife, though. It’s too good to pay for like that. It’s gold. It’s beautiful. But I had to have it. I wish you’d brought me ten silver spoons worth the same as you wanted. I would’ve bought them. But gold…and a knife perfect for killing, both. I could let the gold go, or the knife, but not both the gold and the knife.”

Harry whispered, “I understand, man. I do.”

Then he died, but he died understanding.

I mean, it made complete sense. Totally.

VOICES – a rediscovered flash-fiction piece


“Your parents are worried about you,” the child psychiatrist told Jeremy. “Do you know why?”

“Yes,” the boy said, “it’s because I hear voices.”

“What do the voices say?”

“They don’t say anything.”

“Then how can you be hearing voices, Jeremy? They just sort of hum, or bark? I’ve heard of that.”

“No, they’re not even voices. It’s only one, and it’s not exactly a voice.”

“Then what is it like?”

The boy leaned back in the leather chair. He looked at the cryptic doctoral certificates, framed, on the wall. He looked at a bowling trophy. “You like bowling?”


“I don’t think of a doctor bowling.”

“Well I do. It makes me feel like I’m just doing what my body likes, sometimes.”

“I know what you mean by that, I do.”

“The voice, or whatever it is, Jeremy. Can you try to tell me what it’s like?”

The boy looked at a world globe. “Well, um…I don’t know.”

“Try to describe it. Take your time.”

The boy considered; the miniature grandfather clock ticked. A hummingbird came to the window and seemed puzzled by a reflection in it. It hung beating the air, looking at the glass, fooled and not fooled, then went away. “Huh,” the boy said.

The psychiatrist waited. At last the boy said, “It’s like…if you’re in a dark cold room, and somebody pulled back a curtain, just a little, high up on the wall, so that one ray of light came down and you put out your hand and in the dark cold room you could feel that warm light on your hand, and how that feels.”

“That sounds like a pleasant feeling. A good one.”

“It is. It is a good feeling. But it’s just…It’s like the feeling is talking. It’s saying, ‘Ray of Light, Ray of Light, Ray of Light.’ It’s saying ‘You and Me, You and Me.’ It’s saying ‘Open and feel Me.’ But it’s not saying anything either. It’s not saying anything at all. No words. It doesn’t talk in words.”

The psychiatrist realized his heart was thudding loudly in his chest. “When…when do you hear…feel this?”

“When…when things are a certain way in me. I don’t know how to say…”

“Is it when…just like receiving? A feeling of nothing but receiving? Very…very empty except for…for receiving?”

“Yes! Yes, that’s it.”

The psychiatrist looked at the clock. “We have some time left. Do you want to play Chinese Checkers?”


The psychiatrist told Jeremy’s parents there was nothing wrong with him. But he asked permission to speak to the boy on his birthday every year, “just to keep an eye on things,” but what he didn’t say was: he asked to do this for himself, and not for the boy…