Empty Sky Chapter 2 – The Clarity of Night

Help in Strange Places

(final edit before the proofreaders (he said). Chapter 2 use to be “Children of the Moon” followed by Chapter 3 “The Clarity of Night.” During the rewrite, I couldn’t see a point to keeping the chapters separate so combined them into this single chapter. This also marks the start of some noticeable rewrites (maybe))

Read Empty Sky Chapter 1 – The Cabin

Read the original Empty Sky Chapter 2 – Children of the Moon and Empty Sky Chapter 3 – The Clarity of Night

Jamie slept with Shem beside him. Both lay quietly, resting between dreams.

The Moon, her light walking through the forest on white-slippered feet, lifted her arm to better see.

Tom slept opposite Jamie and Shem, on the far side of the cabin in the bed once shared with Ellie. He’d twitch, kick off his covers, grow chill and pull them up, repeating the pattern while The Moon watched.

Her children, the Oneiroi, little black silhouettes, shadows in the darkness of night, came and went, opening and closing their multicolored, multifaceted, crystalline eyes, kaleidoscopic Gates, little rainbow bridges allowing humans passage from one dream reality to the next.

Above Tom’s bed, a dot, smaller than a piece of dust, winked into existence. It floated down, riding the heat eddies of the woodstove, as if wanting to rest in his ear. Once beside him, it grew horizontally, becoming a slit, then vertically as something stretched it open, spreading it wide. A deeper blackness, an emptiness, a hole in the night, difficult to see and unheard, formed legs, pulled itself free, walked through and stood beside Tom.

The Moon held herself motionless in the sky, her light growing from crescent to full.

“Wake up, Jamie,” beamed The Moon. “Wake up, Shem! Wake! Wake!”

The creature formed amoeba-like pseudopods ending in reaching hands and grabbed the Oneiroi hovering over Tom. Its silhouette crumpled like wadded paper, its life drained from it.

Tom moaned in his sleep, “Ellie…”

Shem stared at the creature and growled.

Jamie woke wide-eyed, his face cold with the damp night air. The smell of heavy, dying earth surrounded him like an unwelcome blanket. The Moon’s bright light screamed full upon his face from the cabin’s window.


Tom’s twitching stilled. The Oneiroi rose like mists from the cabin floor, fleeing, escaping the searching emptiness.

One Oneiroi remained to ensure Tom’s safe return from his dream.

The creature grabbed it.

Tom kicked off his covers.

Jamie sat up.

Shem stood over him, not letting him off the bed.

“Shem, get off me! Dad’s having one of his dreams.”

The trapped Oneiroi’s eyes grew dull then dark, its supple shape becoming hard and angular like flint being struck. A crystalline eye burst from its skull as its little body shattered into black flakes.

Tom hadn’t returned from his dream. He let out a quiet sob. “Ellie.”

The opening in the night winked itself shut, closing horizontally then vertically, space folding like a napkin until only a pinpoint remained, then it, too, disappeared.

Dark night filled the cabin.

Shem leapt to the floor, sniffing the air and whining as they neared Tom’s bed.

Jamie’s stood over his dad, curling his feet against the cold wooden floor tendrilling through his thick wool socks, the cold October night reaching through his longjohns, listening to his father whimper, and tucked him under the covers.

Shem put a paw on Tom’s cot and looked at Jamie.

“It’s okay, Shem. He’s dreaming about mom again. He’ll be okay in a minute.”

Shem went to the door and whined.

“You’re a pee-bucket, Mr. Shem. Come on, you old dog.”

Shem and Jamie stood in the cold in the clearing in front of the cabin. Jamie’s shadow stretched out long and full as the moon grew from crescent to full, his shadow’s lines given sharp edges by the moon’s intense light. He’d never seen his shadow like that, not even in the noonday sun.

He stood silent for a moment and watched it echo his movements, waving its arm when he did, walking when he did. The intense moonlight even shadowed the mist from Jamie’s breath as if his shadow breathed when he breathed.

It even turned back to the full mooned sky when he did.

The moon’s face changed as he watched. Mom told him about Rabbit and Mouse, about The Old Man in the Moon, all sorts of stories people believed about the moon. This was the first time he clearly saw a woman’s face, though. Mom never told him anything like that.

She looked down at him and shed a tear, turned her face away and went from full back to crescent.

“Have you ever seen anything like that, Shem? We’ll have to tell Dad.”

He looked around. Night frightened most of his friends, even Bobby Games, but it didn’t frighten Jamie. Not even full mooned nights. Uncle Jack told stories about werewolves, shapeshifting people who howled on bright moon nights. Bobby hated those stories but Jamie just sat and listened. Bobby asked, “Aren’t you scared?” and Jamie shook his head, no.

He’d always been more comfortable at night. He didn’t know why. Maybe because with the moon so bright everything could be seen, clearly revealed in black and white.

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Hey Joe! Tell us a little about yourself.
I consider myself boring and dull.

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?

It starts with “Not only is Joseph Carrabis a fellow Black Rose Writing and Book Fiends author friend, he’s an amazingly nice and generous guy. I am looking forward to meeting him in person in November, but right now you can get to know him a little better with my next World-building Showcase interview.”

The Mighty Phoebes (Steampunk author Phoebe Darqueling, for those who don’t know) asked me lots of questions, I fumbled through several answers.

The real kicker is where I wrote “I’m told that my work is so tightly written that it’s tough to remove stuff without throwing everything else out of whack.”

The Mighty Phoebes, proving the lie, pulled about four pages from my responses and you’d never know.

The Mighty Phoebes is a Mighty Editor, she.

Take a read, hope you enjoy, be sure to leave comments. She’ll like that.

The Goatmen of Aguirra Serialized on Piker Press

Journey to a distant planet… find home

Sand Pilarski, the genius Managing Editor of The Piker Press, is serializing The Goatmen of Aguirra starting as this week’s cover story and running for the next seven.

I am thrilled, and thanks to Sand and The Piker Press for accepting this novella.

For those unfamiliar with the story…
The Goatmen of Aguirra is based on my experiences as a cultural anthropologist working with aboriginal societies. I wrote it side by side with The Augmented Man back in the early 1990s. I sent it to a few markets. One editor requested several edits and finally rejected it with “I think I’ve done more damage with my suggestions than helped it.”

Yeah. Well. Thanks.

In the end, nobody bought it so I shelved it.

In 2015 I gave up a business I grew from my basement to having offices in the US, Canada, and the EU. Susan (wife/partner/Princess) said, “I’ve never seen you happier than when you’re writing your fiction, so I want you to do that for the rest of your life.”

It’s wonderful when the one true love of your life knows what you love in your life, isn’t it?

I included The Goatmen of Aguirra in my self-published anthology, Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, which’s received good reviews so far.

I decided to send The Goatmen of Aguirra around again. But now it had a blackmark – “previously published.”

I saw The Piker Press and thought, sure, why not. But I started with an email entitled “Querying before submitting” and gave a two paragraph synopsis. Sand wrote back

Yes, I’d like to see it very much. Please send it along, and give me a couple days to read through.

I sent it. She wrote back

What a captivating and thought-provoking story! Once I sarted reading, I couldn’t stop. Every interruption seemed like a catastrophe.

And The Goatmen of Aguirra saw print in a recognized market earlier this week.

Remember what I wrote in 30 Years to Publication?

Yeah, I’m feeling good.

Take a read. Let Sand and me know what you think. ‘Preciate it.

Teri Polen (Bad) Mooned Me

(and i liked it!)

Young adult horror, sci-fi, and fantasy author Teri Polen Bad Mooned me.

I know, it’s true. I should have known better and I’m ashamed of myself.


Teri asked me a bunch of questions – Would you rather be a vampire or a lion tamer? (no, that’s not right. I have The Magic Show on my mind. sorry), What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?, As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? and others.

I must have done good because the comments were flattering and I do oh so love flattery.

I do, I do, I truly do.

And please check out Teri’s books. We’ll both appreciate it (my reward is knowing I helped Teri out).

Empty Sky Chapter 16 – The Gardens of the Moon

Sometimes the most beautiful gardens can only be seen at Night

Read Empty Sky Chapter 15 – Pangiosi and Tom

A cold wind roughled Jamie’s bathrobe against his pajamaed legs. Thick animal fur warmed his face like a blanket, its smell filling his nostrils with each breath.

But not Shem’s fur. It smelled…heavier than Shem’s fur…more urgent than Shem’s fur.

He raised his head, his hands stiff from clenching Graywolf’s coat.

“We’re almost there, Jamie.”

They moved through a rush of trees. White barked birch and scotch pine, gray ash and winter oak towered over him, their branches alternately pine needle and leaf and snow covered and offering a canopy through which the night sky, its stars and planets, could still be seen.

High overhead the moon still sailed through the sky, full and rumbling like a big church organ. The Aurora walked back and forth across the cold night sky, crinkling like cellophane candy wrappers, sounding almost like words just beyond his ability to understand, like the Aurora were people talking at a party, like when Mom and Dad had people over and Jamie and Shem listened from the top of the stairs.

The wind moved through the trees and sounded like long, low, breathy, conversations, as if the world talked all around him, ignorant or perhaps unaware or maybe even uncaring that he and Graywolf ruddaRumped underneath. “It sounds like everything’s talking,” he said.

“Everything is, Jamie. The world just waits for someone to listen.”

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Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
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