I. A Tourist in Paris

The Champs Élysées, the Tuileries, Sacré Coeur – all have left him feeling empty. As if his second-hand organs had been taken back by the doctor. Would it matter? What use a heart now that the love of his life been destroyed? He sits at a sidewalk cafe and stares at cathedraled gargoyles. They whisper to him, voices like grating stones, urging him to rampage into the crowd. He makes a fist and shatters his glass. A shard stabs his sewn-on hand, the sharp pain, fortunately for those around him, breaking the gargoyle's spell. Oh, my bride, my bride, he thinks and orders another drink. Understanding suffering flesh is nothing compared to an aching heart, he begins to feel more human.

II. A Tiny Flash of Gold

One day an invisible man, mourning his wife, slides on his wedding ring and can't get it back off. No matter, he thinks, who'll notice a tiny flash of gold in the crowd? He strips and goes out looking for young lovers. He can't stop himself from eavesdropping on their intimate conversations though doing so worsens his grief.

As he walks down a busy sidewalk, people pretend not to see the floating ring, but he's convinced they're looking at it out of the corners of their eyes. They begin whispering ... about him, he's sure, about his wife. Their stares piercing the invisible heart that was meant for only her, he rushes into a deserted alley to hide till the wee hours when the streets are empty.

III. The Misunderstood Stalker

As the full moon appears, she makes the first call and describes her transformation ... the patches of fur, tail. A hang-up, another call. She tries to explain it's beyond her control, needs someone to understand. Another hangup. She continues until she can only snarl then goes out on the prowl.

She crouches in a lonely street till someone passes. She follows. The person hurries. She smells fear, leaps in front and tries to make the person understand, but can only howl at the moon.

Determined to not give up, she tracks a scent into a deserted alley and sees a tiny flash of gold. A ring seems to float in the air, but she can sense someone's there. She approaches slowly, the ring remains. She nuzzles the unseen person. They scratch behind her ear. At last she's found someone who understands. She can't wait for them to see her when she's herself in the morning. She curls up and falls asleep.

When sunrise awakens her, the ring is gone. She returns to her home and awaits the next full moon.

IV. Starry Nights

The creature eluded the net that ensnared his mate. He charged the boat, left claw marks on the hull. But guns drove him to the bottom. Now, when the moon is new and the sky clear, he sits on the bank of the black lagoon, his bones aching like stars.

About the Author

David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Illinois. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions and has appeared in various journals including Red Ogre Review, Moonpark Review, Literally Stories, Fiction on the Web, The Eunoia Review, and Fairfield Scribes.