Storm cloud. A long day and nobody coming for dinner. For that matter, would there be dinner at all? Alfred Wetherbetts looked about him. His long nose touched the glass of his sedan. A prototype? No matter. Stranger things had happened. For instance, Carl Franks had come to dinner out of the blue two nights ago after twenty years of fly fishing. And Carl had spoken of dust clouds on the moon. Alfred shook his head. It would be a long night and something was missing. He checked his retro watch. 5:15 p.m. And nobody was coming to dinner. Why couldn't he let go of that thought? He felt incomplete. He looked down the long street on which he was parked. He'd come here for the stillness, because he needed to rest. It was a little while before he realized the chicken sitting on the car in front of him was looking at him. A chicken, yes, a chicken. Neither one of them moved. About five minutes later, Alfred muttered to himself, "What am I doing? Surely I have somewhere to go." He started the car, the chicken remained where it was. And no one was coming to dinner? No one? No. Alfred went home. The house was empty and small. He went upstairs, sat down and drank the cold coffee at his desk, and wrote a story about a human being waiting at a post office and then at a government office for a chance to be permitted to stay in the country and be free of the dangerous land he had fled from like a ghost. And there was the ghost, haunting the man, flying past him like a dagger, and coming round in the first place because in life said ghost had been a man unsuccessful at freeing himself of something, because some beasts can't be converted, defeated, or outfoxed. Maybe.
a sheaf of flashes