“A Thousand Souls”
The ships always hurry away when they see me. Or rather, they try to; I try to make sure they can’t. I wish I could call out to them and explain. I’m not some horrible thing, luring men to their deaths simply for the pleasure of it. Killing them is just something I have to do. You see, they have something I need.
The genesis of this story marks one of the watersheds in my development as a writer. For a long time, I wrote unfinished novels; then I wrote finished novels; then I finally learned to write short stories. (I started out wordy, and only learned to do smaller things over time.) Then, one night, as I lay down to sleep, I was ambushed by an idea which, when written down, was only about eight hundred words long. “A Thousand Souls” isn’t strictly flash (since I go with the five-hundred-word limit for that), but it heralded the beginning of my ability to write flash.
And I’m pleased to say that it found a home in Aberrant Dreams. This story was also reprinted in my collection Maps to Nowhere.