An excerpt from, “The Great Empty”

            Something in the predawn hours ignited a spark in the dormant ashes of the rock pit just outside the cavern.  Spirals of smoke lofted into the air like white billows of vapor rising from a steaming roast.  Only four miles beyond the mountain of stone and thick barrier of forest laid spread an open field of grass.  And beyond that, a dirt road potted with deep holes and rock protrusions.

            The jeep came to a bouncing halt as the driver caught a glimpse of the white rings dissipating into the clouds above the monolith.  He removed his hat with the dangling corks and smoothed a grimy hand across the oily patch of skin.  He could get hair to grow out his ears, down his neck and across his back, but the oblong dome that housed his brain as slick as his tongue.  And he liked it that way.

            With a sharp turn of the wheel, the rear end sank into one of the three foot holes.  Throwing the shaft into first, the tires spun rapidly, which sent a shower of dust all around the deranged man as he choked and cursed each breath.  He shifted gears again, and this time grinded the clutch as the metal screeched into reverse.

            With an instant jolt, he was racing backwards into the grassy field before halting once again.  Then he drove on further until he met a clump of trees and brush.  It would make a good hiding place.

            The navigational map was the first thing that was wedged into his roll.  Next would be his blade. With the cunning of a death adder, he reached beneath the seat and clasped the jagged edge.  Then he ran his index finger down the razor tip, which pricked a module of blood.  He licked it for luck and shoved the hat back on his head.  When he looked into the rear view mirror, the corks fell into place.  Then he flipped the reflection skyward so that the angle could be seen from the monolith.