Amlet Kerr Goes For A Ride

Amlet Kerr is a prisoner on a ship that is sailing along side the stars and not under them.

She is all alone- the last of her race in the entire Universe and shortly after the ship Amlet Kerr is sailing on docks she will be taken into a room and her chest will be cracked open and her heart and lungs and stomach will be removed and the top of her skull will be taken off and the thing that kept her alive will be known and the efficiant killing machine that arrived on Earth Halloween Night until it came across Amlet Kerr will be flawless once more.

However, her impending death brings no satisfaction to anyone on the Ship- not even to the Captain of the  War Ship  because Amlet, a short dark woman with half of her face burned to the bone and her hair melted away by the chemical fire his ship let loose on Amlet’s world, the man whose own Mother created the living acid that acts- as the people on Amlet’s word would have learned had they not all been burned alive- just like an army of fire ants.

So the Captain glares at her and his crew avoids her because as far as they’re concerned Amlet Kerr  is already a corpse.

But not everyone on the ship is as practical as the Captain and his Crew.

The Science Officer on the Ship has been trying since they found Amlet to overturn her death sentence so that he could at least study this woman, with only half of her face left on her skull and her ruined eye sunk back into her skull who sits with her hands folded primly in her lap when she should ash sitting on the surface on a dead airless world.

So everyday the Science Officer takes Amlet Kerr from her cell (tomb) as he thinks of it for short walks on the ship.

He takes her to the Observation Deck, to the Collectors Gardens, to the Labs and to the cargo hold where she spends many many hours going over the artificats they have collected.

And one day Amlet turns her head and says with a smile ” You’ve come all this way to rob graves? “

The  Science Officer steps back and then he realizes Amlet isn’t really smiling. Her head is turned and her teeth are exposed on the fleshless right hand side of her face. ” These are artifacts we found when we started our underground missions.” He tells Amlet.

” Those. ” Amlet says ” are not artifacts…those are coffins.”

” Artifacts. “

Amlet shrugs and she reaches out to touch one of the artifacts. She lays her hand on the dirty rotten pine box and with a little push her hand goes through the wood.

She holds her hand up to the light and stares at it for a very long time.

The Science Officer clears his throat and when he asks her name she tells him.

And when he starts to tell her what his name is she says, ” I don’t care what your name is. “

She turns around and with her one good eye she looks into both of his and says ” It doesn’t matter what your name is. Not to me.”

After that day the Science Officer leaves Amlet alone.

He doesn’t like the way she has taken to watching him and the crew members who stop by to make sure Amlet’s uneaten food is taken away and they wonder – all of them why she is alive.

And along with that they wonder if it matters if she’s going to die why don’t they just kill her now?

Because Amlet Kerr’s face is no longer exposed to the bone and her hair is beginning to grow back and she has taken to watching them even when they sleep.

None of them  are sure how she’s doing it…they just know because sometimes when they go by her Cell she will look up at them and say as they pass, ” I heard you dream last night. “

And after those little encounters the Crew and her Captain sleep fully armed and they slept with their lights on.

On the last day, as the Ship was docking,  Amlet Kerr was sitting in her Cell waiting to meet her Death in a lab billions of miles away from her ruined world the Science Officer opens the Cell door and he walks up to where Amlet is sitting and he asks, ” Why is this happening. “

Amlet looks up and touches her healed face and pushes loose strangs of her long dark hair behind her ears and says, ” It shouldn’t be. I’m a long way from home you know.” Amlet looks up and says, ” A window. Can I see outside? “

He takes her out and as they make their way to the Observation Deck the Science Officer asks, ”  First. Where were you from? “

He stops in front of what Amlet thinks is a window and he touches the screen and there is Amlet’s world-  burned and left in ruins with nothing on it now except for the Chemical Fire that will crawl all over until it consumes it’s way to the core of the planet.

She steps back and when she looks at him . ” Life there was always so fragile and it doesn’t last for long. This was over kill, trust me. They were near the end of it when you came. “

” They? ” he echoes.

” We. ” she says in a whisper and then she touches the place where she thinks she was from and when she turns back her face is a mask. ” It’s gone, the mountains where I came from are all gone.”

” You were from here… is that right” he points but Amlet’s hand is in the way and she won’t look at him and the Science Officer turns away and she stands there looking into the darkness that used to be her world- all alone.

The walk to the Observation Decks is short and silent and when they reach it he turns to Amlet and says this is my home…”

He points up towards the glass ceiling and Amlet can see a dark grey world covered with moutains and Oceans of ice…and circling the planet…

” You’re kidding me. ” she says with a laugh. ” Oh, you have to be kidding me! “

” Our world is roughly the same size as yours. Our Sun is further away of course and our Moons one or both are always present in our sky. Not like Earth of course. You only had one moon of course and it went through phases, did it not? “

Amlet doesn’t answer- she has questions of her own.

” Your Moons don’t go through Phases, they are full then? All of the time? “

” Yes. “

And Amlet Kerr, the last Human Being Alive, the only Werewolf that ever truly existed anywhere in the Universe  turned her face to the silver light shining down on the both of them

and Changed.

Another Not Quite Alice Moment


Once I saw a man wearing an expensive business suit and a man in clothes that were torn and dirty – digging a hole together next to the railroad tracks.

I couldn’t imagine under what circumstances these two could ever have met, talked and decided one morning to go out with shovels and start to dig as trains roared and hissed by them, as crows lined the barbed wire topped fence that they climbed-

just so that they could up digging side by side

next to the railroad tracks early one Monday Morning.

When I drove by eight hours later the men were gone and the shovel was resting right there next to the fence.

It was there two days later when I drove by and it was still there a week later and I started to wonder by the third week

about the man in the suit and the homeless man digging side by side next to the railroad tracks.

I went out one Sunday just after sunrise and stood next to the shovel, and then I actually touched the shovel and I wondered about those two men.

And I took the shovel in my hands and laughed and then I put it back and scaled the fence and dropped to the other side and when I did there was a man standing there.

He asked me what I was doing and I told him about the Well Dressed Man and the Not So Well Dressed Man digging through all that rock and hard packed earth.

” Crazy ” said the man.

” No kidding.” I agreed.

” So what do you suppose they were digging for? “

I laughed some more just to show that it didn’t really matter to me.

And then I turned back to the fence and grabbed at it and said, ” We’ll need another shovel “


Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O’Boyle


It was me and two of my friends and we were going into a room that’s hidden behind a false wall.

We were back there because I promised to show them a workroom I found after an earthquake hit Seattle in 2001 and after going into it that one time I never went back into it again.

Until today.

We took a flashlight and forced the door open and standing as close together as we could inside of that small doorway we looked inside.

It was the same as when I looked into it just over seven years ago- the same coffee cup was still on the little shelf right by the door-

the same cup in the same place where someone left it in the 1970’s.

And then I said, ” there’s a light switch here” …and I felt along the door frame and my friend reached over my shoulder and hit the switch and nothing happened.

” No here.” I said.

I hit the switch and a row of lights went on for few seconds and then went off and the little room was dark and my other friend said, ” Come on let’s go.”

I looked to where my friend was shining his light on the light switch.

From the pale stream of light from his flashlight you could see where the wires from the light switch had been corroded and completely pulled out of the wall.

And then the lights went out.

We backed up and out of the room and then my friend pulled the door shut and kicked it back into it’s frame. He tried to open it and it was jammed shut and my other friend said.

” We did NOT see that.”

But as we left the building the feeling I had the feeling that maybe we had let something out…and then tonight I saw this news article:

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Scientists listening to underwater microphones have detected an unusual swarm of earthquakes off central Oregon, something that often happens before a volcanic eruption — except there are no volcanoes in the area.

Scientists don’t know exactly what the earthquakes mean, but they could be the result of molten rock rumbling away from the recognized earthquake faults off Oregon, said Robert Dziak, a geophysicist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Oregon State University.

I don’t know why this bothers me…Seattle is a long ways from central Oregon…but it does.
A lot.