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Being able to speak in the night, and know that you will be heard, is sometimes the only thing that allows us to let go of the light and fall into sleep. How frightening must it be to wake, needing to express what has startled you from sleep, and to have no way of knowing that a friend, a lover, is there with you in the darkness? How frightening, too, to feel someone else's nightmare as a flurry of fingers, a midnight whirlwind of hands telling terrible things?

Saccade (/səˈkɑːd/ sə-KAHD): a rapid, ballistic movement of the eye which abruptly changes the point of focus.

A prisoner waits for the rain in a London prison; Alexander the Great fakes his death and becomes a holy man in the Himalayas; the ocean invites humanity to return home to her; Communist China discovers the secret of immortality - to the misery of its citizens. These brief fictions by one of Australia's most exciting new writers present lucid portraits of people, luminous moments in the past and frightening future. Each elegant, compressed narrative uses its brevity as a weapon, telling us about magic both natural and human, and offering unflinching glimpses of our capacity for beauty, cruelty, and illumination.

Saccades: Brief Fictions

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