[ Lees dit in het Engels ]

Korte verhalen

Dit zijn de korte verhalen die van mij zijn gepubliceerd. Een volledig overzicht, inclusief herdrukken en vertalingen. is te vinden op de pagina Korte Verhalen.

  1. Deep red (kort spannend verhaal): eerste publicatie in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Oct/Nov/Dec 2002 Issue (november 2002)
  2. Conversation with a mechanical horse (korte fantasynovelle): eerste publicatie in de Writers of the Future Anthology, Vol.XX (20 augustus 2004)
  3. Meeting the Sculptor (korte SF-novelle): eerste publicatie in de Writers of the Future Anthology, Vol.XXI (19 augustus 2005)
  4. Beans and marbles (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Andromeda Spaceways, Issue 20 (31 augustus 2005)
  5. Diamond sharks (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Leading Edge, Issue 55 (mei 2008)
  6. Dumb Son (kort horrorverhaal): eerste publicatie als podcast op Sniplits (18 november 2009)
  7. What happened while Don was watching the game (kort fantasyverhaal): eerste publicatie in Big Pulp, Fall 2011 Issue (juni 2011)
  8. Prisoner of war (kort horrorverhaal): eerste publicatie in Space & Time Magazine (maart 2012)
  9. Trick or treat (kort horrorverhaal): eerste publicatie in Big Pulp, Fall 2012 issue (oktober 2012)
  10. Mashup (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie op Daily Science Fiction (25 januari 2013)
  11. A cold welcome (zeer kort horrorverhaal): eerste publicatie in Penumbra, Paranormal Adventures (oktober 2014)
  12. A matter of mass (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in het Chinees in de SF Comet Contest als 事关弥撒 (10 december 2014)
  13. The Frown (zeer kort fantasyverhaal): eerste publicatie op Daily Science Fiction (20 juni 2016)
  14. Frog Soup (zeer kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie op Daily Science Fiction (2 augustus 2016)
  15. Queen of diamonds (korte SF-novelle): eerste publicatie in The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, Vol.II (6 november 2016)
  16. De Val van de Eremast (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Wonderwaan (17 december 2016)
  17. A dragon's nature (zeer kort fantasyverhaal): eerste publicatie op Daily Science Fiction (10 oktober 2017)
  18. Midnight on the Space Station Alcatraz (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Catalysts, Explorers & Secret Keepers (Museum of Science Fiction) (9 november 2017)
  19. An oasis of amends (zeer kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Reckoning (21 december 2017)
  20. Bringing down the Mast (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, Vol.III (31 januari 2018)
  21. A right angle to here and now (zeer kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Factor Four Magazie (28 maart 2018)
  22. Resigned (zeer kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in Galaxy`s Edge (4 juli 2018)
  23. The life and death of George Hayes (kort SF-verhaal): eerste publicatie in The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, Vol.IV (15 januari 2019)
  24. A Fragment for Father (kort fantasyverhaal): eerste publicatie in Galaxy`s Edge (binnenkort)
  25. Out Of The Bag (zeer kort horrorverhaal): eerste publicatie in Factor Four Magazie (binnenkort)


Mijn verhalen zijn tevens verschenen in een aantal verhalenbundels.

Deep Red


In my dream, for the thousandth time, the house looms over me. Like an out-of-body experience, I see myself move reluctantly toward it. I see my hand reaching for the screen door, hesitating when I notice the dented frame, the torn mesh. I see the muddy footmark next to the doorknob, the shattered doorframe, and I see my upper body jerk as my heart misses a beat. Then, with no sense of how I got there, I am in the kitchen.

Two chairs are toppled over. A shattered milk bottle has made a lake of white and glass under the open refrigerator door; steaming hot water in the sink; soap suds blow in the draft from the open back door. Splashes of red. Deep red. Suddenly, the smell of blood assails me.

In reality, I dialed 911. The dream doesn’t allow for outside help.

Something splashes up above. Running up the stairs, impossibly slow, icily cold, as if wading uphill through four feet of snow. The smell growing stronger. Thick, sweet, metallic. But ever so faintly, like a false note heard in the distance, that perfume.

Conversation with a mechanical horse


As he got up and grabbed his sheathed sword Tomaz was laughing. He seemed off guard and had his back to me. I jumped off the haystack, one hand around my scabbard, the other on my hilt, unsheathing the blade as I landed. This time, at last, I almost beat Tomaz to the draw. But he wasn’t Swordmaster of the Keep for nothing.

With incredible speed and dexterity, he dodged without looking around, correctly predicting the direction of my attack, and drew his own sword in time to parry my second attack. Locking my blade under his for a second, he looked me in the eyes and grinned.

“Not bad, young Master, not bad at all!”

I flicked my wrist, freeing my blade, and our exercise resumed under Father’s approving eye. After another hour, Tomaz’ greater experience and endurance began to tell. I signaled end-of-training and withdrew to one of the embrasures in the curtain wall to watch Tomaz work with the guard, demonstrating some techniques for fending off multiple attackers at once.

Then the breakpoint came, and nothing was ever the same again.

Beans and marbles


When Flight Control assigned us utility privileges, I don’t think they expected me to brew espresso in the centrifugal head. But the weight of the espresso machine was well within the parameters they’d set, as was my use of a couple of ounces of fresh water and a fraction of the ship’s power supply each day, so there was nothing, really, they could say or do about it. Privileges are privileges, and if the purpose was to give both of us something to keep us happy, it worked for me. My morning espresso ritual kept me sane. I looked forward to it every day.

Richard, however, wasn’t quite as tolerant as Flight Control.

Meeting the Sculptor


This is how fast it can happen, I thought randomly in that one timeless, frozen instant. I felt every sensation being imprinted on my memory: the smell of exhaust and garbage and hot dogs, the noises of traffic and shopping, Sarah’s stiff, shocked form squeezed against me, the sunlight blurred by my cheap shades. I wanted to hug Sarah and avert her eyes, or reach out to the tramp and pull him back, or run away. But of course, there was no time, so I just looked on.

The tramp recovered his balance halfway into the first lane. He straightened and turned around, looking at me, but made no move to get back to safety. He just stood there, shouting a foreign word – or maybe an unusual name – at the top of his lungs, cursing. He didn’t move.

And just before the Buick snapped his right leg, threw him into the fragmenting windshield and over the roof until he crashed to the asphalt like an empty suit; seconds before the car behind the Buick bumped over his inert body and stopped; minutes before the paramedics rolled his bleeding body into the ambulance and I dragged Sarah to the back doors and got in to ride with him to the Emergency Room; before the waiting room, and the blood-splattered grave-looking surgeon, and the tears and the closeness and all that followed, the tramp stood in the right lane and looked me in the eyes, and I understood, and I saw that he understood as well.

It was a terrible price to pay.

Diamond sharks


The giant undulating diamond shape of the manta whale drifted slowly into my field of vision. Its body was shaped like a zeppelin, with two equilateral triangular wings extending to either side that it used to propel itself. Its tail end supported two whale-like flukes that served to steer as far as I could tell, and it had two rows of long low fins on its back that I couldn’t begin to guess the purpose of.

There was some kind of shifting grid pattern etched onto its back, and tiny creatures crawled chaotically along this grid as the manta whale made its slow way against the trench current.

It was only when the manta whale swam under the mating couple I had spotted that I realized the sheer size of the creature. The two whale-sized creatures fitted easily onto the manta whale’s back. Then the manta whale came into proper focus and I recognized the grid pattern. It was one of the giant nets I had seen in the central company cave. The nets were attached to the dorsal fins and provided hand- and footholds for the diamond sharks. But that meant that the tiny creatures I’d seen were fellow diamond sharks.

The beautiful, majestic sea monster I saw floating beneath me was larger than the space ship that had brought me to Oceana.

Dumb son


Toby walked to where he’d pinned his Big Chart against the wall and slid his new Trophy from his overall. He was right: it was an important piece. He laughed aloud when he saw where it went: it was a thigh! He’d carried a thigh in his thigh! It was a bit smaller than his own thigh though; it didn’t come all the way down to his knee.

Holding the flashlight closer, he could just make out the name on the Big Chart. ‘F-E-M-U-R’ he read, but it wasn’t like any other word he knew, so it would be hard to remember.

As carefully as he could, he put the thigh with the other Trophies, right where it belonged. Stepping back, he shone his flashlight over the whole collection. His favorite part, the skull, was right at his feet.

What happened while Don was watching the game


Little Donny was on the floor near the fast food pile, wrapped in some kind of blanket, between two of the… Goblins, she admitted to herself. They had to be Goblins. They were facing away from her, and seemed to be in a heated discussion with another Goblin, larger than the rest, wearing more and better clothing, as well as a weird kind of crown.

A faint childhood memory surfaced, of a teenage girl in some movie mumbling, “You’re him, aren’t you? The Goblin King.”

Fury rose in her. Ignoring everything else, she strode towards the three Goblins surrounding her baby. She’d crossed half the distance when the creature she’d dubbed the Goblin King noticed her. He silenced the two others with a gesture. They turned around and watched her approach.

A few feet away, she stopped. Ignoring the other two, she faced the King. Half-remembered ritual words bubbled from her lips.

“Give me the child! Through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered…”

Startling her, the King spoke. His voice rattled and squeaked.

“Oh, rubbish! Don’t come to me with your movie nonsense!”

Prisoner of war


Four-year-old Mira was coming towards our house like the wrath of God.

As she came closer it seemed that there was something profoundly wrong with her. Her hands, her bare arms, her clothes were black with dirt. I couldn’t see her eyes, but her brows were set in a tight frown of rage, and rage showed in the tense set of her frame, her strides, her balled fists.

Then my wife slapped her hand over her mouth and gasped through her fingers:


And I saw that it was.

Mira stopped at our house, raised her head and looked into our kitchen window. Straight into my eyes. I felt her gaze stab my pupils, my heart, my stomach. I wanted to close my eyes but I couldn’t even blink. For an endless moment, I knew nothing, remembered nothing, had no feelings but a deep visceral desire to kill, maim, destroy. The moment stretched and the feeling churned in my guts. Only the fact that neither of us moved could have told me time stood still, but I had no capacity for such observations.

The kid’s gone evil, I thought, but little kids aren’t evil, and I don’t even believe in evil; she’s just mad at your daughter, you’re crazy to think anything else, get a grip, Sam; but the blood, and that look, and her voice, Sam; something is wrong, Sam, something is wrong with Mira, and rationality be damned, I’m not letting her near my kids, not now, not like that.

Trick or treat


She stepped in front of the mirror, adjusted her hair, checked around her eyes for wrinkles. Downstairs, the door clicked. She could see her eyes widen and face pale in the mirror.

Shit! She’d forgotten to lock the front door. She stood frozen, her face still inches from the mirror surface, breathing shallowly, listening for more sounds. But she heard nothing for what felt like minutes.

Then something screeched. Downstairs. Jane took an involuntary step back. Her calves hit the toilet seat and she sat down heavily, creating a terrible racket in the silent house. The skin on her back crawled and her shoulders were locked, freezing her posture like a statue of terror.

It was a cat, she told herself, repeating it over and over. It was a cat. Only a puss in heat makes a sound like that. Or a peacock, but there weren’t many of those in the neighborhood, were there? It must have been a cat.

Jane forced herself to stand up, get out of the bathroom, go down the stairs. Halfway down the steps, she could see the front door ajar. There was no movement outside or in. Trying to look in every direction at once, she descended the final steps. When she stepped towards the front door to close it, she saw the object on the threshold.

It was a severed cat’s tail.



“Ex… cuse me?”

David whirled towards the female voice. The girl brandished her Gen4 as if fending off an impending attack. She gave him a hesitant smile.

First he was struck by her eyes, the reddish brown of pine bark, and sparkling with life and intelligence even in their current startled mode. Then he took in her hair, windblown and strawberry. His belly lurched with the sudden realization that she was, in fact, absolutely stunning to his eyes. A second later he also realized that his frustration had almost evaporated, giving ground to a giddy feeling he remembered last feeling in his senior year.

He gave her a quick smile that felt all too goofy on his face.

“Can I help you?” he said, and mentally slapped his forehead. Lame!

Still hesitant, she answered:

“I was wondering… I couldn’t help overhearing…” And then, all in a rush, “If you’re going to Orakl, I’d like to come with.”

He blinked, not just at a loss for words, but apparently without language at all. Kicking himself in the ankle, he got his tongue back into gear, but when he opened his mouth he wasn’t sure what would come out.

“Yeah. Er, sure. Why not?” And, after some thought, “How come?”

She brandished her Gen4 again. She was still holding his eyes with hers, and it felt like they were in a bubble together, that not so much excluded as was created by the noises and scurrying around them.

Ontmoeting met Vormgever


Zo snel kan het gebeuren, dacht ik willekeurig in dat ene, tijdloze, bevroren moment. Ik voelde elke gewaarwording inbranden in mijn geheugen: de geur van uitlaatgassen en afval en hotdogs, de geluiden van verkeer en winkelende mensen, Sara’s stijve, geschokte vorm tegen me aan gedrukt, het zonlicht verspreid over mijn goedkope zonnebril. Ik wilde Sara omhelzen en wegkijken, of naar de zwerver reiken om hem terug te trekken, of wegrennen. Maar natuurlijk was er geen tijd, dus ik keek alleen toe.

De zwerver hervond zijn evenwicht halverwege de rechter rijstrook. Hij rechtte zich en draaide naar mij toe, maar maakte geen aanstalten om zich in veiligheid te brengen. Hij stond daar maar en riep vloekend uit alle macht een vreemd woord—of misschien een ongebruikelijke naam. Hij stond stokstijf stil.

En net voordat de Prius zijn rechterbeen brak, tegen de voorruit wiep en over het dak, zodat hij als een leeg pak op het asfalt smakte; seconden voordat de auto achter de Prius over zijn bewegingloze lichaam hobbelde en tot stilstand kwam; minuten voordat de broeders zijn bloedende lichaam in de ambulance rolden en ik Sara meetrok naar de achterdeuren en instapte om met hem mee te rijden naar de Eerste Hulp; voor de wachtkamer, en de met bloed bevlekte, grimmige chirurg, en de tranen en de intimiteit en alles wat volgde, stond de zwerver in de rechterbaan en keek me in de ogen, en begreep ik het, en zag ik dat hij het ook begreep.

Hij betaalde een verschrikkelijke prijs.



“Eh… Pardon?”

David draaide fel in de richting van de vrouwenstem. Het meisje hield haar Gen4 omhoog alsof ze een aanval afweerde. Ze gaf hem een aarzelende glimlach. Eerst werd hij getroffen door haar ogen, het roodbruin van dennebast, en zelfs nu ze geschokken opengesperd waren nog sprankelend van leven en intelligentie. Toen zag hij haar haar, verwaaid en roodblond. Zijn maag trok samen toen hij zich realiseerde dat ze feitelijk bloedmooi was in zijn ogen. Een seconde later realiseerde hij zich bovendien dat zijn frustratie bijna volledig was verdampt, plaats makend voor een duizelig gevoel dat hij zich sinds zijn afstuderen niet meer kon herinneren. Hij gaf haar een snelle glimlach die al te leip voelde op zijn gezicht.

“Kan ik iets voor je doen?” zei hij, en sloeg zich in gedachten voor het voorhoofd. Sukkel!

Nog steeds aarzelend antwoordde ze: “Ik vroeg me af… Ik hoorde je toevallig…” En toen, haastig achter elkaar: “Als je naar Orakl gaat, zou ik graag mee willen.”

Hij knipperde, niet zozeer omdat hij niet uit zijn woorden kon komen, maar meer omdat hij even helemaal zonder taal zat. Hij schopte zichzelf tegen zijn enkel om zijn tong weer aan de praat te krijgen, maar toen hij zijn mond opende wist hij nog niet wat hij ging zeggen.

“Ja. Eh, tuurlijk. Waarom niet.” En na wat denkwerk: “Hoezo?”

Ze hield haar Gen4 weer omhoog. Ze hield zijn ogen nog steeds gevangen in haar blik, en het voelde alsof ze samen in een bel stonden, die niet zozeer de drukte en lawaai om hen heen uitsloot als daardoor werd gevormd.

Deep red

Beans and marbles
Dumb son (sample)
In de bonen


Toen de Vluchtleiding ons privileges toekende, hadden ze waarschijnlijk niet verwacht dat ik espresso in het centrifugaal-gemak zou zetten. Maar het gewicht van de espressomachine viel ruimschoots binnen de overeengekomen limiet, net als mijn dagelijks gebruik van een half litertje zoet water en een fractie van de energievoorraad van het schip, dus ze konden er feitelijk niets van zeggen of aan doen. Privileges zijn privileges, en als het doel was om ons beiden iets te geven om ons zoet te houden, had het bij mij succes. Mijn ochtendritueel met de espresso hield me op het rechte pad. Ik keek er elke dag naar uit.

Helaas was Richard niet zo tolerant als de Vluchtleiding.



De gigantische golvende diamantvorm van de mantawalvis dreef langzaam mijn gezichtsveld binnen. Haar lijf had de vorm van een zeppelin, met twee gelijkzijdig driehoekige vleugels die naar beide zijden uitstaken en golfden om zichzelf voort te bewegen. Haar staart droeg twee walvisachtige staartvinnen die kennelijk dienden om te sturen, en ze had twee rijen lange lage rugvinnen waarvan ik het doel niet snapte. Er was een soort beweeglijk rasterpatroon op haar rug getekend, en kleine wezentjes krioelden chaotisch langs dit raster terwijl de mantawalvis langzaam tegen de stroming in door de trog zwom.

Pas toen de mantawalvis onder het parende koppel van zo-even doorzwom, besefte ik hoe groot ze was. De twee potvisachtigen pasten makkelijk op de rug van de mantawalvis. Toen kreeg ik de mantawalvis pas echt goed in het vizier en ik herkende het rasterpatroon. Het was een van de gigantische netten die ik in de centrale bedrijfsgrot had gezien. De netten waren vastgemaakt aan de rugvinnen en gaven houvast voor de handen en voeten van de diamanthaaien. Maar dat betekende dat de nietige wezens die ik had gezien collega-diamanthaaien moesten zijn.

Het prachtige, majestueuze zeemonster dat ik beneden mij zag drijven was groter dan het ruimteschip dat me naar Oceana had gebracht.

A Cold Welcome


There is a great rent in the plaster where her portrait hung. You hurl denials at the ceiling while I smile at your defiance. Suddenly becalmed, riddled with tears, you take in the ruin of the parlor, where she held pride of place. You sink to your knees and gather the fragments of frame to you. The task is hopeless, but you set to it with desperate abandon.

Next, you harvest the myriad shards, arranging them in a mockery of glass pane within the ruins of the frame. With lacerated fingertips, you puzzle the shreds of the portrait together, but your blood smears across the oil paint.

The irony delights me.

“You shouldn’t have bothered with the glass,” I whisper.

Or would have, if I could.

A Matter of Mass


“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been…” Father Zio sighed. “It’s been thirteen years since my last IRL confession.”

Behind the lattice, Bishop Otis shifted in his seat.

“But—” the Bishop said. He paused before continuing: “And how long has it been since your last online confession?”

“A week, Father. But it’s not the same. It’s not.”

“Go on, my son.”

“I have harbored unkind thoughts at times, about members of my flock. I have had lustful thoughts at times.” Father Zio smiled quietly to himself. Mr. Dooley’s dramatic antics of feigned ecstasy at every Mass were enough to bring unkind thoughts to the holiest of minds, never mind his own flawed, rehabilitated soul. As for Mrs. Ocura’s cleavage… Let’s just say some things were worth a couple of Hail-Mary’s.

“Go on, my son.”

The Bishop’s prompt made him realize he was marking time with these minor sins, postponing the inevitable, while he knew exactly what he should be confessing instead. Father Zio believed in confession, needed the cleansing of his soul. But it was unfortunate, to say the least, that Bishop Otis was the one taking it. No matter. No sense delaying any longer.

“I have been prideful. I have defied the wishes of the Holy Church.” There. That would put an end to any doubt Bishop Otis might still have had. “I have defied… you, Father.”

From behind the lattice came the sound of indrawn breath, followed by a long silence. Then:

“How so, my son?”