The Eye of the Heron

The Eye of the Heron
The Eye of the Heron

The Eye of the Heron


My name is James Heron. Jim Bird or Jimmy Bird to my friends. In my circle, anyone who’s anybody is given a nickname or alias as some like to say. Some are just plays on words and obvious like mine, others not so much. Take my friend Leonard P. Reynolds Jr. aka. Little Lenny.

Little Lenny is 6’5″ tall and weighs 280lb. He got that moniker as a kid because his dad, Leonard P. Reynolds Sr was called Big Lenny, and he’s still alive and kicking. I guess it fits anyway, the same way Little John from “Robin Hood” fits.

Anyway, enough about Lenny. I am writing this just as a personal record for myself and to record recent events that I can’t reveal publicly or even to my friends and family.

Overall I would describe my life as quite mundane. I am 30 years old, still single, and dating a supermodel (but only in my dreams). I don’t come from money, nor do I have much of my own. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nor do I have a silver tongue. I am no celebrity and my parents aren’t famous. I’ll never get my picture on the cover of Time magazine or The Rolling Stone. Nor will I win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature or the Nobel Peace Prize.

But I do have an ability that even I don’t fully understand: I see evil where it lurks. So, in my own way, I have decided to make my mark. Sometimes I feel I have been chosen for this.

I’m not sure how to describe my – um – special ability, but I’ll do my best. I sense – no – see evil. Nightmares have tormented me since childhood. My parents even took me to see a shrink for almost a year but that didn’t help at all. It wasn’t until, in adulthood that I began to realise these dreams have some sort of other-worldly connection.

Sometimes I dream of murders or other acts of violence. Occasionally these dreams occur before the event and may recur until I hear or read about the tragedy in the news. Other times they happen weeks, months or even years afterwards. It seems I am prompted to either try to prevent the act or solve a cold case and identify the perpetrators.

But it’s not only dreams that speak to me. I feel people’s auras – it’s as if I can sense the presence of evil and what’s about to occur. I see things too, small reddish creatures, with big heads, mouths and bellies, that appear before impending violent or catastrophic events.

No one else sees them. Or so I thought until I encountered an elderly Aboriginal man while visiting Kakadu National Park. He was my guide and we were walking by a river when a group of these small red creatures appeared from nowhere.

My guide, Albert, suddenly became very nervous, pointing and whispering “Beware Yarama, spirit creatures! Them fellas seek blood, like a vampire.” Suddenly, a huge crocodile launched itself four feet out of the water, clamping its massive jaws around Albert’s torso and dragged him under. I stared in shock for a moment, then retreated quickly up the river bank. The Yarama laughed gleefully at the tragedy before disappearing.


I was about to close up the bottle shop (liquor store) “The Thirsty Camel” where I work the night shift. A customer came in just as I was closing down shop. If you can judge a person’s occupation by his appearance I would guess an accountant, bank teller, or office clerk – black trousers, white shirt, tie. But there was something else; he appeared to be nervous. His late night trip to a liquor store was outside his normal behaviour

I wondered what someone like him was doing out on the town at this time of night. Maybe he’d just come from a failed business dinner or found out his wife left him and was looking for alcohol to drown his sorrows. My mind works overtime, but I was probably wrong on all counts – looks can be deceiving.

Besides, he wasn’t alone. Two ghostly red figures slipped through the door after him. Although only I could see them, more Yarama appeared as my customer approached the service counter.

The hairs on my arms stood up. I didn’t know if this man was about to commit some violent act or he was about to become a victim, but the Yarama’s presence indicated something horrific was imminent.

He asked for a bottle of Jack Daniels which I fetched from the shelf and placed into a bag. I had already balanced the day’s accounts, so I pocketed the $50 bill he handed me and gave him change from my own wallet. I made myself a mental note to reconcile the till in the morning.

I closed up immediately after the man walked out (still surrounded by the Yarama, hovering like vultures) and followed him along Brunswick Street, at a distance and careful not to be seen.

As he turned the corner into Wickham Terrace, four figures appeared from nowhere, if nowhere’s a dark alley. The overhead streetlight must have been faulty because it was barely illuminated.

From my vantage point in the recesses of a doorway two buildings away I determined that the figures were youths, two white and two black. I am no hero, and I watched helplessly but intently as they surrounded the man. He pleaded with them and offered up the bag containing the bourbon he had just purchased. “Please don’t hurt me. Here, take this. I shouldn’t be drinking anyway.”

“I think you have a lot more than just a bottle of Jack,” one of the gang members said as he removed the bottle from the bag. “You look like a money man to me.” They all laughed.

Then I saw a quick glint of light on metal as one youth thrust forward. Seconds later the victim doubled over and staggered to the pavement as if in slow motion.

The youths took turns at stabbing the prone man over and over, then one began rifling through his pockets. Removing a fat wallet he held it up, fanning it open so that his associates could see the impressive bounty.

As blood pooled on the pavement one gang member kicked the body to see if there was any sign of movement. Then they moved on, passing around the bottle of JD, as though it was just another night on the town. Meanwhile, the Yarama, that had been watching intently, moved in on the bloody corpse. Once the attackers had gone I stepped out of the doorway and dialled 000 (Australia’s emergency number) while following in the direction they had taken. “Mugging on the corner of Wickham Terrace and Brunswick St. Looks serious,” is all I said and hung up before the operator could question me or ask for my details.

I knew from experience the police would spend more time questioning me than actually investigating the crime. Oh, if the guy was dead they would conduct a basic investigation, depending upon who he was .. but it was highly unlikely they would catch the offenders.

Besides, how would I explain why I was following the guy? Cops have trouble taking me seriously and treat me as some kind of loony when I tell them I see things or can sense when a violent act is about to happen.

Whoever or whatever bestowed this gift on me obviously wants me to act on it. However, if that means taking matters into my own hands, so be it. We are all put on this earth for a reason – right?

The bottle I had stuffed in my shoulder bag slapped against my hip as I increased the size and speed of my steps to avoid losing sight of the assailants. It seems they had suddenly decided to stretch the distance between themselves and the crime scene. The sound of an approaching police siren may have also helped spur that decision.

The quartet entered a run-down two-story apartment about four blocks away from the crime scene. It may have at one time been called a townhouse, but that sounded too trendy and no longer seemed to fit given the current state of the joint.

There were two heavy stone planter pots at either side of the front steps. Probably having once held a couple of impressive trees, maybe palms, but now long since dead from lack of water or care.

I waited a few minutes, surveying the street to ensure there were no witnesses. Then with some effort managed to manoeuvre one of the pots against the front door. That should bar anyone from escaping through the most obvious exit.

Removing the bottle of 151 Bacardi from my bag, I unscrewed the lid. Then I took a handkerchief from my jeans pocket and soaked it in the rum before stuffing the damp fabric into the neck of the bottle.

A movement caught my eye. I turned to see a number of Yarama gathering excitedly around the outside of the apartment. I took that as a sign that my plan was likely to succeed.

Ignoring their evil ranting I picked up a brick from the ground at the side of the crumbling building. Then I threw it, with all my strength, at a ground floor window, smashing it. Quickly, I lit the molotov cocktail and also tossed it through the broken window, before beating a hasty retreat from the scene.

Crime in this city is out of control and the authorities seem helpless to kerb it.

Watching from a 24-hour coffee shop about a block away and on the other side of the street, I sipped a cappuccino. First clouds of smoke, then flames filled the skylight as they engulfed the building. The noise of sirens drowned out all other sounds.

I sent a text to my friend Little Lenny to see if he wanted to meet me here for a late night coffee. I knew I wouldn’t be getting to sleep for hours.

I felt satisfied that once again, I had done my bit towards restoring the balance. An eye for an eye, so to speak, or courtesy of The Eye of the Heron (that’s how I refer to my special gift, or maybe it’s really a curse).




The headlines across the news media the next morning read as follows:

Fortitude Valley Fire Claims Four Lives

Fire investigators and forensic detectives are trying to ascertain the cause of a fire that engulfed a Wickham Terrace apartment last night.

Four bodies have been recovered but as yet no firm identification has been made. Police are not ruling out arson as a cause of the fire.

John Hansen © 2016

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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBook of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" at Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years are now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

7 thoughts on “The Eye of the Heron

  • July 11, 2017 at 10:59 AM

    The Eye of a Heron was a real opener for me, to have a special gift is a wonderful thing. You sir have the gift of penmanship. What an exciting couple of mind gripping stories, both complementing one another. Isn’t the tenseness of revenge so lovely, I too felt and acted on mine and felt a sense of fulfillment. Back in the day, at a pool hall I once hung out at. The cue ball in my hand found it’s mark on my attackers face and it was sweet revenge. I’ve grown out of all that stuff now, but sure nice to remember, when those were the days.

    • July 11, 2017 at 5:29 PM

      Thanks for the generous comment, Vincent. This story was so different from anything I had ever done. The idea and inspiration actually came from reading Dean Koontz’s book ‘Odd Thomas.”
      I think most of us have experienced the sweet taste of revenge at some time in our lives. Thanks for sharing your pool hall encounter. I see you have also written a short story so I will be sure to check it out soon.

  • July 11, 2017 at 2:56 PM

    Oh my gosh, John – this is an incredible piece of work. I love it. This is the finest short story I have read from you. It is intriguing and mysterious. Great job.

    • July 11, 2017 at 5:32 PM

      Hello, Phyllis. My foray into short fiction has been sporadic at best despite my desire to write more. I really appreciate your kind comment on this one and hopefully that will inspire me to write more. Glad you enjoyed this.

      • July 11, 2017 at 8:50 PM

        Yes, you should write more short stories. I really like this one. I thought I detected a bit of Odd’s influence here. Very well done.

  • July 12, 2017 at 2:53 AM

    Yes agree with Phyllis, an excellent story, or two, beautifully penned drawing the reader in straight away. Very much enjoyed John. great work.

  • July 12, 2017 at 7:32 AM

    Thank you, Tony. Glad you enjoyed this story and that it captured your interest from the start.


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