Issue #61

Winter 2017

A Thousand Twinkling Eyes

by Dennis Mombauer

“All the lights and baubles on the trees, they are watching us, a thousand twinkling eyes across the city.”

The Lookout stood in the theatre’s storehouse, surrounded by dusty props, retired costumes and calm shadows.

“They swim in the mulled wine, burrow through the gingerbread, jump along the garlands, drip from the mistletoes. The stars are their masters, palm twigs their hands – this is the only safe place. You believe me, right?”

The Lookout waited, but the straw man leaning against the wall didn’t move or speak.


“It’s getting worse. The mall has become a garden of eyes, a panopticon blinding its prisoners with glittering lights. The streets are hostile territory, the Christmas markets sentries and staging grounds. They are watching and snatching, encroaching on people when no one is looking, embedding messages under their hats. You believe me, right?”

The straw man’s jaw opened, forming words without lungs or vocal cords: “BELIEVE.”


“We must act now. Whatever they are, they have invaded. The children are gone, bagged while their parents look away; the streets are empty beneath the trees.”

Something had changed in the storehouse, making it seem more colorful, shadows swaying with new life.

“We have to remove their presence from the living rooms, cleanse the trees, peel the glamour from the houses. Blow out the candles, kill the spies. What are your orders?”

The straw man turned, and its eye sockets gleamed with glass baubles, snow drifting inside them. “SURRENDER.”

Author Bio


Dennis Mombauer was born in 1984 in the namesake capital of the Bonn Republic & raised along the Rhine river. Currently lives & works as a theatre agent & freelance author in Cologne. Writes weird fiction, textual experiments & literary essays as well as non-naturalist drama & English poetry acculturated with German. Translates both fiction & non-fiction. Editor, co-founder & -publisher of „Die Novelle – Magazine for Experimentalism". Publications in various small- to medium-sized magazines & anthologies.