Painting above by Debbie Plowman

Friday, July 10, 2009


by johnny strike

A dazed, short, fat man with a buzz cut stood in the street, waving a handgun. He turned and fired a shot into the empty doorway of an apartment complex. The gunman then crossed the street and disappeared into the doorway.

A white 1956 Oldsmobile rolled along California Street, using the last of its gas. The cars it passed in the street were all empty. A tour bus and an ersatz cable car, empty as well, stood near the entrance of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. The front tires of the Oldsmobile just made it onto the red brick forecourt of the hotel as the car died.

Two people got out. The driver, Dr. Rodriguez from Buenos Aires, had originally come to California to attend a convention on life extension and present his paper on the results of a study of 17 spider monkeys treated with a synthesis of longevity drugs. The passenger, Rita, a striking Korean beauty and a professional escort and masseuse, had been with the doctor at his hotel at the time of The Invasion. They were among the few thousand who had escaped from Los Angeles. At a hundred miles per hour, they had raced past blackened ruins; the horrible images still remained in their unsettled minds.

In San Francisco, they had seen only one other person: a snarling woman dressed and made up as a clown. Rita had gestured wildly and yelled to her, but the angry clown had run off and disappeared behind a mound of burning debris.

With furrowed brows, Dr. Rodriguez watched Rita walk through the revolving glass door into the lobby of the Mark. Upstairs, they found an open suite and Rita collapsed onto the bed. The doctor looked at the back of her bare thighs and for a moment wanted to caress her. His mind was still racing. He looked at the phone on the night stand; he knew it was dead. He sat on a beige velvet couch and tried the TV remote. Dead, of course. Unable to sleep, Rita moaned, got up, and looked through the closets, where she found pieces of a woman’s wardrobe. In the bathroom, she had a sponge bath, using the water she found in a pitcher. She tried on an elegant silver evening gown. Expressionless, she looked at herself in the full-length mirror. She lit a cigarette. She wondered if she was losing her mind.

Night fell, and an all-encompassing blackness blotted out the city. Dr. Rodriguez and Rita sat by the window, looking out at the sky. They watched a dirigible passing above the Transamerica Building like an enormous, slow, gray bullet. A detachment of soldiers parachuted down to the streets. Lights were attached to their helmets. Their eyes were partially hidden behind tinted wraparounds. Rita felt as if she was watching a deranged, speeded-up film as the soldiers began their methodical search.

In a back yard behind a modest house was a small, black terrier named TJ. The dog was looking wildly at a deep crater. A minute earlier, he had witnessed something emerge from it that had stilled his usually persistent bark. The head had resembled the skull of some extinct denizen of the deep. A pulsing green membrane had run down from its thick neck, circling its dully-gleaming torso. The thing had emitted an ear-splitting screech that had had drowned out TJ’s growl, then it had burst into the sky. The dog ran yelping back into the house. The occupants, his owners, had vanished two days prior. The dog whimpered, lay back down, and continued to wait.

The next morning, TJ, following his instinct, ran off down the empty streets. He stopped at an old house where the garage door was open. The dog smelled food cooking somewhere nearby. Cautiously, he looked in. There stood a little girl who squealed with delight at seeing him, but he ran off in fright. TJ was seeking someone more like his previous masters. He stayed hidden while the girl called out, "Here, doggy. Here, doggy."

A while later, the little girl and two other diminutive people came out of the garage and shut the door behind them. Like the little girl, they, too, were deeply tanned, wore blonde wigs and had white lips. All three wore small backpacks and each carried a little rifle. With anxious brown eyes, TJ watched them walk down the snow-covered street and disappear around a corner.

TJ made his way around to the back of the house and sniffed at the air. He saw two old men sitting on a porch swing, wearing party hats, embracing. The men saw the dog, disengaged, and began inviting him, coaxing him, to approach. TJ wagged his tail and gradually went up onto the porch. One man went inside and came back with a dish of unfamiliar food and a bowl of water. TJ lapped greedily at the water with his small red tongue. As the dog drank, he became aware of an enormous shadow approaching. A loud humming sound came from above and one of the men snatched him up protectively and they all rushed inside.

Freak weather conditions came next. A relentless hot wind from some infernal place was followed by a dusting of pale, yellow snow. The sky was filled with static and, to some of the remaining survivors, the dark clouds began to form faces.

Click Here for Part 5 of SKY PIRATES,
by John Shirley

1 comment:

Archive of Stories
and Authors

Gene Stewart's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar is an expatriate Bostonian
who has lived in New Orleans and Berkeley,
and currently resides in Portland, Oregon
with his beloved wife and fluffy gray cat
Dahlia. Adam wears round, antique glasses
and has a fondness for hats. His greatest
inspirations include H.P. Lovecraft,
Jack tales and coffee.

John Claude Smith's

John Claude Smith's

John Claude Smith writes weird fiction,
something between Horror and Magic
Realism, most of it psychologically driven.
He's had over 40 tales and over 1100 music
reviews, interviews, and profiles published.
He is currently shopping two novels and
a collection to agents and publishers, all
while starting the third novel. Gotta keep
on keepin' on! Looking forward to Rome
in the not too distant future, but for now,
just looking for the next short story to
be written.

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff is the author of the
short story collection Screams From
A Dying World, just published by
Afterbirth Books. David is a hardcore
vegan and tireless environmentalist.
His contributions to the punk horror
scene and the planet in general have
already established him as a bright
new writer and activist to watch out
for. The Freezine of Fantasy and
Science Fiction welcomes him and
his defiant vision open-heartedly.

David is a busy man, usually at work
on several different novels or projects
at once. He is sure to leave his mark on
a world teetering over the edge of
ecological imbalance. David's latest
books include the Wuxia -Pan
(martial arts fantasy) horror
novel called Hunting The Moon Tribe,
already out from Afterbirth Books.;
The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies,
[Deadite Press, 2010]; and
[Deadite Press, 2014]

Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
urban storytelling takes root at the
crossroads of myth and history.
With sardonic, uplifting and often
hilarious prose, Older draws from
his work as an overnight 911 paramedic,
a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.

When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found HERE.

Johnny Strike's

Johnny Strike's

Johnny Strike's

Johnny Strike will beat you with his guitar and leave you lying in the gutter wishing you had never dared enter his under ground world of fake passports, lucky amulets, rain soaked hotels, and occult mystique. If you don't leave nice comments under his story, he's sure to sic his band CRIME on you. He also wrote the novel Ports Of Hell (Headpress), recommended by William S. Burroughs. You don't receive kudos from William Lee himself unless you are the epitome of cool. Besides, have you listened to CRIME's album Exalted Masters? It was released in 2007 on the Crime Music label, on vinyl only, featuring a slew of their old rare hits. Its real punk music from seasoned veterans. Now go track yourself down a copy before its out of print. The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is proud to host the story that contains the line which titles his first collection, A Loud Humming Sound Came From Above (Rudos and Rubes).

Paul Stuart's

Paul Stuart is the author of numerous biographical blurbs written in the third person. His previously published fiction appears in The Vault of Punk Horror and Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror. His non-fiction financial pieces can be found in a shiny, west-coast magazine that features pictures of expensive homes, as well as images of women in casual poses and their accessories. Consider writing him at, if you'd like some thing from his garage. In fall 2010, look for Grade 12 Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus -With Zombies.

Rain Grave's

Rain Graves is an award winning author of horror, science fiction and poetry. She is best known for the 2002 Bram Stoker Award winner for Best Poetry Collection, The Gossamer Eye (along with Mark McLaughlin and David Niall Wilson). Her most recent book, Barfodder: Poetry Written in Dark Bars and Questionable Cafes, has been hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "Bukowski meets Lovecraft..." in January of 2009. She lives and writes in San Francisco, performing spoken word at events around the country. 877-DRK-POEM - Listen.

Icy Sedgwick's

Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part trainee supervillain. She lives in the UK but dreams of the Old West. Her current works include a ghost story about a Cavalier and a Western tale of retribution. Find her ebooks, free weekly fiction and other shenanigans at Icy’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth

BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend. Singer, Songwriter, producer & founder of the notorious DWARVES. He has written two novels, ‘NINA’ and ‘ARMED to the TEETH with LIPSTICK’.

G. Alden Davis's

G. Alden Davis wrote his first short story in high school, and received a creative writing scholarship for the effort. Soon afterward he discovered that words were not enough, and left for art school. He was awarded the Emeritus Fellowship along with his BFA from Memphis College of Art in '94, and entered the videogame industry as a team leader and 3D artist. He has over 25 published games to his credit. Mr. Davis is a Burningman participant of 10 years, and he swings a mean sword in the SCA.

Shae Sveniker's

Shae is a poet/artist/student and former resident of the Salt Pit, UT, currently living in Simi Valley, CA. His short stories are on Blogger and his poetry is hosted on Livejournal.

Nigel Strange's

Nigel Strange lives with his wife and daughter, cats, and tiny dog-like thing in their home in California where he occasionally experiments recreationally with lucidity. PLASTIC CHILDREN is his first publication.

J.R. Torina's

J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughterhouse ('90-'97), runs Sutekh Productions (an industrial-ambient music label) and Slaughterhouse Records (metal record label), and was proprietor of The Abyss (a metal-gothic-industrial c.d. shop in SLC, now closed). He is the dark force behind Scapegoat (an ambient-tribal-noise-experimental unit). THE HOUSE IN THE PORT is his first publication.

K.B. Updike, Jr's

K.B. Updike, Jr. is a young virgin Virginia writer. KB's life work, published 100% for free: