Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THE HOUSE IN THE PORT:pt 2

by J.R. Torina




Deciding to just sidestep this, I returned to the photo. “So, I don’t get it--exactly what is it? Fangs? A mask?”

“Yea, a mask. But not fangs… Think FISH,” he said, his voice raising in pitch.

Fish--again. “Uh, well…” Then it hit me. “Tentacles?”

“Yes--yes,” he exhaled, sounding relieved, as he slapped me on the back.

“So, we have here a very old photograph, of a church, or what was once a church, sort of a fog or mist in the area, with a few hunchbacks going inside. All this, and a man wearing a robe, and a mask with… tentacles? So, what’s the connection? What does it all mean?”

“Innsmouth, the whole village was once a fishin’ village,” the old man started.

“The Marshes, the Gilmans, the Eliots, and a few other families all lived there. For generations back, they was always a fisher folk there, til…” His voice trailed off.

“Until?” I pressed him.

“Until somewhere along the way, they took to worshippin’ fish-gods,” he said. His attitude was one of relief for getting all this off his chest, as well as one of fear, for telling me any of it at all.

“Well, when did this happen?”

“I’m thinkin’ it was somewheres around the early 1900’s at least, when the folk in Innsmouth were first visited by… them…”

“Them?”

“The Deep Ones.”

I am a practical and rational man, but the old man and his mysterious way of speaking was beginning to annoy me. He seemed as if he wanted to tell me some things about Innsmouth, but every small, cryptic nugget of information he gave me merely opened up more questions. I pressed him again for more information. “Mustus, who, or what, are Deep Ones? Are they deep sea fishermen? Pirates? What are you talking about, man?”

“No, no, Deep Ones ain’t no pirates, and they ain’t fishermen--they are fish-men.”

“You mean, literally?” I asked him, somewhat surprised, hiding the smirk that was creeping up the side of my mouth.

I reasoned that I came here for the Gazette, looking for some story information, but about devil worshippers; occultists. I had no idea about rumors of fish-men, or places where freakish looking people followed masked men into churches. I decided to get what I could from him, and see if I could possibly get a story out of it, or link the devil worshippers and cultist activities with the so-called fish men, or “Deep Ones”, as he called them.

“Fish men, yes,” he said, interrupting my thoughts.

“The people of Innsmouth are basically slaves--or… aco… acol…” he trailed off.

“Acolytes?” I finished for him.

“Yea, ye got it. Acolytes. They’s acolytes--servants--of the Deep Ones. The townsfolk do their bidding, whether it’s buildin’ temples, attendin' rituals, or…” again, the old man trailed off.

“Or?”

“Or… or…” Here he was stammering, as if he couldn’t bring himself to say whatever it was he was going to say.

“Mustus, you responded to my letter and invited me here to tell me what you know-- so spill it, man!” I barked.

“These acolytes, they work, worship… and breed… with the Deep Ones.” The look on his face was one of horror.

“Breed?” I asked him, incredulously. “How, exactly? I mean, you’re telling me that these fishermen, this entire town, they live in nocturnal obeisance to some supernatural belief that men--fish men--from the sea will come to them? Is that good or bad?”

“’Pends on yer point o’ view” the old man replied, his voice hushed now.

I was about ready to strangle him. The way he kept baiting me, then giving me so little information, was bothersome to say the least. I was about to remark to him on this and make my way to the door, when I noticed him staring at the next photo in the book, as if he were hypnotized by it.

I looked at it to see what it was that had him so mesmerized. A photograph, equally as old as the one before it of the cathedral exterior, but this one was evidently inside the place. From what I could see of it, it seemed as if there were strange gargoyle-type decorations and bas-relief carvings all along the wall of the place. There, in the center of the photo, was the man in the black robe, with the strange octopoidal mask on. He was standing to face what was obviously the congregation, arms in the air in some type of gesture. I commented to Mustus, “High Priest, of whatever this cult is?”

“Yes…”

“You seem distraught, Mustus--what is it?”

“Memories, jis’ memories…” he trailed off again.

I glanced over to the opposing page in the old man’s photo album, or whatever this book was. To my astonishment, I saw the unbelievable. There, in that second old photograph, was that same room I had just noticed, with it’s strange “fishy” decorations, and what appeared to be an altar of sorts. Upon this altar, a beautiful, nude woman was seated, staring as if into space, as if she were waiting for something. I noticed she wasn’t completely nude; she wore a necklace, which bore a small medallion. It must have been of some ritual significance, but it was too hard to make out in the picture. This photo was both beautiful yet repulsive. Beautiful, for the woman, her pretty face, her curves and soft, white skin; repulsive, that such a beautiful sight, a work of art at any other time, in any other place, should be found--willingly, I wondered--in a repulsive place such as where she'd been photographed.

As Mustus turned the page, breaking the spell we both seemed to have fallen under, I remembered what it was that I was here for--if that even mattered any more, after being exposed to some of the macabre wonders that the old man kept.

“So, Mustus--tell me. There is a cult--an Order--of someone or something called “Dagon”, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Apparently, they have some connection with the people in the fishing town of Innsmouth, whom are either members, or just followers. There appears to be a man in charge, a high priest, who is wearing a mask resembling some octopus thing. Now I see a beautiful woman sitting on a stone block, or an altar. Are you trying to tell me that there followed some sort of grisly ritual sacrifice? Was she killed, in sacrificial offering, to this “Dagon”?”

“No, no--she weren’t killed.”

I lost patience. Leaving my normal reserved character, I grabbed the man by the shoulders, brought my face to his, raising my voice--“Mustus. You agreed to talk to me, not give me bits and pieces of cryptic musings, not to answer questions with vague answers and more questions! You invited me here for answers that you assured me you had, about a suspected evil cult along the coast. You assured me you had ties to this cult, which you have severed, trying to shirk off that dark past life. Now I need to know, since we had a deal, as well as that it seems that you are trying to tell me something, but are having… reservations? Damn it, man, tell me what is going on! Tell me what has gone on.”

He seemed to be somewhat removed from his stupor, as well as a bit angered at my treatment of him. Straightening out his filthy jacket, he sat down, dust flying up from the wretched couch. “The church, well--it ain’t no church. It’s a grand cathedral from ancient times, but it ain’t no church anymore. It’s used by the followers of Dagon--The Esoteric Order of Dagon.”

“And who, what--is Dagon?”

“Dagon is a fish-god, from ancient times. If you look up in the bible, you’ll see. Dagon, He’s the Philistines’ god. A fish, but He walks like a man. He’s part of both, I guess. Don’t know much history, much less ancient times an’ such.”

I remembered the books on his shelf.

He continued, “Anyways, the pictures yer lookin’ at, they was taken inside the cathedral.”

“I had gathered as much”, I stated.

“Well, every so often, they would gather, have the fertility ritual. Other than that, there were nightly services. The music--if ye can call it that--that came outta that place… It frightened me to no end. Sometimes I’d hear screams.”

“You mean…” I was about to ask about ritual sacrifice, though he told me that didn’t occur.

“No, no--no one was killed, nothin’ like that. Them girls--they was brought in, fer the fertility ritual. I can only guess they screamed, when they realized what a mess they’d gotten themselves into.”

“What do you mean?”

The old man removed his hand from the second photo he was seemingly transfixed by-- to reveal something so horrid, so stupendously ghastly, that at first I simply didn’t believe what I saw.

“That’s what I mean.”

There was the beautiful woman from the previous photograph; but now, she lay on her back upon that stone block or altar. She lay spreadeagled, and between her thighs, obviously engaging in sexual intercourse with this poor woman, was a creature straight out of Greek--or Philistine-?-mythology.

It was shaped like man, but not shaped like a man. It was bipedal, with two legs and two arms; a grotesque parody of a human head jutted from it’s squared shoulders. It was darkly colored, wet and glistening in what could only be torchlight inside that hellish place. It’s skin appeared to be soft and baggy. The face was a vile distortion of some man and fish hybrid. Large, dull eyes, ears pressed into the sides of the skull, no real nose to speak of. The mouth--that ghastly, grotesque mouth… Large, fleshy tubes for lips, those small, sharp, numerous teeth; its mouth was agape in a rictus of pleasure, for all I could make out on that vile thing. But how could that be? Surely, this was some character in some ritual costume? Surely, this was a mask--wasn’t it? Mask or no, it struck me that despite being a foul beast, I had seen these types of features before; only too recently, in fact. Looking again at the picture, the woman in the photo seemed to be in a state of total complacency, almost as if she was willing for this to happen. “She seems… unfazed?” I asked.

“She done given herself over to them, freely, wholly,” he cried, with more than a hint of regret in his voice.

“Mustus, did you know her?”

“She was my wife!” he exclaimed.

Now things were starting to make sense. I wondered if I should press him further for information, and if I should still even consider any of this for my story in The Gazette. Not sure what to say, I simply asked him how she came to this obscene fate, and apparently, willingly so.

“They told ‘er, they told ‘er that they would come git us anyway, and that we couldn’t leave if we tried. They told us if we didn’t join them, they’d kill us. That was it. It was either join ‘em or be killed by ‘em. What would ye have done?” Before I could answer, he continued. “My Emma--my dear, sweet Emma--she realized the only way out was for her to sacrifice herself to ‘em, and she done it all jus’ to save me! She saved me… It shoulda been me savin’ her. But what could I do?”

“So, these people, these Deep Ones--they kidnapped her?”

“No, no--they ain’t the Deep Ones, and they didn’t kidnap ‘er exactly. They gave us the ultimatum, and at first we refused. The Deep Ones, they’s the fish-men, the beast like in this picture. I keep this picture--you would think Id’ve burned it first thing, but I kept it--to remind me of her sacrifice, and of my revenge. They ‘pregnated ‘er, so they could birth more Deep Ones. I wasn’t the only man in town that had to give up his woman.”

“So, you don’t think there were just a few extremists… in this… this cult?”

“Ye ain’t never been to Innsmouth. Ye ain’t never seen the folk there. They’re freaks, the lot of ‘em!” he cried.



Click Here for Part 3 of THE HOUSE IN THE PORT
a novella to be serialized in 12 daily installments
©by J.R. Torina

No comments:

Post a Comment

Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sanford Meschkow's
INEVITABLE

Sanford Meschkow is a retired former
NYer who married a Philly suburban
Main Line girl. Sanford has been pub-
lished in a 1970s issue of AMAZING.
We welcome him here on the FREE-
ZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE RECIDIVIST



Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE MEMORY SECTOR

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking currently
resides in the high desert of Phoenix,
Arizona where he enjoys campy horror
movies within the comfort of an Insane
Asylum. Search for his science fiction
stories at The Intestinal Fortitude in
the Flesheater's World section.
The Memory Sector is his first
appearance in the Freezine of
Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Owen R. Powell's
NOETIC VACATIONS

Little is known of the mysterious
Owen R. Powell (oftentimes referred
to as Orp online). That is because he
usually keeps moving. The story
Noetic Vacations marks his first
appearance in the Freezine.

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET

Edward Morris is a 2011 nominee for
the Pushcart Prize in literature, has
also been nominated for the 2009
Rhysling Award and the 2005 British
Science Fiction Association Award.
His short stories have been published
over a hundred and twenty times in
four languages, most recently at
PerhihelionSF, the Red Penny Papers'
SUPERPOW! anthology, and The
Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. He lives
and works in Portland as a writer,
editor, spoken word MC and bouncer,
and is also a regular guest author at
the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
GROUND PORK


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

Gene Stewart is a writer and artist.
He currently lives in the Midwest
American Wilderness where he is
researching tales of mystical realism,
writing ficta mystica, and exploring
the dark by casting a little light into
the shadows. Follow this link to his
website where there are many samples
of his writing and much else; come
explore.

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL & SIR
FRANCIS DRAKE



Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


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.


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


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
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR

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
Audio Anthology, The Tide Pool, and
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
AS YOU WISH



Johnny Strike's
NIGHT FLAMERS



Johnny Strike's
THE HOMELESS MUTANTS



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
From Above (Rudos and Rubes).


Paul Stuart's
SEA?TV!


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
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 paul@twilightlane.com,
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
MAU BAST


Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
poetry. She is best known for the 2002
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 -



Icy Sedgwick's
THE PORCELAIN WOMAN


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
with LIPSTICK



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
THE FOLD


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 14 years,
and he swings a mean sword in the SCA.


Shae Sveniker's
A NEW METAPHYSICAL STUDY
REGARDING THE BEHAVIOR
OF PLANT LIFE


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
PLASTIC CHILDREN


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
THE HOUSE IN THE PORT


J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughter-
house ('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
THE GOLDEN THIRD EYE


K.B. Updike, Jr. is a young virgin
Virginia writer. KB's life work,
published 100% for free:
(We are not certain if K.B. Updike, Jr.
has lost his Virginian virginity yet.)