Originally published by F. Tennyson Neely in 1895.
Also published online by The Project Gutenberg
Title: The King in Yellow Author: Robert W. Chambers

Banner Artwork above by Shasta Lawton.
Illustration for THE PROPHET'S PARADISE by Eric York,
taken from the collection Carcosa Tenement Blues by Edward Morris

Friday, November 27, 2009

A NEW METAPHYSICAL
STUDY REGARDING THE
BEHAVIOR OF PLANT LIFE

by Shae Sveniker
Los Angeles, CA





John and Emma were smoking on the street after watching a science fiction movie. It was about these aliens that had abducted an entire city's worth of humans to a research station in space, which was built to look exactly like a city. It even had highways, rivieras, and skyscrapers. The aliens were exchanging the people's memories to see how they act when given different lives.

"...so you don't eat meat because you're disturbed that the thing you are eating used to be alive?" John asked. John had never dated a vegan before and she was pretty adamant about her views on omnivores.

"Yeah," Emma said, "it freaks me out so bad, I can't look at it, a slice of flesh, sitting there on a plate. I can't look at it without thinking it used to belong to a part of something that had a consciousness and a life. It might have been a shitty life or a good life, but it was a part of something that used to be living, that knew it was alive."

"Hm..." John said.

They walked down the street in the dark, sweet-smelling drizzle. The streetlamps reflected in the puddles. Suddenly it began to pour harder, big, fat, raindrops, the kind that belong in a Texas thunderstorm, the kind that soak your shirt after a mere second; John had parked the Plymouth a few blocks away so they began to run. It was raining harder and harder, and trash began floating down the gutters.

Laughing, John and Emma ducked into an awning. The rest of the block was mostly unlit, there was no one else on the street, it was very picturesque. John, pork-pie hat wet from the rain, held Emma close, her red lipstick pointing up at his face like the paint of a helicopter landing pad. Even in those bright red four-inch heels she was only as tall as his chest. He was a big man though, who liked to wear ties. Even from so far away, he felt her breath on his face, they were both smiling, he felt nervous, like mice were running circles in his stomach, so he pulled her closer and they kissed. It was very romantic.

"This is very romantic," he said.

"You make me laugh," she said.

"So let's get to know each other better," he said. "Stick with me, kid, we'll go places."

"Alright," she said. "But let's wait a minute to see if this rain lets up."

So they talked about why Emma was vegan and other things similarly inane. It didn't matter. They felt like they had known each other for a long time, and were comfortable around each other even though they had only met that night.

"So, I just won't eat meat when I'm around you, OK?" John said.

"You don't have to do that," Emma said, "It's just my choice."

"No, it's about respect, ok? But also, if you're around it'll be easier for me to eat healthy."

"Whatever," Emma rolled her eyes, but she was still in his clutches, so he kissed her again. It really was quite romantic and silly.

The rain was still heavy and John held Emma close to him, she leaned against him "I heard from a friend of mine about a new metaphysical study regarding the behavior of plant life," he said.

"Oh yeah?" she asked, "How reliable is this source?"

"Not really, but listen anyway," he said "These scientists, or students, or whatever, were growing two tomato plants with the exact same variables, like, in the same room, same fertilizer, same light, everything the same. So these plants were growing really well and they were tomato plants and fertilized each other's flowers and shit and they bore fruit and they were both very healthy and their tomatoes tasted good on soy-meat sandwiches, you dig?"

She laughed and said "Yeah I get it, one of them is a control, so what'd they do to the variable?"

"You're very sharp, you pretty thing!" he said. She dug her head into his ribs. "Ouch! Ok, so one day, one of the scientists or students or whatever, came in with a big pair of scissors and chopped one of the tomato plants to bits vicious-like and killed it. The scientists or students or whatever then kept taking care of the other plant exactly like they had been, with just the right amount of attention and fertilizer and everything, and they just left the dead one there."

"Whoa," she said, "that seems cruel to me for some reason..."

"That's not the half of it, get this, the living plant started to wilt, and within the month, the poor thing was dead! Isn't that terrifying?"

"Yeah, that's pretty funny" she said. John then looked very sad, let go of Emma, turned his back, and started walking away.

"No, no it isn't," he said.

She laughed, "Oh, come on! Yes it is!" and reached out to him, but when she grabbed the left sleeve of his sport-coat, his arm felt out of it, severed at each socket, including his fingers, twenty-five pieces in all fell to the ground. Then his left leg buckled in some very unnatural ways, then the rest of him, like a well-dressed mannequin made of puzzle blocks, until he lay there in two-hundred and six pieces; not that Emma was very much bothered by how many pieces of John were suddenly dead and silent and unmoving at her feet.


~ ~ ~




Come back Monday, Nov 30
and read Graveyard Waltz,
by Daniel José Older

when the FoFaSF wraps up
this month's issue

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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS

Adam Bolivar's
WYRM'S BLOOD


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL CAME
TO BOSTON



Adam Bolivar's
THE DREAM KEY


Adam Bolivar's
THE WHITE CUP


Adam Bolivar's
THE FOX AND THE THORN


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.


Keith Graham's
MIZUKI


Keith Graham's
EVERYTHING BUT
THE OINK



Keith Graham's
FAREWELL TOUR


Keith Graham is a computer programmer,
blues harp player, fellow beekeeper, and
speculative fiction writer. He currently
maintains 45 active websites. He has
published more than 50 stories over
the last six years in venues such as
others. Underground rock music
played an integral part in the early
days of cyberpunk, and The Freezine
of Fantasy and Science Fiction is
excited to have Keith onboard, and
grateful to showcase the premiere
of his passionate story of rock'n'roll
redemption.


John Claude Smith's
BLOOD ECHO SYMPHONIES


John Claude Smith's
NOT BREATHING



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
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
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.