DEVIL'S WEEK

Get ready for an extra-special treat, Freezine aficionados. Because this very Halloween, the Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is proud to present a brand new, never-before-published horror tale from veteran author John Shirley. So if you're ready to be taken to an extremely dark place right now, then be sure to read on for our final tale for the October season, THE SOFTEST PILLOW, by John Shirley.


Cemetery Art above by Shaun Lawton


Sunday, October 31, 2010

OCTOBER ISSUE




“THE FREEZINE
RESSURRECTS
THE DEAD”



BERENICE--A TALE.
by Edgar A. Poe
©in the public domain
click pic to begin reading






OUT OF THE ROSE
by William Butler Yeats
©in the public domain
click pic to begin reading






HAITA THE SHEPHERD
by Ambrose Bierce
©in the public domain
click pic to begin reading






NYARLATHOTEP
by H.P. Lovecraft
©in the public domain
click pic to begin reading






ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S MASTER STROKE
by Richard Dadd
© in the public domain
click pic to begin reading Part I


Friday, October 29, 2010

NYARLATHOTEP


by H. P. Lovecraft





Nyarlathotep...the crawling chaos...I am the last...I will tell the audient void...

I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was months ago. The general tension was horrible. To a season of political and social upheaval was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger; a danger widespread and all-embracing, such a danger as may be imagined only in the most terrible phantasms of the night. I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places. There was a demoniac alteration in the sequence of the seasons–the autumn heat lingered fearsomely, and everyone felt that the world and perhaps the universe had passed from the control of known gods or forces to that of gods or forces which were unknown.

And it was then that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt. Who he was, none could tell, but he was of the old native blood and looked like a Pharaoh. The fellahin knelt when they saw him, yet could not say why. He said he had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries, and that he had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences–of electricity and psychology and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished, for the small hours were rent with the screams of nightmare. Never before had the screams of nightmare been such a public problem; now the wise men almost wished they could forbid sleep in the small hours, that the shrieks of cities might less horribly disturb the pale, pitying moon as it glimmered on green waters gliding under bridges, and old steeples crumbling against a sickly sky.

I remember when Nyarlathotep came to my city–the great, the old, the terrible city of unnumbered crimes. My friend had told me of him, and of the impelling fascination and allurement of his revelations, and I burned with eagerness to explore his uttermost mysteries. My friend said they were horrible and impressive beyond my most fevered imaginings; and what was thrown on a screen in the darkened room prophesied things none but Nyarlathotep dared prophesy, and in the sputter of his sparks there was taken from men that which had never been taken before yet which shewed only in the eyes. And I heard it hinted abroad that those who knew Nyarlathotep looked on sights which others saw not.

It was in the hot autumn that I went through the night with the restless crowds to see Nyarlathotep; through the stifling night and up the endless stairs into the choking room. And shadowed on a screen, I saw hooded forms amidst ruins, and yellow evil faces peering from behind fallen monuments. And I saw the world battling against blackness; against the waves of destruction from ultimate space; whirling, churning, struggling around the dimming, cooling sun. Then the sparks played amazingly around the heads of the spectators, and hair stood up on end whilst shadows more grotesque than I can tell came out and squatted on the heads. And when I, who was colder and more scientific than the rest, mumbled a trembling protest about “imposture” and “static electricity”, Nyarlathotep drove us all out, down the dizzy stairs into the damp, hot, deserted midnight streets. I screamed aloud that I was not afraid; that I never could be afraid; and others screamed with me for solace. We swore to one another that the city was exactly the same, and still alive; and when the electric lights began to fade we cursed the company over and over again, and laughed at the queer faces we made.

I believe we felt something coming down from the greenish moon, for when we began to depend on its light we drifted into curious involuntary marching formations and seemed to know our destinations though we dared not think of them. Once we looked at the pavement and found the blocks loose and displaced by grass, with scarce a line of rusted metal to shew where the tramways had run. And again we saw a tram-car, lone, windowless, dilapidated, and almost on its side. When we gazed around the horizon, we could not find the third tower by the river, and noticed that the silhouette of the second tower was ragged at the top. Then we split up into narrow columns, each of which seemed drawn in a different direction. One disappeared in a narrow alley to the left, leaving only the echo of a shocking moan. Another filed down a weed-choked subway entrance, howling with a laughter that was mad. My own column was sucked toward the open country, and presently I felt a chill which was not of the hot autumn; for as we stalked out on the dark moor, we beheld around us the hellish moon-glitter of evil snows. Trackless, inexplicable snows, swept asunder in one direction only, where lay a gulf all the blacker for its glittering walls. The column seemed very thin indeed as it plodded dreamily into the gulf. I lingered behind, for the black rift in the green-litten snow was frightful, and I thought I had heard the reverberations of a disquieting wail as my companions vanished; but my power to linger was slight. As if beckoned by those who had gone before, I half-floated between the titanic snowdrifts, quivering and afraid, into the sightless vortex of the unimaginable.

Screamingly sentient, dumbly delirious, only the gods that were can tell. A sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands, and whirled blindly past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low. Beyond the worlds vague ghosts of monstrous things; half-seen columns of unsanctifled temples that rest on nameless rocks beneath space and reach up to dizzy vacua above the spheres of light and darkness. And through this revolting graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods–the blind, voiceless, mindless gargoyles whose soul is Nyarlathotep.






Thursday, October 28, 2010

XII: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

byRichard Dadd






Sounds the long notes ’long the long tube that wind
And in the fairy hollows echoes find.
To assist this gaudy long legged trumpeter
A tatteredemalion & a junketer
Holiday folk that tends upon,
Like a Postilion if you con
Each blows his brazen tube no doubt in tune
With Dragon Fly that rests his leg abune
The jutting stone on which they sit
Expecting company that soon will flit
Slanting along the Lunar ray
Like boys & girls come out to play –
Alow behind these last-named two
An elfin takes a peeping view –
Not at the nut but the spectator
Happen to mark if arbitrator
He in this remarkable fudge
Or humbug gives the fatal nudge.
Peeper is wildest of the crew
Cares nought for them or I or you.
You from his cap with me perchance agree
Of the Chinese small Foot Societee,
He’s a small member.
But if Confucius sent him
Now I can’t remember.


Turn to the Patriarch & behold
Long pendents from his crown are rolled,
In winding figures circle round
The grass and such upon the mound,
They represent vagary wild
And mental aberration styled.
Now unto nature clinging close
Now wildly out away they toss,
Like a cyclone uncontroll’d
Sweeping around with chance-born fold
Unto the picture brings a grace
Which else was wanting to its face
But tied at length unto a stem
Shews or should do finitam rem
The size the nuts do here display
Forgive nor make me forfeit pay
Having the benefit of doubt
Of what the fairies grow without
The reach of human ken or will
And needs not now that I instil
Into your mind.
What here I’ve said from fancy’s wing
A sense supporting of my need
You may deny – say – no such thing
’Tis all wrong every bit indeed.
Well! to your judgment I must bow
Freely it’s exercise allow
You perhaps to such are more inured.
Your notions may be more endured
But whether it be or be not so
You can afford to let this go
For nought as nothing it explains
And nothing from nothing nothing gains.



~ the end ~







Click Here For
The OCTOBER ISSUE's Final
Ressurrected Author


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

XI: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

byRichard Dadd






Knows when he does he’ll be Commander
The chief one or a Salamander.
A real fire eater like the Sun
By his own bravery surely won.
The sailor keeps a pleasure yacht
Has nought to do but live on what
The smiling elements that never frown
Freely disclose as up and down
For pleasure merely roam about
The fleets of vessels of which he’ll take
Entire command for the nation’s sake,
Nor cares he where to move or swim.
’Till death commands to dowse the glim.
Some other oceans then he’ll try,
Rolling eternal in the sky –
The tinker next with barrow trig
Knows every wandering gypsy rig
Where does he lodge? ’tis hard to say
Whether a house or stack of hay
Serves the poor outcast for his rest
He’s butt howe’er for many a jest
Lives in a world of nether pose
Mysterious obscure, your senses lose
Or cast aside as nothing worth
Nor length it has nor breadth or girth
Just now he marks the filbert big
Stript of its natural russet wig
How would he here his skill to prove?


He’d grind it p’raps? Not so by Jove
Clumsily skilful though he be
He knows too much for that d’ye see
Around the fairy villages he’ll stray
Knives scissors to grind might bawl each day.
Knows well the tailor reg’lar grinds his shears.
Ah! That’s a tailor brave that knows no fears.
Nine fairy tailors would not make a man
Tho’ they might queer him, you know well they can.
But this one seems disposed to queer,
The plough-boy that is standing to him near
Shews him a coat neat made and very strong
’T’would last the lad his fairy life time long.
But while he doubts the same to buy,
The Thief his craft on him doth try.
Loosens his handkerchief so gay.
Too artful he to snatch away.
The doctor in his thoughts reserved.
The trick below hath not observed
But with his sounding pestle beats,
The drugs that he to fairy metes.
His mortar would not hold the nut.
But holds enough for fairy gut.
A nostrum or a panacea
At any price we’ll say not dear.
Next to the Soldier on his right,
a Dragon Fly exerts his skill & might


Concludes with Part XII


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

X: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

byRichard Dadd






I know not if at theatres or fairs.
It needs must be so –
Fairies ’tis said shun all display
And most affect the pale moon’s ray
Sol’s potent ray soon drives them off
He’d instant find whereat to spurn and scoff –
Just so it was with folk in olden time,
Whose practices were held to be a crime.
They fled the powers that held despotic sway –
Poor little fairies! why not also they?
Fancy this pair aught else ’t’will do,
But male and female they are plain to view
Next to the Queen you here behind may count,
Some strapping fairy footmen mount
And garde chemin no doubt they well do serve.
Tiny in size but lusty in the nerve,
As every footman should be –
Above in attitude of fondest love
King Oberon & his Queen approve
The sport else why should they repair
To this sequestered spot the same to share
Merely perhaps to note the way things went.
And how many chops were useless made anent.
Pulling of straws out from a stack of wheat.
Is for a pastime not more meet.


And such the Old Lady in the Scarlet Cloak,
Might non-be fancying true – no joke.
Is it true for me or even you –
True if you care not – this is true.
Her nose and chin will never crack
The monster nuts & many a whack
From club or shining axe will want
Ere the chance fatal lights upon’t
Above the harridan some whose names
Serve schoolboys turn when at their games
They of the future calling prophecy
With boisterous laugh and ecstasy
Of childish mirth, nor want they
Perhaps a forced imposed belief.
In soldier and sailor, tinker or tailor
Ploughboy, apothecary, thief.
Counting their buttons down the vest.
A name to each – the last doth rest
The faded rade – soon from the thoughts ’tis laid
Aside and fairy prophecy forgot.
Here let me say my let of this same lot –
The ragged soldier sure is mad.
Made so by wounds, debauch and glad
But hard earned victory
Being fay, I’ve not the history.
I made it so but not from spite,
Else he’d find reason to requite
But ragamuffins to enlist.
He’s a brave spirit to assist.




Continues with Part XI



Monday, October 25, 2010

IX: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

byRichard Dadd






And if they did, the profits netted
The spider near. His web hath left.
Drops down upon them from some cleft
Where he spread his wide snare for game
One that detains yet doth not maim
Perhaps he’s an offer when they have done.
To supply with gossamer wells all, every one.
A master weaver he in whose employ
The lesser spinners may enjoy
Profits & learn to make account
Of those who wish aloft to mount.
And sail away upon the wind
From Europe p’raps to furthest Ind.
They’ve only wind to ask for – ’tis the weather
That in this case saves the expense of leather
And pilgrimages – let’s make one
To the opposite side – That is, objection
If you’ve none – Two braves we see –
In gallantry – Who by their wits can live –
Can sing or play – Fight, run away,
Or entertainment give.
Your fairy man upon the town.
That can clean out a swell or clown.
And if there’s need can let you down –
A peg or two – so high they fly.
Hawking while talking all my eye –
Next to the Patriarch’s
Crown attend. And mark the motes


That there descend.
Dancing and singing there they go
With their fal lal the rah and huy gee wohe.
The dress is Spanish ’tis in use,
At present time If I abuse,
Not memory of the source
From which I borrowed them of course
Call cottagers, no bloods are, these;
As on a tight rope they to please.
I represented – when in the play
One is dressed like to Duvernay.
Balancing these on the other side
Queen Mab in Car of state doth ride.
Some atomies the poet says did draw
A gnat gives to them coachman’s law
I never saw the famed Queen Mab or might.
Had it been so contributed delight.
The atomies are, no doubt, a dubious theme.
Like tiny female centaurs here do seem.
Half beast & half a woman yoked are.
With wings to soar away in regions far.
Under the coachman standing nigh
Two little pages you may spy.
Cupid & Psyche they enact,
Fairies no doubt possess the tact
To imitate like mortal players




Continues with Part X



Friday, October 22, 2010

HAITA THE SHEPHERD

by Ambrose Bierce





In the heart of Haïta the illusions of youth had not been supplanted by those of age and experience. His thoughts were pure and pleasant, for his life was simple and his soul devoid of ambition. He rose with the sun and went forth to pray at the shrine of Hastur, the god of shepherds, who heard and was pleased. After performance of this pious rite Haïta unbarred the gate of the field and with a cheerful mind drove his flock afield, eating his morning meal of curds and oat cake as he went, occasionally pausing to add a few berries, cold with dew, or to drink of the waters that came away from the hills to join the stream in the middle of the valley and be borne along with it, he knew not whither.

During the long summer day, as his sheep cropped the good grass which the gods had made to grow for them, or lay with their forelegs doubled under their breasts and chewed the cud, Haïta, reclining in the shadow of a tree, or sitting upon a rock, played so sweet music upon his reed pipe that sometimes from the corner of his eye he got accidental glimpses of the minor sylvan deities, leaning forward out of the copse to hear; but if he looked at them directly they vanished. From this–for he must be thinking if he would not turn into one of his own sheep–he drew the solemn inference that happiness may come if not sought, but if looked for will never be seen; for next to the favor of Hastur, who never disclosed himself, Haïta most valued the friendly interest of his neighbors, the shy immortals of the wood and stream. At nightfall he drove his flock back to the fold, saw that the gate was secure, and retired to his cave for refreshment and for dreams.

So passed his life, one day like another, save when the storms uttered the wrath of an offended god. Then Haïta cowered in his cave, his face hidden in his hands, and prayed that he alone might be punished for his sins and the world saved from destruction. Sometimes when there was a great rain, and the stream came out of its banks, compelling him to urge his terrified flock to the uplands, he interceded for the people in the cities which he had been told lay in the plain beyond the two blue hills forming the gateway of his valley.

“It is kind of thee, O Hastur,” so he prayed, “to give me mountains so near my dwelling and my fold that I and my sheep can escape the angry torrents; but the rest of the world thou must thyself deliver in some way that I know not of, or I will no longer worship thee.”

And Hastur, knowing that Haïta was a youth who kept his word, spared the cities and turned the waters into the sea.

So he had lived since he could remember. He could not rightly conceive any other mode of existence. The holy hermit who dwelt at the head of the valley, a full hour's journey away, from whom he had heard the tale of the great cities where dwelt people–poor souls!–who had no sheep, gave him no knowledge of that early time, when, so he reasoned, he must have been small and helpless like a lamb.

It was through thinking on these mysteries and marvels, and on that horrible change to silence and decay which he felt sure must sometime come to him, as he had seen it come to so many of his flock–as it came to all living things except the birds–that Haïta first became conscious how miserable and hopeless was his lot.

“It is necessary,” he said, “that I know whence and how I came; for how can one perform his duties unless able to judge what they are by the way in which he was entrusted with them? And what contentment can I have when I know not how long it is going to last? Perhaps before another sun I may be changed, and then what will become of the sheep? What, indeed, will have become of me?”

Pondering these things Haïta became melancholy and morose. He no longer spoke cheerfully to his flock, nor ran with alacrity to the shrine of Hastur. In every breeze he heard the whispers of malign deities whose existence he now first observed. Every cloud was a portent signifying disaster, and the darkness was full of terrors. His reed pipe when applied to his lips gave out no melody, but a dismal wail; the sylvan and riparian intelligences no longer thronged the thicketside to listen, but fled from the sound, as he knew by the stirred leaves and bent flowers. He relaxed his vigilance, and many of his sheep strayed away into the hills and were lost. Those that remained became lean and ill for lack of good pasturage, for he would not seek it for them, but conducted them day after day to the same spot, through mere abstraction, while puzzling about life and death–of immortality he knew not.

One day while indulging in the gloomiest reflections he suddenly sprang from the rock upon which he sat, and with a determined gesture of the right hand exclaimed, “I will no longer be a suppliant for knowledge which the gods withhold. Let them look to it that they do me no wrong. I will do my duty as best I can and If I err upon their own heads be it!”

Suddenly, as he spoke, a great brightness fell about him, causing him to look upward, thinking the sun had burst through a rift in the clouds; but there were no clouds. No more than an arm’s length away stood a beautiful maiden. So beautiful she was that the flowers about her feet folded their petals in despair and bent their heads in token of submission; so sweet her look that the hummingbirds thronged her eyes, thrusting their thirsty bills almost into them, and the wild bees were about her lips. And such was her brightness that the shadows of all objects lay divergent from her feet, turning as she moved.

Haïta was entranced. Rising, he knelt before her in adoration, and she laid her hand upon his head.

“Come,” she said in a voice that had the music of all the bells of his flock, “come, thou art not to worship me, who am no goddess, but if thou art truthful and dutiful I will abide with thee.”

Haïta seized her hand, and stammering his joy and gratitude arose, and hand in hand they stood and smiled into each other's eyes. He gazed on her with reverence and rapture. He said, “I pray thee, lovely maid, tell me thy name and whence and why thou comest.”

At this she laid a warning finger on her lip and began to withdraw. Her beauty underwent a visible alteration that made him shudder, he knew not why, for still she was beautiful. The landscape darkened by a giant shadow sweeping across the valley with the speed of a vulture. In the obscurity the maiden's figure grew dim and indistinct and her voice seemed to come from a distance, as she said, in a tone of sorrowful reproach, “Presumptuous and ungrateful youth! Must I then so soon leave thee? Would nothing do but thou must at once break the eternal compact?”

Inexpressibly grieved, Haïta fell upon his knees and implored her to remain–rose and sought her in the deepening darkness–ran in circles, calling to her aloud, but all in vain. She was no longer visible, but out of the gloom he heard her voice saying, “Nay, thou shalt not have me by seeking. Go to thy duty, faithless shepherd, or we shall never meet again.”

Night had fallen; the wolves were howling in the hills and the terrified sheep crowded around Haïta’s feet. In the demands of the hour, he forgot his disappointment, drove his sheep to the fold, and repairing to the place of worship poured out his heart to Hastur for permitting him to save his flock, then retired to his cave and slept.

When Haïta awoke the sun was high and shone in at the cave, illuminating it with a great glory. And there, beside him, sat the maiden. She smiled upon him with a smile that seemed the visible music of his pipe of reeds. He dared not speak, fearing to offend her as before, for he knew not what he could venture to say.

“Because,” she said, “thou didst thy duty by the flock, and didst not forget to thank Hastur for staying the wolves of the night, I am come to thee again. Wilt thou have me for a companion?”

“Who would not have thee forever?” replied Haïta. “Oh! never again leave me until–until I–change and become silent and motionless.”

Haïta had no word for death.

“I wish, indeed,” he continued, “that thou wert of my own sex, that we might wrestle and run races and so never tire of being together.”

At these words the maiden arose and passed out of the cave, and Haïta, springing from his couch of fragrant boughs to overtake and detain her, observed to his astonishment that the rain was falling and the stream in the middle of the valley had come out of its banks. The sheep were bleating in terror, for the rising waters had invaded their fold. And there was danger for the unknown cities of the distant plain.

It was many days before Haïta saw the maiden again. One day he was returning from the head of the valley, where he had gone with ewe's milk and oat cake and berries for the holy hermit, who was too old and feeble to provide himself with food.

“Poor old man!” he said aloud, as he trudged along homeward. “I will return tomorrow and bear him on my back to my own dwelling, where I can care for him. Doubtless it is for this that Hastur has reared me all these many years, and gives me health and strength.”

As he spoke, the maiden, clad in glittering garments, met him in the path with a smile that took away his breath.

“I am come again,” she said, “to dwell with thee if thou wilt now have me, for none else will. Thou mayest have learned wisdom, and art willing to take me as I am, nor care to know.”

Haïta threw himself at her feet. “Beautiful being,” he cried, “if thou wilt but deign to accept all the devotion of my heart and soul–after Hastur be served–it is thine forever. But, alas! thou art capricious and wayward. Before tomorrow's sun I may lose thee again. Promise, I beseech thee, that however in my ignorance I may offend, thou wilt forgive and remain always with me.”

Scarecely had he finished speaking when a troop of bears came out of the hills, racing toward him with crimson mouths and fiery eyes. The maiden again vanished, and he turned and fled for his life. Nor did he stop until he was in the cot of the holy hermit, whence he had set out. Hastily barring the door against the bears he cast himself upon the ground and wept.

“My son,” said the hermit from his couch of straw, freshly gathered that morning by Haïta's hands, “it is not like thee to weep for bears–tell me what sorrow hath befallen thee, that age may minister to the hurts of youth with such balms as it hath of its wisdom.”

Haïta told him all: how thrice he had met the radiant maid, and thrice she had left him forlorn. He related minutely all that had passed between them, omitting no word of what had been said.

When he had ended, the holy hermit was a moment silent, then said, “My son, I have attended to thy story, and I know the maiden. I have myself seen her, as have many. Know, then, that her name, which she would not even permit thee to inquire, is Happiness. Thou saidst the truth to her, that she is capricious, for she imposeth conditions that man cannot fulfill, and delinquency is punished by desertion. She cometh only when unsought, and will not be questioned. One manifestation of curiosity, one sign of doubt, one expression of misgiving, and she is away! How long didst thou have her at any time before she fled?”

“Only a single instant,” answered Haïta, blushing with shame at the confession. “Each time I drove her away in one moment.”

“Unfortunate youth!" said the holy hermit, “but for thine indiscretion thou mightst have had her for two.”



Return Monday for the Continuation
of the Richard Dadd serialization

“Elimination of a Picture and its Subject–
Called the Feller's Master Stroke”


Thursday, October 21, 2010

VIII: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



At such a book,
His right to look,
I care not to dispute.
Such secrets surely some must know.
All are not saints on earth below.
Or if they are they know the same.
Or are shut out from nature's game.
Banished from nature's book of life,
Because some angel in the strife
Had got the worser fate.
And they close their eyes, that gate –
By which reminders enter.
And in a paradise of fools contented live.
Fays also are not saints, so I must believe
That this and similar frolics they achieve.
The truth is not for all you’ll say.
But that eternal seal it bear,
One might say nay.
Who are the victims of that cruel fate
False secrecy, that sometimes ’tis too late
To find – lost to their race for ever they
In other spheres can understand the light of day –
Next Lubin bending o’er his flame.
Chloe or Phyllis hard to tame.
With wooden sabots round about she’ll clatter.
Churn fairy butter or some such matter.
As to the dairy doth belong.

Whiling and charming time with song.
They’re rustic Lovers rustic in manner.
And Lubin happen is a fairy tanner,
Tanned woodman’s leather coat and cap,
His leggins, all their boots mayhap.
Except his sweethearts they are of wood.
He’d do them too to oblige her if he could.
They are curious in this business you see plainly –
See also next below, two dwarfs – ungainly?
No for the sake of rhyme it fits so well –
We’ll write it down – and after tell
That ’tis deformity approaches near
The truth about this couple here.
A fairy conjuror he who knows a trick
Or two at cards and in the nick –
Of time, can well deceive.
Thus, of your reason you take leave.
Then ’tis that he will do the clever dodge.
Which puzzles many a clownish varhma Hodge.
You think perhaps you don’t do so.
The prayer book so affirms I know –
Just now he offers out to let –
’T’will or ’t’will not be surely split.
Some odds perhaps will give
What fairy coin is – true as I live.
I can’t inform – nor if they betted


Continues Monday, October 25
with
Part IX


In the meantime, Return Tomorrow
When The Freezine Exhumes
Its Next Dead Author...



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VII: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



From human governments complete divide.
He’s pondering matters now as if his vote
Ought to be given ere ’tis smote.
The nut – I mean –
Next him observe one clad in green.
An unknown character some fairy dandy.
Making a break as sweet as candy
To faery nymph like him so quaint.
They are poor ones clearly and attaint.
The present case, because ’tis queer,
And like themselves – yet no small beer.
They deem of their own station.
Behind them elves quite wide awake
Notes of the doings here to take
And to their fellows bye and bye
Tell all without a word of a lie.
Below a pedagogue appears.
A Critic up to sneers & jeers.
And by his faun-like ears he’s wild
Untamed himself, each fairy child
He tames with many a look severe
But if his glance is there or here
’Tis hard to say. He squints to note


You may. But he’ll not meddle
With a work so sharp.
Waits in suspense and doth not carp.
His business is to teach to do.
Do it himself? Oh no! t’is you.
Next come two wenches rather smart.
From lady’s chamber where each art
Of fairy Luxury they the care,
At madam's need can well prepare.
This holds a mirror in her hand so tiny.
A magic surface polished bright & shiny.
While that a broom to sweep away.
The fairy rubbish lack-a-day
Holds in her left hand on her right
A favourite hawk moth doth alight.
They’ve got good legs and feet so small.
Bavaria Flanders Germany and all.
Can shew no more fantastic limb.
Critics are severe ’tis therefore that I beg.
You’ll not inform that fay, that under the leg
Of one of those maids, behind his back.
A satyr peeps; at what, it doth not lack,
An explanation.



Continues with Part VIII


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

VI: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



But as historians do over
About their manners some demur
Checks the free access unto Heaven
And then, of that to speak with leaven
Of circumspection, unto a nether
Region they adhere.
Not holding on to it very tight I fear.
And where there is but little wine or beer.
Far wandering habits also ’tis well known
Led the same blades about from town to town
And this with inns & sotlers too
Familiarly acquainted grew.
Says he’s a rogue & to the next,
’Tis varhma’s ploughman claims the text.
He has a twinkle in his eye
Bespeaks good humour you’ll descry
Of cows & sheep & crops can talk
Quite wonderful & see him walk
With lounging stride across the fields
Just turned afresh to raise the crop that yields.
Ample return for all his labour
That wants no sound of pipe & tabour.
His doubtful speech he hath addressed.
To Waggoner Will beside him lest.

The sage remark quite lost should be.
But how indifferent Will is – see!
Come hither! Woah is more to him.
Than such a speculative whim
Above Clod-hopper sits and like the sod –
He’s brown in colour, also he’s well shod.
A satyr’s head has, buckles in his shoes.
Nurses one foot upon his knee amuse with him
Yourself he’s modern fay.
So gives his garb & decent sylvan he.
Is not stark naked & so proud might be
A foot and not a hoof to own.
But can he put a hat upon his crown?
His horns forbid – say that it slid
From off his pate & fell
Where! he nor I can tell!
There let it lie –
The Politician next, with senatorial pipe.
For argument or his opinion ripe.
A first chop Englishman at that sort of chaff.
To hear him talk, Lord!
How ’t’would make you laugh.
For fairy politics differ so very wide


Continues with Part VII


Monday, October 18, 2010

V: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



Try if he’ll do it – for your own commands
He knows the axe to use on fairy trees
And fairy common sense embodies if you please
If that your fancy – you can strain so far.
As to suppose the same & yet not mar
Your mental method and decorum
Where all things shew them quasi coram
He’s clothed in leather note from top to toe.
All of one colour you may mark also.
The colour of his money you might say.
Good or bad adding lack-a-day.
How can I tell? –
Splitting is either good or bad
For not so the same terms are had.
And that’s his money so to speak
Merely tho’ ’tis about a freak.
As to the colour this we’ll add
’Tis warm enough for fairy mad
But fairy leather comes from Victims small.
Tho’ if they’re cattle fed in field or stall,
I know not – or bat’s wings dyed to suit the taste
But to the next one let us haste.
The ostler from the fairy inn
Knowing his air, the curate of the trim
Hands to his knees and body bent


On the nuts so tiny is all intent
With well spurred heel can ride amain
Stirrup or saddle seeks not to maintain
His seat the which so well he knows
Secure the menage that around him grows
That is a look of mastery as t’were to say
There is no dodge to me doth lay
Concealed where asses dogs or warmint be,
I am a doctor veterinaree
They call me night or morn as’t eve
Tom – price –
I know full well of beasts & in a trice
Your servant Sir your ass I’ll groom
And shew you to the fairy inn’s best room.
What are you at there? Steady ho!!! –
Do you think his gaze will help the blow. –
Next a dwarf monk with shaven crown
On the bank’s brink hath cast adown
His wide sleeved arms & rests his chin
Partly his face his hands conceal –
I put him in –
For why? because I may reply
Monk’s beatific mount they say on high.

Continues with Part VI

Friday, October 15, 2010

OUT OF THE ROSE

by William Butler Yeats



One winter evening an old knight in rusted chain-armour rode slowly along the woody southern slope of Ben Bulben, watching the sun go down in crimson clouds over the sea. His horse was tired, as after a long journey, and he had upon his helmet the crest of no neighbouring lord or king, but a small rose made of rubies that glimmered every moment to a deeper crimson. His white hair fell in thin curls upon his shoulders, and its disorder added to the melancholy of his face, which was the face of one of those who have come but seldom into the world, and always for its trouble, the dreamers who must do what they dream, the doers who must dream what they do.

After gazing a while towards the sun, he let the reins fall upon the neck of his horse, and, stretching out both arms towards the west, he said, “O Divine Rose of Intellectual Flame, let the gates of thy peace be opened to me at last!” And suddenly a loud squealing began in the woods some hundreds of yards further up the mountain side. He stopped his horse to listen, and heard behind him a sound of feet and of voices. “They are beating them to make them go into the narrow path by the gorge,” said someone, and in another moment a dozen peasants armed with short spears had come up with the knight, and stood a little apart from him, their blue caps in their hands. Where do you go with the spears?' he asked; and one who seemed the leader answered: “A troop of wood-thieves came down from the hills a while ago and carried off the pigs belonging to an old man who lives by Glen Car Lough, and we turned out to go after them. Now that we know they are four times more than we are, we follow to find the way they have taken; and will presently tell our story to De Courcey, and if he will not help us, to Fitzgerald; for De Courcey and Fitzgerald have lately made a peace, and we do not know to whom we belong.”

“But by that time,” said the knight, “the pigs will have been eaten.”

“A dozen men cannot do more, and it was not reasonable that the whole valley should turn out and risk their lives for two, or for two dozen pigs.”

“Can you tell me,” said the knight, “if the old man to whom the pigs belong is pious and true of heart?”

“He is as true as another and more pious than any, for he says a prayer to a saint every morning before his breakfast.”

“Then it were well to fight in his cause,” said the knight, “and if you will fight against the wood-thieves I will take the main brunt of the battle, and you know well that a man in armour is worth many like these wood-thieves, clad in wool and leather.”

And the leader turned to his fellows and asked if they would take the chance; but they seemed anxious to get back to their cabins.

“Are the wood-thieves treacherous and impious?”

“They are treacherous in all their dealings,” said a peasant, “and no man has known them to pray.”

“Then,” said the knight, “I will give five crowns for the head of every wood-thief killed by us in the fighting”; and he bid the leader show the way, and they all went on together. After a time they came to where a beaten track wound into the woods, and, taking this, they doubled back upon their previous course, and began to ascend the wooded slope of the mountains. In a little while the path grew very straight and steep, and the knight was forced to dismount and leave his horse tied to a tree-stem. They knew they were on the right track: for they could see the marks of pointed shoes in the soft clay and mingled with them the cloven footprints of the pigs. Presently the path became still more abrupt, and they knew by the ending of the cloven foot-prints that the thieves were carrying the pigs. Now and then a long mark in the clay showed that a pig had slipped down, and been dragged along for a little way. They had journeyed thus for about twenty minutes, when a confused sound of voices told them that they were coming up with the thieves. And then the voices ceased, and they understood that they had been overheard in their turn. They pressed on rapidly and cautiously, and in about five minutes one of them caught sight of a leather jerkin half hidden by a hazel-bush. An arrow struck the knight's chain-armour, but glanced off harmlessly, and then a flight of arrows swept by them with the buzzing sound of great bees. They ran and climbed, and climbed and ran towards the thieves, who were now all visible standing up among the bushes with their still quivering bows in their hands: for they had only their spears and they must at once come hand to hand. The knight was in the front and smote down first one and then another of the wood-thieves. The peasants shouted, and, pressing on, drove the wood-thieves before them until they came out on the flat top of the mountain, and there they saw the two pigs quietly grubbing in the short grass, so they ran about them in a circle, and began to move back again towards the narrow path: the old knight coming now the last of all, and striking down thief after thief. The peasants had got no very serious hurts among them, for he had drawn the brunt of the battle upon himself, as could well be seen from the bloody rents in his armour; and when they came to the entrance of the narrow path he bade them drive the pigs down into the valley, while he stood there to guard the way behind them. So in a moment he was alone, and, being weak with loss of blood, might have been ended there and then by the wood-thieves he had beaten off, had fear not made them begone out of sight in a great hurry.

An hour passed, and they did not return; and now the knight could stand on guard no longer, but had to lie down upon the grass. A half- hour more went by, and then a young lad with what appeared to be a number of cock's feathers stuck round his hat, came out of the path behind him, and began to move about among the dead thieves, cutting their heads off, Then he laid the heads in a heap before the knight, and said: “O great knight, I have been bid come and ask you for the crowns you promised for the heads: five crowns a head. They bid me tell you that they have prayed to God and His Mother to give you a long life, but that they are poor peasants, and that they would have the money before you die. They told me this over and over for fear I might forget it, and promised to beat me if I did.”

The knight raised himself upon his elbow, and opening a bag that hung to his belt, counted out the five crowns for each head. There were thirty heads in all.

“O great knight,” said the lad, “they have also bid me take all care of you, and light a fire, and put this ointment upon your wounds.” And he gathered sticks and leaves together, and, flashing his flint and steel under a mass of dry leaves, had made a very good blaze. Then, drawing of the coat of mail, he began to anoint the wounds: but he did it clumsily, like one who does by rote what he had been told. The knight motioned him to stop, and said: “You seem a good lad.”

“I would ask something of you for myself.”

“There are still a few crowns,” said the knight; “shall I give them to you?”

“O no,” said the lad. “They would be no good to me. There is only one thing that I care about doing, and I have no need of money to do it. I go from village to village and from hill to hill, and whenever I come across a good cock I steal him and take him into the woods, and I keep him there under a basket until I get another good cock, and then I set them to fight. The people say I am an innocent, and do not do me any harm, and never ask me to do any work but go a message now and then. It is because I am an innocent that they send me to get the crowns: anyone else would steal them; and they dare not come back themselves, for now that you are not with them they are afraid of the wood-thieves. Did you ever hear how, when the wood-thieves are christened, the wolves are made their god-fathers, and their right arms are not christened at all?”

“If you will not take these crowns, my good lad, I have nothing for you, I fear, unless you would have that old coat of mail which I shall soon need no more.”

“There was something I wanted: yes, I remember now,” said the lad. “I want you to tell me why you fought like the champions and giants in the stories and for so little a thing. Are you indeed a man like us? Are you not rather an old wizard who lives among these hills, and will not a wind arise presently and crumble you into dust?”

“I will tell you of myself,” replied the knight, “for now that I am the last of the fellowship, I may tell all and witness for God. Look at the Rose of Rubies on my helmet, and see the symbol of my life and of my hope.” And then he told the lad this story, but with always more frequent pauses; and, while he told it, the Rose shone a deep blood-colour in the firelight, and the lad stuck the cock's feathers in the earth in front of him, and moved them about as though he made them actors in the play.

“I live in a land far from this, and was one of the Knights of St. John,” said the old man; “but I was one of those in the Order who always longed for more arduous labours in the service of the Most High. At last there came to us a knight of Palestine, to whom the truth of truths had been revealed by God Himself. He had seen a great Rose of Fire, and a Voice out of the Rose had told him how men would turn from the light of their own hearts, and bow down before outer order and outer fixity, and that then the light would cease, and none escape the curse except the foolish good man who could not, and the passionate wicked man who would not, think. Already, the Voice told him, the wayward light of the heart was shining out upon the world to keep it alive, with a less clear lustre, and that, as it paled, a strange infection was touching the stars and the hills and the grass and the trees with corruption, and that none of those who had seen clearly the truth and the ancient way could enter into the Kingdom of God, which is in the Heart of the Rose, if they stayed on willingly in the corrupted world; and so they must prove their anger against the Powers of Corruption by dying in the service of the Rose of God. While the Knight of Palestine was telling us these things we seemed to see in a vision a crimson Rose spreading itself about him, so that he seemed to speak out of its heart, and the air was filled with fragrance. By this we knew that it was the very Voice of God which spoke to us by the knight, and we gathered about him and bade him direct us in all things, and teach us how to obey the Voice. So he bound us with an oath, and gave us signs and words whereby we might know each other even after many years, and he appointed places of meeting, and he sent us out in troops into the world to seek good causes, and die in doing battle for them. At first we thought to die more readily by fasting to death in honour of some saint; but this he told us was evil, for we did it for the sake of death, and thus took out of the hands of God the choice of the time and manner of our death, and by so doing made His power the less. We must choose our service for its excellence, and for this alone, and leave it to God to reward us at His own time and in His own manner. And after this he compelled us to eat always two at a table to watch each other lest we fasted unduly, for some among us said that if one fasted for a love of the holiness of saints and then died, the death would be acceptable. And the years passed, and one by one my fellows died in the Holy Land, or in warring upon the evil princes of the earth, or in clearing the roads of robbers; and among them died the knight of Palestine, and at last I was alone. I fought in every cause where the few contended against the many, and my hair grew white, and a terrible fear lest I had fallen under the displeasure of God came upon me. But, hearing at last how this western isle was fuller of wars and rapine than any other land, I came hither, and I have found the thing I sought, and, behold! I am filled with a great joy.”

Thereat he began to sing in Latin, and, while he sang, his voice grew fainter and fainter. Then his eyes closed, and his lips fell apart, and the lad knew he was dead. “He has told me a good tale,” he said, “for there was fighting in it, but I did not understand much of it, and it is hard to remember so long a story.”

And, taking the knight's sword, he began to dig a grave in the soft clay. He dug hard, and a faint light of dawn had touched his hair and he had almost done his work when a cock crowed in the valley below. “Ah,” he said, “I must have that bird”; and he ran down the narrow path to the valley.





Click Here for the Continuation
of the Richard Dadd serialization

“Elimination of a Picture and its Subject–
Called the Feller's Master Stroke”


Thursday, October 14, 2010

IV: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



Of some hard heavy wood is but a stubb
And might be loaded in its larger butt
Force to add when to use ’tis put
But even without no fairy skull
Resist it might however thick or dull
A little bit of wood just a mere twig
For which a plodding mortal less than a fig
Cares - but to an elf it has
A power as fatal as the Upas.
If on a sudden it descends
On fairy sconce, its revel ends
And then you know poor little fart
Unto another private realm he will depart.
Don’t want to hurt poor little fa-er-ee
Appeals the rogue unto the powers that be
The arch-fiend sees no dodge illicit
’Bout younker caught – is not explicit
Or he might say “Don't let me catch
You here again
Or perhaps you'll meet with far too
Much sharp pain
And stunning effects the same to
Follow – which will not leave you
time to holloa!
” ––––––––
Beneath his wide spread crown
He casts a glance adown
Dim vistãs of the pregnant coming bustle
To note if there is aught to stay or hustle

The incident peculiar here
Inciding edge incising clear
Or so to do.
His right hand raised, seems to declare
Except I tell you when, strike if you dare –
For all the powers of skill or chance
Fairies can use before my glance –
are bare

’Tis so – no doubt, but even Almighty Power
Suffers defeat each day & every hour
As unforeseen some little trifling thing
Cheats of a stave another song we sing
His glance means likely too
If t’other is not much ado
He with one blow, another turn will serve
If from the aim’s intent it doth not swerve
Left to its time & how to do
To split, for Mab perchance a chariot new.
’Tis all the skill there is for such a deed
Happen, happening in faerie for fairy’s need.
See – ’tis fay woodman holds aloft the axe
Whose double edge virtue now they tax
To do it single & make single double
Teatly and neatly – equal without trouble
’Tis not yet done – yet there he stands

Continues with Part V

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The Freezine's Exhumation
Of Its next dead author:


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

III: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



Dilatory, dull, absorbing, rapt
In the sort of a kind of a –
something mapped
While struggling reason roams away
Nor will in such dull fetters stay
But leaves the author out of himself
To make his fame or gain his pelf
If so he may or can –
But to the common mind
The meaning thus, let’s find –
For idle pastime hither led
Fays, gnomes, and elves and suchlike fled
To fix some dubious point to fairies only
Known to exist, or to the lonely
Thoughtful man recluse
Of power a potent spell to loose
Which binds the better slave to worse
Swindles soul, body, goods & purse
T’unlock the secret cells of dark abyss
The power which never doth its victim miss
But may egorge when truth appears
When fail or guns or swords or spears

For some such end we may suppose
They’ve met since day hath made its close
Night’s noon time haply extra bright
By fairie power made all so light
Doubtful if night or day might reign
To certain be in mind revolve again
And say that common nature is not true.
Precisely to what fairie opes to view
Comme ça for the effect, if you should doubt.
If you’ve not been there, perhaps you mought
Make a fresh bend; we’ll now advance
These folk displayed as in a trance
Have not the dexter object here
But the same might be sinister
For saintly doubtless it is rare
To call a goblin elf, the lair
He loves, or any thing or sprite
That in the name of fairy doth delight
Or e’en the land itself
Laden with unimpossible wealth
To the mutton says Monsieur Crapaud
This meet unto the Patriarch owed
Say its conclave – and here to shew
His triple crown of subtle might
Weird in its form & shining bright
An arch magician whose large little club




Continues with
Part IV



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

II: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



Sees nothing clearly, as his has
Blackly impositive and soon
Makes it as clear as sunny noon
That he has not –
Waiting this heavenly gift
I thought on nought – a shift
As good perhaps as thinking hard.
Fancy was not to be evoked
From her etherial realms
Or if so, then her purpose cloaked
And nuzzling the cloth, on which
The cloudy shades not rich,
Indefinite almost unseen
Lay vacant entities of chance,
Lent forms unto my careless glance
Without intent, pure fancy ’tis I mean
Design and composition thus –
Now minus and just here perhaps – plus -
Grew in this way – and so – or thus,
That fairly wrought they stand in view.
A fairy band, much as I say, just so
’tis true.

Part from the shades designed
Part a vain fancy, all inclined
A common end to gain
Of nothing something still
To stand before, the sight to fill
Something we have, having, we
Yet have not
Be it so or nay, why care a jot?
But there they are – and now
They stand a theme – a field to plough
And silent reap what any choose
Judiciously or not to lose.
All, the significance may give
They surely think in this doth live.
As Nature’s Pages open spread
By erudite or fools are read,
To this one seems the world a den
While that a paradise in it doth ken
In the same place, ’tis lore
Preacquisite, the wise man’s store
Gives off a value rich & full
To that sprung from a sense so dull
It does not half appreciate
Upon that which it doth dilate




Continues with
Part III

Monday, October 11, 2010

I: ELIMINATION OF A PICTURE & ITS
SUBJECT--CALLED THE FELLER'S
MASTER STROKE

by Richard Dadd



Half twelve, that’s six, ’tis more
Perhaps, exact that’s gone before
Behoves not here to say,
How many years away
Have welled up and flowed on
Slow passing till they’re gone.
But some such time has fled
Since regular business led
To where a canvas glowed
With fays, a leafy node
Encircling wild about.
Their differences they let out
About an Indian boy,
Whom for a toy,
To while the time
Or teach to mime
Or verse in fairy tricks,
A mighty King his eyes did fix
Upon with covetous regard;
When met upon the sward,

Near Athen’s learned seat
His Queen had set her feet
Thrice happy green ----business
Led, an official person to this sight
Who with the picture pleased
As ’t’were a jewel bright,
His mind of burden eased,
To have the like
Of which did strike,
At fancy’s shrine well meant.
If ’t’was not so, then I may say
’T’was this perhaps, that west away
Some friend he had, who wrote in verse
About the fairies, sense as terse
As poets jam into a measured line
And gives such extra value I opine
To Heliconian jet so of his rhymes
Possessed, he wished to see
A little sketch, slight as may be
To illustrate the same --
Some stanzas shewed as game
Or point from which to throw



Continues with
Part II

Friday, October 8, 2010

BERENICE--A TALE.

by EDGAR A. POE.



"Dicebant mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum fore levatas."
- Ebn Zaiat





Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon like the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of that arch, as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the wide horizon like the rainbow! How is it that from Beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? — from the covenant of Peace, a simile of sorrow? But thus is it. And as, in ethics, Evil is a consequence of Good, so, in fact, out of Joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which are, have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been. I have a tale to tell in its own essence rife with horror — I would suppress it were it not a record more of feelings than of facts.

My baptismal name is Egæus — that of my family I will not mention. Yet there are no towers in the land more time-honored than my gloomy, grey, hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of visionaries: and in many striking particulars — in the character of the family mansion — in the frescos of the chief saloon — in the tapestries of the dormitories — in the chiseling of some buttresses in the armory — but more especially in the gallery of antique paintings — in the fashion of the library chamber — and, lastly, in the very peculiar nature of the library's contents, there is more than sufficient evidence to warrant the belief.

The recollections of my earliest years are connected with that chamber, and with its volumes — of which latter I will say no more. Here died my mother. Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to say that I had not lived before — that the soul has no previous existence. You deny it. Let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of ærial forms — of spiritual and meaning eyes — of sounds musical yet sad — a remembrance which will not be excluded: a memory like a shadow, vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady — and like a shadow too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it, while the sunlight of my reason shall exist.

In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking, as it were, from the long night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity at once into the very regions of fairy land — into a palace of imagination — into the wild dominions of monastic thought and erudition — it is not singular that I gazed around me with a startled and ardent eye — that I loitered away my boyhood in books, and dissipated my youth in reverie — but it is singular that as years rolled away, and the noon of manhood found me still in the mansion of my fathers — it is wonderful what stagnation there fell upon the springs of my life — wonderful how total an inversion took place in the character of my common thoughts. The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in turn, — not the material of my every-day existence — but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself.

~ ~ ~


Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my paternal halls — Yet differently we grew. I ill of health and buried in gloom — she agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy. Hers the ramble on the hillside — mine the studies of the cloister. I living within my own heart, and addicted body and soul to the most intense and painful meditation — she roaming carelessly through life with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent flight of the raven-winged hours. Berenice! —I call upon her name — Berenice! — and from the grey ruins of memory a thousand tumultuous recollections are startled at the sound! Ah! vividly is her image before me now, as in the early days of her light-heartedness and joy! Oh! gorgeous yet fantastic beauty! Oh! Sylph amid the shrubberies of Arnheim! — Oh! Naiad among her fountains! — and then — then all is mystery and terror, and a tale which should not be told. Disease — a fatal disease — fell like the Simoom upon her frame, and, even while I gazed upon her, the spirit of change swept over her, pervading her mind, her habits, and her character, and, in a manner the most subtle and terrible, disturbing even the very identity of her person! Alas! the destroyer came and went, and the victim —where was she? I knew her not — or knew her no longer as Berenice.

Among the numerous train of maladies, superinduced by that fatal and primary one which effected a revolution of so horrible a kind in the moral and physical being of my cousin, may be mentioned as the most distressing and obstinate in its nature, a species of epilepsy not unfrequently terminating in trance itself — trance very nearly resembling positive dissolution, and from which her manner of recovery was, in most instances, startlingly abrupt. In the meantime my own disease — for I have been told that I should call it by no other appelation — my own disease, then, grew rapidly upon me, and, aggravated in its symptoms by the immoderate use of opium, assumed finally a monomaniac character of a novel and extraordinary form — hourly and momentarily gaining vigor — and at length obtaining over me the most singular and incomprehensible ascendancy. This monomania — if I must so term it — consisted in a morbid irritability of the nerves immediatly affecting those properties of the mind, in metaphysical science termed the attentive. It is more than probable that I am not understood — but I fear that it is indeed in no manner possible to convey to the mind of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of that nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, the powers of meditation (not to speak technically) busied, and, as it were, buried themselves in the contemplation of even the most common objects of the universe.

To muse for long unwearied hours with my attention riveted to some frivolous device upon the margin, or in the typography of a book — to become absorbed for the better part of a summer's day in a quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry, or upon the floor — to lose myself for an entire night in watching the steady flame of a lamp, or the embers of a fire — to dream away whole days over the perfume of a flower — to repeat monotonously some common word, until the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever to the mind — to lose all sense of motion or physical existence in a state of absolute bodily quiescence long and obstinately persevered in — Such were a few of the most common and least pernicious vagaries induced by a condition of the mental faculties, not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainly bidding defiance to any thing like analysis or explanation.

Yet let me not be misapprehended. The undue, intense, and morbid attention thus excited by objects in their own nature frivolous, must not be confounded in character with that ruminating propensity common to all mankind, and more especially indulged in by persons of ardent imagination. By no means. It was not even, as might be at first supposed, an extreme condition, or exaggeration of such propensity, but primarily and essentially distinct and different. In the one instance the dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by an object usually not frivolous, imperceptibly loses sight of this object in a wilderness of deductions and suggestions issuing therefrom, until, at the conclusion of a day-dream often replete with luxury, he finds the incitamentum or first cause of his musings utterly vanished and forgotten. In my case the primary object was invariably frivolous, although assuming, through the medium of my distempered vision, a refracted and unreal importance. Few deductions — if any — were made; and those few pertinaciously returning in, so to speak, upon the original object as a centre. The meditations were never pleasurable; and, at the termination of the reverie, the first cause, so far from being out of sight, had attained that supernaturally exaggerated interest which was the prevailing feature of the disease. In a word, the powers of mind more particularly exercised were, with me, as I have said before, the attentive, and are, with the day-dreamer, the speculative.

My books, at this epoch, if they did not actually serve to irritate the disorder, partook, it will be perceived, largely, in their imaginative, and inconsequential nature, of the characteristic qualities of the disorder itself. I well remember, among others, the treatise of the noble Italian, Cœlius Secundus Curio "de amplitudine beati regni Dei" — St. Austin's great work the "City of God" — and Tertullian "de Carne Christi," in which the unintelligible sentence "Mortuus est Dei filius; credible est quia ineptum est: et sepultus resurrexit; certum est quia impossibile est" occupied my undivided time, for many weeks of laborious and fruitless investigation.

Thus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only by trivial things, my reason bore resemblance to that ocean-crag spoken of by Ptolemy Hephestion, which steadily resisting the attacks of human violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the winds, trembled only to the touch of the flower called Asphodel. And although, to a careless thinker, it might appear a matter beyond doubt, that the fearful alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in the moral condition of Berenice, would afford me many objects for the exercise of that intense and morbid meditation whose nature I have been at some trouble in explaining, yet such was not by any means the case. In the lucid intervals of my infirmity, her calamity indeed gave me pain, and, taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her fair and gentle life, I did not fall to ponder frequently and bitterly upon the wonder-working means by which so strange a revolution had been so suddenly brought to pass. But these reflections partook not of the idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as would have occurred, under similar circumstances, to the ordinary mass of mankind. True to its own character, my disorder revelled in the less important but more startling changes wrought in the physical frame of Berenice, and in the singular and most appalling distortion of her personal identity.

During the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely I had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence, feelings, with me, had never been of the heart, and my passions always were of the mind. Through the grey of the early morning — among the trellissed shadows of the forest at noon-day — and in the silence of my library at night, she had flitted by my eyes, and I had seen her — not as the living and breathing Berenice, but as the Berenice of a dream — not as a being of the earth — earthly — but as the abstraction of such a being — not as a thing to admire, but to analyze — not as an object of love, but as the theme of the most abstruse although desultory speculation. And now — now I shuddered in her presence, and grew pale at her approach; yet, bitterly lamenting her fallen and desolate condition, I knew that she had loved me long, and, in an evil moment, I spoke to her of marriage.

And at length the period of our nuptials was approaching, when, upon an afternoon in the winter of the year, one of those unseasonably warm, calm, and misty days which are the nurse of the beautiful Halcyon,1 I sat, and sat, as I thought alone, in the inner apartment of the library. But uplifting my eyes Berenice stood before me.

Was it my own excited imagination — or the misty influence of the atmosphere — or the uncertain twilight of the chamber — or the grey draperies which fell around her figure — that caused it to loom up in so unnatural a degree? I could not tell. Perhaps she had grown taller since her malady. She spoke, however, no word, and I — not for worlds could I have uttered a syllable. An icy chill ran through my frame; a sense of insufferable anxiety oppressed me; a consuming curiosity pervaded my soul; and, sinking back upon the chair, I remained for some time breathless and motionless, and with my eyes rivetted upon her person. Alas! its emaciation was excessive, and not one vestige of the former being lurked in any single line of the contour. My burning glances at length fell upon her face.

The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly placid; and the once golden hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the hollow temples with ringlets now black as the raven's wing, and jarring discordantly, in their fantastic character, with the reigning melancholy of the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, and lustreless, and I shrunk involuntarily from their glassy stare to the contemplation of the thin and shrunken lips. They parted: and, in a smile of peculiar meaning, the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed themselves slowly to my view. Would to God that I had never beheld them, or that, having done so, I had died!

~ ~ ~


The shutting of a door disturbed me, and, looking up, I found my cousin had departed from the chamber. But from the disordered chamber of my brain, had not, alas! departed, and would not be driven away, the white and ghastly spectrum of the teeth. Not a speck upon their surface — not a shade on their enamel — not a line in their configuration — not an indenture in their edges — but what that period of her smile had sufficed to brand in upon my memory. I saw them now even more unequivocally than I beheld them then. The teeth! — the teeth! — they were here, and there, and every where, and visibly, and palpably before me, long, narrow, and excessively white, with the pale lips writhing about them, as in the very moment of their first terrible development. Then came the full fury of my monomania, and I struggled in vain against its strange and irresistible influence. In the multiplied objects of the external world I had no thoughts but for the teeth. All other matters and all different interests became absorbed in their single contemplation. They — they alone were present to the mental eye, and they, in their sole individuality, became the essence of my mental life. I held them in every light — I turned them in every attitude. I surveyed their characteristics — I dwelt upon their peculiarities — I pondered upon their conformation — I mused upon the alteration in their nature — and shuddered as I assigned to them in imagination a sensitive and sentient power, and even when unassisted by the lips, a capability of moral expression. Of Mad'selle Sallé it has been said, "que tous ses pas etoient des sentiments," and of Berenice I more seriously believed que touts ses dents etoient des ideés.

And the evening closed in upon me thus — and then the darkness came, and tarried, and went — and the day again dawned — and the mists of a second night were now gathering around — and still I sat motionless in that solitary room, and still I sat buried in meditation, and still the phantasma of the teeth maintained its terrible ascendancy as, with the most vivid and hideous distinctness, it floated about amid the changing lights and shadows of the chamber. At length there broke forcibly in upon my dreams a wild cry as of horror and dismay; and thereunto, after a pause, succeeded the sound of troubled voices intermingled with many low moanings of sorrow, or of pain. I arose hurriedly from my seat, and, throwing open one of the doors of the library, there stood out in the antechamber a servant maiden, all in tears, and she told me that Berenice was — no more! Seized with an epileptic fit she had fallen dead in the early morning, and now, at the closing in of the night, the grave was ready for its tenant, and all the preparations for the burial were completed.

With a heart full of grief, yet reluctantly, and oppressed with awe, I made my way to the bed-chamber of the departed. The room was large, and very dark, and at every step within its gloomy precincts I encountered the paraphernalia of the grave. The coffin, so a menial told me, lay surrounded by the curtains of yonder bed, and in that coffin, he whisperingly assured me, was all that remained of Berenice. Who was it asked me would I not look upon the corpse? I had seen the lips of no one move, yet the question had been demanded, and the echo of the syllables still lingered in the room. It was impossible to refuse; and with a sense of suffocation I dragged myself to the side of the bed. Gently I uplifted the sable draperies of the curtains.

As I let them fall they descended upon my shoulders, and shutting me thus out from the living, enclosed me in the strictest communion with the deceased.

The very atmosphere was redolent of death. The peculiar smell of the coffin sickened me; and I fancied a deleterious odor was already exhaling from the body. I would have given worlds to escape — to fly from the pernicious influence of mortality — to breathe once again the pure air of the eternal heavens. But I had no longer the power to move — my knees tottered beneath me — and I remained rooted to the spot, and gazing upon the frightful length of the rigid body as it lay outstretched in the dark coffin without a lid.

God of heaven! — is it possible? Is it my brain that reels — or was it indeed the finger of the enshrouded dead that stirred in the white cerement that bound it? Frozen with unutterable awe I slowly raised my eyes to the countenance of the corpse. There had been a band around the jaws, but, I know not how, it was broken asunder. The livid lips were wreathed into a species of smile, and, through the enveloping gloom, once again there glared upon me in too palpable reality, the white and glistening, and ghastly teeth of Berenice. I sprang convulsively from the bed, and, uttering no word, rushed forth a maniac from that apartment of triple horror, and mystery, and death.

~ ~ ~


I found myself again sitting in the library, and again sitting there alone. It seemed that I had newly awakened from a confused and exciting dream. I knew that it was now midnight, and I was well aware that since the setting of the sun Berenice had been interred. But of that dreary period which had intervened I had no positive, at least no definite comprehension. Yet its memory was rife with horror — horror more horrible from being vague, and terror more terrible from ambiguity. It was a fearful page in the record my existence, written all over with dim, and hideous, and unintelligible recollections. I strived to decypher them, but in vain — while ever and anon, like the spirit of a departed sound, the shrill and piercing shriek of a female voice seemed to be ringing in my ears. I had done a deed — what was it? And the echoes of the chamber answered me — "what was it?"

On the table beside me burned a lamp, and near it lay a little box of ebony. It was a box of no remarkable character, and I had seen it frequently before, it being the property of the family physician; but how came it there upon my table, and why did I shudder in regarding it? These things were in no manner to be accounted for, and my eyes at length dropped to the open pages of a book, and to a sentence underscored therein. The words were the singular but simple words of the poet Ebn Zaiat. "Dicebant mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicæ visit arem curas meas aliquantulum fore levatas."2 Why then, as I perused them, did the hairs of my head erect themselves on end, and the blood of my body congeal within my veins?

There came a light tap at the library door, and, pale as the tenant of a tomb, a menial entered upon tiptoe. His looks were wild with terror, and he spoke to me in a voice tremulous, husky, and very low. What said he? — some broken sentences I heard. He told of a wild cry disturbing the silence of the night — of the gathering together of the household — of a search in the direction of the sound — and then his tones grew thrillingly distinct as he whispered me of a violated grave — of a disfigured body discovered upon its margin — a body enshrouded, yet still breathing, still palpitating, still alive!

He pointed to garments — they were muddy and clotted with gore. I spoke not, and he took me gently by the hand — but it was indented with the impress of human nails. He directed my attention to some object against the wall — I looked at it for some minutes — it was a spade. With a shriek I bounded to the table, and grasped the ebony box that lay upon it. But I could not force it open, and in my tremor it slipped from out my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into pieces, and from it, with a rattling sound, there rolled out some instruments of dental surgery, intermingled with many white and glistening substances that were scattered to and fro about the floor.

~ The End ~


1. For as Jove, during the winter season, gives twice seven days of warmth, men have called this clement and temperate time the nurse of the beautiful Halcyon. — Simonides

2. My companions told me I might find some little alleviation of my misery, in visiting the grave of my beloved.



Explore the Freezine's archived unveiling of Richard Dadd's epic poem Elimination Of A Picture--called the Feller's Master Stroke, presented for the first time, serialized across twelve installments.


Every October, the Freezine will get into the spirit of mystery and imagination. Don't miss out.

Archive of Stories
and Authors

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR


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
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: