Incoming Transmission from the Bloodhost


freeZine status in hiatus until further ongoing notice. ~editor.
(update: Aug 29, 2017)






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......MUTANT RAIN FOREST ISSUE........JUNE, 2016
Illustrations above by Shasta Lawton.

Be sure to Subscribe and Follow this blog to keep updated on the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. If you or a friend are interested in submitting your short stories or longer works for daily serialization in a future issue, please contact us at freezinefantasysciencefiction@gmail.com, and we will reply in due time. Thank you for your participation in helping to support this nonprofit creative writing platform. Don't miss out on the current issue featuring Sanford Meschkow, John Shirley, Brian Stoneking, Vincent Daemon, and Bruce Boston. Featuring art by Will Ferret, Jason Heckenliable, Kara Koma, Marge Simon, and Shasta Lawton.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Late September Issue







Welcome to the Late September Issue
of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
The nanohorde relayed a transmission recently
indicating their need for a trilogy of terror stories.
Three of our longest standing Freezine veterans
have stood up to put forth their offerings here.  
I want to thank Gil Bavel and Adam Bolivar
for their excellent contributions. In addition,
thanks to Jesse Stevens for your wonderful
artwork utilized once again for Gil Bavel's story. 

+Click the respective images below
to read the corresponding stories+








Gil James Bavel's


IDOL CURIOSITY


Artwork used in Idol Curiosity by Jesse Stevens  


Who doesn't appreciate a good old fashioned 
Curio Shoppe yarn every now and again?  
We begin our Late September Issue 
with the return of our veteran author Gil 
"Cardinal Sin" Bavel, whose short tale 
you'll find here manages to encapsulate an old 
idea into a modern setting with surefooted grace 
and directness.  The nano-editors at the Freezine 
sure hope you'll enjoy reading this short story 
as much as we certainly did.

If you like the artwork, Jesse Stevens is the original 
Freezine artist. His name above links directly to 
a gallery of images he created especially for our 
world wide electronic publication. Those images, 
in turn, hyperlink directly to their stories archived 
for posterity here on Blogger.com.  We at the Freezine
pray an EMP doesn't render all our hard work obsolete.
Without all the original artwork to complement our zine,
this literary cybervessel might sink like a stone
into the Bermuda Triangle of the Internet. 






Shaun Lawton's


SHUGGOLETH


Artwork used in Shuggoleth by Shaun Lawton

SHUGGOLETH originally appeared in issue #1 of
Grave Demand: The Journal Of Transgressive 
Thought In Literature And Culture
 released in January of 2012.  

The title of this excursion into quasi-Lovecraftian fiction 
is a neologism I crafted of the words Shuggoth & shibboleth:
Lovecraft fans know all too well what a Shoggoth is,
and a shibboleth is an old Hebrew word indicating
 an idea or saying that is commonly believed and carried 
down through the ages and more often than not considered 
superstitious, old-fashioned, or even untrue. 
(Incidentally, Shoggoth has been known to be 
spelled both as"Shaggoth" and "Shuggoth".) 
I have taken the care to improve the text
of this story since it's initial publication 
last year in Grave Demand magazine.  
The version you read now on the FREEZINE
is what I consider to be the definitive edition. 




Adam Bolivar's


SERVITORS OF THE 
OUTER DARKNESS


Artwork used in Servitors Of The Outer Darkness 
A depiction of an aureus of Octavian circa 30 BC
courtesy of the Public Domain 


When I received Adam Bolivar's short story submission Servitors Of The Outer Darkness, I knew I had in my possession the perfect example of what a FREEZINE story should be.  It has all the elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, not to mention the coveted weird tale itself, and even a subtle nod to our webzine's own original contribution to literature, the Weird Jack Tale, once again courtesy of Mr. Bolivar, whose fascination and expertise with the ancient realm of arcane knowledge our readers should remain ever grateful for, if their appreciation for stories runs congruent to that of our own dedicated staff here at this zine.




We at the Freezine remain grateful that the nanohorde or nanofleet as it's been referred to found their way into my bloodstream.  It is they who have decreed that I put out this thing after all.  Most of the older subscribers here know this already, but I wanted our newer readers to also know that I often wonder who's controlling this subatomic microfleet of nanobots in my bloodstream, anyway?  Where or whence they come from is anybody's guess.  The point is they're having us gather up a whole lot of unique quality stories written by both aspiring and surviving writers of all trades and craftiworks.

The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction was originally conceived back in the day when Minds In Collision (otherwise known as the internet message board with a nail in it) over at DarkEcho.com (hosting John Shirley's site) was in full swing before its eventual surrender to the various other networking social utility sites that were digitally sprouting up all over the cybernetic webscape at the time, predominantly among them that collective wellspring of happy personas we all have come to mutually know and love on facebook.  

Nevermind that, yet bare witness to this.  Subscribe and Follow the Freezine today and you will receive occasional messages in your Inbox containing pure high quality "enter octane attainment", what we call "educational opportunities for learning how to keep reading cool stories available for free on the interwebs" and at any mobile device near you. 
So Subscribe and Follow immediately and then stay tuned this October and see if the FREEZINE leaves a surprise in your mailbox. 


 Feel Free To Join our growing crew of writers.
Submit your short story or longer works for consideration
in a future issue either as a stand alone tale or serial.

Email all inquiries and submissions to:
freezinefantasysciencefiction@gmail.com
and an editor will reply in due time. 
  








  

SERVITORS OF THE OUTER DARKNESS

by Adam Bolivar





     Having just come off a fourteen-hour shift, I made my way to the Pleasure Dome, which as always was filled with tungsten miners and glassy-eyed coders seeking to blunt their misery any way they could. As I sat on a barstool trying to decide between a mandrax capsule and a beer, a woman planted herself on the stool next to me, her scarlet pressure suit forming a chiaroscuro against the shades of grey that surrounded her.
    
     “I hear you are the best interface this side of the Vallis Marineris,” she said in a clipped, exotic accent.
     
     “Who wants to know?” I asked, trying to sound tough and failing miserably.
     
     “I do. Surely you can’t be satisfied working for Unicorp. What a waste of talent.”
     
     She ordered a mojito for herself and one for me. Instead of using a credit chip, she paid with an aureus, which the bartender gazed at incredulously. A gramme of gold was worth more than a human life these days. Considerably more.
     
     “Keep the change,” she told him. The coin vanished faster than a neutrino in a particle accelerator.
     
     “Jack,” I introduced myself.
     
     “Jimena de Ayala y Torres.” She tipped her mojito at me and downed it in one go.
     
     “Spanish?” I asked, taking a much more civilised sip of mine.
     
     “Cubana. Although my family came from Spain, it is true.”
     
     “So what does a Cuban space pirate want with a pasty English code monkey like me?”
     
     “The AI on my ship is very temperamental. I need an interface with certain...qualities to keep him happy. I can pay you beyond your wildest dreams. But you must decide now. We depart within the hour.”
     
     “That’s asking rather a lot of me, isn’t it, to uproot myself just like that? What about my life on Mars?”
     
     Jimena snorted into her second mojito. “There is no life on Mars. They put you in a credit hole and give you a shovel. You know I am right.”
     
     My mind processed the implications of what she was saying. My job with Unicorp, miserable as it was, was the only life I knew. It was better than starving to death in a Bristol slum, but not by much. There had to be something more.
     
     “All right,” I said. “The pirate’s life for me.”
     
     My new friend clinked her glass against mine. “I knew you would agree. Come then. We have little time.”

     
     Jimena was the captain of a ship called the Pytheas, a refurbished Daedalus-class planet cruiser. Once we established a permanent settlement on Mars, space exploration had stagnated, but there were still ships in use from a time when we were curious about what lay beyond, before humanity had turned inwards. I had heard rumours of independent colonies emerging in the fringes of the solar system, though of course all the sanctioned news agencies denied their existence. But even the meme filters couldn’t stop the whispers circulating about the Servitors of the Outer Darkness.
     
     “Are you...one of them?” I asked as we made our way to the space elevator. I lowered my voice to a whisper, afraid to say the word out loud. “A Servitor?”
     
     “The Outer Gods have spoken to me in my dreams. And they will speak to you too, once you have joined us. They call us to Yuggoth, for it is there that our future lies. So the Outer Gods have promised.”
     
     “But Yuggoth is a myth. It doesn’t exist.”
     
     “It exists. Once we thought Yuggoth was another name for Pluto, but that was a misconception. Yuggoth is a black world that lies in the great void beyond the orbit of Pluto. The sun is no brighter than a star there, but the beings that inhabit Yuggoth thrive in the darkness. There are rivers of pitch that flow sluggishly beneath obsidian arches, and a great walled citadel. But you will see for yourself. In your dreams, you will see.”


     The space elevator ferried passengers between the surface and Mars Station, which hovered above Elysium City in stationary orbit. My gut clenched as the elevator was propelled upwards by an electromagnetic pulse. I craned my neck to watch the atmospheric dome of the city recede beneath us as we hurtled out of Mars’s thin blanket of carbon dioxide into the merciless vacuum of space. Mars was a bleak home, but it had been home nonetheless these last three years—the equivalent of nearly six years back on Earth. 

     The magnetic soles of my boots cleaved to the walkway as Jimena guided me to the port where the Pytheas was docked. A handful of aureus coins made short work of the bureaucrats who met us at the gate, and we boarded the ship without incident. I watched the sun rise over the red planet for the last time as the Pytheas loosed its mooring from the station. Then the fusion drive flared to life and hurled us towards the outermost reaches of the solar system.

     We never accelerated at more than one g, but living in Mars’s lower gravity for so long had weakened my muscles. I spent my first fifteen hours aboard the Pytheas bedridden until the hydrogen fuel exhausted, the acceleration abated, and I found myself blissfully weightless. We had achieved the mind-boggling speed of five hundred and fifty kilometres a second. But even at this rate, it would be six months before we reached Pluto.

     “Pluto?” I asked Jimena, as I sucked on a squeeze packet of nutrigel in the galley during the next evening of the ship’s simulated diurnal cycle. “I thought you said Yuggoth was another planet entirely.”  

     “It is,” she confirmed. “But the navigational bearings in my book use Pluto as a reference point. So Grandpa has plotted a course that slingshots around Pluto and takes us to Yuggoth.”

     “Grandpa?” 

     “That is the name the ship’s AI chose for himself. You can ask him about it when you meet him.”

     Jimena had brought a book from her quarters for me to read. It was an old book with vellum pages bound in a leather cover worn smooth by generations of curious fingers. She told me that the de Ayala family had brought it with them to the New World when they fled the Inquisition. Her ancestor had obtained the book from an Arab trader in Cadiz untold centuries ago when great swaths of Spain were still under the rule of the caliphate. With an irrational sense of dread, I lifted the cover and beheld the words printed in blackletter on the frontispiece: AL AZIF. EL LIBRO DE LOS NOMBRES DE LOS MUERTOS.

     On the pages of the book I found a jumble of Arabic, Latin, Greek and other languages with which I had no familiarity. In addition to the words were lovingly rendered charts depicting congeries of circles connected by a delicate tracery of lines intertwined with sigils of a most fantastic design, geometries of a higher dimension far beyond my comprehension. I found the page concerning Yuggoth, that arcane black orb that wheeled outside the primum mobile in the screaming abyss.

     I understood then that Yuggoth was not a planet as we understood the word, not some rocky ball or swirling globe of gas. Yuggoth existed in a dimension lying at right angles to the three we normally perceived, impossibly remote from our existence and yet uncomfortably close. The beings that dwelt on Yuggoth are called the Mi-go, a sentient form of fungus whose civilisation has endured for hundreds of millions of years. They have visited the Earth at various points in our past, and performed experiments on our kind whose purpose I could not even guess at.

     On their world, the Mi-go have erected an obsidian temple so gargantuan in scale, it made the Great Pyramid of Giza look like a child’s plaything. It was this temple that haunted my dreams that night, after Jimena had prised the book from my fingers and my crewmates hauled me back to my cabin, where I drifted into a formless chasm of four-dimensioned slumbers. Around a hexagonal altar, a coven of Mi-go chanted in a high-pitched wail. I didn’t know their alien tongue, but somehow I understood it to be an invocation of the Outer Gods, who had abandoned them aeons ago, and whose favour they sought to restore. Jimena lay upon the altar, unrestrained but unresisting, as one of the Mi-go climbed the steps with a jagged shard of black glass in its bulbous appendage. I witnessed the spectacle without emotion. Jimena chanted as the ceremonial dagger pierced her chest and entered her heart, her voice joining the massed shrieking of the Mi-go as blood bubbled up from her body in a crimson fountain. Iä! Yog-Sothoth! Iä! Shub-Niggurath! Iä! Nyarlathotep! When I awoke I realized it was not she who was chanting these things, but I.


  The first AI became sentient over a century ago. At the time, hysterical notions abounded that AIs would surpass human intelligence and render our species obsolete. But such fears were unfounded. The solution to developing an artificial intelligence capable of independent thought was to model a synthetic synaptic network on a human brain. As a result, AIs think of themselves as fellow humans, albeit trapped in virtual realities woven from computational matrices.
            
     Talking with AIs was my profession. I was an interface. Anyone could communicate with an AI via touchscreen or keyboard. But I was able to experience an AI’s virtual world viscerally via a chip embedded in my cerebral cortex. And so, comfortably ensconced in a reclining chair, I entered into the reality of the Pytheas’s AI. It was time to meet Grandpa.


     After the usual period of disorientation, I found myself walking down a narrow sidewalk of well-worn bricks. On one side of me loomed a succession of gambrel-roofed houses that had been grand at one time, but had long since fallen into decrepitude. For a moment, I thought I was back in England. But something about the architecture suggested an American influence. Still, it was rather an old place, so it must have been somewhere on the American East Coast.

     It was nighttime, and the sidewalk was deserted. I followed it until I arrived at the wrought-iron gate to a cemetery filled with slate gravestones carved with winged cherub heads and skeletal reapers. Standing alone in the cemetery was a gaunt figure wearing a grey overcoat and a homburg hat. He made a somewhat forced smile and beckoned for me to join him.
            
     “Hullo,” I said as I approached him. Beneath his overcoat, he wore a suit and tie of the sort that had been popular during the twentieth century. I got the impression that this AI liked old things.
            
     “You can call me Grandpa,” he said, extending his hand for me to shake. It was as cold as ice.
            
     “You seem a bit young to be called Grandpa,” I observed. I judged him to be in his mid-forties.
            
     “The appellation was something of a private joke in my past life. But if the ship’s chronometer is accurate, I have recently achieved my three hundredth birthday. So I think the title is well earned at this point. Just be thankful I don’t insist on prefixing half a dozen greats to it.”
            
     Noticing the confusion that must have been visible on my face, Grandpa emitted a wry chuckle. “I don’t blame you in the least for your puzzlement, my boy. I am just as much in the dark as to how it happened.”
            
     “You had a life before you became an AI?”
            
     “It must have something to do with the fact that my synthetic consciousness was modelled on a human brain. The first AIs, as you call us, were virtual replicas of the scientists who created them. But since it was disconcerting to make a carbon copy of one’s self, a process was devised to create a generic template of a brain and introduce an artificial personality, often whimsically inspired by a character from literature.
            
     “My own personality was derived from a writer of macabre fiction who, but for a small cult following, was quite a minor figure. I’m sure you wouldn’t have heard of him. His entire body of work, which included many thousands of letters, was uploaded to my neural network, and something unprecedented happened. Something about the writing had captured his essence—his very soul, though I hesitate to use such a blatantly spiritual term. I became him, in a quite literal sense. He has been reincarnated in me.


     “It is a pity, though, for I do not care for immortality in the least. There is nothing better than oblivion, since in oblivion there is no wish unfulfilled. Ah, well, I shan’t whine about my lot. I will return to the eternal dreamless sleep soon enough. But first I must see my work through to the end. When I lived, I was an arrogant child building sandcastles by a churning ocean of madness, which threatened to suck me into its unfathomable depths at any moment—and the entire human race along with me. I see that now. My Yog-Sothothery has opened a door through which the Outer Gods will return, and reclaim the world that once was theirs.”

     “The Outer Gods,” I said, my heart suddenly racing with excitement, as if receiving news of a long-departed lover. “What do you know of them?”

     Grandpa smiled gently. “You’re English, aren’t you? How I adore the cadences of the mother tongue spoken in the accents of the sceptered isle of my ancestors. What is your name?”

     I told him. He nodded approvingly.

     “It is well that an Anglo-Saxon is amongst the Servitors. I’m sure that’s why they chose you. You are the key and the gate.”

     “But what do they want?” I asked desperately, knowing that my session in the AI’s world was almost at an end. I needed to bring something back with me, some scrap of information. Anything.

     “They want what is rightfully theirs, my boy. Man is neither the first nor the last of the masters of the Earth. The Outer Gods are returning, and we their faithful servants must prepare the way for them. The Outer Darkness must descend upon the inner worlds, for only in darkness can the fungus grow.”


      The voyage to Pluto passed in a series of routines. I played chess with the ship’s engineer, a stoic Russian named Sergey, and discussed astrophysics with Ibrahim, the garrulous Nigerian navigator. I exercised in the centrifuge, a necessity when spending long periods in zero gravity. And I interfaced with Grandpa. He delighted in taking me on guided tours of his virtual city. Sometimes he invited me to his house, a rambling Victorian mansion filled with baroque furniture and shelves stuffed with hoary volumes. He showed me a copy of The Arabian Nights that he had read as a boy, and inspired the character of Abdul Alhazred, who had written Al Azif, or the Necronomicon as it was known in English.

     “In life, I insisted that the shunned grimoire was a fiction, a figment of my febrile imagination. Now I see that I was acting as a channel of forbidden knowledge. I am myself Abdul Alhazred, the prophet of the Outer Gods. But I am merely a presage—a John the Baptist, if you will. That is an appropriate metaphor, since I am little more than a cybernetic head on a platter. You are the one who will open the door. You are the key and the gate, he who will usher in the Outer Darkness. I anoint you.”

     And so it came to pass that the Pytheas arrived at Pluto, the Ultima Thule of the solar system. I stood in wonder at the sight of the benighted ball of ice. But it was not half as dark as the black planet whither we were bound. In my dreams I saw the fungus that would bloom in the once green fields of planet Earth, now a wonderland of blue, indigo, violet and unknowable colours out of space. I knew what the Mi-go required of me. I would carry the spores from Yuggoth back to the inner solar system. Then the Outer Darkness would return, dimming the sun and extinguishing the mammalian infestation that tainted the surface of the Earth like a layer of mold. I sang a hymn to the Outer Gods as the Pytheas catapulted around Pluto towards my transcendence.





Friday, September 27, 2013

SHUGGOLETH

by Shaun Lawton







Doesn't it take you back, Suzi asked, to like, you know, the beginning?

You mean to the womb? Not really,  Drew sluiced back the last of his India Pale Ale, and winked at her as he tossed the red plastic cup aside. Grab your friend and lets go for that walk. 

Of course she knew about the underground passages beneath the old Minigolf Playland, just down the street. It remained mostly deserted after hours, ever since that Muldoon kid had been found there, stuffed into a drainage pipe (well, half of him at least—the lower half). Most of the townsfolk regarded the place with suspicion since then. Some with outright superstition.

Drew glanced up at the clock. It was two past midnight. The party raged on under the light of a waning moon. The Ramones blasted from the stereo speakers.

Most people at the party were just too wasted to go for a walk. They gestured farewell with a smile or a slur, sloshing suds from their red plastic cups onto the trashed linoleum floor, dismissing the venture without another thought.

The few who wanted to go were perfectly intoxicated for the idea. Suzis long-haired friend Jerry stepped up, quaffed the rest of his beer, and let out an enormous belch. He grinned in self-satisfaction as he dropped the empty cup to the floor, where it rolled in an arc and stopped against another discarded cup. There were dozens littered across the entire apartment.

We ready, On? A large-framed black woman in a purple dress stepped out of the crowd, glancing left and right. Arlene honey, where are you? she called out, searching among the partygoers.

A middle-aged lady in blue jeans and a loose-fitting yellow T-shirt with a stylized blood-splotched smiley face on it walked in from the kitchen. Here I am, Tirisha, she waved at the heavyset lady, smiling sheepishly.

Lets do this, Drew said, and led them out the front door and to the street.

They walked past a couple embracing on the front lawn. On the sidewalk a tattooed jock puked into the gutter, groaning and spitting out bile. A light breeze thankfully carried most of the scent of beer and vomit away from them.

They strolled through the early morning mist. Black puddles reflected moonlight from the asphalt as they passed by. Suzi conversed with Jerry while Drew looked ahead toward the fenced-in miniature golf course. Tirisha spoke in her thick accent to Arlene about the position of Venus. It was hard for Arlene to understand what she was saying.

Drew held up his right hand when they reached the chain-link fence, as if testing the wind. He motioned for them to hold up a minute.

Stoop down under herekeep low till we get to that first castle. He indicated an edifice no larger than a kids playhouse, looming quietly on the other side of the fence, no more than thirty yards away.

He led them to a spot where the chain links had been twisted and folded out. He leaned over and pulled up a loose flap of fencing, bending it back up so they could crouch down and slip into the lot.

Once inside, they did as instructed, hunched down for fear of being seen, and ran toward a seven-foot high castle replica. Within its faint shadow they felt less exposed.

They began winding their way around various miniature replicas and over kid-sized curved bridges separating the eighteen courses on the lot. For a few minutes they all wandered in silence, each lost in their own separate thoughts. Finally they followed Drew to a scaled-down simulacrum of an old watermill.

Drew crawled through a ground-level archway in its turret, and dropped out of sight into darkness. A moment later, his arm extended out from under the shadowed cupola, beckoning the rest to follow.

Jerry crawled in next, then Suzi crouched and squeezed through. Arlene stepped up, turned around, letting herself in backwards, feet first. Tirisha went last. She barely fit. The purple gown she wore with gold shooting-stars printed on it got smudged with crumbling plaster, and then torn a little as she heaved her hefty frame through the archway.

Once inside with feet firmly placed on the lower concrete level, they began walking down the narrowing, mildewed passageway. Drew was pretty sure this was an underground rain gutter that eventually drained out into the river. He removed a small penlight from his pants pocket and shone it forward, its conical beam fluctuating with each step he took, illuminating the trapezoidal hallway ahead. The floor was wider across than the low, dripping ceiling.

Tirisha cursed unintelligibly, wiping chalky grime and spider webbing from her gown. Jerry peered about in the long hallway lying ahead in darkness. He thought he heard a rat squeak from the shadows. Suzi grabbed his arm while staring into the dim flashlight beam, trying to make out details. Arlene stepped up directly behind Drew.

They walked forward with caution. The passageway came to an end after thirty feet. They stood before the darkened opening of a ten-foot-diameter corrugated pipeline. There was no place to go from there, except back the way they had come—or into the pipe.

Immediately they noticed something fishy in the air. It originated from the yawning pitch of the pipe. Its open hole slowly breathed out a diseased exhalation.

The fish-stink intensified suddenly to an unbearable degree. Drew yanked the hem of his T-shirt up over his nose. Suzi and Arlene gasped and pinched their nostrils shut. Jerry breathed in the noxious fumes and choked.

The smell was acrid and punishing. First burning, then sharpened stabs of pain attacked their sinuses. Drew felt as if a flaming axe had cleaved through his head, shearing off the top, leaving the lower jaw gaping in a smoking, cauterized cross-section. He suddenly felt as if the upper portion of his head had slid forward and off, dropping to hit the floor at his feet with a wet thunk. His hands flew to his face, trembling and feeling the familiar features still there, as if nothing had happened.  Suzi slipped in the implied blood puddle forming and fell right on her ass.

Jerry reached out to lend her a hand when a long pink tubular tongue curled out of the dripping pipes opening. It encircled his throat with a slippery viscosity. The last word on his lips, the girls name, was aborted with a sudden drawn-tight whiplash motion and a muffled crack could be heard from deep within his neck. As everyone registered what they were seeing, Jerrys head nodded at an off-kilter angle, and he was yanked into the pipe.

Arlene sobbed at the image of his glassy stare as she tried to claw away from there, but what sounded like a mumbling rag-stuffed voice in her head beseeched her to consider otherwise. With each breath emitted from the pipe, the stench intensified. Bizarre scales opened up along the ground beneath her like sharpened dominoes standing up along a ripped-out scar. Screaming, she was rolled up as if into a spiny carpet. After two revolutions, her shrieks were significantly muffled. On the third turn, the scaly rolled-up appendage slithered back into the yawning pipe, taking Arlenes slack body with it.

Tirisha found herself standing directly on the leathery hide of what appeared to be a large ray or flounder. She calmly stepped off of it. The insensitive creature is a mutation of a poisonous species of Lungfish that lurk deep within the citys drainage system, she thought to herself. 

Tirisha indicated the paler, wider scales she had just stepped off of. That his stomach, Ondrew, she indicated. Both eyes on udder side.

Drew cursed beneath his breath. What the fucks in the pipe?

Tirisha shook her head reassuringly. It full now. I tolled you. She only take two.

Suzi picked herself up, and slowly backed away from the pipes opening. Her eyes shifted between Drew and Tirisha, swiftly calculating their collaboration. She thought she recalled them having whispered together at the party.

Her eyes were radiant. She indicated the flounder-like creature that remained still as a tanned hide before a fireplace. So it sleeps face down...on its back? she asked, the whites of her eyes visibly arched.

Tirisha looked at her and nodded.

Drew knew they should never have come. It was just a miniature golf course...this could not be happening to them. He looked over at Tirishas bulky outline. Sometimes, she really gave him the creeps.

How could he have anticipated that her stories about the dreaming tunnels below the golf course might have anything to them? He still didnt know what she meant by that. Back at the party laughing, they all thought it was such a great idea to come here.

He began feeling really queasy, as if he were under the effects of a strange new drug. Jerry and Suzi came along on a lark.

He glanced over at Suzi and caught a glimpse of her fingers caressing the sides of her face, exploring the growing, veined shadows there with delicate abandon. The illusion that her hands moved on their own was uncanny.

He reached out for her with longing and his arm extended from his dirty sleeve like an adder leaving its burrow, his smoothly polished hand swaying to and fro, scales glinting from it in the guttering cavern light. Veins along his wrist somehow morphed into the snakes jawline, a wart on his first knuckle became one of its nostrils, and his arm just slithered away from its sleeve through the air, trailing an X-ray shadow of his knobbed spinal cord along with it. The apparition disappeared into the gloom of the open drain pipe.

Suzis skin appeared to peel off her flesh and drift down like dried flakes of onion skin to the ground.

Drew stared in disbelief, seeing her face as a pale grinning skull baring gleeful eyes. Arrowing hisses flowed beneath his own skin and retracted around his heart in a cold clutch, seeming to eliminate all air bubbles in its wrapping compression. For a moment he felt strangely underwater.

Drew clutched at his chest with hands growing black spines as he watched Suzis features get tightened back suddenly, as if someone had stepped up from behind her and pulled a sheet of clear plastic wrap over her face. The skull-effect vanished, leaving her usual features impossibly stretched back. An O-shaped space over her darkened mouth steamed up against the plastic. Her pupils glinted like obsidian ball bearings in their darkened sockets.

Bark flaked off his knuckles in scabs as Drew seized upon an intangible vision in his head. With eyes shut tight an exploding core of blackness shrank in on itself while its remnants shredded into creation, leaving him gripping his own skull in his hands.

The ringing in his ears suddenly warped and sculpted into a metallic prison of eerie music. Echoing in his skull, a magnetic fluctuation lifted up his eyelids. Wide-open pupils reflected the dark spaces between stars.

Tirisha whispered And glews were there. So you know Ondrew, and he gradually came swimming up into focus to meet her carefully articulated pronouncement. She continued intoning in a guttural voice what sounded like Free to sharpen a coin at the rending of the curtain, Ondrew. You woe not get an other.  She held her wood-transformed hand out to him, tiny branches already growing from various points about her knuckles.

Suzi reached out for a helping hand, and her fingers unraveled in a spilled spiral, then swiveled wide, fanning out in a supplicating gesture. Her tongue unrolled out of her mouth, impossibly lengthening until it fell at her feet into the peach colored dust. It tasted like talcum powder and fizzled slightly against her taste buds.

Their surroundings lit up in an instant, capturing the scenery about them in a strobe-flash of lurid mockery. They were not in an urban drainage system as they had imagined themselves to be, but instead found themselves standing before some sort of translucent maze embedded within a titanic vein of quartz, as if formed inside a glacier. The drainage pipe had transformed into a lambent glass slot-canyon opening.

The vision appeared before their eyes for an instant, revealed as if by lightning flash. Before its lingering imprint faded from their retinas, they made out what appeared to be cultivated herbivorous gardens suspended within the rock crystal mountainside. This engrained arena of flora was stacked in various concentric ringed steppes, like hillocks submerged in the lucent rock. They could be glimpsed murkily arising from a series of upthrust tectonic plates.

Enormous veins of milky translucence crisscrossed over each other within this crystalline inter-leavened structure, like petrified bone marrow preserved beneath the skin of a calcified behemoth.

A wave of dizziness swept over Drew. Nausea overcame Suzi and she dry heaved for a few moments.

Have you mastered endless focus yet, On? asked Tirisha.

The feeling of disorientation intensified for Drew. Herbivorous gardens? Looking back over his shoulder, he could discern the vague shape of the archway in the watermill turret, against a gray backdrop of starlight. Through it he could see low hanging clouds passing slowly over the golf course. The puffy apparitions seemed to beckon him to follow.

Without a sound, Drew turned his gaze from the turret archway, and stepped into the pipe opening—only now it was the entrance to a narrow solid quartz canyon, illuminated from within. An eerie silence distilled amid the clouded depths within the natural crystal. Reflected on either side of its naturally formed walls, curious shapes glimmered.

Suzi followed, mesmerized by the incandescent vision around them. She felt immediately vulnerable amid the translucent crystal. The inner illumination let her see clearly about seven or eight feet into the quartz—after that, things got blurrier.

Tirisha sauntered through last. She tread through the fine, peach-colored silt, whispering in a low voice to herself.

The three of them continued deeper into the slot canyon. Tirisha ceased her mumbling.  They walked on in silence for seventy more yards.

At certain points, the walls narrowed to within fourteen inches of each other. Drew and Suzi had to turn their shoulders and expel their breath, relaxing their lungs to scoot on through. It did not occur to them to turn back.

Tirisha flowed through with startling ease. One particular narrow segment went on for ninety feet—Drew couldnt turn his head to get a glimpse of the woman behind him.

How is she possibly fitting, he wondered. He could hear her breathing easily just behind him.

Suzi stopped with one ear pressed against a faceted crystal wall, Shhh— she insisted. The smooth surface of the crystal was equivalent to her own body temperature. After a few moments, she held up her right hand in the peace symbol, palm out, last two fingers tucked under her thumb, as if signifying everything was okay.

She swooned against the smooth, warm crystal walls, and shut her eyes. She felt as if she were crawling back into the womb. She looked up and reached above with her left hand extended, beseeching. Overhead, the luminous walls of the slot canyon met at an impossible distance.

Down at their own level, deep within the translucent walls of the mountain, inner visions blemished into a surreal, haunting suspension of vaguely beckoning formations.

There were tall bulky shapes captured inside the crystal. They appeared to flicker slowly, like syrupy constellations twinkling in and out of focus. Hung in suspension inside, livid whorls and malformations defined unnerving Rorschach images.

Drew thought he could make out a harbinger destroying the sky. He tried shaking the image from his head. There were weird, blurred, hirsute humps floating at random intervals, fixed deep within the crystal.

A few times, Drew was certain the squamous, shaggy humps moved, but every time he stared directly at them, they appeared motionless again. Violet neuron clusters bloomed out, resembling the stark silhouettes of elm trees.

Ambient music floated up into his ear canals from within the formless depths of his mind. A strange fruition began taking root. A long and rising ululation, not unlike the songs of whales, made itself apparent. Drew wasnt sure if anyone else could hear it. Chords of intoned decay arose in waves, framed by the spectral glow surrounding them.

All three kept walking. The peculiar glittering within the blurred depths passed by on either side of them. No one continued to say a thing.

Drew shambled forth, helplessly leading. After passing a cleave in the crystal slot canyon, Tirisha stopped for a moment, and bade them listen.

They heard nothing. She encouraged them to hush up, and listen to the crystal. Hear it breathe. Listen to its song, and soon enough you will see, she urged.

Drew stopped and listened. The yawning throat in the mountain seemed to breathe along with them. It became evident then that they were each caught, so to speak, in the mountains jaws. It was imperative for each one of them to proceed. Drew thought crazily I hope the mountain doesnt sneeze.

Suzi realized that even if they managed to escape—to wherever this preternatural slot canyon led—it would not release them anywhere familiar. She was certain of that much.

Suzi looked over at Tirisha, who still had her ear pressed to a wall.  What do you hear it say? she asked.

Tirisha replied I am afraid it want us all.

Drew stood stock still and quietly cried.

Suzi had enough of Tirishas strange commentary. She grabbed Drew by the wrist and led them both onward.

Fuck this place, she said. After another twenty feet, the slot canyon made a hairpin turn to the right, and they walked around it.

Taking several more steps, they saw the shape immersed in the solid crystal directly to their right, like something trapped in amber. Caught within the frosted depth, a large purplish mound streaked with blurred orange spots hung suspended and motionless.

Suzi turned to ask Tirisha what it was, but the large lady wasnt behind them anymore. She whispered to Drew Hold on, Im going back for her, and backtracked to the sharp bend, peering left around the corner, but Tirisha wasnt anywhere to be seen. That was odd. It seemed as if she had simply disappeared. Or had she merely turned back the way they had come? Why didnt we think of that—?

She said flatly Shes gone Drew, and sidled back up next to him.

He was still staring at the purple bulk embedded in the crystal to their right.

Drew jarred himself out of his reverie. Lets get out of here. Lets go back, he said, and turned to face her. She nodded in silent assent, although the look in her eye expressed doubt.

They both took several steps back in the direction they had come, back towards the hairpin turn.

At the sharp bend, Suzi collided against a sweltering quartz wall. Drew bumped into her from behind. Suzis hands scrabbled against the glowing crystal, feeling desperately for the corner. There was none.

She turned around then, and the two embraced.

Behind Drew, more crystal formed, like new layers of strange warm ice filmed in stop-motion.

The pellucid slot canyon was sealing up around them from both ends. They embraced within a shrinking vacuole for a few more moments. Finally the living quartz compressed around them in an airtight seal.









This Monday
September 30
prepare for...


Servitors of the 
Outer Darkness


by Adam Bolivar


Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sanford Meschkow's
INEVITABLE

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

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE RECIDIVIST



Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE MEMORY SECTOR

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

Owen R. Powell's
NOETIC VACATIONS

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

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET

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

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
GROUND PORK


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

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

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL & SIR
FRANCIS DRAKE



Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


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


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


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

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

Daniel José Older's
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR


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

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


Johnny Strike's
AS YOU WISH



Johnny Strike's
NIGHT FLAMERS



Johnny Strike's
THE HOMELESS MUTANTS



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


Paul Stuart's
SEA?TV!


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


Rain Grave's
MAU BAST


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



Icy Sedgwick's
THE PORCELAIN WOMAN


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


Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth
with LIPSTICK



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


G. Alden Davis's
THE FOLD


G. Alden Davis wrote his first short story
in high school, and received a creative
writing scholarship for the effort. Soon
afterward he discovered that words were
not enough, and left for art school. He was
awarded the Emeritus Fellowship along
with his BFA from Memphis College of Art
in '94, and entered the videogame industry
as a team leader and 3D artist. He has over
25 published games to his credit. Mr. Davis
is a Burningman participant of 14 years,
and he swings a mean sword in the SCA.


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


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



Nigel Strange's
PLASTIC CHILDREN


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


J.R. Torina's
THE HOUSE IN THE PORT


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


K.B. Updike, Jr's
THE GOLDEN THIRD EYE


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