Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SEPT 2014 ISSUE

~ PROUDLY PRESENTS ~


RepFix
by Keith Graham

© 2014 by keith graham (art by jesse stevens)
+ Click the respective images below to read the stories +






CRYPTID'S LAIR
by Gene Stewart
© 2014 by gene stewart (art  by gene stewart)





MERCY STREET
by Edward Morris
© 2014 by edward morris (art by shasta lawton)





OF CADENCE AND WEATHERED STATUES
by Vincent Daemon
© 2014 by vincent daemon (art by kara koma and shaun lawton)



The bloodhost have reported back to me recently that the plasmatic balance phase of their mission is over now—which I suppose means that the quantum harmonic oscillator has reached its equilibrium point at last. The state of quantum flux that the FREEZINE has been undergoing appears to have surpassed a certain critical point during the stabilization of this phase transition.  Since I've been the sole repository for the nanofleet's cryptic communications with us since the inception of our webzine just over five years ago, I've been able to deduce certain things about the nature of the alleged "nanobots" supposedly coursing through my bloodstream and occasionally hijacking my central nervous system in order to get me to make this 'zine available free of charge to those curious or daring enough to either read or submit the stories slowly piling up in our archive.  

I believe that despite having been conceived five years ago (in the summer of 2009, kicking off with veteran author John Shirley's never-before-published novella SKY PIRATES) this webzine as a matter of fact is yet undergoing a gestational period; that is to say, it remains in utero until that glorious and undetermined date in the future upon which it may be literally borne as a fully developed infant having its umbilical cord snipped and then gulping its first lungfuls of oxygen.  That is a metaphorical way of stating that the Freezine is most certainly "not dead yet," and in fact has a long way to go before assuming its plastic childhood.  

Some of you may (or may not) recall that in a past issue, I quoted the nanohorde as having stated that the cosmological constant could be counteredtemporarily eclipsing quantum chaoswhich effectively levels the electromagnetic "playing field" by utilizing dark matter or energy itself to "stabilize the entire operating system."  I've been dwelling on this and other cryptic messages as best that I can, and have begun realizing that the nanohorde may in fact have been sent to us from the future by none other than humanity itself.  In fact, I am becoming more certain of this as the nature of our webzine begins to gel in my mind.  

Just take a look around you today at the state of our world, not to mention our own country in the USA. Things are trending so severely towards "political correctness" in the arts, that it's getting more difficult for writers and artists to express themselves without overt puritanical censorship stripping the material of its essence. Everything must either be packaged into its appropriate "genre," or stamped with a "For Mature Audiences Only," or otherwise compromised to the point that more and more commercial mainstream platforms are becoming less provocative and original. Never mind the supposition that parents themselves should become the responsible moderators of what their children should and shouldn't look at; this trend towards pulling the teeth out of anything we read or see appears to be paving the way toward a future where we all gradually succumb to becoming more robotic ourselves—to the point our cellphones do our memorizing and thinking for us, our iPads raise our children, etc., all so that we may be free to do what, exactly—?—remain plugged into our own mobile devices and allow the complete mechanization of our very souls?  

The simple reason that whatever surviving faction of humanity left in our future may have figured out a way to send these nanobots back in time to infiltrate us is merely to get as many people today to cease and desisteven if only momentarilywith their usual feeding and consumption of that which is being offered for sale in the marketplace and try to just once give freely of their art and writing so that money is removed from the equationto be replaced with an earnest passion for discourse. Of course this is not to suggest that our own host of wonderful published authors lack sincere passion; not at all.  They would never have been successful in the first place had they lacked both drive and real talent. No, the nanobots have apparently been sent back in time to us today in order to merely try and gently slap us awake enough to simply allow a forum in which freedom of expression—devoid entirely of the soulless machination of money and advertising—may be heralded and appreciated for what it is.  Namely a temporary respite from the raging waters of commercialization.  

That is why I started the FREEZINE in the first place. It's a webzine which doubles as a creative writing workshop and a platform for both aspiring and professional authors and illustrators to showcase their writing and drawings in order to give them more exposure and feedback so that they may continue to grow as artists and eventually boost their efforts at being paid and published in their own right. It's a global community effort left almost entirely up to its readers and subscribers as well as the authors and painters contributing their work to participate in so that we may all help each other along on our respective journeys toward hopefully making careers out of our writing and artwork. 

If you have taken the trouble to subscribe to the FREEZINE either by email or Google + or facebook's Networked Blogs or Blogger, etc., thank you very much for supporting local and worldwide creative writing and art.  If you haven't subscribed or otherwise followed this webzine yet, now is the time to do so.  Our growing roster of veterans are on the verge of crossing into the second or third trimester of developing the foetal form still incubating within these hypertext markup pages.  We are about to embark on a new chapter of our overall development, so be sure to stay tuned in and tell all your reader, writer and artist pals about us so that we may ultimately achieve a following big enough to go viral and help all the respective contributors get the exposure and experience they need to hone their chops. 




For the SEPT 2014 issue, we have four original stories to share with a troubled yet hopeful world, and we welcome three new bloods into our fold.  They are writers Gene Stewart and Edward Morris, as well as artist Kara Koma.  Please greet them with enthusiastic applause. 

Our first story, "RepFixfeatures returning Freezine Veteran Keith Graham with an updated take on Robert W. Chambers' infamous tale "The Repairer of Reputations."  Considering that the FREEZINE serialized the entire contents of THE KING IN YELLOW in our last issue six months ago, the editors felt that was the perfect story to kick off the SEPT issue with.  Thanks Keith for taking a chance on this forum and submitting your fourth story to our ragtag literary cyber-vessel.  It perfectly sets the tone for both the science fictional and fantasy aspects of this webzine.  Thanks to Jesse Stevens, one of the original Freezine artists, who submitted his "Plastic Children" painting for Nigel Strange's three part novella, an image of a boy holding a toy ray gun which I consider to be our mascot.  

Up next is newcomer to our zine, Gene Stewart's splendid short story "Cryptid's Lair," featuring a sketch drawn by Gene himself in black and white and colorized with mysterious methods by yours truly.  This story arrives just in time to expand the parameters of our 'zine's oeuvre into the strange and wonderful world of crypto- terrestrials, a field of study which ever remains tantalizingly within our peripherals in search of missing links which might further explain the mysterious phenomena we have come to take for granted as our natural world.  A somewhat blurred and warm fuzzy thanks goes out to Gene for taking a chance on our online magazine. We are certainly glad to have him on-board.  

The third story also comes from a newcomer to our fold, everyone please supply a hearty round of cheers and applause to Edward Morris, whose surreal prose poem "Mercy Street" somehow manages the impossibly disturbing trick of marrying the legacy of Anne Sexton with that of the King in Yellow.  The Freezine is very proud indeed to host this beautiful tale sure to please aficionados of the two aforementioned legends in print.  Thanks to my wife Shasta for having long ago provided the original magic marker illustration on glossy photo print paper used in a previous story from our last issue and now zoomed-in upon and transformed into the mercifully symbolic image which currently represents Edward's eulogy to one of America's most important contemporary poets.  Make no mistake about it, Anne Sexton shall forevermore remain contemporary due to already having become immortalized. A dangerous and exuberant Thank You to Edward for opting to submit his controversial piece to our Freezine.  

Last but not least comes the return of one of the Freezine's most provocative veterans, Vincent Daemon.  Vincent recently underwent an extended leave of absence from the trappings of the internet in order to focus on his own life.  Imagine our splendid surprise when he announced his return to our online community and furthermore submitted his short story about certain horrors of the Vietnam War, Of Cadence and Weathered Statues. Our editors were able to break it down into four daily installments replete with cliffhangers. Artist Kara Koma also contributed her illustration, "Weathered Statue," for Chapter 3. The nanohorde were extremely pleased with this rendering of the strange hybrid vision from our war vet's compelling experience lost amid the horrifying ruins of a Vietnamese swampland.  Kara's dedication for this piece is as follows:  "Dedicated to Grandfather who literally lost his mind in such a war, and came back in body, but never in soul."  Thanks for providing such heartfelt artwork for Vince's story, Kara. As soon as we get a moment, our editors will upload your illustration to the FREE ZINE ZONE, our sister-site which archives all the artist's galleries associated with past stories. 

Vincent has dedicated his story to his own Dad, adding the following post-dedication: "Dedicated to my father, who fought in this ridiculous, horrid war, with so many other poor bastards, and at least came out of it better than most. Parts of this story are based on certain strange war-tales he told, but just WHAT is the fact and what is the fiction shall remain between He and I."  

A billion echoing Thank You's go out to Vincent for having submitted his material to accompany the august roster of tales archived for posterity exclusively on the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.   Of Cadence and Weathered Statues represents his sixth story with us, catapulting him to the topmost rank of contributors. May all your hard work in the realm of creative writing pay off in loads of Karma and piles of currency some day in the not-so-distant future, my friend.  

And that's another wrap.  Thanks for sticking with us.  Thank you for your comments and feedback and for supporting a webzine devoted to having nothing to do with your standard advertising and soul destroying finances.  Stay tuned next month for a special Halloween Trilogy of Terror, towards the end of October.  As they say on Devil's Night, "Fire it up, Fire it up!"   See you all then.   
















Monday, September 29, 2014

OF CADENCE AND WEATHERED STATUES: IV

by Vincent Daemon






Chapter 4: Holiday In Cambodia



               To Victor’s tearful astonishment, he saw the most glorious sight. Daylight, just ahead, where the statues end, their forms not even recognizable as anything now, just smooth ruby and jade carvings of interwoven sections, all one terrible thing really that reached out for him with their gaunt moist arms, cooing his name in lurid tongues of obscene gibberish. Charlene’s sweet voice wavered between chitterings and taunts, the whore laughing at him throughout the entirety of it all. Their arms reaching from every inconceivably designed statue, their eyes of red and green sinking inward on themselves to become the vacant black vortex holes like those of his dream, their spindly limbs the same.

            Victor now pushed far beyond all of his body’s rational physical limitations, the narcotic poison of the Black Poppy already reaching peak effect, numbing all pain, temporarily clouding all fear, all rationality.

            It sounded like a billion legs were just behind him, that this thing and its jeweled marble daughters of ancient nympho-lunacy were right there, reaching out toward his shoulders to grab him and pull him back in, as if not wanting to be there alone, so they could keep him in the grip of these ruins and this most horrible place on what he was not even certain was the planet Earth anymore.

            This felt like something both infernal and eternal.

            He felt like a small child running up the basement stairs, fully certain the thing that waits below was right on his neck. Only he knew this unseen horror was real, as were the taunting and cruel statues. They whispered so loudly all the lies of this time and place, deceptive voices of insectoid hermaphroditic monstrosities exposing the truth that lay inside all, truths of the universe, blurting out the horrendous things he had always known about his consummate failure in this war, this life. Accepting, settling, going against his own personal and hard won code of ethics and honor. They were going to grab his spine and feed him to that fucking beast.

            Victor saw a large open archway at the end of the tunnel, though it did not really register on his battered and tattered mind. He quad-timed it, before a small free fall and splash, he landed in the uncomfortable warm murk of a weed strewn marsh.

            He also heard the monstrous sounding slosh into the marsh right behind him.

            He did, however, spot a small U.S. rescue vessel just beyond the tall brown weeds of the marsh...and it appeared they had spotted him as well. He hollered in a throat wrenching hoarseness upon which he could taste his own blood, and splashed frantically, knowing that this thing was in the water with him, swearing he could feel it netting horrible limbs around his legs and pulling him under. The more he tried to wrestle from its grip, the more tangled he got, the more it seemed to wrap itself around his entire being...body and mind and soul...to drag him beneath the surface of these dark waters.

            The silence came upon him again, exactly like when he watched Willy get blown into mush. Time froze, the world stopped. The legs wrapped tighter, his despondent thrashing now broken to a steadfast acceptance of fate.

            Like his entire life.


                                                                                                                                                 


            Within moments the rescue vessel reached Victor, officers pulled him aboard, cutting away the tightly wrapped and binding roots and marsh weeds that nearly drowned him. Once cut out of the mess, Victor began to flail his arms in a panic, growing more unsettled and violent by the second as the officers tried to restrain him.  He was not lashing out at them, but at his own flesh, tearing at his skin as though he were trying to remove it entirely from his body. Long and deep gouges bled out sickly-thick dark blood as he dug so deep as to tear back his own fingernails. 

            Victor was babbling inanely, shouting and even gibbering the entire time of mud kingdoms and insect gods, of horrid sexual nightmares and the statues that provide them. Ancient empires to the most perverse ideas; things that live inside of one, forever, deep within the mind, reading and raping every thought.

            Eventually, he began to wear himself out, and was injected with a hefty dose of diazepam to help keep him down. The medical officer then looked into Victor’s eyes and saw the severe constriction of his pupils. His shouting was easing to a mumble, this time about Charlene, his father, Willy, and something about a Vietnamese or Cambodian whore. They really couldn’t tell. It was falling out of him in uncontrollable and hysterical sentences of raging gibberish, his own syntax garbled and falling away as the sedative took full effect. “Con-Rit Yekub Juk-Shabb!

            Victor was out, and the medical officers tended to his infected and barely recognizable hand. It looked as though it had been chewed upon, but that was chalked up to the severity of the infection. There was no question about it: Victor was going to lose the hand.

            The med team were undressing Victor to give him a full once over. Upon removing his pants, they looked down in awe as the contents of his pockets spilled to the deck. Large black pods, obviously some kind of poppy-pod narcotic, were falling to the floor with loud ka-plats. They checked his eyes again and figured the severe constriction of his pupils explained it all. At that moment, Victor Marks Jr. was written off as nothing more than a war-torn junkie, a coward and a deserter.

            Nothing more than another weak mind on the front lines, bad as the enemy itself; useless, the med team could be heard grumbling.

            Victor’s breathing was growing shallow and stifled, and he sounded like he was suffocating. Begrudgingly, they began to perform CPR, making heinously crude off comments about his shell-shocked and narcotic state of being.

            As they emptied all of the Black Poppy pod-cubes from Victor’s turned-out pockets and extracted several that had been stuck half-chewed in his throat, the medical officers began to notice that the odd pods were beginning to split in two, and that their contents were not filled with an ad infinitum of seeds, but had instead been filled with a myriad of very small and aggressive larval black centipedes, little creatures that began to viciously come after the crew.

            What the medical officers did not see while their attentions were distracted with unjustified judgment toward their fallen man and confusion over the scattering, incessantly biting beast-pod hatchlings, was the subtle, graceful rippling just beneath the surface of Victor’s gouged gritty flesh, and the endless black universal vortex of knowledge forming behind his eyes.

           




~the end~


Click image ^ for the full 
SEPT, 2014 ISSUE 
final wrap-up thanking 
 all the authors and artists



            

Sunday, September 28, 2014

OF CADENCE AND WEATHERED STATUES:III

by Vincent Daemon 






Chapter 3: Weathered Statues




               The floor base, stairs, pillars, and even statues all seemed to be carved and sanded down from jade, marble, ruby...strange carved figures that clung to every pillar, peered up from every floor stone. It was all worn down low now and faded, perhaps two or three millennia old. This place was made with a sinister handcrafted beauty, shapes and structures combined and interwoven with a grotesquerie and grace he had never before seen. It barely even seemed human; perhaps only in the most vague sense of the word.

            There was no ceiling or apparent roof to this place, and several three-story pillar-towers that, for the most part, having been completely decimated by time and weather, rose and disappeared into the looming darkness above. Intense looking insectoid statues haunted the inner structure randomly. Smaller insect carvings (still slightly larger than human) seemed to bow down in a leering terror to something much larger and more powerful.    

            Strange stone insects, almost caricatures of real life insects, centipede-type things, stood timeless and quite menacingly, between their size and the expressive faces of the carvings. This place reminded him of something like an evil, far more ancient Angkor Wat.

            While studying this odd temple, Victor heard another sound...a trickling. He began to follow the faint echo to its source: fresh, cool water flowing freely from the mouth of some monstrous bug-headed fountain. He lowered his face to the ornate basin, and though he wanted to blindly gulp it down, he fought the instinct and took merely a small mouthful and waited for a moment. After not passing out or getting sick, he feverishly plunged his head into the basin and began to drink, the cool water refreshing beyond belief. He stripped and splashed and bathed and drank, then continued, naked and air drying (another serious relief), to investigate the rest of this apparently sacred ancient ruin.

           The odd pale flowers he had noticed outside earlier grew in here as well, sprouting all along the walls. They seemed more vibrantly colored in here, however, in blues, pinks, purples, and every shade in between. They were also different in that Victor noticed a large black and cubical pod the size of his fist sprouting from the dead center of each flower. Using his Bowie knife, he carefully slit the side of one of the pods. A thick and sticky white goo oozed out like albino molasses. With his pinkie finger he touched it, tasted it.

            “I’ll be a son of a bitch!” For a moment, Victor was jubilant. Snatching several pods, he began to devour them, seeds and all. He believed he knew exactly what this was.

            Briefly Victor thought he may have found Paradise, if only but for one brief, ludicrous moment.  

            With a slightly renewed vigor, he began to try and collect up any dry and nearby wood and vine he could find scattered about. He could also feel this undiscovered natural narcotic kicking in as his throbbing hand eased, and his tension, even outlook, shifted. This was indeed stronger than any opiate he had ever ingested, and as the dusk came down, so did Victor.

            He sat and dug into his rations, nothing more than a slimily processed ham and cabbage in a little vacuum sealed bag. Victor lit a smoke afterwards and laid back on his damp clothes (he had rinsed them in the bug-headed basin fountain as well), the marble floor cool on his warm skin.

            He noticed there were no mosquitoes inside the ruins, and if there was a moon out looming over the darkness he could not tell. The trees completely blotted out the night sky, and in fact created a natural ceiling to this vast cubical ruin. In his stuporous relaxed state he instead watched the immense bats begin to wake and leave the ruins for their nightly hunt, a site quite unlike anything he had ever seen before. They reminded him of the Orang-Bati legends from Indonesia. Watching the gigantic bats swoop down in their unique spiraling maneuvers of sonic predation to grab the little creatures he did not before notice had a strangely hypnotic and calming effect on his psyche.

            Victor felt no pain now as the most potent and beautiful narcotized slumber overtook him, slowly but oh-so surely.

            Hypnogogic dream-visions danced behind his closed eyes and flash-fluttered sexy silhouetted succubi that had materialized from the darkness. Every one of these devil dream girls possessed soft full hips gyrating slow and intensely. They were touching each other’s tongues, each contact burning like magnesium flares, sparkling out in all colors, some he’d never even seen before.

            These gorgeous and ethnic devil girls looked stranger than that, however. Their limbs were spindly, yet they still possessed clockwork figures crowned by seduction-trained faces. Nothing is free fleeted through his mind as their black vortex eyes latched onto Victor’s like fishhooks through genitalia.

            One in particular stood out, emerged from the color-flash chaos of seizure-strobe nightmares. Not so ethnic, this one...Charlene...her porcelain skin radiating like some kind of white-hot uranium as she drew near.

            Victor wanted to hold out his hand but felt restrained. Charlene stood before him, fully exposed, her large breasts heaving with every deep dream-lust breath, her spindly arms beckoning him.

            Standing now, Victor approached Charlene. She lay back on an invisible table, put her legs up, bent at the knees, exposing fully her smooth womanhood.   “Victor, come to me my love. And make me cum...I know all you want is to touch me, to caress me and make love to me...oh how badly I know you have waited for this visit, my little Yekubian.” Almost touching her sacred femininity, she cooed, and quite teasingly covered herself with her hand, beckoning him once more.

            Drooling, aroused, half-mad with lust for his love, Victor parted her legs, brought his face down into her, and as she opened her smooth pink folds to his wanting lips, dozens of cum-covered centipedes began exploding out of her mandibular cunt. Not just into Victor’s slackened mouth, but up onto her own smooth flat belly and over her voluptuous breasts...into her flaxen hair...and into her dead black vortex eyes.

            In suffocating horror, Victor tried to bellow a muffled scream and watched her face as it changedin an instant quicker than a blinkto the strange skinny opium whore from that night on leave. “Con Rit! Yekub, Juk-Shabb!” Her face recast itself again in a blink, malformed into mandibles, feelers. Victor reached up to grab her face, to make it stop, and she bit him. Pulling his hand back frantically, he looked away from his dream-form insect whore-love. The ache in his hand was like being shot all over again.

            The imminent feeling of suffocation awoke Victor from this dreadful night terror.

            His right hand felt wakingly restrained, and the dream agony remained. He gasped hard for a breath, his skin all crawling and tingly. Victor looked to his agonized right hand and it let go, whatever it was, scuttling off into the shadows somewhere. Still naked (and half erect) Victor jumped up, the adrenaline fueling such a pure terror never before felt coursing hard through his veins (retaining, then, his erection through sheer fault of physiology). This was a phobic, primal terror of ancient primordial instinct. This thing was amongst the mildewed marble shadows, somewhere, watching him right now; waiting. He could smell it, that same honeysuckle stench of the rotten whore/Charlene’s vaginal-vector nest from his hellish dream, like the foul mud outside. Victor knew then that this thing had been following him for quite some time. He could feel it in his mind.

            He looked down to his hand, the bullet wound obviously infected, though he saw now that the same hand had been gnawed virtually to the bone. The pain faded, again, and Victor could not feel it, though he was most definitely seeing it.

            His equilibrium still off balance, his mind and body in a state of total disbelief, panic and shell-shock, he grabbed his clothes up (quite vigorously shaking them out for bugs), and dressed quickly. He heard the echo of the thing in the darkness, many legs scuttling in the shadows, its clickety-clacking a horrid horde-like sound as it slinked its way around Victor, always watching from the shadows. He couldn’t see it. He thought about the tiger while surveying every dark corner and crevice, the entirety of its stomach cavity having been eaten away.

            The sun was beginning to rise, and the darkest portions of the back of the temple were fading into that new dawn gray. Victor could hear clearly all those horrible legs clacking along the ancient smooth marble.

            He thought, if only for a moment, that he could now make out a vague form along one of the female human-insect crossbreed statues, wrapped around the ancient carving like some vile clothing accessory. He could feel as it watched him intently, a long dark shadow making ghastly strange sounds. Awful, almost taunting chitters echoed from the corners around him, bouncing off all that ancient smooth marble and rebounding off the malformed statues that surrounded him, seeming to come from their twisted ruby and jade stone lips.

            Victor slowly began to move backwards, noticing the bones and varied remains of animals and humans alike, scattered everywhere he could see. They rattled beneath his clumsy and tired feet, offering no attempt at an inconspicuous escape. As the quality of light increased, Victor also began to take notice of the immense glyphs lining the entirety of the slime-sheened walls, put there by an ancient culture that made Babylon seem like a recent nation. Strange creatures in the sea, many legs...offerings of ancient women of pleasure to truly awful things. All these statues...mere artistry replicating a sacrificial dinner to some kind of...

            It slammed his skull like an anvil from the sky, that word! The whore, the opium. Black Poppy she had called it...the other powders (something foul called the “black meat”) she put in with it, and that tantric fuck-word.

            CON RIT.

            “All too real, for you, soldier boyCon-Rit...Yekub...Juk-Shabb.”

            Flight response (now a perpetual habit) kicked in instantly, and Victor began to run, stuffing handfuls of the Black Poppy pods that grew in such sheer abundance into his mouth and his pockets as he bounded down the desiccated corridor of grimacing and sexually explicit female statues...sacrificial women intertwined with quite aggressive and immense crawling things, each statue a more horrific atrocity than the one before it, surrounded by those deep carved glyphs of which one could only begin to speculate upon the levels of madness to their meaning.

            He could hear the beast behind him, scuttling clumsily over the piles of bones from past offerings, chitters echoing still but now actually becoming the voices of his past, the things that had haunted him every day since long before that goddamned draft letter arrived. These voices came sick and hissing from the parting lips of these monstrous carved beings, and he could see their heads in his ace peripheral vision, following him in the pinkish hue of almost full daylight.

            Bones rattled and snapped with great force behind Victor, beneath what he could only imagine to be the forceful exoskeletal trampling train of a segmented boxcar beast, though he dare not look behind to find out.
            
              

Click here to Conclude
OF CADENCE AND
WEATHERED STATUES
by Vincent Daemon

Saturday, September 27, 2014

OF CADENCE AND WEATHERED STATUES: II


by Vincent Daemon    





Chapter 2: Cadence
                                                                                                                                    
            
             Painful tears began to well up in Victor’s eyes as he sat there in the awful muck, the tears inadvertently rinsing some of the filth away and clearing his vision a bit. Anguish knotted up in his chest, a pre-heart attack feeling of stifling nausea again overtaking his physical being, but with not even bile to froth out.
            
            Watching Willy...the incredibly bad timing of his attempt to release Willy’s soul from the steaming bloody remnants of the shell it remained chained to in this life. In stasis, in the muck, it all caught up with him. He broke down fully, sobbing alone in the jungles of Vietnam, a place he had never wanted to be.

            It was a good bit before Victor was finally able to pull himself together. Fidgeting out his canteen, he sucked down a couple of mouthfuls of the warm metallic water, pulled a smoke from his ration kit, lit it with his ragged Zippo, and inhaled deep. The heavy mud sluiced off him in wretched glops of ancient disturbed mud-stink, landing with thick splats. Visually surveying the area, he noticed the terrain was far different from anything he had yet encountered in Vietnam thus far, and that really said something.
            
            The ground, the mud, it looked like something rotten and appeared to carry on endlessly. The trees were more sparsely spaced, seamed off. Immense, thick trunks stood upon a gnarled pedestal of long and knobby twisted roots, resembling bony and pale brown spider legs. Many of the trees were dead; dry-rot looking. The trees that were living, however, sprouted leaves like large green fans, blocking out virtually all direct sunlight, leaving this strange and isolated location hidden forever in eternal midday dusk.         
            
            Pale and beautiful flowers, the likes of which he’d not previously encountered, seemed to grow everywhere amid the dank muck. They produced a sickly sweet honeysuckle aroma that contrasted uniquely with that of this vile place in which they grew.
            
            Unseen wonders of nature aside, Victor’s intuition was telling him that something was not right. Figuring it was the distress, hunger, and exhaustion; for his own goodhe ignored it. Finding a large and sturdy walking stick to help his mobility and check the mud before he stepped (this did seem to be prime quicksand or sinkhole territory, and he was already waist-deep in the shit), Victor set about trying to find a dry patch of some kind, if not a way out of this impossibly humid ring of hell altogether.
            
            It came to him at once in a Satori like burst of something akin to memory. That word, “conree,” he’d definitely heard it before. At what he felt was perhaps one of the most inappropriate memories to have at that particular moment; it was now just there, appearing of its own volition.
            
            A little bit, anyway.

            The fucking prostitute.

            On a forgotten, intoxicated night of leave several weeks ago, he had broken down to the lurid and lewdly whispered whims of a comely little harbor whore. She had mumbled that word as she rode him, her tight sex clamping down like nothing he had ever felt. They were both in a viciously euphoric state from this very strong opium the whore had procured. In her narcotized sex-state of a seemingly altered reality, she mumbled the word repeatedly as he bucked up hard into her, the natural narcotic hindering his ability to achieve orgasm. He looked up at her tight skin, her small frame undulating and wrapping around him like some kind of delirious and horny centipede. She watched him oddly, intently, through half-closed eyes. Each time he bucked into her, bringing her just slightly out of her tantric nod, she uttered that now most haunting word. Afterwards, in her own post orgasmic stupor, another cryptic statement, whispered gently from her expert lips, serpentine tongue in his ear: “All too real, for you, soldier boy. Conree Yekub Jukk-Shabb.”

            Victor trudged begrudgingly along, carefully poking around with his walking stick. He was wary about coming across any of the more dangerous specimens of varying degrees of random wildlife while wandering the jungle. It was something to be expected, and very careful about. But this place seemed to be a dead zone. There were mosquitoes by the millions. Big ones. He could feel them sticking and sucking, a straight-pin sting of pain every time. These bastards were three times the size of the Lower Brisberg mosquitoes he was used to back home. Each one he slapped dead on his body popped like a little gooey blood bag. He then had to pull them out of his flesh like roses thorns.

            There was nothing around, in every direction, but large mosquitoes, immense trees both living and dead, and that god-awful shit stinking mud.

            Every now and again Victor would notice an unnerving movement from the corners of his eyes, his peripherals. An oddly graceful rippling just beneath the surface of the mud would cause him to instinctively whip his head around to whichever side he had noticed it from, only to see the endless vast expanse of calm, motionless filthy deathscape.

            As Victor poked ahead with the stick, it finally hit something buried in the mud. A large lump, it seemed to be squirming just below the coating of brown muck. Victor moved in a bit, not too close, and poked a little harder.

            With the tip of the stick he began to wipe away the mud from the hump. A stench released upon the disruption of its vile stillness so foul that Victor was sure it had to be deadly. Each swab of the stick procured hundreds of live white larvae.

            His empty stomach tried retching; only an afflicted dry heave came about. Nonetheless, Victor continued poking and pushing at this muddy carcass until finally he rolled it over. A blackened swarm of Brazil nut sized flies bellowed up from underneath, filling the silent swamp with a literal wall of buzzing sound. Stinky nuisance that they were, at least they didn’t bite.

            Victor was shocked by the revelation of just what this carrion was. Strangely, the beast had been slightly better preserved the deeper in the mud it had been. What looked up at him was the bloated, white eyed dead-pose snarl of a very large tiger. Finding a dead tiger in a deserted mud swamp like this was a bit odd, to be sure, though not quite as strange as the exposed and empty abdominal cavity of the poor feline. Something very large, strong, and mean must have done this; probably killed it in the jungle and dragged the corpse here to feast uninterrupted.

            He searched the flat and undisturbed mud around him with a sharp eye, carefully, for some kind of tracks, drag marks, prints or surface disruption of any kind. His surveillance yielded naught.

            He continued poking around inside the cavity, only to disturb more larvae, which had fallen around his side in a watermelon sized clump. He gave up then, deciding to just keep trudging toward some kind of safety or shelter. This tiger, however, was now a part of the menagerie of horrors branded upon his (most likely permanently) wracked psyche, forever to be lost in that godforsaken land.

            Victor just wanted to go home, this was not where he belonged; never asked, never wanted to be here. This was not his war...he knew he could be of more use back home with Charlene, his love, and Vulture Breeze...and with trying to impose change through art and awareness and respect. This was the complete antithesis of all of that, the antithesis of his entire being.

            “Respect? A funny word, respect. There is no respect in war, no awareness. Not until long after the fact and the damage has been done. Then suddenly . . . guilt? Embarrassment? Then suddenly, it’s ‘What do you need? Love your brothers and sisters’ when it should have been that way all along. Goddammit.” Victor realized he was speaking out loud, and kind of smirked to himself. “Damn...wish I had a pen.”

            He could feel his body tensing up, his limbs cramping. His dirty ass was sore and his sickly stomach was empty. Victor needed to rest, to eat. He was drained and traumatized in every possible war-torn way, very lonely, and very much afraid.

           Again, from the corner of his other eye, the mud rippled.

            “Goddammit,” Victor growled again, turning his head quickly, and at the same time tripping over something beneath the mud. He thrust his arms out to break the fall, not even realizing he was no longer waist deep in that shit, landing with his bleeding and shot-up hand against a cool stone pillar.

           He had not even noticed what he was approaching, as his eyes and mind were focused on finding the source of the strange movement beneath the mud, amongst a billion other garbled things. After he cussed out loud, he took full note of the structure and became stunned by what loomed before him.

            Rising from the muck was a small yet steep set of ancient stone stairs, surrounded by an ornately carved archway slathered in varying green to brown hues of moss and mildew, lichen and fungus and vine.  

            In the overwhelming awe of his stunned silence, Victor distinctively heard something move in the mud behind him. Hardly a second passed before he stepped up onto the stairs and heard two more sloshing splashes from behind. Turning quick, he saw nothing still. He once more visually surveyed the vast expanse of gray mud, and felt like someone...something...was watching him...following him.

            He now began to inspect the archway carefully. Inside it was long, carried far into black shadows, and was not quite like anything else he had ever witnessed before. Not in Life, not in National Geographic, not in his own jungle venturings. 

             
              


Click here to continue reading
OF CADENCE AND
WEATHERED STATUES
by Vincent Daemon

Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sanford Meschkow's
INEVITABLE

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

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE RECIDIVIST



Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE MEMORY SECTOR

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

Owen R. Powell's
NOETIC VACATIONS

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

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET

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

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
GROUND PORK


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

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

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL & SIR
FRANCIS DRAKE



Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


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


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


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

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

Daniel José Older's
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR

Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
urban storytelling takes root at the
crossroads of myth and history.
With sardonic, uplifting and often
hilarious prose, Older draws from
his work as an overnight 911 paramedic,
a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
Audio Anthology, The Tide Pool, and
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.
When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found here.


Johnny Strike's
AS YOU WISH



Johnny Strike's
NIGHT FLAMERS



Johnny Strike's
THE HOMELESS MUTANTS



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


Paul Stuart's
SEA?TV!


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


Rain Grave's
MAU BAST


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



Icy Sedgwick's
THE PORCELAIN WOMAN


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


Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth
with LIPSTICK



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


G. Alden Davis's
THE FOLD


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


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


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



Nigel Strange's
PLASTIC CHILDREN


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


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


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


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


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