.........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.

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

2 comments:

  1. Again...immediately hooked. From the get-go, we're GIFTED with this wonderful imagery as our guy rinses SOME of the filth away and clears his vision A BIT. So we know that ergo, some of it remains. With "chained to in THIS life" we're reminded that there might actually be another.....and I'm adoring the music of glops and splats: onomatopoeia at its finest.

    As the author says, "Something...must have done this...."

    Vincent - YOU'RE something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Don't know what to say but, well, thank you once again. Love that you're digging, and apparently getting it as well. Read on . . .

      Delete

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.)