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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, August 31, 2015

PENTAQUARK ISSUE


PENTAQUARK ISSUE 





featuring



SWIMMING IN THE GHOST RIVER
featuring art photography by Shasta Lawton 




JUPITER RING
Illustrated by Will Ferret 




Owen R. Powell  
NOETIC VACATIONS
photo detail by Shasta Lawton 




THE MEMORY SECTOR
illustration by Shasta Lawton 




WHERE THE MARKET'S HOTTEST
Illustrated by Serhiy Krykun 









Welcome dear readers to the August 2015 issue, featuring five new stories to enthrall, entertain, and disturb you.  All free of monetary charge, because as most of you already know by now, the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction remains a non-profit, community run webzine which focuses on publishing original science fiction, fantasy, and almost everything in between that it can get its hands on, along with scanned artwork conceived to showcase our 21st-century fanzine in the best light possible, which is to say from behind the glow of a thin film transistor liquid crystal display on most computer monitors and smart phone screens nowadays.   


For our eighteenth issue we have a grand variety of authors and stories to show and tell about. Things just fell into place during the composition of this particular edition of the FREEZINE. It is with a sense of sincere gratitude that I have been enabled to present the following authors and artists.

A. A. Attanasio begins our August, 2015 issue with the ten-part serialization of his story Swimming in the Ghost River. It began on Monday, August 3 and continued one chapter every weekday until its conclusion on Friday, August 14. The art you see accompanying this transformative serial was photographed and otherwise put together by the wonderful Shasta Lawton; you really brought it home for us with your superb creative  imagery which not only enhanced but complemented the flow of the source material.  I think both Shasta and Al deserve a round of applause for presenting us with such an elegant ten part visual reading treat.  We here at the Freezine are extremely pleased this story will remain accessible in our archives for further readings. It is a bright odyssey into the serene interior of the human heart reflecting on our cohabitation within the animal kingdom. Its central theme and bewitching style of execution remain impressed in my mind's eye.  The serene and reflective imagery provided by Shasta really add depth to the unfolding story and help carry it along with a dream like sense of location for the haunted and poetic narrative provided by the author.  Swimming in the Ghost River will remain archived here in the PENTAQUARK issue on the FREEZINE's official site for posterity and your viewing and reading pleasure.







Which brings us to our second tale, Misha Nogha's powerful science fable Jupiter Ring.  This compelling story bends the cautionary around the subject of a super collider more powerful than Hadron called Jupiter Ring and the staggering outcome between its employees and some meddlesome crows.  This story was originally written a long time ago but the manuscript was lost to the ravages of time.  Lucky for us Misha was determined to rewrite the story from memory and revised whatever portions necessary to keep it up with the times. It was by virtue of some mysterious synchronicity that just last month CERN announced the discovery of the pentaquark at the LHC.  The precise configuration of the pentaquark isn't exactly known, only its existence has been officially determined now. What I really like about Misha's story is how much deeper it is willing to take the reader. A big shout out to Chief Brother Master Cat Will Ferret for his kind permission to use his artwork for this story.  Will's blue saddle blanket depicting the crow in flight serves as the perfect device to symbolize Misha's story.  Thanks to both of you for the consummate offering that is Jupiter Ring.  It's really a great followup to Al's serial before it.  





Next up we owe a considerable amount of gratitude to Owen R. Powell for his powerful and psychedelic excursion Noetic Vacations. This telling bravely crosses the gap between story and reader in such a way as to wholly transport each to the other's domain in a thrilling exchange of places leaving one feeling as if they were just sent through a hyper dimensional portal to spend a quick burst of action and a brief lapse into meditation with the authors of their dreams. Well if one happens to already be a fan of super charged highly imaginative fiction, this story takes on even more significant dimension and we are certainly proud to showcase it here in the company of all the PENTAQUARK tales.   The close up of the oil drop image at the top of the story comes courtesy of Shasta Lawton's photographs of the northeastern shoreline of the Great Salt Lake nestled alongside the Wasatch Mountain Range of Utah.  A mighty hails to our brother Owen for writing such a dazzling piece. Thank you for sharing this vision with the rest of us here reading the FREEZINE.  




detail of a photo by G. Alden Davis




Our fourth story The Memory Sector was written by Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking, you may have stumbled upon his pulp action science fiction stories over at Intestinal Fortitude.  In any case, this is his first appearance within the digital pages of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Sometimes what the mind craves is just a good old fashioned story that hearkens back to a more golden era and delivers the science fictional action in a straightforward manner.  Such is the case with the gripping tale about what happens to mankind after engaging in a war of the mind with an extraterrestrial race of Cephalopods bent on complete enslavement of the human race.  If the tricks these freakish alien creatures resort to weren't so damn heinous maybe we'd get along with the strange octopoid race. Nawww...this is a battle to the death!  A loud and hearty Thank You To Brian Stoneking! Oh, and we managed to recycle some older, buried and lost until now freezine artwork from some long forgotten issue, a Cephalopod illustration by Shasta and a tentacle in space I did. 




Beware the appendage's needle





Speaking of the end, this brings us to our fifth and final story in our August, 2015 PENTAQUARK issue.  Veteran author John Shirley contributes his sixth original story to our venerable webzine, a searing black satire called Where The Market's Hottest. This time, through our contacts and with help from the ever scheming Nano Armada mysteriously guiding the development of our webzine from the distant future, we managed to get award-winning Ukraine illustrator Serhiy Krykun to provide the infernal artwork for John's topical story.  Thanks to John Shirley for continuing to trust and support our ragtag webzine. And a most grateful and extreme Thank You to our comrade in arms from the Ukraine's literary scene, Serhiy Krykun who knows how to wield his pen of many colors like a hyperkinetic weapon trained on the bull's eye of our imagination.  You have truly met and then surpassed expectations with this particular illustration, as you usually do in all your artistic pursuits, Serhiy! I do not feel I am over stating it when I say I think it's a triumph.    







The image of the damned businessman grimacing in hell with an infernal metal dollar sign apparatus wedged in his mouth really goes well with our overall theme here of being a free venue where brave authors with more than a little rock and roll coursing through their veins may provide a host of readers and an even smaller group of aspiring writers with equal shares of inspiration and entertainment in the form of written tales of terror and wonder. 


Let it serve as a quiet reminder to those among us with more affluent aspirations that the lure of money, while necessary for us all to pursue our livings here in our modern society, may come with a startling price should it cultivate in one's heart the excessive need for increasing amounts of it even in the face of some of its side effect's uglier consequences both to our minds and the very environment which strives to support them.  Remember to stop and smell the roses every once in an odd while and give something of yourself to this ever elaborating contemporary world we've all found ourselves bound within. 




Once again, a sincere and heartfelt Thank You goes out to Al Attanasio, Shasta Lawton, Misha Nogha, Will Ferret, Owen R. Powell, G. Alden Davis, Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking, Serhiy Krykun, and John Shirley for leaving a hard-earned, reflective piece of yourselves up here in the easily accessible archives of the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.     


Until the next issue manifests itself woven of the seemingly chaotic interfaces between a growing cadre of like-minded fellows braving the ever increasing temperatures of a world we have pushed so hard it has no choice but to react with natural hostility against our encroaching dominion right here in an environment where natural selection continues to balance itself against a biological war whose constituents sync up with the most unusual and unexpected allies we could imagine throughout this profound and diverse planetary empire.  


Look deep into the Sunstone of your mind's eye and realize we are all set up to be harmonized within the natural spirit of this super magnetic creation that we've all somehow been summoned to participate in.  Right here and now working together on this planet we constantly leave our impact both in small individual ways and in a larger collective manner. That is why we may rest assured.



The FREEZINE Will Return
In Another December


If you or anyone you know 
would like to submit a short
story or longer tale to serialize
in daily installments in a future
issue of the FREEZINE of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, email a query for
your story to be considered as a possible
entry in our growing online creative webzine

freezinefantasysciencefiction@gmail.com

And an editor will get back to you in due time. 
Same thing for you artists out there who
may feel they could contribute their
strange visions to an odd story 
or two, email us at the long
four word gmail up there.
Thank You all of you 
who continue to
support the







Saturday, August 29, 2015

WHERE THE MARKET'S HOTTEST

by John Shirley









“Air conditioner’s broken again,” Clarke  observed, quite unnecessarily.

“Chalk up another deduction for Sherlock Holmes.” Eli Henderson was well aware that the air conditioning in the ChemiTex skyscraper was broken. He knew it wasn't wise to use that acerbic tone with Clarke Kroch, who was the CEO's brother. The Kroch brothers were a pretty tight unit. But Eli's shirt was clinging to his back; his hair was pasted to his forehead as he walked beside Clarke Kroch down to the conference room. Sweat burned Eli’s eyes, and so did the glare from the big panel window they passed, the picture window overlooking the city below. No movement of traffic down there. Just a kind of vague writhing through the haze, the murk...

Though the sun itself was hidden behind haze—the orb seeming smeared, blurred out by the membrane of clouds—its harshest radiance seemed to burn through, right into Eli’s retinas. A mix of pollutants from the refineries, car exhaust, and evaporates from the Gulf produced the haze, and it seemed to him that the murk never quite cleared up in this part of town. He really needed a vacation, away from Houston, somewhere cool, and cleanerCanada maybe.
They turned the corner, saw whited-haired Al Kroch, Chemitex CEO, at the other end of the hall. Kroch was heading for the same conference, looking vaguely depressed. The older man’s tie was loosened, and he carried his blazer over his right shoulder. 

Seeing Al, Eli experienced a rippling feeling and with it a strong sense of déjà vu. The long hallway, the tired older man hooking his coat over his shoulder, tie loosened, sweat marks under his arms...

Hadn’t he seen that same thing, Al coming toward him exactly that way, countless times?   No, that wasn’t possible. Most days the air conditioner would be working, and Al would be cheerful, he’d be natty, wearing his jacket, very buttoned down. Eli shouldn’t have seen him here, like this, before. It wasn’t Al’s style. Déjà vu was some kind of illusion in the brain...

But he felt it again when he stopped at the door to the conference room, facing Eli—who’d also come to a stop.  Clarke, too, hesitated beside Eli, gently swinging the metal briefcase that seemed almost permanently attached to his hand. Clarke was never without that briefcase. Had he carried it on his honeymoon with Lorraine?

They just stood there, the three of them, a bit awkwardly. “After you,” Eli said, smiling, mocking the curious awkwardness. 

Al shrugged. He didn’t move. He just kept staring at Eli. 

Eli cleared his throat. “How about this air conditioning? I mean—how many hundreds of millions of bucks did this building cost? Only fifteen years agoI remember when it opened. We were all at the ceremony. Well, except Clarke—he’s just a kid.”

He grinned at Clarke—a younger man, it was true, but not really young. Forty-seven. Clarke smiled pensively back at Eli and glanced nervously at Al Kroch. “So—” He licked his lips, and seemed to speak with great difficulty. “so who’s going in first?”

“Same as always,” Al said, swallowing. There was a dull resignation in his voice. 

“You...” Eli licked his lips, trying to remember what their meeting was about. Ohthe lawsuits. “Clarke...you bring...bring those risk assessments?”

“Got ‘em right here...” 

Another ripple went through Eli. They’d had that precise exchange before, exactly the same, sometime, hadn’t they? 

Clarke...you bring...bring those risk assessments?

 Got em right here...

“Ha, whoa, what a feeling of...” Eli’s voice trailed off when he saw the stricken look in Al’s eyes.

“Don’t say ‘déjà vu,’” Al said, almost pleadingly. “Just don’t say it. They laugh when you say that.”

Eli stared at him. “Who laughs?”

Al opened his mouth to reply—then a kind of dullness swept over his features. He shrugged. “I...can’t remember.” He cleared his throat again. "I...I  wanted to see that design for the new website...before Clarke and I meet with Senator McConnell...before the..." His voice trailed off.

"Oh yeah, that's coming. I got the designer on it." The Kroch brothers were enthusiasts for astroturfing, putting up websites that looked like grassroots stuff but was actually designed at the behest of the Kroch brothers, to support people like Mitch McConnell. Big campaign contributions for McConnell and Boehner coming up, too. Find a way to camouflage as much money as possible before they decided how much to pay to the PACs and...

But did the election matter?

What a strange thought. How could he wonder that.

 Al Kroch put in dreamily, “Well. We’d better...head on in. To the meeting.”

He led the way, Eli followed him, his heart sinking. It was even hotter in the rectangular conference room. The farther end had its own wide window on the city. The skyscrapers looked a little warped by the thick haze. 

Eli reached up to loosen his own tie, then remembered he’d taken it off completely. “Gosh it’s warm in here. I don’t feel dressed without my tie, but...”

Rand Clemmons was already there, at the foot of the oval brushed steel table, frowning over papers, occasionally glancing at a laptop. He was a heavyset man, with a wide mouth, weak chin, big eyes—a froggish face. He sat hunched over the paperwork, shirtsleeves rolled up. Eli could smell the man’s sweat. There was a rancid undertone to it, like a dead thing.

Rand tapped the laptop. “Damn thing...” His voice was always surprisingly high pitched, to Eli’s ear. He had a pretty sharp New Orleans accent. “...just does not want to work...”

“Can’t get a laptop to work?” Eli said, trying to kid him. He sat down to Rand’s left. “You were the technical whiz kid Al snatched up right outta MIT...and you can’t get a laptop to work!”

“I’m a chemical engineer, Eli,” Rand said, his voice whiny, as he jabbed at the keyboard. “Not an IT engineer goddammit...”

Clarke, who was more computer comfortable than the other ones, came and glanced over Rand’s  shoulder. He seemed taken aback by whatever he saw on the laptop. “What the hell. What kind of a screensaver is that? Boy, what a picture. Looks like that’d hurt, all right.”

“It’s not a screensaver,” Rand responded, in his irritated whine. “Must be something off the wi-fi. Might be from a computer virus. It just...appeared.”

“Look at all the teeth on that thing. You try rebooting?”

“Yeah!” Rand snapped. “Of course! But...I can’t even seem to get it turned off. Never mind.” 

Rand slapped the laptop shut. “I’ve got everything here in these papers. Lord it sure is hot along here...”

He opened the second button on his shirt, showing part of his tee.

“Don’t you open that shirt anymore,” Eli said. “We’re likely to faint if you do.”

Rand shot him a savage look. “You think you’re funny. You always think you’re so...”

Abashed, Eli looked at Al, sitting at the head of the table, his turned back to the window. The blurred cityscape behind him seemed to quiver and dance, as if the buildings were gelatinous. Must be the heat...

“Why can’t we get the air conditioning fixed?” Rand persisted. “Al? I don’t ask for a big bonus every year. But some air conditioning don’t seem unreasonable.”

“Hell, you get a bonus anyway,” Clarke muttered, sitting down across from Eli.

“I get a moderate bonus! And all I ask is working air conditioning...”

“And you get stock options,” Al growled. “Now just...shut up. We have to get with the routine.”

Eli looked at him in puzzlement. The routine? That wasn’t something he’d usually say at a meeting. The thought prodded Eli with a nagging feeling that there was something important he’d forgotten. Something he couldn’t quite remember; as if that steaming haze outside was fogging up his memory.

Al took a deep breath, put his elbows on the table, clasped his hands—almost as if he were going to pray—and then said, “Let us...” His lips twisted. “Let us...review the material. In preparation for the deposition...”

Clarke opened his briefcase, handed a sheaf of papers to each man, as Eli looked around. “Where’s Louise? And Grace?”

Clarke glanced around in confusion. “Aren’t they supposed to be here?”

“She resigned,” Al murmured, to himself.  “Resigned...I’m resigned...she resigned...”

“She resigned?” Eli shook his head. “I don’t remember...Why did she...”

Then it was as if something unseen gripped Eli by the throat. A voice whispered in his ear, Follow the protocol. Do as usual. Stop fighting. Play nice.”

Eli gasped for breath. “Yes...”

The pressure on his throat eased. He looked at the papers dazedly. The fog curled in his memory... It seemed to him the edges of the papers on the table were curling up, like wet leaves drying out in the heat...

“We...We could cancel this meeting,” Rand said suddenly, in a strained voice. Eli glanced up at him—saw rank desperation in the froggish face. Rand licked his thick lips and went on, “No air conditioning. Not healthy. Eli’s having trouble breathing. Might be asthma. We could...postpone it.”

“Asthma!” Al said, his lips buckling. He laughed bitterly. “Or emphysema. Or...lung cancer. That what you mean? Lung cancer?”

“No, I...” 

Then both Rand and Al began to wheeze. Eli thought he could see hand-marks appearing on their necks. 

“Okay...” Al gasped. “Okay!”

They breathed more easily and looked hastily down at their paperwork. 

Play nice...

Al looked at the papers Clarke had given him and scowled. “Hexavalent Chromium’s association with cancer is undoubted. What the hell’s this?”

Eli, as head of marketing, knew what he was supposed to say to that. “Who says it’s undoubted? We could challenge the basis of the science on that alone—there’re always doubts...”

Clarke shrugged. “It’s thought...the firm thinks...we need to make as small a settlement as possible, and insist that just because we manufactured the stuff we didn’t expect people to have real exposure. They’re supposed to be cautious around it. Of course some of them didn’t know they were exposed to it... that’s...” He wiped sweat from his eyes. “...what their lawyers say.  But we can argue that they should have known...”

“But the point is,” Eli said, “that we didn’t know, and that’s what I’ll...what I’ll imply. Without really getting into the...the research...” He had just seen the paperwork that showed that ChemiTex had in fact known that the chemical used in so many industrial settings did in fact cause lung cancer. And that employees exposed to it were not informed as to how dangerous it was. “What about this other part of the suit—this propylene glycol business...I mean, how can they sue us for more than one chemical at a time?”

“In some cases,” Clarke said, peering at the paperwork, “the same people were exposed to two cancer-causing—”

“Allegedly cancer-causing,” Eli corrected him. “Or anyway, in small enough amounts...I mean, you know, there’s some disagreement about how much is safe but as far as we knew...”

“Page seven, Eli,” Clarke said, sighing. “God, we really need the air conditioning back on, this is crazy. Multibillion dollar company and we can’t even...Can’t we get a swamp cooler, for god’s sake, or...how about a fan?”

“We don’t have time for that,” Al said. “We need to get this resolved. We have a deposition to do.”

“How about some water?” Rand said, his voice ever whinier. “We could call down for it. I checked the fridge in the conference kitchen—empty. Fridge wasn’t even running. Couldn’t even find a working water fountain...”

“I tried calling down to secretarial for water, right before the meeting,” Clarke said. “Someone I didn’t know answered. They said sure, sureand then they just laughed. Need to get their asses fired...”

“We could meet somewhere else,” Eli suggested. “Somewhere cooler.” 

Al shook his head. “Stick to the routine,” he growled. “Pretend you don’t notice the heat.”

Jeering laughter came from the window behind Al. That’s how it seemed, anyway—that someone, or something, on the other side of the big window behind Al was laughing. 

It really was getting hotter in the conference room. Just hotter and hotter. The air was wavering in front of his eyes. There was a strange smell in the air—as if someone were cooking vomit.

Got to get out of here.

He glanced toward the door. Why not just get up, and walk out? What was keeping him here?

A titter of laughter from the window...

“...and that’s not all,” Clarke said. “There’s a new lawsuit—about the PCBs at that school.”

“We didn’t tell ‘em to build a school there,” Al said, mopping his forehead with a kerchief. “The idiots.”

“We sold ‘em the property, Chief,” Clarke sighed. He took off his jacket, laid it sloppily on the table beside him. Steam rose from it. “And when we signed, we said it was safe...”

“I thought we did some kind of...abatement there,” Al said, clenching his fists.

“Just the first few inches of soil. The PCBs went down way deeper than that.”

That déjà vu struck Eli again. Just the first few inches of soil. The PCBs went down way deeper than that. He remembered those exact statements from Clarke. From the last time they’d had this meeting...

No, not this meeting. One like it. Similar. Not the same meeting. Not possible. 

“You know,” Eli said. “Kids get cancer without the help of PCBs. They didn’t manufacture those chemicals in, what, the 15th century, but people got cancer then.” His words seem to bounce around in the room, as if it were an echo chamber. It was an echo, really. Reverberating over and over...

“Right,” Clarke said. “But the risk factors...” He shrugged. “Their lawyers—and their scientists—will argue that we increase the risk of the cancers. And now this new EPA—they’re harping about how most of our new chemicals aren’t even tested. They’re planning to require full testing...”

“Let’s focus on the problem at hand,” Al said, wringing out his handkerchief. Sweat glossed his face. The table was slick with sweat, around each man. Steam rose from the metal in wavering columns. 

On impulse, Eli reached out and touched the steel table—and snatched his burnt fingers back.

Laughter warbled from the windows. Or was that from the broken air vents?

Clarke seemed to take a deep breath. He closed his eyes a moment, then opened them and said with more determination, “Look—in the long run we could lose out. That’s my take as company counsel. If we keep suppressing... uh, spinning, whatever you want to call it...the data on carcinogenic chemicals, it could just lead to prosecutions and bigger fines...”

“Fines!” Rand snorted. “They fine us a hundred thousand bucks, so what, we make billions keeping these chemicals in the marketplace. That fine we paid for the Georgia Pacific thing in Floridafor the St Johns River...nothing!”

Clarke nodded, wiped sweat from his upper lip with the back of his hand. “But still—we could lose billions in lawsuits. I mean there are millions of chemicals—we could do a lot more research, find out what the safer ones are for those applications.”

“Research costs money,” Al said. “Maybe later.”

Research costs money. Maybe later. Eli had heard that exact phrase before. He had heard it in this very room...

 “See,” Clark went on, with a note of desperation. “If we could say, in court, that we’re looking for safer ones...”

“So go on and say it!” Al said. “Maybe we’ll find some. Sometime. Right now we got to ask ourselves, what market’s hot? We’ve still got a very hot market for BPA, for plastic liners. Now, they claim that way down the line it’ll cause breast cancer, lot of other problems—Hell, we’ll be retired by then.”

That last remark actually shocked Eli a bit. He almost spoke up. But he didn’t.

Eli never did speak up, never challenged Al...

“But look,” Clarke persisted. “They’ve got that whistleblower—he showed them our research on BPA, our own research showed it can lead to breast cancer. So that means we knew...and if we knew and kept making the stuff. When lots of people die from it—and they claim it’s a lot of people—it’s going to hurt us in court, and hurt us bad...”

“We’ll pay the price,” Rand said, shrugging. “Damn it’s hot in here. We’ll pay whatever fine, whatever settlementstill won’t cost us as much as we’ll make on sales to South America. They don’t have a clue about the stuff down there. We’re still selling them DDT for...for God’s...”

He wants to say For God’s Sake, Eli thought. And for some reason he can’t.

Laughter pealed from the window behind Al again. Eli glanced toward the window—and stared. The city was hidden—the whole skyline was concealed by a writhing wall of smoke. 

“Oh my God,” he said, standing. “I think the building’s on fire!”

Al nodded with dreary resignation. Sweat dripped from his forehead, onto the table. The sweat sizzled when it hit the table. The room rippled with heat. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse. “Almost over, for this one. Gotta try not to forget. If I could just pray. But they won’t let me...”

Now the smoke outside the window was split by flame, attenuated flames of red and blue, licking past the blackening glass. The window glass darkened—and began to melt. The papers on the table burst into flame.

Clarke screamed and pointed at the back wall. Eli turned to see the wall darkening. In the middle of the dark patch a glowing red spot was expanding. Yellow flame flicked up from the glowing red spot, eating away at the wall. The flames grew, consumed the wall, lapped at the ceiling. 

Eli stood, knocking over his chair. He wanted to run but his feet felt so heavy. He managed to turn with great difficulty toward the door—he stalked toward it, lifting his heavy feet up with an enormous effort at each step, as if they were encased in blocks of concrete.  So hot. Smoke spread, choking the room. He was afraid his clothing might ignite from the heat. The soles of his shoes were melting, sticking to the floor, he had to struggle to pull them free.

He stopped a pace from the door—and saw that it was only a painting of a door. There was no actual knob—just an image of a knob. The door was just a two dimensional image printed on the wall, undulating in the heated air. He reached out to it, brushed his fingers on it...flat. Just the blackening wall... 

That laughter again—he was afraid to look toward its source. But he did. He saw the roaring oven that the window had become, and the striated lines of sooty flames had formed faces, bodies, leering and laughing...hands of flame…

They were reaching for Al, who was sitting on his chair, sobbing. And Al waited for them to enclose him in their blazing embrace, as they had so many times before. Their fiery arms enfolded him, and he arched his back with agony, and began to burn. A soul doesn’t burn quite like a body—it’s never quite consumed completely. Al became a living coal, shaped like 
Eli’s boss—and then became Al again, and then a coal again...over and over, writhing, screaming, imploring, his pleadings blotted out by the ever increasing volume of demonic laughter.

How many years ago? How long ago had the original meeting been? The meeting they were forced to relive, over and over...

It didn’t matter. There was no time here, really. There were sequences of events, when the demons willed it so. Like film loops, a loop that started again the moment it ended...

Rand screamed, as the demons embraced him, and Clarke, looking at the ceiling, shouted in a cracked voice,  “I’m sorry! I tried to talk them out of it—I tried to change their minds!”

But you never left the company, Eli thought. None of us did.  We didn’t work to change the policy. We didn’t blow the whistle, we just kept playing along. Ironically, Clarke died of cancer  fourteen years after that meeting. Al died of a heart attack a year after that. Rand was killed by some thug in a boy-prostitution bar during a vacation in the Dominican Republic. And me, I shot myself—I remember it now—when my fourth wife left me...

What a relief it had been to pull the trigger. Boom! And blessed silence. 

But the silence didn’t last. Footsteps in that hallway, walking along with Clarke. And then...

The oven that the conference room had become was dark with smoke, red with fire, the flames everywhere, each one sprouting a gleeful face, snapping jaws, the jaws reaching for Eli’s head...

Eli didn’t bother to scream. There was no use in screaming. He opened his mouth and no scream came out as he undulated with agony. The burning went on and on...

Walking along in that hallway...and the air conditioner had been broken that day, the day they’d sold the last feeble flicker of their souls...

~ ~ ~

“Air conditioner’s broken again,” Clarke observed, quite unnecessarily.

“Chalk up another deduction for Sherlock Holmes...” Eli Henderson was well aware that the air conditioning in the ChemiTex skyscraper was broken. His shirt was clinging to his back; his hair was pasted to his forehead as he walked beside Clarke Kroch down to the conference room. Sweat burned Eli’s eyes, and so did the glare from the big panel window they passed. The picture window overlooked the city below. No movement of traffic down there. Just a kind of vague writhing through the haze, the murk...








 PENTAQUARK 

 ISSUE 














Friday, August 28, 2015

THE MEMORY SECTOR

by Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking








Commander Sergeant Major Mike Mitchell opened his eyes as he lay wounded on a hospital bed. He clutched at a bandage which covered a gash on the side of his stomach. His head throbbed and he felt the tightness of a bandage wrapped around his brow. 


A woman’s voice said to him, “Careful…don’t touch your head.”

“Huh?” Mitchell said, sounding confused.

A thin woman stood over him, checking his eyes for infection. The woman was Dr. Emily Kendrick and despite the fact that she was suffering from lack of sleep, she was compelled to stay strong on an Earth raided by an outlandish intelligence.

“Your head still has scars…refrain from touching them.”

Mitchell looked at a dissection table with an alien organism placed inside a metal pan. He approached the table examining the foreign specimen. Mitchell placed his index finger lightly against the tiny needles protruding from the surface of its tentacle.

“You might want to keep your finger away from that,” Kendrick said.

“Why?”

“Because there are still toxins inside the body.”

Mitchell yanked his hand away from the immobilized organism. “This damn thing itches,” He said touching the bandages around his forehead. 

“Don’t touch your bandage,” Kendrick said.

“But it itches.”

“It doesn’t matter. The scars are healing and picking at them will infect the wounds.”

“What the hell happened to me?”

“You were held captive, Mike. You were captured by Mindmelders. We had to infiltrate their compound to retrieve you.”

“You mean I retrieved you,” A stern voice said from the doorway.

Mitchell and Kendrick looked and noticed Sergeant Major John Schessow standing in the doorway with arms folded against his chest.

“Thank you,” Mitchell said. “Thank you for doing that.”

“Do you remember anything? Schessow asked. 

“Only fragments. The rest is like I was asleep. It’s all a big black blur.” Mitchell rubbed his eyes. “I need a drink.” 

“Drink?” Kendrick said. “You’re serious?”

“Yeah…missions over for now…time to soak up my sorrows, bub.”

“Don’t you want to see your son? He’s been asking about you since we released his Mindstem.”

Mitchell paused in the doorway, turning back with a look of confusion. “Son...? I don’t have a son.”

“It’s the after effects of the Mindstem.” Schessow said. “The Mindstem must’ve really poisoned your brain. The poison forces gaps in the memory of a human host. You honestly don’t remember your son?”

“I never had a son,” Mitchell said, utterly confused. 

Kendrick and Schessow glanced at each other. 

“What about your wife?” Kendrick said. “Do you remember her?”

“Wife? I never had a wife and I’ve never had a son.” Mitchell formed a look of agitation. “Sergeant, what is this? Why are you asking me these stupid questions?”

“Caroline Mitchell was your wife. You called her Carrie for short.”

A forlorn look formed on Mitchell’s face. “I knew a woman named Caroline once. But that was years ago. Her name was Caroline Newlander.” There was a lost look in his eyes. “We would’ve been married, but our careers came first. I wanted to go into space and she went off to get her masters in astrophysics. Only we never got a chance to follow our goals and dreams. I suppose it’s just as well. Once the invasion began, I never had the time to regret the mistake that I made.”

“But she was your wife,” Kendrick said.

“Was? What do you mean was? Where the hell is she?”

Kendrick turned to Schessow. “He doesn’t remember.”

“Caroline was killed a year ago.”

Mitchell’s heart sank. He had lost her a second time and didn’t even know it until now. He tried hiding the feeling of doubt with a stern emotionless mask.

“How did she die?” Mitchell said, clearing his throat.

“You were able to free her from a Mindmeld enslavement camp. We tried to surgically remove a Mindstem which was attached to her head. She immediately died once it was removed. You never did quite recover from her loss.”

“How come I don’t remember any of this? I don’t even remember my own son.” 

Mitchell paused, taking a moment to catch his breath. “Where is he? Can I see him?”


“He’s this way,” Kendrick said in a soft tone. “He’s in recovery.”

Mitchell followed Kendrick into a recovery center with rows of beds. Most of them were empty and a handful of the beds contained rescued prisoners who were still unconscious with Mindstems attached to their scalps. The bed at the end of the row contained a child who sat upright and was drinking from a glass of water held by a medic.

Mitchell looked at the boy and was at a loss for words. What would he say to him? He didn’t even know the boy’s name. Had his mind been this broken that he didn’t know what his life had been like before he was Mindstemmed? Would his own son even recognize him?

“What’s his name?” Mitchell whispered. 

“Christopher,” Kendrick responded.

“Thanks, I just don’t know what to say to him.”

“He likes to play catch.”

“Catch?”

“Yes, you know…baseball.”

Mitchell nodded with a somber look.

The little boy waved at his father. Mitchell approached the boy and sat next to him. The boy hugged Mitchell who found it hard to return the affection. He had so many unanswered questions about the boy. 

“I would say this is a happy occasion but Mitchell doesn’t even remember his own son,” Schessow said.

“I can try to give him more sedatives but I doubt that’ll help him. The Mindmelders did something to him.”

“What do you think? The Mindstem erased all of his memory?”

“Not all of it. He still seems to remember us. But who’s to say what the toxins are doing to his mind. We really don’t know that much about them. We’ve been too busy fighting and hadn’t really had the opportunity to study them. They are superior to us, wiped out our cities, took half of the human population captive and placed them under Mindstem control.”

Mitchell couldn’t help but look at the Mindstem which lay dead in a metal dissection pan. Its body contained twelve legs, six on each side with little claws at the end which release the toxin into the brain once it’s attached to a human host. 

Mitchell gazed back at the boy and said. “I didn’t think...” He paused, clearing his throat. “I didn’t think you were alive.” A tear came to Mitchell’s eyes as he touched the boy’s face. How was it that his own flesh and blood was sitting next to him? Before the Mindmeld insertion he had never even met this boy. But he had clear thoughts about the past and how he left Caroline for a career in space.

“How’s your head feeling?” Mitchell asked. 

“It only hurts if I touch it,” Christopher responded.

“Well try not to pick at your head wound.”

There was a moment of silence until the sound of shattering glass filled the area. Kendrick and Schessow ducked for cover while Mitchell sheltered his estranged son. An organism the shape of a sphere crashed through the room and lay on the ground and began to breathe.

“Dad, what is it?” Christopher said.

“Don’t come anywhere near it!” Mitchel said. 

The organism uncurled itself and now the body was surrounded by tentacles which contained tiny needles at the bottom of each appendage. Its dark green body was covered with moist slime and each side of the organism’s frame contained gills which were used for breathing.

“Dad, is it alive?” Christopher asked, unable to take his eyes away from the creature.

“I think so. Just stay back.” 

“We can’t just stay here and gawk at it,” Schessow said. 

Schessow reached into his holster, pulled out a Barreta 92 hand pistol, and aimed it at the Mindmelder. He fired the weapon which forced the organism to spring to life. The Cephalopod rapidly slithered across the ground and up the wall. Schessow continued to aim his gun at the creature. 

“Sergeant-Major, you can’t be serious. You’re not going to kill that thing with a hand gun.” Mitchell turned to Dr. Kendrick. “Take Christopher into the other room.”

Kendrick nodded and took the young boy. 

“What about my dad?” Christopher cried out.

“He’ll be alright. It’s not safe here,” Kendrick told the child.

Mitchell reached into his holster, grabbed for his gun, and aimed it at the creature. The two men stood underneath the organism as it continued to cling from the ceiling. The Cephalopod produced a hissing sound.

“I think you pissed it off,” Schessow said.

“I don’t care. These things abducted my son and they’re holding more human prisoners. I want it dead.”

The Mindmelder fell to the floor and scurried across the ground.

“Damnit. It’s heading into the other room!”

Mitchell and Schessow continued to fire at the creature but the bullets only slowed it down.

“The son-of-a-bitch is still moving!” Schessow shouted.

Schessow immediately grabbed the knife from the holster strapped around his leg. He leapt onto the Mindmelder’s slime-covered frame and rapidly rammed the sharp blade repeatedly into the creature’s dorsal area. The Mindmelder opened its mouth, regurgitating a dark purple substance while producing a bellowing noise. The Mindmelder slowly died. 

Schessow staggered off the carcass. He stood for a moment, catching his breath.

“You okay?” Mitchell said.

“I’m gettin’ too old for this horse crap. But I’ll be damned if I was going to let that…thing Mindstem your son again.”

The sound of alarms swept through the installation.

“What the hell is that?” Mitchell shouted.

Mitchell and Schessow looked out the barred windows. An army of Mindmelders had broken into the compound. Their Cephalopod-like tentacles were attacking the infantry soldiers.

A loud thump was heard from the other room, followed by Kendrick’s scream. 

Mitchell’s adrenaline ignited and he darted to the other room with Schessow following behind. 


Mitchell felt his heart skip a beat when he saw Kendrick sprawled out onto the ground. He kneeled to check her pulse.

“Is she alive?” Schessow asked.

Mitchell nodded. “I feel a pulse.” 

Schessow sighed. “She’s lucky she didn’t get Mindstemmed. These little pricks are sneaky.”

Mitchell looked around the room. “The boy,” he said. “Where the hell’s the boy?”

Schessow shouted, “Christopher!” startling Mitchell.

“John. The Mindmelders will hear you.”

“You think they’re inside?”

“I know they’re inside. I gotta find the boy before they Mindstem him. I’ve only known the damn kid for a few seconds and I’m already worried about him as if he’s my own son.”

“He is your son.”

“Then why don’t I remember him?” Mitchell took in a deep breath. “Man, I just need some time to sort this out.”

Schessow smacked the doctor across the face and it took her a moment to open her eyes. She tried to sit up but blood began to disgorge from an open wound on the side of her stomach.

“Careful. Don’t move. You’re bleeding,” Schessow said. 

Kendrick looked at her wound. “Oh, god!” 

“Have you seen where they took Christopher?” Mitchell asked.

Kendrick shook her head. “The last thing I remember…I was knocked out by The Mindmelder.”

“You’re lucky you weren’t Mindstemmed.” Schessow said. “Where’re you going?” He asked as he noticed Mitchell leaving the room.

“I gotta find the kid,” Mitchell said just before exiting.

He entered an eerie and darkly lit corridor with only the distant sound of gunfire heard from outside. The sound of Christopher’s scream suddenly forced his heart rate to ignite with intensity.

Mitchell ran toward the corridor as he saw the silhouette of the boy run across the hallway.

“Christopher?” He shouted. 

Mitchell darted into the hall and spotted Christopher standing in the midst, his left arm held behind his back. The expression on the boy’s face looked completely primeval and a red glow flickered in his eyes indicating that he was truly under the hypnotic trance of an alien force. Mitchell had the feeling of hopelessness as he noticed the boy was now a human host to an estranged alien organism controlling his consciousness.

“Christopher,” Mitchell said. “Can you hear me?”

The boy responded with only a grunt.

“Christopher, what’s behind your back?”

The boy snarled like a wild animal.

“Christopher, goddamnit boy…talk to me!” 

The boy pulled his hand away from his back, revealing a knife. 

“Christopher...what have they done to you?”

The boy charged at Mitchell with the knife raised high in the air as he produced a blood curdling war-cry. The boy tackled his father to the ground. Mitchell fought for his life as the knife's edge came ever so close to his throat.

Christopher’s strength was unnatural for a boy his age. It was a real struggle as Mitchell felt his arm muscles strain and he nearly felt the urge to give up and accept his fate. But Schessow came to his rescue and pried the boy away from Mitchell, shoving the child to the ground.

“You okay?” Schessow asked.

Mitchell couldn’t speak. He looked at his son who was now more or less indifferent. disenchanted look formed in Mitchell’s eyes. It was difficult for him to cope with this whole situation. The fact that he gained the knowledge about his estranged son just a little over an hour agoand now his own flesh and blood had tried to kill himsent chills shivering down his spine.

“Hey!” Schessow shouted.

Mitchell snapped out of his trance and looked away from the boy who lay motionless on the ground. 

You okay?” Schessow asked. 

Mitchell nodded, “I’ll live.”

“Come on. We gotta get out of here.”

“But my son…we gotta help the boy.”

“It’s too late for him. The Mindmelders are attacking the compound with full force.”

“What about Dr. Kendrick? Where is she?”

“There was nothing I could do. I’m sorry…she’s dead.”

Suddenly, throughout the installation an alarm was heard, and a flashing emergency light shined through the corridor. 

Mitchell and Schessow ran outside to assess the situation. They noticed the Mindmelder’s army of Mindstemmed soldiers attempting to climb over the fence protecting the perimeter. 

The roar of a tank was heard as the large vehicle tore through the fence.

“Oh my god,” Mitchell said. “What happened? How could we have let our guard down?” 

Mitchell knew all was lost as he saw many of the human soldiers overpowered by the invading army. But he was distracted as he caught a glimpse of his son scurrying off in the distance.

“Christopher!” Mitchell shouted.

“He’s gone Mike…accept his fate.”

“I can’t...I can still help him.”

Among the chaos, a voice slurring “Help me” was heard as a soldier lay injured beneath the rubble. Mitchell ran to the soldier’s aid. The young man’s name tag read Private Steve James. He couldn’t have been a day over twenty. 

Sergeant-Major Mitchell,” The young soldier said in a faint tone. “I need your help.”

Mitchell didn’t know the young soldier from Adam, but he tried to hide his mental state of confusion by helping him out. Mitchell couldn’t bear the thought of any more human combatants succumbing to the forces of the Mindmelders.

“Give me your hand,” Mitchell said.

Private James held out his arm, wrapping it around Mitchell’s shoulder. Mitchell shouted to Schessow, “John! Help me with this kid!” They were carrying the injured soldier when suddenly the ground shook. 

A large Mindmelder standing nearly a hundred feet tall moved into the compound. Its tentacles operated as legs which supported the creature’s massive frame and allowed the giant Cephalopod to move across the terrain. 

Mitchell noticed objects skidding across the Cephalopod’s massive framework. 

The monstrosity seemed to produce these objects from holes embedded in the surface of its skin. It took Mitchell a moment to realize that the objects were indeed Mindstems slithering from the creature’s body and seeking human hosts. An army of Mindstemmed humans marched into the compound, firing their weapons, attempting to injure the soldiers who were protecting their installation.

“We’re outnumbered!” Schessow shouted.

“No shit,” Mitchell responded. “Now help me grab this young soldier.”

The two men helped carry Private James to safety until Mitchell felt the burning pain of a gunshot wound in his leg. The embedded bullet forced him to collapse onto the ground. Mitchell had no idea what hit him. He looked up at Private James who now had a bullet wound to the head. Schessow ducked for cover but was immediately compressed under a heap of falling concrete.

Christopher stood nearby like a soldier made of steel. A Mindstem was attached to his scalp, using his body as a host, controlling his intellect. He had once again fallen victim and was now under the spell of The Mindmelders. The organism on the back of the boy’s scalp gave off a blue radiance indicating that the boy was being operated like a puppet.

Mitchell couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw the boy looking at him, aiming the gun point blank at his face. Mitchell’s own gun was less than a foot away. He made the attempt to reach for his weapon even though he knew his action might provoke the boy.

“Christopher, let me help you!” Mitchell shouted. “If you are truly my son you’ll let me help. We can remove the Mindstem.” 

Mitchell meant every word he said as blotches of Christopher’s early embodiment came flooding back into his memory. It brought him even more pain to recognize his long lost son revealed under the influence of an alien intelligence.

How could these recollections exist? Mitchell thought he remembered his ill-fated romance with Caroline, and going their separate ways in pursuit of their own careers. The event seemed to occur in a different life, before the invasion and before the world had befallen into a dark, haunted cesspool. If he didn’t know any better he would have thought that this reminiscence was a different outcome from an alternative reality.

Christopher gave Mitchell an emotionless stare which sent chills tingling down his spine. The boy pulled the trigger but there was only the sound of a click. 

He tossed the weapon aside and grabbed Mitchell by the throat and began squeezing until every last ounce of breath was cut off. Mitchell gasped for air and from the corner of his eye he noticed Schessow’s inert body under the heap of rubble, before losing consciousness. 

The world around him seemed to shut down as he surrendered to his fate. He felt trapped, and could only hear the sound of his own voice repeating, “Christopher!” 

The name resonated through the dark passage of his cognizance.

Mitchell repeated the word aloud. He shouted the name just before he opened his eyes, his teeth clenched. His head throbbed as a Mindstem dug its tiny claws deeper into his brow which allowed the organism to inject more venom into his brain. 

Mitchell looked around and noticed the Mindmelders examining him inside a white sterile laboratory. They spoke to each other in alien dialect. But for some reason he knew what they were saying.

If you alter their perception and take away what they truly love the most, it makes them more vicious and turns them into better killing machines. We need superior soldiers for our invasion to become more successful. They must act human and blend in and think like the enemy. It’s basic military strategy in order for us to conquer their race.

When Mitchell awoke, the only form of emotion he felt was aggression. It was surging through his mind due to the venom. The look in his eyes expressed that he was a killing machine. 

The lead researcher sedated Mitchell with a serum. He was now at ease. The aggressive super-soldier contained no ounce of emotion. He was merely a drone, waiting to carry out its mission to invade earth. There were thousands of human bodies with exposed muscles restrained onto examination beds. Mindstems were attached to their scalps. Epidermis created from genetic engineering was slowly growing onto their frame.

Mitchell was a single legionnaire in an army of a thousand cloned combatants bred to look and think like the enemy. He was fully aware and like the rest of the army he had no ounce of benevolence. He was strictly a killing machine.

The lead Mindmelder examined the escalating army and watched their cognitive input manipulated on monitor screens near their beds. This input was being inserted into their mental images to give the illusion of having loved ones lost to make the soldiers more vengeful.

The lead Mindmelder turned its tentacular body and moved through the massive eugenics lab. The plan for their empire was in development, and the training took place inside their memory sector.















Click Below To Read  
WHERE THE MARKET'S HOTTEST

Illustrated by 

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.)