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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


by J.R. Torina


Folding up the parchment map and stuffing it in my pocket, I picked up the heavy flashlight and proceeded into the gloom. To my left, hanging on the wall, was a bracket mounted at head level, holding a few torches, as well as what looked like flints. My uncle (or whomever) had a somewhat regular need to be here, which told me one thing: there must've been something down here, at some point. I picked up a torch, struck the flint against a rock placed just beneath it on the ground, and lit it. I decided to conserve the battery power in my flashlight, for the deeper depths of these darkened halls of earth. I noticed also that the rock on the ground where I struck the flint had many such markings on it, from other individuals that had been here in times past.

The walls and ceiling seemed to be hewn out of the underground earth by hand. As I walked down the dark tunnels, I wondered who dug them out, and why. I also wondered about how much manpower it took to perform such a task, if the vast network indicated on the map was to be construed as accurate. Perhaps, I considered, it may have been some power other than man.

I couldn’t be sure why, but I had a sudden, sharp feeling of déjà vu. This attack was so instantaneous, that it made not only my mind reel, but my entire body. Looking around, I saw nothing at first that could have triggered such an episode. The walls and ceiling were simple earth and rocks, the floor for the most part being dirt, with occasional large rocks in the ground, perhaps intended to be stepping stones. With the déjà vu passing, I proceeded again.

I removed another of the sardines from the resealable tin. Since I was certain that whatever I was destined to find, if anything, wasn’t going to be a beautiful nude woman waiting to sweep me off my feet, I continued munching on the fish.

The fact that torches were provided as well as worked down here meant that there must be some type of oxygen supply further ahead, which indicated that this claustrophobic tunnel did indeed lead to some other area along the coast.

Along the wall, I was beginning to see symbols. Some were etched or scratched into the rocks in the sides of the walls, while others were painted or drawn in crayon or chalk on the rocks or in the earth of the walls themselves.

As to what the symbols were and what they meant…

Some of them seemed to be glyphs or some type of alien writing. At first, I shrugged them off as some strange, ancient form of Hebrew or Greek, but then, it occurred to me that I had seen something like these before. I took out the map, and noticed that some of the symbols on it corresponded with what was written on the wall. Not sure what this meant as of yet, I continued on, making a mental note of them.


If my watch was any indication, a period of thirty minutes had already elapsed since I had entered the tunnel. Assuming that I had come at least a mile or so, I decided to make a marker for myself, just to be on the safe side. I drew a Roman numeral “I” on the wall, on the surface of a slab of shale wedged into it.

Pressing on, I saw that the artwork along the walls not only became more elaborate, but it also became more frequent. To my right was a mural painted onto the wall (which, I noticed, was made of stone now). The mural depicted what looked like a man in a black robe, with a head colored green, with tentacles emerging from the area where the mouth should be. It was that High Priest from the photograph that Mustus had shown me. Surrounding him on either side were beings, that walked like men, having two arms and two legs, but were green and scaly, like fish. These beings also bore the piscine features of fish on their loathsome heads, just like the photos I had seen at Mustus’ home. All along the edges of this mural were depictions of conches, shells, crabs, starfish--all types of deep sea life. These depictions in the murals were of goings on taking place under the sea.

Turning to my left, there was a mural that illustrated a castle of sorts, or fortress. This fortress seemed made of impossibly-angled architecture, and was huge in scale, compared to the whales, squids and sharks swimming about it in the painting.

I wondered to myself if anything like this might exist under the oceans. After all, mankind had only explored very little of the expansive seas, some depths being too dangerous for men to descend. It didn’t seem likely, but who knows…

Above this fortress, painted in red, were letters from the English language, though this arrangement was either totally foreign or nonsensical. This time it appeared to be an entire sentence. It read: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fgtagn”.

Glancing below the fortress, written in red in the sand depicted at the sea floor in the painting, was the translation: “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu lies dreaming”. Cthulhu? R’lyeh? Lies dead, but dreaming? What the hell? I thought I may have heard the name “Cthulhu” before, from the old man. But what is “R’lyeh”?

As a rational man who was interested in the darker things of life, I was, admittedly, enjoying this. As a practical man that thought he had mastered his particular field, I was somewhat agitated, not knowing anything at all about these matters. I also felt as if I should or did know, but somehow, was being blocked from remembering.

Not sure what to make of this swirl of thought entering my mind, I decided to carry on. For about another mile or so down the tunnel, to my left and to my right, mural wall paintings abounded. They displayed deep sea creatures, the likes of which I’ve never seen before; they showed Deep Ones, the “mer-men” that walked like men but lived under the sea; and they showed what looked like normal men and women having interactions of every kind with Deep Ones.

There were many murals of some type of giant “fish-god” deity, and more than one illustration of an even larger deity, the beast I had noticed earlier in the attic amongst my uncle’s old statues and junk. The being that was of titanic size, with bat wings and tentacles.

Was this the “Dagon” that Mustus had mentioned? Or perhaps this was supposed to be Cthulhu? I had wondered why yet again that sense of déjà vu had come over me, as I studied the grotesque details of these two beings.

I remembered Mustus speaking of a “Dagon”, and the Hall of Dagon in Innsmouth. He also mentioned that these Deep Ones were acolytes of this Dagon creature.

As for who or what this “Cthulhu” is (was?), I had no idea.

But based on the malignant statues I saw in my attic, what I glanced at as I perused those strange books earlier, and these marvelous yet terrifying mural paintings it seemed as though it was indeed something ominous and terrible.

The déjà vu still clouding my mind, I wondered why this mammoth being, in all of it’s infernal glory, seemed so familiar to me? I also wondered why I felt no actual fear, even though at first glance, this thing--even in statue and painted form--instilled fear and absolute respect at the same time within me.

Where had I seen this before? Surely not in any science fiction pulp magazine… But if not there, then where? As I pondered this, I became aware of something that I had not noticed earlier--water. I could feel a coolness, and indeed hear--running water. It was possible that an underground river lay ahead.

As I descended further into the darkness of the tunnels, I noticed that along the walls, the murals had stopped, and were replaced by an even more elaborate form of art--carvings out of the stone walls themselves.

As I stared in awe at the amazing yet horrific art carved into the very walls themselves, I also noticed that the floors were also covered--with the very same type of stone flags that my uncle had used to cover his cellar floor. I wondered if there was some connection; there most certainly had to be, considering his cellar was an entrance into this cryptic and mysterious realm.

The carvings on the walls depicted a ritual of sorts, step by step. The High Priest with the tentacle mask, a nude woman, and a Deep One.

Their macabre union that followed, and then some of the beastly “Dagon” again.

As I studied the carvings, I found myself stepping into an antechamber, which was round and about the size of the entire lower floor of my house. Everything was paved over in stone flags and all of the walls were covered in carvings of all sorts, from Deep Ones to Dagon to human men and women, in a great variety of blasphemous activities.

The center of the room was… the altar? Yes, the altar. Except this particular altar was for Deep Ones; this altar was a pool of water, it’s edges flush with the floor, yet having a decorative tile surrounding them. The area was covered in slime and water, as if there was some overflow here.

I also noticed that there was a tunnel, paved and showing elaborate carvings dead ahead on the other side of the altar pool. This was apparently the destination of that long, dark tunnel I had followed for an hour or so from the cellar.

My uncle, building tunnels, worshipping these Deep Ones?

I couldn’t quite believe it, but then, my uncle always was a little bit on the macabre side, much as I turned out to be. And my father had spent a lot of time here visiting, I recalled; before he went off to the wars.

I leaned over the edge of the pool, and peered down into the murky water. It was hard to see much by torchlight, but I thought I could see something down there. Possibly fish? I wondered. Turning the torch downwards, closer to the water, I saw a face staring back up at me from the depths.

With a sudden shock, I screamed out and I dropped the torch right into the water. Before it snuffd out against the surface of the water, it illuminated partially what was down there, for a fraction of a second, and that was long enough to know that it was sheer horror. A Deep One. One of those submariner horrors, like the one that I had seen chained up in the sump beneath the old man’s house.

I panicked, checking through my pack, fumbling like a madman, trying to find the halogen lamp that I had brought with me. As I did so, I felt a cold, wet claw grab hold of my ankle. The grip was like steel. The thing was trying to pull me into the water, under the water. Finding the flashlight, I turned it on, and shone it at the surface of the water. With a muffled roar of disapproval, the thing let go of me, shielding it’s terrible, bulbous fish eyes from the harsh, synthetic light, amidst a showering of air bubbles.

With the shock subsiding, I gathered my wits--and my pack--and began to retreat the way I had come. I made it as far as the beginning carvings along the walls of the hall, and turned back. I saw, to my horror, that this creature meant to have me, for it was rising out of that scummy pond. Webbed, slimy talons came up first, then that hideous face, in all of it’s piscine strangeness. Not wanting to see any more, I turned and started to run back up the way I had come down the dark hallway. This time I had the blinding light of the halogen lamp to lead the way, and pure adrenaline and fear to fuel my running.


Seeing the doorway at the end of the tunnel, I was panting and my chest aching from the arduous journey and the frightful shock I had just experienced. I stopped to catch my breath, thinking that something as large and cumbersome as a Deep One--literally a fish out of water--would never catch up with me. That’s when I heard that deep, throaty breathing, coming from not too far away, accompanied by a wet, slogging, shuffling sound. I turned to look behind me with the lamp; about ten feet away, there it was. Shielding it’s eyes again, it continued it’s shambling gait towards me.

Again, launched into action by pure adrenaline, I sprinted the last few feet to the door, fumbling with the locking mechanism. “Open… Open, damn it… Open… Come on--” I moaned. Opening at last, the groaning, heavy door gave way. I was quick to ooze into the house through the narrow opening, seeing Max on the other side, barking incessantly. I turned to look behind me, and there it was, an arm’s length away. And that’s when the beast just stopped. It halted and stood there, staring at me with an almost quizzical expression on its face. Giving in to panic and fear, I slammed the door right in the “face”--if one could call it that--of this beast, and locked the door with the key, hanging it back up where I had found it.

The creature pounded once on the door, then trying the handle again, seemed to give up. I could hear it’s heavy breathing and growling on the other side of the heavy wooden panels. Max, still barking, may have scared the thing, though I doubt it.

With my back to the door, I slid down into a sitting position, exhausted. I pulled Max over to me by his collar. “Good boy,” I said, petting and hugging him. He wagged his tail a bit, but still pulled away from me sooner than he ever used to, before.

Not sure what to make of that, I decided I had bigger problems than my dog acting strange. It’s not every day one discovers an underground ritual chamber beneath one’s home, and certainly not a pool that produces sea monsters. The thought of the thing, and it’s easy access to the door that leads into my home set me fraught with despair for the rest of the night.

It seemed that despite all this, I wasn’t too concerned, though. My curiosity was already returning, causing me to wonder why my uncle had done all of this, and just what his connection was to that area down there, meant for the worship and ritual of some aquatic beings.

I wondered if he had known of these beasts. How could he not? One doesn’t build a place of worship or ritual, without expecting something to happen, or someone--or something--to appear.

I also pondered why had the creature chased me all the way up the corridor, then stopped and just stared at me?

A distant sound came from down the hall behind me, heard dimly through the closed door: “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li… Vor’li’ka.” I started, hearing this piping ululation.

Nothing followed for the next few minutes.

Eventually, I decided that the thing had gone.

Somehow, that call--whatever it was--seemed as if it was directed towards me; by name. But, what does “Vor’li’ka” mean? I decided that I would go see the old man again tomorrow, and get some answers. Wiping the cold sweat from my face, I turned off the light, and proceeded back up the stairs, ready for a good night’s sleep.

Click Here for Part 9 of THE HOUSE IN THE PORT
by J.R. Torina

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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sean Padlo's

Sean Padlo's

Sean Padlo's exact whereabouts
are never able to be fully
pinned down, but what we
do know about him is laced
with the echoes of legend.
He's already been known
to haunt certain areas of
the landscape, a trick said
to only be possible by being
able to manipulate it from
the future. His presence
among the rest of us here
at the freezine sends shivers
of fear deep in our solar plexus.

Konstantine Paradias & Edward

Konstantine Paradias's

Konstantine Paradias is a writer by
choice. At the moment, he's published
over 100 stories in English, Japanese,
Romanian, German, Dutch and
Portuguese and has worked in a free-
lancing capacity for videogames, screen-
plays and anthologies. People tell him
he's got a writing problem but he can,
like, quit whenever he wants, man.
His work has been nominated
for a Pushcart Prize.

Edward Morris's

Edward Morris's

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.

Tim Fezz's

Tim Fezz's

Tim Fezz hails out of the shattered
streets of Philly destroying the air-
waves and people's minds in the
underground with his band OLD
FEZZIWIG. He's been known to
dip his razor quill into his own
blood and pen a twisted tale
every now and again. We are
delighted to have him onboard
the FREEZINE and we hope
you are, too.

Daniel E. Lambert's

Daniel E. Lambert teaches English
at California State University, Los
Angeles and East Los Angeles College.
He also teaches online Literature
courses for Colorado Technical
University. His writing appears
in Silver Apples, Easy Reader,
Other Worlds, Wrapped in Plastic
and The Daily Breeze. His work
also appears in the anthologies
When Words Collide, Flash It,
Daily Flash 2012, Daily Frights
2012, An Island of Egrets and
Timeless Voices. His collection
of poetry and prose, Love and
Other Diversions, is available
through Amazon. He lives in
Southern California with his
wife, poet and author Anhthao Bui.


Phoenix has enjoyed writing since he
was a little kid. He finds much import-
ance and truth in creative expression.
Phoenix has written over sixty books,
and has published everything from
novels, to poetry and philosophy.
He hopes to inspire people with his
writing and to ask difficult questions
about our world and the universe.
Phoenix lives in Salt Lake City, Utah,
where he spends much of his time
reading books on science, philosophy,
and literature. He spends a good deal
of his free time writing and working
on new books. The Freezine of Fant-
asy and Science Fiction welcomes him
and his unique, intense vision.
Discover Phoenix's books at his author
page on Amazon. Also check out his blog.

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

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. He has been
a Romantic poet for as long as any-
one can remember, specializing in
the composition of spectral balladry,
utilizing to great effect a traditional
poetic form that taps into the haunted
undercurrents of folklore seldom found
in other forms of writing.
His poetry has appeared on the pages
of such publications as SPECTRAL
CTHULHU, and a poem of his,
"The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner,"
won the Rhysling Award for long-form
poetry. His collection of weird balladry
and Jack tales, THE LAY OF OLD HEX,
was published by Hippocampus Press in 2017.

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff is the author of the
following books: Ring of Fire (Eraserhead
Press, 2018), Flesh Trade (co-written
w/Edward Morris; published by Create-
Space, 2017), Punk Rock Ghost Story
(Deadite Press, 2016), Amazing Punk
Stories (Eraserhead Press, 2016),
Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich (Eraserhead
Press, 2014), Hunting the Moon Tribe
(Eraserhead Press, 2011), The Vegan
Revolution...with Zombies (Eraserhead
Press, 2010), and Screams from a Dying
World (Afterbirth Books, 2009).
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.

Sanford Meschkow's

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

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's

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
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Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Owen R. Powell's

Little is known of the mysterious
Owen R. Powell (oftentimes referred
to as Orp online). That is because he
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Noetic Vacations marks his first
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Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)

Gene Stewart's

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

Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's

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.

Paul Stuart's

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,
if you'd like some thing from his garage. In fall
2010, look for Grade 12 Trigonometry and
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Rain Grave's

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

Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part
trainee supervillain. She lives in the UK
but dreams of the Old West. Her current
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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

BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
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G. Alden Davis's

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.
He's also the best friend I ever had. He
was taken away from us last year on Jan
25 and I'll never be able to understand why.
Together we were a fantastic duo, the
legendary Grub Bros. Our secret base
exists on a cross-hatched nexus between
the Year of the Dragon and Dark City.
Somewhere along the tectonic fault
lines of our electromagnetic gathering,
shades of us peel off from the coruscating
pillars and are dropped back into the mix.
The phrase "rest in peace" just bugs me.
I'd rather think that Greg Grub's inimitable
spirit somehow continues evolving along
another manifestation of light itself, a
purple shift shall we say into another
phase of our expanding universe. I
ask myself, is it wishful thinking?
Will we really shed our human skin
like a discarded chrysalis and emerge
shimmering on another wavelength
altogether--or even manifest right
here among the rest without their
even beginning to suspect it? Well
people do believe in ghosts, but I
myself have long been suspicious
there can only be one single ghost
and that's all the stars in the universe
shrinking away into a withering heart
glittering and winking at us like
lost diamonds still echoing all their
sad and lonely songs fallen on deaf
eyes and ears blind to their colorful
emanations. My grub brother always
knew better than what the limits
of this old world taught him. We
explored past the outer peripheries
of our comfort zones to awaken
the terror in our minds and keep
us on our toes deep in the forest
in the middle of the night. The owls
led our way and the wilderness
transformed into a sanctuary.
The adventures we shared together
will always remain tattooed on
the pages of my skin. They tell a
story that we began together and
which continues being woven to
this very day. It's the same old
story about how we all were in
this together and how each and
every one of us is also going away
someday and though it will be the far-
thest we can manage to tell our own
tale we may rest assured it will be
continued like one of the old pulp
serials by all our friends which survive
us and manage to continue
the saga whispering in the wind.

Shae Sveniker's

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
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Nigel Strange's

Nigel Strange lives with his wife and
daughter, cats, and tiny dog-like thing
in their home in California where he
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J.R. Torina's

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

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.)