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Monday, November 9, 2009


by G. Alden Davis


If there is danger in glimpsing an unknowable truth, dear reader, I say put this manuscript down and back away. Treat it’s unthinkable teachings as pools of lava or quicksand and skip over them as you quickly pass, intact. It has often been suggested by the thinkers of our time that the human mind lacks the ability to assemble all it knows. That seeming weakness is in truth our greatest blessing. We are protected by forgetfulness. We are shielded by dreams and hope for something greater. We are kept from the great horrors of existence by the inability to add it all up. The Big Picture eludes us to our benefit; the bright colors of day are matched by the clinging black of night. Every joy ends in screaming. Every gain is equaled by loss.

It is not without some jeopardy that you hear this tale, and from the outset I should say that a modern person such as yourself will undoubtedly have some trouble accepting it as truth. You sit amongst the structures of civilization within the bright of a normal day. You stride the earth’s surface as its seeming master, unaware the hidden hierarchies established long before your line began. It is within this more ancient region we will travel as we follow the trail to truth.

If you have come for mere entertainment, then again, recant yourself from this tale for it will surely not satisfy. Dismiss yourself now, that I may take those who already know; the value of story is in the moving towards a conclusion, rather than the capture of a tidy and moral end. We will capture nothing tonight, only lure out curious beasts that stalk beyond the reach of our communal light. We will not own them as trophies, but instead prize their memory, their mystery.

We will be glad to not know.

Such things as are told herein do not fit in your world.

They have their own realm, one of lost direction, missed chances, deep pools of shadow and narrow natural formations. This place is known to only a few remote souls who can dare to distance themselves from everything--conveniences certainly but also more basic things. Water and company, the sound of other voices and the feeling of fresh ideas are all scarcities. One trades those things for the open sunlit sky and a clear window to the stars at night. The open range and ragged hoodoo horizon are a wealth of spirit that comes with being here, being alone, being among.

The silence here hums a subtle song to itself, and only those of such slow pace can chance to hear a stanza, never more, of this unbearably lost cadence. In such a flattened place, time passes differently. It has been said that time and space are parallel lines that meet, and here on the hardpan it has never shown so clear. Without the forests and hills to add structure and pace, time spreads flat across the playa, slowed to a crawl, with pools forming in the slightest unevenness of a regular horizon. Men have sought such barren badlands for solitude and escape since the first runaway set foot to the sand. History is rife with tales of outlaws who escaped both justice and fate in equal parts once they found the right place.

Progress covers the globe in metal a foot thick. Within our own American countryside, only the deserts and wastes are left more or less alone. Perhaps it is some poison that afflicts the very soil in spots, a stain that drives even nature away.

Within the flats are hidden slots that barely reveal a feature to the open air. The narrowest of cracks in the redrock flats can lead down into tight mazes of eroded rock and choking time. The twists and sculpted forms, illuminated by refracted and frozen light, hidden so slightly away from the seldom-trodden central basins are but one of the marvelous deceptions the region has tucked away.

There is a spiritual badland out here, offering nothing to life in the way of shelter or nourishment. No seeds take root. Any that do are torn away by the savage climate of these lost or forgotten lands.

Those native to the west share tales of such things; lies that the desert tells, tricks that it plays, and even songs that it sings, to warn or to lure. In every case it is a place of super nature, where worlds of strange design meet and meld. Drawn by the quartzite in the rock and sand, beings from very distant points visit to congress with mankind.

Visible to the intrepid, who brave the flats and slots, are rock panels carved with the images of these strange beings. In a growing number of cases these images are the last thing explorers see before succumbing to terrible thirst or heat.

Yet none of this is brought to light in brochures of attractions or travel agent pitches. There it is a brief nuisance, passed over with scarcely a comment. The long hot highways that do cross it are merely an excuse to turn up the air and speed, open it up and race for the next, leagues-away city.

The American Wasteland, the high desert of the continental southwest, has become a spread of lonely signs on ever-widening spaces. Most signs out here, and there are not many, are unkempt, inaccurate, and dangerously out of date. Population signs announce ghost town inhabitants to those who slow long enough to read. Numbers that were generous in the town’s heydays are now much closer due to dying things being drawn there for ages.

The deserts of southwest America offer much of that shattered frontier; harsh landscapes, dusty wastes and endless Martian redrock. There in the lands between the Midwest and west coast lie the most intemperate and unforgiving folds of earth anywhere. Deemed a burden to exploit for riches beneath the skin, this land was then left forgotten, like a skull turned to stone by the sun. Early explorers, being sailors by trade, called these giant crags ‘reefs’ after their oceanic coral counterparts. In truth, and unknown to men of those days, the whole of the Great Basin was once an ancient sea, making such an analogy wholly appropriate. There are times in the deep night, after one has sped for hours across history’s dried seabeds, when a reef will loom out of the dark. Enormous and powerful in passing, the sharp shapes suggest dorsal fins and teeth to a tired mind and jerk such a driver awake.

It is to these barren and blasted places our path will lead, away from your green New England hills, once the subject of their own dark love of crafted myths, dark no longer in the light of cities which never sleep. The American coasts are each thriving models of opposing progress, showcases of new ideas and new objects. The mysteries and horrors have fled inland, much as disease never strikes at the edge. Just as it is always that central soft tissue that is attacked, it is always some spot at the end of a long and twisting trek, that spawns such terrible suffering. Monsters crawl from caves.

The New England hills and odd, backwater towns have long since disclosed their secrets. Even places with names like Dreadwich and Harkam, once so deeply drawn in shadow that it seemed night most times, have become whitewashed boardwalks and perfect, painted homes.

Progress pushed in from the sea and inadvertently forced the shadows that survived to escape. In the least it was a monstrous migration to lands less trampled by men. Yet however distant and spread, these lands were already claimed by their own native myths, and the arrival of strange ones made for a crude and unquiet binding.

It is time to commit, reader. Choose now. Follow me on this journey, from the familiar settings of your tranquil abode, out into the night of unreason, towards uninhabitable places painted gold by a frozen sun. Or refuse to play. Put down the tale and go seek lighter fare in the company of others, and laughter. Should this walkabout lead into the darkness you may long to hear your own.

I first came to know those foreign hills and wild, unlivable lands much by accident. Faced with a stretch of unemployed freedom, I decided to drive cross-country and absorb what I could of the states. The first few days were mundane as I left the city. Every year it seems another day is lost to the extrication of oneself from the system, and more effort is required to make that break.

On day five I raced across the uncurved horizon from Kansas to Colorado and slammed headfirst into the Rocky Mountain Range, seeming all the steeper due to the last four days of flatland.

Most key moments in my life have come at the golden time between afternoon and evening and this was no different; there on the curved ribbon of asphalt that wound razorwire through sidewinder pass, I hit a high point. Of course it could have been the elation of having a month ahead of me. There in the sheer golden glow of sunlight bent by ancient granite slabs I had a moment that seemed like a fire inside me lighting. Something connected and seemed clear. I was on a path to something magnificent.

Hours later I was cursing along that limitless black stretch of asphalt. It tears across America like a constrictor breaking its victim’s bones in order to accord the swallow.

All day I had been humming at high-speed, air conditioning roaring against that angry flatland sun, and with the onset of the evening hours casting the west in gold, I gladly rolled down the window and rested my elbow on the sill as I drove. The air remained warm, but had dropped considerably in a very short time. As it brushed and whipped at my hair, I could catch the occasional hint of sage, and the distant, deeper musk of night.

Moths began to appear, most swirling in self-destruction before the relentless stare of my high-beams. Through the rush of wind I could detect an odd chittering, as if a great many crickets were performing in tandem for the arriving silence of sleep. Their harmony seemed somehow strange of tone, though I am no stranger to the sounds of insects, being fascinated by them since childhood. But somehow, with those I was hearing there was a distinguishable difference, though vague enough to elude description save that it left me just barely shaken, somehow the more nervous in my solitude on that limitless road.

The prospect of a hotel in this void of vanishing sand and emerging stars seemed an anachronism in what was a primitive, ruined land. Should I have seen one, a dash of neon far up on the flat, I surely would have discounted it as a mirage.

Often I think of what a different chain of events might have occurred if only a few elements of that night were altered. If the scalding sun had not drained my strength, taking with it my normally sharpened senses, or if I had ordered black coffee instead of dark beer at that far-distant truck stop.

Whatever the case, I soon found that the occasional grit which blew in the wind acted as surely as the sandman’s legendary tonic, and I was forced to pull off for what I believed would be a brief and mundane nap. I saw a dirt track heading off to the left, to the south of my westward path. I nodded even as I signaled, with no driver in sight, and pulled off the blacktop to sleep for an hour or two.

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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
appearance in the Freezine of
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
usually keeps moving. The story
Noetic Vacations marks his first
appearance in the Freezine.

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
Pre-Calculus -With Zombies.

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
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

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

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
Blogger and his poetry is hosted on Livejournal.

Nigel Strange's

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

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.)