banner art above by Charles Carter

Thursday, November 19, 2009


by G. Alden Davis

It came down on them in a shower of rattling, the rustle of metal and feathers. Its thunder was the pounding of feet, it screamed like a giant, dying eagle. This call ended in a deep-throated growl. Everywhere shone with golden light, which reflected from where I dared not look, from whatever came down the hall and stood rattling before the two men.

There was a whisper of Spanish and the swish of a sword missing its target. An instant of silence followed, filled by an explosion of sound. The screeching eagle and roaring growl burst out and took on a lethal life of their own. The shatter of breaking glass and dying human despair mixed in the overwhelming din. The vicious roar and ferocious light went at the men like a chainsaw hollowing pumpkins.

I went to my knees and shook into the corner, hiding from the monstrosity that churned only feet away. If this were a vision from the remnants of the poison, then it far surpassed any nightmare I had ever been part of. Surely my mind would short out before rendering these scenes on its own? Madness grinned as my only retreat.

The chorus of thunder-calls, satisfied with its wet work, roared and jangled back up the stairs. The shimmering light receded. Only the dripping quiet remained with me in the dark. I was determined to stay there, curled in the corner, forever. It felt like I did.

After a while the faintest of moonlight made the bare angles of my surroundings navigable. Nothing had moved outside for hours. The copper smell of blood soured the air, but the dripping had stopped as the stuff had thickened on the steps.

These were steps I would need to navigate if I hoped to escape this charnel tomb. I looked out and up, seeing the faint doorway hundreds of feet up the thickly coated stairs. Near the top, bodies lay dismembered in a cruel pile, bloodless and without face. Staring at the distant doorway, I placed a foot forward over the remains and began to climb.

There were things like loose bricks laying scattered on the steps, but I gave them no heed at the time. In hindsight, had I then made the connection, much of the bloodshed and terror which followed could have been avoided. Instead my careful footing became swifter as I neared the outside, the above-ground.

Up and out I fled, into the mission’s central chamber, where the soft moonlight cast cobalt shadows, and dust from my haste formed swirls in the beams. My panic clenched before I could rush out the door, into the full stare of the moon and anything else. I stopped short and crept to the edge, peering out from a point I hoped invisible.

Outside was bright with buildings set fire; every structure was ablaze. Even the mission, I noticed behind me, was burning. There were black splashes in the sand, and more sinister shapes sprayed on the rocks. One large boulder, about waist high, had darkness pooled on its flat top. There were echoes of violence everywhere, and I wanted to leave. This canyon was a dead land, a hollow not only of stone but of soul.

Where could I go?

I had been lost in the desert for days.

I had fallen into a delirium following a sting from an unknown desert bug. In the time since I was bitten, the effects failed to burn off with sleep, exercise or fear, and I was certain that the night must have ended several times. There was the night of the drum circle, and just tonight the full moon brought bloodstorm revenge to a place stained by greed and the worst of men’s tortures.

On some occasions I had been unconscious during daylight hours, a void brought from injury and poison and a plunging fall underground. Now I was dizzy but not dreaming. Lengths of stark lucidity and the need to speak things aloud would be broken by deep silences and vivid hallucinations. I glanced back at my path in the sand to find my footsteps shrinking away too fast and coiling snakelike around the dunes.

The night could last forever. I would watch as the horizon slowly ate up the stars, returning them row by row to the other, invisible side of the world. There were always more stars, however, they spread without end.

My admiration for nature intensified and focused, until I felt the very core pattern of things in my heartbeat. I shone with this newfound connection, this powerful oneness. My eyes ached with the information I had forced through them, as if the pupils could not come to terms with the photon’s bounce. I saw the unbroken pattern of wind-washed sand fanning from horizon out and knew in a flash of the plan.

Then time returned with a pop and all that mattered was getting far away from this ruined hollow, going out and away from the remnants of slaughter and far from the native vengeance. I wanted to hide from whatever creature had killed those people, maybe even get back to my car and get out of here for good. I could report it to the local Sheriff, make a guess on the map, but I could never find this place again.

Wasn’t there something about the car though? Was it out of gas? Flat tires? I distinctly recalled an issue with driving out. My memory had areas of greyness and fog, and most of my arrival I couldn’t recall; the day I awoke in the blistering heat, baking in my car seat, was more like a dream or a movie half slept through.

Some of it was clear, but unreal, distorted. I knew that within a half-mile of the car was a dirt road, leading to one made of gravel, then on to a paved highway. I could get there on foot, hitchhike to the nearest town, and get a tow for my car. I could retrace my footprints in the sand. I went back to the stairway to look for a torch, and remembered those drenched in blood at the bottom of the slick stairs.

Putting a foot into the dark passage, I heard a whisper clear from halfway down the stairs. It was a pleading, final sound. It rang of the grave.

I chose to find a torch out on the surface, and returned to the door leading out.

The yard remained still save for the flame-induced shadows which haunted patches of the ground. I searched for signs of a bear or other animal, hoping that the violence required in the acts evidenced around me did not find their origin in a human source.

Overhead, the moon had lessened in size, but remained almost where it had been for hours. It struggled slower than I knew the moon to, but I ignored it in favor of finding a torch. I broke a flaming plank from what looked like an old water-trough.

The ghost-town wood burned fast and bright, and with my torch, I set out away from the mission at canyon’s end.

I hiked down the wash that led away from the mission, putting the blood and violence to my back. I struggled to remain focused on the path ahead, fought to keep out the memories of their screams. I watched the torch’s perimeter for the telltale glare of an animal’s shining eyes and increased my gait. I saw nothing but sage and cactus in the folds of the canyon walls until perhaps an hour later, when the channel forked on two dried creek beds. Both passages were half as wide of where I stood, and ran deeper into the rock. The twisting slots tickled at my memory. I chose one and headed into the oppressive maze.

The moon was setting, but if not for its waning light then travel at night through the region of narrows would have been impossible. Thin crumbling ledges and precariously balanced boulders were commonplace; pitfalls, drop-offs and sheer cracks appeared in unexpected places.

Certainly dawn lay just over the horizon, held back by the force of the stubborn night. In the last hours of darkness I squeezed deeper into the labyrinth.

At 50’ up there was a small ledge where I could perch out of reach of the growing waterfall. I knelt in the rain, shivering against the foreign sensation of cold. I had been burning in the sun for so long that I was caught between soothed and shock.

Blistered skin on my shoulders drank in the moisture, pain and relief came at once.

Enough dust had settled in my hair that mud ran down my face and stung my eyes. I pushed my head close to the falls and washed off in the torrent. The sense of shock wore off, replaced by a cooling relief. I would not die of thirst in this lost, western world.

A guttural sound spilled from my open mouth as I gulped in air and muddy water. My first drink in days went down with a garbled choke that I later recognized as laughter. I marveled at the alien sound and the feeling of elation that accompanied it. Surely I would have died without this gift from the sky. A moment of clarity rushed in, and for a flash my mind was free of madness.

In my mind I saw the car, somewhere out in the desert, its glass blazing like a jewel stuck in the sand. It was far away, to the west and north. I was not lost, after all. The car was out there, all I had to do was return to it and then reach the road.

Still splashing and drinking, I wondered how I could ever have cursed the rain. Why had the coming storm seemed so ominous? It was, after all, my ally in this waste.

Crouching on a shallow ledge, I drank first from cupped hands and then straight from the waterfall. I was delirious in the rush, elated in the present and unable to fathom further. I slung my arms through the cascade, watching the splash as my fingertips threw bright drops into the air. My strength was returning.

The solemn thunder was met by a rumble much closer, and the roar grew until it was a crashing truck, a derailing train. I looked up to see boulders, dirt and scrub boiling around the corner, up canyon. A flash flood was pushing this churning alluvium in front of its monstrous volume.

I leapt up and my arms began to claw for a handhold. Even before I could look away from the face of the oncoming flood I was climbing. My arms and legs pistoned without command. Up I went as the locomotive wall hammered an invisible wave of air towards me. Only my hands, jammed into the wet sandstone cracks, could get me above the splintering tracks of the flood's descending train wreck. As the crest stammered past, I held fast to the thought I was safe. Then a sharp trunk of juniper pushed out of the top of the boil, and it seemed the horn of a giant Taurus, a metamorphic Minotaur in the passages of peril. Then the pain came sharp and hard.

The tip of the sharpened branch rammed straight through my foot and snapped, piercing me like an arrow from top to sole. I screamed at the pain of it, it had ripped aside the ball of my foot as it pushed through, then yanked like a shark before snapping me off the cliff with that single tug. I went into the churn of boulders and sharps pinned to the trunk of an uprooted juniper as surely as if I’d been nailed to the wood, through my foot. My mind was bright with the screaming of raw nerves. I held to the tree like a lifeboat at sea, and despite my foot’s pitched angle, as the rain hammered down on the roaring rush I tried to remain afloat.

THE FOLD continues Monday with Part 9

Stay tuned tomorrow for
Carina Nebula Panorama
by shaun a. lawton

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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.)