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Friday, November 13, 2009


by Adam Bolivar

I am alone. I live in a farmhouse in the wilds of western Massachusetts. Loneliness is a condition that I have experienced for most of my life. And it is a condition I do not expect to change before my life comes to an end. But this was not always the case. There was a brief duration when I was not alone. It was during this time that my life changed forever. It was then that I learned my true nature. For I am cursed with a singular affliction, a disease like no other.

Every day I visit the centuried foundation of a house in the woods. I stand inside the ruin and drink in the oldness of the stones, the history of the place. Next to the foundation is a well, whose ancientness fills me with bliss. I stand near the well, but never too near, lest I am tempted to climb down into it. I am wary of that after what happened. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me start in Boston, where I was born, and where I spent my youth. Boston was a perfect place for one such us I, for of all the cities in this country it is the one most filled with antiquity. There is such a wealth of graveyards and churches to be found there! I used to run my fingers along the winged skulls carved into smooth grey slate; I sat in the white pews once occupied by men who wore powdered periwigs and proclaimed, “God Save the King!”

But merely visiting the old places was not enough. I began furtively stealing pieces of the past for myself: a chip of slate from a gravestone, a hand-forged iron nail from a church. And then I would sleep with these objects under my pillow and dream of times when my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents had walked the earth.

By morning, however, the antiquity would somehow be drained from the stolen object. It would feel as ordinary as something that had been manufactured yesterday, and have no power to inspire the dreams I craved.

I took to stealing larger and larger things. In the dead of night, I removed entire gravestones, and, crazed with delight, curled up with them in my bed like cold lovers. But even these prizes would lose their potency after a few days, and I would discard them like empty husks of corn.

Then, on my third-and-twentieth birthday, I received a letter from a cousin of mine named William, who lived in Shutesbury, near our family seat. The letter was brief, and after a few opening pleasantries invited me to come stay with him at his house.

The invitation was well-timed, for I was beginning to feel a sense of desperation at my nightly thefts, that I should be caught soon, and yet unable to stop myself. Perhaps a visit to the country was just what I needed to get a hold of myself. Though as a rule I am loath to use such a modern instrument as a telephone, I made a hurried exception to call William and finalise the arrangements.

The next obstacle was travelling from Boston to western Massachusetts. I was forced to purchase a ticket on a frighteningly contemporary omnibus, and forebear an excruciating two-hour journey surrounded by nothing but painful modernity and the vulgar stares of my fellow passengers. At last, the ride came to a merciful end in Amherst, and I found myself waiting in the November chill for William to arrive. It was not long before his automobile appeared, and with an awkward nod, he took my suitcase, and spirited me to his home in Shutesbury. Thankfully, William’s tastes also ran towards the old-fashioned, and the farmhouse where he lived dated to the mid-1800’s, an early enough vintage to keep me comfortable.

That night, however, my longings vexed me. I tried to resist the temptations of antiquity, but the craving overpowered me. I stole from my bed and crept outside into the moonlight, drawn inexorably to the ruined barn behind my cousin’s farmhouse. The barn was nigh upon two hundred years old, and exquisitely decayed.

I pried loose a pair of hand-forged nails from the doorframe, intent on smuggling them to my bedroom. But I was surprised in my furtive labors, and futilely attempted to secrete the stolen nails in my coat pocket.

“Richard,” said my cousin sternly. “What are you doing out here?”

“N-n-nothing,” I stammered. “Just getting some air. I was having difficulty sleeping.”

“What are you putting in your pocket? Some nails from my barn?”

“Of course not,” I lied.

William fixed me with his clear blue eyes and, guiltily, I turned away. He smiled kindly and clapped me on the shoulder. “No need to be ashamed, cousin. I too feel the longings for old things.”

“You do?” I cried, almost unable to believe my ears.

“It is a family curse, passed down to us from our grandfather. We are chronophages. Time-eaters.”

So there was a name for my affliction. Time-eater.

William sighed. “Keep the nails for tonight. But tomorrow I will show you another way to live. A better way.”

I followed him back into the warmth of the farmhouse. Settling into my bed, I put the cold iron nails under my pillow. Their antiquity was just enough to dull my craving, and I fell into a shallow, dreamless sleep.

The next morning, I accompanied William on a walk through the woods behind his house. The trees were barren, their denuded branches grasping towards heaven like supplicating hands. We spoke little and the silence was broken only by the sound of our feet crunching the dry, dead leaves.

At last we reached the destination to which William had been guiding me. Deep in the woods we came upon the stone foundation of a house. It was very old, doubtless from Colonial times, and the antiquity reverberated in this place like the echoes of a beautiful symphony.

My eyes lighted upon a stray scrap of lumber, a surviving fragment of the original house. Three exquisite hand-forged nails jutted from the jagged wood, and my fingers involuntarily moved to pry them loose. But William grasped my wrist and stared at me with those blue eyes of his.

“No,” he said. “You don’t need to take them. Just feel. Can’t you feel the antiquity all around you?”

He let go of my wrist. Instead of taking the nails, I resisted, and held my open palm above them. I could feel the waves of oldness flooding into me like the flush of warmth one feels after imbibing an excellent wine.

I stood that way for a number of minutes and then a most extraordinary thing happened. I could see the faint traces of the house shimmering around the foundation, as it had been when it was still standing.

The ghost image became more distinct, and I could see a man and a woman inside the house. The man wore a brown frock coat and knee breeches. He sat at a table drinking ale from a brass tankard and read a leather-bound edition of Plutarch’s Lives. The woman wore a bonnet and hoop-skirt, and sat at a spinning wheel, gently coaxing a thread from spindle to distaff as she spun her husband a new waistcoat.

William and I stood there entranced, watching the lingering images of this long-dead man and his wife for the rest of the day. I am certain he saw the same thing as I, although we never spoke of it. Finally, the sun sank low in the sky, and the bare-branched trees were casting grotesque shadows over the forest. William nudged my shoulder and broke my trance. The house vanished like a morning mist, leaving behind nothing but a stone foundation once again.

“We should head back,” he said.

Dumbly I nodded my affirmation. We turned to head back to the warmth of William’s farmhouse, and I realized that my hands and feet were numb from standing in the late-autumn chill for so many hours. Then I noticed something I had not seen before and stopped.

The low stone ring of an old well poked up from the ground next to the foundation of the house. I stared down into the hole and the darkness stared back up at me. Powerful waves of antiquity were drifting up from the well like fragrant smoke from an incense burner. I was transfixed, and stood staring down the well until William took my arm and gently pulled me away.

“What is at the bottom of that well?” I asked. “It feels very old. Very old indeed.”

“I don’t know,” he said, although he looked away, not meeting my gaze as he usually did. “Come now. I don’t think it is wise that we should linger here after dark.”

Reluctantly, I followed my cousin away from the well and out of the woods, where we retired to the sanctuary of his farmhouse for a modest meal of bread and butter and boiled potatoes.

Twice more we visited that house in the wood, and other secret places that William showed me. Each night I found it easier to fall asleep than the last, sated after a day’s immersion in old things. But on the third night, I was awoken by disturbing dreams. In the dead of night I heard a voice calling to me from outside. “Richard. Riiiichard! Come to me. I need you. Come to me now...”

Hastily donning my clothes, I stole from my cousin’s farmhouse, shutting the door quietly behind me. The voice was coming from the forest. Of course it was. And I knew just where it was leading me.

I found myself standing before the well. My legs had brought me there of their own accord. Just as they now stepped over the threshold and carried me down a long vertical tunnel of absolute darkness. My fingers and feet found protruding blocks of stone that served as steps, helping me to climb downwards into the unknown.

At last the narrow well opened up into a large underground chamber with a ceiling, walls and floor of stone. The protruding steps continued along the wall of the chamber, guiding me downward until I found myself at the bottom. It should have been pitch-dark here, but somehow there was a dim greenish glow whose source I could not ascertain.

And then I saw her. Standing before me was a woman dressed in the sombre clothing of another era: a black bonnet and black hoop-skirted dress that was tattered almost to shreds. The woman’s skin was pale and greenish, though I couldn’t tell if the verdant hue was her skin’s natural tint or merely an effect of the weird light in the chamber.

She beckoned me towards her, and I stepped closer, enchanted by her. She was beautiful. And old. Antiquity wreathed her body like a subtle perfume.

“Richard, no!”

The enchantment was broken my cousin’s urgent voice, which echoed around the chamber harshly. He scrambled down the steps and rushed to stand between me and the black-clothed woman. William was holding a silver ankh engraved with symbols I didn’t recognise. The woman skittered away from the ankh, holding her hands in front of her, as if the sight of it caused her pain.

William turned toward me. “Go back, Richard!” he shouted. “She wants to make you as she is...” Taking his eyes off the woman had been a mistake. She struck William’s hand, causing him to drop the ankh, which clattered to the floor with a metallic ring.

Not waiting to see if my cousin was following me, I flew up the steps, climbing back up into the darkness of the well. I heard William’s screams behind me, and I knew then that he would not escape. I hauled myself out of the well and lay on the ground panting, my breath misting in the cold night air.

I waited until morning, but William never emerged. His screams had stopped suddenly as I was climbing, and since then I had heard nothing but silence from the darkness of the well.

Fifty years have passed since that terrible night, and still I live in my cousin’s farmhouse by the wood. I never seek the company of others, only venturing to town long enough to purchase the necessities of life, and then returning immediately to the life of a hermit.

Every day I enter the woods and visit the foundation of the vanished house. And I stand before the well that sits beside it. The antiquity that bubbles up from the well refreshes me like a fountain of cool water in the desert.

One day I may climb down it again and join my cousin and that beautiful woman. One day I shall become as they are. But not yet. Not just yet. Back I go to the farmhouse at the end of another day.

~ ~ ~

Be sure to return Next Week for the continuation of
G. Alden Davis's uncanny descent into THE FOLD,
The Freezine Of Fantasy and Science Fiction

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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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
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(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
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ebooks, free weekly fiction and other
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Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth

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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
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
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J.R. Torina's

J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughter-
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(an industrial-ambient music label) and
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behind Scapegoat (an ambient-tribal-
noise-experimental unit). THE HOUSE
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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.)