banner art above by Charles Carter

Monday, November 19, 2012


by Sean Manseau

Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war! - Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1

A quarter mile of steep dirt road ran from Highway 9 up to Shepherd’s cabin, and he took it slow, enjoying the crunch of fresh snow under his pursuit car’s tires and the sharp tang of pine wafting through his open window. To the right, occasional breaks in the forest framed the soaring Sacramento Mountains. Shepherd was thinking he could take Nicholas up to Sierra Blanca next weekend. Teach the kid to ski. That’d be a good timefamily time.

Family...six months ago family seemed a gift fate had denied Shep and his wife June. The boy’s arrival had changed that. He’d brought a whole new kind of happiness into their lives, and for that they owed him. Shepherd was looking forward to making good on that debt.

This pleasant reverie lasted until Shep rounded the corner at the top of the driveway and found two unfamiliar vehicles parked next to his wife’s beat-up orange Bronco. A ’74 Country Squire station wagon, tan with wood trim, and a Ford Econoline cargo van, enamel blue. Both with government plates. CYFD stenciled on the side of the van. CYFD was Lincoln County’s Children, Youth, and Families Department.

“Well fuck me,” Shepherd muttered. He killed the ignition and sat there listening to the tick-tick-tick of the cooling V8 engine, squeezing and releasing the steering wheel rhythmically, telling himself to relax. He and June had known this moment would come. Maybe it had caught them before their preparations were complete, but that was no reason to panic.

“Because they aren’t taking him,” he told his reflection in the rear view mirror.

“Alright? They just aren’t.” He shoulder butted the door open, climbed out of the car, put on his uniform’s Stratton hat.

Shepherd had been doing better than eighty when he spotted the boy walking along Rt. 54 in northwestern New Mexico. By the time he’d decided he wasn’t just seeing things, he’d already gone a quarter-mile past.

Late May, gold poppies blooming, temperatures already breaking 100 degrees almost every afternoon. A kid on his own in the middle of the desert. Shepherd, six feet three inches of State Trooper in jackboots and jodhpurs, got out of the car to wait for him. The boy just scuffling along, his red denim overalls gone gray at the cuffs. His blond hair was plastered dark at the temples, and his face was pale, with patches of hectic color in his cheeks.  Maybe on the verge of heat prostration. But as he stopped about six feet away, he didn’t look scared, or even relieved. Expectant, maybe.

“Bit of a hike from here to Carrizozo,” Shepherd said, taking off his mirrored aviators and giving the kid what he hoped was a reassuring smile. In fact, it was almost twenty-five miles to Carrizozo, and a good twenty miles back the other way to Tularosa. To the west stood the barbed wire fences of the White Sands Missile Range. To the east there was nothing but sand and scrub brush for days. “What’s your name, son?”

“Nicholas,” the boy said.

“Well, Nick, you want to tell me how you got way out here on your own?”

The boy shrugged. “They dropped me off.”

“Who did, your parents?” That there were people who had kids and didn’t give two tin shits about them made Shepherd want to hawk up and spit in the dust.

“You know what kind of car they drive?”

The boy shook his head.

“You eaten today?”

Again no.

For the moment, Shepherd decided to let it go. He sighed and went around to open the cruiser’s passenger door. “Well, climb in. I might have something left from my lunch.”

Except he didn’t. All he had were the crusts from his sandwich and a thermos of watery ice coffee. Not the kind of thing to offer a what, a ten year-old? A good-looking kid, but skinny. Shepherd decided to make sure the boy had at least one good meal in his belly before he was abandoned to the horror of New Mexico’s foster care system. June’d be happy to set an extra place at the dining room table.

Right now he ought to offer the kid something, though. Take his mind off things. Shepherd sat in the driver’s seat, considering, then reached past the boy to pop open the glovebox and pull out his secret stash. “You like comic books?”

He handed the boy issue #39 of Captain Marvel, ‘Ba’al Shar and the Gate of Infinite Tomorrows’. Shep also had The Fantastic Four, Namor the Sub-mariner, and Jonah Hex. He’d loved comics since he was a kid. Brought a stack with him to Vietnam, where they’d helped keep him sane. He hadn’t seen any reason to stop reading them now that he was a Trooper.

On the drive Nicholas had pored over the Captain Marvel book. He kept it rolled in one fist while he ate, went to sleep on the living room couch with it under his cheek.

June fell in love with the child at first sight. After dinner she joined Shepherd on the porch swing, a sweating glass of lemonade in each hand. At this altitude the desert evenings were usually cool, but tonight the air was almost sultry. Meteors were dropping behind the Sacramentos like white hot sparks.

“Poor thing, he just looks so exhausted,” she said, handing Shep his drink. “Lyle…do you have to take him to Las Cruces tonight?” Las Cruces was where the CYFD kept wards of the state. “Can’t we let him sleep here?”

Shepherd frowned. “We do that, I’ll be in for an ass-chewing. Sgt. Newkirk is hell on procedure, you know that.” But when she tipped her face away to hide her disappointment he put a finger under her chin to draw her back. “Hey, I don’t mind. Newkirk’s bark is worse than his bite.”

“My hero,” she grinned, and kissed him.

As Shepherd sat with his arm around his wife and watched Sierra Blanca’s snowline burn orange and pink in the sun’s last light, he thought, That kid needs a family. And immediately after: Why not us? Both of them well north of thirty, married for nine years next April. There had been too many mornings when he pretended he hadn’t heard June crying in the bathroom over the onset of her period, him lying in bed, wondering if it was his fault. Maybe it wasn’t the usual way, but if the Lord sent them a child to care for, who were they to question His wisdom?

When Shepherd left for work the next day, Nicholas was still asleep in the guest bedroom. At the State Police barracks, Shepherd had checked the teletype: no missing persons report had been filed for a boy answering Nicholas’s description. He kept checking, every day for a month, and then it just sort of fell by the wayside. Now somehow it was six months later, and Shepherd was thinking he might be in some deep shit.

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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
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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
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Rain Grave's

Rain Graves is an award winning
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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
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-
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(an industrial-ambient music label) and
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label), and was proprietor of The Abyss
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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.)