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......MUTANT RAIN FOREST ISSUE........JUNE, 2016
Illustrations above by Shasta Lawton.

Be sure to Subscribe and Follow this blog to keep updated on the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. If you or a friend are interested in submitting your short stories or longer works for daily serialization in a future issue, please contact us at freezinefantasysciencefiction@gmail.com, and we will reply in due time. Thank you for your participation in helping to support this nonprofit creative writing platform. Don't miss out on the current issue featuring Sanford Meschkow, John Shirley, Brian Stoneking, Vincent Daemon, and Bruce Boston. Featuring art by Will Ferret, Jason Heckenliable, Kara Koma, Marge Simon, and Shasta Lawton.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I AM THE SUN: IV


by Sean Manseau


Nicholas sat down next to him and untied the strings of the portfolio. “Me and Shep collaborate on this.” He looked to June. “Is that the right word?”

“It is,” she said, smiling. To Price she added, “For the record I don’t approve of comic books. But boys will be boys, I guess. Whether they’re ten, or”—she smiled slightly at Lyle—”thirty-five.”

The pink-haired girl led Lawless to the couch on the other side of the coffee table. June, trailing a reassuring hand across Shepherd’s back as she passed, went into the kitchen to make them some coffee. Shep remained standing with arms folded tight, as the Bristol sheets of their unbound comic book were handed around.

“I draw everything,” Nicholas explained. “But me and Shep come up with the stories together.”

Page after page detailing the adventures of Hyperion, master of the forces that power the sun, and his sidekick Teslaboy, a prodigy of technology whose creations got him into terrible jams almost as often as they saved the day. Among his myriad other talents, Nicholas was a remarkable draftsmen, and Hyperion and Teslaboy unmasked were faithful renditions of Shepherd and himself.

The pink-haired girl, looking grim, turned a page around for them all to see and tapped a panel with a lacquered nail: Hyperion igniting and taking to the sky. “It says, ‘I am the Sun.’”

“That’s his catch phrase,” Shepherd offered. “Helps with the characterization.” June, returning with the coffee, gave him a withering glare. Shep grimaced in acknowledgement. He needed to look like an adult here, not an overgrown kid. But looking over their shoulders at carefully inked panels, he couldn’t help thrill at what he and the boy had made. The stories were uneven, but the stuff that was good rivaled anything Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had ever dreamed up. Sometimes when he and Nicholas were on the cabin’s rear deck, drinking iced tea and excitedly coming up with new plot lines, Shep got just the faintest sense of how it would feel to be Hyperion, a man with powers so great they’d all but burned away his humanity. It was glorious.

Duncan Lawless let out a surprised grunt and slumped back on the couch, one hand clamped to his face, while the other let loose a sheet of paper that the gangling youth caught as it drifted to the floor. The pink-haired girl leaned in to see as his eyes scanned the page, and then he breathed, “Holy shit, it’s her!”

They’d found Arcane, Mistress of the Dark Arts, a pin-up girl with a nimbus of white curls and a skirt slit high on one thigh. She and her husband, the super-powered soldier-of-fortune One Man Army, were locked in fierce combat, Arcane struggling to land a killing blow, One Man Army desperately trying to destroy the alien implant that was controlling her actions.

Tentatively, June set the coffee service on the table before them and then drew back to clutch Shep’s arm, puzzled and frightened. He raised a single eyebrow in response—he didn’t know what was going on, either. He was getting the bad feeling that these people were not who they claimed to be. But with Nicholas in their midst, Shepherd's ability to act was greatly circumscribed. He needed to get the boy back upstairs.

Price had tented his fingertips and pressed them to his lips. “Thirty years ago. He had it all planned out. I wonder if there are sketches of the rest of us.”

Lawless’s shoulders were shaking. The man was crying, Shep realized. What the hell—? “This issue was pretty good,” Nicholas said dismissively, as he collected the pages and slid them carefully back into the portfolio. “But the next one is gonna be boss. You want to hear what it’s about?”

“Certainly,” Price said, glancing around at his crew.  “I think we’d be very interested to know.”

“Well, the thing is, I was kind of stuck. Because I’d given the Avenging Furies—that’s this group of heroes that my main guy, Hyperion, leads—I’d given them this villain that was just too powerful.” Nicholas set a cup and saucer in front of Price, and then used both hands on the pot to carefully pour the coffee. “No matter what I tried, I couldn’t think of a way for them to beat him. A couple of them even got killed trying, which I felt bad about. But there are rules, you know? You can’t just make anything you want happen so there’ll be a happy ending. There had to be a way for them to win, though. Then I started thinking, well, if they can’t beat him now, what if they could time travel, go into the past and find out information that will help them beat him in the future? But the problem with that is—”

Lawless surged from his seat between the gangling kid and the pink-haired girl, clawing for the zipper at his collar. He shouted, “Cry havoc!” and in one motion ripped his black coveralls off. Underneath he was wearing a skintight body-suit, something one of those Olympic ski-jumpers might wear, and Christ, was the guy built, every muscle swollen and straining.

Almost faster than Shep could follow, he threw the coffee table aside to seize Nicholas from the loveseat and slam him to the floor among the television parts scattered at the foot of the fireplace. Nicholas screamed in pain and terror. And now Lawless had a gun in his hand, easily the largest handgun Shepherd had ever seen. The barrel alone as long as the man’s forearm, the muzzle wide as a screaming mouth, and pointed at the boy's blond head.

June screamed and lunged for them. Shepherd blocked her with his left arm as he drew his own weapon, a movement he had practiced thousands of times, had actually executed twice in the line of duty, but never, ever imagined having to perform in his own home. He bellowed, “Drop it! Drop it!”

“He knows, Cosmo,” Duncan said. He didn’t even glance Shepherd’s way.  “I don’t know how, but he does. Christ, he’s fucking with us, can't you see that?"

Shepherd shot him.

And missed. Except he couldn’t have missed; he was standing eight feet away, aiming center mass on a chest as wide as an oil barrel, his shoulder, hand, and gun sight in perfect alignment with his will. But he had to have missed, because when he fired, Duncan lurched backwards and hit the fireplace hard enough to dislodge the de Kooning print June had hung above the mantle, but he did not fall. He looked down at his chest, impossibly unmarked, then up at Shepherd.

And grinned.

A girl’s voice cried “Mind over matter!” and an invisible hand, soft and yielding as warm dough, but massive and irresistible as a construction crane, pinned Shepherd’s arms to his body and he was off his feet, accelerating to smash against the rough boards of the ceiling twenty feet above, then against the silver-framed daguerreotypes on the wall, then back against the piano.

“Enough!” Price shouted.

Shepherd slid to the floor, still restrained by that invisible hand, concussed and trying to suck air back into his lungs. His nose had broken against one of the lodge’s rafters and blood was trickling down the back of his throat. He was vaguely aware that June was close by, screaming in rage. But his primary concern was Nicholas, who wasn’t making a sound, and Duncan, with his artillery.

“I say we do him right now!” he was bellowing. “This might be our only chance. I say we do him now, and fuck all that egghead bullshit. I’m not going anywhere. Temporal paradoxes can suck my cock.”

Duncan’s bodysuit was camouflage, Shepherd could see now, but an odd sort, little square blocks of olive, gold and black instead of the tiger stripe he had worn in Vietnam. Over his shoulders he wore a combat harness laden with ammo pouches and grenades, and huge black holsters were strapped to his legs, one empty, the other filled by another preposterously huge pistol. On his chest: a yellow Roman numeral I in a circle.

Shepherd blinked at him, trying to will the situation to come into focus, and suddenly it did, with the very last word in bad dream jolts. One Man Army. The guy was dressed up as One Man Army! One of the Avenging Furies, the superhero squad that battled all the villains populating Nicholas’s imagination: Some Disassembly Required, Caterwaul, Abbatoir, His Name Is Legion.

This couldn’t be happening; One Man Army was not real. But that gun pointed at Nicholas’s head undeniably was. A Maadi-Griffin .50 caliber, impossible for a normal man to hold steady with one hand, but One Man Army was no normal man, was he?



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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sanford Meschkow's
INEVITABLE

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
THE RECIDIVIST



Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE MEMORY SECTOR

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
NOETIC VACATIONS

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.

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET

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.

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
GROUND PORK


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

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
explore.

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL & SIR
FRANCIS DRAKE



Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


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.


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


David Agranoff is the author of the
short story collection Screams From
A Dying World, just published by
Afterbirth Books. 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. David's latest
books include the Wuxia -Pan
(martial arts fantasy) horror
novel called Hunting The Moon Tribe,
already out from Afterbirth Books.;
The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies,
[Deadite Press, 2010]; and
[Deadite Press, 2014]

Daniel José Older's
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR


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
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.


Johnny Strike's
AS YOU WISH



Johnny Strike's
NIGHT FLAMERS



Johnny Strike's
THE HOMELESS MUTANTS



Johnny Strike will beat you with his guitar
and leave you lying in the gutter wishing you
had never dared enter his under ground world
of fake passports, lucky amulets, rain soaked
hotels, and occult mystique. If you don't leave
nice comments under his story, he's sure to sic
his band CRIME on you. He also wrote the novel
Ports Of Hell (Headpress), recommended by
William S. Burroughs. You don't receive kudos
from William Lee himself unless you are the
epitome of cool. Besides, have you listened to
CRIME's album Exalted Masters? It was
released in 2007 on the Crime Music label,
on vinyl only, featuring a slew of their old
rare hits. Its real punk music from seasoned
veterans. Now go track yourself down a copy
before its out of print. The Freezine of Fantasy
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that contains the line which titles his first
From Above (Rudos and Rubes).


Paul Stuart's
SEA?TV!


Paul Stuart is the author of numerous
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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 paul@twilightlane.com,
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
MAU BAST


Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
poetry. She is best known for the 2002
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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
THE PORCELAIN WOMAN


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
with LIPSTICK



BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
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founder of the notorious DWARVES.
He has written two novels, ‘NINA’ and
‘ARMED to the TEETH with LIPSTICK’.


G. Alden Davis's
THE FOLD


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
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Shae Sveniker's
A NEW METAPHYSICAL STUDY
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Shae is a poet/artist/student and former
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Nigel Strange's
PLASTIC CHILDREN


Nigel Strange lives with his wife and
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J.R. Torina's
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J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughter-
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(an industrial-ambient music label) and
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K.B. Updike, Jr's
THE GOLDEN THIRD EYE


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published 100% for free:
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has lost his Virginian virginity yet.)