art above by Jason Barnett

The Year of Perfect Vision

Friday, July 19, 2019

DESOLATION AWAKENS

by Shaun A. Lawton








  I came to my senses by a roadside curb during the dead of winter. Opening my eyes I found myself standing in an unfamiliar alpine town near a grove of evergreen trees. I could not recall how I had gotten there. It felt like a cold December morning. The streets around me were abandoned. There was something compact weighing down my overcoat pocket. I reached in with my right hand and withdrew a revolver fashioned from what looked like an alloy of zinc and magnesium. The grips were worn down to a smooth polish. I thumbed the cylinder out and saw that all five chambers were loaded. The bullets seemed to be made of the same chalky gray compound. Snapping the cylinder back into place, I raised the handgun to eye level and gazed down the sight assembly at the leaden clouds. I had no recollection of having acquired the gun. 
    Silence pervaded the atmosphere on the outskirts of this drab township. The smell of charcoal and pine needles hung in the air. Looking around me, I noticed the edge of a ragged forest in the distance. With no wind to disturb them, the snow covered trees stood like statues. I pocketed the pistol in my coat and began walking toward the nearest building. It was a red brick edifice with a peaked roof. Its lower half appeared to be covered in soot. High above the front door, a round stained glass window shielded a darkened attic. I couldn’t tell if it was a chapel or a meager sort of residence. 
   While I walked, the only sound was the crunch of snow. As the modest domicile drew nearer, something emerged from inside my mouth to press its smooth edges against my tongue. It materialized gradually just behind my teeth until I reached in and fingered it out. What looked like a misshapen calcium bullet rolled into the palm of my hand. While I uneasily let it drop into the passing snow under my shoes, I could feel another was being shaped in the area near my soft palate, followed by several more budding out together. My mouth was filling with these unnatural pellets of a limited variety of shapes. As I began spitting them out onto the road, some were mere fragments, while others came into view fully formed. I kept spitting them out until there were no more left forming in my mouth.
    Having left a trail of these remarkably manifested slugs behind me littered along the frozen ground, I approached the wooden door at the front of the blackened red brick building. I could see the soot emerged from the ground covering the lower half of the house. It resembled a shadow cast from rising flames. As I approached closer to the front steps I noticed it wasn't soot surrounding the dwelling at all, but rather a miniature type of black ivy I'd never seen before.
    The oak door was shaped like a Tudor arch with a mottled brass ring bolted to the center. Before I could grasp onto the rather lackluster knocker, the door creaked open inward by degrees revealing a dust laden floor of tiles transfixed by a colorful shaft of light. The sunbeam angled in from a high window in the upper left part of the house. I waited at the entrance to be greeted, yet no one appeared. Instead, a peaceful silence lingered, far more reserved than the unearthly stillness outside. I felt compelled to step into the house, noticing as I did so the lack of footprints in the evenly spread out layer of ashen dust settled on the patterned tiles.
    As I stepped into the foyer I began to hear an almost indiscernible reverberation in the air. As if acting on its own, my left hand reached out and shut the front door behind me without making a sound. Despite the woebegone appearance of things, the door’s hinges remained well oiled. Once inside the main hall of the building more of the mysterious bullets began forming in my mouth. I had to keep spitting them out like so many worn down projectile teeth. They struck the floor with muted thuds, rolling across the tiles until they were lying still amid the gray dust. After expelling about a dozen of these malformed slugs, my palate returned to normal and I ventured toward the sunbeam glimmering in the dim recesses of the sanctum. 
     It became evident the puzzling vibration emanated from the coruscating sunbeam. I walked right up to it and paused just at its edge. Turning my head to examine the upper round stained glass window through which the daylight shone, I noticed its glass was stylized with graceful images of the fleur-de-lis. So too were the flooring tiles decorated with a series of figurative lilies mirroring one another in alternating rows.
    I reached my fingers out into the spectral radiance swirling with motes and the humming stopped. Startled, I withdrew my hand only to hear the humming resume. Fascinated, I began waving my hand in and out of the tinctured luminous rays, consequently pausing and resuming the vibrant droning sound. It carried a resonance which lifted the hairs on my forearms. I watched as the fine hairs raised up and bowed back down like an assembly of praying cilia as I maneuvered my arm in and out of the beam. This kept me occupied until the curious rounds of ammo began forming somewhere between my palate and molars again. I turned my head and spat them out onto the powdered tiles. I was growing more uneasy about the pellets germinating in my mouth. I gazed down at the efflorescent tiling by my feet. 
    The decorations were transforming slowly and steadily into disassociated shapes. I continued to stare at the evolving figures which after several minutes no longer resembled the fleur-de-lis outlines, but rather began assembling into floral composites ranging from those of alluring orchid petals to bizarre sylvan manifestations reminiscent of a time I had become lost in a forest as a young boy picnicking with my family. This memory attended my mind’s eye in the form of a silent and golden clearing with the edges blurring over. I snapped out of this reverie and for a moment couldn't tell if the floor I stood upon was near or far away. With a slight feeling of nausea I noticed the motion of the markings on the tiles advanced imperceptibly. I could not take my eyes off the developing spectacle. I wasn't really sure if it was moving at all. 
    It was then that I detected another sound underneath the thrumming of the sunbeam. It was unlike anything I'd ever heard, like a microtonal breathing or an emanation from live coral submerged under water. The more I adjusted my hearing to this microtone, it thinned out into a timbre suggesting spicules emitting the most infinitesimal calcification. I concentrated the focus of my view and the detail of the morphing diagrams at my feet sped up while at the same time the faint intonation grew louder. My vision somehow enhanced the assonance generated by the metamorphosis of the floor's design.
    I came out of my trance and underwent a momentary panic as it dawned on me I may be standing upon a living thing. Turning to look back at the entryway I had casually strolled through, I saw nothing but gently wavering florid wallpaper. I had been lured into a receptive structure; somehow beguiled into its protoplasmic tenement. My stomach lurched and I regurgitated into my mouth. Instead of the bitter tang of bile, more ossified bullets heaped up, forcing my jaw open as they compelled their way out, too many to contain in that confined space. I heaved more of the compact pellets onto the floor and watched as they thunked one by one into the layer of gray pollen there. A scant smell of charred fur immediately permeated the air.
   I surveyed the area for an escape route. My only option was a wide innocuous stairway inviting me to the upper mezzanine. Another wooden door towered at the top of the landing. It had a standard rectangular shape. My stomach eased up as I walked toward the stairs and heard the subliminal thrumming of the sunbeam diminish into the distance behind me. Nervously grabbing a hold of the polished banister, I took my first tentative steps up. It felt solid enough, so I headed up the stairway. My left hand slid along the smooth worn railing. Reaching into the right hand pocket of my overcoat, I withdrew the chintzy revolver, pulling the hammer back with my thumb until it was cocked. Cautiously, I proceeded up the stairs until I reached the upper landing. There were no exotic floor tiles on the second level, just a rolled out embroidered maroon carpet which seemed too clean for this place. The silence reasserted itself, lending me a welcome sensation of comfort. The burnt odor drifted into incense and faded away. Feeling better, I put the gun back in my coat pocket. I felt certain I was alone. The door at the top of the landing stood there with an odd sort of reticence. I approached it guardedly and reached out to grab ahold of the clear cut crystal knob protruding from it. The moment I made contact with the doorknob, a galvanic vibration transpired through my fingers, cascading along my arm and up to my shoulder blades. In an instant it fanned throughout my entire body, riveting me to the spot and paralyzing me there. 
    I watched the very surface of my eyes as if their corneas merged into unreachable candied window glass several feet away from where I now stood riveted. I was rooted there watching a teeming infusoria of single celled amoebas floating across this panoramic windowpane, as if a curved and clear sheet of ice warped in front of me upon which animated microorganisms were projected. I could barely see the blurry shape of my own hand reaching out from my lower range of view, affixed to the crystal doorknob. The slow swarm of floating amoebas continued to skim by like molasses beyond me, magnified by the vitreous humor before my retinas.
    I can hardly admit to myself the isolated idea which keeps repeating over and over in my mind. It is a simple thought which continues to haunt me and which by now I can scarcely avoid accepting. I have been locked into the realization that I have been petrified here in this singular position ever since. The amoebic floaters eventually slowed to a stop and straightened themselves out, then blurred altogether and finally came into view focused into window frames. I have been transfigured into another chamber of the hive. I have grown accustomed to the spectacle before me. I have nothing but time now. I'm just waiting for the rest of you to come along and join us.






Click Image Below to read
BLIND EYE
by Edgar Allan Poe & John Shirley

on the FREEZINE of
Fantasy and Science
Fiction


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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sean Padlo's
NINE TENTHS OF THE LAW

Sean Padlo's
GRANDPA'S LAST REQUEST

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
Morris's HOW THE GODS KILL


Konstantine Paradias's
SACRI-FEES

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
ONE NIGHT IN MANHATTAN


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.


Tim Fezz's
BURNT WEENY SANDWICH

Tim Fezz's
MANY SILVERED MOONS AGO

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
DEAD CLOWN AND MAGNET HEAD


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's
AGAIN AND AGAIN

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
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. 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
REALMS and BLACK WINGS OF
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
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S
MANDATE


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
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.

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.

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
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
SEA?TV!


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 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
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
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
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
with LIPSTICK



BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
Singer, Songwriter, producer &
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
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
A NEW METAPHYSICAL STUDY
REGARDING THE BEHAVIOR
OF PLANT LIFE


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
PLASTIC CHILDREN


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
THE HOUSE IN THE PORT


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
THE GOLDEN THIRD EYE


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.)