The Year of Perfect Vision

Monday, July 8, 2019

HOW THE GODS KILL: I

by Konstantine Paradias and Edward Morris






   During the second week of trekking the wind-swept wastes of Artephius, second Imperial world from the homeworld Sun, Ariachne had suffered a breakdown of sorts. Some of it was homesickness, some the stress of the journey...but mainly it was the double-damned wind. Its incessant howling against her bubble-top helmet seemed to slowly but surely help her abandon the crude automaton her body had become, unhinging her mind from the confines of the flesh, and all that entailed.  And didn't.

    Each time the disassociations came, Ariachne would watch the shaman's every muddled, cryptic, off-tempo twitch and mutterevery purring, clucking, chuttering motionwith rapt, childlike fascination. That narrow mouth poised at the very edge of the shaman's long, pointed bullet head, was as alarming as the recessed, slanted nostril-slits and neat rows of six perpetually blinking, red-flecked lapis lazuli eyes set into the skull just above it.

    "You seek the One Who Is To Come..." the voice sounded as thin as the shaman's strange lips, much like the trail of foetid smoke trickling languidly from his mouth, swirling in parts around the haphazard tombstones of his alarming teeth. "The fire-headed Saviour. I dreamt of your visit. Behold, the True."

    Ariachne randomly reflected that back on Terra, those six blue orbs would have been highly prized on several black markets. Indeed, the shaman's entire head would have been severed, taxidermied and hung above some rich fuckquanaut's lacquered-oak mantel, the mellow flames of the fireplace reducing the wisdom in the shaman's weather-worn features to a freak-show conversation piece for the terminally bored upper crust.

    For the time being, Ariachne just nodded. "Yes. Yes...I do." The moment carried great weight. She saw herself from on high when she closed her eyes for a moment. Feeling every part of her grimy self intimately while hanging above the back of her own head was disorienting, and she opened her eyes again, still feeling everything.

   Her hair, caked with countless generations of skin cells now reduced to a sediment of dandruff, hissed against the confining lining of her bubble helmet like a clutch of elderly serpents waging mutiny against their Gorgon Mama. There was a crippled slug living in her mouth that used to be her tongue. It tasted faintly metallic. 

   Two entire months, stuck in this brass-and-leather bondage-suit, breathing nothing but stale, recycled air; eating nothing but protein gruel, and quenching her thirst with water harvested from her own secretions. Her entire skin was parched, stretched taut over her bones.

   For three days and nights, the automaton that was once Ariachne pumped its feet forward, one merely following the other even as she wallowed inside the primordial ooze that was the borrowed thoughtscape of the Other, gradually draining the swamp of her own reserves of strength.

    At some point during that time, things got strange, and her memories grew disjointed and leached of everything but fear. She realized she'd become tangled...with that Other...an Alter, a half-formed personality swimming around in the bottom-muck of her brain, yanked up into being by her own will. And they fought each other in the confines of that walking bag of flesh that their shared body had become.

   It was a long time ago, in her mind, and the memories were muddled, but she remembered the two of them clashing like sphinxes in that endless nightmare of battle-dance, all bared fangs and flying claws and manes natty-knotty with blood. The subsequent shower of tattered feathers, bits of wing-bone, pieces of Mind. Pieces of the God-mind brought to the ground in the form of flesh...if you believed.

   If she believed. Ariachne made it out of that terrible place, yet the body she was left with felt nothing like hers. Nothing. Not ever since...since.... She was getting there. But Belief was another matter entirely.

   At length, she cleared her scratchy throat, and tried speaking again. "I was told he, er...came through here. Before the Rebellion. Anything you can tell me about where to find him would be most"

    A clucking noise, low in the throat contained by that outlandishly segmented neck, which the shaman craned to make that bullet head tower above and loom down at her. The flecked eyes whirled and moved in their sockets, taking her in, reading her to the viscera until she dared not meet the cold light of that multifaceted gaze.

   "Please," she rasped at the ground, "I have walked, all the way from Labrum, outside the Exclusion Zone. Before that, I smuggled myself in a Voidcraft that was on an automatic course out of Fulcanelli. I've crossed two planets just to be here."

   There was the barest of pauses as the shaman sucked the crooked stalk of his pipe, cheeks sagging and then ballooning outward. "An impressive feat." The shaman's thin blue tongue wriggled like some hideous tapeworm. "One worthy of a Queen's Hound, intent on her quarry."

 "I am not a Hound, "Ariachne carefully croaked, drawing the words from the space that was the Other. They sounded genuine enough. "I have crossed half the system to find him. You are my last recourse, wise one."

   A most impious snort. "Our Saviour left us on the day the God-bomb tore a hole in our immediate world. Our Soothseers tell us that he bounded through the Nothing before it hit."

   "He abandoned you?" Ariachne snarled, her voice tinged with the concentrated spite of the Other, the Alter, the skull just under her skin.

   During her journey, she'd skirted through the Uk'Mal crater that had once been a verdant jungle expanse, on a chartered aether-bike, as she sped toward the equatorial wasteland of the Exclusion Zone.

   All through her journey through the Uk'Mal, the corners of her eyes detected the lingering shadow-shapes that haunted the point of impact, again and again, and the twisted fauna that howled like wounded children. Strands of glistening grass had caressed her legs and she felt the touch of cracked leather against her skineven through the suit.

   Meanwhile, a miniature storm of glass shards had raged all around, jagged edges burying themselves halfway into dirt that had the density of child-flesh. Kino-forms of this place had made their rounds about the Empire, injected into newscasts spread across the starways as a word of warning, a true show of the apocalyptic might of the Empire.

   "There were other worlds for him, other battles—most of us think nothing ill of him. After all, he did bring the Tribes together," the Shaman said, drawing from his pipe, letting out a long stream of smoke that formed a temporary mandala in the air before dissipating. "Did he not teach us how to wield the death-sticks we wrenched from the corpses of Terrans? The Messiah cost us a battle, perhaps. But he gave us the tools to wage war. In time...we will bleed the Dominion dry."

    Slowly, the shaman began to pick at the baubles hanging from his kaftan: the hollow raptor-bones, the bits of human skull pilfered from the battlefield, worn smooth and white as ivory.

   "Why do you wish to find him?" the shaman asked. 

 Ariachne spoke the half-truth, biting the inside of her cheek to quell the howl of rage from the Other, hoping the shaman would not be familiar enough with human body language to notice.

    "I am his betrothed," she said as a wave of nausea rose inside her, the feeling of poison spilling out into her veins, the rage of the Other pounding against her skull so fiercely she momentarily blacked out.






Click image below 
to read Part II of
How The Gods Kill
by Konstantine Paradias & Edward Morris
only on the FREEZINE of
Fantasy and Science
Fiction

1 comment:

  1. This was fun. Way outside my comfort level. Phil Farmer, H Beam Piper, Barry Malzberg... and Kosta fucking Paradias. "We the new PB&J. We dropped a classic today." --Killer Mike

    ReplyDelete

Archive of Stories
and Authors

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.

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.


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.)