banner art above by Charles Carter

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Broken Head

by Shaun Lawton 


                                                                                     illustration "Cell" by Cal Leckie 



   With fragmenting thoughts spiraling in his imagination, Callíum Lecky found himself sliding day by day and tumbling further away from his ordinary lot. Peering with his mind's eye deep into the shifting continuum of his memory, he looked upon himself commuting on the filthy streets with a tiresome dedication toward a full time job processing various prescription drugs for the elderly. Gazing day by day past the bus's grimy window at the brick and concrete buildings blurring by outside only emphasized the feeling he was going nowhere. Despite this daily grind things never became altogether unbearable for him. He was still there nevertheless, sweating over the company desk in front of the glare of the streaked-clean plate glass spectacle before him. Beyond it the city lay spread out, an austere study in shades of grey. That drab view was one of the few genuine perks of the trade.

   Most of the day, he was at the machinery. He was a damaged man enclosed inside a cramped work-space, answering calls by way of a shoddy headset and dutifully processing orders with a computer keyboard that ought to have been replaced a year ago. He'd been thinking how he'd been repeating the same morning ritual, commuting to and from the nondescript building every weekday, for the past two years. What it seemed like to him was wading through a noxious haze in a strong gravitational field. As if he were passing into a gelid mist with an anesthetizing effect. Traversing it was like gliding within an ethereal fog on another planet. Even the lighting appeared to be filtering in from an unfamiliar sun. That is a nearby star.

   Cal felt as if he'd been wandering across a stolen world that others punctured, that he was stumbling over its garbage. In the dark sheds that the seasons ignored. It left him feeling dazed at first, then eventually just bewildered.  Walking toward and away from the subway he perceived he was treading a smoldering vapor as if it were an atmospheric seam nearly three feet deep, hovering at waist level, spread out and undulating in all directions as far into the distance as he could see. As each day dragged by, the more extensive this sensation became, until he was convinced it was no hallucination. 

   He felt this layer of the atmosphere provided a mysterious polarization, and regarded it as having compelling galvanic properties. Since he rented a studio apartment on the first floor and his bed was raised to waist level on its metal framework, every night as he climbed onto his mattress and slid under the sheets he could feel the gentle lapping of the faintest electrical field outstretched just beneath him. It felt to him as if he were laying upon an empyrean waterbed. The soothing rippling sensation helped lull him to sleep better than anything he'd ever experienced before. Soon he'd transition from nightmares of beak and claw, stranded on a dying world with phantom figures shrouded in steam that evaporated upon waking. With no remorse it was a reminder he was no longer under the spell of the evening's trance. He held the levers that guided the signals to the radio.

    Every morning he prepared and made his coffee, then off to slide and stumble out the door again. He'd ride and tumble, slide and stumble, back from work and to his flat. Back and forth and back to nothing. Every night since the advent of this elemental condensation, he slept as if floating on a gentle lake outspread into deepening twilight. He dreamed so intensely that it wasn't so much a matter of remembering or forgetting their impressions upon awakening, it was more as if he'd traveled somewhere so remote that it remained beyond his capacity to fathom it. He'd awaken with such gradual precision into conscious lucidity that the ease with which he arose from his bed startled him. But the words he received, random code, broken fragments from before, kept him moving through his door.  

   He often felt that he must've visited a hidden sanctuary of the noumenon. Or in some unprecedented manner, accomplished something extraneous to conventional human experience. If such were the case, there could be no association betwixt there and here, nor comprehension that there could have been something to be recollected in the first place, since that would take recognition; Cal understood that very well. Yet the certainty lingered in his head that he had visited a principality outside of time. The remembrance of it kept him tidy, kept him humble. Out in the trees. My reason deserting me.

   It also helped explain why he felt infinitesimally more tainted every new dawning that woke up to go to work. The province he awakened from with increasing regularity was so much more immaculate. It was as if an electric charge were growing in him every night. In the back of his mind, he knew that the progression of its transformation was not unlike a geometric one. It was easy for him to appreciate that the next expansion would occur in less than the blink of an eye. He would stare at his hand on his way to the bus stop. He practiced karate chops for no good reason, without having ever taken classes or been trained for it. He thought he could get ahead of the rest. Chop and change to cut the corners. Oh, the dark stars cluster over the bay.

   No matter what part of town he found himself strolling in, if he closed his eyes he could imagine himself plowing into a strange frigid purgatory of deadening detritus, as if constantly breaking up a floating crust of intangible debris. It cast his perception toward the idea of being an explorer drudging along the welkin pith. We all trudge within the shallows of the troposphere. Its all we've ever done. Of course nobody thinks of it that way ordinarily, because their heads rest tall upon their shoulders. As far as he knew, it was more commonly understood that few people bother to look upward. Looking down at the concrete sidewalk sliding underneath, that was a different story. The more he began doing it, the more he noticed occasional flashes, sharp as razors, shiny razors. Then in a certain moment, I lose control. 

   The scarcity of those who really scrutinize the ground passing under their feet was lesser appreciated. It's not common at all to believe we're dwelling at the bottom of the world, hardly moving, never trying. Not in this dominion of self replicating memes, mused Cal, advancing the narrative of the conquerors in competition with one another. Since time immemorial... No, the top of the world is a region so high in the sky it's been dared in tragedy before by eagles, and much less by humankind. Is something a challenge just because it's interpreted that way in the minds of men? Cal walked along the favored paths of his city not because they beckoned, but rather, because they didn't refuse his passage. Never moving, hardly trying. I was just a broken head. And at last, I am part of the machinery. 

   He had no reason to believe his existence was warranted unless he explored the desolate alleyways of these dirty boroughs.  Except there was no figuring the deadening sensation this warm salt bath in the aether had rendered unto him. The real question was, why did it only begin a few months ago? It dawned on Cal that this lower level he wandered over, the bottom of the sky so to speak, was one of the first microlayers of the planet's atmosphere. He shrugged off the thought with a lazy yawn. If so, he only became sensitive to it in recent months. I stole the world that others plundered. Where are you?

   He had never thought about it before. He could stand in this insensate echoing pond all day or he could get a move on. The choice was his to make and it took extreme effort on his behalf to send and then receive the signal from his brain to his legs to lend them the nerve to move. Now I stumble through the garbage. He'd begun drinking his coffee black a few weeks ago, mainly because his window of time to prepare for work was diminishing the more he lay paralyzed in bed each sunup recharging. His mind remained intent on the envisioned hyperlayer in the troposphere he waded hip deep in ever day. He wondered sometimes if maybe he converged upon an oilslick of dark energy or matter, something along those lines. A stupefying spill of nanocrystals wavering along a microgravitational membrane in alignment with the electromagnetic spectrum. And the light disappears.

   Callíum Lecky only stopped thinking about all of this while his coffee beans were grinding. As if the sudden burst of power and noise displaced his thoughts. For six seconds each day he was rendered catatonic while the fresh whole beans were ground into powder. He was running out of time for this morning ritual. He hated missing the bus. He couldn't afford to punch in late to work again. Cal wasn't the only one in his flat slowly waking up. The colony of cells in his body were doing so as well. It made sense because he was their host. They'd been vigorously growing along with him all this time. After all they depended on one another. They hinged on one another like a chain reaction. It was all in their self interests to complement each other at their level best. Greater opportunities had yet to come along. Together they were augmenting their harmonic song. Slide and tumble, slide and stumble. As the world makes its circle through the sky.






Click below to read Micromégas
presented 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
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the Flesheater's World section.
The Memory Sector is his first
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Owen R. Powell's
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Little is known of the mysterious
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Noetic Vacations marks his first
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Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
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Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

Gene Stewart is a writer and artist.
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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
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Daniel José Older's
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Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
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crossroads of myth and history.
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modern day New York City. His work
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When he's not writing, teaching or
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Paul Stuart's
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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
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Rain Grave's
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Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
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(along with Mark McLaughlin and
David Niall Wilson). Her most
recent book, Barfodder: Poetry
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spoken word at events around the
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Icy Sedgwick's
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Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part
trainee supervillain. She lives in the UK
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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
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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.)