Monday, July 27, 2015

"Unbound" (Fantasy micro-short)

In my dreams there is an endless sea of stars slowly flowing around me. An infinity of wonders known only by me.

I am not chained by the earthly laws so preciously clung to by those who study the cosmos.

I am unbound.

I am a god of the mystical & unknown places that the reasonable man refuses to believe even exist.

I exist in those alien cathedrals built of glittering gems thrust out of the cliffs of infinity and hang impossibly over a sea of frothy silvery liquids.

I drift aimlessly by those places were the dark is populated by indescribable & nameless things whose intelligence is vast but live in tombs.

I watch as dust aggregates to form planets in which great civilizations rise & fall in a flash of the cosmic whims. Leaving again the dust to start the process anew.

I muse at the worlds dancing their way through the ether. Pulled by unseen forces that could just as quickly tear them into atoms, but instead plays the music that guides them in their endless journey.

I drink from primordial oceans of vast and unknown worlds where no living thing yet exists & silence reigns. A peace obtained only through the gateways of dreams.

I see endless, colorful vistas of cosmic wonders swirling past the orbs that cannot be known, only observed through the veil of dreams.

Each night I welcome sleep and the wonder it brings. I reawake in those vast spaces to take flight into that which imagination is the only limit.

I alone have the key.

I am unbound.


"A Little Vacation" (S/F Micro-short)

The great spiral arm of our galaxy can be seen out of my cabin window. It's beautiful.

I've watched over the months as Earth grew smaller and smaller until it was only a speck. I knew I'd return - if it was still there when we got back.

There's a lot of problems back there & I'm lucky my parents now lived in the Aldeberon Colonies. It's fairly peaceful there since they declared autonomy from the Union.

Over the last two centuries mankind made immense discoveries in propulsion methods in our Stellar Fleet Ships. A trip this far out from the rim only takes seven months now, where it used to be three years.

The fleet engineers sure knew what they were doing when they built the "Constellation".

The flight to Theta IV is a lot nicer this time around. I do have to share quarters with three other people, but that's OK by me. On a trip this long, you still need people to talk to and do things with to pass the time.

Last trip, on the "Vega", was horrible. First, those old grav couches made you sick and then you had to spend 12 months in suspension to protect you from the constant acceleration before you could get out & enjoy yourself during the 8 month deceleration!

Seems almost barbaric compared to the new ships. Hell, I can't even feel the rhythmic pulsing of the anti-matter engines! The "Vega" never stopped shaking!

I could hardly stand up on the beach on Theta IV after getting off the "Vega"! Took me a while to get my land legs back.

Theta IV is a beautiful place though. Great big oceans, plenty of land that's flush with flora & fauna. It's an E-Class planet orbiting a G-class sun...just like Earth. As soon as Union Astronomers confirmed its habitability - off we went!

The culture created by the indigenous sentient life forms there is pretty interesting. I think they said it was equivalent to Earth's bronze age. They also told us that the Thetans had descended from reptiles too. First time I saw a Thetan it scared me to death! They're peaceful though. They've got some kind of religious beliefs, but it doesn't make sense to me.

Looks like we are in orbit. I've got to go prep the drop ship. Lots of things to get ready to go down there.

This time when I hit the beach, I'll be ready to kill every Thetan I can right off the bat. I mean, our orders are to cleanse the sentient life and secure the safe arrival of the mining vessels.

The Thetans ain't gonna kill themselves.

"Life of the Party" (A mythos short)

The boards creaked as I stepped closer to the wooden steps of the Hotel del Mar.
The rain had been constant & heavy since nearing the coast.
I pulled the collar of my coat higher to keep the sea spray off my neck. It was cold, I was tired from walking and my bag wasn't getting the slightest bit lighter.

As I reached the top step, the front door opened. A thin man dressed in an old black suit stood there.

"Welcome to the Hotel del Mar."

His voice was strange. A hollowness permeated each word.

"Thank you."

He motioned into the lobby and I brushed past him into the dry comfort it provided. The smell, of course, was another matter.

The hotel was the only one near the coast for miles and it suited my temporary purposes.

It was unkempt as if the hotel saw no regular use. A bookshelf near the desk had near rotten books that were 90 or more years old judging from what titles were legible.

Of course the seaside motif was present but it was a turn of the century look. The 19th century kind. It stank like a rotten carcass was stuffed under the floorboards. I saw no phones, no magazines, no indication of anything truly modern in the lobby. That's a plus for me.

The thin man walked behind the desk and took out the registration ledger. He then proceeded to stare at me. Not menacingly, no, just staring at me. He didn't blink. Not one bat of an eyelid.

In the light of the lobby I could see his pallor was pale and he had dark circles around his eyes. Those big, unblinking eyes. Like a damn fish.

I knew he was one of them. He had to be. Nobody looks like that. Well, nobody outside of Innsmouth looks like that.

I slowly stepped up to the desk and he turned the ledger around for me to sign.

I saw he had webbed fingers.

"Will you be staying with us long?"

As I began to sign the book I said, "Oh, not very long."

As he was leaning over to read my signature, I drew the sawed off shotgun from under my coat & shoved it into his mouth.

The gills on the side of his neck bloomed out in his dump of adrenalin no doubt, which was all I needed to see.

I blew his brains out onto the wall behind the desk.

Nice pattern too. It looked kinda like a Rorschach test, but I didn't have time to study it now.

I dragged his body into the nearest closet and the locked the front door of the Hotel.

I pulled up a chair at the window over looking the open area of the town looking towards the slimy green docks. Obviously the sound of my scatter gun made a few of the locals exit their darkened broods to search for its source.

Oh well, looks like I'm going to work early tonight. Should have used the machete on the desk clerk I guess.

I took out my cigarettes & lit one quick. I then took out my cell phone & made the call.

"It's me. I'm here. No, the Festival hadn't begun yet. Oh, by the way, I sprayed one already & its knocked over the bee hive...looks like I'm going to work early. Huh? Yeah, I'll be back in Arkham tomorrow.Yeah, you too."

I sat back watching the things limping & grunting as they gathered near the docks. I opened my bag and reloaded the scatter gun & checked both Glocks. Good to go.

Sorry Innsmouth, the party for Dagon will have to wait till next year.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"A Long Walk Home" (A dystopian short)

I'm tired of eating these rations they hand out every day. It tastes OK, but it gets old. I remember eggs. They were good. That was when Dad was alive & he had some work every now and then with the Council.
I had a sister named Evie, but when Dad didn't work for the Council any more she ran away. I sure miss her sometimes.

After the war, most of America was in poverty. I know our family had been since then, my mom told me so. I wasn't born when the last bomb dropped. I was born a week after that.

In school, the book on history only goes to 2030, so we have elders visit to tell us what happened after that. I like hearing about those days.

Today, we heard about how things were just before the war from Mr.Tomlinson. He said that people used to have everything they could ever want or need. He said that people were not satisfied with all they had and wanted more. That's what started it, he said, the wanting of things. He also told us how the Council was created afterwards to provide for the survivors. Without the Council people would have starved long ago.

I guess so, but I still remember how real eggs tasted. Better than the rations.

After school, me & Tommy walk home every day. It gives us time to talk & goof off a little before we go home to do our chores. He's my best friend. He's 14 and thinks because he's older than me, he can boss me around sometimes. His Dad works at the Council Hall.

I'm walking home alone today. Tommy wasn't at school. He said his Dad was taking him to work with him.

Sometimes we walk past the Council Halls. They're cool looking. They say all of the Council Halls are like ours, all nice & clean. They're always busy.

The ration trucks run all day from the Council Hall. They deliver the rations to each and every house. Well, almost every house. There are people with no kids that don't get the Council rations & they have to go to the food dealers, but that's illegal. I heard about one guy the Council Law Givers caught down there and they took him to jail. I've never seen the jail though. It must be somewhere far away.

Mom told me about that guy. I think she knew him or something.

I better get home. The Council trucks are pulling out & I'm hungry!

I hope there's some meat tonight.

That'd be nice.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Thank you, Mr.Knight."

It was in 1982 that I was given a book for my 12th birthday. To this very day, on occasion, I open that book to reminisce about days gone by. The book would help cement my fascination with speculative fiction the rest of my life.

That book was "Science Fiction of the 30's". The book was first published in 1975 and was comprised of short stories edited & compiled by renowned writer Damon Knight.

As a child, it was not only a way to escape into new worlds but also a history lesson. A view back into the past to see what those contemporary writers though their future might look like.

As I read the book as an adult, looking at it through life's aged view, the book still captivates me. More than ever, Knights opening line of the forward resonates a deeply understood truth:

" In compiling this volume I have partially fulfilled an old ambition, one which I thought I had given up years ago - to reread all the old science fiction magazines I loved when I was young and write their critical history."

Not only did this book help foster an imagination, it helped me to understand & appreciate the works of authors who were greatly misunderstood in their day.

I could relate to being misunderstood. I had always liked things that were outside of the common perceptions of normalcy. That single book, which was not my first or the greatest book that was given to me, helped me to feel a certain measure of commonality with those writers & thinkers of an age gone by.

One story I have a particular affection for : "The Fifth Dimension Catapult" by Murray Leinster (1931).

I was so captivated by the story, I asked my father to read it & he did. The memory of the discussion we had about the story is very close to my heart. A moment frozen in time for me about a story written 40 years before I was born. A memory of my father & I that I'll forever remember as a milestone in my fascination with speculative fiction.

Time moved on & my father has been gone for well over 15 years now. Of all the talks we had, of all the birthdays & holidays, the memory of our discussion about that book stays imbedded in my mind & heart.

The book I keep in a revered place on my bookshelves. It's always there for me when I need to be reminded of those times.

The meaning of "the Catapult" has deepened over the years. I can see how I enjoyed it more than the others. I am grateful that Mr.Leistner was moved to write the story a full 8 years before my father was born. He had no idea that he would be writing something so meaningful to both myself & my father so far into his future.

So, I want to thank Mr.Knight for introducing me to that story.

It will be remembered.

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Deadite Joe™ : Interview"

{The following interview was an unused article from the now defunct fanzine 'Genre Film E-zine'.}

{It was scheduled to appear in the 'Personality' Section of the online version of issue 138.}

{The date of the interview, conducted via phone, was 11-04-2014}

Marcus: "Thank you for you time, uh...what should I call you? Deadite Joe, Deadite or Joe?"

Joe: "Heh heh! Joe is fine! You're welcome. It's not like I'm busy or anything."

M: "(chuckling) Is this a bad time?"

J: "No, no...I'm being sarcastic."

M: "I've heard about your sarcasm - it almost legendary! (Laughs)"

J: "Really? I'm just being me. It's not an act although it has become part of the (Deadite Joe) persona now."

M: "The name, Deadite Joe, most horror fans recognize it as a homage to the 'Evil Dead' film franchise. Tell me a little bit about it."

J: "That's right. I'm a fan of the 'Evil Dead', so it was a no-brainer for me! Plus, the name was available on most social media sites!"

M: "I'm sure that helped with continuity & creating a base as well."

J: "Oh yeah, definitely. That's something I kind of fell into. I'm no expert in online marketing or crap like that. I just wanted to write about the things I like."

M: "How did you get into fandom?"

J: "Growing up in the 70's & 80's was the biggest thing. At 5, I was already a fan of Star Trek, Space:1999, Lost in Space, Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, Battlestar Galactica...all the original stuff. My sister snuck me into the local theater to see my first horror film at age 9 - " Phantasm ". I sat through the entire film peeking through my fingers! That experience, even though it scared the crap outta me, also sparked an interest in the horror genre."

M: "That's a cornerstone horror film. To have seen it in its original theatrical as well. Any others?"

J: "Oh man, I saw Basket Case, Evil Dead 2, Friday the 13th, The Thing, Nightmare on Elm Street - all of the cult classics at the theater when they came out. I had no idea until years later that I was part of a relatively small number of people to have seen these on the big screen. Especially, Evil Dead 2 & Basket Case. "

M: "Wow! I'm 24 - I've had to see those genre films on DVD. I would have loved to see them as originally intended."

J: "DVD? Shit, I remember having to rent VHS to check out horror films! Before VHS came out, we had Fangoria magazines to keep us up to date. That is, if you could find them! Fangoria was real controversial when they first came out...well, here in rural Georgia anyway. Too violent, they said. Hell, it was about special effects to my young mind back then."

M: "Fangoria was & still is the horror periodical. It was the inspiration for us to start this E-zine."

J: "Agreed. It was an integral part of my youth & my interest in horror. I still have stacks of them! I even have some of the original run prints of Gore Zone Magazine they put out for a while."

M: "What are some of your favorite horror films?"

J: "Well...Re-Animator, Evil Dead 2, The Thing, Romero's films...OK, you talking 80's or...?"

M: "Not necessarily, just favorites in general."

J: "Alright, uh, man - uh, Bubba Ho-Tep, The Dead Hate The Living, Army of Darkness, Zombie, The Beyond, Deadly Spawn, Event Horizon, World War Z, I am Legend, Dead Snow...there's really too many to rattle off, man."

M: "Is there an underrated genre film that you like that you believe deserves better?"

J: "Sure. I think the Ford brothers two Zombie flicks are damn good. The Dead & The Dead 2:India are really good films. Then there's I Sell The Dead - which is well done & funny. Sinister was good too. The Devils Backbone...Let Me In...Monsters...Hellboy..."

M: "Are there any that you feel don't deserve popular genre status?"

J: "You're trying to get my ass in trouble with that one! (Laughs) But...yeah, there's a few that I think suck that seem to keep getting play, man."

M: "What would be an example of that?"

J: "1408 sucked, OK? Warm Bodies sucked. Paranormal Activity franchise, the Saw franchise, Insidious - way overrated. There's just as many big budget horror films that suck as there are big budget good ones."

M: "Paranormal Activity? That series has been a pretty consistently well received staple in the horror fandom."

J: "Look, found footage films are intriguing when they're done right. Look at the Rec series, those were done well, but Paranormal Activity just didn't break any ground with me. Just a bunch of frickin' jump scares for the teeny bopper crowd, that's all."

M: "What would be an example of a good found footage film - in your opinion?"

J: "Cannibal Holocaust is the big one. Gotta have a steel stomach to make it through that one though. Recent ones? Chernobyl Diaries was great, Rec was incredible. The Last Exorcism."

M: "OK, if you had to choose one, what's the worst horror film you've ever seen?"

J: "Every film ever directed by Uwe Boll. Really. I'm frickin' serious. How in the hell does he keep getting the money to make this shit? Ever seen his 'Zombie Nation'?"

M: "(chuckles) Yes, I have."

J: " Then you know that it's an incoherent mess. The title is a cash grab, man, come on - there's three zombies in it! That's a nation? Jeez, and he's an asshole of a guy, too. You need to go interview him! Ask him why isn't he mopping the floors at an Arbys 'cause he sure as hell can't make a damn movie."

M: "(laughing) Looks like I hit the jackpot with my last question!"

J: "I guess you did! That's one guy I can't seem to like. His films are shit, so you'd figure he'd have a little humility, but hell no! He has the audacity to blame the fans! He cusses them out!"

M: "He's definitely caused a stir & his movies have been universally panned."

J: "Panned? That's the word you're gonna go with in describing Uwe Boll's movies? (Laughs) Shit..."

M: "Let's, uh, let's move on to something else. What's a movie that you'd like to see made?"

J: "Great question. Hands down: Guillermo Del Toros version of H.P. Lovecraft's 'At the Mountains of Madness'! That's the one."

M: "You're a fan of Lovecraft, I understand."

J: "Absolutely! I think he was one of the greatest weird fiction writers in history. His style, his creations, it's something on a whole different scale."

M: "How did you become familiar with Lovecraft's work?"

J: "As a kid I saw an episode of Rod Serlings 'Night Gallery' called 'Pickman's Model', which was a Lovecraft story. It was a cool story. The next trip to the library I checked out all they had by Lovecraft. What cemented it was in 1985 when Stuart Gordon's 'Re-Animator' came out. Blew me away! That also introduced me to Gordon's work & I've been a fan of his ever since then too."

M: "Many consider 'Re-Animator' as the catalyst in the resurgence of interest in Lovecraft's work."

J: "I agree with that wholeheartedly! I think that film is one of the best adaptations of Lovecraft's work, with the exception of 'The Call of Cthulhu' movie by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society."

M: "Who is your favorite director?"

J: "I really like Sam Raimi, but I love George Romero as well! Again, Stuart Gordon deserves a top slot."

M: "Let's talk zombies..."

J: "Hell yeah!"

M: "How & when did you become a fan of zombies?"

J: "Way back! Long before it became mainstream, man. I remember watching 'Night of the Living Dead' on late night TV in the 70's. That's when I was hooked. After that, when VHS rentals came out - I watched the Italian stuff, Fulci, Argento...between VHS & the movie theaters, I got my fill!"

M: "You have a favorite?"

J: "Romero's 'Day of the Dead' is right up there at the top."

M: "In your opinion, what's the greatest Zombie film ever made?"

J: "That's easy - it hasn't been made yet."

M: "(chuckling) What do you mean?"

J: "I think there's, you know, I think the greatest Zombie film has yet to be conceived. By saying this film or that film is the greatest, that says that nothing better can come after it. I say that the greatest has yet to come."

M: "Oh, OK, I understand. What are your thoughts on 'The Walking Dead'?"

J: "I like the comics and the show. I think the TV series is very good, but it doesn't add to the genre really. I've got a love/hate relationship with it."

M: "Can you elaborate a little on that?"

J: "Well, like I said, it's a good show but I don't think it's as good as a lot of its fans think it is. (Robert) Kirkman said in an interview once that he wanted to make a Romero movie that never ends. The zombies are Romero-type zombies. The stories are a soap opera. It's that simple. The show is a soap opera with zombies...there's no allegorical meanings or deeply written messages in the stories. It's comas, being shot, cheating wives, pregnancy, young lovers, good men losing their way, bad guys with eye patches...its a soap opera. Has it added to the Zombie genre? No. It hasn't added anything new to the Mythos itself."

M: "It does have a massive following...large number of fans."

J: "So does Kim Jong Un. That doesn't mean he's great."


Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Falling Down" (Experimental Short)

I am running.

The dark woods.

The darkness makes it difficult to find my way back home.

I can hear them near me. A simple arms length away.

I feel their bony claws lightly brush against my shoulders as I run.

The dim moonlight fades in and out of the trees. The trees, gnarled & ancient, care not.

The trees have stopped their growth and stand in an impotent vigil of the narrow path.

There are things among the sentinels who shamble without aim.

Devoid of life, they want what is ours.

The things are innumerable in the dark, slow are they - mindless - but they never tire.

I pace my run. I out-think them.

I know I'm alive. I know I am. Alive.

That most ancient of games I play.

I become complacent in avoidance of their unstoppable determination.

Make use of the dim light. Watch for their hands & arms jutting from the blackness.

The ancient roots of the eternal judges line the narrow path.

Then I fell...

Friday, June 26, 2015

"Outside" (An Experimental Short)

As night falls, they exit from their hiding places.

The light is unclean to them. Their corrupted minds know not why.

By their smell I know them. Dank and rotten - the smell of the grave.

Preceding their approach, the stench is unmistakable.

I watch as they move in the dark, slow and laborious.

Hundreds gather, then thousands.

A slow motion tidal wave of death.

I dare not move. I make no sounds.

This has been my life behind the shuttered windows. Normal now.

I watch as they move closer. A steady, crawling chaos of flesh.

Scratching & weakly clawing at the wood - they only know that they want.

I watch as one presses close to the door. Our eyes separated by a fraction through a distorted lens.

I see only hollowness there. No spark. Only emptiness.

I close my eyes and await the daylight.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

America: Apocalypse Now (Sorta)

Is it possible to wish something into existence? Could 300 million or 6 billion people thinking the end is coming, by pure collective thought, bring about the end?

I've often wondered about the old sayings "If you look hard enough, you'll find what you're looking for."; " If you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to make it happen. "; etc.

Is there something to the theory that if, on a collective consciousness level, humans can actually cause events to occur? Perhaps, by thinking about a scenario simply heightens our awareness of it & we begin to recognize that scenario more.

As we watch current events & see all of the negativity, violence & horror being pumped directly into our craniums by sources unknown - could this shape the perception of an entire populace?

Of course it does!

However, can it influence the collective consciousness into bringing into existence an alluded to or hypothetical future event?

I believe it is within the realm of possibility.

Think about that. If by influencing the minds of the populace could call up any event into reality  - why not a better future? Why is it that the thoughts & discussions are almost always leaning towards the end of all things? Why is it so fascinating to imagine apocalyptic future scenarios?

Those images are smoking hot nowadays. TV, movies, books, civil unrest, social unrest, war, political unrest, gun control, racial all seems tied together somehow. What is the common denominator in all of it?

It's people. People are the problem.

People form the collective consciousness from which both control & creation of future events spring forth.

So, the real question here now would be: "Who are the people who control the images that are planted into the minds of the populace that could create (or at the least influence) future events?"

Is this phenomena an intentional one or is it one that has formed on it's own? Either way, does that mean people really want the worst to happen?

Hell if I know. I just think of crazy shit like this & write it out.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Deadite Joe's Chat of the Week # 1

Each week, I'll enter a chat room & find an unsuspecting victim to mess with. Here's what I did on 2/9/2015.

Good_morning123: hello how are u doing,, do u care to chat?
Me: I'm 87 years old, my eye sight is bad & I have a goiter on my nuts. You think I want to chat about that?
Me: I think my kidneys fell out last night, but I'm scared to look.
Good_morning123: ok
Good_morning123: what are u looking for?
Me: My kidneys!
Good_morning123: what do u mean?
Me: I mean you should look for my kidneys, dummy! If I bend over, I herniate a disk!
Good_morning123: oh ok
Good_morning123: where do u leave?
Me: I live in a nursing home because my shit-for-brains daughter hates me. But I have free wi-fi!
Good_morning123: oh ok
Good_morning123: do u work?
Me: Yeah, I work at getting onto the bed pan before I shit myself.
Good_morning123: ok
Good_morning123: what work?
Me: I used to sell fish at the pier as a young boy before WW2.
Me: Since I moved into the nursing home, I work at trying to stay on the planet just one more day.
Good_morning123: ok
Good_morning123: am in ghana
Me: The lads used to call me "Fishfingers". Do they call you that now?
Good_morning123: do u care about distance?
Me: I have dia-ghana in my sack.
Me: Yes, I car about distance! It's a helluva long way to the bathroom!
Good_morning123: what do u mean?
Me: I fought during the war in Ghana.
Good_morning123: really
Me: It was 1946. I was young & she was cheap.
Good_morning123: am also looking for caring and honest man to spend the rest of my life with him for now and forever
Me: At 87, I can certainly guarantee that I can spend my entire life with you.
Good_morning123: ok
Me: Hang on a minute, the nurse is here to apply that salve to my sack. She's mean & slaps them around when she does it.
Good_morning123: ok
Me: Hey, I gotta go. Nurse Rachett here insists that I get off line now. Goodbye. I hope I wasn't your grand dad.