Saturday, February 26, 2011

hallucination (fragment)

Some details can not help but be lost here. Driving aimlessly in the jungle for a day after the ingestion of an unknown hallucinogen. Psilocybin, but more so. Not quite LSD. Baby woodrose? Argyreia nervosa. Maybe. Ayahuasca, almost certainly.

There was strange mishmash of what Harlan thought to be hallucination, and what he thought to be reality. Mostly, though, he couldn't really tell for certain which was which. Strange shapes shuttling alongside the Jeep, existing only in his peripheral vision. Great birds circling overhead, just above the canopy, which he knew were far to big to be real. Weren't they? At one point he drove full speed into a mercifully shallow pond after mistaking the placid water for a stretch of much sought after asphalt.

With the guide curled up in the small backseat of the Jeep, drifting in and out of consciousness, moaning, but unable or unwilling to speak, Harlan had his wrecked mind set on getting to higher ground. Gunning the engine, they reached a certain elevation, and the vehicle broke from the tree line. Before he knew it, they were above the canopy, easily charging through the scrub, climbing higher and higher up a long, gentle slope.

There has to be something around here, Harlan thought. If I keep driving, I'll eventually find a dirt road, at the very least. Get up to high ground and do a little surveying. He raced higher and higher, the engine pinging and sputtering. Higher and higher. High, so high. Don't look down. Or do.

Harlan slammed on the brakes, skidding across the dew-slick underbrush, and came to rest with one of the Jeep's front tires hanging precariously over a sharp drop-off. He looked out through the muddied windshield over a great misty expanse, and marvelled at the green canopy far below. He was so in awe of the landscape's beauty that he paid no mind to the fact that he had nearly driven off a cliff.

Opening the door of the Jeep, Harlan got out and stood on the foliage-covered, but unnaturally straight, sharp edge, of the drop-off. He cocked his head as his eyes found a perfectly straight line running the length of the escarpment. He squinted, not believing what he was seeing, and turned his head to the right and found the same distinct line cutting beneath and past the Jeep. In all, the anomalous cliff had to be over four hundred feet long.

It clicked in a second what this was, and Harlan fell to his knees, digging frantically through the tough vegetation. Through a tangled, twisted mass of vines and tree roots, he worked his right arm down into the wet growth until he was nearly up to his elbow in it. Nearly a foot down, his fingers met resistance in the form of rough stone. Exhausted mentally, physically, spiritually, he collapsed, weeping.

He knew he had found the ruins for which he had been searching.


New anthology available from Horror Bound Magazine, Fear of the Dark, a collection of short stories from twenty-one contributers (including me!).

five new reviews

I've contributed five reviews to this installment of Horror Bound Magazine, starting with Brian P. Easton's Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter. I'm not just blowing smoke in this review; this book seriously kicks some major ass. One of the best I've read in a long time.

John Savoie's anthology, The Zombie Chronicles, is a nifty collection of zombie short stories.

Jaym Gates and Erika Holt have truly put together a unique collection of short stories with Rigor Amortis, an anthology of zombie erotica.

Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories, edited by John Robert Colombo and Brett Alexander Savory, continues a succesful line of anthologies.

And Bekka Black takes the cell phone novel to the next level with iDrakula, a new look at an old monster.

In addition to my own contributions, there is also an extensive review by Jason Rolfe of Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan's Voices in the Dark, an excellent collection of horror writer interviews.

Issue #15 also features nine new short stories, a profile on author Lisa Mannetti, and much more.