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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Nine Tenths of the Law: I

  by Sean Padlo

    Jacob Morningstar stepped out of his vehicle, tying his long brown hair back, and was already moving toward the back entrance at the right end of the Fort Monroe parking lot, when he noticed a crowd gathered on the courtyard grounds near the main entrance. In the middle of the crowd, a tiny waif of a girl wearing a yellow-flowered sundress currently held a full-grown man over her head. She smiled brightly, arms held straight overhead, as the man’s body appeared to…expand. Jacob glanced at his watch, saw no one waiting for him by the service entrance, and headed toward the crowd instead.

   Although businesses like this were still relatively new to the populace, and the laws regarding them were rudimentary at best, Jacob noted that some business owners enjoyed bringing a festive, P.T. Barnumesque panache to their workplaces. Here, it seemed that the owner
a curious, darkly strange man who went by the surname of Pyxhad fashioned himself a place of both utility and pageantry. Jacob thought it strange that anything so extreme could happen in such a place as this that would require his expertise, though not once had he spoken with Mr. Pyx. He had, and apparently would, only be dealing with the manager, an excitable fellow named William Nash.

   Once the man held in the air by the little girl had grown impossibly huge, the girl shoved him up and away from her, where he flipped once and landed on his feet. The crowd applauded. The massive behemoth of a man stepped back onto the platform. He took the girl by the waist, and threw her into the air. She rose higher and higher still before slowing at last, only to find herself hovering there momentarily, just a blot of yellow in a powder-blue sky. It reminded Jacob of the Roadrunner cartoons where the coyote runs off a plateau, defying gravity until he noticed and pulled a sign from out of nowhere with “?!” scrawled on it, just before he fell. There was no sign in this scenario, just a crowd of people holding their collective breath, waiting for the girl to fall. Instead, she arched her back and shrieked as dark, leathery wings burst from her shoulder blades. She tucked into a ball as her wings unfurled before diving earthward. Her wings folded back, and she accelerated, until she became nothing more than a blur rushing headlong toward the ground.

   The crowd gasped, ducking their heads, and started to scatter. Jacob noted that no one stood fast under the falling child to try and rescue her. The girl spread her wings wide and flew just over their heads. Now they began to cheer, those cheers increasing to a roar of approval as she flipped and tumbled through the air, at last coming to land gently on the grass. Applause exploded from the crowd, and she bowed to them then, her wings tucking and retreating into her back. Jacob could see only two small holes in the back of her sundress. No blood, no trace of her massive wings. Not even a single black feather.

   Jacob smiled at the little girl's performance. It was most impressive, and he found himself applauding right along with the crowd. He watched the behemoth slowly deflate back to his normal size. The whole thing happened before the business was open for the day. It reminded him of those people who tell jokes and hype the studio audience before a talk show begins. Jacob checked his watch again and realized it was eleven minutes after eight in the morning. He would have time to take a few looks around before meeting up with Mr. Nash and getting down to work.

   Fort Monroe was most recently purchased about three years ago, and major work ensued to secure the building. But as it was once fortified against attacks from the outside, it now served its purpose as to be guarded from within. Jacob supposed that the man and the child from the performance had at least level twos, but it was more likely that the girl had a three…or even possibly a four. By law, security for ephemerals from level three to level five is required to be multi-faceted, complex, convoluted really, and exhaustively thorough. And expensive.

   Fort Monroe
or more precisely the land itself where the fort now stoodhad a dark, sordid history. The land was named Old Point Comfort by the settlers of Jamestown as they’d passed through the area. Local natives were used, abused, then driven out and massacred. Fort Algernon was built upon the Point, then accidentally burned to the ground. The fortification was built and rebuilt repeatedly for years, but they all crumbled or had some calamity or another befall the area. Fort George was built there, and boat after boat full of African slaves passed through the area before a hurricane turned Fort George to ruin.

   The fort became a Union stronghold despite being in Confederate territory. It was a pro-slave area that became a bastion of freedom for runaway slaves, being dubbed “Freedom’s Fortress.” Fort Monroe was officially decommissioned in 2005, and was eventually purchased by a group under the orders of Mr. Pyx. The new owners found it would be, for whatever the reason, a good idea to reform the fort’s exterior to take on a five-pointed star shape. “You can see us from the sky,” Mr. Nash had exclaimed to him over the phone in an exuberantly high-yet-throaty voice, “and it looks great on maps!”

   Jacob looked up at the bright blue sky with its magnificent, cottony clouds and wondered if this job would turn out different from the rest. Land is like a man’s spirit, it remembers the good and the bad, and the dark weighs heavy upon it. Jacob wondered if Mr. Pyx understood the power of the soil, and that of pentacles. He shook himself out of those thoughts and looked around, surprised that he’d already reached the service entrance, and he noticed that this spot offered him a unique vantage point: he could see the repetitive paths of the security detail. Always in pairs, they covered the area well. He saw that the visitors had lined up at the front entrance. Even though he was good at his job and did it very well, Jacob always felt a degree of dread over the work he was hired for: extraction.

    Please Return Next Saturday
for Part II of Nine Tenths of the Law
by Sean Padlo

Meanwhile: Click
Below To Read:

only on 
the FREEZINE of 
Fantasy and Science 
~ Fiction ~


  1. A Comment

    Well, that’s one! 😃

  2. For those quarantined at home reading the Freezine and keeping up with this

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    If waiting a week for the next part is driving you crazy

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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sean Padlo's

Sean Padlo's

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

Konstantine Paradias's

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

Edward Morris's

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

Tim Fezz's

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

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 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

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

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
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

David Agranoff's

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

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

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's

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

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)

Gene Stewart's

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

Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's

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

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,
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

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

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

BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
Singer, Songwriter, producer &
founder of the notorious DWARVES.
He has written two novels, ‘NINA’ and

G. Alden Davis's

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

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

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

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

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.)