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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Nine Tenths of the Law: IV

by Sean Padlo

   Jacob ordered them all to cease, shouting above the priests, the murmuring ephemerals, the buzzing electricity of Faraday Cages and Jacob’s Ladders. These constructs were pure founts of plasmonic energy that offered raw strength to the ephemerals; power and semi-corporeality were the gifts bestowed. The barracks felt like a frozen foreign wasteland, with creatures of ice and mist gathered here. Thomas, the boy, sat shackled within the eye of the maelstrom.

   Nash crept forward toward the boy. Jacob, without a glance, shoved the bloated, nosy fool away. Nash tumbled backward and crashed into the priestly triad. Their chanting stopped at last, if only for a moment.

   Jacob studied the boy: severely anemic, his bare skin stretched and rippled, split and scarred and bleeding. Noses and mouths, fingers and hands, pressed against and distorted the child’s body. His skin bruised and mottled, then stretched to transparency only to suddenly snap back to its original form. Appendages not his own pushed against his skin. Words appeared on his skin in hashes and scratches that called for help, that pleaded; words that begged rescue.

   There was a war being waged inside Thomas. Nash had gotten to his feet and moved behind Jacob to glimpse the boy and screamed when he witnessed a face and head, birthed from the child’s neck, gnashing teeth scraping against flesh from within. Nash put his hands upon Jacob’s shoulders to steady himself and found the man's body to be feverishly hot. He jerked his hands away and stepped back. Everyone around them had fallen strangely silent. Nash noticed that the ephemerals had all moved back and gathered together in silence at the periphery of the room.

   The priests returned to their exorcism chants, spraying Holy Water over the head of Jacob Morningstar and splashing the face of Thomas. The boy howled and struggled against his restraints, the Holy Water blistering the boy’s skin upon contact. Jacob’s scalp smoked and sizzled, and the man bellowed, once more ordering the priests to relent.

   Jacob leaned in close and said, “Thomas! Are you here, son?”

   As Thomas replied with a weak nod, the ephemerals returned to their task of entering the boy. One after another, they advanced unrelenting. They drove into his form with an audible whump and a warm glow. But they came faster now: whump…whump…whump whump whumpwhumpwhumpwhump!

   The glow of each successful entry was rewarded with the same radiance as before, but there was no time to fade. The incandescence built upon itself, brighter and brighter still, becoming blindingly intense. The priests screamed, clawing their eyes and tearing at their faces. Nash bellowed, his hands raised high, and decided to escape through the iron doors. Jacob Morningstar appeared to draw the luminosity out of the child, and in to himself. He grew taller, larger now. Dark, feathered wings sprouted and grew from between his shoulder blades. The buttons on his shirt popped, the fabric itself tore apart and shredded from his back. With his palm outstretched, he turned and sent a stream of light that set Nash afire. The man’s screams rose high and shrill, but thankfully ended quickly as his plump body sizzled, turned to bright ash, then spread out, drifting down like black snowflakes.

” Thomas shouted. His body settled; his flesh healed and as he looked up and met Jacob’s eyes, the shackles fell awayand he stood. Naked. Strong. Perfect. The moment was beautiful, serene. Thomas raised his hands and beckoned the cowering ephemerals left in the barracks. They came to him at once. Thomas became light. He was neither corporeal nor ephemeral. He had developed into something else. He had become more.

   The ephemerals swirled and merged like cirrus clouds, closing around the boy who was no longer a boy. The priests scratched blindly against the iron doors, while fort security pounded against the other side. Thomas drew his glowing hands into fists, drawing them toward his chest.

   The bodies of the priests collapsed to the cold stone floor as their spirits rose up, free of their anchors, and flowed into Thomas as if carried on a gentle breeze. The pounding from the other side of the doors abruptly stopped as they flew open, the ward exploded in a shower of sparks, and from the other side wisps of ephemera appeared, dancing and twirling around each other before slipping into Thomas.

   Thomas stood before Jacob, countless strands of gossamer enshrouding him like a shimmering robe. Jacob Morningstar knelt before Thomas and said, “Is it you? Are you in control now?”

   Thomas smiled and caressed Jacob’s cheek. “I am. It’s a wondrous thing.” He extended a hand to Jacob, and they climbed the stairwell together. Every ward exploded, the sigils cracked and split apart. They stepped thoughtfully over fallen bodies as they continued to ascend, the light of Thomas leading the way.

   They reached the top of the stairs and made their way outside. Thomas led Jacob by the hand, and they headed toward the main entrance of Fort Monroe. A curious crowd had gathered there, and Thomas drew their ephemera into him, the bodies slipping away, falling like shed linens.

   Through the main doors, Thomas smiled lovingly as his guardians emerged. Jacob stepped between guardians and child. “Your jobs are done. You are released.”

   The female stepped forward. “We have done what was demanded of us, and we deserve to be rewarded.”

   Jacob Morningstar’s jaw clenched, his words whistling through his teeth. “You are released. Go now. That is your reward.”

   “Now just wait a goddamn minute,” The male said. “That wasn’t the deal!”

   Jacob stretched his hand toward them as his palm began to glow. Thomas put his hand over Jacob’s and lowered it.

   “A just reward for you both,” Thomas said. He clenched his fist and his guardians burst from within. Their ephemera rose, and Thomas squeezed his fist tighter. The wisps of their spirits gathered, tightly, though they darkened until bits of sulfur ash drizzled to the ground.

   “You must not allow your emotions to control you. Know who you are, son.”

   Thomas offered a pleasant smile. “I am awakened.”

   “Good. You must always know thyself.”

   Thomas drew a golden light from within, letting it spread outward to his fingertips. “I am Legion…”

   Jacob Morningstar finished his sentence. “Yes… for you are many.”

   Thomas looked behind them and inhaled deeply. The sulfur ash of his guardians passed into him. And it was good.

~ The End ~

   Return Monday, March 30
    to read the final story in this issue

The Bellows in the BB-Heads
feat. art by Jason Barnett

only on 
Fantasy and Science


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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.)