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You’ve found the world’s premier horror fiction podcast. Pseudopod brings you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere.

WARNING: This is a podcast of horror fiction. The stories presented here are intended to disturb. They are likely to contain death, graphic violence, explicit sex (including sexual violence), hate crimes, blasphemy, or other themes and images that hook deep into your psyche. We do not provide ratings or content warnings. We assume by your listening that you wish to be disturbed for your entertainment. If there are any themes that you cannot deal with in fiction, that are too strongly personal to you, please do not listen.

Pseudopod is for mature audiences only. Hardly any story on Pseudopod is suitable for children. We mean this very seriously.

Pseudopod 395: Fishhead

by Irvin S. Cobb.

“Fishhead” first appeared in THE CAVALIER on January 11, 1913 and can be read here.

IRVIN S. COBB (June 23, 1876 – March 11, 1944) was an American author, humorist, and columnist who lived in New York and authored more than 60 books and 300 short stories. He was born in Paducah, Kentucky, where he began as a reporter for the Paducah Daily News at the age of seventeen. He became the nation’s youngest managing news editor two years later. His career took him to media and artistic prominence in New York City, where his Saturday Evening Post columns reached over two million readers. He was such a well-known and well-loved figure that he hosted the 7th Academy Awards ceremony.

Our reader this week is a long-time friend of the show. He was born in the swamps of south Georgia where he was orphaned as a child by a pack of wild dawgs. He was adopted by a family of gators who named him Maui Threv which in their language means mechanical frog music. He was taught the ways of swamp music and the moog synthesizer by a razorback and a panther. He provided music for the second episode ever released across the PseudoPod feed: Waiting up for Father. He also is responsible for the outro music for the Lavie Tidhar story Set Down This.

Sword & Mythos can be ordered here.

Sounds used in the soundbed for this story can be found at the following links:

Marsh ambiance track

Bullfrogs

Fishhead’s Call:

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“It goes past the powers of my pen to try to describe Reelfoot Lake for you so that you, reading this, will get the picture of it in your mind as I have it in mine.

For Reelfoot Lake is like no other lake that I know anything about. It is an after-thought of Creation.

The rest of this continent was made and had dried in the sun for thousands of years-millions of years, for all I know-before Reelfoot came to be. It’s the newest big thing in nature on this hemisphere, probably, for it was formed by the great earthquake of 1811.

That earthquake of 1811 surely altered the face of the earth on the then far frontier of this country.

It changed the course of rivers, it converted hills into what are now the sunk lands of three states, and it turned the solid ground to jelly and made it roll in waves like the sea.

And in the midst of the retching of the land and the vomiting of the waters it depressed to varying depths a section of the earth crust sixty miles long, taking it down — trees, hills, hollows, and all, and a crack broke through to the Mississippi River so that for three days the river ran up stream, filling the hole.

The result was the largest lake south of the Ohio, lying mostly in Tennessee, but extending up across what is now the Kentucky line, and taking its name from a fancied resemblance in its outline to the splay, reeled foot of a cornfield negro. Niggerwool Swamp, not so far away, may have got its name from the same man who christened Reelfoot: at least so it sounds.

Reelfoot is, and has always been, a lake of mystery.

In places it is bottomless. Other places the skeletons of the cypress-trees that went down when the earth sank, still stand upright so that if the sun shines from the right quarter, and the water is less muddy than common, a man, peering face downward into its depths, sees, or thinks he sees, down below him the bare top-limbs upstretching like drowned men’s fingers, all coated with the mud of years and bandaged with pennons of the green lake slime.

In still other places the lake is shallow for long stretches, no deeper than breast high to a man, but dangerous because of the weed growths and the sunken drifts which entangle a swimmer’s limbs. Its banks are mainly mud, its waters are *muddled, too, being a rich coffee color in the spring and a copperish yellow in the summer, and the trees along its shore are mud colored clear up their lower limbs after the spring floods, when the dried sediment covers their trunks with a thick, scrofulous-looking coat.

There are stretches of unbroken woodland around it, and slashes where the cypress knees rise countlessly like headstones and footstones for the dead snags that rot in the soft ooze.

There are deadenings with the lowland corn growing high and rank below and the bleached, fire-blackened girdled trees rising above, barren of leaf and limb.

There are long, dismal flats where in the spring the clotted frog- spawn cling like patches of white mucus among the weed-stalks, and at night the turtles crawl out to lay clutches of perfectly, round, white eggs with tough, rubbery shells in the sand.

There are bayous leading off to nowhere, and sloughs that wind aimlessly, like great, blind worms, to finally join the big river that rolls its semi-liquid torrents a few miles to the westward.

So Reelfoot lies there, flat in the bottoms, freezing lightly in the winter, steaming torridly in the summer, swollen in the spring when the woods have turned a vivid green and the buffalo-gnats by the million and the billion fill the flooded hollows with their pestilential buzzing, and in the fall, ringed about gloriously with all the colors which the first frost brings-gold of hickory, yellow-russet of sycamore, red of dogwood and ash, and purple-black of sweet-gum.

But the Reelfoot country has its uses. It is the best game and fish country, natural or artificial, that is left in the South today.

In their appointed seasons the duck and the geese flock in, and even semi-tropical birds, like the brown pelican and the Florida snake-bird, have been known to come there to nest.

Pigs, gone back to wildness, range the ridges, each razor-backed drove captained by a gaunt, savage, slab-sided old boar. By night the bullfrogs, inconceivably big and tremendously vocal, bellow under the banks.

It is a wonderful place for fish — bass and crappie, and perch, and the snouted buffalo fish.

How these edible sorts live to spawn, and how their spawn in turn live to spawn again is a marvel, seeing how many of the big fish-eating cannibal-fish there are in Reelfoot.

Here, bigger than anywhere else, you find the garfish, all bones and appetite and horny plates, with a snout like an alligator, the nearest link, naturalists say, between the animal life of today and the animal life of the Reptilian Period.

The shovel-nose cat, really a deformed kind of fresh-water sturgeon, with a great fan-shaped membranous plate jutting out from his nose like a bowsprit, jumps all day in the quiet places with mighty splashing sounds, as though a horse had fallen into the water.

On every stranded log the huge snapping turtles lie on sunny days in groups of four and six, baking their shells black in the sun, with their little snaky heads raised watchfully, ready to slip noiselessly off at the first sound of oars grating in the row-locks. But the biggest of them all are the catfish!

These are monstrous creatures, these catfish of Reelfoot — scaleless,slick things, with corpsy, dead eyes and poisonous fins, like javelins, and huge whiskers dangling from the sides of their cavernous heads.

Six and seven feet long they grow to be, and weigh 200 pounds or more, and they have mouths wide enough to take in a man’s foot or a man’s fist, and strong enough to break any hook save the strongest, and greedy enough to eat anything, living or dead or putrid, that the horny jaws can master.

Oh, but they are wicked things, and they tell wicked tales of them down there. They call them man-eaters, and compare them, in certain of their habits, to sharks.

Fishhead was of a piece with this setting.”

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Pseudopod 394: Summer Girls

by Caspian Gray.

“Summer Girls” first appeared in Black Static #35, which was their July/August 2013 issue.

CASPIAN GRAY currently lives with a tall man and a small dog in Columbus, Ohio, where he’s a copywriter for a used car dealership. He has previously worked as a funeral director’s apprentice, a pet nutritionist, and an English teacher to Korean immigrants living in Japan. His fiction has appeared in places like Interzone, Nightmare Magazine, Odyssey, and ChiZine.

Your reader – Robert A.K. Gonyo – is a voiceover artist residing in Queens, New York; when he’s not at the mic, he’s directing, acting, or playing music in New York’s off-off-Broadway theatre community. He produces and hosts a podcast on off-off-Broadway, Go See a Show!, available on the web and on iTunes. You can follow his work, and contact him for voiceover gigs, at ROBERT GONYO.com.

Kameron Hurley can be contacted at the following link: Kameron Hurley.

Matt Wallace’s Slingers can be found here!

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“Something brushed his leg. For a moment he felt the sensation of fingers closing on his ankle. Dan started, then floundered away, panicked as a little kid at the first touch of seaweed. He composed himself in case Kayla was watching, but she was treading water further out, eyes on the horizon. Dan swam out to her, accidentally swallowing a mouthful of salt water, then splashed water on her back to get her attention. Kayla turned, pulling long strands of hair out of her eyes.

_The dead girl_, Dan signed. This was one of their home-signs, a single gesture not rendered in his bastardized ASL.

Kayla cocked her head. _Too early_, she signed. _The dead girl won’t be here ’til August._

_She touched me_, Dan signed. _She touched me._

Kayla swam closer to him. They treaded water, looking out over the dark waves for her bobbing corpse. There was no sign of her.

_Let’s swim back._”

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Pseudopod 393: West Gate

by Mitchell Edgeworth.

“West Gate” was first published in Allegory magazine in January 2013 and is still available in their paywalled archives. Mitchell notes: “The bridge does have a bit of bad mojo about it. It collapsed while under construction in the 60s and killed two dozen workers, and was notorious as a suicide bridge until a guy threw his daughter off it a few years ago and they put some fences up. It’s also a fairly ugly, modern bridge compared to the more famous Sydney Harbour Bridge (which crosses a beautiful stretch of water, whereas the West Gate crosses the port and then plunges into factories, industrial areas and the impoverished western suburbs.)”.

MITCHELL EDGEWORTH is an Australian writer currently living in London. He has fiction published or forthcoming in venues including Daily Science Fiction, Postscripts to Darkness and Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. He tweets as @mitchedgeworth and keeps a blog at Grub Street Hack.

Your reader – Ron Jon – was featured in a showcase in Pseudopod 377: Showcase: The Dark Audio Tone Poems of The Spectre Collector. Ron has written and published children’s books; scripts and screenplays for animation and live action; musical lyrics and libretti. He is a student of strange phenomena/parapsychology, horror and children’s literature.
You can hear more of his work at The Spectre Collector Blog and The Spectre Collector Page. Also, be sure to check out the Killer Blood Shroom Cult hymns at The Fruits Of Madness.

Please donate what you can to help Talliston House survive!

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“A dozen helicopters were hovering around the distant city, all lancing their spotlights down on the same place – by his reckoning, somewhere near the Domain Tunnel or the Arts Centre. He could see no other movement. No explosions, no gunfire, no destruction. Had it been contained?

A few other people had left their cars and were standing at the barrier, staring at the city. Some were holding up their mobile phones, trying to get a signal. “Anybody know what the fuck’s holding traffic up?” a truckie asked.

“Some dickhead must have had a smash,” someone replied. “Nothing on the radio, though.”

“Nothing on the radio at all,” the truckie said again. He was visibly agitated, pacing up and down at the railing, his hands tucked into his armpits for warmth. “What’s the fucking government doing? That’s what I want to know. Where’s the army?”

“Didn’t you see those tanks go past before?””

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