Pseudopod 016: Medicinal

By Peter King

Read by Ben Phillips and Mur Lafferty

When this first started I would scream or panic or even go for the window. The only thing I can do now is whisper.

To her. To me.

“That’s not the guy, Lorainne,” I say under my breath, but it does me no good because the thoughts keep coming.

–transverse cervical–

“Besides, you’re dead, Lorainne. And I’ll never find him. That guy over there… that’s not the guy.”

It does no good, because my head still goes all swimmy. Whatever is trapped up there… it can wait no more.

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December 15th, 2006 12:15 pm

Another good one. Something that you said in your intro really got me thinking. When it comes down to it isn’t death what makes horror scary. I get that we all know we are going to die, but I think it is the fact that it can happen suddenly and for no reason that freaks us out.

I think The Christmas Carol kind of explores that. It isn’t that Scrooge finds out he is going to die. I think he realizes that he is going to die soon, and even that he thinks he is going to die before he has the chance to act on the lessons that he has just learned. It is that internal struggle with death that makes it scary, not just Scrooge realizing that he is going to die.

That is all. Keep up the good work I love the show!

December 15th, 2006 1:28 pm

This reminded me of the movie Memento some at the end. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not at first, but by the end I realized this wasn’t the first time and that horrible thought stuck. I also liked how compact this story was.

December 16th, 2006 4:04 pm

A simple story with an easily foreseeable conclusion. The irritating audio tricks that are so distracting didn’t help much, either.

December 16th, 2006 4:35 pm

Short, sweet, horrifying.

I think what really make this “horror” for me is a killer that can’t be bargained with (because he doesn’t want to do it in the first place) and the seemingly randomness of who gets to be a victim.

I also thought the 2nd voice was a good dramatic touch. For those of us who haven’t had to deal with other voices in our heads (yet) it really underscored his predicament.

December 17th, 2006 12:05 pm

I like that the narrator is a victim too.

December 17th, 2006 12:46 pm

Short and sweet, a story you can enjoy without ruining your appetite. Unless you have a thing when it comes to naming body parts.

Penguin books released a free reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Geoffrey Palmer last Christmas on their podcast/blog. Unfortunately they’ve now deleted it but it was a very good reading, I’ve always felt the various films missed the nature of Scrooge that you get from the book in favour of some cartoon grotesque.

December 18th, 2006 4:41 pm

This was a great story. I love the woe of the exasperated man who can’t help but do this for his wife.

Tiktok of Oz
December 20th, 2006 5:58 pm

Would someone get away that easily? It’s a cliche in fiction that you can do anything and flee, but It really bugs me that nobody grabs a dude before he can get his car keys out and start it up.

Oh, and what I’m taking from this story? Love my wife _now_ so that I don’t have regrets about not paying attention to her whilst avenging her “killer”.

December 21st, 2006 10:02 am

Great story – thanks all.

I had a thought about that line from the Christmas carol you mentioned in the intro. In America we don’t associate ghost stories and Christmas (except for the Dickens classic), but in England it used to be a common practice for families to tell ghost stories around the fireplace at Christmas time. In fact, most of M. R. James’ stories were written specifically to read to his friends at Christmas. Time to bring that back!

December 27th, 2006 2:24 pm

I liked this one, but I didn’t like the lack of an ending. It had a really good set up, and then it just sorta ended.

Once again, I like the little bit of production used for the wife’s voice. I know this is a horror story podcast, but making it a little horror radio show wouldn’t be to bad either.

January 2nd, 2007 1:32 pm

Not a fan of this one, really. Take out the medical terms and you’re left with a very thin tale…

Anyway, re: A Christmas Carol: Mur, I think you’ve missed the point. Scrooge wasn’t upset because he was going to die. He was upset because he was going to die and no one was going to give a damn. He thought he was respected for being a fine businessman, but in the end no one cared about him at all and he just vanished from the earth when he went.

Had the Ghost of Christmas Future been the first spirit, the whole scene might not have impacted him so much, but by then the Spirits’ influences had already begun to work on him.

Also agreed that no movie has even remotely captured the feel of the book. I saw Patrick Stewart do a one-man show of the book, with a table and a chair as his only props. It was wonderful, but still didn’t have the impact of the book.

Mari Mitchell
April 6th, 2008 12:20 pm

This was okay. It reminded of something I saw on TV.

The plot was of a man taking is wife home from the hospital after she had been attacked and almost died, some radon act of violence had stricken their normal lives. On the way home, she points at and says, “He did it.”

He asks over and over if she is sure.

She is. So he kills the bastard.

After the deed is done, he gets back into the car with his wife and drive home. Again she sees another and proclaims that he had done those horrible things. He and we, see that he just killed an innocent man.

July 24th, 2008 3:53 pm

Mari: That was an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Great stuff.

December 14th, 2008 4:11 pm


January 19th, 2009 1:50 am

I liked this one. I enjoy the shorties and Murs voice. The dudes dead wife was a wonderful affect whispering the correct words and his reply back to “her”. Wonderful.