Flash: Rite of Atonement

By Melinda Selmys

Reading and music by W. Ralph Walters

She would not be able to fly, of course, but he had run the simulations carefully, had seized his achievement in the animated projections of the contact-lens computer screen that nestled against his natural eye. She would be chased to the cliff’s edge just like all the others, but when she arrived she would not tumble graceless to the stones. She would spread wide those gossamer-green constructs of his genius and for a few precious moments that wind would fill them and she would glide until the weight of her body broke the fragile bones of the living apparatus that held her aloft. Then she would fall like a wounded bird, like Icarus as he plunged, spinning, downwards from the sun. In a tangle of broken wings, she would carry all of the terrors and tortures that he had perpetrated against her down to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

November 1st, 2007 3:51 pm

A powerful, sacramental story and a well done reading. The author packed a lot into those few minutes.

November 1st, 2007 4:11 pm

WOW! That was beautiful. For a while, I thought that both the writer and the reader were the audio story pioneer, Joe Frank. http://www.joefrank.com/

November 2nd, 2007 11:29 am

This was one of the best flash stories you’ve put on pseudopod. I loved the eerie music and the vivid imagery. Creepy! A+!

November 2nd, 2007 2:58 pm

Very nice. Tight, disorienting, and well told. Philosophy phrased as a punch to the gut.

November 11th, 2007 4:50 pm


November 15th, 2007 12:49 pm

One of the absolute best pieces presented so far, all comers welcome. The story was captivating. The narration was spot on (good job, Ben!!) and the background music was complimentary and subtle. I can’t remember a piece I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed as this one.

Complete kudos all the way around.

*massive applause*

November 16th, 2007 9:58 am

I listen to these stories at work through headphones. Most of them I enjoy and continue right on working. This story, however, I had to stop and listen intently to each sad word. By the time the ‘monster’ was dead, I had become that monster.

Nice work!

November 17th, 2007 10:23 pm

I liked this until the end. When the villagers realize what they’ve done, this went from horror to a creepy after school special morality play of mediocrity lightning fast.

November 20th, 2007 4:13 pm

“I have given you the power to fly” that line right there sent shivers through me. Yeesh.

Dave (aka Nev the Deranged... or is it the other way around?)
November 21st, 2007 7:19 pm

Holy crap. I have generally not been fond of the flash fiction (which is usually more like “jotted on a napkin over dinner and turned in without editing fiction”), but this one took my breath away. Excellently creepy, deliciously disturbing, read perfectly. Great choice.

I complain a lot about stories here that are just beginning with no endings, but this one proves that an ending without a beginning can work just fine, in skilled hands.


November 25th, 2007 4:17 am

Chornbe — I can’t take credit for the reading; check the credits. It was all W. Ralph Walters (http://za-frequency.livejournal.com), and yeah, he did a killer job.

November 27th, 2007 4:52 am

Really good and really interesting post. I expect (and other readers maybe :)) new useful posts from you!
Good luck and successes in blogging!

Jason K
November 28th, 2007 11:01 pm

That was both sickening and beautiful at the same time. It was visceral, personal, without even really focusing on the protagonist. This is why I love horror.

January 23rd, 2008 12:23 pm

Catching up on podcasts here and I gotta say wow. This is the best thing I’ve ever heard on pseudopod. Great stuff!!!

April 18th, 2008 10:56 am

This came out last year and I still listen to this story now. I love the reading, the music, the whole story itself. My favorite Flash Story indeed.