Pseudopod 78: In a Right and Proper Place

By Holly Day

Read by Christiana Ellis

Across the street lives a woman with snakes in her hair. She watches me from between the rotting drapes that keep the sun from melting her living room furniture. Her eyes glow in the dark, and she thinks I can’t see her, but I am not as stupid as she thinks.

I sit at the breakfast table and wonder if she has to feed each snake head individually, or if they’re just like hair, and just need a shampooing, now and then. I imagine her dipping her entire head into a cage full of frightened rats, the snakes in her hair darting this way and that, tangling around each other in their haste to catch the fat ones, the ones with the least demented testicles. Tiny bones crunch in my head as I close my own teeth on a spoonful of raw bran, orange juice instead of milk because milk always makes me sleepy.

01
Void Munashii
February 23rd, 2008 12:51 am

What an odd story. I kept waiting for the author to tip their hand, but that never really happened. I can only assume that this is one of the most terrifying types of horror, the type that exists in your own head, the inescapable horror of madness

02
Leontseva
February 24th, 2008 8:19 pm

This was a fabulous story – truly scary, but also quite sad, at the end. I had to stop everything just to sit and listen until it was finished.

03
David
February 25th, 2008 4:07 pm

Definitely one of the wierder pseudopods. She was a lot more sympathetic than most protagonists; though she seemed more sorry for herslef than the children who supposedly died.

04
February 26th, 2008 2:21 pm

A slow starter; but this story got more and more chilling as I thought about it.

I’m not likely to ever fend off werewolves, trolls or a zombie horde, but the disintegration of the mind is far too common to dismiss.

:Eric

05
February 28th, 2008 12:17 am

I’m with Eric that this story was chilling in a very realistic and poignant way, but it also has some nice touches of supernatural-esque horror too, like the description of feeding the hair-snakes, the tasks of the troll-brides, etc.

The voice was well suited to the story too, dead-pan, almost frail.

06
February 28th, 2008 6:07 pm

I like this a lot. I agree with the last dude. This one gets a 7 from me.

07
Spork
March 5th, 2008 9:09 pm

While I get it, I really do, it just didn’t work for me. I have no idea why people dig listening to Christiana Ellis. When I hear her read, all I hear is a monotone head cold at work and nothing more. It’s far too irritating and distracting for me to keep my mind in the story.

08
scatterbrain
March 6th, 2008 3:31 pm

Boring!

Like an over-extended pastiche and fixup of not particulary interesting prose in the first place.

Could not get to the end of it.

09
March 15th, 2008 12:49 am

I was transfixed by this story from the start. I too had to stop everything and just listen. Though I typically prefer the true supernatural, I loved the attention to detail for the protagonist’s mental disorder. The bit about how to feed a Medusa and the faces on the milk cartons was brilliant.

10
JenX
March 16th, 2008 4:39 pm

As someone with a family history of mental illness and a degree in psychology/psychopathology, I found this story chilling. It’s difficult to get inside someone else’s head – but this felt like I’d woken up inside her tilted mind. Ellis’ voice suited the story perfectly.