Pseudopod 88: The Guardian

By Michael Anthony

Read by Dani Cutler

She clutched the bag to her chest, felt the contents
poking against her breasts through the plastic. She
had been fortunate to find it, hidden in a
hollowed-out cabinet in a back room. The rest of the
store had long since been plundered. She swallowed a
ball of spit and crawled along the tile, worming
toward the back.

She heard yelling outside, the boys backtracking. She
crawled faster, her knees scraping against broken
glass. If they caught her they might not kill her, but
they’d do nasty things to her. The gangs had found her
sister once and had given her the Big Belly. A little
monster had squeezed out from between her legs,
wiggling and twitching for a few moments before going
limp. She remembered burying it, shuddering. The next
day she had buried her sister–

“Someone’s here!”

Mari Mitchell
May 2nd, 2008 4:41 am

This reminded me of the movie “Warriors” and the story “By the Waters of Babylon.”

I thought the author did a great job of bending the langue to reflect the world in which the story took place.

Overall, the story wasn’t bad, but I do not think it is a story that will keep with me.

May 2nd, 2008 4:20 pm

A bit draggy…but love the ending.

karen g
May 2nd, 2008 9:48 pm

knowledge can only last while there are those to carry it… after that we’re left with georgies and deadboys. let’s hope this story never comes true.

May 3rd, 2008 8:06 am

I almost shed a tear when I realized she had brought her dying brother cereal instead of medicine…that was just so naive it was saddening. Good story, but no horror.

May 4th, 2008 8:40 am

I appreciate you guys splitting along the genres (I get 3 times the fun) but I believe this would have been better fitted for escapepod, just like PodCastle Miniature 003 – Pahwahke was better suited for this podcast.

D. Thorn
May 4th, 2008 11:37 am

Good little story, and the ending surprised me (which isn’t easy to do).

May 4th, 2008 11:32 pm

Anyone else figure out exactly what cap’n she was talking about around half way through?

May 6th, 2008 1:56 pm

Loved this one.

I’m also enjoying that pseudopod is broadening my definition of horror. It’s not always about Zombies.

May 7th, 2008 3:28 pm

“It’s not always about zombies”

Amen. This was horror in the sense that it was a world that would be horrible to be in. I enjoyed it.

July 7th, 2008 7:44 pm

Not much to say about this. The “important object that turns out to be something mundane” is old hat. I guess setting it in a CLOCKWORK ORANGE/WARRIORS world somehow worked for a lot of people. If there had been more grimness and gloom in the surroundings, and hope in the object that only we realize wasn’t going to help in the end, it might have had a chance as a bitter pill but, naw, even then, it’s one of those stories where you can hear the “laughing trombone” musical cue at the end, although that’s not what the writer intended.

Another quasi-sci-fi tale. I know scaring modern readers is a tough job but can’t we even get some attempts?

Thanks for listening.

“This country (America) is so diffuse and chaotic that the only things holding it together are TV and poverty.”
Charles Henry James