Pseudopod 103: Geist

By Chandler Kaiden

Read by Richard Dansky

At first, there was only numb horror.

He couldn’t move his arms, couldn’t catch his breath. Everything was black. The thick stench of mildew, of rust and minerals, coagulated in his nose and throat. Steaming water spilled over his forehead, rained into his eyes, seeped between his lips. Brackish, foul water, full of chemicals.

It seemed to go on forever.

He tried to move. But he was confined, his limbs pressed tightly against his body.

When the water stopped, he heard dull, heavy thumping, like the machinations of an enormous water-logged engine.

The air was thick with steam. The foul water collected around his eyes, spilled into his nostrils, packed his sinuses.

There, in the wet darkness, he tried to drown himself. He inhaled the water. Tried to hold his breath — that breath he’d been instinctively fighting to catch when he came to — and found that he could hold it and hold it and hold it, and nothing happened.

_I want to die._

August 16th, 2008 12:53 am

Gruesome, pathetic and visually satisfying depiction of the “bound ghost”.


August 17th, 2008 8:27 pm

Very odd story… I feel so bad for the guy, and I certainly hope that if there is an afterlife, that it’s nothing like that.

Colin Kaiden
August 18th, 2008 2:31 am

Yo man.

August 18th, 2008 11:30 am

I really liked the depiction of the ghostly existence, being a “shell” of what you once were.

August 31st, 2008 11:48 am

Spouse haunting spouse? Check.
Suicide prevention by dead spouse? Check.
Self-sacrifice to preserve living spouse? Check.
Child who can see what adults can’t? Check.
Random, inconsistent interactions with material world by ghost? Check.

All that’s missing is a really clever dog…

September 6th, 2008 12:47 am

What a fantastic, imaginative story! The descriptions pulled me in and creeped me out. Sure, there were some common horror literature elements here, but the authod did some imaginative things with them. To dismiss all of the other merits of this story based on this is kind shallow. I , for one, have never heard of (or imagined) a frail, calcified salamander-like ghost-thing living in the drain of a bathrub where a suicide took place. The writing was so rich I could almos see it in front of me.

Mike G
October 18th, 2008 2:21 am

I agree that the author created a nice version of afterlife here, too bad it was such a sad and boring one – I would have liked for something more to have happened at the end, something to shock the reader more – there needed to be more closure in the final bit.

October 22nd, 2008 10:33 pm

I liked this one.