Pseudopod 109: In the Coils of the Serpent

By William Meikle

Read by K.J. Johnson

“So after he killed her he cut out the clitoris.”

“Well, that settles it – it can’t have been a man. If it had been, he’d never have found it.”

I looked up at her over the top of my drink, but there was no humour in her eyes – then again, there rarely was these days.

“I don’t know why I’m telling you all this anyway”, I said, taking a long swig of beer and brushing the foam from my upper lip. “If the boss ever finds out, I’ll be knocked back to traffic patrol – this is all supposed to be hush-hush – even the tabloids haven’t got hold of it yet.”

“I should hope not,” Jane Woolsey replied, “If they get so much as a whiff that I’m involved, you won’t see me for dust.”

I didn’t blame her. I remembered the last time – the finding of the body, the lurid headlines, the media circus permanently encamped on her doorstep. I would do everything in my power to make sure that didn’t happen again.

She was playing with her hair, twirling the blond tresses around her little finger. She had that faraway look in her eyes again, as if she was staring fixedly at something in the far distance that only she could see. I leaned over and took her hand.

“I’ll try to keep the press out of it, Jane – I really will.”

This week’s episode sponsored by, who has extended their generous offer of a free audiobook download of your choice from their selection of over 40,000 titles.

September 26th, 2008 1:20 am

I don’t know what you guys did different, but in the itunes “information” window that shows a snippet of the story, all apostrophes are converted to gibberish. This is not the case in the previous story “The Teacher”

September 26th, 2008 9:21 pm

Good! Creepy tale with a supernatural monster. Always a plus. Had a nice “Night Stalker” feel to it.

September 28th, 2008 1:28 am

Interesting detective story, I enjoyed the ending. I like scary fantasy, but its been a while since you did any scifi, any chance of some more in that area soon?

September 28th, 2008 4:01 am

Anyone can say what they want about this story. All I know is, as the coroner’s report was being read, I was using my iPod screen’s light to search the dark corners of my dorm room. Something sounded like it was dripping, and I literally felt some sort of relief that it only appeared to go after women.

September 28th, 2008 1:18 pm

Interesting story, though I think the reading would have been improved a great deal if the reader had been British – I was listening in the car on the way to work and must have missed the cues about where the story took place, and the generic American accent lulled me into a false sense of familiarity. At the first mention of ‘deep-sea lochs’, my brain did a complete double-take until I finally figured out where this was supposed to be set. That’s what happens when I try to listed to Pseudopod before I get my morning dose of caffeine.

September 29th, 2008 12:40 pm

Deliciously Ghastly! By coincidence, I’d been listening to a lot of the classic (i.e. late 1800s to early 1900s) horror stories recently, and this one ranks right in among them.

Well Done Mr Meikle!

And a great refreshment after “The Teacher” (which just didn’t get me on any level).

October 1st, 2008 3:37 pm

This was a nicely entertaining story, short on creepy but long on good characters and dialog. The opening lines were enough to pull me in for the duration, though I thought the end was a bit rushed for my taste – almost as if the author needed to wrap things up quickly for some reason.

I agree with a previous comment that this would have been much better if read by someone with a British accent. When a story has this much English flavor, it sounds funny when read in flat American. (Though no real complaints about the reading in general, just the accent).

October 14th, 2008 6:07 am

Once again, the fine pseudopod tradition of having Americans read stories set in places where a non-American accent would be useful is maintained…

Great story. I really liked it, but I didn’t get into the “place” of it until part way through due to the reader’s American accent.

October 14th, 2008 7:19 am

I loved it… but then again, I wrote it :)

I like the American accent… the story was an attempt at a hard-boiled style, and that always sounds better in American. Granted, the setting was British (not English) :), but if I’d done it myself, you would have had trouble understanding it, as my accent is a bit like Billy Connelly chewing a pillow.

October 21st, 2008 5:32 pm

I thought this one was very good.

October 25th, 2008 7:48 pm

Didn’t like it. Hard boiled pulp-isms (yawn) may sound better coming from an American but no American says things like “use my guts for garters” (and I have trouble seriously believing any Brit born later than 1890 does either), but there you go.

Cliched. Sorry, not a winner for me.

November 30th, 2008 7:07 pm

I’ve just finished reading the Sherlock Holmes-Cthullhu Mythos crossover anthology Shadows over Baker Street! and I must say this was a huge breath of fresh air after all those monotone plots; if you see it, only buy it if you want to say you have the original publication of Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald(though Nightmare in Wax wasn’t bad; the rest was almost filler for these two).