Pseudopod 122: Let Them Bleed

By Lilah Wild

Read by JC Hutchins

Stosh wore his sneakers as he walked along the incoming tide, let cool water ooze over his toes. It was awkward, squishing along in the wet sand, but he didn’t want to risk stepping on a broken seashell or a needle. His shoes were already filthy, not much left for the water to ruin.

He swept his eyes over the beach, scanned among piles of trash for Liddy. Instead he spotted a skinny figure running his way.

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December 27th, 2008 12:27 am

I’m sorry, I didn’t care for this story. It wandered across the line from Horror into depressing reality. This took me no place new, or wonderous, or awesomely horrific.

And, I kept thinking that JC Hutchins would be much better reading a story about Bar Bar the elephant. He’s a good reader, really, but seemed miss cast here.

Perhaps a woman with a rough voice would have made the story a better experience.

December 28th, 2008 11:42 pm

awww nuuu, i think was an excelent read. I think this works as a horror story to despite the depressing reality bit. It has the classic elements… normal person [as such] makes a mistake [we always do] allowing the darkness to enter.. cue the ugly but cathartic release of messiness and we’re thru having been taught another usefull lesson [dont make mistakes or the jimjams will getcha].

December 29th, 2008 2:21 pm

I have to agree with the phig, I think this was a fine read, and the reality did not detract from its horror (in a slasher/thriller sense). Maybe it is sacrilegious to say this, but I was more than pleasantly surprised when a seaside story on Pseudopod did not feature Cthulhu. Also, because I grew up in Venice Beach in the 70’s and 80’s, I knew people exactly like (and worse than) these characters. They haunt me.

December 30th, 2008 4:21 pm

That one was a doozy…. didn’t want to keep listening! couldn’t STOP listening! That was really horrifying. good job.

January 2nd, 2009 1:04 pm

This story was decent, though not nearly as great as last week’s. Maybe I shouldn’t compare things like that, but shrug oh well.

The last line/name of the story will stay with me for a long time though. That part worked for me because it’s so anti-compassion twisted.

Furry cows moo and decompress.

January 4th, 2009 1:28 pm

Well read, but depressing reality, not what I look to horror for, I get enough of it when looking at the world I live in.

January 5th, 2009 3:32 pm

Hmmm … the “banality of evil”

January 6th, 2009 2:54 pm

Well read, but not horror. It was more like the Saw movies my wife loves, I keep telling her to save the DVD cost & just put a hamster in the blender, same plot, same story, just gore.

January 6th, 2009 9:18 pm

This was a mixed bag for me, surprising because it had a lot going against it as it started.

First, the general scenario – I’m too old for S.E. Hinton with lashings of heroin/prostitution and if I wanted to read about down-and-outers, I’d reach for Nelson Algren’s MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (still one of the best books I’ve ever read about addiction) or the always reliable W.S.B. Oh, the names and ages and general geography change but the outcome is usually the same. And, of course, it was a fair stretch to call it horror, even with the horrible things going on and a murder – I still contend that people having to deal with bad things in their life is a little too broad a definition for Horror and happily await the debut of Crimepod so that stories like this and DEER KILLER have a place to exist happily.

Then, the style itself wasn’t particularly engaging – too many characters introduced too quickly (I actually thought there was a “Yvonne” and an “Ivan” at some point, but that’s more the readers fault – hint that will probably never get to be used effectively Theda’s name was pronounced “Theeda” Bara, long e – it was an accidental (?) anagram of “Death Arab”). Stosh was barely a character and the heroin girl even less so (just there as an object lesson, I guess). The writing could have been a bit more naturalistic and less flowery (I understand the temptation), especially with the seedy setting. Overall, the story felt more like the mid-point in some young adult’s novel that was a little too blunt/real for the market (not an inherently bad thing, better than being some tweener novel, for sure), with implications that some of the characters had already been sketched/served their plot purpose in preceding chapters, or would in chapters to come. Again, not a bad thing, except it was presented as a single story, so that’s what we should get.

Which leads us to the last problem – climax/point of it all. Not much there, really. Oh, yeah, some people are wicked nasty bad and (I’m not being sarcastic here) some people are always going to need to be warned about that through stories like this, I guess. Although it’s not my place to say, I’m sure surprised it was a generic killing that resulted, what with your cruel and savvy female dealer/pimp knowing torture freaks who videotape stuff and johns with violent tastes, I would surely have expected her to have concocted something much more vicious for the girl that happened to make a few grand on the side (disposable, unmissable teenagers, especially girls, always rate a high price). I guess I’m just surprised, considering it featured characters that seemed to have escaped from some My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult song, how tame the ending was. I’m just saying….

And yet, by the end, and with all it’s problems, I found myself happy I’d listened to it because, much like LALA SALAMA and THE TEACHER (and possibly PATTERN MASTERS) I found myself thinking, this writer has a lot of potential and good chops and will probably produce excellent work in the future. So thank you, Pseudopod, for giving them a venue.

And I liked the reading, after starting slightly unhappy with it. It might have seemed a bit more cartoonish with a “heavy” read.

Thanks for listening.

“I know that if I was a 16-year-old who’d seen Kids, Havoc, Bully, Alpha Dog, Wassup Rockers and Thirteen, I’d probably feel like the whole teenaged world was one giant omni-sexual drugged-up orgy I hadn’t been invited to.”

Review of HAVOC from the Onion AV Club.

January 7th, 2009 1:11 am

Loved the writing and loved the reading. The plot may have been stitched around the (hopefully not too) mundane, but the craft in the storytelling is what made it exceptional for me.

Great selection, IMO.