Pseudopod 144: The Inevitability of Earth

By David Nickle

Read by Bob Eccles

When Michael was just a kid, Uncle Evan made a movie of Grandfather.
He used an old eight-millimeter camera that wound up with a key and
had three narrow lenses that rotated on a plate. Michael remembered
holding the camera. It was supposedly light-weight for its time, but
in his six-year-old hands, it seemed like it weighed a ton. Uncle Evan
had told him to be careful with it; the camera was a precision
instrument, and it needed to be in good working order if the movie was
going to be of any scientific value.

The movie was of Grandfather doing his flying thing — flapping his
arms with a slow grace as he shut his eyes and turned his long,
beak-ish nose to the sky. Most of the movie was only that: a thin,
middle-aged man, flapping his arms, shutting his eyes, craning his
neck. Grandfather’s apparent foolishness was compounded by the face of
young Michael flashing in front of the lens; blocking the scene, and
waving like an idiot himself. Then the camera moved, and Michael was
gone —

And so was Grandfather..

May 30th, 2009 2:48 am

oiii! this is the sort of story that grows on you.

June 1st, 2009 1:48 am

Read too fast and too dispassionately! It felt like the narrator was trying to get this done because he had somewhere to go. The story suffered from it, especially at the end.

June 1st, 2009 8:13 am

I really liked this story. It started out slow, then ended fast and strong.

Very creepy.

June 1st, 2009 12:44 pm

Agreed with b_e — poor recitation! Reader need to slow down and let the listener absorb the images. Unfortunately the reading comes off as juvenile.

June 2nd, 2009 8:44 am

Thanks for the feedback, folks – I’m always looking for ways to improve!

This was an excellent story, wasn’t it? I really enjoyed reading it.

June 2nd, 2009 6:14 pm

For an opposing view…

I had no problem with the narration aside from, yes, it was a little rushed in spots.

But not juvenile. The human voice is a varied thing and as I enjoy spoken word from Joe Frank along with many other artists, I can appreciate a more sober, dry delivery.

Good work!

David Nickle
June 2nd, 2009 6:51 pm

For what it’s worth, I was very happy with Bob’s interpretation.

June 2nd, 2009 10:35 pm

The thing that made this a horror story, I think, is that Michael never quite made the connection; still doesn’t understand at the end why his family is doing this to him. From an outside perspective, it’s obvious–if they don’t stop Michael before he figures out what he needs to do to fly, he’ll find victims to exploit for the purpose–but because he’s so selfish Michael can’t connect the dots.

June 5th, 2009 3:25 pm

I found the story thoroughly confusing. I still don’t get why he can or has to fly, why they have to bury him, or even how he was buried. Why does flying have to equate to exploiting someone else? Why are there wires in the rubber tubes? Why don’t they just kill him instead of burying him?

June 12th, 2009 4:12 am

I think they made it clear that he has some sort of primal “need” to fly, and he needs to drain other people in order to do it.
They didn’t really bury him, he’s a “child of the earth”, they just brought him to a flat wide-open area and let the earth swallow him.
And you’re reading too much into the description of the hose.
The narrator was just trying to explain that it was a plain-old garden hose, which made it even more creepy.
And the reason they don’t just kill him is because they don’t want to, and this may be a better solution anyway.

Changwa Steve
June 15th, 2009 12:00 am

Brilliant. More like this, please : )

June 21st, 2009 10:00 am

This story is made of win and awesome. I heartily endorse it in every form.

July 5th, 2009 4:27 pm

Loved this story – creepy and dark. I can’t stop thinking about it!