Pseudopod 145: Infestation

By Matthew Piskun

Read by Cayenne Chris Conroy

Rachel comes in the through the garage door in the kitchen. She’s carrying a large green ceramic flower pot. Inside the pot is the weirdest flower I have ever seen. Its stem is thick and curvy like a jungle vine. It’s about seven inches tall and has little white bumps, like tiny blisters, all along the stem. The head of the flower is furry and yellow with large red and black petals, wavy and erect, just the way a kid would draw them. There are several layers of petals and their pattern is mesmerizing: black-red-black-red on one layer, then the next would interchange to red-black-red-black, et cetera. As she carries the flower into the house the petals give the illusion of spinning, like little wheels turning inside larger ones.

I say, “What the hell is that thing?”

“I have no idea, but isn’t it cool?”

“I guess…”

June 5th, 2009 11:11 am

should be made into a short film so the audio is done proper justice

June 5th, 2009 5:43 pm

this one had me covering my eyes and gritting my teeth.It takes a lot to get this reaction from me,but if anything will-its large flying flesh eating insects.
Excellent performance from the narrator,keep up the good work psuedopod.

June 5th, 2009 5:43 pm

Wow; that was…bombastic. The religious language makes absolutely no sense coming from this rather stereotypical normal red-blooded American man.

June 6th, 2009 12:27 am

The story was good, not great. I LOVED the narration, though. Excellent performance, even if there is a constant mild background static.

June 7th, 2009 4:44 pm

Whew… what a ride.

June 8th, 2009 11:25 am

Insects-in-your-body stories are always among the most horrific, and this was very well done. Only way to make it worse is to involve genitals a la Scott Sigler’s “Infected.”

Kudos on the story, and doubly so for the reader!

June 8th, 2009 11:34 am

Wow, that was one skin crawling tail. This was a great ride.

June 8th, 2009 12:20 pm

Really enjoyed the story! Very scary! Great writing and great job by the reader! I look forward to seeing more from Matt Piskun!

June 8th, 2009 10:18 pm

Very vivid and imaginative! It made my skin crawl as this story came to life. The reader did a nice job with the presentation of the story! Well written and suspensful. I hope to see this writer’s work posted again.

June 8th, 2009 10:22 pm

Vivid story. Love the imagery and wryness of author’s narrative. Looking forward to next story by Matt!

June 9th, 2009 2:22 am

oooooo, foo, this one made me nauseous. Yet I couldn’t turn it off.
I hate you all.

June 9th, 2009 12:52 pm

Makes me afraid of the strange looking plants that pop up in my flower bed. I think I’ll go pull them up and burn them now…

June 10th, 2009 4:43 am

Cayenne Chris Conroy done an excellent job reading this. And the narration was brilliant. A’s all round.

I’ll be following the tales Piskun methinks

June 10th, 2009 2:36 pm

Loved it; wished it was longer.

June 10th, 2009 6:42 pm

Totally creepy. The story is written well. I can totally picture everything due to great detail by the writer. Great narrator also!

June 11th, 2009 11:39 am

I really loved the contrast created by the mundane details, humorous metaphors and utterly gruesome events.

The setting, the pregnant woman and the siege atmosphere reminds me of an equally gruesome French film titled “Inside.”

I also really liked how the initially skeptical man, feels the “life inside me” and realizes this isn’t a piece of cake…

June 11th, 2009 1:33 pm

Absolutly horride! I loved it! Keep yp the good work!

June 11th, 2009 8:52 pm

Chilling short story. Gave me goose bumps at times. This would have been a great story for “tales from the crypt.”

June 11th, 2009 9:42 pm

Excellent story very gripping & graphic.
Paced just right.
I echo the comment about a short movie.

June 12th, 2009 2:42 pm

Wow. I haven’t had that kind of physical reaction to a story in quite a while. I was driving while I listened, and was squirming, flinching and writihing while trying to steer. Made it to the studio, thanks to cruise control.


Terry Crowley
June 12th, 2009 8:30 pm

Can I get a subscription to SHAVED. Seriously, very graphic and intense!

June 13th, 2009 7:49 pm

a story that grabs you by the seat of your pants and doesn ‘t let you go reminiscient of Hitchcock in his prime

June 13th, 2009 7:56 pm

Very descriptive story. Kept me interested until it was over. Very scarey story. Right up their with Stephen King.

June 15th, 2009 1:04 pm

I really appreciate the comments so far. Click on my name to go to and check out an artistic interpretation of what the little critters look like. Thanks!

June 15th, 2009 4:14 pm

I listened to this story twice it was so good! I loved the narrator and the story was just chilling!

June 16th, 2009 3:51 am

I hope I can sleep tonight…
the reading of this was amazing.

June 16th, 2009 3:55 am

ps.. I think I’m going to puke.

June 16th, 2009 10:32 am

The images in this were flashing thru my mind in HD. Piskun is great with the details and metaphore. Listened while mowing my lawn, made have made me a little too aggressive with the weed wacker! Great Job Matt, proud of you!

June 16th, 2009 3:22 pm

Great story Matt! I’m glad I don’t have the dreams that you do!!! Alot of imagination adn detail!

Mississauga Mike
June 17th, 2009 9:53 am

Good story but the narration is fantastic. You need to ask him to read for you again.

Great job Cayenne Chris Conroy

Mike J
June 18th, 2009 3:34 pm

Great story, keep it up

June 18th, 2009 7:47 pm

With dreams like this, why would you want to go to bed? Great story! Narrator is great ’cause the story is amazing. Hope to see another Matthew Piskun story very soon.

June 18th, 2009 11:40 pm

Gentlemen, excellent episode! THIS is the kind of story I’d write if I was about 160% more talented than I am. Kudos, Mr. Piskun!

June 19th, 2009 11:38 am

Loved it. I was an avid Stephen King reader thru-out my 20’s and I felt the memroies of his books when I heard Infestation. You have what it takes to write a good sci-fi/horror episode – and the humor was a welcome addition! Keep it coming……..

June 20th, 2009 12:52 pm

This was classic horror. Very scary, fast, witty, and leaving just enough slight room for hope to keep you listening intently ’till the final, horrific ending. Very good reading performance, too!

June 21st, 2009 10:23 pm

An “Instant Classic” candidate for Tales from the Crypt.

June 21st, 2009 10:30 pm

Great use of black comedy to keep the interest of the listener.

June 22nd, 2009 5:34 pm

The commenter who called it graphic and intense was absolutely right, however, I was a little disappointed. This story was my first introduction to Pseudopod, and I have to say, my first reaction was “Haven’t I read/heard this before? People are still writing/reading stories about bugs crawling under skin and eating people alive?” I know it’s a tried-and-true horror theme, but I just didn’t think this version added much. I seem to be alone in this assessment, though, as this seems to be a very popular story!

It was well written, and very well narrated. As I said, I enjoyed it, I just didn’t find it special.

June 27th, 2009 2:24 am


July 2nd, 2009 10:21 am

Good story, I thought, but I actually came to the website (for the first time!) because something about the reading bothered me. It sounded like it had some sort of post-production time-slicing done; there were too-short gaps in the pauses which made it sound unnatural at times. It started to really bother me after a while. Am I the only one who noticed this? Maybe this technology is so common now that people don’t notice it?

July 6th, 2009 2:32 pm

Great story that was extremely creepy. The humor was excellent – this had me laughing out loud….at least until the later half of the tale, by which time I was grimacing with the very detailed visuals (which by the way are still stuck in my head). Fantastic narration also. Well done and looking forward to another story!

Diane Miller
July 7th, 2009 1:32 pm

Incredible story ! Very well written and excellent narration. Impressed with the depth, enticement, and imagery. I could hear a low, rhythmic hum . . . .
Keep writing Matt, you’re onto something.

July 8th, 2009 9:37 pm

I’ve had notions of this before, you know…those insomniac ‘what if’ thoughts that keep you staring wide-eyed ’til dawn. Thanks for this. No, really. I didn’t need to sleep tonight anyways.


July 12th, 2009 5:04 pm

Well done Piskun. I felt every one of your emotions and the narration was great. It was one of the easiest stories to see, a great one to close your eyes to and be a witness.

July 22nd, 2009 2:26 pm

In all honesty, this is probably one of the stories I’ve liked least so far in Pseudopod. (I’m working my way back; I’m down to the sixties now.) It was just gross-out horror for the sake of gross-out. Don’t get me wrong; the language was evocative and cringe-inducing and the reading was spot-on, but “bugs under the skin” is one of the old reliable tropes and this story didn’t really do anything interesting with it. Heck, it doesn’t even give it a decent foundation.

There’s no reason for the bugs. They’re just… there. From a plant the girl scouts were selling. So presumably there are now dozens of homes being filled with these plant-bug monsters that breed faster than bacteria. I guess that would be scary if the bugs weren’t so ludicrous. The whole thing is wildly implausible, but doesn’t have the resonance of a strong thematic/symbolic structure to give us a reason why these impossible creatures exist. I’m okay with hallucinatory, surreal action, but I’m less okay with it when it doesn’t serve any purpose other than increasing the shock value. I was reminded of “Sealab 2021” and the discussion of putting human brains into robot bodies rapidly devolved into requests for an Adrienne-Barbeau-bot with chainsaw hands. The story became so unrealistic – after such a lovingly-detailed ‘slice of life’ at the beginning, too – that it stopped being scary and just started seeming kind of goofy to me.

July 22nd, 2009 5:33 pm

“I like to masturbate. So I did. Later, my wife comes home with a strange plant filled with ravenous alien bugs, and they kill her, my unborn child, and force me to kill myself just to stop them. The end.”

July 30th, 2009 7:14 pm

Zethys? I believe your review of The Stand would go something like, “Flu killed everyone. Some good people lived. Some bad people lived. They fight. Good kind of wins. The end.”

August 12th, 2009 6:43 pm

Great story, easy to follow and very descriptive. Really enjoyed the humor as well. Thumbs up.

Anthony Desiderioscioli
August 16th, 2009 11:43 am

Wow!!! Excellent writing and a great story line, it keeps you interested throughout. I had to go back and listen again a few times; I thought the narrator was too fast in some passages. Keep up your writing I love hear more stories.

August 16th, 2009 9:07 pm

Well done Matt. Vivid and enjoyable. Easy to visualize the story and the humor adds flavor. Keep on dreaming…

August 21st, 2009 1:51 pm

Nice job Matt. Good visuals. It could be turned into a graphic novel or video/film short. Look forward to reading more.

August 24th, 2009 7:09 pm

Very creepy….I was truly scared….and grossed out.

Keep up the good work!