Archive for July, 2009

PseudoPod 153: The Hay Devils

The Hay Devils

by Colin P. Davies

Every July Dad would put me on the Greyhound, wave a hearty goodbye, and shout, “House’ll be hollow without you!” Then I’d clamber up on the seat to hoist my bag onto the rack and listen as he pounded the horn in his rusty old pick-up. This year that parting call sounded more forlorn than ever. To my early-adolescent mind, Dad was becoming increasingly odd and worryingly isolated. Lately, I’d woken at night to hear him talking to Mom. The next day he would confess to me how much he still missed her.

But, for the next month, I could put all that behind me. I was off, a hundred miles to the west, to Granddad’s farm; an Illinois retreat for me and my cousins Ray, Suzie and little Sam. It would be a time of picnics and perfect sunshine, of bicycles in the dust and splashing in the cool river.

As the bus moved out of the city, exchanging the squalor of the slums for the lawns and colonnades of the suburban estates, my thoughts were already racing ahead along the road. This holiday would be so much more memorable.

“This year…” I told myself. “This year I aim to catch me a Hay Devil.”

PseudoPod 152: Hometown Horrible

Hometown Horrible

The Legacy of a Wisconsin Writer Revisited

by Matthew Bey

“So much stays behind when a man dies,” Bestlonic says. “You could rebuild Finch from what we have left of him.”

Together we walk the three blocks to downtown Chippewa Falls, and he tells me why Finch is the greatest writer who ever lived.

We talk mainly about the “Biter” series. It doesn’t take much to get Bestlonic raving about these stories. The most cited story in the series, the eponymous “Biter,” tells the tale of a man who finds a note in his jacket pocket that prompts him to eat his own extremities, methodically avoiding blood loss and undue trauma in the process. The story is nearly 30,000 words long, surprisingly little of which is gruesome depictions of auto-cannibalism. The bulk of the text concentrates on the “unthinkable horror” written on that slip of paper. Finch never states outright what that might be, presumably because it would cause the readership to imitate the hero’s compulsive mutilation. He merely reveals that the phrase is twelve words long, and we should be very careful what we read.

PseudoPod 151: The Undoing

The Undoing

by Sarah Totton

There are two accepted procedures for performing ocular excision. One involves suturing the eyelids shut prior to dissection and removal of the skin and soft tissues around and within the orbit. In the second method the eyelids are sutured open before the eye is dissected out. Given my patient’s particular circumstances, I was instructed to use the first method. This method has an added appeal for me; although the second method is less bloody, it involves performing the operation with the eye open — and I dislike being watched while I work.

Pseudopod 150: Break the Vessel

Break the Vessel

by Vylar Kaftan

Even a god has human needs, if he resides in a living body. He must breathe the purest air possible. He must consume fresh food, and sleep on good bedding. And he must excrete. Some priests say that this is not truly the god’s need, since it results from the mortal body he occupies. I say this need is as important to a god as any man, because even gods create things they wish to be rid of.

In this incarnation, Aki prefers a mid-morning session. We meet in our chamber–a narrow aisle, with gold-leaf handholds on each side. I attend him with my box of soft cloths, jintilla oil, and incense. He dismisses his other attendants with a wave. They drift behind tall stone pillars fifty paces away, giving him privacy.

Full text available online at Transcriptase

…along with many other fine stories.