By James B. Pepe
Read by Kris Johnson
I shrugged my shoulders and leveled the .44 cap-and-ball at its plaintive face. The squirrel thanked me, got up on its hind paws, put the metal in its mouth, and suckled on the long barrel like a caged guinea pig taking water from a bottle.
I cocked the hammer. The annihilating thunderclap, the blue smoke, the oddly gentle kick, the spray of blood, bone, and fur on my boots — all one blur, one true moment, a thing of terrible clarity. Deafened, ears ringing, I tucked my head into the crook of my arm, dropped to my knees, and wept. The buzzing in my head, the buzzing in the forest, dopplering off the sugar maples, oaks, and corpses of long-dead Dutch Rotted elms. The buzzing was everywhere. Beneath my palms, the dead leaves on the forest floor vibrated in time to that all-pervasive power station hum. The buzzing was everywhere, and I wept.
We are meat, mad meat. Nothing more.
By David Steffen
Read by Rich Sigfrit
“I’m glad you volunteered tonight. I’m not sure I’m ready to go solo again quite yet.” Tim pointed at a nasty welt on his own neck before he popped the neck brace in place. “This gear saved my life, but it still hurts to swallow.”
He pushed the inner door open with a click. They stood at one end of a long hallway, lined with glass rooms, most occupied by leashed Disconnected. Before they started Tim’s rounds, they did a quick walk through of the facility, which was just more hallways of glass rooms, all on one level. Some of the Disconnected looked out at them. Others were sleeping, or eating.
“All Disconnected present and accounted for,” Tim said.
“See, Harken?” the chief said. “There’s no way it could have been a Disconnected.”
“You’re probably right, Chief.”
They walked back to the staging room to grab Tim’s cleaning cart.
“Why are all the Disconnected naked?” Harken asked.
“You want to put clothes on them? They’d never stay clean, then. I’d have to sedate them to dress and undress them, and what would be the point?”
“I suppose you’re right…” It just seemed so disrespectful. Each of them had been a person once, with a family.
Check out this author’s list of favorite Pseudopod episodes, replete with links to each one in our archives.
By M.C. Norris
M.C. Norris is a bestselling author of six novels in dark speculative fiction, all traditionally published through Severed Press, in addition to numerous short stories. For a closer look at his brand of weird fiction, visit www.mcnorrisauthor.com.
Read by Ben Phillips
In lieu of an excerpt, we shall regale you with some correspondence between the author and Pseudopod’s chief editor.
From Mike Norris’s cover letter: I learned of an extraordinary occupation, wherein an ordinary Joe, toting only a bible and a pistol, could legally cross the southern border under the licenses of the U.S. physicians that accompanied him to perform free roadside surgical procedures right in the back of his van. I managed to track down one of these medical coyotes, and I wrangled an interview out of him, explaining that I was a writer interested in publishing a story about his fascinating mission. That much was true … If I’m to be damned for a story I’ve written, “El Dentisto que Corta” will be my one-way ticket to Hell.
Ben’s response: Dear Mike, Thank you for sending us “El Dentisto que Corta”. Yes, I’m pretty sure you are going to hell for writing it, and we’re probably going to join you because we’re going to produce it. …
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone.
We are happy to announce that preorders are now being taken for Escape Pod, PodCastle, and Pseudopod t-shirts — nice full color, durable ones, to be shipped in time for Christmas at the latest.
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No polos or coffee mugs yet. Maybe next time. Thanks very much for all your continued patience and support, from all of us at Escape Artists!