Archive for October, 2010

Pseudopod 210: The Nimble Men

The Nimble Men

by Glen Hirshberg

We’d reached the de-icing station, and I pushed on the brakes and brought the coasting plane to a rolling stop. No matter how many times I did this, I was always surprised by the dark out here. At every other point within two miles of this tiny airport, manmade light flooded and mapped the world. But not here.

I peered through the windscreen and the wavering skeins of snow. It took a few moments, but eventually, my eyes adjusted to the point where I could just make out the de-icer truck parked a few meters off the taxiway in the flat, dead grass. Weirdly, it had its boom already hoisted, as though we were meant to make our way into the fields to get sprayed. I couldn’t see either the driver of the truck or the guy on the enclosed platform at the top of the boom, because both were blanketed in shadow.

Pseudopod 209: Corvus Curse

Corvus Curse

by Barry J. Northern

The dreams got worse and worse in the following week, but they only plagued me at night. I could explain those away without questioning my sanity. I slowly began looking into mirrors again, trying to ignore that one incident for sanity’s sake as well. What worried me the most was my thumb. Even though there was no blood, I wore a plaster around it because one morning I had peered into the crack and swore I saw bone. I didn’t want to look at it after that.

That Saturday when granddad and I arrived at his house in a cloud of diesel, Mum wasn’t waiting for us again. He said she was getting ready upstairs and wouldn’t be long. I turned on the TV while he put the kettle on. I know, I should have said something about Mum, but that would have meant accepting that something strange was happening to her, and right then I was aiming for normality.

Mum’s scream lasted so long I was halfway up the stairs before it ended.

Pseudopod 208: The Evil-Eater

The Evil-Eater

by Peadar Ó Guilín

The giant left them to be replaced by a man bearing a pair of earthenware bowls containing a dark, lumpy substance. Marie watched it warily, and Toby knew she was already thinking of leaving. She had expected champagne and chandeliers; a feast of caviar and lobster while famous men took time out from their wives to steal glances at her across the room. Her dreams did not include the absence of a menu, brown lumpy stuff and a waiter who looked like he’d eaten bad chicken the night before. In fact, Toby noticed, while the wine stewards were all fine, strong men, the food waiters who passed through the flickering firelight were frightening to behold. Their faces shone with a veneer of sweat which beaded and ran into the rough spun tunics they wore. They shook as though palsied, and each of them moved as slowly as possible, hurrying only under the glare of the wine stewards. Not one of them looked Irish.

“What is this bleedin’ crap!” hissed Marie.

“Er-Erta,” said the waiter. He looked terrified. “Erta.”

Pseudopod 207: Papa Was a Gypsy

Papa Was a Gypsy

By Shannon Celebi

She must be mad or fool or both: followin’ ghosts, half naked like Mama was when she got killed. And then it struck her like a hurricane deep in her throat, a kinda knowin’ dread that made her knees go weak.

“What happened to you, Mama?” Elma asked. She never asked before cuz she reckoned Mama wouldn’t answer, but this time Mama made a small sound, a grunt, like she was tryin’ to talk but couldn’t remember how.

“Were you followin’ a ghost, Mama?”

Mama made the sound again.