Archive for July, 2011

Pseudopod 240: Songs For Dead Hearts

Songs For Dead Hearts

by Mandana Faridani

“What do you want him for?”

“Um…” Mr. Amoon recovered himself and cleared his throat. “My wife would like to have a word with him.”

“You cannot ask him about the other world.”

“I know.” Said the wife in a trembling voice. “I only need to talk to him.”

“And he has to go back, I might add.”

“I know. I know.” Said the weeping Mrs. Amoon. “Do it. I beg you.”

The young man looked at Salem’s body again.

“Of course I need not tell you that he will be in the physical condition in which he spent the last hours of his existence. And judging by the way he looks, I dare say, it is not going to be a pleasant one.”

The Amoons only nodded at him eagerly. The young man sighed.

“Very well then,” He said. “Bring me water.” And then, as if he’d just remembered an unpleasant matter, the corners of his lips twitched downward. “And close the door for heaven’s sake.”

Pseudopod 239: The Line

Show Notes

Music in the promo is “The Gift” by Joe Mieczkowski. Music by Music Alley.

The Line

by Grady J. Gratt

“I bet you to cross The Line!” Tommy Carlson says.

The crowd of boys goes quiet, Mikey Sloan’s eyes widen, Samantha Hammond gasps, and Tommy Karlson knows that he has just gone too far.

The Line is located on the other end of the park, past the playground, past the baseball field, just at the far end of where the park slides into a steep ravine. It is a small patch of concrete. The adults know it to be part of an old drainage ditch, or a fill-in for a sinkhole, or some kind of marker that the city placed, a long time ago. The story is never consistent. The truth is that none of the Adults can remember why there is a 7 foot long, 5 foot wide rectangular patch of concrete at the far end of the park, right next to the ravine that is the park’s boundary. The cement itself is light grey and ordinary. Cool to the touch, except on warm days like this, and slightly buried, so the perfect 90° edges and corners won’t scrape anyone who passes by. The cement patch is only an inch or two thick; a child could spend a day slowly digging a small hole at the side and wiggle their finger underneath the slab and feel the rough underside. All children are in agreement; there is nothing wrong or special about the grey slab that The Line is on.

The Line itself is a different story. It is a long, bright red stripe that divides the middle of the slab. At 4 inches thick and 5 feet long, it doesn’t cross the entire slab. A child can stand on the cement patch and walk around it. (Of course, everyone knows that that does not count as crossing the line.) The Line has not faded or peeled since it was painted. The children say it was painted long ago, before the dinosaurs. The mothers say that The Line has just been there since ’82, when the city did some construction. The fathers agree with the mothers, but then they would start to mumble about how that particular area of the park is dangerous, and all children should stay away from it.

Pseudopod 238: The Talisman

The Talisman

by Heather McDougal

They were moving toward her quite quickly, and she stopped, watching. Something was wrong; there were too many of them.

They were no longer yelling, or even talking, but moved down the hill with a curiously desperate stride, their arms flung up as they slipped and slid in the leaves, their anoraks glaring harshly in the monochrome of the forest. There were people behind them, large shapes in odd colors, moving more carefully but just as swiftly.

Eugenia felt a strange contraction in her stomach, and moved behind a small stand of trees to watch. The group of tourists slithered to the bottom of the ravine and began scrabbling to climb up the other side. Behind them, curiously threatening, came a group of other people: very large, broadly-built people with blurry faces, dressed in what looked like golf clothes. The Germans seemed to be terrified of them, and as they approached, neither slipping nor slithering, one of the young men began squealing a little as he clawed his way up the bank.

Pseudopod 237: Lights

Show Notes

Music in the promo is “The Gift” by Joe Mieczkowski. Music by Music Alley.


by Jack Westlake

The city’s shadows deepen, darken. The sky turns a thicker shade of grey, and then to black. The moon glows behind a cloud. I rest my head on the windowsill. Far away, two cats fight. A distant gunshot like a clapping of hands makes me snap my head up. I’m still not used to this.

And that’s when I notice the light on the other tower block.

My eyes widen. I stare. A red light blinks on, blinks off. Blinks on, blinks off. I wonder what it is. This new thing – this variation in my evening – hypnotizes me.

I watch it for hours. Blinking on, blinking off, over and over.