Pseudopod 241: In Bloom

by Caspian Gray

This story originally appeared in the July, 2009 issue of Chizine magazine (although it doesn’t appear to be in their archive any longer).

Read by Julie Hoverson of the wonderful 19 Nocturne Boulevard.

“Willy was waiting for me with his hat in his hands, pinching the brim and rolling it back and forth. I tried to smile to show him how it would go, but in the dark I don’t know if he saw anything but teeth.

Papa keeps the gate greased, so it opened real silent, and Willy only took a moment to follow me in.

“Are those them?” he asked, pointing at the flowers that keep the dead down.

“They are. You’re lucky they’re just buds now, though. Once they bloom they’ll smell something awful.”

The window in my bedroom faced the garden, so all August I had to smell them flowers. They was big showy things, with a stink like jasmines and gardenias and lilies of the valley all tied up with twine and then tossed in the river to rot. They said it was the smell that warped my family into thinking it was okay to handle the dead, but the truth is it wasn’t so bad, and you never had to be warped at all just to dig a hole and put something in it.”