Pseudopod 266: This Is Now

by Michael Marshall Smith

Click his name for his home page. The story can be read here at the BBCi Cult website. It originally appeared in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR 16 (2005), BY BLOOD WE LIVE (2009) and the author’s collection THIS IS NOW (2007).


Read by Steve Anderson.


“‘If you were seeing the fence for the first time, you’d likely wonder at the straightness of it, the way in which the concrete posts had been planted at ten yard intervals deep into the rock. You might ask yourself if national forests normally went to these lengths, and you’d soon remember they didn’t, that for the most part a cheerful little wooden sign by the side of the road was all that was judged to be required. If you kept on walking deeper, intrigued, sooner or later you’d see a notice attached to one of the posts. The notices are small, designed to convey authority rather than draw attention.

NO TRESPASSING, they say. MILITARY LAND.

That could strike you as a little strange, perhaps, because you might have believed that most of the marked-off areas were down over in the moonscapes of Nevada, rather than up here at the quiet Northeast corner of Washington State. But who knows what the military’s up to, right? Apart from protecting us from foreign aggressors, of course, and The Terrorist Threat, and if that means they need a few acres to themselves then that’s actually kind of comforting. The army moves in mysterious ways, our freedoms to defend. Good for them, you’d think, and you’d likely turn and head back for town, having had enough of tramping through snow for the day. In the evening you’d come into Ruby’s and eat hearty, some of my wings or a burger or the brisket – which, though I say so myself, isn’t half bad. Next morning you’d drive back South.

I remember when the fences went up. Thirty years ago. 1985. Our parents knew what they were for. Hell, we were only eight and we knew.”


This podcast uses these wind and pool sounds from from Freesound.



“Wind” by Batuhan



“Wind2″ by Sagetyrtle



“Pool shot” by Cameronmusic



“Ae.Billiard Ball Rolling” by Bunyi



“Pool balls” by Bsumusictech



“Pool Break” by AaHanson