Archive for April, 2012
Pseudopod 279: Gingerbread And Ashes

by Jaelithe Ingold

This story was first published in Arcane Magazine (later renamed Arcane Sampler) in March of 2011. Jaelithe Ingold is a dark fantasy writer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She used to prepare fossils for display at the Carnegie Museum and is now a retail manager. Her work has appeared in Shock Totem, Abyss & Apex and Dark Recesses.



Your reader this week is Pete Milan who does a lot of voice work with Pendant Audio, on their fan shows (we do a series of DC Comics-based audio dramas) and originals (I’m a writer and performer on their sci-fi serial, The Kingery, among others)…



“The roof of the gingerbread house has long been gone, and green mold covers the sides like a copper patina, but the air surrounding it is still sweet. Sugar gone bad with the passage of time and the death of its caretaker.

Last week, Gretel vanished from our home. She’s been lured away, I think, by something bad, for this is the only reason she would willingly leave me.

Has she come here lately? That’s the question at the forefront of my mind. We don’t talk about it, but I know she’s been here before. Many times since the witch’s death. And I haven’t always been able to resist either. The sweet rot of the place both rumbles and turns my stomach, yet still it calls to me.

We haven’t been children for a very long time, but if I remember hard enough, the sensation remains. The taste still melts on my tongue.”

Pseudopod 278: The Prophet’s Daughters

by Michael J. DeLuca

This story originally appeared, simultaneously in French and English, at Onirismes.com in Spring 2011 (still available at the link). Sybaris was a real city, a wealthy Greek colony founded in Italy in the 8th century BC, destroyed by flood in the sixth century when its enemies diverted a river through the city’s streets in retribution for its citizens’ greed. From whence the word “sybaritic”, a very fine synonym for “self-indulgent”, has descended into modern English.

Michael J. DeLuca attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005, helps run the indie ebook site Weightless Books, has volunteered at Small Beer Press for longer than he cares to admit, and is a member of the Homeless Moon writers’ cabal. His short stories have appeared in Interfictions, Apex, Clockwork Phoenix and The Future Fire. If you like this story, you might try his series of centaur westerns, which are similarly Classics-infused and brutal, and can be found in the archives (some in audio form) at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. His website, The Mossy Skull, can be found at the link under his name at the top. Also check out Literary Beer at the Small Beer website and his profile at Writertopia for a list of previous work.


Your reader this week is Tina Connolly whose debut dark fantasy IRONSKIN is forthcoming this October from Tor. Not horror, but definitely dark. Also, be sure to check out Tina’s own weekly short fiction podcast at TOASTED CAKE.



“”Do you wonder, my brothers in service of death, what powers the prophet takes with her on her voyage down the Acheron? We all do, I suspect: all of us from Sybaris who felt the lash of her tongue. She told many bleak fates. We all wonder which she is waiting yet to fulfill–or else I suspect so many wouldn’t have come to bestow such gifts!” He cackled.

Melia’s fingernails dug into Io’s palm; Io gripped her sister tighter. No one said a word to silence him. The priest only played his lyre.

“Now let me think,” death’s taskmaster rambled, helping a mourner to hoist up the corpse of a heavy black calf, “What do the ancients teach on the subject of power after death?

“Sheshet, astronomer priestess of Egypt, achieved deathly might through preservation. She took her own life by drowning, at the age of twenty-nine. Her cult preserved her flesh and organs whole in vats of lotus honey. It is said she left plans for her own resurrection, and any man who walks within miles of her tomb dies of fever before the next moonrise.””

Pseudopod 277: The Orchard of Hanging Trees

by Nicole Cushing

This story is previously unpublished. The story is also available to read online at The Repository forum of Thomas Ligotti Online.

The anthology Werewolves & Shapeshifters: Encounters With The Beast Within includes Nicole’s short fiction (alongside stories by Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin). Her work also appears in the Cemetery Dance Richard Laymon tribute anthology In Laymon’s Terms.



Your reader this week is Jonathan Sullivan, who regularly reads for ESCAPE POD.



“It’s another cool April morning in Hell, and the hanging trees (just saplings, really) are starting to sprout fleshy, strangled buds that look like choking fetuses caught up in tiny, umbilical nooses.

Their embryonic faces haven’t yet developed features, but I know as the days get longer their lips will grow into a grimace; their eyes will ooze agony. I have already been warned that their first cries (when they can utter them) will be those of breathless suffering. Their first words, pleas for help. The curses will follow shortly thereafter.

But right now, as fetus-flowers, they only emit shrill, staccato mews. But even this meager vocalization makes me shudder. I lower my glance from the entire orchard, feeling disgust for the day ahead. I whistle a tune to distract myself from the noise of thousands of semi-sentients who exist in a state of more-or-less continuous suffocation; those to whom full-sentience will bring only misery.

I am not, after all, a monster – even if I am in the employ of Hell. Even if (as my fellow laborers predict) some of the fruit will grow up to call me “Demon”, this is an absurd epithet. I do not want to be in this position. But my cares, my wants, my sense of being an individual with free will – these are things of the past. Shams more easily harbored during a lifetime marinated in the sweet sauce of ignorance.”

Pseudopod 276: Our Drunken Tjeng

by Nicky Drayden

This story originally saw publication on the Daily Science Fiction website in 2011 and can still read there at this link.

Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. To see more of her work, click the link under her name, above.



Your reader this week is Laurice White. Click her name to visit her website or check her out at Voice123.

Non-audio produced version of the story is available as the second option below.




With a fine bone knife I make my incision, cutting back the sticky membrane of Our Tjeng’s hull. I slip my hand inside and carefully widen the tear until it’s big enough for me to step through. Our Tjeng has blessed Kae and me with gills to breathe within his walls. The viscous liquid is clear and burns my eyes, tart and slick on my tongue.

He’s drunk as always, Our Tjeng, our fathership. And yet he leads our flock across the stars. Him and his bulging, sick liver — big as a hundred men, and it shouldn’t even be half that size. I swim towards Kae as she shaves tumor from flesh a slice at a time. Her firm muscles tense and flex beneath her hairless, pink skin. She cusses Our Tjeng, her words crisp her words warped slightly by the liquid.

I touch her shoulder. She startles.

“Your time is up,” I tell her.

We’re civil. There’s too much at stake not to be. The flock cannot afford to lose another fathership, and Our Tjeng needs us caretakers to keep him functioning.’”

“Our Drunken Tjeng” used the following sounds from Freesound to make the Fathership soundscape.

“earthscan1″ by irad

“deep pulse_02.L-Joined” by martian

“Ambient Darkness” by DJ Chronos

“Single Heartbeat HQ_BeatSmith” by Lunardrive

“heartbeat regular” by zimm