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.”