Archive for October, 2012

PseudoPod 305: Pumpkinhead


Pumpkinhead

by Rajan Khanna


Mr. P sat at the table, his sagging head leaning against one gloved hand. It was tilted slightly to the side and he was waving the free fingers of his other hand in the air.

‘Mr. P?’ I said.

He tilted his head toward me. ‘Call me Jack,’ he said, for the hundredth time. But I couldn’t. He was my employer, but more than that, he was a celebrity, and a close personal friend of the queen. In fact, if it weren’t for his imminent need, she would be the one about to carve this pumpkin for him. He was basically part of the royal family.

He held out his hands and I placed the pumpkin into them. His arms, which he kept covered at all times, were little more than wooden sticks, like broom handles, but they were strong and sturdy and he pulled the pumpkin closer, cradling it for a second before placing it on the table in front of him.

Fascinated, I longed to watch as he carved it, to see how it was done, but it was such an intimate act, so very personal, and I couldn’t bear to intrude upon it. As the knife penetrated the rind and into the tender inner flesh, I turned and left the house and returned to the field where I belonged.

PseudoPod 304: The Last Reel


The Last Reel

by Lynda E. Rucker


Working in a kitchen had left her inured to minor cuts and burns. ‘Let’s see what’s in the box.’

Let’s not, he wanted to say, but what came out when he followed her back to the bed was, ‘Three movies featuring a head-in-a-box. Name them.’

‘God,’ she said, ‘do you have to be so morbid? _Seven_.’ She lifted the lid.

‘That’s one,’ he said, so he wouldn’t shout something stupid and hysterical like _Don’t look inside_!

‘It’s filled with photographs,’ she said. ‘_Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia_.’

‘That’s head-in-a-bag, not head-in-a-box,’ he said desperately.

‘Oh, for God’s sake. Picky, aren’t we?’ Her voice changed. ‘That’s weird.’

‘What?’

‘I don’t know how she got hold of these. It’s all pictures of me.’

PseudoPod 303: Flash On The Borderlands XIII – Responsible Parties

Show Notes

Magnitude Seven was originally published in Niteblade, December 2011.

A Murder of Crows and Always Grinning are PseudoPod originals.


A Murder Of Crows

by Tres Crow

Read by Malcolm Charles


I grab him by his shirt and yank him to his feet. He is so thin, a bird, just like his mother, and the reek of liquor from his pores and breath stings in my nostrils. I shake him.

“John…” starts my wife, dropping the shovels, but I wave her away.

“Stop your whining. It’s your fault we’re out here. If you weren’t such a goddamn idiot,” I yell at him and I shake him and I stamp my feet. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 302: Singing By The Fire

Show Notes

“Singing by the Fire” is original to Pseudopod, though an earlier version was briefly available on the author’s website as a piece of free fiction. This story is directly inspired a decade of recurring snake nightmares and by a masterful little poem by North Carolina poet Robert Morgan, called “Mountain Bride” -but that near-decade of snake dreams underpins it like venom. He has recently had the story accepted for publication in the print anthology Hunting Ghosts, forthcoming from Black Oak Media (see link).


Singing By The Fire

by Jamieson Ridenhour


‘I don’t know that I’d call it a ghost story,” Whithers said, looking at the reflected firelight caught in his brandy glass. “I don’t think I really believe in ghosts. It’s been twenty-five years, now.’ He fell silent again, studying his drink.

We leaned forward, eagerly awaiting his next words. A potluck feast of grilled salmon, tomato and basil couscous, and oven-fresh bread was digesting comfortably in our stomachs as we settled round the fire in our accustomed places. The chairs in Whithers’ townhouse were soft and leathery. The rosy feeling in our cheeks and bellies was a combination of good food, wood smoke, and an amiable brandy that Patterson’s wife Deirdre had brought back from Ireland last fall.

The weather had suggested ghost stories; the storm outside was one of those summer gullywashers that swept down from the mountains unannounced, outing power and flooding streets. When the power had gone out we had scurried to find candles and hurricane lamps, and the fitful illumination put us in the mood for some spectral entertainment. Not that we needed any encouragement. Our monthly get-togethers often turned towards the ghostly, but until this particular night Whithers had stayed out of the story-telling sessions, becoming withdrawn and sullen when talk turned ghoulish. So when Henderson asked Withers for a ghost story, his acquiescence had surprised us all.

‘I feel sort of silly talking about this,’ he continued, not looking up. ‘I’ve never told anyone but Melinda, and I don’t think she believed me. But I assure you it is true. It’s the strangest thing that ever happened to me.’

We stayed silent, not wanting to break Whithers’ train of thought for fear he would reconsider. The candles and fireplace combined with the lightning outside to create a weird shifting of shadows across Whithers’ face as he continued.