Archive for November, 2012

Pseudopod 310: Unfeeling

by J.D. Brink

This is its first appearance anywhere. This story will be one of four dark fantasy/crime-noir tales featured in the e-book A LONG WALK DOWN A DARK ALLEY, to be published on and (and others) in late 2012.

J. D. Brink has been in the Navy a long time, first as an enlisted intelligence collector and later as a nurse corps officer, with a few years as a wandering civilian in between. His adventures have taken him around the Pacific on a warship, living all over the States and in Japan for a couple years, and had him deployed to an Army hospital in the deserts of Kuwait. Today he and his family live in south Texas (almost as hot as Kuwait) where he serves as a corps school instructor. What little bit of his life the Navy doesn’t own he leases from his family; fortunately, they let him write. He has two blogs: BRINK’S CHAOS THEORY can be found at the link under his by line above, and also check out FUGITIVES OF PURGATORY.

Your reader this week is W. Ralph Walters, whose FREQUENCY OF FEAR website hasn’t been updated in a while but still has treasures to be plundered. He read the extremely popular “What Makes You Tick” in Pseudopod 228: Flash On The Borderlands VII – Tableaux & Displays.


“The pecking order in the car is standard: George drives, the boss rides shotgun, and Shovel and Byrd ride in the back. The valet brings the Caddie around and everyone starts to climb in, but August takes Byrd’s seat and tells him to sit in the front. There’s a moment of confusion at this sudden change in protocol, but they’re soon on their way. Byrd runs the music too loud to talk, which is fine; the boss isn’t in the habit of explaining himself anyway and no one wants to ask. About halfway back to the house, August grabs Shovel’s idle hand and gives it a squeeze, kind of a _you’re my main man_ gesture. Shovel, as expressionless as ever, just gives the boss a single nod. Once they’re back at the house, he finds out why.

‘I don’t trust them anymore,’ August tells him. They’re in the master bedroom, which is about as big as Shovel’s whole damn apartment. George and Byrd are downstairs, checking out the car and getting everyone something to eat, respectively, as instructed. August is standing in the middle of his closet holding up various neckties in the mirror. ‘You’re the only one I can trust with her. Shovel the Unfeeling, the human instrument, a man with no emotion, no fear, no regret. Your reputation made your career, and mine. You’re solid as a rock. But those other two…’ He decides on a cobalt blue tie, silk. ‘Good with my eyes, eh?’ he says, knowing he’ll get no reply. ‘Those other two, they might get jealous. Can’t have that. That’s why I need it to be just you and me from now on. You’ll manage the other crews but keep them at a distance. You, me, and her, from now on.’

‘I don’t think I understand,’ Shovel says.

‘Get rid of them.’

Shovel gives August a look, one that only he and George can get away with. ‘Boss… Byrd’s just a splatter on the windshield, I don’t mind giving him the heave-ho and busting his beak for good measure, but George has been with you a long time. Longer than me. He’s as loyal—’

‘As loyal as a dog,’ August snarls. ‘And as soon as the right bitch comes in heat, he’ll turn on me and try to take her for himself. No. Things are changing.’

‘Maybe you should take the night to think about this, August. Don’t see what’s-her-name tonight, just have a sandwich and a drink and get some sleep.’

That famous icy glare returns with cold fire behind it. August’s finger rises an inch from Shovel’s flat nose. ‘Don’t you back talk me. You get your ass downstairs and do your fucking job. Get rid of them, before they get rid of me. And I don’t want them coming back for me later, you hear? _Get rid of them._'”

Pseudopod 309: The Strange Machinery Of Desire

by Justin A. Williams

This story previously appeared in STUPEFYING STORIES VOLUME 3, Dec 2011,

Justin A. Williams has also had work appear in NECROTIC TISSUE and TWISTED FAIRYTALES Volume 2.

Your reader this week is Brian Rollins. Brian lives in Colorado with his wife, two kids, and a Great Dane. When he’s not voice acting, he’s in community theater. When he’s not doing that, he works as a web developer to actually pay the bills. Brian writes reviews for the Sci-Fi blog Bureau 42 and voiced a variety of characters for the MMORPG AlterVerse. This year, he is also going for his 3rd attempt at finishing a NaNoWriMo book. You can find out more about him on his website: THE VOICES IN MY HEAD.


“Beside them, a young man—a boy really—was having disks of black metal implanted in the skin of his forearms. Zeljko looked on, his mind spinning with a strange mixture of fear, revulsion and excitement. The excitement moved toward arousal, and he was suddenly self-conscious. He turned away, and walked back into the main area of the club.

She was there again, the woman from earlier. She was gazing at a graffito-painting on one sooty wall. It depicted a man-figure, placed on a conveyor belt and fed into a great factory-machine as he struggled and writhed. He emerged from the other end a grotesque but fascinating mix of skin and steel.

‘I don’t know why he looks so unhappy,’ the woman said as she gazed at the figures contorted features. ‘Eventually, we’ll all be like that. Everything a mix, no difference between flesh and metal, no distinction between the workers and the machines they operate.'”

Pseudopod 308: The Crawlspace

by Russell Bradbury-Carlin

“The Crawlspace” has not been published elsewhere. It is making its debut on Pseudopod.

Russell Bradbury-Carlin is a part-time writer living in Western Massachusetts. His short stories have appeared in Midnight Screaming, Lark’s Fiction Magazine, Weird Year, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, amongst others. You can find out more at

Rish Outfield is your reader this week. Rish is the host of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, which presents genre stories with a full cast, music, and sound effects. Also, for dismissing an enchantress in his youth, was transformed into a hideous beast, never to be loved or respected until Michael Bay can learn to hold a camera steady. Rish can be heard on Dunesteef, but on cold, windy nights like tonight, you can sometimes hear him feeling sorry for himself, out on the moors..


“There was a splash where there shouldn’t have been. Reed was shoving handfuls of dirty clothes into the washing machine when he stopped to listen closely. The sound seemed to have come from beneath the small wooden plank in the corner –- the one that covered the entrance to the crawlspace under the house. The splash had sounded distinctly like a weighty object –- a hand, maybe — slapping the surface of a body of water.

The laundry room was a small concrete-floored space between the main house and the garage. Reed had done everything he could to minimize his time in that room and to try and ignore the crawlspace’s entrance. This was made a bit easier due to the small wooden plank’s inherent “hiddenness”. It was covered with layers of dust the same color as the concrete. And veils of cobwebs hovered over it which held the threat of spiders, centipedes, and other creepy-crawlies. The corner seemed to exude a force of avoidance and Reed had been more than happy to comply.

The entrance was barely large enough to allow an average-sized adult to slip down into the dirt-floored space beneath the house. Reed had watched the hefty home inspector squeeze through the hole a few months earlier before he and his wife, Maisy, bought the house. Once the inspector pushed through the narrow opening, Reed saw that there was a bit more room for someone to, literally, crawl under the first floor. While watching the older man slide into the dark space, Reed’s mouth had gone dry and he suddenly had difficulty swallowing.”

Pseudopod 307: That Ol’ Dagon Dark

by Robert MacAnthony

This story is original to PSEUDOPOD.

Robert MacAnthony is a writer and editor of speculative fiction. He lives in California and participates in the Mythic Scribes online writing community.

Your reader this week is a fellow named Alasdair Stuart. Check out what he’s up to (currently NanoJourno, mostly) at his blog, surprisingly named Alasdair’s Stuart’s Blog.



He’s never heard of such a thing. Still, the aroma is enticing. He checks the box and the shelf, but there is no price.

The shopkeeper is still in back, and all is silent within the store. Iverson contemplates the tobacco, then pulls a small plastic bag from behind a basket of pipes atop the shelves. He quickly loads what he deems to be two ounces of the blend into the bag, and makes his way out of the humidor. He leaves an adequate amount of money on the counter – more than adequate really, quite generous for a place like this – and pushes back out into the rain.

He doesn’t see the shopkeeper sitting just behind the curtain, doesn’t see the man slide into a crouch, back against the wall, and bury his face in his hands.”