Pseudopod 352: Enough With The Crazy

by Emile Dayne

“Enough With The Crazy” was originally published in TALES OF THE ZOMBIE WARS, July 5th 2012.

EMILE DAYNE started writing in 2010, started getting published with indie presses in 2011. His two pen-names from that period are Harry Kane and Edward Keller. The books are SOUND OF THE DISTANT OCEANS, BRAIN STORM, SHUDDER, PLANETFALL ON ALBAID, and AUTUMN MAGIC PLAYGROUND SKY. His short fiction has been published by the likes of Phantasmacore, Gothic City Press and Encounters Magazine.

Your reader this week – Joe Scalora – is a marketing manager at Del Rey books and aspiring voice over actor. Follow him on twitter -@JoeScalora – and also check out the Clarke Ashton Smith podcast “The Double Shadow”, he’ll be reading on an upcoming episode there.

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“Everything was fine until he saw the fire hydrant across the café. Something about it caught his attention, as if it was some important object from his past, perhaps even from childhood.

Which was absurd, since he had grown up two thousand miles away in a small town with very few fire hydrants, of which not one had played any important part in his life. He hadn’t even danced in its spurting water during the hottest summer days.

Yet the very sight of this one made his heart lose its rhythm. His legs shook as he approached the hydrant. In one corner of his mind a watchful voice was warning him to not act too weirdly out on the street in full view of everyone and he did try his best. But then the world around him turned into blurry fluid that wobbled thunderously and terribly.

All outlines lost their sharpness, pedestrians became contorted like ghosts. The fire hydrant was real, stable, and firm. But although a center of solidity in a world which had suddenly turned to oppressive jelly, it did not inspire safety in any way. Rather, its stability seemed as evidence that it was the evil source of everything that was wrong now, and which had gone wrong with Sam in the past months.

Two distorted figures with male voices stopped for a second by the hydrant. One of them raised an object to his head and appeared to bite into it. The smell of warm hotdog reached Sam’s nose and then a few drops of ketchup fell on the pavement.

Sam lost his balance and swooned, but even as the ground tilted up, images flashed through his head, very similar to the ones from his nightmares, maybe even the same ones, but this time not jumbled and obscure, but clear and in sequence.

People – men and women and children – faces twisted into grimaces, attacking an elderly couple from all sides, bringing them down, tearing at their clothes and at their flesh. By this exact hydrant. Blood falling where the ketchup was now.

Him, shouting for everyone to stop, then running into the melee, pushing people away, trying to get to the victims and save then, and then suddenly already holding an arm and biting at the puffy hand with whines of impatience…unbearable urgency and a sense of utmost wrongness rolled into a shattering–

Blackness. Far off sounds.”