Pseudopod 449: How To Remember

by Sylvia Anna Hivén.

How To Remember” won the 2014 Parsec Short Story Contest.

SYLVIA ANNA HIVÉN lives and writes in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, EscapePod, and others..

Your narrator – Patrick “The Voice” Bazile – WAS born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Patrick has voiced everything from PSA’s to major product brand commercials and movie trailers to documentaries. With a deep, commanding voice often referred to as “The Voice of God” Patrick demands attention. His website is HERE.


“The painted woman shimmered bronze-red against the desert. I didn’t know if I’d ever catch up with her, but still I whipped my ragged horse on, doing everything in my might to not let that little speck of a savage vanish over the horizon.

My throat itched with hot dust, which bothered me, and my horse’s hooves bled, and that was no good neither—the fanged mustangs would smell it, and the black-hounds, too. But I followed that painted woman like the devil chasing a damned soul, because that woman had stolen Ellie.

_You get my daughter back, Jeremiah. You get her back, or this ain’t your homestead anymore._

I couldn’t remember Clementine’s face much, in the feverish desert and with the sun so unwilling to set—so unwilling to do anything but bake, and char, and burn, and make a man miserable. But my wife’s words burned more than the sun, and even if I didn’t remember quite how she looked when I’d left, I could pretty much imagine her. My mind conjured up images of her tear-dusty face and the way she’d writhe her hands—not despairingly, but like a warning what all would happen if I failed. That was Clementine: pretty and frail on the outside, a wispy ghost of a girl in her thin cotton dress, but when she wanted to she could be something else—something nearly as wicked as the desert and the vile creatures crawling in its cracks. And she wanted Ellie back. So I had ridden out.

I was still riding, ignoring the flicker of scarlet the horse left on our trail, not caring how damn parched I was and how I had no idea when I’d refill my water skin. And I ignored how the life I was desperate to put back together, in my icy-cold fever, I barely remembered anymore.”