Archive for the 'Flash' Category
Pseudopod Christmas 2014 Bonus Flash: Tradition

by L.M. Ball.

“Tradition” is original to Pseudopod! “It was at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, Virginia that I founded a member group for sci fi, fantasy and horror writers to meet and support each other. It’s a fantastic group and they helped motivate me to write, edit and submit this piece. Winter holidays are usually such a happy time, I wanted to try and do something seasonal that was a lot darker. I’ve always liked the pagan tradition of bringing in evergreens to give nature spirits a place to live during the cold weather and this story really came out of that idea- manifesting the rituals into something a lot more sinister and corporeal. I find the loss of control and fear that comes with this setting quite unsettling”

L.M. BALL is a British expat living in the East Coast of America as a full time Microbiologist. She started writing Star Trek fan fiction as a child and eventually evolved into creating my own stories.

Your reader – Isis LaCoste – is the pre-teen daughter of Rikki LaCoste, a regular narrator for Pseudopod. Isis is an aspiring young actress, a prolific artist and musician, a chip off the old block, really, and a lover of scary stories and movies. Isis and her father live in Toronto Canada.

****************************

“It always starts when the leaves change colour. At first they’re yellow, then golden before fading to a russet brown. I like the red ones the best, even though you could say they are the most obvious sign of what’s to come. They give you a rake and they tell you to make piles of the leaves. Your parents I mean, not the leaves. Though that wouldn’t be all that strange, considering. Sometimes when they aren’t watching we play in them, making big piles and knocking them over. It should be fun and it is, when you can forget that winter’s coming.

I think they started it all off, with the weird traditions, cutting down trees and bringing them indoors. Decorating everything in red and green, something about berries. Didn’t they notice that blood’s red too? Mamma says she remembers a time when winter was exciting, decorating a tree with glitter and ornaments to make it pretty. We don’t decorate our tree. Before, people believed that bringing foliage indoors was to provide a home for nature spirits, now that’s its purpose. I guess if you believe in something strongly enough, you can make it manifest. When the ornaments started to fall off by themselves and shatter on the floor, when it happened more than once, people started to notice. That’s what Mamma says. She said it was hard not to feel nervous that something else was going on when your entire tree had thrown off its decorations like an unwanted layer of skin.”

*****************************

Pseudopod 411: Flash On The Borderlands XXIII: Grief

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis

************************************************************************

“Poor Me and Ted” by Kate Jonez

“Poor Me, and Ted” first appeared in ATTIC TOYS an anthology published by Evil Jester Press and edited by Jeremy C. Shipp. “Every day we go about our lives navigating through crowds on busy city streets, riding buses or trains filled with strangers. Most of the time, individuals barely register in the sea of humanity. We don’t know, or perhaps even care, what lurks in the mind of nondescript passers-by. We should care.”

KATE JONEZ is a student of all things scary and when she isn’t writing she loves to collect objects for her cabinet of curiosities, research obscure and strange historical figures and photograph weirdness in Southern California where she lives with a very nice man and a little dog who is also very nice but could behave a little bit better. She writes dark fantasy fiction. Ceremony of Flies published by DarkFuse is available in limited edition hardcover and ebook. Her Bram Stoker Award nominated novel Candy House is available at Amazon in print and ebook. She is also chief editor at Omnium Gatherum a small press dedicated to publishing unique dark fantasy, weird fiction or literary dark fiction in print & ebook. Three Omnium Gatherum books have been nominated for Shirley Jackson Awards.

Your reader – Tatiana Gomberg – is a New York City based actress and audiobook narrator. She has performed Off and Off-Off Broadway as well as regionally and internationally. Her work in The Night of Nosferatu garnered her an NYIT award nomination for Best Featured Actress and her portrayal of a drone pilot in Hummingbirds earned her a Best Actress Nomination through the Planet Connections Awards. She also played leads in two seasons of classics at Theatre 1010 and toured the United States with TheatreworksUSA. You can hear her narration work on audible.com, tv, radio, and numerous podcasts. She blogs at TatianaGomberg.com.

“Glory, Glory, Glory. That’s about the stupidest name you can give a person like me. But my mom had high hopes like lots of hard-working folks do. They use fancy names like they’re magic spells. As if naming a kid could somehow make it better than it really is. I don’t go in for that kind of crap. I named my kid John. Simple. John.

‘I know that mess is up here somewhere, Ted. I know it is.'”

***************************************************************************

“The Beachcomber “ by L.R. Bonehill.

“The Beachcomber” was originally published in May 2013 by Dark Fuse at Horror D’oeuvres. “It is one of those rare stories that came to me more or less fully formed after spotting a strange, slightly disturbing figure ambling across a rain-soaked beach in Wales. There was no way I wanted to talk to this odd man, but, from a safe distance, I wanted to know what clacked and rattled inside his bag. He’s still out there somewhere, I’m sure. So, like all Pseudopod stories, this one is most definitely true.”

L.R. BONEHILL is a writer from the dark heart of England. His work has appeared in various haunts including Hint Fiction, Fifty-Two Stitches, This is Horror, and Cast Macabre. He is lucky enough to have been published alongside some of his literary heroes including Joe R. Lansdale, Gary Braunbeck, and Peter Straub. This never ceases to make him smile. He blogs at Bonehill’s Boneyard. His latest tale of woe can be found in an upcoming DARKFUSE anthology.

Your reader – John Michnya – is an actor, illustrator, and screen printer living in Pittsburgh PA.

“All that came back from the cold sea was Little Rosie-Cheeks. Washed ashore one late afternoon as rain whipped down from a slate-grey sky and a rough wind snapped across the beach. Face down in a rock pool, stranded in shallow water and silt. Red cheeks washed pale, white dress smeared with grime the colour of tobacco. A deep gouge cut across her forehead, the seams flecked with grit.

David held the doll now as he walked along the quiet beach. Held it by the hand as if it were a child at his side. It bumped and knocked against his leg as a litter of shells crunched underfoot. Water leaked through a split in the bottom of one shoe. He could taste salt in the breeze, the tang of brine on his tongue.”

***************************************************************************

“Sanctuary” by Steve Calvert

“Sanctuary” makes its first appearance on Pseudopod. “‘Sanctuary’ began as a story about fear, and how it can sometimes feed on itself and grow stronger. Later I realized it was also a story about prisons and how—sometimes—the worst prisons are the ones we build in our minds.”

STEVE CALVERT (usually) lives in the UK. He usually writes horror fiction, but occasionally writes in other genres. His fiction has been published in Arkham Tales, Hub, and Necrotic Tissue. You can learn more about Steve at his website and further slices of his fiction can be read in his horror anthology Written in Blood, which is available in the Amazon Kindle store.

Your reader – Roberto Suarez – is a proud supporter and periodic narrator for all Escape Artists productions. He co-hosts of “A Pod of Casts”, the Game of Thrones Podcast! His blog can be found here.

“Raoul had been sleeping. He did not know what had awakened him. Perhaps his body had grown tired of sleep. Raoul slept a lot–too much–
but his hiding place was small and dark, so there was nothing else for him to do.”

*************************************************************************

Interstitial music is “Fearless Bleeder” by Chimpy, available from Music Alley.

Pseudopod 410: Flash On The Borderlands XXII: Britshock

by Francesca Haig, Lou Morgan, Den Patrick, Andrew Reid, Richard Kellum, Severity Chase & Peter Newman

A gaggle of new Flash Fiction to warm your heart and chill your bones…

The Day The Words Took Shape by Francesca Haig
Read by Alasdair Stuart
Francesca is an academic, writer and tea enthusiast whose first novel, The Fire Sermon is due out next year from Harper Collins in the UK and Simon and Schuster in the US. She can be found here on Twitter.

Juggernaut Revisited by Lou Morgan
Read by Wilson Fowlie
Lou is an old, dear friend and the author of three novels to date, Blood and Feathers, Blood and Feathers: Rebellion (There may be a supporting character in there you find slightly familiar…) and Sleepless, a chillingly good YA horror novel. She’s also the author of numerous short stories, including one of the best Mummy stories I’ve ever read and is an Archer although, to the best of my knowledge, her frequent trips to Starling City have not been confirmed. She blogs: here.

The Anniversary by Den Patrick
Read by Alasdair Stuart
Den is the author of the wonderful Dwarf, Elf and Orc War Fighting Manuals, in-universe anthropology texts about the culture, weapons and history of the three cultures. Imagine Art of War written by Douglas Adams and you’re close. He’s also the author of the fantastic novel The Boy With The Porcelain Blade and, along with the magnificent Jen Williams, has pioneered Super Relaxed Fantasy Club, a new, rapidly growing author/publisher/fan/editor/agent meeting that’s started to spread across the UK.
Den blogs here.

Kraken Rising by Andrew Reid
Read by Dave Robison
Andrew Reid – Cook, climber, teacher, writer and one of the most fiercely articulate, creative people it’s my honour to know. He and I, along with Lou, survived redshirting World FantasyCon together last year. That may mean at some point we open a bar. We’ll let you know… Andrew blogs at My God It’s Raining.

Party at the Witch House by Richard Kellum
Read by Rikki La Coste
Richard’s not only an author he’s a fellow podcaster who, along with Chris Brosnahan (Who’s own serial you should totally be reading too), hosts Early Draft. He’s on twitter here.

The Lake by Severity Chase
Read by Siobhan Gallichan
Severity Chase’s body of work is well known in some circles but this is her first foray into horror and it comes with the same precision and subtle flamboyance that she brings to all her work.

The Biggest Candle of Them All by Peter Newman
Read by Graeme Dunlop – audio engineer, Chief Technical Officer and superhero. One of the singular pleasures of working at EA is the amazing people you get to work with and Graeme is one of the best.
Pete is the author of The Vagrant, a post-apocalyptic thriller due for release in 2015 and is the husband of Emma Newman (who blogs at Em’s Place), author of the wonderful Split World series and host of Tea & Jeopardy one of my favourite podcasts. Any resemblance between Pete and Lattimer the butler is entirely coincidental. Pete blogs at Run, Pete, Write!

And that’s our stories. I’d like to thank all our narrators and authors for turning in stories that show just how diverse and vibrant a genre horror is. Armageddon to basement ghosts, supernatural music to last commands, these stories have it all and it’s been a pleasure to share them with you.

Pseudopod 403: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XXI: The Tyranny Of Objects

“Nothing that surrounds us is object, all is subject.” – André Breton

************************************************************************

“Digit” by Gabriel R. Miller.

This is the first publication of “Digit” – “I couldn’t be happier that my first publication is for the audio market, as audiobooks are what got me writing in the first place.”

GABRIEL R. MILLER lives in the Inland Northwestern United States with his alien ex-wife of 15 years and his three beautiful, half-alien children. He has a dog who loves him, a cat who needs him (her words, not his), and a guinea pig who hates him (though he says the feeling is mutual). He is the proud owner of a small collection of saws, all of which he knows how to use. He is currently working on a fantasy trilogy. He blogs and vlogs and does other things that sound like excretory functions whenever he can muster the will to do so, which isn’t often. He’s also on Facebook and Twitter, and you can find all the links to his various online personalities at Luddite With A Laser.

Your reader – Kyle Akers – has been heard on Escape Pod and previously on PP in: “Passing Grade”.
“A saw wants to cut. What else is it going to do? It’s a saw. Nobody blames the saw when a kid cuts his finger off in shop class. The kid should have payed closer attention. After all, a saw wants to cut.”

***************************************************************************

“File Under” by Lisamarie Lamb.

“File Under” has only appeared previously on Lisamarie’s blog.

LISAMARIE LAMB has short stories included in over thirty five anthologies, and has a collection of short stories published by Dark Hall Press, entitled OVER THE BRIDGE. She just had a children’s novel published with J. Ellington Ashton called THE BOOK OF MANDRAGORE and a short story collection, FAIRY LIGHTS. She lives on the Isle of Sheppey, UK, with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She blogs at THE MOONLIT DOOR.

Your reader – Mignon Fogarty – is more widely known as Grammar Girl, and her knowledge can be accessed at Quick And Dirty Tips.com.
“It started with nothing. That is, Helen Bentley looked into the yawning maw of the empty filing cabinet and felt no emotion, no pull to it. Nothing. It was a thing, a functional, ugly, grey thing that just stared, squatly squinting at her all day long.

The pointless piece of office funiture was standing with its back to the wall behind her desk, one desk in a sea of desks, its innards spilled out across the floor, a slippery cascade of buff coloured hanging folders and nearly neat inserts. She felt like running through them, kicking them high in the air like a child in Autumn when the leaves had fallen. But she didn’t. It would be a ridiculous thing to do and besides, she would only have to pick all the paper up again, put it away tidily, file it. She would only have to be grown up about it. So instead of running, laughing, remembering the youth she had never had, she filed and filled and did her job. And when the paper and forms and memos were put back together, properly alphabetised and labelled as they should be, she patted the cabinet on its cold top right corner and heard the satisfied clanging of a job well done.

She started to feel something then.”

***************************************************************************

“Good Boy” by David Stevens
“Good Boy” was David’s first published story, and he is very happy it is finding a new audience. A slightly longer version was published in “Regime 03 Magazine of New Writing” in 2014.

DAVID STEVENS (usually) lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and children. Some of his other stories have appeared in Crossed Genres and Aurealis magazines.

Your reader – Graeme Dunlop – deserves boundless praise for his endless work on behalf of PSEUDOPOD!
“A red ‘7’ glowed on the telephone on his bedside table. He could not imagine seven people who would leave messages for him. Perhaps one person had left seven messages. Maybe some other combination in between. One way to find out.

Six hang ups. Then the last call. Gentle static. The noise wavered, as though it had come a long distance over thrumming lines. Wind blowing over an open microphone. The man shuddered, despite his moth eaten jumper, despite the heater kicking in. He sat in the dark with his eyes closed, the wordless message resonating with something sympathetic within him, the effect continuing after the machine had clicked off. Hands over his eyes, he heard the window rattle with a fresh splash of rain. The building stretched on forever on either side. All of the units were empty. There was only him. The TV noise was the murmuring of a distant nebula caught by a radio telescope. If he looked out of the window now, into the night, he knew that there would be no street, no sky. Just a dim hallway, thin walls rattling with the wind tunnelling though it, rain dripping from a soggy ceiling. This is all that there is.”

*************************************************************************