JULIA WATSON is a freelance writer and editor, and a graduate of UCR’s Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA program in Creative Writing, where she studied screenwriting and fiction. She lives near San Diego, CA and is currently at work on a TV pilot script and a YA fantasy novel. She also has an indie short film, FOREVER HOLLYWOOD (a 16-minute zombie movie she co-wrote and assistant produced). For more info and updates about the film, see its Facebook Page. And you can find her on Twitter at @wordnerditis.
Your reader – Kaitie Radel – is a music education student and aspiring voice actress, has been voice acting as a hobby for two years. In addition to this project, she has participated as both a VA and administrator in several fan projects such as The Homestuck Musical Project and Ava’s Melodies. She can be contacted at kaitlynradel at mail.usf.edu.
Bottom of the breath, I aim and squeeze. CRACK. Mr. Johnson, our next-door neighbor, falls. Goes still. His noisy mutt, the one you hated, used to welcome me at the end of his chain with rough fur and a wet tongue to wash my salt away. I’m glad that dog’s not here.
Another. A woman—hard to tell who. I fire. As her ruined face explodes into mist, I whisper my thanks to the fool who built a gazebo on this ugly spit of land overlooking Rustridge Canyon—named for the five generations’ worth of scrap refuse the town tossed into it. You’d say I was crazy, boxing myself in, but alone, it’s the only way to get this done.
“Monster” first appeared in Nameless Magazine, Issue 3, Spring 2014. “I got the idea while watching a documentary on the origins of fractals.”
MIKE ALLEN is the editor of the anthology series Clockwork Phoenix and the digital journal Mythic Delirium. His first novel, THE BLACK FIRE CONCERTO, a post-apocalyptic tale of music, magic and flesh-eating ghouls, was published last year by Haunted Stars Press, and he’s written a sequel, THE GHOULMAKER’S ARIA. His website is Descent Into Light and his publisher website is Mythic Delirium.com. His first collection of horror stories, UNSEAMING (with a gracious introduction by Laird Barron, Thomas Ligotti called it “seriously unnerving fun”) was released by Antimatter Press in 2014. (Unseaming contains all four stories that have appeared on Pseudopod – “The Button Bin,”, “The Blessed Days”, “Let There Be Darkness” & “Monster”) and also contains the 19k sequel to Button Bin, “The Quiltmaker.”
Your reader – Ben Kohanski is new to Pseudopod and Escape Artists!
“Since I grew tall enough to sit at a classroom desk, I’ve longed to be a monster. There is no reason for this that you or your friends in the department will ever be able to find, should you have an opportunity to delve into my history. My mother and father loved each other. They were neither too lenient nor too strict. The bullies in my school, the ones who introduced my fellow gifted students to cycles of humiliation and pain, paid no attention to me at all. My teachers never singled me out for praise or discipline.”
“Stillborn” originally appeared in the first BORDERLANDS anthology from 1990 edited by Thomas F. Monteleone
In the past thirty-plus years NINA KIRIKI HOFFMAN has sold around ten novels and more than three hundred short stories. Her work has been on final ballots for the World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Endeavour, and other awards, and she has won a Nebula and a Stoker Award. She works on production for the MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, teaches a short stories writing class for her local community college, and picks up other odd jobs..
Your Reader, Brian Rollins is a voice actor and writer living in Highlands Ranch, Colorado where he lives with his wife and two kids. When not talking to himself in his sound booth, he’s at his day job as a web developer or on stage with a href=”http://magicmomentsinc.org/”>Magic Moments, a theatre company that works with people with special needs and creates a new musical every March. You can find out what he’s up to on his website, VOICES IN MY HEAD.
Hugh found it in the shallow grave his mother had dug behind the house. He kept it wrapped in cotton above a heat register in the attic, where the dry warmth would preserve it without rotting it. Once it had mummified, he locked his bedroom door and took it out to look at, nights after his mother had gone to bed. When lie shook it, its brain rattled inside its tiny skull like a pea in a gourd. “Little brother,” he would whisper, staring into its sunken leathery face. “Little brother.”
by Severity Chase, Richard Kellum, Laura Lam, Andrew Reid, Taran Matharu, & Edward Cox
A gaggle of new Flash Fiction to warm your heart and chill your bones…
Absolution by Severity Chase
Read by Khaalidaah Muhammed-Ali Severity is mystery.
My Daily Vampire by Richard Kellum
Read by Graeme Dunlop Richard’s not only an author (Fantasy/Horror) and daydreamer. 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 and blogs at Elf-Machines From Hyperspace.
The Ghost of Gold and Grey by Laura Lam
Read by Tatiana Gomberg Laura, geek, author, Californian can be found on twitter here and she blogs here. Her upcoming books are False Hearts & Masquerade. Out now: Pantomime, Shadowplay & The Vestigial Tales.
Run Forever by Andrew Reid
Read by Joe Scalora 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 and tweets here.
Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing by Taran Matharu
Read by Marguerite Kenner Taran, is the author of the popular book Summoner: The Novice (read 6 Million times and published in 11 languages) and can be found on twitter here.
Gravemaker by Edward Cox
Read by Alasdair Stuart Edward, author of THE RELIC GUILD and THE CATHEDRAL OF KNOWN THINGS can be found on twitter here and blogs here
And that’s our stories, supplied by The Mushens Agency. 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.
The stars are right again, and what an age-old cult had failed to do, a band of innocent authors has accomplished. After vigintillions of years the Flash Fiction Contest is loose again, and ravening for delight. Each week, batches of stories will be released into gladiatorial pits to fight for supremacy. The floor will be churned to mud with the blood of the fallen until the mightiest stories remain for your delight and dread. Head over to the forums, take up your stone, and join us in the harvest festivals of the October Country.
It’s easy to be become a member. Sign up for a forum account and make a single post so we know you’re not a bot. This is a good thread to start with. From there, head over to “The Arcade” as the contest thread will not be visible until after you have made at least one post. Authors, encourage friends and families to come over and participate – you just can’t tell them which stories are yours. Visit our forums for rules and details.
“Practially every one of the top 40 records being played on every radio station in the United States is a communication to the children to take a trip, to cop out, to groove. The psychedelic jackets on the record albums have their own hidden symbols and messages as well as the lyrics to all the top rock songs and they all sing the same refrain: its fun to take a trip, put acid in your veins.”
Lynette Mejía writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror prose and poetry from the middle of a deep, dark forest in the wilds of southern Louisiana. You can find her online at www.lynettemejia.com .
Your reader – Setsu Uzume spent her formative years in and out of dojos. She also trained in a monastery in rural China, studying Daoism and swordplay. She is a member of Codex and SFWA. While she has dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck. You can find her on the web at katanapen.wordpress.com, and on Twitter @KatanaPen.
Lucinda sniffed the air, wrinkling her nose. Another smoker, she thought, though the sign on the door was as clear as could be: a circle with a burning cigarette in its center, bisected by a thick, black line. The smell was faintly industrial, like burning chemicals. Annoying.
She lugged the heavy commercial vacuum cleaner into the room, plugging it into the nearest wall outlet and dragging it back and forth across the floor in a series of ever-widening, slightly overlapping strokes. As it slid beneath the bed, however, the ancient machine coughed and heaved, gasping like an end-stage emphysema patient. Turning it off with a sigh, Lucinda dropped to her knees and lifted the scratchy, floral coverlet hanging nearly to the floor.
“Darwinism” was originally published in issue 19 of 69 Flavors of Paranoia. “I never had a gender in mind for either the narrator or the listener. Does it change the story a great deal if the narrator in particular is male or female?”
Rachel is a Canadian writer whose background is in wildlife biology. Previously she’s been published in The Escapist, The Future Fire, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Under the Bed, The New Accelerator, Romance Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, and On the Premises. Currently she lives in England with 3 cats, a parrot, and a husband. She works as a writer and editor for the website Nerds Raging under the pseudonym “Here be Dragons” or “The Drunken Dragon Lady”. She’s working on an ongoing comedic review of the works of John Everson, titled “Rape-Rape, the Rapening”
Your reader – Andrea Subissati is the co-host of the Faculty of Horror podcast, a monthly show examining the academic side of horror movies. The Faculty of Horror can be found at http://www.facultyofhorror.com, as well as on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheFacultyOfHorror) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/FacultyofHorror).
Come here a moment. I want to talk to you about evolution.
Don’t be shy. It’s not that scary a subject, no matter what your local priest might tell you. It’s really very simple. The idea is that some creatures are born with “mutations”; new features that can be detrimental or advantageous to the animal. Say, for example, that at one time an antelope gives birth to a calf that has a slightly longer neck than its fellows. And because that calf has a longer neck, it is able to reach leaves that are higher in the trees. These leaves are more succulent, richer, and it does not have to fight with its herdmates to reach them. And so this animal has an easier time finding food, and thus becomes stronger and is better equipped to breed with the females. This long neck is passed on to its progeny, and each of them can reach these higher leaves as well, and so they too are better able to survive and breed. And so eventually a longer-necked male breeds with a longer-necked female, and their calf has a longer neck still, and an even greater advantage. This continues and continues through the generations, and millions of years later, you and I marvel over the beauty of Giraffa camelopardis, the African giraffe.
This story is a PseudoPod Original. “In 2013, I participated in Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s annual “Art and Words Show”, in which writers base new stories on works of visual art, and visual artists base new works on stories and poems. Bonnie gave me an arresting drawing by Kris Goto which showed an infant suspended by red balloons whose strings threaded through its head. This story was the result.”
In 2014 Kenneth was nominated for the Nebula Award, and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Memorial Award, for his story ‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’ which appeared on our sister podcast Podcastle. His first collection, The Law & the Heart, was released by Stillpoint Digital Press last year, and his stories also appear in Analog, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clockwork Phoenix 3 & 4, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. With the present story, Ken has now achieved is longtime goal of having works on all three of the Escape Artists podcasts. Ken teaches business law and science fiction literature in Rhode Island. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Livejournal.
Your Reader: Big Anklevich is a co-host at the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. At Dunesteef.com, he and Rish Outfield have been bringing you full cast audio fiction for a full seven years now. Head over and check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Nobody noticed the first bombardment, not when it happened. It came at night without a sound. That was early in the war, and we were miles from the front; no one was watching for anything.
One morning we woke up, brewed our cups of coffee (there was coffee then), poured the cream, and took a sip while it was still hot, and went out to search the bushes and ravine for badly thrown newspapers. For most of us, that was all that happened. But a few, maybe fifty or sixty, found toddlers on our doorsteps.