Archive for the 'Stories' Category
Pseudopod 404: Unforgotten

by Chris Fowler

“Unforgotten” originally appeared in the LETHAL KISSES anthology edited by Elaine Datlow in 1996. Chris says: “I used to work opposite an 18th century building with an odd little window in its back. As I knew the owners, I asked about it, and they weren’t aware that there was even a window – the room had been bricked up many years before and forgotten about. As I wondered what might be in the room, the story came to me.”

CHRIS FOWLER is the award-winning author of over thirty novels and twelve short story collections. A new thriller in the Bryant & May series is out now and his latest novel, a haunted house chiller titled NYCTOPHOBIA is out Oct 2014. More details can be found on his website: Chris Fowler.com

Your reader this week is Joel Nisbet, with support from Ian Stuart and Eve Upton.

Please consider helping out P.G. Holyfield’s family here.

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“‘I don’t know why they had to turn the fucking lights off,’ moaned Marrick as he and Jonathan passed beneath the cracked AIKO sign and entered the ground floor of the building. ‘Look at it out there, ten in the morning and you’d think it was fucking midnight. Did you bring a torch?’

‘Yes. The main staircase is to the rear of this room.’ Jonathan clicked on the flashlight and raised its beam. The showroom had been stripped to a few piles of mildewed carpet tiles and some battered old shelf units. It smelled bad – damp and sickly. From far above them came the drone of heavy rain and the warble of sheltering pigeons. They reached the foot of the stairs and started up.

‘I wanna make sure they cleared everything out. Barney couldn’t get here this morning, his wife’s sick or something.’ Barney was an ex-bouncer and former prison warden whose aggressive temperament perfectly qualified him for his position as Marrick’s site manager. Unpleasant things happened in Marrick’s company that Jonathan did not know about, that he could not allow himself to discover. Not if he wanted to keep his job and his sanity.

Although Marrick was young, he was considerably overweight; the stairs were already defeating him. He reached the second-floor landing and looked up through the centre of the stairwell, catching his breath. ‘You can check out the top two floors, Jon, make sure we ain’t got any squatters in. Fucking hell, it stinks in here.’

Jonathan stopped on the staircase and stared out of the rain-streaked window into the centre of the block, where the backs of the buildings met.

Rooms. Something odd about the rooms. He studied the brick walls of the courtyard formed by the other properties. He felt as if he had a cold coming on. Getting his jacket so wet hadn’t helped matters. He should have bought himself a new umbrella. He sneezed hard, wiped his nose on a tissue. Spots of dark blood, a crimson constellation. He looked from the window again. The bricks. That’s what it was. The bricks to the right of the window. They were in the wrong place. There should have been an empty space there. It was marked on the map, but not there from the window.

There was one room too many.”

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Get Matt Wallace’s Slingers books for FREE! Direct links to Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 and Book 4. Book 5, “Slingers: Savage Weapons” is out October 8.

Pilot for Last Girl Standinggo check it out!

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

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

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“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.”

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“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.”

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“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.”

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Pseudopod 402: The Recovery

by H.V. Chao.

“The Recovery” was first published in a slightly different form in Strange Tales IV from Tartarus Press, edited by Rosalie Parker. It is forthcoming in a translation by Anne-Sylvie Homassel in Le Visage Vert.

H.V. CHAO‘s fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, West Branch, The Antigonish Review, Birkensnake, The Nashwaak Review, Epiphany, The Coachella Review, and Douglas Lain’s defunct Diet Soap. His stories have been translated into French in Brèves and Le Visage Vert. He is at work on Guises, a collection whose every story is meant to be as different as can be from the others.

Your reader – George Hrab – …oh, just go listen to THE GEOLOGIC PODCAST already!!

Please consider helping out P.G. Holyfield’s family here.

As mentioned by Al, please consider throwing a few bucks to the Bobby Lombardi Fundraiser or PayPal to: Piercewmc@gmail.com

ALS fund can be contacted here, and Waterkeeper here.

Also, Saladin Ahmed could really use your help.

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Tonight, I hiked to the chapel of the town’s patron saint. On the way, you pass something like a chimney sprouting from the ground. Topped by a Madonna, it marks the spot where the saint is said to have sauvé la terre, vanquishing a dragon by throwing his ring in its mouth. The chapel is flanked by pines and had been locked against vandals. On a nearby rise are the remains of a long, low barn: the fractured roof timbers, a wall of wattle and daub still whole but reeling as if from a mighty blow. The decrepitude bespoke neither neglect nor the cheap residue of expedience, but the weight of centuries withstood. From atop the hill, I could see the cemetery.

The whole town was there, gathered by a grave. Their backs were turned to me, and a tremor passed through the group: shoulders swayed, weight shifted to the other foot. I saw the butcheress draw closer to my landlady and further from the cheesemonger. I watched until the group slowly scattered, then I skittered down the hill to the graveyard. Wrought-iron masts and crosses, plaques, shattered flowerpots. On the tomb were a shovel and a bottle of wine, but the grave was empty. I was still standing there when it began to rain.

A village is a murder mystery. The conversation of townsfolk is rich in allusion; red herrings in shared histories you don’t understand. The air of conspiracy inspires you to imagine a crime. Everyone has something to hide, but you cannot tell if it pertains to the case at hand, or if it will merely prove a false lead: another skeleton in another closet, a private and irrelevant embarrassment. Yet surely this suspicion of wrongdoing is only a hallucination of exclusion. After all these months, I was still a stranger to the town, while my neighbour had found not only love, but he would abscond with it.

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Pseudopod 401: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife

by Dave Beynon.

“The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife” was published in Oct 2013 in the anthology TESSERACTS SEVENTEEEN: SPECULATING CANADA FROM COAST TO COAST COAST, edited by Colleen Anderson and Steve Vernon (Edge Publishing). The story is in the exact middle of the anthology – I like to think of it as the delicious, chewy centre of the book. “Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island. It has a timeless, rugged beauty and I’d encourage anyone to visit if they have the chance. While the island boasts a number of lighthouses, each one the stuff of postcards, you’ll never find the one where William Jones so diligently kept the light burning. Misery Bay has no lighthouse.”

DAVE BEYNON lives in Fergus, Ontario with his wife, two kids and a golden retriever. He writes speculative fiction of varying lengths and genres. His work has appeared in the anthologies TESSERACTS SEVENTEEEN and EVOLVE TWO. His story, “The Last Repairman” will appear in the near future on Daily Science Fiction. In 2011, Dave’s unpublished time travel novel, THE PLATINUM TICKET, was shortlisted for the inaugural Terry Pratchett First Novel Prize. His website is davebeynon.com and he can be followed on twitter @BeynonWrites

Your reader – Wilson Fowlie – says if you’re in the Vancouver, Canada area – or even if you just love a good show chorus – check out The Maple Leaf Singers, the group he directs. You can find them at the link or the Maple Leaf Singers Facebook page.

Also, Saladin Ahmed could really use your help.

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“You’re too early,” said the owner. “No one drinks until eleven.”

The oiler pointed to William, leaning over a dram of rye whiskey.

“What about him? He has a drink in his hand.”

“He’s a special case. Mind your own business. No booze ‘til eleven.”

“I’ve never met a special case before,” the oiler said to William. “What makes you so special?”

The oiler smelled of stale sweat and grease. His trousers and shirt were filthy with weeks’ worth of spilled oil. A tattoo peeking from beneath one rolled-up shirt cuff caught William’s attention. “Show me that.”

He gestured at the tattoo with his glass, sloshing rye onto the table.

“You’re wasting good whiskey,” the oiler said, dragging back a chair. “May I?”

William nodded and tapped the cuff of the oiler’s shirt. “Show me that.”

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