Archive for Stories

PseudoPod 600: The Graveyard Rats


The Graveyard Rats

by Henry Kuttner


Old Masson, the caretaker of one of Salem’s oldest and most neglected cemeteries, had a feud with the rats. Generations ago they had come up from the wharves and settled in the graveyard, a colony of abnormally large rats, and when Masson had taken charge after the inexplicable disappearance of the former caretaker, he decided that they must go. At first he set traps for them and put poisoned food by their burrows, and later he tried to shoot them, but it did no good. The rats stayed, multiplying and overrunning the graveyard with their ravenous hordes. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 599: The Boy with the Glass Eyes


The Boy With The Glass Eyes

By J.L. Flannery


My son arrived in a brown cardboard package, no bigger than a shoebox.

I lifted the lid to see him lying there flat on his back, eyes closed, as though he were asleep.

‘Go on,’ my Boss said, ‘lift him up.’

Nervously, I lifted him up out of the box and cradled him in my arms. His skin was velvet. His smell; pure talcum powder. I looked down at his sleeping face and put on a smile, pretending the nausea that was rising in my throat didn’t exist.

My Boss, Mr Yamamoto, stood staring, waiting for me to react.

‘It’s incredibly lifelike,’ I said in Japanese.

He nodded, ‘Just like a real baby. Go ahead. Power it up.’

I hesitated a moment. What on earth would Alice say when I bought this thing home with me?

‘It’s a great privilege to be chosen,’ Mr Yamamoto said smiling, as if he could sense my unease.

I nodded, ‘Yes, I know. Thank you. I’m very grateful about it, honest I am. It’s just…’

‘It’s just what?’

‘Nothing,’ I said, ‘it’s nothing,’ and I held down the button on the base of its spine and the baby woke up.

Slowly, his eyes opened and he turned his head to look at me with his blue eyes made of glass. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 598: Walk in Beauty


Walk in Beauty

by Jim Bihyeh


Tomacita Jones walked over the yellowing grass of the Carl Shepherd Memorial football stadium next to Wide Reeds Elementary School, listening to the autumn winds shake the elm trees at the edge of the gravel track circling the field. The winds were getting stronger now. The nights longer. The cold was becoming more real and the trees knew it. So they were letting their leaves die. She didn’t like that thought, as she bent over her knees and stretched her all-too-chubby legs under her all-too-puffy sweatpants. She double-knotted the laces on her scuffed running shoes. She hadn’t worn them in years, not since Rosa, her granddaughter, had been born.
She felt snot about to drip from the tip of her nose and she brushed it away with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

But she was wearing the damn shoes today.

And they were helping her forget about those trees, hissing and letting their leaves drop away. Maybe that’s what life led you toward. You let go of the things that were supposed to die.

And they dropped to the earth, so that the rest of you (what really existed, down in the roots) could survive the winter.


The rest of the text is available in our 10th Anniversary anthology For Mortal Things Unsung. Purchase of this book helps to support Escape Artists.

PseudoPod 597: Fool’s Fire

Show Notes

“It was inspired by me thinking about how I used to get lost all the time, because I have terrible spatial sense, and now I never get lost, because my phone tells me where to go. But there have always been spirits that preyed on lost travelers, and surely they’d make accommodations to the modern age….”


Fool’s Fire

by Tim Pratt


The “going away together” part of the plan to save their marriage had gotten off to a bad start, and the probabilities of success continually ticked downward in Will’s mental calculations. Dori, who normally felt more comfortable in control, had gotten so tired of driving these tree-crowded country roads that she’d ceded the wheel to Will once night fell. Now she was navigating—“nag-ivating,” they used to jokingly call it, back when they’d joked—and displaying remarkably little patience with his requests for clarification. He tried again anyway. “But, look, I don’t even see a road coming up on the right, it’s all trees. Are you sure the map thingy on your phone is working?”

“It always has before. Looks like we’re only twenty minutes away from the cabin.” She had that tone she used more and more lately: ostensibly tolerant, but with a trivial shift in pitch, it could become nastily condescending. “No, wait, now it says twenty-two minutes. It’s adjusting to your slowness. I think I just saw a turtle on the side of the road pass us.”

Several spiteful retorts offered themselves for his use, but Will let them go, visualizing his reflexive anger away, just like his therapist had taught him: the bad feelings were water, flowing down from his head and out through his feet, disappearing into the sand, soaked up and gone. Dori had every right to snap at him, after what he’d done. The fact that she’d agreed to go on this long weekend, to try and remember what they’d once liked about each other, was already a concession worthy of beatification, if not sainthood. Being snippy on a long and confusing drive was totally understandable. Placate, don’t escalate, he thought. “Sorry, hon. It’s dark and I don’t want to drive into a tree or something. I’d rather annoy you by going slowly than annoy you by crashing into a pond.”

She made a noncommittal sound, but then said, “You heard about that woman who drove into Macon Lake last week because her GPS told her to turn there? Broad daylight, she just went into the water, like she thought there was an invisible bridge. That’s why I don’t trust this whole self-driving car idea. All these computer things work fine most of the time, but when they don’t….” (Continue Reading…)