Archive for the 'Stories' Category
PseudoPod 472: Self Portrait With Embellishments

by Ryan Dull

“Self Portrait With Embellishments” is a PseudoPod Original.

RYAN DULL Ryan Dull lives in Washington, DC. Find him on Twitter at @RyanSoDull.

Your narrator – Joe Calarco works with the Coeurage Theatre Company.

These are the things you need to make art: Discipline, Opportunity, Inspiration.

Discipline begets Craft, Output, and Dispassionate Self-Criticism. I’ve had Discipline since I was eight years old.

Opportunity means that you can afford the time and the food and the ink required to make art. I’ve had Opportunity since I was a pair of star-crossed gametes.

I have never had Inspiration.


PseudoPod 471: Flash On The Borderlands XXX: Flash Fiction Contest IV

These are the winners of the fourth round of the Pseudopod Flash Fiction Contest. All are Pseudopod Originals.

The next phase of the Flash Fiction Contest will be run by Escape Pod. Get your science fiction flash prepared.


“Cold Spots” by Lena Coakley

Lena says about this story, “To me, ‘Cold Spots’ is a very New England story. All the imagery is pinched from childhood memories of my grandmother’s summerhouse on the Connecticut shore. I see it as being about the disappointment that comes when we realize adulthood is not what we thought it would be when we were children, and the desire to get back to a self that may never have existed. This will be my first podcasted story so I’m beyond excited to hear it.”

Lena Coakley’s YA fantasy, Witchlanders, was called “one stunning teen debut” by Kirkus Reviews and won an SCBWI Crystal Kite award. Her forthcoming novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, is a portal fantasy about the young Brontë siblings and the imaginary countries they wrote about in childhood. It will be out January 5th from Amulet Books in the US and Harper Collins Canada in Canada. She lives in Toronto and is the current Vice President of CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers. Follow her on twitter @lenacoakley

Your reader – Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod and has a story upcoming in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. Khaalidah also reads slush at Escape Pod where she is on a mission to encourage more women to submit science fiction stories.

Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to long youth.

You can catch her posts at her website,, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.

Salt on my lips. Sun on the sea. My body slides through the water easily as if it had never aged. I have to swim farther and farther out to find you, but you are always there. In the cold spots.

On land the past is vague and distant, but something about the sudden gooseflesh, the delicious shock between my legs, brings you back, and I remember.


“Down” by Nathaniel Lee

Nathaniel Lee lives with his family in South Carolina. His work has appeared in dozens of venues online and off, including several times previously here on PseudoPod. He serves as the editor of the Drabblecast and assistant editor at Escape Pod.

Your reader – Graeme Dunlop is a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. He is clad in silk and velvet, with the royal lions of Aquilonia worked in gold upon his rich jupon, and the crown of Aquilonia shines on his square-cut black mane; but the great sword at his side seems more natural to him than the regal accoutrements. His brow is low and broad, his eyes a volcanic blue that smolder as if with some inner fire. His dark, scarred, almost sinister face is that of a fighting-man, and his velvet garments cannot conceal the hard, dangerous lines of his limbs.

It started with the basement. The steps descended into darkness. The light was on, I could see the light, the light was glowing its little heart out, but about three steps from the bottom, it just stopped. The shadows thickened and there was a hint of concrete floor, then nothing. I didn’t want to go down there, even though I’d just heard the dryer buzz.

Linny went to investigate. She made it five steps down. Then she was gone, too. And the darkness was closer.


“The Mindfulness of Horror Practice” by Jon Padgett

Jon says about this story, “After my family and I returned home to a devastated New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, a friend of mine suggested I start meditating to help deal with acute depression and anxiety. I did so after finding a mindfulness of breathing practice which I favored, and it was transformative. Some time back, it struck me that the flip side of such a practice might be interesting to explore, and—thus— ‘The Mindfulness of Horror’ was born.”

Jon Padgett is a professional—though lapsed—lesser ventriloquist who lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and two cats. Padgett has work out or forthcoming in Pseudopod, The Lovecraft eZine and Xnoybis. Padgett’s chapbook, The Infusorium, was released in spring of 2015, and his first short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, is forthcoming from Dunhams Manor Press, June 2016.

Your reader – Jon Padgett is also a professional voice-over artist with a couple of books and many amateur productions under his belt. Later in 2016, Padgett–along with a team of editors and the artistic wizardry of Dave Felton–will be releasing the first issue of Vastarien, a source of critical study and creative response to the corpus of Thomas Ligotti and the authors who influenced and are influenced by him.

In this recording I’m going to be leading you through all four stages of the mindfulness of horror practice. Closing your eyes. Become aware of the air on your skin, the temperature in the room. Any noises or smells. Accept them all, good or bad and let go. Not clinging to anything or pushing anything away, but embracing every sensation.


PseudoPod 470: The Santa Claus Parade

by Helen Marshall.

“The Santa Claus Parade” was first “published” by Helen as a Christmas card which she had specially printed with artwork by Chris Roberts and sent around to friends and family in 2013. It was reprinted and first made commercially available in GIFTS FOR THE ONES WHO COME AFTER (ChiZine Publications, 2014) which recently won the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award! “This is one of the weirdest stories I’ve written but I had a pretty gleeful grin on my face the whole time I was typing it out.”

HELEN MARSHALL is an award-winning Canadian author, editor, and doctor of medieval studies. Her poetry and fiction have been published in The Chiaroscuro, Abyss & Apex, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and have been reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies. Her debut collection of short stories HAIR SIDE, FLESH SIDE (ChiZine Publications, 2012) was named one of the top ten books of 2012 by January Magazine. It won the 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer and was short-listed for an 2013 Aurora Award by the Canadian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her second collection GIFTS FOR THE ONES WHO COME AFTER was released in September, 2014. Follow her on Twitter.

Your narrator – The Word Whore runs Air Out My Shorts with Preston Buttons. This is an intermittent humor podcast which includes a not insignificant amount of booze and fiction of dubious quality. They are the patron saints of the Escape Artists Submissions Staff, the holiest of the slush pile. It is rumored that candles with religious imagery have been purchased at a gas stations and renegade modifications with AOMS fan art have been used to modify them. They are burned by submissions staff while conducting reviews.

Some people think the Santas are smiling.

The Company tries to weed out that kind of thinking pretty early on with videos from the eighties, people with big hair, shoulder pads, smiling in bleached out, crackling colours. There are diagrams about brain function. A specialist gave a talk on the subject but I slept all the way through it. Sweet dreams.


PseudoPod 469: Hunger

by Caitlin Marceau.

“Hunger” was published through Sanitarium Magazine, issue no. 23, in July of 2014. The text can be read at Shadows At The Door.

“I’m Canadian and winters can be long and rough up here, and that was sort of the inspiration for this story. It wasn’t uncommon for people in rural areas not all that long ago to get horribly lost during a whiteout (a heavy and unrelenting snowstorm). People would leave their home to get something in their barn, and they’d be found a few days later in a pile of snow because they couldn’t find their way back. I always thought it was a terrifying idea, and I really hope the listeners at home think so too!”

CAITLIN MARCEAU is an author and professional editor living and working in Montreal. She prefers to focus her time on journalism and works of horror, but has also been published for poetry as well as creative nonfiction. When she’s not covered in ink or wading through stacks of paper, you can find her ranting about issues in pop culture or nerding out over a good book. She has a play coming out at the end of the year called SHADOW PUPPETS. Her work can also be found at at Sanitarium Magazine, Shadows at the Door, and Morpheus Tales. Look for her to be featured in “The Women in Horror Annual” issued by the Horror Writers Association. For more information on how to support this project visit: WOMEN IN HORROR ANNUAL and WOMEN IN HORROR ANNUAL. Caitlin blogs here.

Your narrator – Brian Rollins – is a voice actor living in Denver, Colorado where does double duty as a web developer and voice actor. Brian is probably best known in audiobook circles as the voice of the Glen & Tyler series. You can find out what he’s working on next or hire him for your next project at The Voices In My Head.

Jean pulls a pine needle from inside his coat pocket and slowly begins to gnaw on it. “It’s better than dying lost in a forest, or being eaten by starving wolves.”

“I’d welcome the wolves, Jean. At least then I’d have a chance to bite some meat off one of them, and die with a full stomach. Besides, the dogs had enough brains to get out of here a long while ago.”

“There’s still some. How else do you account for the howling outside our cabin all night?”

“The wind,” he shoots back dismissively.

“Or a wendigo,” Jean says quietly, in a voice a whisper.

“Wendigos. Mom used to tell me stories of how your father’s ancestors lived in these woods during the time of them. She said to me her, your, great grandfather was almost tricked into becoming one, but he saved himself from them in time.”

“My grandfather-”

“My great grandfather-”

“Was almost a wendigo?” Pierre laughs bitterly.

“It’s true! Mom told me when he was a young boy he was tracking a moose with some men from the tribe, when he and his friend got separated from them. The moose lead them all through the woods, for many days, until both of them were lost and hungry. The moose tracks had disappeared days before and there wasn’t any game to hunt. They grew so hungry, that one day an evil spirit overcame him. Mom told me he was possessed by the urge to eat his frie…”