PseudoPod 105: Pattern Masters

Pattern Masters

by Jeff Carlson

Sauber wasn’t crazy. He’d planned on never hitting the same place twice. He even kept a check-list — near the toilet, in case it needed to be destroyed in a hurry. But two hundred and nine days crawled past before he’d bagged every store in Berkeley and Oakland, so it seemed impossible that anyone would remember him at Greenwald’s, his favorite. His first.

Sauber was at the register before the girl stopped him. “Those are mine,” she said, reaching out.

He held the packet against his chest. “What?”

“Look at the label.”

Of course he’d already studied it carefully. Thirty-six exposures, regular 35mm film. Jennifer Crisp. The address, written in delicate cursive, was just two blocks from here.

PseudoPod 104: The Book in the Earth

The Book in the Earth

by Lavie Tidhar

“Excuse me,” said the old man by the door. He was hidden from view behind the bookshelves, and though Gerald had seen him come in, he couldn’t see who he was talking to. “Does the presence of this chapter make it the true first edition or the second state? I can never remember, you see, whether ‘Fathers’ is the missing chapter or the correct one.”

“The pulped version, of course,” said a gruff voice behind the books.

“Ah, of course. Thank you.”

Gerald sat behind the counter, wrapped up in a coat, wondering what on earth they were talking about. He applied for the job at the small bookshop just off Charing Cross the week before, and to his surprise the owner — a short, stocky man who looked more like a bare-knuckle boxer than a bookseller — hired him.

“You start on Monday,” he said. “And don’t let the bastards steal anything or spend too long in the basement. If they start tapping on walls, or doing any other strange shit, kick them out.”

Mr. Mendoza seemed to have a low opinion of his customers. After a week of being left in charge of the shop, however — Mr. Mendoza having left for an unspecified length of time on what he called, in his strangely accented English, a “trade trip” — Gerald began to wonder.

Flash: Scarecrow

Show Notes

Music by Harmaline


by Michele Lee

Home? it asks, clothed in black feathers and flesh. A winged messenger come to carry me home.

Yes! I cry silently. I turn towards it, trying to pull my arms from the wooden posts that bind them. The voice caws out in fear, then vanishes in a black blur into the sun.

Another one gone. I’ve lost count, and the math doesn’t matter any more.

They killed me I suppose. That pair of walking pools of hate. What else could have happened? I suppose I’d cry, if I could. If my tear ducts weren’t ash mixed with the glue remains of my eyes.

PseudoPod 103: Geist


by Chandler Kaiden

At first, there was only numb horror.

He couldn’t move his arms, couldn’t catch his breath. Everything was black. The thick stench of mildew, of rust and minerals, coagulated in his nose and throat. Steaming water spilled over his forehead, rained into his eyes, seeped between his lips. Brackish, foul water, full of chemicals.

It seemed to go on forever.

He tried to move. But he was confined, his limbs pressed tightly against his body.

When the water stopped, he heard dull, heavy thumping, like the machinations of an enormous water-logged engine.

The air was thick with steam. The foul water collected around his eyes, spilled into his nostrils, packed his sinuses.

There, in the wet darkness, he tried to drown himself. He inhaled the water. Tried to hold his breath — that breath he’d been instinctively fighting to catch when he came to — and found that he could hold it and hold it and hold it, and nothing happened.

_I want to die._