Pseudopod 447: Coo Coo

by Elan Hold

“Coo Coo” is original to Pseudopod.

ELAN HOLD is a 44-year-old visual artist who turned to writing because she couldn’t afford paint. She writes poetry, plays, screenplays, short stories, songs and is presently working on her first novel. She has 21 short stories, with plans to release these in a horror/fantasy/SF collection titled Underbelly Love. This piece is the first short story she ever wrote, and it’s the only one that makes her cry.

Your narrator – Caith Donovan – is an aspiring science-fiction and horror author and a voice actor who has appeared in a number of audio projects in recent years. Caith is currently appearing as Zacharias Cobb in CP Studio’s production of Dr. Who, several episodes which can be found at HERE. Some of his (much) older work can be heard in Feedback: A Hero’s Calling.

****************************

“She’s still here. Now that it’s over, it’s not as bad as I thought because she’s still physically present; they can’t bury her and they can’t ignore her, they have to deal with it.

They watch me with new eyes, tho. They’re waiting to see what will happen.

While she was dying I panicked and got really dizzy; now, I feel strangely calm, but I’m winded. She didn’t have much of a brain but she did do most of the breathing. Without her, I can’t take a good, deep breath. She made these funny little hiccuppy gulps that comforted me, and I’m having trouble sleeping without them.

She died three days ago.

Her head hangs far forward without her holding it up. It was stiff for a bit, but today it’s gone floppy and keeps bumping against my chin. I don’t want to think about the stench; it’s so thick I can almost feel it, but it doesn’t matter because I can barely smell. I got a sinus infection years ago and they didn’t treat it; I burned the poison out using a piece of wire I broke off the cage, and a lighter I stole from Godfrey. They watched that, too. They think I can’t see them thru the one-way glass, but I can always tell, even when they’re quiet. I can sense it, the vibrations. The hairs on my spine stand on end, tickling, tickling. When they’re watching, I like to sleep, or pick thru her hair for lice. But all the lice left her head when she went cold and now I’ve got twice the load on mine.

She would have laughed at that.”

****************************

Pseudopod 446: Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny

by Robert Reed

“Killing Puppies For Aunt Jenny” is original to Pseudopod.

ROBERT REED lives in Pekin, Indiana with his wife Shelley and despite what the title of the story might imply, they love animals and have 2 dogs, 5 cats and 3 sugar gliders and are amazed that the pets let them all live together. Robert and his daughter Stephanie started NaNoWriMo in 2010 and found writing a great way to spark story ideas and spend father daughter time together. Robert can be found on Facebook by searching for Robert A. Reed, where you can also find out what projects he is currently working on. Robert and his friend Craig co-edit a quarterly magazine called Man-O-Pause where we discuss all things media and story, with the spring issue focused on Euro-Horror. It can be found at MAN-O-PAUSE.

Your narrator – Dave Thompson – THOUGHT he escaped from Escape Artists… but is currently consulting editor emeritus for Podcastle!
****************************

“Ms. Simmons had asked me to speak plainly about what happened from the beginning, but I was scared at first. I told her I would try and tell her everything, but July was a hot month, I have a hard time membering things when it happens in the hot.

My mom had just died a few months before, and my dad left me here. I don’t think mama ever liked dad, she said he was a liar and a cheat and, mama said you can never trust a person like that. Aunt Jenny never loved me like mama did. She came closer to liking me more than dad did, but that wasn’t much at all. I didn’t have much of anything, but some clothes and a baseball bat. I didn’t even have a ball. I use to stand in the gravel driveway and throw rocks in the air and try to hit them. I’m a real hard swinger, that’s what dad said. Aunt Jenny said I was horrible at baseball and that I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I thought that was funny, because barns were so big that anyone could hit a barn, as long as they got close enough.

In the hot of July, Aunt Jenny said I needed to get out from under her feet and if I was going to sleep under her roof and eat her food then I needed to contribute more to the house. When Aunt Jenny used the word contribute, she meant get a job. We lived in Hyde Park Indiana, I still do I guess, but mama doesn’t, cause she’s dead. Like I was saying, it was in the hot of July, and aunt Jenny wanted me to contribute. In Hyde Park there just ain’t that many jobs, specially when your nine years old. It’s a small town. It seemed to me that everyone grew corn, everyone had a truck and everyone had a dog. And usually not just one dog, but a bunch. Aunt Jenny said it was because that all dogs do is eat your food and have sex, and that one day, I would like sex; and then she laughed. I didn’t like being compared to a dog.”

****************************

Pseudopod 445: Sweetness

by B.C. Edwards

“Sweetness” first appeared in 2010 in the anthology ZOMBIALITY: A QUEER BENT ON THE UNDEAD (edited by Bill Tucker) and was reprinted in THE AVERSIVE CLAUSE, Edwards’ debut collection of short stories. “When it comes to the classic zombie myth, I’ve always been curious about what it must feel like to change from human to monster. It seems to me something of a huge cop-out to have the transformation happen only after the person was dead. And I’ve always been interested in why zombies act the way they do. Why the hunger?”

B.C. EDWARDS work has appeared in Mathematics Magazine, Hobart, The New York Times Magazine, and others. His debut collection, THE AVERSIVE CLAUSE, was the winner of the 2011 Hudson Prize. His debut collection of poetry, FROM THE STANDARD CYCLOPEDIA OF RECIPES, was released last year. He is a New York Foundation of the Arts 2014 Poetry Fellow, attended the graduate writing program at The New School in New York and lives in Brooklyn with his husband. you can see more at a fairly un-updated website (i.e. tumblr blog) by B.C.E-N.Y.C.

Your narrator – Sam Ferree – by day writes grants and copy for a small environmental nonprofit in the Twin Cities. By night, he scribbles stories, plays, and essays, when not procrastinating. He shares an apartment with a poet and two cats. Also, Sam has accidentally become very involved in the local storytelling community, serving as host of Story Club Minneapolis and board secretary of Story Arts of Minnesota. To learn more about Sam, visit his website Samferree.com or follow him on Twitter @samferree.
****************************

“It starts in the back of the throat, that spot where coughs gets caught when you’ve got a cold. It is sweet, like too much caramel, like cheap air freshener, like that perfume my grandmother wore constantly and which always made me gag.

Now I wonder if this is the last time I’ll think about my grandmother.

It will consume me piece by piece until there is nothing left and I am one of those that has been overcome by it. That is how it works, they say. The people on the news say.”

****************************

Pseudopod Bonus Flash: Fan Letter To Joe Lansdale

by Adrian Simmons.

“Fan Letter To Joe Lansdale” is making its first appearance on PSEUDOPOD.

ADRIAN SIMMONS writes science fiction, fantasy, a little non-fiction, and a little horror. He is a founding member and co-editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. His science fiction stories are available in issues one and three of James Gunn’s AD ASTRA online magazine, and his story “Paradise of Wasteland” in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly number nineteen received a “recommended” score from Locus magazine’s Lois Tilton.

Your reader is Jared Axelrod. Jared has been involved with podcasting for almost a decade as the writer and producer of three science-fiction podcasts, the audio anthology series “The Voice Of Free Planet X,” and the serials “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor. He is also the creator of several comics and short stories featuring the down-on-his-luck supervillain, Comrade Cockroach. He’s recently restarted The Voice of Free Planet X podcast, back and better than ever!

****************************

“Dear Mr. Landsdale:

I would like to congratulate you on your story “Boys Will Be Boys” in the FenCon 2010 program booklet.

For years I have tried to write a story that gets into the head of a sociopath, and you’ve put together one that gets into the heads of not one, but two of them!”

****************************