Pseudopod 420: Lost In The Fog

by J.D. Beresford.

“Lost In The Fog” first appeared in the collection NINETEEN IMPRESSIONS (1918).

John Davys Beresford was a British novelist now remembered for his early science fiction like THE HAMPDENSHIRE WONDER (1911), but who wrote supernatural and macabre stories occasionally. He was affected by infantile paralysis, which left him partially disabled. Beresford also contributed to numerous publications – in addition to being a book reviewer for “The Manchester Guardian”, and was offered the editorship of the pacifist magazine “Peace News” but declined because he felt he “would be a bad editor”. George Orwell described him as a “natural novelist”, whose strength was his ability to take seriously the problems of ordinary people. Elisabeth Beresford, children’s writer and creator of The Wombles, was his daughter.

Your reader – Ant Bacon – appeared on Pseudopod recently reading Penance by Liz Colter.

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“‘Burden,’ I muttered. ‘Where in God’s name may Burden be?’

I found something unutterably sad in the sound of that name.

I felt lonely and pitiable.

It was bitterly cold, and the mist was thicker than ever.

I could hear no one. There could be neither porter nor station-master here. Evidently this station was nothing more than a ‘Halt,’ on what I presently discovered was only a single line. I was alone in the dreadful stillness. The world had ceased to exist for me. And then I stumbled upon the little box of a waiting-room, and in it was a man who crouched over a smouldering fire.

When I went in, he looked quickly over his shoulder with the tense alertness of one who fears an ambush. But when he saw me, his expression changed instantly to relief, and to something that was like appeal.

‘What brings you here?’ he asked with a weak smile ”

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Pseudopod 419: Nurse

by Thomas Kearnes.

“Nurse” first appeared in the now-defunct print magazine Wicked Hollow and was featured in the horror anthology TRUE DARK.

Thomas Kearnes is a 37-year-old author living in Houston, where he’s studying to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor. He has been published mainly in literary magazines, but writes horror on occasion. He has two collections of literary fiction available – PRETEND I’M NOT HERE from Musa Publishing and PROMISCUOUS from JMS Books.

Your reader – Christiana Ellis – appeared on Pseudopod recently reading Prince Of Flowers.

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“Helen has been in the bathroom for fifteen minutes. Her limit is ten. She knows this. I have the contract in my purse, next to her caddy of anti-depressants and stabilizers. I will show it to her once she returns and say, ‘What did we agree upon last month? I know you like this restaurant, but if I can’t trust you here, we can’t come anymore. Do you understand?’

I watch for other women to leave the restroom, to catch the clues not even an accomplished talent like Helen can hide. Older women, their faces pinched sour with disgust and the younger ones, especially in the summer, who bolt from the room with whispers and backward glances. Poor Helen. Like most unfortunates in her position, her hard, impenetrable blindness prevents her from knowing the effect she has on others. In some ways, I prefer our afternoons or mornings in public to the interminable days in which her paranoia keeps us trapped in her home. Aided by the indulgence of others, I can trace her movements and perform my duties more easily.

I check my watch. Twenty minutes. No doubt Helen would implore me in her singsong voice, pale blue eyes darting like goldfish, that time had escaped her. This is nonsense. Those afflicted with her condition, in addition to her myriad other difficulties, have few skills, but they do possess an inborn awareness of where they are in time. This knowledge they rarely apply to their own betterment, but it is a unique gift, a grain of sand’s awareness of where the tide will next fall.

Helen’s salad sits rearranged, uneaten. One of my coworkers once joked she couldn’t understand these women who regurgitated their meals yet never ate them. What were they vomiting? You can tell from this ignorance my coworker is a poor nurse. For unfortunates like Helen, eating, like most intimate activities, was something she only could do alone. Perhaps that is what was taking so long. I believe she was at the point in her illness where she took a perverse pride in the fact she could continue her behavior without anyone trying to stop her. After all, if one makes it her mission to destroy another, someone usually will step in, but if one decides to destroy herself, most will just step aside.”

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EA Metacast, December 2014

What’s in store for Escape Artists — and for you — in 2015? Listen and find out!

Pseudopod 418: Shadow Transit

by Ferrett Steinmetz.

“Shadow Transit” was originally published in Buzzy Mag.

FERRETT STEINMETZ is a Nebula-nominated author who’s appeared on PSEUDOPOD before (“Riding Atlas,” “Suicide Notes, Written By An Alien Mind” and “The Sound of Gears“), in Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Shimmer, among other venues. He is also a graduate of both the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and Viable Paradise.

Your reader – Marie Brennan – appeared on Podcastle recently reading The Ascent of Unreason.

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“Michelle wasn’t sure how to tell if her daughter was going insane, because kids weren’t stable. She remembered how Lizzie would boldly greet her favorite aunt one day and then hide behind Michelle’s legs the next. Lizzie slept through the night for years without a nightlight, and then suddenly developed a terror of the dark. That was just how kids were; their personalities fluid, like water, ever-changing.”

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