Pseudopod 393: West Gate

by Mitchell Edgeworth.

“West Gate” was first published in Allegory magazine in January 2013 and is still available in their paywalled archives. Mitchell notes: “The bridge does have a bit of bad mojo about it. It collapsed while under construction in the 60s and killed two dozen workers, and was notorious as a suicide bridge until a guy threw his daughter off it a few years ago and they put some fences up. It’s also a fairly ugly, modern bridge compared to the more famous Sydney Harbour Bridge (which crosses a beautiful stretch of water, whereas the West Gate crosses the port and then plunges into factories, industrial areas and the impoverished western suburbs.)”.

MITCHELL EDGEWORTH is an Australian writer currently living in London. He has fiction published or forthcoming in venues including Daily Science Fiction, Postscripts to Darkness and Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. He tweets as @mitchedgeworth and keeps a blog at Grub Street Hack.

Your reader – Ron Jon – was featured in a showcase in Pseudopod 377: Showcase: The Dark Audio Tone Poems of The Spectre Collector. Ron has written and published children’s books; scripts and screenplays for animation and live action; musical lyrics and libretti. He is a student of strange phenomena/parapsychology, horror and children’s literature.
You can hear more of his work at The Spectre Collector Blog and The Spectre Collector Page. Also, be sure to check out the Killer Blood Shroom Cult hymns at The Fruits Of Madness.

Please donate what you can to help Talliston House survive!

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“A dozen helicopters were hovering around the distant city, all lancing their spotlights down on the same place – by his reckoning, somewhere near the Domain Tunnel or the Arts Centre. He could see no other movement. No explosions, no gunfire, no destruction. Had it been contained?

A few other people had left their cars and were standing at the barrier, staring at the city. Some were holding up their mobile phones, trying to get a signal. “Anybody know what the fuck’s holding traffic up?” a truckie asked.

“Some dickhead must have had a smash,” someone replied. “Nothing on the radio, though.”

“Nothing on the radio at all,” the truckie said again. He was visibly agitated, pacing up and down at the railing, his hands tucked into his armpits for warmth. “What’s the fucking government doing? That’s what I want to know. Where’s the army?”

“Didn’t you see those tanks go past before?””

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Pseudopod 392: The Dog’s Paw

by Derek Kunsken.

“The Dog’s Paw” is Derek’s first horror story and was written on a balcony overlooking Port-au-Prince six weeks after the earthquake of 2010. It first appeared in the Canadian horror anthology CHILLING TALES: IN WORDS, ALAS, DROWN I and was also selected for inclusion in Ellen Datlow’s YEAR’S BEST HORROR VOLUME SIX.

DEREK KUNSKEN has built genetically-engineered viruses, worked with street kids in Central America, served as a Canadian diplomat, and writes science fiction and fantasy in Ottawa, Canada. His work has previously appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, On Spec, Podcastle and several times in Asimov’s Science Fiction. His work has been short-listed for the Aurora Award and has won the Asimov’s Reader’s Award. His website is Derek Kunsken and he blogs at Blackgate.

Your reader – Lewis Davies – is an ex-actor turned history teacher and you can follow him @lewiskernow on twitter. He is always looking for opportunities to read aloud.

Please donate what you can to help Talliston House survive!

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“A cloud of gray smoke expanded around them. Tears leaked from Mr. Abdullah’s eyes and Lewis put his arm around him. He took Mr. Abdullah’s cigarette to tap off the ash and left both cigarettes in the ashtray.

“You are a great man,” Lewis said in Arabic.

Abdullah shook his head.

“You have a big heart,” Lewis said, “and I’ve come to help you.”

A choking sob burst from Mr. Abdullah.

“Tell me why you cut off your arm,” Lewis whispered.

Abdullah’s browned lips pressed into a damp line.

Lewis sighed. “Show me your arm.”

Abdullah turned his head sharply away.

“These marks are a sign,” Lewis said, “nothing more. Show me.”

Abdullah shook his head, but Lewis held him and lowered the blanket slowly. Mr. Abdullah’s wife squeaked and turned away. The edge of the blanket revealed a dog’s paw, furred in brown, with black pads under the foot, hugged close to Mr. Abdullah’s chest. Lewis gently pulled at the paw. He stroked the fur.

“We can fix all this,” Lewis said.”

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Pseudopod 391: Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom

by John Paul Davies.

“Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom” is original to PSEUDOPOD. This story is inspired by the very real painting by Walter Sickert, the artist who is suspected by many to actually be The Ripper himself.

JOHN PAUL DAVIES is originally from Liverpool, and is a member of the Poised Pen Writers (see link under the name for further samples of their work). He has had stories published by Interstellar Fiction, Third Flatiron Publishing’s ORIGINS anthology, Big Pulp and Liquid Imagination, and was longlisted for the Penguin Ireland Short Story Contest 2013.

Your reader – Simon Meddings – is a writer of comedy and science fiction and writer & Director at Martian Creative, is currently working on his first novel and finishing a full length script for a satire television series. He also produced and co-presented a podcast called Waffle On and he’s a co-host on the Mash4077 podcast.

Info on “End Is Nigh” can be found at the Amazon link (music under the promo is “Meet me at the place” by Glass Boy, available at: Free Music Archive).

Please donate what you can to help Talliston House survive!

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““Come through,” the landlady said. “This will be your room.”

The lodger stood in the doorway, afraid that stepping into the room might shatter its illusion for good. For after months of searching, he had finally found the inspiration behind Walter Sickert’s masterpiece, *Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom.*

Longer and narrower than the others he had been shown, its floor slanted uneasily to the window. The same anaemic light that Sickert had bathed his room in, seen through a flexing eye recently shorn of its cataract.

The landlady gestured for him to admire the view, to look at the further world beyond the glass: a lofted city within a city, consisting of streets of rooftops, of other windows. Smoke curled from clusters of chimney pots; to the lodger, each weary fume represented a soul in ascension. Further, the serene blue of the river was captured in the channels between dark maritime warehouses, as twelve chimes rose deep and clear from an unseen chapel.

Drawing his attention away from the window, a macaw, or some other exotic breed, now stirred within its dulled bronze cage. The raw pink spindles of its feet gripped the perch as it shifted awkwardly, keeping in its blue, green and yellow feathers. He noticed a jagged hole in the drip of its beak, imagining a nail had been driven through; while eyes bruised as cobbles seemed to swell and throw back only a cold, blanked universe.

Had Sickert portrayed such a bird, hidden in some dark corner of his painting? Pecking at its small, chained mirror, he wondered if it had been changed entirely when first confronted by its own image. What the bird had imagined itself to be before.

“I can remove him if you would prefer? Though he’s been here longer than any tenant. I’d hate to issue the eviction notice at his age.””

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Pseudopod 390: Party Games

by Richard Farren Barber.

“Party Games” has never previously been published. “I am fascinated by the black/white viewpoint children often have upon life. Something is either wrong or it is right – with children there are no mitigating circumstances. This makes it so much more shocking when a child discovers that not everyone plays by the rules. Life really is unfair.”

RICHARD FARREN Barber was born in Nottingham in July 1970. After studying in London he returned to the East Midlands. He lives with his wife and son and works as a Development Services Manager for a local university. He has had stories published in Alt-Dead, Alt Zombie, Blood Oranges, The British Fantasy Society Journal, Fever Dreams, The Horror Zine, Murky Depths, Midnight Echo, Midnight Street, Morpheus Tales, Night Terrors II, The House of Horror, Siblings, The 13 Ghosts of Christmas, Trembles, Terror Scribes and many others. His work has been broadcast on BBC Radio Derby and Erewash Sound. His first novella “The Power of Nothing” was published by Damnation Books in September 2013. His second novella “The Sleeping Dead” will be published by DarkFuse in August 2014. His website is Richard Farren Barber.

Your reader – Tina Connolly – lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Her first fantasy novel, IRONSKIN (Tor 2012), was nominated for a Nebula, and the sequel COPPERHEAD is now out from Tor – the final book in the series, SILVERBLIND, comes out this October. Her fiction and narration has appeared on all three Escape Artists casts. She has also contributed voicework to many other projects, including the recent anthology from John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey, THE END IS NIGH. She runs the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake, and her website is Tina Connolly.com.

Info on “End Is Nigh” can be found at the Amazon link (music under the promo is “Meet me at the place” by Glass Boy, available at: Free Music Archive).

Please donate what you can to help Talliston House survive!

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“As Helen walked to the front of the hall she could hear them whispering behind her back. The sound of their voices crashed on her shoulders like a wave. She couldn’t make out anything they said – a couple of times she thought she heard her name within the tidal brush of noise, but she ignored it.

‘I’m ready,’ she called.

‘Put on the blindfold.’

The voice came from so close to her ear she thought the woman was standing directly beside her. Helen was tempted to open her eyes and look, but she wasn’t a cheat.

She shook her head. ‘No.’

‘You have to put on the blindfold.’”

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