PseudoPod 666: Breaking the Waters & The Second Coming

Show Notes

“The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats was first printed in The Dial in November 1920. “Breaking the Waters” is a PseudoPod original released jointly with Nightlight, a horror podcast featuring creepy tales written and performed by Black creatives all over the world.

The Second Coming

by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Breaking the Waters

by Donyae Coles

Bootsie is what her mother called her, only her mother, ever. She stood on the train platform, the air daggers of ice against her, cutting through her clothes, leaving her skin raw and frozen.

“Bootsie,” the man called, a hint of pleasure curling on the end of her name. She looked up because only her mother used that secret name, and the man, the Man With No Face, said it just right. Just like mother.

The Man With No Face wore a suit, brilliant white with a gray tie and black shoes that slipped and disappeared into inky pools of shadow from time to time. She stared at him as he approached, his steps sounding hollow and too loud, blocking out the howling wind.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you,” he said reaching out his hand to take hers. She gave it without hesitation. He called her as mother had called her, “She said you would be here. She said to call you that.” (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 665: The Thames Valley Catastrophe

Show Notes

Hey PseudoPod family, is your TO READ pile getting shorter? We have a solution for you. Coming out this week is Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction. This is written by our friends Lisa Kroger and Melanie R. Anderson who host the Know Fear Cast along with Matt Saye. I really enjoyed how each chapter begins with an introduction that explains the era and its representative styles. It then follows with a number of exemplars of that era and style in both short and long fiction formats.

And Quirk Books delivers again with the physical copy of this book. The layout is exceptional and O! The illustrations! Each chapter has illustrations in repeating patterns like could inhabit some creepy wallpaper, with subjects related to a number of the particular stories covered there. I loved the pulp panel in particular with Shambleau by C.L. Moore and The Canal by Everil Worrell – which just so happened to run as episode 648 earlier this year. I loved seeing a shout-out to PodCastle and narrator extraordinaire Dave Robison, and we’re looking forward to bringing some of the stories highlighted here to your ears in the not too distant future.

The Thames Valley Catastrophe

by Grant Allen

It can scarcely be necessary for me to mention, I suppose, at this time of day, that I was one of the earliest and fullest observers of the sad series of events which finally brought about the transference of the seat of Government of these islands from London to Manchester. Nor need I allude here to the conspicuous position which my narrative naturally occupies in the Blue-book on the Thames Valley Catastrophe (vol. ii., part vii ), ordered by Parliament in its preliminary Session under the new regime at Birmingham. But I think it also incumbent upon me, for the benefit of posterity, to supplement that necessarily dry and formal statement by a more circumstantial account of my personal adventures during the terrible period.

I am aware, of course, that my poor little story can possess little interest for our contemporaries, wearied out as they are with details of the disaster, and surfeited with tedious scientific discussions as to its origin and nature. But in after years, I venture to believe, when the crowning calamity of the nineteenth century has grown picturesque and, so to speak, ivy-clad, by reason of its remoteness (like the Great Plague or the Great Fire of London with ourselves), the world may possibly desire to hear how this unparalleled convulsion affected the feelings and fortunes of a single family in the middle rank of life, and in a part of London neither squalid nor fashionable.

(Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 664: My Boy Builds Coffins

My Boy Builds Coffins

by Gary McMahon



Susan found the first one when she was tidying his room.

Chris was at school, and she’d been sprucing up the house before popping off to collect him after the afternoon session. The ground floor was done; the lounge was spick-and-span (as her mother had loved to say) and the kitchen was so clean it belonged in a show home. The downstairs bathroom was clean enough for a royal inspection. The en-suite would do, she supposed, and her and Dan’s bedroom was the best it could be considering they both liked to dump their dirty clothes all over the floor and the furniture.

Now it was time to tackle Chris’s room, which was about as messy as any eight-year-old could hope to achieve.

She pushed open the door, holding her breath, and walked into the chaos. His blow-up punch bag had been moved into the centre of the room and left there. The floor was littered with books, magazines, Top Trumps playing cards, rogue counters from board games, art supplies, and – oddly – old cardboard toilet roll holders.

“Jesus, Chris…” She tiptoed across the room to the window, trying not to step on anything that might break. When she got there, she pushed open the window to let in some fresh air. The room smelled stale, as if it hadn’t been lived in for months.

“Okay,” she murmured. “Let’s get this shit sorted.”

First she tackled the floor. Patiently, she picked up everything and put it away where it belonged – or at least where she thought it belonged, or where it looked like it belonged. After twenty minutes the room was already looking much better. At least she could move around without fear of treading on something.

Next she tidied up the top of his desk – where she found old DVDs without cases, more playing cards, flakes of dried modelling clay, small stones from the garden, bits and pieces of magic tricks, and other sundry boy-items.

The desk was almost clear, and she was looking for a drawer into which she could squeeze yet more art supplies, when she found the coffin. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 663: Birds of Passage

Show Notes

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Birds of Passage

by Gordon B. White

If I didn’t inherit my father’s natural instinct for adventure, it was drummed into me steadily enough by the time I was a young man that you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.  If you don’t go looking for adventure, he would say, adventure will come looking for you.  Over the years, I got so used to the counter-programming against my inborn tendency towards the comfort of safety that I wonder – if left to my own natural limits – would I have turned out differently?  Are there other dimensions with less driven, but perhaps more content, versions of me?  I’ve thought about that a lot since my father died.

My father and I had plenty of what he would call “adventures,” even though we sometimes disagreed on what qualified. Road trip to the mountains and across state lines?  Sure, that counted.  Pushing his broken car to the dealership and walking home?  Not in my book.  Nowadays, although I would not trade any of them for the world, the years have smudged away most of our individual adventures.  However, I will never forget Cotner’s Creek. (Continue Reading…)