Posts Tagged ‘Apocalypse’

PseudoPod 356: The Night Wire


The Night Wire

by H.F. Arnold


There is something ungodly about these night wire jobs. You sit up here on the top floor of a skyscraper and listen in to the whispers of a civilization. New York, London, Calcutta, Bombay, Singapore — they’re your next-door neighbors after the streetlights go dim and the world has gone to sleep.

Alone in the quiet hours between two and four, the receiving operators doze over their sounders and the news comes in. Fires and disasters and suicides. Murders, crowds, catastrophes. Sometimes an earthquake with a casualty list as long as your arm. The night wire man takes it down almost in his sleep, picking it off on his typewriter with one finger.

Once in a long time you prick up your ears and listen. You’ve heard of some one you knew in Singapore, Halifax or Paris, long ago. Maybe they’ve been promoted, but more probably they’ve been murdered or drowned. Perhaps they just decided to quit and took some bizarre way out. Made it interesting enough to get in the news.

But that doesn’t happen often. Most of the time you sit and doze and tap, tap on your typewriter and wish you were home in bed.

Sometimes, though, queer things happen. One did the other night, and I haven’t got over it yet. I wish I could. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 351: The Blues

Show Notes

“The Blues” was my attempt at confronting and ruminating on the limits of our adaptability, something not often addressed in apocalyptic literature.

Slusher music is “Green Olives” by Barbacoa from Music Alley


The Blues

by Cameron Suey


The brick edifices lean over me, red canyons of abandoned history. Despite the lingering warmth of the late valley summer, dried leaves are already piling in the gutters. Without a human hand to clean them I imagine them heaping up, year after year, burying the small town in an endless leaf pile, patiently waiting in vain for a child to leap into them.

Spun off on this chain of images and ideas, I drift away from Alex and lean against the boarded windows of a storefront. The leaves are swirling now with the blues in my mind, the cool colors crackling through the warm autumn refuse. Somewhere in the middle of the conceptual whirlwind, I get sick, the bile rising from the back of my throat bringing an unpleasant fungal taste. I spit as my mouth floods with thin and bitter saliva.

‘Tell me if I can help, man.’

Alex is across the street, leaning against a bike rack, watching me. I try to shake my head, to raise an arm, but I am trapped inside the whirlwind, not sure of its boundaries and borders, not sure if I am enjoying this anymore. Leif and King’s distant, muffled voices blend into the spinning vortex.

‘Nope,’ I manage with great effort. Alex nods and looks away.

PseudoPod 327: What It’s Come To


What It’s Come To

by Wolf Hartman


The gas station climbs out of the dark.

Every step rattles my broken bones. A rib and my nose for sure. The ankle could just be a sprain but that doesn’t stop the mean throb from busting my stride. I limp, throwing myself forward then dragging the rest up behind. The tarmac shreds my bare feet. The night’s cold sits like new skin, thin and wet, on my naked arms and neck. The rest of me is hot with blood. Soaking my clothes. Drenching my jeans, my hair. Drying my tongue and cracking when I blink pink sweat out of my eyes.

Trees stipple the highway shoulder. Like fingers closing into a fist around me. The air is pregnant with the musk of firs, melding with the far off smell of fire and ashes. The sky is red-orange. The color of bad blood. The fires will burn the whole city. There’s no one left to put them out.

A tangle of highway behind. A ringing in my ears. But I’m here. I’m alone in the dark. On this road. In these woods. But I’m still here and the gas station fights the dark with all its lights still on. Come in. Say hello. Take a load off.

The hard pain grinds in my side and I stumble forward.

The gas station is pitted against the forest. Its pumps sit like tombstones covered in a mold of cigarette and Coke ads. Buy 2 get 1 free. The surgeon general warns. Cars sit beside them. Quiet like mourners. The gas station’s convenience store glows and hums.

I shuffle into the forecourt. The fluorescents cut sharp and my vision tilts. I squint to save myself. Hands on my knees and sick breathing until it passes.

A man hovers by one of the pumps. Dressed in a navy blue jumpsuit stained with oil at the chest and knees. He’s young. Clean-shaven with skin colored like spoiled milk. He holds a squeegee in one hand and a bucket of soap water in the other. He stares at me dumb.

‘Hey,’ I say. ‘Hey. Excuse me.’

Pseudopod 298: The Long Road To The Sea


The Long Road To The Sea

by James L. Sutter


 

After enough time had passed for everyone to get unloaded and settled, Mischa gave the order, and the real work began. Throwing open the back doors of the largest truck, he quickly prepped the surgery, then let Colville’s mayor know he was ready.

The first corpse was a young man, maybe twenty or twenty-one, who’d fallen beneath a thresher and bled out before the other field hands could even send for help. One arm was a mangled mess from the crushed collarbone down, but the convoy had been expected and the family had the sense to keep him cold in the cellar.

Mischa accepted the corpse with respect and ceremony, then firmly ushered the hard-faced locals back outside and shut the truck doors, limiting the people in his workshop to himself, his protégé Andrew, and Jimmy to help with the lifting.

Beneath the harsh battery-powered lights, they began. Able to tell at a glance that nothing in the tangle of bone and fiber was worth saving, Mischa and Andrew broke out scalpels and began the process of removing the tattered arm, tying off what veins they could and cauterizing the rest with a hot iron. Taking one handle each, they used a set of bolt cutters to shear through the protruding bone with a sound like a tree being limbed.