Pseudopod 475: The Toad Witch

by Jessica Amanda Salmonson.

The Toad Witch originally appeared in Tales of Witchcraft in 1991.

Jessica Amanda Salmonson is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, ReaderCon Certificate, and Lambda Award, author of THE DISFAVORED HERO and other novels, THE DEATH SONNETS and other poetry collections, and THE DEEP MUSEUM and other short story collections. Forthcoming – a giant omnibus of her works will appear from the extravagantly cool Centipede Press consisting of her Dell Books novel ANTHONY SHRIEK, a number of poems, and her Ace Books collection A SILVER THREAD OF MADNESS plus enough new and uncollected material to equal a third book in one huge volume. Her next poetry collection PETS GIVEN IN EVIDENCE OF OLD ENGLISH WITCHCRAFT AND OTHER BEWITCHED BEINGS will be issued this coming year by The Sidecar Preservation Society to coincide with Diversicon where she will be Guest of Honor. She’s presently working on a small collection THE BLIND AVIATRIX: Dream Life and Real Life, too odd for commercial publishers but she can’t help it she has to write it.

Your narrator – Sandra Espinoza is a voice actress and video/sound editor in New York with a background in publicity, research and writing. She’s provided voice over for games like Apotheon, Primordia, Combat Core, Norse Noir and Supreme League of Patriots. Sandra’s upcoming roles include Freida in Kreative Spill’s newest point-and-click adventure Norse Noir; and Ember in Combat Core. To find out more visit or like DustyOldRoses on Facebook.

Your guest host – Kat Rocha is Associate Editor at PseudoPod, Guest Editor for the Artemis Rising Event, and Editor-in-Chief of 01Publishing. They released Whispers from the Abyss 2 in ebook in 2015 and will release it in trade paperback in early 2016. She is a longtime fan of horror and good horror stories and has made the promotion and publishing of them her career.


I began life in 1950. Until then, everything was darkness. Afterward was suffering and beauty. How could 1 not become a masochist? By the age of four I had learned to mistrust everyone, a good philosophy. If one expects something terrible to develop out of even pleasant events, one may also expect consolations at moments of travail; and even I must delude myself from time to time, succumbing to the disease of sentiment.

People who are essentially cheerful annoy me. When they are finally bent and deaf, they are suddenly surprised. They find out their lives were pointless falsehoods; that it’s all nearly over, and for what? When in the end they are completely disillusioned they seek forgiveness from everyone, for they had always been oblivious to the obvious things, to the suffering around them. They are sorry for having insisted nothing was ever all that bad. Destined as they are to so much disappointment, they merit our sadness more than our disdain.

As for those of us daily anguished, we need not be pitied. The world constantly reinforces our perspective. We may nod our heads like true sages. We are impervious to disillusion, knowing as we do that worse is yet to come.