PseudoPod 518: The Tiger

by Nina Allan

 

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“The Tiger” was first printed in Terror Tales Of London in May 2013. It was subsequently reprinted in Best Horror of the Year #6 and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime #11.

“The Tiger” is one in a loose sequence of stories Nina is still in the process of writing, featuring some continuing characters and all set in and around Lewisham in south east London, where she lived for some years. Other stories in the sequence so far include “Wilkolak” which was published in the biannual British magazine Crimewave, and “The Nightingale”, which was published in the British horror magazine Black Static.

Nina Allan’s stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Best Horror of the Year #6, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013, and The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women. Her novella Spin, a science fictional re-imagining of the Arachne myth, won the BSFA Award in 2014, and her story-cycle The Silver Wind was awarded the Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire in the same year. Her debut novel The Race was a finalist for the 2015 BSFA Award, the Kitschies Red Tentacle, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. A new, expanded edition of the novel The Race was released by Titan Books in the UK and the US in July of this year. Nina lives and works in North Devon.

Your narrator is George Hrab. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and heliocentrist George Hrab has written and produced six independent CDs and a concert DVD; published two books; recorded hundreds of episodes of the award-winning Geologic Podcast; emceed countless science conferences; been a TEDx speaker; and has even performed for President Clinton. He’s traveled to four continents promoting critical thinking, science, and skepticism through story and song. George is considered one of the preeminent skeptic/science/atheist/geek-culture music icons currently living in his apartment. 


Pseudopod’s TEN YEAR Kickstarter project successfully funded. Thank you all for supporting! If you missed it, info on preordering the book and mug is coming soon.


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


There is a bed, a wardrobe with a large oval mirror, a builtin cupboard to one side of the chimney breast. The boards are bare, stained black. There is a greyish cast to everything. Croft guesses the room has not been used in quite some time.

“It’s not much, I’m afraid,” the woman says. Her name is Sandra. Symes has told him everyone including her husband calls her Sandy, but Croft has decided already that he will never do this, that it is ugly, that he likes Sandra better. “I’ve been meaning to paint it, but there hasn’t been time.”

She is too thin, he thinks, with scrawny hips and narrow little birdy hands. Her mousy hair, pulled back in a ponytail, has started to come free of its elastic band. Croft cannot help noticing how tired she looks.

“Don’t worry,” he says. “If you can let me have the paint, I’ll do it myself.”

“Oh,” she says. She seems flustered. “I suppose we could take something off the rent money. In exchange, I mean.”

“There’s no need,” Croft says. “I’d like to do it. Something to keep me out of mischief.” He smiles, hoping to give her reassurance, but she takes a step backwards, just a small one, but still a step, and Croft sees he has made a mistake, already, that the word mischief isn’t funny, not from him, not now, not yet.

He will have to be more careful with what he says. He wonders if this is the way things will be for him from now on.

Pseudopod 310: Unfeeling

by J.D. Brink

This is its first appearance anywhere. This story will be one of four dark fantasy/crime-noir tales featured in the e-book A LONG WALK DOWN A DARK ALLEY, to be published on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com (and others) in late 2012.

J. D. Brink has been in the Navy a long time, first as an enlisted intelligence collector and later as a nurse corps officer, with a few years as a wandering civilian in between. His adventures have taken him around the Pacific on a warship, living all over the States and in Japan for a couple years, and had him deployed to an Army hospital in the deserts of Kuwait. Today he and his family live in south Texas (almost as hot as Kuwait) where he serves as a corps school instructor. What little bit of his life the Navy doesn’t own he leases from his family; fortunately, they let him write. He has two blogs: BRINK’S CHAOS THEORY can be found at the link under his by line above, and also check out FUGITIVES OF PURGATORY.

Your reader this week is W. Ralph Walters, whose FREQUENCY OF FEAR website hasn’t been updated in a while but still has treasures to be plundered. He read the extremely popular “What Makes You Tick” in Pseudopod 228: Flash On The Borderlands VII – Tableaux & Displays.

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“The pecking order in the car is standard: George drives, the boss rides shotgun, and Shovel and Byrd ride in the back. The valet brings the Caddie around and everyone starts to climb in, but August takes Byrd’s seat and tells him to sit in the front. There’s a moment of confusion at this sudden change in protocol, but they’re soon on their way. Byrd runs the music too loud to talk, which is fine; the boss isn’t in the habit of explaining himself anyway and no one wants to ask. About halfway back to the house, August grabs Shovel’s idle hand and gives it a squeeze, kind of a _you’re my main man_ gesture. Shovel, as expressionless as ever, just gives the boss a single nod. Once they’re back at the house, he finds out why.

‘I don’t trust them anymore,’ August tells him. They’re in the master bedroom, which is about as big as Shovel’s whole damn apartment. George and Byrd are downstairs, checking out the car and getting everyone something to eat, respectively, as instructed. August is standing in the middle of his closet holding up various neckties in the mirror. ‘You’re the only one I can trust with her. Shovel the Unfeeling, the human instrument, a man with no emotion, no fear, no regret. Your reputation made your career, and mine. You’re solid as a rock. But those other two…’ He decides on a cobalt blue tie, silk. ‘Good with my eyes, eh?’ he says, knowing he’ll get no reply. ‘Those other two, they might get jealous. Can’t have that. That’s why I need it to be just you and me from now on. You’ll manage the other crews but keep them at a distance. You, me, and her, from now on.’

‘I don’t think I understand,’ Shovel says.

‘Get rid of them.’

Shovel gives August a look, one that only he and George can get away with. ‘Boss… Byrd’s just a splatter on the windshield, I don’t mind giving him the heave-ho and busting his beak for good measure, but George has been with you a long time. Longer than me. He’s as loyal—’

‘As loyal as a dog,’ August snarls. ‘And as soon as the right bitch comes in heat, he’ll turn on me and try to take her for himself. No. Things are changing.’

‘Maybe you should take the night to think about this, August. Don’t see what’s-her-name tonight, just have a sandwich and a drink and get some sleep.’

That famous icy glare returns with cold fire behind it. August’s finger rises an inch from Shovel’s flat nose. ‘Don’t you back talk me. You get your ass downstairs and do your fucking job. Get rid of them, before they get rid of me. And I don’t want them coming back for me later, you hear? _Get rid of them._'”