Posts Tagged ‘curse’

PseudoPod 584: ARTEMIS RISING 4: The Drowned Man’s Kiss

Show Notes

“The Drowned Man’s Kiss” is inspired by the works of the Greek Poet Nikos Kavvadias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikos_Kavvadias

In his poem “Esmeralda” there’s this verse: “Come sweet dawn, the drowned man kissed you.” And the story was born from that, playing as it went with the theme of the cursed dagger, which also features in another of Kavvadias’ poem, “To Machairi” (The dagger).


Longtime listeners or backers of our Pseudopod 10 Year anniversary will be familiar with the artistic work and madcap visions of Jonathan Chaffin of Horror In Clay.  He makes fine horror-themed tiki mugs, art, and ephemera. He made a Cthulhu tiki mug, before that was a thing, and a cask of Amontillado and an Innsmouth Fogcutter.  Now, he has a warning for you. Somewhere in the infinite multiverse, or just on the other side of this shadow, the King In Yellow awaits. “The Pallid Mask” from Horror In Clay is a 8in tiki mug inspired by love for the linked short stories of Robert W. Chambers, and every subsequent writer caught by that fateful play.

The mug is available on Kickstarter, and will ship in August. The mug is part of a collection with companion pieces like a custom-written D6 tabletop RPG module and a Mai Tai glass from the mythic “Shores of Carcosa” restaurant.  Learn more on Kickstarter by searching for “Pallid Mask” or at Horror In Clay.


The Drowned Man’s Kiss

by Christine Lucas


Last night, I dreamt of the drowned man again.

It starts with a murmur. A prayer, slithering through a sleeping shipmate’s lips. Or perhaps a confession, or a memory caught in the fog of the ghostly hours before dawn. It lingers little down here, in the stale air heavy with the stench of urine and unwashed bodies. Soon it rises higher, amidst the sails and the riggings, hungry for fresh air. Then comes the scratching against the ship’s hull. Grip by grip, claw-like hands dig into the wood dragging upwards God knows what.

I lay still on my hammock, squeezing my eyes shut. I don’t dare to steal a peek at the narrow stair leading upwards, to the main deck. But I hear the slow drip of water—stagnant, black water mixed with putrid drool and I gag at the stench. Once, when I was a young fool, I did dare a glimpse. Never again. I’ve seen enough of the corpse sprawled across the upper steps, its torso reaching downwards, the rest out of sight. Grey, bloated flesh bathed in the milky light of early dawn. Bone grinds on bone as he turns to seek me out amidst the slumbering sailors. One eye dangles on its decaying cheek, the other socket a dark nest for crabs. (Continue Reading…)

Pseudopod 372: Silver And Copper, Iron And Ash


by Nathaniel Lee.

This story originally appeared in the COINS OF CHAOS anthology from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, edited by Jennifer Brozek. The book came out in late 2013 and can be purchased from the publisher directly or from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. “It’s not what you’re buying; it’s what you’re willing to pay and how badly you want it. How hungry are you, really?”

Nathan is a writer and editor living in North Carolina with his wife and son. His fiction has appeared in a variety of places around the internet, including Intergalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and previously here on Pseudopod. His microfiction blog (and links to his other published stories) can be found at www.mirrorshards.org. He is delicious with paprika and a cream sauce.

Dominick Rabrun is an artist living in the United States. Dominick is the creator of Dom’s Sketch Cast, a show that runs on YouTube. DSC features interviews with creative individuals, animations, and other experimental art videos: youtube.com/generaldom

****************************

Something was following him. He had enough woodcraft to know that, although he hadn’t been able to catch sight of it. A rogue wolf, perhaps, or a mountain lion; something solitary and hungry, cautious but lured by the smell of blood on him. He’d have to sit up with the rifle for a night or two and make sure the goats didn’t come to harm.

With a final glance at the darkened woods, James hefted his gunnysack and began the final climb down to the fragile safety of walls.

*****************************

Pseudopod 369: Four Views Of The Big Cigar In Winter


by Charlie Bookout.

“Four Views Of The Big Cigar In Winter” placed in a contest held by a publisher called Zharmae and it was to be printed in an anthology due out in the spring of 2014. Zharmae’s editor, Travis Grundy, contacted me saying that he’d scrapped the anthology. A link to the Kindle edition of the story can be found at www.maxavalon.com.

CHARLIE BOOKOUT lives with his family in Gentry, Arkansas — a creepy little town that’s a stone’s throw from the hillbilly infested Ozark Mountains. He belongs to a group of rural artists who, years ago, converted our home town’s old mortuary into a funky project studio for music, film, and strange art that defies description. They did their nineteenth annual haunted house this past Halloween, and it was a scream. (It is a mortuary after all.) – check out Mortuary Studios and Facebook. His music can be purchased here. His science fiction short “One Sixth Gravity of The Heart” is scheduled to appear on the podcast Wily Writers this coming April. It will be edited by Guild Wars 2 designer Angel Leigh McCoy and Ghost Hand author Ripley Patton.

Your readers this week include: Emily Smith (who works as a physician in central California to keep her cats and dogs in kibble and afford her excessive reading habits), Matt Franklin (who is a narrative developer and vocal talent working in the game design industry. He tweets through @angusonair, and would like to thank his director, Pauline Lu, for continued support) and Laura Hobbs (who works in infosec by day and is a random crafter by night. Twitter is her social media of choice, and she despises the word “cyber”. When asked nicely, she sometimes reads things for people on the internet. You can find her online at soapturtle.net.

****************************

“She watched him tromp away and quickly disappear into the blizzard. Had he survived a little longer, she would have given him the big news he was dreading. But a madman with a hammer would find him that afternoon and mercifully spare him the trouble.

Her tears were starting to freeze on her cheeks. She yawned and looked to the east. Snowflakes swirled against the fragile glow like volcanic ash.

No one would see her. Everyone else was indoors: listening to the weather guy for closings, checking the cocoa supply, planning snow forts. She had observed that Arkansans, as a rule, did not prepare for snow—not like their neighbors to the north—and that the residents of Cedar Hill were particularly myopic. They would weave along slick streets like drunkards. They would entrust their children to the talents of school bus drivers who had established records of vehicular homicide. They would neither chain their tires nor salt their bridges. They would pretend that nothing had changed. But only to a point. When a storm like this one came around, even Cedar Hill gave up and stayed home. Bone-aching winter had assailed the Ozark Plateau like a nocturnal predator, and all the other rabbits were snug in their warrens. No one would see her.

No one but the crow on the branch above her.”

*****************************

Nick Winnick – Pseudopod Assistant Editor and all around great guy – is available for editing at Pixel Ink Editing.

Pseudopod 368: Short & Nasty


by Darrell Schweitzer.

“Short and Nasty” was first published in OBSESSIONS edited by Gary Raisor in 1991. It is in his collection TRANSIENTS AND OTHER DISQUIETING STORIES (1993) and was also reprinted in 100 CREEPY LITTLE CREATURE STORIES (ed. Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg (1994)). “While the characters bear no resemblance to persons living or dead, the settings are quite real. The Philadelphia transit system is pretty creepy at night. My friend Lee Weinstein used to live in the house described in the story. But he has moved up in the world and out of that neighborhood long since.”

DARRELL SCHWEITZER is a 4-time World Fantasy Award nominee and one-time winner, as co-editor of WEIRD TALES, a position he held for 19 years. He has also edited anthologies, including CTHULHU’S REIGN (2010), THE SECRET HISTORY OF VAMPIRES (2007), FULL MOON CITY (with Martin Greenberg, 2010), and THAT IS NOT DEAD (PS Publishing, forthcoming). He is the author of about 300 published stories, which have been collected in many volumes, two of the most recent of which are THE EMPEROR OF THE ANCIENT WORD and ECHOES OF THE GODDESS (both from Wildside Press) and the novels THE WHITE ISLE, THE SHATTERED GODDESS, and THE MASK OF THE SORCERER. He has also written much non-fiction, including books about H.P. Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany. Upcoming books include, SPEAKING OF HORROR II (a collection of interviews) from Wildside, THE DARRELL SCHWEITZER MEGAPACK (e-book collection, from Wildside), a revised version of LORD DUNSANY: A BIBLIOGRAPHY (with ST Joshi) from Scarecrow Press, and, in 2014 or 2015, PS Publishing is to publish a two-volume retrospective collection of his short fiction.

Your reader this week – George Hrab would like you all to check out The Geologic Podcast and George Hrab.com

****************************

“That was the old way, Henry, when we were young. Remember?

When we two were in college together, when everybody else was reading Hermann Hesse, we were heavily “into” Gothic novels – Monk Lewis, Mrs. Radcliffe, and the ever prolific Anonymous – the early Romantics, De Quincey, Byron, Keats, Mary Shelley – in short anybody who seemed suitably exquisite, melancholy, and doomed for Art’s sake.

Remember how we used to try to top each other’s affectations, just for the fun of it, the outrageous, frilly clothes, the sweeping gestures, the dialogue never heard outside of a bad costume flick: ‘I say, old chap, I think I shall take up opium. It’s so frightfully decadent.

‘I much prefer laudanum, old bean. The visions of Hell are much more vivid that way.’

Neither of us could have fooled a real Briton for a minute, by the way. Our accents were pure college theater. I suppose most of our classmates just thought we were gay.

Ah, with a sweeping sigh. We had joy; we had fun; we had seasons in the crypt.”

*****************************