PseudoPod 489: The Devil In Rutledge County

by Victoria Hoke

“The Devil In Rutledge County” first appeared in LORE Vol. 2, #4, December 2013.

VICTORIA HOKE writes, draws, and codes in Los Angeles. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Drabblecast, and Three-lobed Burning Eye. She grew up in North Carolina and still gets cravings for hush puppies and butterscotch candy. She’s editor-in-chief of sub-Q, a new online magazine for interactive fantasy, science fiction, and horror. If you like stories that get under your skin, or you’d like to create some yourself, visit sub-Q for resources, submissions details, and a look at what they publish.

Your narrator – Laura Hobbs – 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


It was my fault. It happened ’cause I prayed to the Devil.

Of course I prayed to God first. I prayed every night since I realized Pa was a drunk. Not a joker or a hothead or a layabout — a drunk. I prayed God would make him quit drinking. I prayed God would turn him back to the easy-laughing man who took us fishing on Saturdays.

I prayed whenever I heard Pa retching in the backyard at dawn.

I prayed whenever the constable’s boys dragged him home at midnight.

I prayed when Essie got bit on the heel by a copperhead, and Pa was face-down in bed, and there was only one other person we could turn to.

Pseudopod 335: Charlie Harmer’s Day Off

by Brendan Detzner

While “Charlie Harmer’s Day Off” is appearing for the first time in Pseudopod, there are other stories featuring the character: “Charlie Harmer Looks Back” also appeared on Pseudopod and “Charlie Harmer’s Last Request” appeared in the BOOK OF DEAD THINGS anthology from Twilight Tales, which is available on Amazon and other fine booksellers.

BRENDAN DETZNER lives, works, and writes in Chicago, where he frequently shows his face at several local reading series, and also runs his own, Bad Grammar Theater, which takes place the second Friday of every month as part of the Chicago Arts District 2nd Friday event. He also has a often-monthly podcast also called Bad Grammar and a short story collection called SCARE RESOURCES available for sale. You can keep track of what he’s up to by liking “Brendan Detzner (author)” on Facebook and checking out his web page at Brendan Detzner.

Your reader this week – Eric Luke – has a horror audiobook, INTERFERENCE, available for free on iTunes. “It’s an audiobook… about an audiobook. That kills. Just click PLAY.”


“A ghost is a dead person with a job. When you’re alive, you split your time. You work, you sleep. When you’re dead, the line gets blurrier. You switch between one and the other quickly, or do both at once. You lose track of time a lot.

There are similarities. I still have a boss. I don’t know much about her, I have no clear memory of ever meeting her for the first time. She has long brown hair.

A few days after my conversation with Darius, the boss calls a staff meeting. We meet in the Orange Room. The gang’s all here. Neil from the laundromat. The bloody torso. The asshole with no skin that no one takes seriously. (The torso is literal, the asshole is figurative.) The little girl who never talks. Others. Somehow the table is as long as it needs to be to fit everyone and no longer.

The brunette is the last to arrive. She looks tired. She never looks tired. She glances to her side before she says anything. She’s nervous. That’s not right either.

The skinless asshole is sitting in the privileged place to her right.

He’s wearing a tuxedo, his white collar stained by the blood and pus dripping down from his face. His name’s Gary. He’s got three names like all the bullshit serial killers have three names.

‘We’re going to make some changes,’ the boss says, and she sounds guilty.

She explains. I’m working for Gary now. Not just me. Lots of us.”




Pseudopod 313: The Dead Sexton

by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

This story previously appeared in ACROSS THE BRIDGE the Christmas Annual of 1871 in the magazine “Once a Week”. It is set in Le Fanu’s invented Lake District town of Golden Friars.
It can be read online here.

J. Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. Three of his best known works are UNCLE SILAS, CARMILLA and THE HOUSE BY THE CHURCHYARD. He studied law at Trinity College in Dublin, was called to the bar in 1839, but he never practiced and soon abandoned law for journalism. In 1838 he began contributing stories to the Dublin University Magazine, including his first ghost story, entitled “The Ghost and the Bone-Setter” (1838). Le Fanu worked in many genres but remains best known for his mystery and horror fiction. He was a meticulous craftsman and frequently reworked plots and ideas from his earlier writing in subsequent pieces. Many of his novels, for example, are expansions and refinements of earlier short stories. He specialized in tone and effect rather than “shock horror”, and liked to leave important details unexplained and mysterious. He had enormous influence on the 20th century’s most important ghost story writer, M. R. James, and although his work fell out of favor in the early part of the 20th century, towards the end of the century interest in his work increased and remains comparatively strong. CARMILLA, in particular, is a prescient and much-adapted work, as it prefigures the romantic and lesbian vampire figures.

Your reader this week is Ian Stuart – Voice over artist, writer, dog walker, dialect wrestler and father of famous hosts.


“But he was a tall, sinewy figure. He wore a cape or short mantle, a cocked hat, and a pair of jack-boots, such as held their ground in some primitive corners of England almost to the close of the last century.

‘Take him, lad,’ said he to old Scales. ‘You need not walk or wisp him–he never sweats or tires. Give him his oats, and let him take his own time to eat them. House!’ cried the stranger–in the old-fashioned form of summons which still lingered, at that time, in out-of-the-way places–in a deep and piercing voice.

As Tom Scales led the horse away to the stables it turned its head towards its master with a short, shill neigh.

‘About your business, old gentleman–we must not go too fast,’ the stranger cried back again to his horse, with a laugh as harsh and piercing; and he strode into the house.

The hostler led this horse into the inn yard. In passing, it sidled up to the coach-house gate, within which lay the dead sexton–snorted, pawed and lowered its head suddenly, with ear close to the plank, as if listening for a sound from within; then uttered again the same short, piercing neigh.

The hostler was chilled at this mysterious coquetry with the dead. He liked the brute less and less every minute.

In the meantime, its master had proceeded.

‘I’ll go to the inn kitchen,’ he said, in his startling bass, to the drawer who met him in the passage.

And on he went, as if he had known the place all his days: not seeming to hurry himself–stepping leisurely, the servant thought–but gliding on at such a rate, nevertheless, that he had passed his guide and was in the kitchen of the George before the drawer had got much more than half-way to it.

A roaring fire of dry wood, peat and coal lighted up this snug but spacious apartment–flashing on pots and pans, and dressers high-piled with pewter plates and dishes; and making the uncertain shadows of the long ‘hanks’ of onions and many a flitch and ham, depending from the ceiling, dance on its glowing surface.

The doctor and the attorney, even Sir Geoffrey Mardykes, did not disdain on this occasion to take chairs and smoke their pipes by the kitchen fire, where they were in the thick of the gossip and discussion excited by the terrible event.

The tall stranger entered uninvited.”