Pseudopod 394: Summer Girls

by Caspian Gray.

“Summer Girls” first appeared in Black Static #35, which was their July/August 2013 issue.

CASPIAN GRAY currently lives with a tall man and a small dog in Columbus, Ohio, where he’s a copywriter for a used car dealership. He has previously worked as a funeral director’s apprentice, a pet nutritionist, and an English teacher to Korean immigrants living in Japan. His fiction has appeared in places like Interzone, Nightmare Magazine, Odyssey, and ChiZine.

Your reader – Robert A.K. Gonyo – is a voiceover artist residing in Queens, New York; when he’s not at the mic, he’s directing, acting, or playing music in New York’s off-off-Broadway theatre community. He produces and hosts a podcast on off-off-Broadway, Go See a Show!, available on the web and on iTunes. You can follow his work, and contact him for voiceover gigs, at ROBERT GONYO.com.

Kameron Hurley can be contacted at the following link: Kameron Hurley.

Matt Wallace’s Slingers can be found here!

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“Something brushed his leg. For a moment he felt the sensation of fingers closing on his ankle. Dan started, then floundered away, panicked as a little kid at the first touch of seaweed. He composed himself in case Kayla was watching, but she was treading water further out, eyes on the horizon. Dan swam out to her, accidentally swallowing a mouthful of salt water, then splashed water on her back to get her attention. Kayla turned, pulling long strands of hair out of her eyes.

_The dead girl_, Dan signed. This was one of their home-signs, a single gesture not rendered in his bastardized ASL.

Kayla cocked her head. _Too early_, she signed. _The dead girl won’t be here ’til August._

_She touched me_, Dan signed. _She touched me._

Kayla swam closer to him. They treaded water, looking out over the dark waves for her bobbing corpse. There was no sign of her.

_Let’s swim back._”

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Pseudopod 389: The House, The Garden And The Occupants

by Amanda C. Davis.

“The House, The Garden And The Occupants” first appeared in the anthology TRIANGULATION:MORNING AFTER, from Parsec Ink, in July 2012. “I like the concept of ghosts as personalities locked in a never-ending ‘now’. Also, when it comes to haunted houses, one ghost is never enough.”

AMANDA C. DAVIS Amanda C. Davis is a combustion engineer who loves baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her work has appeared or is upcoming in Goblin Fruit, Shock Totem, and Cemetery Dance, among others. She tweets enthusiastically as @davisac1. You can find out more about her and read more of her work at her blog. WOLVES AND WITCHES is a book of dark fairytale retellings by Amanda and her sister, Megan Engelhardt, released from World Weaver Press in 2013.

Your reader – Pamila Payne – is a narrator and writer of noir horror. She’s the creator of The Bella Vista Motel series. Originally from Los Angeles, she’s currently writing in Yucatan, Mexico. She can be found on twitter, @mspamila and on her website, Vintage Vice. Her short story, “Agent Ramiel Gets The Call” will be included in EXILES, an international anthology exploring the theme of the outsider, edited by Paul Brazil and benefitting The Marfan Trust.

Links for Jason Arnopp and Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymer can be found… well, at the links right under their names!

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“This is Anne, with shreds of her gown wisping away like the edges of clouds, at the elbow of the grand staircase where the iron-framed window overlooks a patch of garden entombed in briars. She casts a glow onto the wall that reflects faintly but bestows her no shadow. She is riveted to the window; her face is watery, difficult to make out, but her posture reveals her inner workings. A clock chimes midnight. Slowly, she lowers her head. Slowly, she turns from the window. She takes a single step upstairs before she dissipates like fog under the sun.

The first time she took this path she followed it to her bedroom, to a letter-opener strewn on her writing desk, to her bath, to her grave. Now she exists only in a narrow series of moments. She only completed this path once.

Anne comes with the first stroke of midnight and leaves with the last; she knows nothing but midnight, and the word that falls from her ghostly lips, unheard, and those things have composed the full of her existence for over one hundred years.

#

This is the column of light that flares in the garden, as tall as a tree and bright as an angel, just after the last chime of midnight. It burns bright for a single blink of an eye before it collapses to the earth, leaving the night empty and dead. A pool of light lingers at its base. The garden shifts. Its shadows follow no rules.

The column of light, in its youngest years, answered to Boy, and then to Groom, and a host of careless and vicious names in between, but the only name it will answer to now is the last one it knew, the one that Anne called it. If the light speaks, it has never been heard; if it knows anything at all, it is the single moment of flaring and falling, too quick to grasp. Its existence is an eternal cycle of light and dark. It moves so fast that life from its perspective might be a single blur of light. But it will never tell.

#

This is the roil of malice that dwells in the crack above the lintel of the front door, a seething coil tight as a Gordian knot, black as blindness, in a place no light can reach.

#

This is Jacob Winterbeam, twenty-five, who has sunk the savings of his brief life into an estate that has by disrepair or disrepute been spared the indignity of subdivisions and commercial zoning.”

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Pseudopod 385: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XX: Community

Hell is other people…



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“Penance” by Liz Colter.



“Penance” is a previously unpublished story. “This story began, as some of my stories do, with a quick, visual flash of something odd and unexpected just before sleep. I began the story as a humorous tale, but it quickly let me know that it wanted to be a horror tale instead.”

LIZ COLTER offsets working in the mundane world by writing speculative worlds of her own. She is a winner of the Writers of the Future competition (V30, released April 2014) and her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Emerald Sky, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Enchanted Conversation, and the World Weaver Press Fae anthology, among others. Her website is THE SPECULATIVE WORLDS OF LIZ COLTER.
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Your reader this week – Ant Bacon – was heard here last week as well and says “I’m an actor and coroners officer from Manchester, England so I love a bit of death and a bit of story telling. What else is there to know?! If anyone wants to say hello though I’m on twitter and always looking to up my followers: Antbacon.


“‘Wake,’ my ghosts said. ‘Come.’

They spoke asynchronously, like a flock of noisy birds. Their voices pulled me from sleep and I opened my eyes to the throng of them at my bedside.

‘Why?’ I asked. The long, morose faces stared back at me, gray and insubstantial, and mute once again.”

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“Mallecho” by Stephen Willcott.



“Mallecho” was previously published in the print and e-book anthology, ARCANE, by Cold Fusion Media, edited by Nathan Shumate.

STEPHEN WILLCOTT‘s work has appeared in Arcane Anthologies and Silver Blade Magazine. He is interested in Old English and has been attempting to translate Beowulf.

Your reader – John Trevallian – is an English novelist, poet, shaman and award-winning author of three dystopian sci-fi novels (The A-Men, The A-Men Return and Forever A-Men), plus writer of many other short stories, poetry collections and travel journals. He is also creator of the Talliston House & Gardens project, which could use your help – please see: Trevillian.com & Talliston.com.


“‘Mallecho wood? Is that safe?’ My wife asks. She reminds me of my mother.

‘I told them to stay clear,’ I say. ‘They’re just going for a bit, Jan.’ She worries like that. But then her family is not from here. I smile at her and go into the garden. The sun is strong and overhead. The children have left their ball games and toys on the lawn. I go to the rose tree and watch the insects: the flies, the bees, and the ants. Behind the tree is a brown fence and behind that is the embankment. Thick bramble covers its side. It is tall, almost as high as the house. At the top is an abandoned railway line. This was my father’s house, but he never saw the line in use. This house will pass to my children one day, I hope.

The land around here is old. Old in human terms. Some of the boundaries and copses are mentioned in the doomsday book, but there are sites of pre-history too. Standing stones, earth works, barrows and the like. Sacred groves, probably. You can feel it at night. If you walk on the embankment and look at the stars, at the landscape. The weight of generations, the renewal of the seasons. Forgotten things were done here.”

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“Jack” by Mohammad Naim Kabir.



“Jack” appears here as an original, says Jack’s editorial fore-brain.

MOHAMMAD NAIM KABIR is a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania, looking to chase down dreams of either A.) Becoming an astronaut or B.) Becoming a career storyteller. He has a manuscript in the works, and it should be something to look forward to. His FACEBOOK page is: Kabir Creates and he can be found on Twitter @KabirCreates.

Your reader – John Bell – writes, voices, and produces audio of any kind. Most recently, he has been recording audio books, including two thrillers by Michaelbrent Collings, THE LOON and APPARITION, both available at Audible.com. Buy many copies… he gets royalties. He has also narrated many of Oceanhouse Media‘s Dr. Seuss books, available as apps for the kiddos. Buy them if you want, he gets no royalties. Bummer. John Bell is the creator of “Bell’s in the Batfry“, a family-safe comedy podcast that can be found on iTunes and at Bell’s in the Batfry. Go listen… he gets ZIP for this from start to finish! If you have something you need written, voiced, and/or produced, feel free to contact John Bell at jbellvoice @ gmail.com!


“I am Jack’s inferior parietal cortex, and I know what you’re thinking. Probably that this is some lame rip-off of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

I loved that story! It sometimes had soliloquies from the point of view of _organs_! Genius. I am Jack’s makeshift temporal lobe, and I know what it is to read a good book. Now it’s mostly just road signs and maps, but you take what you can get. There’s some smooth poetry in 3 Miles to Berkley or Welcome to Alameda, you know.”

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Larime Taylor’s “A Voice In The Dark” can be purchased here!

Pseudopod 376: Quieta Non Movere

by Reggie Oliver.

“Quieta Non Movere” first appeared in THE EIGHTH BLACK BOOK OF HORROR (Mortbury Press 2011) , then in his award-winning collection MRS. MIDNIGHT (2011), then MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR 23 (ed. Stephen Jones, Constable & Robinson 2012). “This story is one of a number I have written set in the fictional English cathedral city of Morchester. I have based it loosely on the lovely old city of Salisbury.”

REGGIE OLIVER is an actor playwright and theater director, as well as being the author of two novels, a biography and six volumes of “strange” stories, of which the latest is FLOWERS OF THE SEA. His fifth collection, MRS. MIDNIGHT, won the Children of the Night Award 2012 for “best work of supernatural fiction”. Four of Reggie’s collections, all illustrated by the him, are available from Tartarus Press.

Your reader – David Moore – has read for the DARK FICTION Magazine and last appeared here giving an excellent take on M.R. James’ “Wailing Well” (his delivery of the line “they hadn’t much to call faces… but I could seem to see as they had teeth…” is one of your editor’s personal favorites in the entire back catalog) and yet, he remains an enigma!

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“An architect was engaged and there needed only a decision to be made over the location of the chapel. The obvious place was an area closest to the crossing and facing east. This would’ entail the partial destruction of the eastern wall of the north transept, an exercise which would require the relocation of a number of funereal plaques and stones, the most significant of which was a sixteenth century memorial to a Canon of Morchester Cathedral, one Jeremiah Staveley. It was quite an elaborate affair in polished black basalt about seven foot in height overall, set into the wall some three feet above the ground. It consisted in a slab topped with scrollwork, crudely classical in feel with a niche in which was set a printed alabaster image of the Canon, standing upright in his clerical robes with his arms crossed over his chest. The figure was tall and narrow, the bearded face gaunt: a somewhat disconcerting image which looked as if it portrayed the corpse rather than the living being. Beneath this on the polished slab an inscription had been incised, the lettering picked out in white. It read:

JEREMIAH STAVELEY
Canonus Morcastriensis, obiit anno 1595 aetat 52

It was followed by these verses in bold capital letters:

BEHINDE THESE SACRED STONES IN DEATH STAND I

FOR THAT IN LIFE MOST BASELY DID I LIE
IN WORD AND SINNE FORSAKING GOD HIS LAWE

I DANCED MY SOULE IN SATANN’S VERIE MAWE
WHEREFORE IN PENANCE I THIS VIGILL KEEPE

ENTOMBED UPRIGHT THUS WHERE I SHOULDE SLEEPE
WHEN DEAD RISE UP I’LL READYE BE IN PLACE
TO MEET MY JUDGE AND MAKER FACE TO FACE
STRANGER, REST NOT MY CORSE UNTIL THAT DAYE

LEST I TORMENT THEE WITH MY SORE DISMAYE

The implication of these lines, that the body of Canon Staveley was actually entombed behind the slab, was borne out by the cathedral records and one of the old vergers whose family had been connected with the cathedral since time immemorial. Dean Coombe was disposed to be rather benevolent towards this worthy whose name was Wilby. The man was a repository of cathedral history and lore and the Dean was content to listen politely to Wilby’s ramblings, but he did not expect his condescension to be rewarded by opposition to his plans.

‘Mr Dean,’ said Wilby one afternoon, as they stood before the memorial in the north transept. ‘You don’t want to go a moving of that there stone, begging your pardon, sir.’

‘My dear man, why ever not?’

‘Don’t it say so plain as brass on that there ‘scription? ‘Tis ill luck to move the bones of the wicked. So said my granfer, and his before him.’ “

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