Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk

by Eileen Wiedbrauk

“Breath Stirs In The Husk” first appeared in the URBAN GREEN MAN anthology edited by Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine (Edge Publishing, August 2013). “This story is set in a part of the world where my parents grew up; I’d often visited family in the area but never lived there myself — never even thought of living there. But in a strange turn of events, I moved to the town of Alpena the same month this story was first published. I sincerely hope the two aren’t linked in some inextricable, cosmic fashion as the next project I’m working on is set in outer space.”

EILEEN WIEDBRAUK is Editor-in-Chief of World Weaver Press as well as a writer, blogger, book reviewer, coffee addict, cat herder, MFA graduate, fantasist-turned-fabulist-turned-urban-fantasy-junkie, Odyssey Workshop alumna, designer, tech geek, entrepreneur, avid reader, and a somewhat decent cook. She wears many hats, as the saying goes. Which is an odd saying in this case, as she rarely looks good in hats. Her creative work has appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, North American Review, Swink, Enchanted Conversation, and others. Find her at or @EileenWiedbrauk on Twitter. She’s working on a collection of Doctor Who inspired essays, more dark short fiction and a light space opera while her alter-ego tackles sci-fi romance. She’s editing two forthcoming anthologies: SPECTER SPECTACULAR II: 13 DEATHLY TALES and WEIRD & WONDROUS WORK: SPECULATIVE FICTION PRESENTS THE ODDEST OF ODD JOBS (we spend most of our waking hours at work, why shouldn’t our characters?) featuring stories by Alex Bledsoe, Ellen Kushner, Deliah Sherman, Douglas Cohen, Ryan Britt, and others. Both anthologies are forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.

Your reader this week is Abra Staffin-Wiebe can be found at Abra and is currently bringing forth Circus of Brass and Bone, a post-apocalyptic steampunk story about a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization. People come together . . . or die. Join the Circus of Brass and Bone on its travels and witness the grand finale, coming to you this Halloween.


“The corn stood shoulder high on Carla as she cut through her father’s fields. At the edge of the field she stopped, took a deep breath, and forced her fists to unclench. She stared at the wooded land in front of her but didn’t set foot in it. Instead she dug the toe of her slip-on into the dry dirt, catching crumbled earth-bits in the crease between plastic and canvas, then fidgeted with the band of her bra, trying to get air to the sweat pooling beneath it. She blew out a breath. “Stop being stupid, Carla,” she muttered. It was enough of a prod for her to manage five steps out of the field and into the bordering woodland before panic seized her and she sprinted back to the sheltering rows of corn. Carla swallowed a sob. She hadn’t been able to make herself go inside the wood for three months. But she had to now. She had to. She needed to get back to the clearing–the place where she’d seen the Green Man the one and only time she’d ever seen him. If she got there, she would find him again. She was certain of it.

She scrubbed at her face and tried again. She got as far as the first pine; its thick branches reached out toward her with the rustle of the wind. Carla whimpered. She took another step. Something brushed against her forearm. She squeaked and jumped. Every muscle in her body strained. She felt her lip tremble. She couldn’t do it. Couldn’t go farther into the wood.

‘Green Man,’ she whispered to the trees. Tears and frustration choked her voice. ‘Green Man, help me.’

He’d helped her out once before, maybe he would again.”


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