By Eric Esser
“Thing In The Bucket” was first published in Fictionvale #1 which came out in November 2013. It hasn’t yet been reprinted. “The setting is inspired by southwestern Shropshire, and the period by the Elizabethan era. The story concept came from playing around the ideas of the Four Humours and spontaneous generation, although of course the generation I ultimately went with wasn’t really spontaneous.”
ERIC ESSER lives and writes in San Francisco with his love Courtney and their black cat Mina. When he was small he used to wander the perimeter of his elementary school soccer field every recess imagining stories set in other worlds, and for some reason no one ever made fun of him for it. He suspects they discussed him secretly. He is an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, a graduate of Clarion UCSD 2012, and his fiction has appeared most recently in the Awkward Robots: The Red Volume anthology, a fundraiser for the Clarion Foundation and is forthcoming in The Electronic Voice Phenomenon podcast and Fictionvale, among others. Visit him at ericesser.net or follow him on Twitter (@ericdesser).
Your reader – Andrew Clarke — is a London-based musician, writer and actor who has created work for the stage, film and radio in an ongoing quest to work out how to make any money at all. He is currently writing the second series of The Lost Cat Podcast – which details the adventures he has had while looking for his lost cat – featuring monsters, ghosts, Old Ones, several ends of the world, some cats and lots and lots of wine. The first series can be found here. He is also currently demo-ing his latest album. The previous album, called ‘Bedrooms & Basements’ can be found at Bedrooms & Basements.
“‘Are you all right?’ he said.
She whispered, ‘I am bleeding.’
Pritcher dealt in the art of the bleed, so it was unsurprising she had come to him. ‘Can you show me?’
‘From inside.’ She pressed her belly, then brushed at her petticoat.
Pritcher considered Sarah’s young age and air of shame, and then smiled. ‘You mean it is worse than usual? Or at the wrong time?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘The time of month you bleed.’
She stared at him blankly. Was it possible she did not know? Her parents had died some years before, so she’d been raised by the barkeep, Elias Grubbs. He was well-meaning, but not the brightest man, and a widower without daughters of his own. Such subjects were not spoken of in Drumby Hole between young girls; the vicar taught them not to succumb to the corruption of flesh, to focus on God when it tempted them.
Surely someone must have taken an interest. That older barmaid, perhaps. ‘Has Lizzy never mentioned the curse?’
Sarah shook her head. ‘I’m cursed?’ Her voice trembled.”