Pseudopod 452: Abandon All Flesh

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“Abandon All Flesh” first appeared in Tales of Jack the Ripper, a 2013 anthology. Silvia remembers the wax museum in Mexico City burning down in 1992, which helped to inspire this story.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel Signal to Noise has been released by Solaris. It focuses on magic, music and Mexico City. Her short stories have been collected in Love & Other Poisons and This Strange Way of Dying. This weekend she is a Special Guest at Necronomicon in Providence. You can follow her on her blog at Signal To Noise or on Twitter @silviamg

Your narrator — Pamila Payne is a Los Angeles writer and voice actor. Her noir horror, vintage crime and drama can be found at vintagevice.com. Her most recent work was included in Exiles: An Outsider Anthology She is available to hire for Audiobook narrating and all things spoken word. She recently narrated a story for Podcastle – The Chimney-Borer and the Tanner, by Thoraiya Dyer

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“The chamber of horrors. The cobwebs and the torture instruments and the lights. And Jack. She loves Jack most of all. He stands in a corner, past the mummies and the witches, in his cape and stylish top hat. Black satin. Gloves. Right hand raised, knife gleaming. He sports a wicked smile.

If you stand in front of Jack all you can see is the smile. The angle of the hat wraps the rest of his face in rich shadows. However, if you move to the side and step a bit forward, against the velvet ropes, you can look at him up close.

The quality of the wax sculptures varies. The older ones are good and the newer ones are less detailed. But Jack. Jack is not good, he is great. The one who crafted him did so with exquisite detail, labouring over the eyes and the skin, striving to approximate life as much as one can within the confines of a wax mold. The result is a face that seems alert, capable of speech, of drawing a breath. The fingers curl around the knife with true strength, the body tenses, ready to leap down from its dais.

Even the background of this exhibit is flawless. Behind Jack there is a bed, unmade, the sheets splattered with blood. The subdued lighting reveals a brick wall and a shuttered window.

Julia stands in front of Jack and touches the sleeve of his jacket. She is fourteen. During class she draws skulls and dragons in the margins of her notebooks. In the afternoons, she does her homework with more haste than effort. Twice a week she walks the wax museum, pausing before Jack and admiring him.”

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Pseudopod 391: Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom

by John Paul Davies.

“Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom” is original to PSEUDOPOD. This story is inspired by the very real painting by Walter Sickert, the artist who is suspected by many to actually be The Ripper himself.

JOHN PAUL DAVIES is originally from Liverpool, and is a member of the Poised Pen Writers (see link under the name for further samples of their work). He has had stories published by Interstellar Fiction, Third Flatiron Publishing’s ORIGINS anthology, Big Pulp and Liquid Imagination, and was longlisted for the Penguin Ireland Short Story Contest 2013.

Your reader – Simon Meddings – is a writer of comedy and science fiction and writer & Director at Martian Creative, is currently working on his first novel and finishing a full length script for a satire television series. He also produced and co-presented a podcast called Waffle On and he’s a co-host on the Mash4077 podcast.

Info on “End Is Nigh” can be found at the Amazon link (music under the promo is “Meet me at the place” by Glass Boy, available at: Free Music Archive).

Please donate what you can to help Talliston House survive!

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““Come through,” the landlady said. “This will be your room.”

The lodger stood in the doorway, afraid that stepping into the room might shatter its illusion for good. For after months of searching, he had finally found the inspiration behind Walter Sickert’s masterpiece, *Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom.*

Longer and narrower than the others he had been shown, its floor slanted uneasily to the window. The same anaemic light that Sickert had bathed his room in, seen through a flexing eye recently shorn of its cataract.

The landlady gestured for him to admire the view, to look at the further world beyond the glass: a lofted city within a city, consisting of streets of rooftops, of other windows. Smoke curled from clusters of chimney pots; to the lodger, each weary fume represented a soul in ascension. Further, the serene blue of the river was captured in the channels between dark maritime warehouses, as twelve chimes rose deep and clear from an unseen chapel.

Drawing his attention away from the window, a macaw, or some other exotic breed, now stirred within its dulled bronze cage. The raw pink spindles of its feet gripped the perch as it shifted awkwardly, keeping in its blue, green and yellow feathers. He noticed a jagged hole in the drip of its beak, imagining a nail had been driven through; while eyes bruised as cobbles seemed to swell and throw back only a cold, blanked universe.

Had Sickert portrayed such a bird, hidden in some dark corner of his painting? Pecking at its small, chained mirror, he wondered if it had been changed entirely when first confronted by its own image. What the bird had imagined itself to be before.

“I can remove him if you would prefer? Though he’s been here longer than any tenant. I’d hate to issue the eviction notice at his age.””

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