Pseudopod 404: Unforgotten

by Chris Fowler

“Unforgotten” originally appeared in the LETHAL KISSES anthology edited by Elaine Datlow in 1996. Chris says: “I used to work opposite an 18th century building with an odd little window in its back. As I knew the owners, I asked about it, and they weren’t aware that there was even a window – the room had been bricked up many years before and forgotten about. As I wondered what might be in the room, the story came to me.”

CHRIS FOWLER is the award-winning author of over thirty novels and twelve short story collections. A new thriller in the Bryant & May series is out now and his latest novel, a haunted house chiller titled NYCTOPHOBIA is out Oct 2014. More details can be found on his website: Chris Fowler.com

Your reader this week is Joel Nisbet, with support from Ian Stuart and Eve Upton.

Please consider helping out P.G. Holyfield’s family here.

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“‘I don’t know why they had to turn the fucking lights off,’ moaned Marrick as he and Jonathan passed beneath the cracked AIKO sign and entered the ground floor of the building. ‘Look at it out there, ten in the morning and you’d think it was fucking midnight. Did you bring a torch?’

‘Yes. The main staircase is to the rear of this room.’ Jonathan clicked on the flashlight and raised its beam. The showroom had been stripped to a few piles of mildewed carpet tiles and some battered old shelf units. It smelled bad – damp and sickly. From far above them came the drone of heavy rain and the warble of sheltering pigeons. They reached the foot of the stairs and started up.

‘I wanna make sure they cleared everything out. Barney couldn’t get here this morning, his wife’s sick or something.’ Barney was an ex-bouncer and former prison warden whose aggressive temperament perfectly qualified him for his position as Marrick’s site manager. Unpleasant things happened in Marrick’s company that Jonathan did not know about, that he could not allow himself to discover. Not if he wanted to keep his job and his sanity.

Although Marrick was young, he was considerably overweight; the stairs were already defeating him. He reached the second-floor landing and looked up through the centre of the stairwell, catching his breath. ‘You can check out the top two floors, Jon, make sure we ain’t got any squatters in. Fucking hell, it stinks in here.’

Jonathan stopped on the staircase and stared out of the rain-streaked window into the centre of the block, where the backs of the buildings met.

Rooms. Something odd about the rooms. He studied the brick walls of the courtyard formed by the other properties. He felt as if he had a cold coming on. Getting his jacket so wet hadn’t helped matters. He should have bought himself a new umbrella. He sneezed hard, wiped his nose on a tissue. Spots of dark blood, a crimson constellation. He looked from the window again. The bricks. That’s what it was. The bricks to the right of the window. They were in the wrong place. There should have been an empty space there. It was marked on the map, but not there from the window.

There was one room too many.”

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Get Matt Wallace’s Slingers books for FREE! Direct links to Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 and Book 4. Book 5, “Slingers: Savage Weapons” is out October 8.

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Pseduopod 315: Bad Company

by Walter De La Mare.



“Bad Company” was originally published in the collection A BEGINNING & OTHER STORIES in 1955. There is a recording in the BBC Archives from January 19, 1954 of de la Mare reading this story. It is not commercially available. Rights to use this story were graciously granted by The Society Of Authors. The Society is a membership organization which has over 9,000 members writing in all areas of the profession and has been serving the interests of professional writers for more than a century. The story itself is available in SHORT STORIES 1927-1956 by Walter de la Mare, published by Giles de la Mare Publishers Ltd. This collection is now available as an Ebook. (you lucky people). Links, as always, under the names!



WALTER DE LA MARE OM, CH (1873-1956) was an English poet, short story writer and novelist. He worked in the statistics department of the London office of Standard Oil for eighteen years while struggling to bring up a family, but nevertheless found enough time to write, and, in 1908, through the efforts of Sir Henry Newbolt he received a Civil List pension which enabled him to concentrate on writing. His post-war COLLECTED STORIES FOR CHILDREN won the 1947 Carnegie Medal for British children’s books. He is probably best remembered for his works for children and for his poem “The Listeners”. He also wrote some subtle psychological horror stories, amongst them “Seaton’s Aunt” and “Out of the Deep”. Gary William Crawford has described de la Mare’s supernatural fiction for adults as being “among the finest to appear in the first half of this century” and several writers, including Robert Aickman and Ramsey Campbell, have cited de la Mare’s fiction as inspirational. .



Your reader this week – Paul Jenkins – has narrated for Escape Pod, Pseudopod and PodCastle a number of times (and was honored to be asked to read the story for the very first episode of PodCastle). His science fiction podcast novel THE PLITONE REVISIONIST is available for free at Podiobooks.com. His skeptical blog is Notes from an Evil Burnee and his skeptical podcast is Skepticule Extra (aka “The Three Pauls Podcast”).



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“It is very seldom that one encounters what would appear to be sheer unadulterated evil in a human face; an evil, I mean, active, deliberate, deadly, dangerous. Folly, heedlessness, vanity, pride, craft, meanness, stupidity – yes. But even Iagos in this world are few, and devilry is as rare as witchcraft.

One winter’s evening some little time ago, bound on a visit to a friend in London, I found myself on the platform of one of its many subterranean railway stations. It is an ordeal that one may undergo as seldom as one can. The glare and glitter, the noise, the very air one breathes affect nerves and spirits. One expects vaguely strange meetings in such surroundings. On this occasion, the expectation was justified. The mind is at times more attentive than the eye. Already tired, and troubled with personal cares and problems, which a little wisdom and enterprise should have refused to entertain, I had seated myself on one of the low, wooden benches to the left of the entrance to the platform, when, for no conscious reason, I was prompted to turn my head in the direction of a fellow traveler, seated across the gangway on the fellow to my bench some few yards away.

What was wrong with him?”