Pseudopod 405: A Fine Sacrifice

by Steve Vernon

“A Fine Sacrifice” was originally published in chapbook format and is VERY hard to find. It was reprinted in the collection DO-OVERS AND DETOURS, published in 2010 by Dark Regions Press. You can pick up a copy of the collection on Kindle for a mere 99 cents here. As for the story: “I would like you to think about the sound of a baseball bat swinging for home. That hard clocking sound that a well-swung piece of Northern white ash makes as it impacts upon horsehide – or something else.”

STEVE VERNON has had stories appear in The Horror Show, Cemetery Dance, Flesh and Blood, Chthulhu Sex, Karl Edward Wagner’s YEAR’S BEST HORROR, HOT BLOOD XIII and many other anthologies, magazines and the occasional men’s room wall. Keep up with Steve Vernon’s writing at his blog YOURS IN STORYTELLING.

Your reader this week is James Silverstein was born and grew up just outside of Chicago and has been writing fiction since the age of 9, the day he was given his first typewriter (and ‘Dragonman’, the draconic superhero was born!). He has been involved in theater from the same age, including some professional Shakespeare in the 90’s and now does community theater). He has written for various role playing games, including 7th Sea, Stargate, and, most recently, Cairn. He is working with Dave Robison on his SHATTERED WORLDS project, and Antimatter Press on his own novel; NECROPOLIS, a hard-boiled private eye tale with the undead..

Philip Roberts THE FORTIS HASTATUS Kickstarter project can be accessed here.

M.F. Wahl’s DISEASE can be pre-ordered here.


“‘That the best you can do?’ He asked gamely.

Will took a swallow of beer, his eyes never leaving Sam’s.

‘Best he can do,’ Will said, nodding derisively towards Artie.

Artie just shrugged. He was technically the better pitcher, but it was an honest fact that he couldn’t match Will for sheer power.

Will stared up at the sun as if it were a clock.

‘You’re late,’ He said in Sam’s direction.

Sam looked up at the sun. It just looked like a ball of burning gas to him. He wondered if Will could really tell the time by the sun, or if it were all for show. With Will you never quite knew for sure. That was part of his magic.

Will grinned, and it made him look mean. He had a face like a ring seasoned boxer. His eyes looked like hard narrow gun sights. He always reminded Sam of a surly Robert Mitchum. He claimed to have been a Navy Seal as a young man, and although both Sam and Artie couldn’t swim a stroke, neither dared to say differently.

You just never could tell with Will.”


Pseudopod 353: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XVII: Keeping Up Appearances

Things are not always as they seem…

“Down By The Sea Near The Great Big Rock” by Joe R. Lansdale

This story first appeared in MASQUES (1984). JOE R. LANSDALE, who recently appeared here with PSEUDOPOD #344: The Pit, has written over thirty books, and numerous short stories. He has won a multitude of awards, including the Edgar for his novel THE BOTTOMS, and his novella BUBBA HO-TEP was made into the popular film starring Bruce Campbell. His current books are THE THICKET and EDGE OF DARK WATER, both from Mulholland Books. Joe blogs here and you can also follow him on Facebook.

Read by Corson Bremer, who lives in France and has dual nationality, but is American by birth. Corson works as a professional voice actor, technical communicator, and French-to-English translator. He is also a life-long curmudgeon. His professional credits in voice acting include audio guides, industrial video narration, e-learning, radio and tv commercials, and video games for Ubisoft (Red Steel 2 and Petz:Horses 2) and Spiders (Mars:War Logs). He’s a big fan of dramatic readings as well as radio drama and comedy. Check out for his voice services and demos. Corson is a board member of Voice Artists United, an organization for established and up-and-coming voice actors who are looking for support, community, education, and information. If you are a voice actor, find them at the link under their name or on Facebook and LinkedIn.

“Down by the sea near the great big rock, they made their camp and toasted marshmallows over a small, fine fire. The night was pleasantly chill and the sea spray cold. Laughing, talking, eating the gooey marshmallows, they had one swell time; just them, the sand, the sea and the sky, and the great big rock. “


“The Demon Fields” by Keith McCleary

“The Demon Fields” has been performed in San Diego, and can be found at Gchatus, but Pseudopod is its first published appearance. “It was written in California while thinking of the summers I spent at my grandmother’s house in Vermont as a child. It’s also my girlfriend’s favorite piece of mine, so she should get some credit for its submission.” KEITH McCLEARY is an MFA student at UCSD, and received his BFA in Film at NYU. His work has or is due to appear in Heavy Metal magazine, Weave, Flash, Short Fast and Deadly, the San Diego Poetry Annual, and in comic books he has written and illustrated for Terminal Press. He has also served as a copyeditor for Kill Screen Magazine. Keith maintains a semi-regular presence at his flash fiction tumblr, Gchatus and his website, Weird Things I Have Done.

Read by Kevin Hayes – Kevin is a man of many facets. Hailing from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, he is overactively involved in the Science Fiction/Fantasy and Horror Community where he has done (and continues to do) programming for the usually annual SF conference Confluence – July 25th to 27th, 2014. He is a writer, a reader, an actor, a singer, a poet, and a cartoonist/illustrator – and that’s just in his spare time. He thrives with his artistic endeavors and lives with a hugely talented woman who shares his interests and is the passion of his life (they have collaborated on a novel that defies easy description for which they still try to find a publishing home). The home they have made for themselves also contains three of her five children, artists, writers and performers all. Kevin’s website can be found here and he also one of the driving members of a writers’ critique group called Write Or Die! (aka “WorD”) who meet at a local bookshop. He has a story appearing in “TV Gods” from Fortress Publishing, available May/June 2014, and he appears in a photo-graphic comic from Tia Tormen Productions called “Zombimboz” on sale now on Amazon!

“One day, one of the farmhands mustered the courage to ask him what the barn was all about. Ben squinted at the structure in the distance, picked a reed to chew on and crossed his burly arms across his barrel chest. ‘Well boys,’ he said. ‘That barn’s gonna hold my demons. Ev’ry man’s got ’em. Gotta get ‘em stored away if I ever want to share this farm with someone. Can’t have ‘em runnin’ loose, now can I?’ and he smiled.”


“Pawn” by Jaki Idler

A shorter version of “Pawn” was a Semifinalist in the 2010 Escape Pod flash contest, where it was titled “Queen.” Jaki Idler lives outside Philadelphia where she writes, teaches and – despite any literary evidence to the contrary – raises two wonderful boys. Her day job is bringing other’s stories to life. You can follow her writing at Idle Truths. She just narrated her own story “Terminal” for Wicked Women Writers 2012 at She’s also thrilled to read Crystal Connor’s “Spores” on (pending).

Your reader, Julia Rios, is a writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator. She’s one of the three fiction editors for Strange Horizons and hosts the Outer Alliance Podcast (celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction). Check her out at here blog here.

“The pain of pushing the larva through the very flesh of my transgression should be punishment enough. But mating was the Queen’s privilege, not the bait’s, and she’d ensure I’d rather die than overstep again. She called the lair witness, lest my lesson bear repeating. I squatted and bore down, slave to more primeval powers. My lair sisters ringed the cavern, tall and smug, every stiff spine saying they knew better. I’d known better.”


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Interstitial music is “Fearless Bleeder” by Chimpy, from Music Alley.