Pseudopod 352: Enough With The Crazy

by Emile Dayne

“Enough With The Crazy” was originally published in TALES OF THE ZOMBIE WARS, July 5th 2012.

EMILE DAYNE started writing in 2010, started getting published with indie presses in 2011. His two pen-names from that period are Harry Kane and Edward Keller. The books are SOUND OF THE DISTANT OCEANS, BRAIN STORM, SHUDDER, PLANETFALL ON ALBAID, and AUTUMN MAGIC PLAYGROUND SKY. His short fiction has been published by the likes of Phantasmacore, Gothic City Press and Encounters Magazine.

Your reader this week – Joe Scalora – is a marketing manager at Del Rey books and aspiring voice over actor. Follow him on twitter –@JoeScalora – and also check out the Clarke Ashton Smith podcast “The Double Shadow”, he’ll be reading on an upcoming episode there.

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“Everything was fine until he saw the fire hydrant across the café. Something about it caught his attention, as if it was some important object from his past, perhaps even from childhood.

Which was absurd, since he had grown up two thousand miles away in a small town with very few fire hydrants, of which not one had played any important part in his life. He hadn’t even danced in its spurting water during the hottest summer days.

Yet the very sight of this one made his heart lose its rhythm. His legs shook as he approached the hydrant. In one corner of his mind a watchful voice was warning him to not act too weirdly out on the street in full view of everyone and he did try his best. But then the world around him turned into blurry fluid that wobbled thunderously and terribly.

All outlines lost their sharpness, pedestrians became contorted like ghosts. The fire hydrant was real, stable, and firm. But although a center of solidity in a world which had suddenly turned to oppressive jelly, it did not inspire safety in any way. Rather, its stability seemed as evidence that it was the evil source of everything that was wrong now, and which had gone wrong with Sam in the past months.

Two distorted figures with male voices stopped for a second by the hydrant. One of them raised an object to his head and appeared to bite into it. The smell of warm hotdog reached Sam’s nose and then a few drops of ketchup fell on the pavement.

Sam lost his balance and swooned, but even as the ground tilted up, images flashed through his head, very similar to the ones from his nightmares, maybe even the same ones, but this time not jumbled and obscure, but clear and in sequence.

People – men and women and children – faces twisted into grimaces, attacking an elderly couple from all sides, bringing them down, tearing at their clothes and at their flesh. By this exact hydrant. Blood falling where the ketchup was now.

Him, shouting for everyone to stop, then running into the melee, pushing people away, trying to get to the victims and save then, and then suddenly already holding an arm and biting at the puffy hand with whines of impatience…unbearable urgency and a sense of utmost wrongness rolled into a shattering–

Blackness. Far off sounds.”

Pseudopod 345: Boxed

by Donald McCarthy

DONALD MCCARTHY writes fiction and non-fiction. His works have appeared in KZine, The Washington Pastime, Drunk Monkeys, The Progressive Populist, and Cover of Darkness. His twitter account is @donaldtmccarthy and he blogs here.

Your reader this week – Alex Rudy – remains an enigma.

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“A few beads of sweat slithered down Trevor’s forehead and he blinked rapidly, a panic attack oncoming. His pulse was quick, as if he’d just come in from a run, and the contents of his stomach threatened to come lunging out of his mouth if he didn’t calm down. He grabbed a pillow off the sofa and placed it over his mouth, screaming. Once his throat became hoarse he flung the pillow back on the sofa and threw himself on top of it. “I don’t cope well,” he said.

He looked across the room, to a small, gray box on top of his fireplace. The box asked, “Why are you telling me this?”

“I had a bad night,” Trevor replied, speaking quickly. “I was with Kim. She had her friends join us. She didn’t tell me they’d be coming. How am I supposed to prepare for something like that if she doesn’t tell me they’re coming? I thought it’d just be me and her at her apartment but a minute after I arrived she said there’d be others. She rattled off their names but I couldn’t remember them. I can’t be expected to just remember names that are randomly thrown out there.” Trevor began playing with his hands, one gripping the other tightly. “I got sick right away and had to excuse myself to the bathroom. I have something going with Kim, something good, and this could’ve easily messed it up.”

Trevor stood up, his legs so weak with anxiety that he came close to falling. He slowly walked across the room towards the fireplace, looking only at the box, as if he would lose his balance should he even glance at any other area of the room. “I couldn’t relate to any of them. I stumbled through conversation. I said idiotic things. My opinions made no sense. I made a fool out of myself. It was terrible.” Trevor reached the mantle, placed both hands on it, and loomed above the box. “I wish that the whole thing could be done over.”

“I can’t make that happen,” said the box.

“Neither can anything else,” said Trevor. “But you can do the next best thing. Get this night out of my head.”

“All of it?” asked the box.”

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Pseudopod 308: The Crawlspace

by Russell Bradbury-Carlin



“The Crawlspace” has not been published elsewhere. It is making its debut on Pseudopod.



Russell Bradbury-Carlin is a part-time writer living in Western Massachusetts. His short stories have appeared in Midnight Screaming, Lark’s Fiction Magazine, Weird Year, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, amongst others. You can find out more at Russellbradburycarlin.com.






Rish Outfield is your reader this week. Rish is the host of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, which presents genre stories with a full cast, music, and sound effects. Also, for dismissing an enchantress in his youth, was transformed into a hideous beast, never to be loved or respected until Michael Bay can learn to hold a camera steady. Rish can be heard on Dunesteef, but on cold, windy nights like tonight, you can sometimes hear him feeling sorry for himself, out on the moors..



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“There was a splash where there shouldn’t have been. Reed was shoving handfuls of dirty clothes into the washing machine when he stopped to listen closely. The sound seemed to have come from beneath the small wooden plank in the corner –- the one that covered the entrance to the crawlspace under the house. The splash had sounded distinctly like a weighty object –- a hand, maybe — slapping the surface of a body of water.

The laundry room was a small concrete-floored space between the main house and the garage. Reed had done everything he could to minimize his time in that room and to try and ignore the crawlspace’s entrance. This was made a bit easier due to the small wooden plank’s inherent “hiddenness”. It was covered with layers of dust the same color as the concrete. And veils of cobwebs hovered over it which held the threat of spiders, centipedes, and other creepy-crawlies. The corner seemed to exude a force of avoidance and Reed had been more than happy to comply.

The entrance was barely large enough to allow an average-sized adult to slip down into the dirt-floored space beneath the house. Reed had watched the hefty home inspector squeeze through the hole a few months earlier before he and his wife, Maisy, bought the house. Once the inspector pushed through the narrow opening, Reed saw that there was a bit more room for someone to, literally, crawl under the first floor. While watching the older man slide into the dark space, Reed’s mouth had gone dry and he suddenly had difficulty swallowing.”