Pseudopod 385: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XX: Community

Hell is other people…


“Penance” by Liz Colter.

“Penance” is a previously unpublished story. “This story began, as some of my stories do, with a quick, visual flash of something odd and unexpected just before sleep. I began the story as a humorous tale, but it quickly let me know that it wanted to be a horror tale instead.”

LIZ COLTER offsets working in the mundane world by writing speculative worlds of her own. She is a winner of the Writers of the Future competition (V30, released April 2014) and her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Emerald Sky, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Enchanted Conversation, and the World Weaver Press Fae anthology, among others. Her website is THE SPECULATIVE WORLDS OF LIZ COLTER.
Your reader this week – Ant Bacon – was heard here last week as well and says “I’m an actor and coroners officer from Manchester, England so I love a bit of death and a bit of story telling. What else is there to know?! If anyone wants to say hello though I’m on twitter and always looking to up my followers: Antbacon.

“‘Wake,’ my ghosts said. ‘Come.’

They spoke asynchronously, like a flock of noisy birds. Their voices pulled me from sleep and I opened my eyes to the throng of them at my bedside.

‘Why?’ I asked. The long, morose faces stared back at me, gray and insubstantial, and mute once again.”


“Mallecho” by Stephen Willcott.

“Mallecho” was previously published in the print and e-book anthology, ARCANE, by Cold Fusion Media, edited by Nathan Shumate.

STEPHEN WILLCOTT‘s work has appeared in Arcane Anthologies and Silver Blade Magazine. He is interested in Old English and has been attempting to translate Beowulf.

Your reader – John Trevallian – is an English novelist, poet, shaman and award-winning author of three dystopian sci-fi novels (The A-Men, The A-Men Return and Forever A-Men), plus writer of many other short stories, poetry collections and travel journals. He is also creator of the Talliston House & Gardens project, which could use your help – please see: &

“‘Mallecho wood? Is that safe?’ My wife asks. She reminds me of my mother.

‘I told them to stay clear,’ I say. ‘They’re just going for a bit, Jan.’ She worries like that. But then her family is not from here. I smile at her and go into the garden. The sun is strong and overhead. The children have left their ball games and toys on the lawn. I go to the rose tree and watch the insects: the flies, the bees, and the ants. Behind the tree is a brown fence and behind that is the embankment. Thick bramble covers its side. It is tall, almost as high as the house. At the top is an abandoned railway line. This was my father’s house, but he never saw the line in use. This house will pass to my children one day, I hope.

The land around here is old. Old in human terms. Some of the boundaries and copses are mentioned in the doomsday book, but there are sites of pre-history too. Standing stones, earth works, barrows and the like. Sacred groves, probably. You can feel it at night. If you walk on the embankment and look at the stars, at the landscape. The weight of generations, the renewal of the seasons. Forgotten things were done here.”


“Jack” by Mohammad Naim Kabir.

“Jack” appears here as an original, says Jack’s editorial fore-brain.

MOHAMMAD NAIM KABIR is a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania, looking to chase down dreams of either A.) Becoming an astronaut or B.) Becoming a career storyteller. He has a manuscript in the works, and it should be something to look forward to. His FACEBOOK page is: Kabir Creates and he can be found on Twitter @KabirCreates.

Your reader – John Bell – writes, voices, and produces audio of any kind. Most recently, he has been recording audio books, including two thrillers by Michaelbrent Collings, THE LOON and APPARITION, both available at Buy many copies… he gets royalties. He has also narrated many of Oceanhouse Media‘s Dr. Seuss books, available as apps for the kiddos. Buy them if you want, he gets no royalties. Bummer. John Bell is the creator of “Bell’s in the Batfry“, a family-safe comedy podcast that can be found on iTunes and at Bell’s in the Batfry. Go listen… he gets ZIP for this from start to finish! If you have something you need written, voiced, and/or produced, feel free to contact John Bell at jbellvoice @!

“I am Jack’s inferior parietal cortex, and I know what you’re thinking. Probably that this is some lame rip-off of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

I loved that story! It sometimes had soliloquies from the point of view of _organs_! Genius. I am Jack’s makeshift temporal lobe, and I know what it is to read a good book. Now it’s mostly just road signs and maps, but you take what you can get. There’s some smooth poetry in 3 Miles to Berkley or Welcome to Alameda, you know.”


Larime Taylor’s “A Voice In The Dark” can be purchased here!

Pseudopod 384: The Old Traditions Are Best

by Paul Finch.

“The Old Traditions Are Best” was first published in Shades Of Darkness, 2008, and republished in The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror #20, 2009. I think it’s important to remember that Cornwall is one of the prettiest and warmest corners of England, an idyllic rural peninsula surrounded by blue seas, with miles of white sand beaches, soaring cliffs, and inland green hills and rolling moors. It is a hugely popular holiday resort, famous for its traditional fishing ports and harbour towns, without a hint of cheapness or vulgarity – Padstow is a classic example of this.

PAUL FINCH is a former police officer and journalist turned full-time author. He first cut his professional teeth writing scripts for the British TV cop show, The Bill, but has since branched out into horror, fantasy and thrillers. He has penned numerous short stories and novellas across the genre spectrum. Several of his Dr Who audio scripts have gone to full audio production, two of his screenplays have been made into movies and his last two novels were official best-sellers during 2013. Paul is currently writing the fourth novel in his new cop thriller series from Avon Books (HarperCollins). The first two attained official best seller status in 2013, while the third, THE KILLING CLUB, will be published both in paperback and as an ebook on May 22 this year. Paul is also busy editing the TERROR TALES anthology series from Gray Friar Press, which includes creepy fiction and non-fiction from all corners of the UK – the next two titles due this year are TERROR TALES OF WALES, due for publication in April, and TERROR TALES OF YORKSHIRE, due in September. Full details of these and all other projects can be found on Paul’s official webpageWALKING IN THE DARK.

Your reader – Ant Bacon – is an actor and coroner’s officer from Manchester, England so he loves a bit of death and a bit of story telling – what else is there to know?! If anyone wants to say hello, though, he’s on twitter and always looking to up my followers:

The Nerdapalooza Tapes can be found HERE.


“‘Check this out.’ Russ read a selected passage. “In 1346, during the Hundred Years War, England’s king, Edward III, commenced a lengthy siege of the port of Calais. The French fleet was unable to break it, and thus launched a series of tit-for-tat raids on English coastal towns. One such was Padstow in north Cornwall, which was assaulted in the April of 1347. The town, denuded of defenders as the bulk of its male population was involved at Calais, could only offer resistance by carrying the town’s traditional spring-time symbol, the Hobby-Horse – or Obby Oss – down to the harbour, and threatening to invoke demonic forces with it. The French scoffed at this, but legend holds that, when they landed, the Obby Oss did indeed come to life and attack them. Several Frenchmen were borne away into the sea by it, before their comrades fled.”

Scott still wasn’t listening. He was too preoccupied with the incident earlier, and what, if anything, it might signify. As far as he understood, the ‘Safari Programme’, as the popular press scornfully termed it, was designed to provide short holidays for young offenders as an aid to their rehabilitation. It was supposed to be good for everyone: ease up pressure on the prison system, and show the offender that a different and more rewarding lifestyle was possible. But surely the people who actually lived in the place the offender was being taken to weren’t supposed to know about it? Surely the whole thing would be carried out as secretly as possible? This had worried Scott from the outset. Thoughts of mob vengeance were never far from a young criminal’s mind. Back in Manchester, he knew of one lad who’d been tied to a lamp-post and had paint poured over him. Another had been locked in a shed with a savage dog, and had almost died from his injuries.

Russ read on. “Owing to the infernal forces that allegedly worked through it on that long-ago spring day, the Padstow Oss has developed a reputation for defending the town aggressively, even cruelly. This is not entirely out of keeping with other hobby-horse legends. Scholars have suggested that the name itself, ‘hobby-horse’, derives from the old English word ‘Hobb’, which means ‘Devil’, though in the case of Padstow events have clearly gone a little farther than most. Even now, in modern times, the Padstow Oss has a disquieting appearance, and in a grim reversal of the role commonly played by fertility gods, is said to draw its power from violence rather than love.”

‘Didn’t know this place was so interesting,’ Mary said, taking a sip of lemonade.

Russ looked again at Scott, who hadn’t touched his own drink. ‘Just shows though, doesn’t it, Scott. You thought that bloke was having a go at you, but all he was doing was telling you about the history of the place.'”