Pseudopod 382: Her Face All Sharp

by Sara Larner.

“Her Face All Sharp” has never been published before. “I began writing this story with the intention of justifying vengeance. I wanted it to take the sort of clear but twisted moral stance that defines a fable as a fable (to me, anyway)..

SARA LARNER is a young writer living in the Bay Area with her cat, her snake, and her books. When not writing she reads, paints, dances, and acts, in about that order. She posts her poetry at: Sara Larner.

Your reader – Marguerite Kenner – can be found working her magic at CAST OF WONDERS, more of which, anon….. because I can’t seem to find a link that works….

SLINGERS by Matt Wallace can be purchased here.

Lance Roger Axt’s UTOPIATES Audio Drama can be found at the link.

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“But he had read deeply about such a creature as she, in his uncle’s old library, and had been prepared for the unlikely contingency that everything went according to plan. He threw a leather hood soaked in semen, blood, and tears over her head. He could not hear her through it, which was how it must be.

He put his fingers around her neck. Onyx and sapphire, brilliant and beautiful, her neck feathers were soft and short. He ran his thumb along her inner throat, pushing gently, just to see how it felt. She twisted her head away, in the dumb manner of a hooded bird; unwilling to move but inclined away from pain. He readjusted his hand and pushed a little harder.

He couldn’t hear anything through the hood, but he knew she must have made some sound at that, some squawk or chirp. A plea.”

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Pseudopod 368: Short & Nasty

by Darrell Schweitzer.

“Short and Nasty” was first published in OBSESSIONS edited by Gary Raisor in 1991. It is in his collection TRANSIENTS AND OTHER DISQUIETING STORIES (1993) and was also reprinted in 100 CREEPY LITTLE CREATURE STORIES (ed. Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg (1994)). “While the characters bear no resemblance to persons living or dead, the settings are quite real. The Philadelphia transit system is pretty creepy at night. My friend Lee Weinstein used to live in the house described in the story. But he has moved up in the world and out of that neighborhood long since.”

DARRELL SCHWEITZER is a 4-time World Fantasy Award nominee and one-time winner, as co-editor of WEIRD TALES, a position he held for 19 years. He has also edited anthologies, including CTHULHU’S REIGN (2010), THE SECRET HISTORY OF VAMPIRES (2007), FULL MOON CITY (with Martin Greenberg, 2010), and THAT IS NOT DEAD (PS Publishing, forthcoming). He is the author of about 300 published stories, which have been collected in many volumes, two of the most recent of which are THE EMPEROR OF THE ANCIENT WORD and ECHOES OF THE GODDESS (both from Wildside Press) and the novels THE WHITE ISLE, THE SHATTERED GODDESS, and THE MASK OF THE SORCERER. He has also written much non-fiction, including books about H.P. Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany. Upcoming books include, SPEAKING OF HORROR II (a collection of interviews) from Wildside, THE DARRELL SCHWEITZER MEGAPACK (e-book collection, from Wildside), a revised version of LORD DUNSANY: A BIBLIOGRAPHY (with ST Joshi) from Scarecrow Press, and, in 2014 or 2015, PS Publishing is to publish a two-volume retrospective collection of his short fiction.

Your reader this week – George Hrab would like you all to check out The Geologic Podcast and George Hrab.com

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“That was the old way, Henry, when we were young. Remember?

When we two were in college together, when everybody else was reading Hermann Hesse, we were heavily “into” Gothic novels – Monk Lewis, Mrs. Radcliffe, and the ever prolific Anonymous – the early Romantics, De Quincey, Byron, Keats, Mary Shelley – in short anybody who seemed suitably exquisite, melancholy, and doomed for Art’s sake.

Remember how we used to try to top each other’s affectations, just for the fun of it, the outrageous, frilly clothes, the sweeping gestures, the dialogue never heard outside of a bad costume flick: ‘I say, old chap, I think I shall take up opium. It’s so frightfully decadent.

‘I much prefer laudanum, old bean. The visions of Hell are much more vivid that way.’

Neither of us could have fooled a real Briton for a minute, by the way. Our accents were pure college theater. I suppose most of our classmates just thought we were gay.

Ah, with a sweeping sigh. We had joy; we had fun; we had seasons in the crypt.”

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Pseudopod 335: Charlie Harmer’s Day Off

by Brendan Detzner

While “Charlie Harmer’s Day Off” is appearing for the first time in Pseudopod, there are other stories featuring the character: “Charlie Harmer Looks Back” also appeared on Pseudopod and “Charlie Harmer’s Last Request” appeared in the BOOK OF DEAD THINGS anthology from Twilight Tales, which is available on Amazon and other fine booksellers.

BRENDAN DETZNER lives, works, and writes in Chicago, where he frequently shows his face at several local reading series, and also runs his own, Bad Grammar Theater, which takes place the second Friday of every month as part of the Chicago Arts District 2nd Friday event. He also has a often-monthly podcast also called Bad Grammar and a short story collection called SCARE RESOURCES available for sale. You can keep track of what he’s up to by liking “Brendan Detzner (author)” on Facebook and checking out his web page at Brendan Detzner.

Your reader this week – Eric Luke – has a horror audiobook, INTERFERENCE, available for free on iTunes. “It’s an audiobook… about an audiobook. That kills. Just click PLAY.”

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“A ghost is a dead person with a job. When you’re alive, you split your time. You work, you sleep. When you’re dead, the line gets blurrier. You switch between one and the other quickly, or do both at once. You lose track of time a lot.

There are similarities. I still have a boss. I don’t know much about her, I have no clear memory of ever meeting her for the first time. She has long brown hair.

A few days after my conversation with Darius, the boss calls a staff meeting. We meet in the Orange Room. The gang’s all here. Neil from the laundromat. The bloody torso. The asshole with no skin that no one takes seriously. (The torso is literal, the asshole is figurative.) The little girl who never talks. Others. Somehow the table is as long as it needs to be to fit everyone and no longer.

The brunette is the last to arrive. She looks tired. She never looks tired. She glances to her side before she says anything. She’s nervous. That’s not right either.

The skinless asshole is sitting in the privileged place to her right.

He’s wearing a tuxedo, his white collar stained by the blood and pus dripping down from his face. His name’s Gary. He’s got three names like all the bullshit serial killers have three names.

‘We’re going to make some changes,’ the boss says, and she sounds guilty.

She explains. I’m working for Gary now. Not just me. Lots of us.”

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PLEASE HELP PSEUDOPOD AND ANSWER A VERY SHORT DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY AT THIS LINK. IT WILL HELP US IMMEASURABLY! and thank you!

SURVEY

Pseudopod 300: The Step

by E.F. Benson

“The Step” was originally published in 1925 and later collected in MORE SPOOK STORIES (1930)

Edward Frederic Benson (1867-1940) was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury and member of a distinguished and eccentric family. After attending Marlborough and King’s College, Cambridge where he studied classics and archaeology, he worked at the British School of Archaeology in Athens. One of our greatest humorists, he achieved great success at an early age with his first novel, DODO (1893). He was a prolific author writing over a hundred books: serious novels, ghost stories, plays and biographies. But he is best remembered for his MAPP & LUCIA comedies written between 1920 and 1939 and other comic novels such as PAYING GUESTS and MRS. AMES. He became mayor of Rye, the Sussex town that provided the model for his fictional Tilling, from 1934 to 1937.

Benson was also known as a writer of (mainly grisly, though occasionally humorous) ghost stories, which frequently appear in collections. Not as scholarly as M.R. James, Benson captures life in a rapidly modernizing Edwardian age, but one still prey to spirits and monsters. H. P. Lovecraft spoke highly of Benson’s works in his SUPERNATURAL HORROR IN LITERATURE most notably of his story “The Man Who Went Too Far.” A critical essay on Benson’s ghost stories appears in S.T. Joshi’s book THE EVOLUTION OF THE WEIRD TALE (2004).

Your reader this week is the Frank Key who was last heard here reading Pseudopod 261: Widdershins. You really should give his community radio show Hooting Yard On The Air a listen!

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“”Nice night, let’s walk,” said John. “Nothing like a walk when there’s liquid on board. Clears the brain for you and I must have a final powwow tonight, if you’re off to-morrow. There are some bits of things still to go through.”

Bill acquiesced. The cafes were all dosed, there was nothing very promising.

“Night life here ain’t a patch on Cairo,” he observed. “Everyone seems to go to bed here just about when we begin to get going. Not but what I haven’t enjoyed my stay with you. Capital good fellows at your dub and brandy to match.”

He stopped and ruefully scanned the quiet and emptiness of the street .

“Not a soul anywhere,” he said. “Shutters up, all gone to bed. Nothing for it but a powwow, I guess.”

They walked on in silence for a while. Then behind them, firm and distinct to John’s ears, there sprang up the sound of the footsteps, for which now he knew that he waited and listened. He wheeled round.

“What’s up?” asked Bill.

“Curious thing,” said John. “Night after night now, though not every night, when I walk home, 1 hear a step following me. 1 heard it then.”

Bill gave a vinous giggle.

“No such luck for me,” he said. “I like to hear a step following me about one of a morning. Something agreeable may come of it. Wish I could hear it. ”

They walked on, and again, clearer than before, John heard what was inaudible to the other. He told himself, as he often did now, that it was an echo. But it was odd that the echo only repeated the footfalls of one of them. As he recognized this, he felt for the first time, when he was fully awake, some sudden chill of fear. It was as if a cold hand closed for a moment on his heart, just pressing it softly, almost tenderly. But they were now close to his own gate, and presently it clanged behind them.”