PseudoPod 499: The Tooth Fairy

Russel McLean

by Russel McLean

“The Tooth Fairy” is a PseudoPod Original. “I hope the story works on its own without needing to know too much. But I’ve always been fascinated by the fascination that people have with serial killers, and how our perception is affected by both the fiction and the mythologizing of fact. To say much more would of course be to give away some of the story. Its also an unusual piece for me in that its one of very few stories I’ve written set in the US. I’ve always wanted to write more US based fiction as that is mostly what I read, although I’m known for writing about Scotland and, more generally, the city of Dundee. It was refreshing to be able to write about a subject matter and location that was new to me, and the enthusiasm of Pseudopod for the story has been a great reward for taking that risk.”

RUSSEL MCLEAN is the author of five novels featuring Scottish private investigator J McNee. His debut, THE GOOD SON, was shortlisted for a Shamus Award for Best First Novel by the Private Eye Writers Association of America. Russel’s short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and magazines including Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and the recent anthology, THE ADVENTURES OF MORIARTY. He spent over a decade as a bookseller before writing full time. His reviews and interviews with writers have appeared in The Herald, The Independent on Sunday, The Skinny and the TLS, and he frequently interviews writers for literary festivals and library events. When not writing his own fiction, he also works as a freelance editor. He lives in Glasgow with his partner and three cats: Moriarty, Mycroft and Magwitch. His latest book out in the UK and US from Severn House is CRY UNCLE, the fifth in the J McNee series.

Jon Padgett lives in New Orleans with his spouse, their daughter, and two cats. Padgett has work out or forthcoming in Pseudopod, The Lovecraft eZine and Xnoybis. Padgett’s chapbook, THE INFUSORIUM, was released in spring of 2015, and his first short story collection, The Secret of Ventriloquism, is forthcoming from Dunhams Manor Press, Autumn 2016. Also later in 2016, Padgett–along with a team of editors and the artistic wizardry of Dave Felton–will be releasing the first issue of Vastarien: a source of critical study and creative response to the corpus of Thomas Ligotti and the authors who influenced and are influenced by him.

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“The package, when it arrives, is innocuous. Plain envelope. Bubble wrap. A little box inside. Black cardboard. Red ribbon.

Could be anything.

Anything at all.

It comes standard delivery. Anything else would provoke suspicion. Signing for packages, someone, somewhere has to say what’s inside.

How would you explain the contents of that black box?

I sit it, for a while, on the black onyx stone of the kitchen worktop. I look at it. I anticipate opening the box. Think of Schrodinger’s Cat.

Dead?

Alive?

Present?

Gone?

I won’t know. Until I open the box.”

Pseudopod 297: Of Ants And Mountains

by Charlie Bookout

“Of Ants And Mountains” is an original to PSEUDOPOD. Charlie says “I visited the nearby city of Joplin, Missouri last year just after an EF5 tornado destroyed much of it. And before long, this story began to slither its way into my head.”

Charlie Bookout lives with his family in Gentry, Arkansas—a creepy little town that’s a stone’s throw from the hillbilly infested Ozark Mountains. He’s one of several rural artists who have converted Gentry’s old mortuary into a studio devoted to independent music and film. He began writing in 2011 and has had stories featured at Silverthought Online and in The Washington Pastime. The artists’ website is at Mortuary Studios, and Charlie’s music can be purchased at his CD baby website.

Your reader this week is the Paul Tevis, who you may know from Podcastle.

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“‘I thought it would be worse,’ I said as we ascended College Lane. ‘But it’s…’ My words caught in my throat. I stomped the brake pedal. Directly in front of us was a red minivan that had come to rest on its top. It was crumpled like tissue paper and was bleeding fluids onto the street. And beyond it was what old Mrs. Cropley must have already seen. The devastation was complete: bricks and cars and furniture… all jumbled together as if some great machine had bit into the earth and churned away for miles. No landmark was recognizable. Here and there the trunk of a tree remained, denuded of its bark. There were fires burning in half a dozen places. And there were people, everywhere in the streets, all in a hurry and accomplishing nothing. From a distance, they looked like ants searching for a pheromone after someone smashed their hill.”