Posts Tagged ‘woods’

PseudoPod 597: Fool’s Fire

Show Notes

“It was inspired by me thinking about how I used to get lost all the time, because I have terrible spatial sense, and now I never get lost, because my phone tells me where to go. But there have always been spirits that preyed on lost travelers, and surely they’d make accommodations to the modern age….”


Fool’s Fire

by Tim Pratt


The “going away together” part of the plan to save their marriage had gotten off to a bad start, and the probabilities of success continually ticked downward in Will’s mental calculations. Dori, who normally felt more comfortable in control, had gotten so tired of driving these tree-crowded country roads that she’d ceded the wheel to Will once night fell. Now she was navigating—“nag-ivating,” they used to jokingly call it, back when they’d joked—and displaying remarkably little patience with his requests for clarification. He tried again anyway. “But, look, I don’t even see a road coming up on the right, it’s all trees. Are you sure the map thingy on your phone is working?”

“It always has before. Looks like we’re only twenty minutes away from the cabin.” She had that tone she used more and more lately: ostensibly tolerant, but with a trivial shift in pitch, it could become nastily condescending. “No, wait, now it says twenty-two minutes. It’s adjusting to your slowness. I think I just saw a turtle on the side of the road pass us.”

Several spiteful retorts offered themselves for his use, but Will let them go, visualizing his reflexive anger away, just like his therapist had taught him: the bad feelings were water, flowing down from his head and out through his feet, disappearing into the sand, soaked up and gone. Dori had every right to snap at him, after what he’d done. The fact that she’d agreed to go on this long weekend, to try and remember what they’d once liked about each other, was already a concession worthy of beatification, if not sainthood. Being snippy on a long and confusing drive was totally understandable. Placate, don’t escalate, he thought. “Sorry, hon. It’s dark and I don’t want to drive into a tree or something. I’d rather annoy you by going slowly than annoy you by crashing into a pond.”

She made a noncommittal sound, but then said, “You heard about that woman who drove into Macon Lake last week because her GPS told her to turn there? Broad daylight, she just went into the water, like she thought there was an invisible bridge. That’s why I don’t trust this whole self-driving car idea. All these computer things work fine most of the time, but when they don’t….” (Continue Reading…)