PseudoPod 796: The Horse Leech Has Two Maws

Show Notes

This story has an academic frame and that the text on the website has a number of scholarly footnotes that provide additional context. The first footnote is “In Hebrew, alukah means “horseleech”—a type of leech with many teeth that feeds on the throats of cattle. According to the Biblical scholars I have spoken to, alukah can also mean “blood-lusting monster.” Historically, the alukah have been closely associated with Lilith or are thought to be her direct descendants. Some describe them as a “Hebrew succubus,” some horrific variety of vampire. Others describe the alukah as simply demons appearing mainly in rabbinic literature. The only Biblical reference I have found to this creature is paraphrased at the start of this journal.” 

The Horse Leech Has Two Maws

written by Michael Picco

Excerpted from the journal of Micha Slauss, Theresienstadt Holocaust Memorial Museum

They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives.

They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity.

The alukah have two maws—one that bites, and another that suckles at the wound.

Always they cry out: “More! Give us more!

-The Words of Agur, Proverbs 30:14–16

They came with us.

They came with us, moving from body to body in the fetid twilight of the cattle cars—shifting, changing, feeding, masquerading first as children, as misshapen dwarves, as shrunken old women. They came with us as we huddled and cried and grieved, crawling over our bodies like so much vermin as the death trains plodded toward our extinction.

They came with us. Those…things. Those terrible, dreadful things. The Daughters of Lilith. Alukah. Striya. Penanggalan. Wampyr.

I wouldn’t have believed it—at least not before I arrived here. I would have called those who have seen them delusional, mad even! But I, too, have seen them. I, too, have felt their raw caresses, their terrible kisses deep in the dark on those nights when the wind howls and the thunder of the artillery booms off in the distance. I have seen them in those bitter hours before dawn when cold numbed my limbs and the night spilled from the windows, filling my eyes with darkness. I have seen them on those nights when the snow sifted past the gaps in the walls and frost rimed the crude berth on which I lay.

Yes, I have seen them. God help me—I have seen them.

They metastasized out of the shadows; scuttling over the walls, arising from between the rough boards, the emaciated limbs, the black bars; stealing from the in-between places that no one ever sees. Even in the stillness of the night, their inky hair churned in a frenzy around their faces, wild and tangled with the darkness. How they whispered and chittered among themselves—gasping, slavering at the bounty before them! Their disembodied heads held aloft by ethereal currents; their pendulous viscera drooping from their ragged necks as they darted among the rafters, oozing a foul and odorous bile in their wake.

Their eyes—oh, their horrible, horrible eyes—gave no light, they seemed only to absorb it. They drew out my vitality with their gaze, leaving me bereft of warmth or any strength to resist them. They take and they take and they take, giving you back nothing! They leave you weak. Exhausted. Addled. Weary. Yes, so very weary.

The other prisoners, the ones from the old world, referred to them as the alukahwhich roughly translates to “the horse leeches.”1> Though they feed like leeches, they are not. No…they are not. They are something far worse. They are something ancient and terrible, something spun from the sticky webs of fever dreams. They are something from a time—a world—long lost and utterly beyond our mortal ken.

I found that wakefulness was no remedy, no ward against their touch. For even in that sleepless dread, there was a price to be paid. Blood? Yes, blood certainly; but also a shred of my sanity. A threadbare piece of my soul. There, huddled in the darkness, I’d find myself utterly mesmerized by their gaze; their reddish-black eyes ever fixed on me as they gorged themselves… staring…staring. In those bleak hours before dawn, that’s when I knew terror. Yes, that’s when I truly knew madness.

I was once a concert violist—once, long ago, in a life that I no longer recognize.

I graduated from the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt and had secured a position with the prestigious Berliner Staatskapelle2 in ‘39 under Von Karajan3. The critics would say, “Ah, but Micha is so young! So young.” But I was, as they say, a wunderkind. Some even called me a “national treasure.” Perhaps, but whatever. I was a man possessed by a talent greater than myself. I believed that my talent would insulate me from the indignities and cruelties of the world and the war. I believed that my celebrity was greater than the bigotry and hatred that consumed Germany in the flames of the Reich.

But I was wrong.

My talent has instead trapped me in a world mutilated beyond all recognition. A nightmare from which I cannot escape. Perhaps I am dead, and this is hell. Perhaps this is the Sheol that my fellow inmates whisper about and pray for under their breath.

I am not Jewish. No, I am not one of God’s Chosen. But I am certainly one of the damned. For although I do not share their faith, I share their fate. I share one small part of their story. How did I come to be here, to this dreadful place? What is my crime, you ask? Am I here because I am a criminal? No. I am here because I simply loved another man, himself a Jew; but a man no more bound by his faith than I by mine.

Before the war, before the madness, before the Nazis, there was Arman. He was a gorgeous man: tall with dark, expressive eyes that shone like the sun on the water. He had dignity and kindness about him that far surpassed his years. He was brilliant and kind, thoughtful and expressive. He was my world.

We met while I was on tour in Copenhagen. He was working at the Le Bodin Haberdashery on St. Kongensgade, one of the most fashionable streets in the city before the war. He actually met and fitted the likes of Hindemith and Schoenberg4! This was long before they slipped away, of course. Long before the madness of the Reich. Arman and I had hoped to do the same, but we acted too late. Too late.

He died of diphtheria while we were in hiding. I remember waking to find him cold and still lying next to me on Christmas eve. There was frost on his eyelashes.

He was fortunate. He did not have to witness what followed.

Arman did not have to see when the Gestapo came for us. He did not have to see the women hurl themselves from their balconies and high windows, their babies clutched to their bosoms as they fell. He did not have to hear the screams as the Nazis sealed off the streets in the middle of the night and went from building to building, shouting into their bullhorns: “Alle Juden raus! Alle Juden raus!”

No, my beloved Arman did not live to witness those things. He was spared the hellish journey to Theresienstadt. He was spared those four days locked in a cattle car with no food, no water, no light save for what slipped through the slats with the wind and the cold; where we were packed in the darkness so tightly that we had to stagger our breathing; where we stood in our own excrement; where the dead were held upright, pressed close against the living. Oh, how we wailed when the alukah came! How they slithered past our shit-soaked legs, latching onto us. Their bite stinging and burning as their maws burrowed into our flesh. But what could we do? We could barely move! We could not protect ourselves. We could not dislodge them. And so we bled and cried and wailed.

I think madness took many of my fellows on that journey. At least, it did for those that the alukah did not take.

When at last we arrived at Bohusovice (Bauschowitz)5—weak, bleary-eyed, crazed by our journey, stumbling from the boxcars—how we wailed and gaped in the brisk mountain air! But before we could even gather our wits, we were marched—herded, like so many cattle—down a dark and narrow road toward a long, grassy, flat-topped hill.

Cursing and shoving the old and young alike, the soldiers barked, “Eile! Eile!” driving us through the twilight toward the main gate—a fortified archway with ARBEIT MACHT FREI painted crudely over it. “Arbeit Macht Frei,6 a cruel, cruel joke. Only death will free us.

I remember how the grass looked in the gloom that night: silvery and sharp. Out in the darkness, you could see the flash of the alukah’s eyes as they floated among the trees. Watching…watching.

We were told that we were bound for a “spa settlement”—a retirement community for the more prominent members of our community, yes, but also for the elderly. But in reality, Theresienstadt was merely a waystation on the journey to Auschwitz, Majdanek, and Treblinka in the East. The ancient fortress in Terezín had been transformed by the Nazis into a sort of hybrid prison camp: part ghetto, part labor camp, part Potemkin village.

It was only because Viktor Ulmann7 recognized me that I was spared the fate of many of my fellow prisoners. Pulling me aside, staggering and dazed from the wretched mass of humanity, his affected exuberance only deepened my confusion. As the guards scrutinized us, he extolled the virtues of the camp. The tiny man prattled on and on, informing me of an upcoming visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross; of a new government project that was going to be filmed here; of all the “exciting” new improvements that our ghetto cum prison held. There were, he said breathlessly, “So many opportunities!” As he escorted me through the deserted streets of the ghetto, he glanced back only long enough to tell me that it was considerably less crowded now that the “settlements” in the East were nearing completion.

Such was the delusion of those held in captivity there. A delusion or perhaps a defense mechanism. It doesn’t matter which, I suppose.

At last, we reached a dusty and barren courtyard just outside the dismal communal barracks—the Sudeten Barracks—where I was to be housed. Inside, long rows of bunk beds (hardly more than stout wooden shelves stacked floor-to-ceiling) ran along the outer walls and down the center of a large room. A single lightbulb hung down from a twisted cord, casting a dim and jaundiced radiance over the place. The light seemed to accentuate the gloom rather than dispel it. Viktor shuffled to a vacant space near the rear of the barracks where the berths were nearly empty, ushering me to a plot that was little more than a niche. He snatched up a bloated but slow-moving bed bug and absently squashed it between his fingers as he hastily explained our rehearsal schedule. I heard the tiniest pop and glimpsed something black and vile drip from his fingers.

I think that I wept then.

Viktor shifted uncomfortably, smearing a bloody streak across a well-worn kerchief that he drew from his pocket. He promised that my personal effects, including my viola,8 would “arrive soon.” Seeing that his words had little effect on me, he sighed and then shambled away, leaving me to ponder the narrow sepulcher where I would lie.

How many prisoners had passed this way, sharing this very bunk? How many had laid their heads here and stared up into the darkness? How many had slumbered here? Where were they now? Had they been “resettled” in the camps to the east or had they fallen prey to typhus or diphtheria or scarlet fever as so many had in Warsaw?

How many had died in this very spot?

Looking around at the figures huddled nearby under their threadbare blankets, the contour of their bones stark in the dreary light, it was all too clear that Theresienstadt was not the panacea we’d been promised. No. This was not a new life or a new beginning. It was not a “new city for the Jews,” not a “cultural preserve” but just another ghetto where the Reich’s “inferior races” could be disposed of…forgotten. We had, all of us, heard the stories. The rumors of the death camps. The wholesale slaughter of entire communities. Genocide. But we chalked it up to Bolshevik propaganda. Now, looking at the empty shelf, I wondered if the rumors were true. Were there death camps? Was this one of them?

We didn’t know. We didn’t know.

How the alukah escaped the Nazis’ attention I do not know. How they eluded the guards and the hounds and the inspections and the searchlights, I do not know. As I said, the creatures dwell in the in-between spaces of the world. They are seen only when they wish to be seen. And then, only as they come to feed. I think that they appear only to the cursed, to the damned. They prey on the weak, the vulnerable. I think that’s what drew them here—to Theresienstadt—to this “cleft in the Earth through which hell could be seen.” They are demons drawn to the misery here.

Yes, the alukah are demons…what else could they be? To believe otherwise was madness. Perhaps the truth was just too horrible to accept. Yes, “that way madness lies; let me shun that.”9

In those grim hours before dawn, I would finger the strange Y-shaped scars on my shins, telling myself that they had been caused by something else. The keloid pock of some strange disease or an injury; something that had escaped my prior notice. Perhaps, in order to preserve my sanity, I simply repressed the memories of my encounters with the alukah, suppressing them until they receded to a distant and surreal memory. Still, it often seemed as though my mind itself had been scarred and a thick callus had grown over the memory of my journey here. Perhaps it was the alukah themselves that clouded my thoughts, shrouded my memories. Perhaps they made me doubt—made me try to explain away—the very scars that proved that they existed.

During the winter of ‘44, I spent many long and sleepless nights tracing my scars, weary and ever watchful, for reasons I couldn’t entirely reconcile.

In Theresienstadt, one horror was quickly supplanted by another, and what once terrified and traumatized became ever more unreal and unclear. How I would whisper, “No…no…no…this can’t be happening,” only to see the validation reflected in another’s eyes. In the ghetto, in order to cope with what you’d seen, you had to doubt what you’d seen. With doubt, you can forget. Memory can be a merciful shroud, veiling the worst of parts of our lives.

As can madness, I suppose.

So lost was I in my own despair, my own desperation, I didn’t realize that the alukah had shifted their attention to others at the camp. It shames me to say it, but I was so preoccupied with my own suffering that I failed to notice the suffering of my fellows.

It was, perhaps, the vitality of youth that kept me from succumbing to the predations of the alukah and to the deprivations of the camp in general. Would it be cliché of me to say that it was my music that kept me alive when nothing else seemed to? It’s a romantic notion, something that I’d tell myself when the sobs choked me and the vermin crawled all over me. “At least I have my music,” I’d whisper as the wind howled, drowning out the feeble moans of the men pressed against me for warmth.

But reality is far less romantic. In Theresienstadt, there was only one thing that mattered: survival.

Still, I suppose I should be thankful that I was spared the more arduous and loathsome tasks assigned to my fellow prisoners. I was not a part of the Aufbaukommando—those who labored in the mines of Kladno, buried the dead, or cared for the sick and the dying. Indeed, my talent spared me from those odious labors, at least for a while. And yet, even then, I did what I had to do in order to survive. I performed until my fingers bled and I could no longer lift my arms. I performed until my eyes ran out of tears and I could hear the music echoing in my dreams. As the endless days turned into months, and the months turned to years, I began to feel more like an elaborate marionette instead of a musician.

As part of the Freizeitgestaltung, the conservatory endlessly performed “Ride of The Valkyries,” “Summer” (from The Four Seasons), “Also sprach Zarathustra,” “Sieg Heil Viktoria,” and “Deutschland, du Land der Treue,” all much to the delight of Sturmbannführer Rahm10 and the families of the SS who were stationed here—and, more importantly, to the dubious international observers who occasionally visited Theresienstadt. And each day, we would be marched out to the railway platform and forced to perform while the new “residents” arrived. To preserve the illusion that this place was safe. That there was some sanctuary to be found here. That Theresienstadt was indeed the end of the line.

But, as with so many things the Nazis professed, this was the skin of truth stuffed with lies.

Still, we performed. We survived. Even though our performances became ever more lifeless—soulless—an anathema to our hearts, we performed. Viktor sensed it, but he could not counter it11. Perhaps he came to realize, as I had, that over time we had leached out all the emotion and substance from the compositions. It was as though we had somehow drawn the very essence of the music from the lieders and opern and märsche simply in order to sustain us. We were the ghouls who plied the music. We cultivated and harvested the bitter notes. We fed on the melody itself, chewing its wretched bones until they were gnawed and brittle and ragged and lacking any substance.

So lost was I in the misery of this routine that I failed to register the strange behavior of some of the new arrivals to the camp. They would stand before our ensemble silent and eerily still, their lusterless eyes unfocused and dazed. They seemed utterly mesmerized by the music as the wretched masses plodded by. Only when we paused between numbers would they shake off their reverie, disappearing into the crowds without a trace.

By the fall of ‘44, the Nazis dropped all pretenses that Theresienstadt was anything less than a waystation to the death camps. The façade that we had so meticulously prepared for the International Red Cross visit was stripped away, revealing the voracious nature of the ghetto.

Gone were the flowers we had planted. Gone were the good shoes and clothing we were provided. Gone were the additional rations. By the end of the summer, the Jewish Council of Elders was disbanded, and with it, so, too, was the orchestra. Victor and his wife and most of the Jewish musicians were sent on to the east in October, nearly on the heels of the Red Cross observers. It was a very hard time. We had been given hope, only to have it snatched away once again.

We were devastated.

That winter, my knowledge of rarified and antique musical instruments drew the attention of the Nazis, and I was pressed into inventorying the orchestra’s now unused cache. I was to evaluate each instrument’s utility and estimate its relative value so it could be shipped back to Berlin. It was a simple enough task, but given the large inventory it was a time consuming one. I suspected, too, that this might be the last labor I was to perform before being liquidated, myself, so I tarried as much as I could without arousing suspicion or the ire of the SS.

To this end, I was granted special privileges. Since the abandoned studio was located on the other side of the camp from the Sudeten Barracks, I was allowed to stay there overnight in order to expedite my task. By that time, the Czechoslovakians who guarded the camp were increasingly deserting their posts, and I suspect that my confinement to the studio (where I would not need to be guarded) was born of necessity rather than convenience…but no matter.

Each day at dusk the doors would be chained and I would be locked inside, alone but for the instruments and the memory of music made here. While I welcomed my newfound solitude, the studio was drafty and unheated, and I came to miss the warmth and camaraderie of my fellow prisoners, especially at night. As evening fell, I huddled and shivered among the stacks of instrument cases, ever weary of the shadows and scuttling in the walls.

As the weeks passed, my work at the studio consumed me and insulated me from the grief and death that revisited Theresienstadt that winter. The progress of the war, the rise of deportations to the east, these things barely registered on my distracted mind. I had difficulties concentrating since moving into the studio. I felt more isolated, more alone and hopeless than ever before.

On those grim and dreary nights, when sleep evaded me and the cold harried me from my pallet, I would take up my viola and ply its tender strings. Not for the Nazis’ pleasure—no—but to dispel the misery in my heart, if only for a moment or two. As the night closed about me, I would play half-remembered passages from my youth—“An Ode to Joy,” “Badinerie,” “Flight of the Bumblebee,” and the like—anything that my aching heart remembered. The melodies echoed through the empty hall, a thin and lonely wail in the darkness but one that brought me a modicum of relief. There is some refuge in music, I suppose, even for the damned.

It was naïve of me to think that my playing went unnoticed.

It was on one such weary night, in that vague and sleepless hour before dawn, when once again I took up my bow, intent on dispelling the shadows that seemed to coalesce around me. The wind howled in the darkness outside, and off in the distance the rolling peal of thunder echoed through the forests and across the rolling hills. It would be several hours before the guards came to unchain the studio door, and yet I was unwilling to take up my inventorying tasks at such an early hour. It was cold, and I hoped that in playing I might generate some body heat to ease my shivering. And so I played, as I often did, unaware that one of my inhuman tormentors was malingering in the darkness.

I didn’t see it right away. Perhaps it was some subtle movement that drew my eye to her…I cannot say. Yet there, in the still twilight of the empty hall, I glimpsed two silvery eyes wreathed in the shadows; a tiny silhouette, a shadow cut from the greater gloom. The figure stood so perfectly still that I wondered if my eyes deceived me. If it was not some trick of the light, a shadow cast from the stacks of musical instruments, a reflection from the bell of a horn I had set aside. Distracted by the sight, my melody drifted away. I set my viola down and lifted up my small kerosene lamp. There, at the edge of the stage stood a child—a girl—no more than ten years old. Her face was streaked with grime and her clothes hung in tatters from her slender shoulders.

Startled, I called out, and when the child did not answer, I rose to approach her. But as I did so, the girl’s face began to transform. Her plain and innocent smile contorted and twisted into a grotesque scowl. She uttered something under her breath—a foul incantation that caused the air around her head to roil and churn; some sort of shimmering heat mirage that seemed to further twist and distort her tender features.

A chill washed over me. What was happening? How…? Was I dreaming?

Stunned, I watched the flesh around her neck blister and peel. Then, to my singular horror, I watched as her head began to tear free from her body!

God help me…even now, the terror of what I witnessed consumes me!

I stood utterly agape, frozen, as her pallid throat stretched, rending itself into long bloodless ribbons. These hung from her head as the flesh pulled away, dragging behind them the thing’s pale, ghastly viscera. In seconds, the thing’s head levitated free, its hair a cyclone around its face in the still and stagnant air.

I stumbled backward then, lost in my terror, the oil lamp slipping from my numb fingers. The Feuerhand sputtered, the impact dislodging the wick so that only a faint wisp of flame remained. The hall was plunged into darkness, and from that darkness came a low and hateful hiss. My legs failed me as I fell onto the floor. A string of foul and dire curses whispered from the shadows, so alien and yet so familiar, like something from a nightmare.12 The darkness began to close around me—a darkness deeper than the dawning light. As my consciousness faded, the thing’s severed head hovered over me.

It was no longer a girl. No. This was something not even remotely human. I realized then that it was the alukahthe nightmare, the horror I had long denied—that had come for me at last. The grisly thing leaned forward, its ghastly face inches from mine. From its slavering mouth extended a second tubular maw, one lined with row after row of hooked and umber teeth.

In a final, desperate act, my hand fumbled in the darkness, closing at last on the spilled oil lamp. How my flesh sizzled as I gasped the scorching flue! In that limitless moment, I watched the kerosene spilling out from the font, igniting as I slammed the lamp into the thing’s wretched grin.

The bulb shattered, spilling liquid fire into its maw, coating its face with flames and igniting its swirling hair. How the thing howled as it reeled away—a blazing mass of smoke and burning flesh! I rolled away, trying to extinguish the fire that had cascaded over my hand, so I did not witness its body as it pawed blindly toward me, struggling to somehow extinguish the flames that consumed its dismembered head.

But it was too late…too late.

The creature’s screams went on for several minutes as the blaze consumed it. Its head came to rest, charred and broken, mere inches from its body. I quickly extinguished the rapidly guttering flames but needn’t have bothered. Once its flesh and hair had been consumed, all that remained was its smoldering skull. I grasped my scorched hand, the pain anchoring me to consciousness. That I was in shock, there is no doubt. I huddled there in the twilight, my mind dangling over a chasm of madness.

I sat gaping at the remains of the dreadful thing, until at last, dawn broke through the high, filthy windows. The dawn’s gentle light sifted through the tendrils of smoke as they lifted from the creature’s charred brow. And then, to my horror, I watched its body disintegrate. The alukah simply rotted away before my eyes. Everywhere the sun touched, the rot took root, until all that remained were a few festering bones tangled in the thing’s ragged clothes.

End excerpt.


Date: May 12, 1945

Location: Theresienstadt Internment Camp, Protectorate of Bohemia / Moravia

To: ICRC Commission Study of Conventions for the Protection of War Victims

From: Irina F. Setrova, Acting Operations Supervisor at Theresienstadt, ICRC.

At 1500 hours, Russian Army reconnaissance forces discovered the grave of thirteen women of various ages in the crawlspace of the Western Barracks. According to inmates, this barracks was used to house the children interred at Theresienstadt. This discovery bears particular mention because the bodies had been decapitated and their internal organs removed. To date, the heads have not been recovered.

Autopsies performed by the ICRC forensics team revealed that the bodies were partially mummified and seem to have been preserved with a combination of vinegar and alkaline salts. The condition of the bodies indicates that they were interred within the last year. No identification was found on the bodies themselves, although several bore extensive tattoos especially around their hands and shoulders. These tattoos were written in an as yet unidentified language (see photos attached to this report). The autopsies further revealed that the bodies had been entirely drained of blood prior to burial. The bodies were subsequently cremated at Theresienstadt on May 13, 1945 at 1800.

Individual autopsy reports are attached.13

1 In Hebrew, alukah means “horseleech”—a type of leech with many teeth that feeds on the throats of cattle. According to the Biblical scholars I have spoken to, alukah can also mean “blood-lusting monster.” Historically, the alukah have been closely associated with Lilith or are thought to be her direct descendants. Some describe them as a “Hebrew succubus,” some horrific variety of vampire. Others describe the alukah as simply demons appearing mainly in rabbinic literature. The only Biblical reference I have found to this creature is paraphrased at the start of this journal. 

2 The Berliner Staatskapelle: The Royal Orchestra. The Orchestra of Frederick The Great.

3 Das Wunder Karajan, as the Generalmusikdirektor was known in certain circles, and a title that was well deserved. 

4 Paul Hindemith is a prolific German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, and conductor—a legend. Arnold Schoenberg is an Austrian-born composer, music theorist, teacher, and writer—a man I admire greatly and sought to emulate before the war overtook my life.

5 The Railway Station at Terezín.

6 Loosely translated this means: Work Will Free You.” Someone’s idea of a joke? A play on words from Scripture? Perhaps. 

7  Theresienstadt’s conductor for the Studio for Modern Music. I was fortunate to perform his opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis before he was sent on to Auschwitz.

8 Not the Gustave Bernardel, no! That was left with Von Karajan prior to our exodus from Berlin—for safekeeping, you see, until we “returned.” Ah, how naive we were!

9 A line from King Lear, although the exact act and line escapes me.

10 The Commandant of Theresienstadt.

11 “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” I never fully appreciated Beethoven’s sentiment until now.

12 Did it utter my name? I do not remember now…

13 L’extermination des Juifs en Protectorat de Bohême / Moravie: Dépositions de Témoins Oculaires : [les Camps D’extermination] en Bref. (Brief of the extermination of Jews in Theresienstadt, Protectorate of Bohemia / Moravia, eyewitness statements), International Committee of the Red Cross, Pages xxi-xxii. May, 1945.


About the Author

Michael Picco

Michael Picco

Over the last decade, Michael Picco has published over two-dozen short stories; produced two award-winning collections (Corpse Honey and Scenes From The Carnival Lounge); and has received numerous accolades for his brand of “literary” horror. Michael’s work “explores the dark and disturbing recesses of what is possible” and has been described as “eloquently-written terror.” Michael received his B.A. in English from Western State College in Colorado. He is a member of the Horror Writers Guild, the Denver Horror Collective, and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. His most recent publishing credit, The Horse Leech Has Two Maws appears in The Jewish Book of Horror. He is currently working on The Wretched Bones, a revision and expansion of some of his most popular published work. Listeners can visit his website: to learn more about his work.

Find more by Michael Picco

Michael Picco

About the Narrator

Ben Gideon


Ben lives in Denmark, where he works an ordinary job in the healthcare sector.

He’s a first time narrator, but longtime horror and sci-fi geek. He’s very happy to be working with a podcast he has enjoyed listening to for years.

Find more by Ben Gideon