Author Archive

PseudoPod 545: Indiscretions


By Hillary Dodge

During the full pound and punch of her morning run, in the steadily lifting gloom, Mary sees a figure, indistinct and blurry, at the end of the broken street where no one ought to be. She skids to a stop and blinks. The figure is gone.

Most of her neighborhood is undeveloped and has been for some time. There are wide open tracts of weeds, cracked flats of dirt, and animal holes in abundance. There are also three foundations, gaping holes, really, and another with a rotting timber frame above. It is as if the contractors went out for lunch and never returned. Even the For-Sale signs have disappeared, perhaps toppled by wind or kids and eventually buried.

There is nowhere for a person to have gone. She approaches one crumbling basement hole after another. In one she sees the shape of a snake slither into the deep shadows. In another she is impressed by scattered anthills, which make the basement floor resemble the cratered surface of the moon in the early morning half-light. She sees a spider dangling beneath its intricate silvery web. But there is no person. Nor any sign of one.

Something about the foundation with the rotting timbers doesn’t feel right. Its framework is tilted and warped and she is overcome by an inexplicable feeling of grief. She avoids looking at it.

As she retraces her steps through the un-neighborhood, she only counts three rabbits scattering as the sun slips above the horizon. Perhaps they are being scared off or eaten by the dogs she hears howling and fighting at night. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 544: Under the Rubble

Under the Rubble

By John Wiswell

The world trembled until Samantha opened her eyes. She groaned, then coughed and spat dust. Every hitch of her chest made breathing harder, and there was something on top of her, crushing her left breast. She looked at it, but the air was too dark to see anything, so she tried pushing it away and found her arms could barely move. It felt like a metal bar pinning across her chest and biceps, digging into her skin, so she braced her elbows against the floor and heaved. The bar budged just an inch, but the inch was all it took for her to take the deepest breath of her life.

Dust poured out of the blindness, filling her nostrils with a stinging sensation, clinging to her perspiration, and giving the darkness a cloying texture. The illogic of drowsiness sagged away as she forced herself to breathe normally, and she realized for the first time that this wasn’t her apartment. Her eyes scanned for a window and failed to find one. This wasn’t the middle of the night. Where the hell was she?

Oh Saints, the store. She’d only ducked in for some milk and maybe one of those chocolate bars with the air bubbles in it. She’d been reaching for her wallet when the earthquake hit and everything crashed. Was she still in the store? (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 543: Be Still, My Dear, And Listen

by J. T. Glover


Of course we called her “Audrey.” We were sixteen, mad about Sherilyn Fenn, tuned in together every Thursday, and we went to school with a pimply, stinking cow named Audra Horning? What happened was inevitable.

PseudoPod 542: That Only a Mother

That Only a Mother

by Judith Merril

A well-known geneticist, in the medical news, said that it was possible to tell with absolute certainty, at five months, whether the child would be normal, or at least whether the mutation was likely to produce anything freakish. The worst cases, at any rate, could be prevented. Minor mutations, of course, displacements in facial features, or changes in brain structure could not be detected. And there had been some cases recently, of normal embryos with atrophied limbs that did not develop beyond the seventh or eighth month. But, the doctor concluded cheerfully, the worst cases could now be predicted and prevented.