Archive for Stories

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PseudoPod 786: Licking Roadkill


Licking Roadkill

by Richard Dansky


Cole was licking the highway when the cops picked him up the night before Thanksgiving. Reckless endangerment, they said, and obstructing traffic, and whatever else they could come up with to get him out of the road and into a holding cell.

Later I went past the spot where they arrested him, on my way into town to bail him out, stopping for a moment to take a look. A deer and a truck had made unfortunate contact there, and the highway was a twenty foot long streak of red. A couple of cars passed me going the other way. Speeding, both of them, and one didn’t have their lights on. Cole had gotten lucky, I decided, even if he didn’t realize it. 

Bailing him out didn’t take too long. We’d been through this before, the duty sergeant and I. He did the paperwork and I handed over the money, and all the while phones rang and people shouted and cops ran out the door to deal with the usual pre-holiday drunk and disorderlies.  (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 785: Closet Dreams


Closet Dreams

by Lisa Tuttle


Something terrible happened to me when I was a little girl.

I don’t want to go into details. I had to do that far too often in the year after it happened, first telling the police everything I could remember in the (vain) hope it would help them catch the monster, then talking for hours and hours to all sorts of therapists, doctors, shrinks and specialists brought in to help me. Talking about it was supposed to help me understand what had happened, achieve closure, and move on.

I just wanted to forget – I thought that’s what ‘putting it behind me’ meant – but they said to do that, first I had to remember. I thought I did remember – in fact, I was sure I did – but they wouldn’t believe what I told them. They said it was a fantasy, created to cover something I couldn’t bear to admit. For my own good (and also to help the police catch that monster) I had to remember the truth.

So I racked my brain and forced myself to relive my darkest memories, giving them more and more specifics, suffering through every horrible moment a second, third and fourth time before belatedly realizing it wasn’t the stuff the monster had done to me that they could not believe. There was nothing at all impossible about a single detail of my abduction, imprisonment and abuse, not even the sick particulars of what he called ‘playing’. I had been an innocent; it was all new to me, but they were adults, professionals who had dealt with too many victims. It came as no surprise to them that there were monsters living among us, looking just like ordinary men, but really the worst kind of sexual predator. 

The only thing they did not believe in was my escape. It could not have happened the way I said. Surely I must see that? (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 784: American Remake of a Japanese Ghost Story


American Remake Of A Japanese Ghost Story

Laird Barron


There’s a curse in folklore known as a geas. That’s when a witch, or a fairy, or the supernatural entity of your choice, compels a hapless mortal to undertake duties on the creature’s behalf. Woe betides the mortal who shirks the quest; increasingly worse calamities befall them until they relent or die. 

Somebody, somewhere, laid one on me.

A much younger, blissfully ignorant, Jessica Mace would’ve glibly asserted that fairytales are bullshit hoodoo made up by gullible peasants. Problem is, when I neglect to investigate the various mysteries in my path, I get epic migraines and nightmares. The more I rebel, the more intense my misery until it becomes debilitating. “Debilitating” sounds dry—I suffer projectile vomiting induced by the sense fire ants are hollowing my skull. Exactly as the legends describe, right? Call it a form of madness or a kind of placebo-effect. Odds are Hamlet told Horatio the truth about the denizens of his undreamt philosophy. Whatever, whichever, however: the world shows you its dark side, you take notice. That fucking needle starts skipping, you’re a true believer.

Beasley, a boon comrade and sometime lover, once questioned my motives. We were dumping the corpse of a serial killer down a mineshaft in eastern Montana. The killer, a Richard Ramirez lookalike, had picked me up at a roadside tavern. RR Jr. chauffeured me to his favorite dump site while I batted my lashes and stroked his thigh. Thank whichever patron saint is in charge of such details that I’d managed to open the passenger door and light the cab for Beasley to take his shot. I’d only been half-strangled before the bullet came through the windshield. As the late, great Al Davis would say, just win, baby.

In the aftermath, we recovered with a bottle. Beasley said, Jessica, you’re a bright woman. You got an education. Why schlep all over the USA looking for horrors to battle? Why live your life as bait in a trap? (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 783: Sleep Hygiene

Show Notes

Audio Production & DreamBed, assembled from various field recordings, by Shawn M. Garrett and dedicated to Dion McGregor, Brion Gysin & CURRENT 93


Sleep Hygiene

by Gemma Files


Shut your eyes, let your breathing slow. Then follow the map, from any direction, and you will find you are there now, in that place—your place. Look to the horizon; something is coming. 

A short list of things you may do when it comes:

Cry.

Scream.

Flinch.

Shut your eyes again.

Find yourself unable to shut your eyes. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 782: The Halloween Parade


THE 2021 HALLOWEEN PARADE

by Alasdair Stuart


The Parade is back this year. Socially distanced, with masks and vaccinations mandatory, of course. But as you settle down with the churros part of you thought you might never get to eat again, it feels…normal. Not the same, nothing will ever be the same, but this feels like tonight, like here, that’s okay. The New Normal is nothing to be scared of.

That’s what the parade is for. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 781: Screen Haunt


Screen Haunt

by Orrin Grey


“What are you afraid of?” Jeanne asks, kicking her feet on the top bunk. I’m lying underneath looking up at the springs where they sag down under her weight. My mind is racing like a game of Memory, flipping over cards to see what comes crawling when exposed to the light.

What am I afraid of? How about everything? Dogs and spiders and those firecrackers called jumping jacks and cancer and splinters and that story about the girl who has a spider lay eggs in her face and, while we’re on the subject, earwigs and that other story about the girl with an ax-wielding maniac in her back seat and the guy in the pickup behind her keeps turning on his brights but really he’s just trying to warn her and infections and going to the swimming pool this summer because everyone expects me to wear a bikini but I’m too fat so I’ve still got a one-piece and Mrs. Conroy at school and getting a C in algebra and and and…

Eighteen years later, I want to go back to that day and give her a different answer than whatever I say, as I put my feet on the springs and push up, feeling her weight push me back down. I want to tell her that what I’m afraid of is her not being there. But at that age, even though I worry about everything, I don’t yet know to worry about that.

(Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 780: Flickering Dusk Of The Video God


Flickering Dusk Of The Video God

by Luciano Maeano


A fresh burst of white noise roars through my head and jittery tracking lines wiggle and squirm through my vision again, even worse this time. The world stretches and distorts like in a mirror in a funhouse that’s no fun at all.

The girl behind the bar pushes my pizza and a sixer of sweaty beers forward, a look of disgust on her small-town pretty face. If this were a movie she’d be played by Lori Petty, circa a few very hard years after Free Willy. She was nicer to me yesterday, even nicer when I first came in four days ago. I know how I look, enacting this, our daily routine, in the same wrinkled clothes again. I know what she’s thinking.

I desperately shove my fingers into my eyes until pain stars flare up and drive away the other stuff, blink hard. Things are normal again, and I realize I know this girl. I’ve seen her before, and not just in the bar.

She’s on the tapes. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 779: Trowel, Brush, Bones

Show Notes

Sites that help with and advocate for the safety for women:


Trowel, Brush, Bones

By Audrey R. Hollis


We arrive at the compound outside Huanca just after midnight. We are tired and hungry and altitude sick and irritated by the spotty signal. We keep refreshing our phones, which had guaranteed service, even in the mountains. 

We pile out things on our beds, claiming the top bunk, claiming the bottom bunk, claiming the place by the window. One of us shuts the door. One of us puts her bag on the bed and asks, have we heard? 

We have not heard. We have heard and had hoped it was not true. We have been hearing for years but those sorts of rumors go around about every professor and anyway, our boyfriend likes him. We have heard but we need the credits. We have heard, we know the girl (one of the girls), but we are going to be so careful.  (Continue Reading…)