Archive for Stories

PseudoPod 695: Muse


Muse

by Sarah Gribble


I noticed him on a Saturday morning. He was fingering tomato plants across the square, nodding every so often at whatever the stall operator was saying. His eyes crinkled when he smiled, but too much, like he’d read the cliché about smiles not meeting eyes too many times and decided to reverse the idea—his never quite reached his mouth.

He didn’t buy a tomato plant. I followed him the rest of the morning; he didn’t buy anything.

Whether or not I had been drinking that morning is of no importance. What is important is when I returned to my dilapidated two-bedroom ranch, I wrote more than I had in months. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 694: Robin’s Rath


Robin’s Rath

by Margery Lawrence


‘So ye’re goin’ to buy Robin’s Rath, young lady?’

Ellen Vandermyl raised her arched brows with a touch of hauteur at the old man’s tone. Not the daughter of a hundred earls, but of one immensely wealthy pork-packer who could deny her nothing, even to the purchase of Ghyll Hall, she had, as have so many American women of bourgeois birth, the tiny feet and delicate complexion that is generally considered the heritage of the aristocrat alone. Now she tapped a smart brogued shoe with an equally smart cane as she answered old Giles’s question, with a little note of asperity in her voice:

‘Of course I am—I have—it goes with Ghyll Hall! Besides, when I get a path made it will make a perfect short cut to the golf-links.’

There was a sudden stir and rustle among the group of villagers; with one accord they looked at old Giles—and there was a pointed little silence. Flushing with annoyance, Ellen glanced from one face to another. Her one wish was to get on well with the villagers of this tiny lovely village, Ghyllock, which seemed to live in the shelter of the old manor-house, Ghyll Hall, for centuries the seat of the Ruddocks, and now passing, like so many other many-memoried old houses, into the hands of the stranger. An only child, her father wax in her hands, the pretty spoilt American beauty had passed through Ghyllock only once, on a motor tour, and seeing the wonderful old house set in miles of green woods and meadows and fields, had given her father no peace till he offered to buy it for her—much as he would have endeavoured to buy the moon, had she wanted it! The grounds ran down to a narrow belt of woodland, thick with undergrowth, the tangling green luxuriance that had never known shears or pruning knife—Robin’s Rath. Beyond lay the golf links, within easy walking distance of the Hall when the path mentioned should be cut—certainly it seemed a good idea, and there was some reason for Ellen’s puzzled annoyance at the sudden silence that greeted her remark. Even the landlord of the picturesque inn, The Goose with the Golden Eggs, lounging in the shadow of his own doorway to listen to the gossip under the great elm tree outside, put down his mug of beer and stared at her curiously. She spoke sharply, addressing old Giles, whose heavy white brows were drawn down over his intent old eyes in a heavy frown.

‘What in the world’s the matter? You all look as if I’d threatened to kill somebody!’ (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 693: Flash on the Borderlands L: Flash Fiction Contest 6 Winners

Show Notes

Third Place: The Animals Are Becoming by Chantal Beaulne narrated by Hugo Jackson

Second Place: In the End We Will All Be Loved by Avery Kit Malone narrated by Kitty Sarkozy

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

First Place: Heart of Gold by Lauren Ring narrated by Alexis Goble

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

The Animals Are Becoming

by Chantal Beaulne


It all went wrong when my cat started walking on two legs.

He fell, over and over again. Yet each time he got back up on two feet.

At the time I thought it endearing. Mittens always knew when I needed a laugh.

Then I saw a deer standing in the woods. A proper deer should have run when seeing a human. But this one just stood there like some strange, stretched giant and stared back. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 692: FFUNS


FFUNS

by Johnny Compton


Holding the unlabeled black video cassette somehow reassured her of the legitimacy of its contents. With that reassurance came effervescent nausea, an ugly, unreal sensation befitting the place she was in and the sight that awaited her.

There were thousands of purported “ffuns flicks” online, some more believable than others. Some were made for a laugh with puppets or shoddy animation, some made with award-worthy care and effects by aspiring filmmakers. None, however, were authentic. The big man with a gravel-lined throat and a measured manner of speaking, “Mick,” had guaranteed her this.

“We do not tolerate leaks. Cannot afford to. Confidentiality is critical to us. As for our buyers, they are not likely to spend a fortune on a ‘one-of-one’ item just to share it freely with strangers. And our suppliers—even those who never make it past the prospective stage—know better than to share our business.”

She nodded, confident in his truth and—as a prospective supplier—understanding the warning within said truth. One of Mick’s colleagues had met her at the door, frisked her and taken her phone before bringing her inside the building, a not-yet-gutted science building on an abandoned college campus. The man had escorted her to a first-floor classroom full of stained and weathered lab tables, empty or shattered glass beakers and vials, and overturned stools. The hand-smeared chalk scrawl on the blackboard appeared to be the remnants of an unfinished lesson.

At the front of the classroom was a television cart the likes of which she hadn’t seen since elementary school, and on the second shelf of the cart, underneath a tube television set, was a VCR. Both the television and VCR were plugged into a portable power bank on the floor. Static played on the television screen. She stood in front of it, video cassette in hand, every type of stinging, winged insect in the world flying in her stomach.

“Whenever you are ready,” Mick said. “If you are still not sure after what you see, we will part ways.”

Again she nodded. She put the tape into the VCR, pushed the play button, and straightened her posture to steel herself for what she was about to see. (Continue Reading…)