Archive for Stories

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PseudoPod 35: Locked Doors


Locked Doors

by Stephanie Burgis

There’s a frozen moment. Then Tyler throws himself against the door, just as the heavy body on the other side hurls itself at the wood. The bolt shifts another centimeter.

“No!” Tyler shoves the bolt with all his strength and hears it click back into locked position. He collapses, sliding down the door onto the floor. Tips his head back against the wood, breathing hard.

He hears Its heavy breathing on the other side of the door. Tyler closes his eyes.

“Please, Dad,” he whispers. “Please come back soon.”

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PseudoPod 34: Bliss


Bliss

by James Michael White

He evaluated her for two months. Came from a well-to-do family. High marks in school. Brief modeling career that seemed destined never to rise above pinup calendars, low-circulation fashion magazines and catalogues. A history of self mutilation that went back to nineteen. Then, it had been called attempted suicide, but Dr. Mandrake was widely read and well educated. He knew about razors and cutting without intention to kill. Some did it for attention. Some did it for kicks. Some did it for ritual scarification significant only to themselves.

Bliss did it because she felt restricted in her skin. There was someone inside who was not the skin that everyone saw. There was someone inside who was not human, or perhaps more than human.

Schizophrenic, yes.

Paranoid, maybe.

Suicidal? No.

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PseudoPod 33: The Sounds That Come After Screaming


The Sounds That Come After Screaming

By Ian Creasey

The alchemists just did their job; they had no personal spite, and they understood the limits of their human material. She — whoever she was — had no such dispassion. At first she barely understood the apparatus, and turned dials at random to see how I reacted. When she experimentally tweaked one control, creating a mild throb that I estimated at 0.25 pangs, I yelled as if agonised, to make her think she was delivering more pain than she really was. It was a mistake. Now that she knew the dial did something, she turned it up, and up, and up. For a while I screamed in earnest, until she turned me down to take a call on her crystal.

“Hello?… I can’t tell you…. It’s the secret lab, silly!… Well, what else is there to do?… Oh, all kinds of stuff. Listen!” With one firm twist she turned the dial to maximum.

My shriek must have registered on all the seismic monitors in Wyke. The pain was beyond agony, so much so that a new word was needed — or an old one, like hell. It lasted a few moments, a few years, a few centuries.

“Just a prisoner,” she said in the stretching silence. “No, I’m fine…. Yes, of course I’ll be at the party. I’ll see you later.”

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PseudoPod 32: Stitching Time


Stitching Time

by Stephanie Burgis

Some women talk to angels during their winters alone in the farmhouse. Others dance with devils, their wildest nightmares come true. When their husbands come back into the house for supper, they find their sweet, submissive brides speaking in tongues, mouthing obscenities in deep masculine voices. It takes months with Dr. Grace before these women come back to themselves, months of treatment with a starvation diet, months of bible readings and flagellation.

My friend Ellen was one of those women. We’d heard all the stories when we first arrived in the blazing heat of July, travelling together from Boston. During those welcoming parties, when all the farming families met together and the children played around our feet, older women took us aside.

The winters are long, they whispered to us; watch out. Don’t let your imagination run away from you. Don’t let your husband see, if it does.

They whispered the name of Dr. Grace.

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PseudoPod 31: Last Respects


Last Respects

by Dave Thompson

But they were only stories. No one lived forever, certainly not us.

I’ve read stories about the sorrows immortals suffered because of how much they had seen over their long lives. What rubbish. I would trade my mortality for their immortality in a heartbeat if it meant another day with Catherine.

A scream rang out from downstairs. I smiled when I heard applause, my grandchildren now being praised by their mother as the scream faded to a whimper and the giggles were replaced by slurping sounds.

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PseudoPod 30: Seller’s Market

Show Notes

Hey kids! Have a free ebook from Scott Sigler! Click here for his his hit novel Ancestor as a free PDF!


Seller’s Market

by Joel Arnold

“You were lucky,” I say, testing her. “To find a place so easily with this guy, even in this current housing market.”

Ellen nods again. I try to get her to look at me, but she won’t.

“He just showed you this house. Said it’s yours if you want it?”

Ellen yawns. “I’m tired,” she says. “I had a busy day.”

“Sounds like it.”

Then she snaps. “Look, what are you trying to imply?” Her eyes flash. “I got the house fair and square. It’s a nice house, and now you’re accusing me — ” She stops.

“Accusing you of what?” I ask.

Her eyes smolder. My heart races.

“You should thank me,” she says.

I leave the room.

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PseudoPod 29: Light Like Knives Dragged Across the Skin


Light Like Knives Dragged Across the Skin

by Paul Jessup

Saw grinned. “Well, come on chicken shits, let’s keep the game going. We can’t call it quits now, we are all defined by our cards in play. So smack that shit down and let’s get going.”

Saw got off on the whole thing, that much I could tell. He probably had a thick inch of wood under the table. He was in love with power, with making people do what he wanted. And now he wanted one of us to die. I guess that’s just how it goes.

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PseudoPod 28: Lorna

Show Notes

Links mentioned in intro:
Stranger Things
Battlestar Galactica Videomaker Toolkit


Lorna

by Alasdair Stuart

She leaned closer to him, conspiratorially. Somewhere at the back of his mind, he noticed her breath didn’t smell of alcohol. “You know how most people have a job?”

“Yeah?”

“I have a calling.”

He looked at her, his face carefully neutral. “And that is?”

“I’m what Guardian Angels dream of being. I protect one person from harm for their entire life, until their time has come.”

Psycho. Make your excuses. “I think I should be going.”