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PseudoPod 825: Flowering Evil

Flowering Evil

By Margaret St. Clair

Captain Bjornson shook a grizzled head. “I never saw a plant I liked the looks of less,” he said. “I don’t know how he got it through the planetary plant quarantine. You take my advice, Amy, and watch out for it.” He took another of the little geela nut cookies from the quaint old lucite platter, and bit into it appreciately.

Mrs. Dinsmore sniffed. “I don’t know what you’re driving at,” she said coldly, “or why you’re so prejudiced against my poor little Rambler. You know perfectly well that Robert would never send me anything the least bit dangerous.” (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 824: Renascent

Show Notes

From the author: Renascent means ‘rising again into being or vigor’, an apt title for my story. The origin of this story came from my personal questioning about whether organ recipients take on the traits of their organ donors. I also learned about the horrific black market in organs during my research and wanted to shed light on that subject.


The Yellow Wallpaper

Get Out


by Pauline Yates

The Scalpers took my left eye today, but I wish they’d take my heart. Every beat holds me shackled to this existence and I want out. I give up trying to escape. I can’t find the right connection with any of my recipients. I can’t even rely on my soul. I sold that to the Scalpers the second I signed the consent form. My face may now be on a missing person’s list, but I’ll never be gone. I’ll live on in other people while my ghost remains here, on this recliner chair in this grey-walled room, for eternity.

Since I’m not dead yet, I may as well continue tormenting the new owner of my right hand. She’s just arrived for her shift. I thought she’d show some level of kindness due to our new connection, but she still treats me like a piece of meat curing on a slab waiting to be sliced and diced. Her name is Cathy. She has small eyes and a paunch for a neck and greasy, black hair pinned up in a bun. She also has not one ounce of humanity. Not one of the Tubers do. If they did, they’d have reported the Scalpers long ago and this heinous body parts trafficking operation wouldn’t exist. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 823: Little Freedoms

Little Freedoms

By Ephiny Gale

The room is cylindrical, metal, no doors or windows. Nine of us stand in a circle, not touching, but spread your arms and you’d hit someone. I think I could lie flat in here without brushing the walls, but not by much.

The ceiling hatch above us locks shut with a scrape. We examine faces, muscles, body fat. I’ve seen six of these women before; two are complete strangers. We do not trade names or origin stories. We go around the circle and we say what we miss most from the outside:

Chocolate, Music, Flowers, Cigarettes, Hot Chips, Internet, Guns, Privacy.

I am Hot Chips. Privacy says hers while staring mournfully at the circular grate in the floor, and I think oh, she must be new. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 822: The Experiment of Erich Weigert

The Experiment Of Erich Weigert

By Sewell Peaslee Wright

The moment I gazed out over the audience I saw him. He was seated far back under the balcony that overhung the little auditorium, but even in the heavy shadow I could see his eyes; eyes that seemed alight with cold brilliance, like a diamond in the moonlight.

Although I was more or less accustomed to public speaking, and was very much at home with my subject that evening, “Radio As It Used To Be,” something about the unfaltering regard of the man under the balcony confused me. His eyes were on me constantly; every move I made, every gesture, every change in expression, those unwinking blue orbs seemed to register.

I wondered who he was; surely I had never seen him before, nor he me. I caught myself addressing myself to him, and when once his head seemed to nod slightly as though in approval of something I had said, a strange thrill of pleasure tingled along my spine. There was a power in the man; a sort of benign malignancy. I was glad when I finished and could escape from that unwavering regard. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 821: Celestial Shores

Celestial Shores

by Sarah Day and Tim Pratt

Britt drove silently while Ray gazed past her at the beauty of the rock-strewn ocean, beyond the sheer drop-offs and flimsy guardrails that separated the coast road from the end of the continent. They were farther north than he’d ever been in California, heading for Celestial Shores, a stretch of property that began life in the ‘70s as an intentional community and was now full of wealthy retirees with strong opinions about quiet hours and the evils of artificial light… and a few vacation rentals, one of which he’d snapped up at a reduced price on short notice as a way of apologizing for certain things without having to actually say he was sorry.  (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 820: Off the Road

Show Notes

This story is dedicated to my daughter Kaetlyn Nicole–one of the strongest women I know. Thank you for always listening when I read my stories out loud.

Off The Road

by Matt Ellis

They’re gonna try to tell you that hitchhiking is dangerous. Mostly men. They’ll throw ‘girl’ in there, possibly lumped in with ‘pretty young thang’ and close out the topic with a crooked wink smile. I get this a lot. I guess the days of Kerouac inspired hippies with a heavy wanderlust and a light wallet willing to extend the thumb to see the open road was somehow overshadowed by the endless list of inevitable horrors lying behind the thin facade of strangerly kindness. 

I blame it on Hollywood—back-lot bungalows full of coked-up Weinsteins ruining the simple things in life by stoking paranoia and creating a fear of everything for a box office money grab. Who are those studio types to tell me what to fear while they’re unzipping for the next pre-production casting couch diddle? What happened to my Meemaw’s generation? The one that climbed trees or drank out of sun-hot garden hoses? I say fuck it. You only live once. And I know better than others that life can be mighty short. You’re lucky if you even see it coming.  (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 819: Balloon Season

Balloon Season

by Thomas Ha

I’ve never gotten used to the sense of urgency of summer afternoons, that feeling of being drenched in the thickness of that still, blanketed heat, and trying to think of anything I’ve missed while checking the outside of the house. I make sure to test the plywood boards over each of the windows, and when I feel one by the kitchen shift an inch, I reach for the hammer tucked into my waistband and a few extra nails in my pocket. The banging of my hammer echoes through the neighborhood, joining others tapping away during the preparation for sundown.

It’s still early, but with every lock to check and entryway to reinforce, the hours evaporate faster than any of us like. It feels like I’ve only just started, and Jean calls from inside the house, telling me that it’s almost four, and that the kids are in their pajamas. 

I pick up the false door and lean it against the detached garage, positioning it until it is firmly front and center, then I bolt the side gate and go to the other end of the house. Jean holds the metal dog door up as I crawl back into the kitchen, winking at me as I wriggle onto the tile, and she slides the door down behind me. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 818: Flash on the Borderlands LXII: Flash Fiction Contest 7 Winners

Overnight Home Companion

by Frank J. Oreto

Position: Overnight home companion for shut in. Must be able to read. Lack of imagination a plus. 

Salary: 250 dollars a night. I’ve never seen who pays. But the cash is there every morning at sunrise. A brown paper bag in the mailbox, twenties and tens. Good money, right? But I need to explain some things. I don’t want you coming in blind like I did.  (Continue Reading…)