PseudoPod 699: Flash on the Borderlands LI: Quaint and Curious Forgotten Lore

Show Notes

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

A Dark Bird

by Bradley H. Sinor


She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.  The words of the poems echoed in her head.

She hesitated for only a moment before crossing the threshold, as the blue flames wrapped around her, sending a tingling cold into the deepest bits of her.

For the longest time there was nothing, finally in the distance came the sound of water gently lapping against the piers of a dock, the cold December winds reaching out onto the water. A dark bird of her desire circled near her.

“The one you seek is near,” said the creature.

Two men in the heavy jackets and caps of seamen shivered as she passed, one crossing himself and drawing deeper within his jacket. The other crossed himself, glancing up into the sky at the full moon.

“Why do you torment me?” she asked the bird. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 698: Of Marrow and Abomination – Narration Only


Of Marrow and Abomination

by Morgan Sylvia


I am very young when I first dream of the ruined barn.

The barn is nothing more than a burnt-out husk in the northern woods. It stands alone in an overgrown meadow, a blackened shell of rotted shingles and charred, cracked timbers, its weathered grey boards standing in stark contrast to the golden hayfields around it. The northeast is peppered with such ruins. Built by hand, not machine, the old barns are silent, forgotten monuments of a lost age, one where horses, not cars, carried men through the thick, tangled woods, and where woodstoves rather than furnaces kept away the biting winter cold.

It was initially repurposed as a numbers station, a clandestine radio station that broadcasts coded messages to spies via short-wave radio transmissions. Later, it became something else. A black site, of sorts. By then, the Cold War had ended, and we had clawed our way greedily into the information age.

I wonder now if they understood what they were doing, those Cold War doctors with their shiny shoes and thick glasses and slicked-back hair. They chose this spot, no doubt, because it was both isolated and unremarkable. They wanted the space and freedom to explore their madnesses, their alchemy, far away from prying eyes, in a place where only beasts and forgotten ghosts could see. I wonder if it ever occurred to them that the abominations created here would never be contained. They saw themselves, no doubt, as pioneers, inventors. In truth, they were sorcerers as much as scientists, heirs to Crowley and Agathodaemon as much as to Newton and Einstein and Hawking.

They are dead now. The darklings gnaw on their skeletons.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and the corpses of men like them. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 698: Of Marrow and Abomination


Of Marrow and Abomination

by Morgan Sylvia


I am very young when I first dream of the ruined barn.

The barn is nothing more than a burnt-out husk in the northern woods. It stands alone in an overgrown meadow, a blackened shell of rotted shingles and charred, cracked timbers, its weathered grey boards standing in stark contrast to the golden hayfields around it. The northeast is peppered with such ruins. Built by hand, not machine, the old barns are silent, forgotten monuments of a lost age, one where horses, not cars, carried men through the thick, tangled woods, and where woodstoves rather than furnaces kept away the biting winter cold.

It was initially repurposed as a numbers station, a clandestine radio station that broadcasts coded messages to spies via short-wave radio transmissions. Later, it became something else. A black site, of sorts. By then, the Cold War had ended, and we had clawed our way greedily into the information age.

I wonder now if they understood what they were doing, those Cold War doctors with their shiny shoes and thick glasses and slicked-back hair. They chose this spot, no doubt, because it was both isolated and unremarkable. They wanted the space and freedom to explore their madnesses, their alchemy, far away from prying eyes, in a place where only beasts and forgotten ghosts could see. I wonder if it ever occurred to them that the abominations created here would never be contained. They saw themselves, no doubt, as pioneers, inventors. In truth, they were sorcerers as much as scientists, heirs to Crowley and Agathodaemon as much as to Newton and Einstein and Hawking.

They are dead now. The darklings gnaw on their skeletons.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and the corpses of men like them. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 697: Five Fridays During Lent

Show Notes

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Five Fridays During Lent

by Christine Lucas


You beg your son to try just one spoonful. He doesn’t. He sits rigid, his palms on his thighs, his almost-glassy, bloodshot eyes fixed ahead. There’s nothing there, only the old armoire filled with mothball-smelling clothes from three generations back. You try passing the spoonful beneath his nose. He loved your magiritsa, your son.

Perhaps a story will do the trick, just like when he was a child? The war robbed you of husband, brothers, savings, dignity, even fairytales. So instead you tell him about your day: how the butcher gave you the stink-eye when you asked for lamb’s offal. Lent has just started, and you’re making Easter Sunday soup already? When you mention it’s for your son, the war hero, he nods and brings what you asked. His own son returned from the war damaged as well—more than yours, and this simple knowledge fills your heart with guilt and relief in equal parts.

Your boy didn’t return wearing his shroud. When he slurps a spoonful of barely-cooked lamb’s innards, you tell yourself that all will be fine. (Continue Reading…)