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


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…)

PseudoPod 691: Half-Men of the Night Marie

Show Notes

From the Author:

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Half-Men of the Night Marie

by Robin Husen

Three half-men in a lifeboat drifted on the methane sea.  Her ship’s name, Night Marie, was written on the stern like a tombstone.  The ship, along with the rest of her crew, had sunk thirty hours before sunset. Sparks, the ship’s half-boy, crouched in the bows, his ears still ringing with the sound of screams, though the sea had long since swallowed them up.  Hobb, the mate, lit the lanterns.  Beyond their circle of light, the darkness was total, as though they sat inside a bubble in a well of ink. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 690: The Aetherised Chamber

Show Notes

In its inspiration this is sort of a science fiction story: I was reading about 17th century scientists and wondered, “What if they were right?”

The Aetherised Chamber

By Stewart Moore

17 October 1687:

 The God-machine failed, and I destroyed it.  With the wood-axe I smashed the glass vacuum pump, the encircling copper spring, the clockwork armature, and even the desk on which it stood.  With a hammer I crushed the crystal at its heart as I would pith a frog’s skull.  No one must know the extent of my humiliation.

Yet it was a worthy idea.  The new science has shown that the universe is like an immense clock.  By detecting its subtlest vibrations, may we not know the mind of its Creator?  My method too was sound:  I rarefied a jar of air to create a vacuum.  Since of course a true vacuum is impossible, the pump can only have drawn in that finer substance, dissolved throughout the cosmos, supporting the planets in their courses:  the aether.  And what is the aether but the very essence of God? (Continue Reading…)