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PseudoPod 801: The Bear Across the Way

The Bear Across the Way

by Emily Rigole

I paid no more attention to the bear than I would have any new neighbors. Despite what my husband might tell you, the fact that he was a bear played into my curiosity very little. It was his behavior that concerned me. The same behavior that would have concerned me of any new member to our community. And if people had listened to me a little earlier, instead of tiptoeing about trying not to—God forbid—offend the bear, then maybe all this could have been avoided. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 800: The Parricide’s Tale

The Parricide’s Tale

by Charles Robert Maturin

It was in the midst of one of his most licentious songs, that my companion suddenly paused. He gazed about him for some time; and faint and dismal as the light was by which we beheld each other, I thought I could observe an extraordinary expression overshadow his countenance. I did not venture to notice it. “Do you know where we are?” he whispered.

“Too well;—in the vault of a convent, beyond the help or reach of man,—without food, without light, and almost without hope.”

“Aye, so its last inhabitants might well say.”

“Its last inhabitants!—who were they?”

“I can tell  you, if you can bear it.” (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 799: February Moon

February Moon

by Josh Rountree

Something killed our rooster and three of our brown hens during the night. Thin ice crusts the ground, and it breaks in delicate patterns as I step toward the scattering of feathers and bones. Blood lies dark against the earth. It rarely snows here in the winter like at home. Only ice and gray rain that settles on the trees and pulls their limbs toward the ground like they’ve lost the will to fight for their own lives. These are gnarled, fearful trees, nothing like the commanding black forest of my youth, but their shadows still grow long enough to hide monsters.

The chicken coop door has been pulled from the hinges, and the splintered remains stand evidence to the force with which it was removed. If I were a stupid or fearful woman, I might convince myself that a rawboned coyote was to blame; they forever haunt these hills with their hunger. But I’m neither of those things, and I know how a wolf attacks.

I’ve lived among them my whole life. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 798: Flash on the Borderlands LX: Words Like Violence

Show Notes

“Human Body as Compendium”: “In moments of high anxiety I like to imagine that I can crack my skull open and take my brain out and put it somewhere else for a while. “Human Body as Compendium” carries this impulse to its natural conclusion.”

“Never Enough Pockets”: inspired by both what happened to Sarah Everard and the shocking conduct of the police during the subsequent vigil on 13th March 2021, see here for some info

“Words are very unnecessary; They can only do harm”

Sometimes Boys Don’t Know

by Donyae Coles

“Bonnie,” I say. He asked my name! I should have thought of something, but I wasn’t expecting him to notice me. Talk to me. “Bonnie,” I repeat, fighting down nerves, ignoring the fluttering in my middle, hoping I sounded closer to those other girls, the ones he likes. I’ve been practicing.

“Bonnie,” he repeats, smooth as his smile, and my insides tickle and shudder. Bonnie was good. Simple. He liked simple. I could be simple. For him, I could be anything.

My eyes feel too wide, and I blink to try to make them normal. I pull my lips into a smile, tell my body to be still, relax.

“Where are your friends? Did you come alone?” He’s looking around now and those flutters in me drop, turn into a pit. I want him to look at me. Just at me.

“I came by myself,” I offer. Is this the right answer? I don’t know. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 797: New to It All

New To It All

by Seán Padraic Birnie

My first girlfriend, Niamh, was a scratcher. Saoirse wasn’t like that. The first time Niamh asked me to stay the night, she was testing me out. I can see that now, in retrospect. Nothing too scratchy to begin with. “I didn’t want to scare you away,” she said to me once, with a laugh. “Oh, you couldn’t have,” I replied, laughing too. At this Niamh tilted her head. “I think we both know that that’s not the case,” she replied, lowering her voice, which was already an implausibly low and husky voice. “I had to ease you in.” I smiled. I didn’t argue; I never did argue with Niamh. In retrospect I can see that I was always afraid of losing her, but what good did retrospect ever do for anyone? In retrospect, there’s nothing left to do. Understanding always comes too late. In retrospect, I can hear Niamh repeating herself: “Yep, I had to ease you in. You were so… new to it all.” Perhaps she wasn’t wrong. The morning after that first night together, I noticed the scratches in the bathroom mirror as I brushed my teeth with my index finger. I had forgotten my toothbrush. The scratches were livid. Once, she had made me yell out in pain, a long fingernail catching in the large mole in the middle of my back. I only remembered that then, standing in the bathroom with an index finger smeared with spit and toothpaste. One thing I hadn’t told her at that point was that I was, until that night at least, at the antique age of twenty-four, still a virgin. In retrospect, it’s obvious that she knew, but she was too kind to say anything about it.  (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 796: The Horse Leech Has Two Maws

Show Notes

This story has an academic frame and that the text on the website has a number of scholarly footnotes that provide additional context. The first footnote is “In Hebrew, alukah means “horseleech”—a type of leech with many teeth that feeds on the throats of cattle. According to the Biblical scholars I have spoken to, alukah can also mean “blood-lusting monster.” Historically, the alukah have been closely associated with Lilith or are thought to be her direct descendants. Some describe them as a “Hebrew succubus,” some horrific variety of vampire. Others describe the alukah as simply demons appearing mainly in rabbinic literature. The only Biblical reference I have found to this creature is paraphrased at the start of this journal.” 

The Horse Leech Has Two Maws

written by Michael Picco

Excerpted from the journal of Micha Slauss, Theresienstadt Holocaust Memorial Museum

They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives.

They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity.

The alukah have two maws—one that bites, and another that suckles at the wound.

Always they cry out: “More! Give us more!

-The Words of Agur, Proverbs 30:14–16

They came with us.

They came with us, moving from body to body in the fetid twilight of the cattle cars—shifting, changing, feeding, masquerading first as children, as misshapen dwarves, as shrunken old women. They came with us as we huddled and cried and grieved, crawling over our bodies like so much vermin as the death trains plodded toward our extinction.

They came with us. Those…things. Those terrible, dreadful things. The Daughters of Lilith. Alukah. Striya. Penanggalan. Wampyr. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 795: The Last Seance

The Last Séance

by Agatha Christie

Raoul Daubreuil crossed the Seine humming a little tune to himself. He was a good-looking young Frenchman of about thirty-two, with a fresh-coloured face and a little black moustache. By profession he was an engineer. In due course he reached the Cardonet and turned in at the door of No. 17. The concierge looked out from her lair and gave him a grudging ‘Good morning,’ to which he replied cheerfully. Then he mounted the stairs to the apartment on the third floor. As he stood there waiting for his ring at the bell to be answered he hummed once more his little tune. Raoul Daubreuil was feeling particularly cheerful this morning. The door was opened by an elderly Frenchwoman whose wrinkled face broke into smiles when she saw who the visitor was.

‘Good morning, Monsieur.’

‘Good morning, Elise,’ said Raoul.

He passed into the vestibule, pulling off his gloves as he did so.

‘Madame expects me, does she not?’ he asked over his shoulder.

‘Ah, yes, indeed, Monsieur.’

Elise shut the front door and turned towards him.

‘If Monsieur will pass into the little salon Madame will be with him in a few minutes. At the moment she reposes herself.’

Raoul looked up sharply.

‘Is she not well?’


Elise gave a snort. She passed in front of Raoul and opened the door of the little salon for him. He went in and she followed him.

Well!’ she continued. ‘How could she be well, poor lamb? Séances, séances, and always séances! It is not right—not natural, not what the good God intended for us. For me, I say straight out, it is trafficking with the devil.’ (Continue Reading…)