Posts Tagged ‘Ghost’

PseudoPod 541: Tessa Told Me

Show Notes

“I always like to say that there’s nothing more terrifying than the human heart.”


Tessa Told Me

by Rob Kotecki


Julie only half listened to Mr. Garland as he ran through the emergency numbers on the fridge, distracted by why Liam hadn’t texted her back. It had been forty-five minutes. They’d agreed to break up when she moved, but spent more time talking now than they ever did living ten minutes away from each other.

“I mean it,” Mr. Garland said, bringing her back to her babysitting gig. “Don’t forget to have fun… just wait until Noah goes to bed,” and he pinched his fingers and brought them to his lips.

As if. She had no idea where to buy yet. The stay at home Dads were always the worst, as they were either OCD about their kid’s every move, or desperate to prove they stayed home because they were so chill. Really.

“If all goes well, I’ll be home around one. If it goes great, I won’t be home at all.” Julie mustered a smile that fell just shy of condescending. He seemed to want something from her. “Don’t worry. Noah and I are going to be fine.”

That did the trick, and he grabbed his guitar case. He was off to play in some sad cover band at the sports bar that seemed like an off-brand TGI Friday’s from the outside. But as soon as he left, there was nothing to distract her from checking her phone and refusing to send a second text, until Liam responded to her last one.

Noah was lost in some stupid video game that seemed set in World War II. He was cute now, even a little shy, but she saw the inner frat boy Noah would grow up to be. She tried to do her calculus, but her attention never drifted far from her phone. Fine. “Busy?” she texted Liam, feeling so cavalier about it right until it was sent, at which point she realized how sad and desperate she was.

She decided to shut her phone off before she did even more damage to her self-respect and offered to play with the kid. Noah wagged his head.

“Tessa says no.”

“Who’s Tessa?”

“She’s nice. She likes you, but she thinks you should go home.”

“Well, too bad for Tessa.” But he merely shrugged and went back to the game.

“She says too bad for you.”

Imaginary friend. Fine. At least the kid’s quiet. (Continue Reading…)

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PseudoPod 528: Unsent Letter From An Unnamed Student

Show Notes

Pseudopod wants to direct your attention to a project by one of our Authors, Greg Stolze. This is a good time to go back and relisten to episode 317, Enzymes.

YOU is a novel, set in the universe of the democratic horror game Unknown Armies, which pits readers against a book that hates them while situating them in the person of a middle-aged businessman named Leo Evans.

Leo is divorced, a fan of racquet sports, and a cultist of the Necessary Servant—a quasi-religion he freely admits seems silly, except for the way it grants him extra senses and paranormal abilities. The chief cultist, however, is his ex-wife, and the two of them clash over a key question of what it means to truly “serve” with integrity.

In the process of hashing all this out, Leo must survive a couple attempts on his life, come to grips with an enchantment that makes him hate the person he previously loved most, and deal with lingering issues between himself and his son.

This novel is Kickstarting in February, check the trailer at www.gregstolze.com/you


Unsent Letter from an Unnamed Student

by Aaron Fox-Lerner


The first time you killed me was the scariest. Those large hands, holding me down until I breathed water and then nothing at all. Those hands that had previously stroked me and caressed me and ranged all over my body now shoving my head under the light ice on the pond, steadying me as my thrashing grew gradually more feeble.

A test of trust, you said, joking but not. To break the tension after our argument. I lay my head right by the water, and I even let you push it down, betrayed by the jocular smile on your face. It went on so long and became so hard to breathe and the water was so cold, but it wasn’t until I started to struggle and you refused to let me go that I realized I never should have trusted you at all, that was the test that I’d failed. That realization was the scariest part.

And after the enveloping terror and darkness, I came to in my bed early in the morning. Nothing wet, nothing cold, my roommate still asleep across the room. I thought it was a dream, a dream so powerful I had believed it to be real. I stayed that way, stalking disoriented through the school corridors until I came into your class at 10:30 and saw your face, looking as if you were the one who had been in the cold pond rather than me. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 514: The Show

Show Notes

This story was also reprinted this month as part of Nightmare’s special issue People of Colo(u)r DESTROY Horror! Read along with the story over at their site. Listen to two more stories from this issue over on the Nightmare podcast feed, and add it to your podcatcher while you’re at it!


The Show

by Priya Sharma

 


The camera crew struggled with the twisting, narrow stairs. Their kit was portable, Steadicams being all the rage. They were lucky that the nature of their work did not require more light. Shadows added atmosphere. Dark corners added depth. It was cold down in the cellar. It turned their breath to mist, which gathered in the stark white pools shed by the bare bulbs overhead.
Martha smiled. It was sublime. Television gold.

PseudoPod 394: Summer Girls

Show Notes

Kameron Hurley can be contacted at the following link: Kameron Hurley.

Matt Wallace’s Slingers can be found here!


Summer Girls

by Caspian Gray


Something brushed his leg. For a moment he felt the sensation of fingers closing on his ankle. Dan started, then floundered away, panicked as a little kid at the first touch of seaweed. He composed himself in case Kayla was watching, but she was treading water further out, eyes on the horizon. Dan swam out to her, accidentally swallowing a mouthful of salt water, then splashed water on her back to get her attention. Kayla turned, pulling long strands of hair out of her eyes.

_The dead girl_, Dan signed. This was one of their home-signs, a single gesture not rendered in his bastardized ASL.

Kayla cocked her head. _Too early_, she signed. _The dead girl won’t be here ’til August._

_She touched me_, Dan signed. _She touched me._

Kayla swam closer to him. They treaded water, looking out over the dark waves for her bobbing corpse. There was no sign of her.

_Let’s swim back._

PseudoPod 389: The House, the Garden, and the Occupants

Show Notes

“I like the concept of ghosts as personalities locked in a never-ending ‘now’. Also, when it comes to haunted houses, one ghost is never enough.”


Links for Jason Arnopp and Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymer can be found… well, at the links right under their names!

 


The House, the Garden, and the Occupants

by Amanda C. Davis


This is Anne, with shreds of her gown wisping away like the edges of clouds, at the elbow of the grand staircase where the iron-framed window overlooks a patch of garden entombed in briars. She casts a glow onto the wall that reflects faintly but bestows her no shadow. She is riveted to the window; her face is watery, difficult to make out, but her posture reveals her inner workings. A clock chimes midnight. Slowly, she lowers her head. Slowly, she turns from the window. She takes a single step upstairs before she dissipates like fog under the sun.

The first time she took this path she followed it to her bedroom, to a letter-opener strewn on her writing desk, to her bath, to her grave. Now she exists only in a narrow series of moments. She only completed this path once.

Anne comes with the first stroke of midnight and leaves with the last; she knows nothing but midnight, and the word that falls from her ghostly lips, unheard, and those things have composed the full of her existence for over one hundred years. (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 385: FLASH ON THE BORDERLANDS XX: Community

Show Notes

Hell is other people…


“Penance” is a PseudoPod original. “This story began, as some of my stories do, with a quick, visual flash of something odd and unexpected just before sleep. I began the story as a humorous tale, but it quickly let me know that it wanted to be a horror tale instead.”

“Mallecho” was previously published in the print and e-book anthology, ARCANE, by Cold Fusion Media, edited by Nathan Shumate.

“Jack” appears here as an original, says Jack’s editorial fore-brain.


Larime Taylor’s “A Voice In The Dark” can be purchased here!


Hell is other people…


“Penance”

by Liz Colter


‘Wake,’ my ghosts said. ‘Come.’

They spoke asynchronously, like a flock of noisy birds. Their voices pulled me from sleep and I opened my eyes to the throng of them at my bedside.

‘Why?’ I asked. The long, morose faces stared back at me, gray and insubstantial, and mute once again.” (Continue Reading…)

PseudoPod 376: Quieta Non Movere


Quieta Non Movere

by Reggie Oliver


An architect was engaged and there needed only a decision to be made over the location of the chapel. The obvious place was an area closest to the crossing and facing east. This would’ entail the partial destruction of the eastern wall of the north transept, an exercise which would require the relocation of a number of funereal plaques and stones, the most significant of which was a sixteenth century memorial to a Canon of Morchester Cathedral, one Jeremiah Staveley. It was quite an elaborate affair in polished black basalt about seven foot in height overall, set into the wall some three feet above the ground. It consisted in a slab topped with scrollwork, crudely classical in feel with a niche in which was set a printed alabaster image of the Canon, standing upright in his clerical robes with his arms crossed over his chest. The figure was tall and narrow, the bearded face gaunt: a somewhat disconcerting image which looked as if it portrayed the corpse rather than the living being. Beneath this on the polished slab an inscription had been incised, the lettering picked out in white. It read:

JEREMIAH STAVELEY
Canonus Morcastriensis, obiit anno 1595 aetat 52

It was followed by these verses in bold capital letters:

BEHINDE THESE SACRED STONES IN DEATH STAND I

FOR THAT IN LIFE MOST BASELY DID I LIE
IN WORD AND SINNE FORSAKING GOD HIS LAWE

I DANCED MY SOULE IN SATANN’S VERIE MAWE
WHEREFORE IN PENANCE I THIS VIGILL KEEPE

ENTOMBED UPRIGHT THUS WHERE I SHOULDE SLEEPE
WHEN DEAD RISE UP I’LL READYE BE IN PLACE
TO MEET MY JUDGE AND MAKER FACE TO FACE
STRANGER, REST NOT MY CORSE UNTIL THAT DAYE

LEST I TORMENT THEE WITH MY SORE DISMAYE

The implication of these lines, that the body of Canon Staveley was actually entombed behind the slab, was borne out by the cathedral records and one of the old vergers whose family had been connected with the cathedral since time immemorial. Dean Coombe was disposed to be rather benevolent towards this worthy whose name was Wilby. The man was a repository of cathedral history and lore and the Dean was content to listen politely to Wilby’s ramblings, but he did not expect his condescension to be rewarded by opposition to his plans.

‘Mr Dean,’ said Wilby one afternoon, as they stood before the memorial in the north transept. ‘You don’t want to go a moving of that there stone, begging your pardon, sir.’

‘My dear man, why ever not?’

‘Don’t it say so plain as brass on that there ‘scription? ‘Tis ill luck to move the bones of the wicked. So said my granfer, and his before him.’

PseudoPod 370: Mary

Show Notes

Says Krista “I wrote this story during my first visit to the Salem/Danvers area, trying to sneak one last peek at the great Danver’s Asylum before it was torn down and made into condos. After hearing that the original location of the old witch hanging spot of Gallow’s Hill was lost to history and known only as ‘the highest hill in the town’ I decided for myself that the highest hill I could see was the one upon which the asylum stood, and wouldn’t that make it an extra nasty place to build anything.”


Mary

by Krista Soli Foster


He could scarcely remember a time before there was Mary. His adoration for her grew with every visit, like a well-tended fruit tree. She was his one and only; there had never been anyone before Mary. Time itself was endless while he was gazing into her eyes. At night he would caress her face and she would gasp and moan, and he would thrill with delight at the warmth of her breath and the tears in her eyes. It was her sweet voice alone that controlled the beat of his heart, and it always had been. One day he snuck into her room and she cried out so gleefully that he was driven to dance across the very floor, spinning and spinning late into the night as the angry old man in the next room pounded on the wall, shouting curses to no one that cared.

Mary made him happy.

One day, he found Mary to be swollen and red, her skin stretched over her body like a thin sheet of wax. She cried only a little when he came to see her, because her mouth was held shut by the weight of bloated, cracking ruby lips. She was lovelier then than ever before. He delighted in pressing his cheek against her leg and watching the imprint slowly fade away. When the doctor came, he heard the man tell Mary that they were going to change her medication soon, but wouldn’t be able to for another week until they knew if the swelling would go away on its own. Mary cried a little more. The sound of her voice was like bells.

Mary was the essence of joy.