Posts Tagged ‘memory’

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PseudoPod 352: Enough With The Crazy

Enough With The Crazy

by Emile Dayne

Everything was fine until he saw the fire hydrant across the café. Something about it caught his attention, as if it was some important object from his past, perhaps even from childhood.

Which was absurd, since he had grown up two thousand miles away in a small town with very few fire hydrants, of which not one had played any important part in his life. He hadn’t even danced in its spurting water during the hottest summer days.

Yet the very sight of this one made his heart lose its rhythm. His legs shook as he approached the hydrant. In one corner of his mind a watchful voice was warning him to not act too weirdly out on the street in full view of everyone and he did try his best. But then the world around him turned into blurry fluid that wobbled thunderously and terribly.

All outlines lost their sharpness, pedestrians became contorted like ghosts. The fire hydrant was real, stable, and firm. But although a center of solidity in a world which had suddenly turned to oppressive jelly, it did not inspire safety in any way. Rather, its stability seemed as evidence that it was the evil source of everything that was wrong now, and which had gone wrong with Sam in the past months.

Two distorted figures with male voices stopped for a second by the hydrant. One of them raised an object to his head and appeared to bite into it. The smell of warm hotdog reached Sam’s nose and then a few drops of ketchup fell on the pavement.

Sam lost his balance and swooned, but even as the ground tilted up, images flashed through his head, very similar to the ones from his nightmares, maybe even the same ones, but this time not jumbled and obscure, but clear and in sequence.

People – men and women and children – faces twisted into grimaces, attacking an elderly couple from all sides, bringing them down, tearing at their clothes and at their flesh. By this exact hydrant. Blood falling where the ketchup was now.

Him, shouting for everyone to stop, then running into the melee, pushing people away, trying to get to the victims and save then, and then suddenly already holding an arm and biting at the puffy hand with whines of impatience…unbearable urgency and a sense of utmost wrongness rolled into a shattering–

Blackness. Far off sounds.

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PseudoPod 345: Boxed


by Donald McCarthy

A few beads of sweat slithered down Trevor’s forehead and he blinked rapidly, a panic attack oncoming. His pulse was quick, as if he’d just come in from a run, and the contents of his stomach threatened to come lunging out of his mouth if he didn’t calm down. He grabbed a pillow off the sofa and placed it over his mouth, screaming. Once his throat became hoarse he flung the pillow back on the sofa and threw himself on top of it. “I don’t cope well,” he said.

He looked across the room, to a small, gray box on top of his fireplace. The box asked, “Why are you telling me this?”

“I had a bad night,” Trevor replied, speaking quickly. “I was with Kim. She had her friends join us. She didn’t tell me they’d be coming. How am I supposed to prepare for something like that if she doesn’t tell me they’re coming? I thought it’d just be me and her at her apartment but a minute after I arrived she said there’d be others. She rattled off their names but I couldn’t remember them. I can’t be expected to just remember names that are randomly thrown out there.” Trevor began playing with his hands, one gripping the other tightly. “I got sick right away and had to excuse myself to the bathroom. I have something going with Kim, something good, and this could’ve easily messed it up.”

Trevor stood up, his legs so weak with anxiety that he came close to falling. He slowly walked across the room towards the fireplace, looking only at the box, as if he would lose his balance should he even glance at any other area of the room. “I couldn’t relate to any of them. I stumbled through conversation. I said idiotic things. My opinions made no sense. I made a fool out of myself. It was terrible.” Trevor reached the mantle, placed both hands on it, and loomed above the box. “I wish that the whole thing could be done over.”

“I can’t make that happen,” said the box.

“Neither can anything else,” said Trevor. “But you can do the next best thing. Get this night out of my head.”

“All of it?” asked the box.

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PseudoPod 308: The Crawlspace

The Crawlspace

by Russell Bradbury-Carlin

There was a splash where there shouldn’t have been. Reed was shoving handfuls of dirty clothes into the washing machine when he stopped to listen closely. The sound seemed to have come from beneath the small wooden plank in the corner –- the one that covered the entrance to the crawlspace under the house. The splash had sounded distinctly like a weighty object –- a hand, maybe — slapping the surface of a body of water.

The laundry room was a small concrete-floored space between the main house and the garage. Reed had done everything he could to minimize his time in that room and to try and ignore the crawlspace’s entrance. This was made a bit easier due to the small wooden plank’s inherent “hiddenness”. It was covered with layers of dust the same color as the concrete. And veils of cobwebs hovered over it which held the threat of spiders, centipedes, and other creepy-crawlies. The corner seemed to exude a force of avoidance and Reed had been more than happy to comply.

The entrance was barely large enough to allow an average-sized adult to slip down into the dirt-floored space beneath the house. Reed had watched the hefty home inspector squeeze through the hole a few months earlier before he and his wife, Maisy, bought the house. Once the inspector pushed through the narrow opening, Reed saw that there was a bit more room for someone to, literally, crawl under the first floor. While watching the older man slide into the dark space, Reed’s mouth had gone dry and he suddenly had difficulty swallowing.