Posts Tagged ‘monster’

PseudoPod 368: Short & Nasty

Short & Nasty

by Darrell Schweitzer

That was the old way, Henry, when we were young. Remember?

When we two were in college together, when everybody else was reading Hermann Hesse, we were heavily “into” Gothic novels – Monk Lewis, Mrs. Radcliffe, and the ever prolific Anonymous – the early Romantics, De Quincey, Byron, Keats, Mary Shelley – in short anybody who seemed suitably exquisite, melancholy, and doomed for Art’s sake.

Remember how we used to try to top each other’s affectations, just for the fun of it, the outrageous, frilly clothes, the sweeping gestures, the dialogue never heard outside of a bad costume flick: ‘I say, old chap, I think I shall take up opium. It’s so frightfully decadent.

‘I much prefer laudanum, old bean. The visions of Hell are much more vivid that way.’

Neither of us could have fooled a real Briton for a minute, by the way. Our accents were pure college theater. I suppose most of our classmates just thought we were gay.

Ah, with a sweeping sigh. We had joy; we had fun; we had seasons in the crypt.

PseudoPod 367: Flash On The Borderlands XVIII: Flash Fiction Contest III

Show Notes



“Whispers From The Trench”

by Robert McKinney

That’s when I saw them. Three shapes dressed in enemy kit, slogging from their lines in the pockmarked soil to allied trenches to the southwest. Each had air tanks strapped onto their backs and had faces blocked by masks and gas bottle tubing.


“The Violin Family”

by James Douglas

Music: Brice Catherin “Number 3: Version for violin and chamber orchestra” available at The Free Music Archive.

There are four members of the violin family: the violin, the viola, the cello and the double bass.


“Mr. Flyspeck”

by R.K. Kombrinck

She hadn’t been afraid, only curious and surprised. Something was sitting on the desk. It looked like a rat, or mouse. Three feet tall with orange fur and wild eyes. She remembered how it smiled at her. How it spoke.

PseudoPod 365: Whispers In The Dark

Whispers In The Dark

by Andrew Marinus

So the guy we found under the stairs starts screaming and when Roger shakes him it doesn’t help, and when Roger slaps him it doesn’t help, and when Roger beats the shit out of him he *still* doesn’t quiet down, so we leave him there on the floor. Maybe he’s Seen, maybe he hasn’t, it comes down to the same — don’t wanna be truckin’ with someone who can’t keep their mind from spilling out of their mouth.

It’s getting to be around three-thirty, near enough to twilight that this’ll be our last street-cross for the night. It’s been an unproductive five hours; the part of the city we’re in’s got mostly just office buildings and parking garages — not much food to be found. Still, Allen found a few bags of chips left behind by a raided vending machine, so that’s something. As we get ready to head outside, we split up the chips equally between us, so that if only one of us makes it, their fair share will be with them, and not with a gibbering lunatic or a fleshless corpse. Just before Roger opens the door, Allen puts on his facemask. I leave my eyes uncovered, figuring the darkness’ll be enough. Maybe this makes me less crazy than him.


The blackness outside is mercifully total; clouds have smothered whatever light the moon might be able to provide. We head out, turn East, and get into formation: me on the left; Allen on the right; Roger in the middle; about a metre between each of us. We start walking. Between each step we freeze for about five seconds, listening. It rarely helps, listening, but each of us can remember at least one time when it’s saved someone, so we keep doing it. Mostly what we hear is the low night breeze and, every few minutes or so, screams or laughter off in the distance. When it’s laughter, it goes on for quite awhile before stopping.

When it’s screams, it cuts off pretty quick.

It’s been less than a month since… *since*, leave it at that… and I’ve already started to forget what it looked like outside during the day. Right now, the three of us are walking across a four-lane street between two office buildings, I guess, but it’s hard to imagine the open streets and the twenty-storey towers like you used to be able to *see* them. Nowadays, “the streets” are just the blackness around you, the clapping of your shoes on the road, and the smell of cold pavement.

Twenty steps across the void between buildings, I actually *hear* something, a kind of low rasp, like a dying asthmatic, and I whisper:


PseudoPod 361: The Murmurous Paleoscope

The Murmurous Paleoscope

by Dixon Chance

The initial scanning would have seemed slow progress to an outside observer, for the Boiler makes for hot work, and we are already in the desert, and we must take breaks every twenty minutes to allow the device to cool down. It is, as you know, far too expensive to replace! (When the stage arrives next week, I will be sure to request more and larger crates of ice—if any are to be had; and if Eccleston has not outbid us.) Such patience is surely worth it. For whatever progress Eccleston makes with his battering and cutting, he cannot have found what I have: I call it Anomalocusta, for it resembles no lobster science has ever seen. And best of all: it is intact.

It remains in the rock, of course, and removing it thence will be the Lithotome’s job. But for now I can see the entire fossil through the Lens and here is my first attempt at a description: it is a long jointed-plate arthropod rather like a lobster or a shrimp, but larger than either, exceeding three feet from head to tail, making it far and away the largest Cambrian creature ever recorded by science. Unlike a lobster, it has no claws or other limbs. In its body shape it resembles a large trilobite whose segments have been flattened and stretched and transformed into underwater wings. Its head is the most disturbing feature, for it has a demonic shape, and possesses—I should say possessed—two large hooklike fangs over six inches long, which look capable of cracking open shells and armor, and it boasts two large compound eyes on stalks—but unlike the tiny beady eyes of the lobster, these are large and pale and eerie, resembling searching headlamps. Finally, and most disconcertingly, it has a thin, needle-like proboscis that extends from between the fangs. This proboscis looks long, soft, and prehensile—an odd thing indeed to see coming from such a stiff armored creature. The Anomalocusta must have undulated through the primoridal seas with great speed and indifferent grace, like some mechanical insectlike manta ray—but what could it have fed upon? I would send my rough drawings of the Anomalocusta, but I do not want to risk the mail being waylaid by Eccleston’s agents. I will send them when I judge myself to be in a more secure locality.

In case you are wondering why I have not appended a species name to this creature’s taxonomy yet, it is just this: after years of sending you dozens of new fossils, which you have been only too happy to classify and take credit for, I feel I have earned the right to some modicum of recognition for my tireless work. I know that I am but a modestly educated woman, and no proper scientist as the Geological Society recognizes such. Yet from my childhood by the shore I have shown, have I not, for over two decades that I understand the care of fossils, the reconstruction of organisms, the importance of a subtle eye and a care for stinting detail. And I have reliably sent you all my latest finds for a dozen years when your rivals have offered me bribes and other inducements to send them elsewhere or to lose them entirely. I have resisted, not only because of the esteem in which I hold your work, but out of loyalty to you, for first recognizing that I was more than some mere girl playing at the beach.

This new fossil will be studied for a millennium, and if I am ever to achieve even the merest hat-tip from the academic community, it would be an honor to have it attached to this discovery. I hope you will consider naming it Anomalocusta cardanelli—or, if you should choose to name it after yourself, that you would allow me at least the honor of publishing the paper, so that my name, too, will appear with it always: “Anomalocusta grandhaveni (Cardanell 1888).” Does that not look elegant, both our names in equal balance for the first time?

I hope that you will give my request all due and serious consideration.