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PseudoPod

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The Sound of Horror. Pseudopod is the world's first audio horror magazine. We deliver bone-chilling stories from today's most talented authors straight to ears.

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PseudoPod 669: Zanders the Magnificent
Author : Annie Neugebauer Narrator : Jon Padgett Host : Alasdair Stuart Audio Producer : Marty Perrett Discuss on Forums  “Zanders the Magnificent” was first published in Fireside Magazine Issue 21 in March 2015. Zanders the Magnificent by Annie Neugebauer “My handsome, darling boys,” Mrs. Zander said, placing a hand on each of their shoulders. “Which one of you wants to be alive today?” Robby and Bobby turned their heads inward at the same time, staring at each other with identical dark eyes. Bobby blinked, followed shortly by Robby’s blink, and they both said, “Bobby. Robby was alive yesterday.” Mrs. Zander nodded approvingly, clapping her hands against their shoulder blades. “Good, yes. I like it when you agree,” she said. “Now both of you go get Bobby ready for school.” The boys lurched into a sprint together, their narrow shoulders brushing past the door frame at the same time, their synched footsteps thumping down the hall. When they were safely within their bedroom, Bobby shut the door. Robby went and flopped on the left bed – indistinguishable from the right bed in everything but placement in the room – and sighed. “I wish it was Saturday so we could both live,” he said, covering his face with his arms. “I know,” Bobby agreed. They weren’t supposed to be talking like this, and Robby was supposed to be getting ready at the same time as Bobby, but their mother probably wouldn’t check in on them so soon. “You’ll tell me everything?” Robby prompted. Bobby pulled on a red and white striped shirt. Once his messy hair poked through, he shook his head like a duck ruffling its feathers. Robby never noticed that before. He tucked it into memory to practice later. Bobby grabbed the matching red and white striped shirt out of Robby’s drawer and tossed it to him on the bed, his silent urge to get up and get ready. “Of course,” he said. “I always tell you everything.” Finally, Robby stood, pulling the shirt over his head and settling his hair like a duck. The door opened, and Mrs. Zander’s eyes raked over them. “What are you doing?” she snapped. Robby’s eyes dropped to his pajama pants. Bobby already had his jeans on. “Sorry Mama,” they said simultaneously. There was a scramble as Robby rushed to change pants and Bobby tried to decide whether to take his back off to mimic Robby or wait for him to catch up. “This will take more dedication than that,” Mrs. Zander scolded them. “Didn’t you learn anything from your father?” The boys looked down at the ground, and Mrs. Zander huffed and walked out, leaving the door open behind her. Robby put his hands over his face. Bobby mirrored him. Mrs. Zander sat in the rocker as Robby watched out the blinds. Bobby walked down the sidewalk to the bus stop. Robby’s feet stepped in place with his twin’s; his hands rose to adjust an invisible backpack when Bobby adjusted his. Mrs. Zander let out a strangled sob, and Robby turned. “Don’t cry, Mama.” She sniffed and held out her arms, and Robby climbed into her lap. She wrapped him in a tight hug. “I’m just so sorry that you can’t both be alive today,” she said into his hair. Robby’s hand patted her arm as his ear pressed to her chest for her heartbeat. Unlike when he could hear Bobby’s, he did not try to match his heart to hers. “So sorry that both of my boys can’t yet stun the world with their splendor.” Robby heard her crying quiet, and then she was chuckling. “But it will be the most magnificent trick,” she said. “It will be the most magnificent trick, my darling. It will all be worth it.” She began humming, deep within her chest, and the chair rocked back and forth, back and forth. “So you will stay home with your mother today. You will be dead, and we’ll have a marvelous time.” Robby, Bobby, and Mrs. Zander were all in the practice room. Robby and Bobby stood on either side of the stage, and Mrs. Zander lounged in a seat at the back of the room, the knitting forgotten on her lap. The boys were practicing the mouse trick, although now they were just using golf balls. Robby lifted his cape with one hand, raising the wand in the other. A fraction of a moment later, Bobby’s flowed out as well, but Mrs. Zander interrupted. “Timing, boys. Timing. Bobby, you must start precisely when Robby does. And both of you must use more drama in your movements. Remember your father’s stage presence, and work toward his proficiency. You must master that before we can learn the truly show-stopping tricks. To impress today’s audiences it must be something new. Something edgy.” Robby scratched his cheek. Bobby scratched his cheek. Mrs. Zander frowned. “Again.” This time, both capes swept out simultaneously, like black wings lined in blood. “I am Zanders the Magnificent,” they declared as one. Their capes stayed extended on one side as the support arms snapped into place, making it appear as if they were still holding them up. “Welcome to the show!” Each reached down on cue to retrieve the golf ball “mouse” from the clear plexiglass box. Bobby’s fingers snuck in as quickly and furtively as a mouse itself, as did Robby’s. But on the way out, Robby messed up. The lid to the box snapped shut on the tip of his fingers with a violent crack. Robby howled in pain. He jerked his hand out, and as he did so he screamed louder, dropping his wand to hold the brilliantly red fingers up in front of him. His mouth formed a perfect oval bordered by his small teeth. Bobby looked anxiously at Mrs. Zander. “Bobby,” she said sternly. His face flushed. “But Mama.” “Robert Zander, don’t make me come up there.” Bobby gritted his teeth together, sliding his trembling hand back into the box. A loud crack, and Bobby began wailing as well. He dropped his wand and held up his own red fingers, forming his mouth into a perfect oval. Mrs. Zander stood and set her knitting on the seat before she walked up to the stage. She swatted Bobby firmly on the butt. “That’s for hesitating,” she said. Then she swatted Robby, too, because she would never spank one and not the other. “You must both be more disciplined,” she scolded. “Think of your father, and how disciplined he was, and even that was not enough. You must never forget what he went through. You must always remember that it is life and death on the stage. You must give the people what they want.” Their yelling began to simmer into hiccupping sobs, each casting looks out the corner of his eyes to get the timing right. “Now come on, my sweet boys,” Mrs. Zander said. “Let’s tend to those slow little fingers.” She drew them both to her and led them out of the room. “Let’s make sure those hands are fixed up good.” In the empty practice stage glowing under the lights, the two white practice mice sat in the identical corners of their identical clear boxes, dead as golf balls. As Mrs. Zander sat in her rocker and did her knitting, she imagined what the boys would look like at their first public show, when they were all grown up, even more famous than their father. With no paper record to prove their dual existence, their tricks would fool even other master magicians. They would become a worldwide sensation. As Robby walked down the sidewalk to the bus, he longed to have his brother at his side. He imagined how many other people on the planet might be dead. As Bobby watched him from the window, walking in place, he longed to be at his brother’s side. He imagined what it might be like to be alive every single day. “Ladies and gentleman, you’re in for a treat! Tonight is the debut performance of the son of legendary escape artist Robert Zander, who, as some of you remember, met his tragic end over two decades ago during the stunt that is now known as the Chamber of Death. But thankfully for the world of magic, he has left a son to carry on his great name. May I introduce to you the one, the only… Zanders the Magnificent!” Applause exploded through the room. Bobby – all grown up – dashed onto the stage, tall and lean with his black cape billowing behind him. When he stepped into the spotlight, the red and white sequins on his shirt sparkled and winked at the dark, packed audience. In the front row sat Mrs. Zander, her hands clasped tightly in her lap, her eyes alight with a strange glow. Backstage, Robby watched, hidden in the black curtains, his lips ghosting the shapes of Bobby’s words, his arms sketching phantom movements. “Welcome,” he intoned in a deep voice, “to the most magnificent show you will ever see.” The crowd grew hushed, and he sent his words out like sleek promises through the shadows of the room. “Tonight, I bring you wonder!” He took a deep bow, extending his cape out behind him with both arms, and when he stood back up, he held a long-stemmed red rose between his teeth. The crowd hummed. “Danger!” He tossed it out over the seating, and in mid-air the rose changed to a cluster of scarlet streamers, falling like fireworks over the audience. The crowd ooed. “And possibly even death!” He swept his arms in and back out, and the lining of his cape had changed from black to glistening red. The crowd gasped. “But one thing is for certain: by the end of the evening, you will feel more alive than you’ve ever felt.” Thunderous applause. “Let the show begin!” With a billow of smoke, Bobby disappeared into a trap door. Instantaneously, Robby appeared on a balcony over the stage, and the crowd went wild. They looked so much like their father had at their age. Mrs. Zander’s eyes filled with tears as she watched her boys – no, boy. Tonight they were indistinguishable. With the heavy black eyeliner covering the single tiny freckle under Robby’s eye that allowed her to tell them apart, she could not even follow which was which. They were that identical. In their first public performance, they had truly become one. They had truly become magnificent. The young man on stage sent the audience into delighted giggles as the white mouse disappeared from the small clear box, only to reappear in the pocket on the front of his glittering shirt. Mrs. Zander knew that there were truly two white mice, identical in every way, one hidden from the eyes of others at all times so it appeared to the world that only one existed. It was the oldest trick in the book – one that took grave dedication to execute so seamlessly. Robert would have been proud of them all, she knew. The tears in her eyes spilled over. “And for my last trick,” pronounced Robby, “I will need a volunteer.” His words brought a deep silence to the room, followed by a rush of movement as arms all over the theatre shot into the air. He looked against the stage lights into the darkness, scanning the front row for his mother’s surprised face. “You there,” he said, sweeping one arm in the direction of her seat. “Yes, you. Come on up. Ladies and gentleman, can we give her a hand?” Grudging applause sounded as Mrs. Zander made her way onstage. Robby could see the confusion in her eyes; this was not part of the act they’d planned. He caught a cordless mic tossed to him by a stagehand. “What is your name, ma’am?” Mrs. Zander blinked at him. “Ladies and gentleman, it would seem we have a shy volunteer! Can we give her another round of applause?” The crowd cheered loudly, and under the roar Robby said, “Play along, Mama. It’s all for the sake of the show.” When they quieted down, Robby put the mic to her mouth and she said, “My name is Marie.” “Well hello, Marie. Thank you for volunteering! For the assurance of our audience, please tell us: do you have any knowledge of the trick we are about to perform?” “No,” she said honestly. “All the better,” Robby said, shooting the crowd a conspiratorial grin. They all chuckled with anticipation. “You have lovely legs,” he told her, and Mrs. Zander gave him a baffled look, shifting nervously on her feet. Then an assistant wheeled out a large box roughly the shape of a casket. Robby centered it on the stage and pulled out an enormous saw with ragged teeth, lifting it to glint in the stage lights. “I hope you aren’t overly attached to them.” The crowd laughed. Unseen backstage, Bobby mouthed the line with him, timing perfect. Robby set down the saw and lifted the top of the box upward so the audience could see inside. Their surprise was palpable. They could clearly see that there was no divider inside the box – no second woman curled up in the lower half to put her legs out the opening. “Marie?” Robby asked, lifting out a hand for support. “If you would be so kind?” Mrs. Zander eyed the restraints visible on the bottom of the box. “Don’t get cold feet now,” Robby said. Again, a chuckle from the crowd. Mrs. Zander stepped up and stretched out in the box. Robby went about fastening the restraints tightly around her shoulders, wrists, waist, and thighs. The silence in the auditorium grew so full that even the back row could hear the rubbing sound of the straps being pulled tight. When Robby shut the lid, all that stuck out were Mrs. Zander’s head and her feet. “Tonight,” Robby declared, “you will see a woman sawed in half.” Backstage, Bobby’s lips traced the sounds. In the booming applause, Mrs. Zander turned her face toward her son, away from the audience. “I don’t know how this works,” she whispered. “How do I undo the straps to pull my legs up?” “You must give the people what they want,” he told her, smiling. “Something new. Something… edgy.” Mrs. Zander’s eyes grew wide as golf balls. “Which half of you wants to be alive today, Mama?” Robby picked the saw back up and grinned at the crowd. “On three,” he told them. “One!” He raised it dramatically over his head. Mrs. Zander looked at the audience with terrified, roving eyes. “Two!” He lowered it to the notch in the middle of the box. Mrs. Zander thrashed her feet and head about, trying to break free of her restraints. “Don’t worry, Mama,” he whispered. “You will be dead, and we’ll have a marvelous time.” In the wings, Bobby’s arm had already begun a sawing motion. “Three!” The post PseudoPod 669: Zanders the Magnificent appeared first on PseudoPod.
PseudoPod 668: Flash on the Borderlands XLIX: Dirty Deeds
Authors : Pierce Skinner, Lora Gray and Maria Haskins Narrators : Austin Malone, The Word Whore and Setsu Uzume Host : Alasdair Stuart Audio Producer : Marty Perrett Discuss on Forums PseudoPod 668: Flash on the Borderlands XLIX: Dirty Deeds is a PseudoPod original. Content warning: Spoiler Inside SelectShow</> assault, confinement, sexual violence “Baby Fingers” is a PseudoPod original “Polaroid, 1979” is a PseudoPod original  “Metal, Sex, Monsters” was originally published in Gamut #5 in May, 2017 Metal, Sex, Monsters: “As you might be able to tell, this story was written with a Judas Priest soundtrack in mind. While writing it, I listened obsessively to all of Judas Priest’s back catalogue, so that is its main inspiration.” Baby Fingers by Pierce Skinner narrated by Austin Malone Curt stares out the into the dark beyond the jaundiced light of the motel sign. He’s got the sawed-off resting across his lap, hands shaking, face white as drywall behind his wild red beard. I set my helmet down on the dresser, lean myself against the wall. The wallpaper smells like bleach. A fly thrashes between lightbulb and lampshade. TVs cackle through the walls and somehow, over all of this, behind it, the chittering, scratching. Like ants crawling over a microphone. It’s the sound the thing in the bathtub made before it killed Travis. “You’re hearin’ it too.” He says, “We’re fucked.” “No I ain’t.” Curt’s eyes go red, wet. He looks down at his shaking hands, at the shotgun. “Hey!” I growl. He don’t look up at me. “Christ, Curt! You a Mongol or ain’t you?” Curt nods. “Yeah. I’m a Mongol, Dennis. But I ain’t never seen no shit like that before.” He looks up at me like he’s about to cry. “It…killed Travis.” A headache builds behind the scratching sound. I try to tell myself that it’s just hearing damage. That emptying twelve rounds in an underground bunker did a number on our eardrums. But that don’t explain everything else. Not even close. “What’s gonna happen to us?” “Nothin’, Curt. Whatever it was, we killed it. Now I’m gonna call Mr. Senator. We’re gonna get our money, get out of the state. That’s it.” I pull the door open. “Stay here,” I tell him. “I’ll be right back.” Soon as the door shuts behind me, the scratching sounds stop. The night is silent. The headache don’t go nowhere. I light a cigarette. I drop a quarter into the payphone in front of the laundromat across the street. It only rings once before a man’s voice says, “Hello?” “It’s done.” “You got him.” Silence. He breaks it. “You…you killed the other thing, too?” And when he says it like that, says thing, then it’s real. And that’s when I start shaking. “Not before it killed one of mine.” “I…I’m sorry. If I had told you everything, you wouldn’t have believed me.” I close my eyes and I’m right back there. The house. The Armageddon bunker. The room full of kids’ clothes. The table, heaped with tiny limbs, tiny hands. All of them missing fingers, all of them bloodless, some of them rotten and crumbling like last winter’s firewood. Symbols on the walls. The stink of mildew, blood, shit. The clawfoot tub full of brown water. Full of pale white worms, insect larvae. The smiling man with bright white teeth. Something familiar about him. Like maybe I know him. Shirtless to the waist, eyes rolled back white, swinging a rusted medieval claymore down the hall. Curt’s gun making the two of us deaf and the smiling man dead, head opened up like a red wet flower. “That was the governor’s boy, wasn’t it? The news anchor?” “Yeah.” “Thought I recognized him.” This explains why he went to the Mongols instead of the cops. Don’t explain the thing that stood up from the tub. Skin black, shiny like an eel, like the highway wet with rain. The thing took Travis by jaw, peeled him open like a sardine can, took six hollow points and two shotgun shells to die. No blood came out. Just brown water. “I…” the man’s voice cracks. “I don’t know what it is. It’s what they feed them to. And I…I let them.” He starts to cry. Thick, heavy. Between sobs, he manages, “But…you killed it. It’s over.” “Yeah.” He sniffles. “You know where I am. I have your money. I’m sorry about your friend. You don’t know the good you’ve done.” “Tomorrow,” I say. “Noon.” A small, hot wind moves my hair. Overhead, something clacks its jaws, grinds its teeth and there’s that scratching, insect sound again. I drop the phone and back away but when I look up but there’s nothing. Not even moths crowding the streetlight. I smell the blood before I see it. Curt’s a pink smear across the carpet stretching from the bed to the bathroom mirror. His boots are by the edge of the bed. His face hangs from the lampshade. A fly buzzes panicked, caught in the bloody forest of his beard. Drawn in blood across the walls, the symbols from the house. Triangles. Zigzags. Bullseyes. Everywhere, the worms, the larvae. On the sheets, the carpet, spilling out from the vent above the bed onto the pillows. The bathroom door creaks open. Brown water spills over the edge of the tub. There it is. The sound, again. Coming from the water. Coming from the worms. But they ain’t worms. I can see them now, in the light. I can see what they are. I turn. I run. I don’t know where I am. The highway. West. Maybe. The road is empty. I am alone. The sun comes up over the world. White snakes as big as God dangle from behind the clouds. Forests of glass needle teeth catch the light of swallowed suns in their bellies, split it into rainbows, turns the whole wide world into a karaoke dance floor. The bike rattles. Fire spits from the tailpipe. My body is a vibration. I shut my eyes, twist the throttle forward. The tires spin themselves into black rags. Metal screams against the pavement, curses at me in sparks, reeking heat. I spin the bike into the guardrail, and then I’m flying through the rainbows. I stumble into the drugstore, bleeding. Ribs complain about how broken they are with every breath. The cashier, a young girl, pretty, the kind of girl that gets fed to things that shouldn’t exist, she says something to me. Looks real worried. I can’t hear her. The only sound in my ears is the chittering. Ants crawling over my eardrums. Worms gnawing at my breastbone. That’s how I know what I gotta do. I know how it’s following me. The thing from the tub. It’s following me. Tracking me like a wounded stag. I make it to the restroom, lock the door, back away from it, slide down the wall. I can feel them, in my arms, inside my chest. Plucking at my veins like guitar strings, calling out for daddy, racing toward my brain. Well, shit. I almost laugh at how simple it is. I wish I could tell Curt. Wish I could have saved him. The door shivers in the jamb. Thunder roars from the other side. Bang. Bang. Bang. Something cold, wet against my hand. Water. Spilling from the sink. Gushing from the toilet. Brown water. Freezing, like from the deepest parts of the sea. “You were right, Curt!” I bellow over the crackling in my ears, over the banging on the door, “But it ain’t gonna get me!” I pull my knife out of its sheath. I shut my eyes. Right there. Inside my chest. Under my heart. If they get to my brain, I’ll wind up just like that news anchor. Like the governor’s boy. That ain’t gonna happen. I put the knife between my broken ribs, open a hole. I scream. I twist the blade, searching, scraping. Air hisses out of my lung, makes pink bubbles in the blood. Nothing else comes out. I ain’t worried. I’ll find them. Just got to keep looking. Keep digging. I cut again. The brown water rises. My blood turns it black. “Damn.” These things are smart. Fast. I can feel them now, bunching up into tiny fists behind my eyes, knocking against my skull, reaching for my brain. I bring the blade up, laughing. “Son of a bitch. I got you now.” The door explodes inward. The water recedes. The lights go out. Hands on me. Cold, slick, like fish skin. They pry the knife from my remaining fingers, drag me down into the brown water. And I can’t tell if what I’m hearing is myself, screaming forever or the roar of the worms in the sky or Travis crying as he dies or angel trumpets or Curt’s big belly laugh, somewhere in the dark, at the end of a highway wet with rain. Polaroid, 1979 by Lora Gray narrated by Setsu Uzume Their skins never look as beautiful on her as they do on their original bones, but this boy drapes over Evelyn like silk. She smiles at the cracked bathroom mirror and puckers her lips. The boy’s reflection kisses back. If she turns her head just so, she can almost believe those lips are hers, that she is a young man and not a monster. Except, of course, that his chin keeps tugging those lips toward the hollow of her throat. Sighing, Evelyn presses his mouth back into place. She squares his shoulders over her own and lifts Roberto’s instant camera level with the mirror. She takes the photo. The camera whirs and the polaroid, square and slick with chemicals, rolls out. She should probably take another. Even with the image barely developed, she can see the line of her boy’s hips spliced by the mustard yellow sink, his chest obscured by the bulk of the camera. A train rattles past the apartment and the vanity lights flicker. His complexion will probably look waxy in the uneven light, too. Dead. Roberto hates it when they look dead. “Then he should take the pictures himself, shouldn’t he, darling?” Evelyn pats her boy’s cheek where it rests over her own. Roberto shouts “What?” from the living room, his voice slurred. Evelyn bites her tongue and shushes her boy’s mouth with her fingertips. When she first found him alone behind a deserted bus terminal, Evelyn knew she’d love this boy. Her heart had quivered as she slinked, catlike and skinless, behind him. It thundered when she raised her pearl handled knife and slit his throat. He’d been so warm when she scooped his organs into that dumpster, so snug when she slipped into his skin. When she was younger, Evelyn would have strutted into the daytime world wearing this boy, sumptuous as a mink stole, until the stench of rot and flies made people suspect, or until hunger forced her to eat what was left of him. Playing with her food has always been a dangerous game and rumors followed her as she moved between cities and villages. A serial killer was on the loose, they said. A monster. But she’s never been caught. The world isn’t as safe as it used to be, though. It’s bristling with security cameras, neighborhood watches and homicide detectives playing at Columbo in trench coats and battered sedans. It’s 1979. Evelyn needs protection. And Roberto, with his keen eyes, his blood lust and appetites, helps cover her ‘crimes.’ He gives her a warm bed and a safe place to feed if she lets him play with her skins. Roberto, Evelyn tells herself, is a necessity. But it’s been months since she’s done anything but find new skins for him to fuck. Months since he’s allowed her outside in the day time. Months of screaming and angry fists. Months of him threatening to turn her in to the police if she doesn’t make him happy. On the back of the toilet, the butt of Roberto’s cigarette sags. His dirty underwear drips on the shower rod. Evelyn can hear him in the living room, belching and swearing, clicking from channel to channel on the new RCA. He sniffs, loud and long. Allergies? Cocaine? Both? Evelyn gives the polaroid a weary shake. Her boy’s face swims toward the surface of the milky film and she imagines him rising toward her, escaping the confines of that photograph. He’s been a good companion, such a lovely distraction from Roberto’s sweaty palms and hungry mouth. It was so much easier to admire the stretch of his skin over her bones than pay attention to Roberto rutting between her thighs. Bad enough the time has come to devour what is left of this boy without Roberto reducing him to a sallow photograph tucked into the shoebox beneath his bed with the faces of all the others she’s killed for him, smudged with greasy fingers and crumpled at the corners from frantic, late night jerk offs. When was the last time Evelyn killed for her own pleasure? When was the last time she did anything on her own terms? Evelyn looks at the photo in her hands, her boy fully developed now, but trapped, and sets it on the back of the sink. “Goodbye, sweetness,” she whispers. And eye to eye with the polaroid, she feeds. Hooking her fingers into her navel, Evelyn pries herself open. Her belly ripples and flexes its spongey jaws, tiny, flesh worn teeth gnashing until they snag the boy’s skin. The fibers clutching him to her pop loose and he sloughs away, a thousand teeth tenderly devouring. Another train rattles past. A cockroach scuttles to safety beneath the radiator. Her navel closes with a wet smack. Evelyn smooths a hand over the pulp of her belly. She is full. She does not feel satisfied. Polaroid in hand, Evelyn emerges from the bathroom, a shamble of raw meat and bones. The air prickles her exposed flesh. It hurts. “You done already?” Roberto asks, paunchy and pale in his recliner. “You know what’ll happen if that fucking photo isn’t-“ Roberto chokes on his beer. “What did I tell you about walking around like that?!” Evelyn doesn’t reply. She goes into the bedroom where the sheets are tangled with the remains of her boy’s clothes. She lays the photograph of him on the blood stained pillow, his face turned toward the window. The sun is rising when Evelyn takes her pearl handled knife from the dresser. The world is bright when she slinks, catlike and skinless, into the living room. Roberto isn’t beautiful like her boy was. He is ugly. Monstrous. But when Evelyn steps out of his apartment and into the dangerous world once more, his skin slumped around her like an oversized cardigan, the sun, at least, is warm. The daylight, delicious. Metal, Sex, Monsters by Maria Haskins narrated by The Word Whore Yes, officer: I do remember my first time. I was thirteen, and the room smelled of drugstore perfume, apple-scented shampoo, and sticky lip gloss. I remember what the boy tasted like, too: potato chips and popcorn, teenage sweat, and bated breath. It was in the basement of a friend’s house, a party, out of sight of the parents, and Judas Priest was playing on the stereo when someone turned off the lights and said we were playing a kissing game: everyone had to walk around in the dark and kiss whoever they could get a hold of. It sounds kind of louche now, I guess, but it was 1981, and it’s not like we were drinking anything but soft drinks mixed with lemonade. The boy’s hair and eyes were brown and I’d had a crush on him since grade two, though I’d never considered doing anything about it. I’d never kissed anyone before, either. But in the dark, with Rob Halford screaming about working class frustration in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, he grabbed hold of me, probably out of pity, and kissed me. I liked kissing him: liked the rush of blood to my head and groin, liked the way he held me. He might have tried to pull away soon after, or maybe he was just trying to breathe, but I persisted and he acquiesced, and when his lips parted just a little, I kissed harder, penetrating his wet, warm mouth with my tongue, nipping at the flesh. There was a taste then, familiar and new at the same time, slipping through me, of salt like tears, of rusted iron and oxidized copper. I probed and bit and licked as something shuddered awake deep beneath my skin, rippling like the surface of a submerged dream, its sudden heat radiating through my capillaries, burning through my eyes and fingers, blistering my lips and cheeks. Will you look at that? Look at my hands. Even now, thirty-five years later, the memory of it makes me tremble. No, officer. I pulled away. He caught his breath and I thought he’d scream, thought he’d tell everyone that I had bit him. The blood was there to prove it, on his lips and chin, on my tongue as I swallowed. But he just put his hand to his mouth and looked at me, as if he’d caught a sideways glimpse of the hunger lurking inside me. His family moved away later that summer. Probably just as well, even though I missed him. But that’s not what you want me to talk about. You brought police photographs. Let me see. Yes, they were all mine. Such gorgeous boys. Hell bent for leather, wouldn’t you say, each and every one. But then, rock and heavy metal gigs have been my venues of choice from the start. I love the music, of course, always have, and I figured those places were good for hiding in plain sight. There, I was just another hungry groupie, just another starving fangirl jonesing for a fix: unremarkable, disposable, forgettable. Considering how long it’s taken you to find me, I guess I was right about that. But it’s the bodies I love most of all. That’s what kept me coming back. All that lovely flesh wrapped in sweat and studs and tight denim, bones reverberating with the amplified sound of guitars and drums and bass, shouted vocals clawing at their throats, the air thrumming with scent, everyone resplendent in eyeliner and hairspray, lace and spandex. All those beautiful people: souls loosening their grip on mortal coils, words and breaths and hands rising, each one wanting to taste blood and skin, wanting to disappear into another, to be devoured by the music and the crowd… No, officer. I don’t need anything to drink. I just need a moment. The second boy I kissed was the first one who went all the way. I waited for him in the shadows on a street corner, after the club had closed: I was eighteen and starving. I wonder if you’ve ever been as hungry. Maybe you have. I’d been good for so many years after that night in the basement. It was hard, but school’s important, and besides, it takes more than hunger. At least for me. Something has to turn me on, there has to be a spark – heat, lust, love – call it what you want, but if I don’t want them, if they don’t want me, it’s no good at all. Sorry. You look uncomfortable. Is that too much information? But then that’s what you want, isn’t it? Information. That’s what you said when you brought me here. But I was telling you about the second boy. Inside the club he’d slipped his arm around my waist and I’d left it there. He was barely older than I was, all strut and swagger in his leather jacket when he followed me outside and offered me a ride on his motorcycle. I held on to him, speeding through that gossamer night, my body bursting, flaring at the seams and joints with heat and hunger, trying not to take him too soon, too quick, trying to make it last. In the tall grass by the river he took off my bra and I took him into me, whole and screaming and unwilling. He was my first, and I wasn’t as gentle as I should have been, as I’ve learned to be since. But that mingled taste of him – leather, beer, and cigarettes – it whets my appetite even now, just thinking about how he scraped and rubbed against my viscera as I brought him deep inside of me. That was a long time ago. I’ve devoured so many boys and men since then. How many? I couldn’t tell you. I’ve not counted them. But, yes. More than in your photographs, certainly. If I wanted them, and they wanted me, then I took them. And when I reached out, when I opened up and they saw me in my glory, when they were blinded by my bliss and consumed, they were not afraid. Not in the end, at least. Are you afraid, officer? Or is that too personal a question to ask? What it’s like? Why would you ask me that? You said you have video footage, so you must know. I don’t know what it’s like from outside. I only know what it feels like from within. …heat and light, ignited and extinguished in the same moment …reaching out through flesh and bones and web of veins and skeins of nerves ….unfurling myself …unleashing myself …unhinging myself …unmaking them …savouring the quavering tissue of life and memories, their first and last flashes of pain and ecstasy, the moment of their birth and the instant of their death. Afterward, I can still feel them inside me for a while: plucking them like strings to hear the whispered echoes of who they were. Yes, thank you, officer. I do need something to drink now. What I am? Don’t ask me that. Tell me what you see, instead, when you look at me. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know what awoke in that basement when I was thirteen, with British Steel pounding beneath my flesh, blood riveted to my tongue; when I awoke and knew that I was no longer what I’d thought I was, that I wore the body I’d thought was mine like a second skin pulled tight over my true self. I’ve thought about that kiss, that boy, every day since. Something was different that time. I know that now. I sensed it, but didn’t understand it until later, maybe not until tonight. That he was like me. That he hungered, too. I wonder if he’s looked for me like I’ve looked for him. I’d know him anywhere. I’d know his dark brown eyes, would know his hair even if it’s thinner and streaked with grey, would know the scent of him even thirty-five years on. I’d know him no matter where I saw him, or what uniform or badge he wore. I’d know the heat, radiating from his skin before we even touched. Yes, officer. I would know you, even if I’d waited decades, trapped and lonely inside an aging husk of skin and flesh, even if I’d lingered, sleepless for a million years in an empty space of stars and quantum rifts. I’d still know you. Do you remember it? The dizzying taste of me in you? The fleeting promise of it on your tongue? Of course you do. That’s why you brought me to this bar rather than the police station. And if we kissed again, you and I, here and now, with this Judas Priest song cutting through us like a screaming metal blade, cutting all our memories open; with the noise and blood and hunger throbbing in us like when we were thirteen; if we kissed now, what would we become then, you and I, if we unfurled, unhinged, unleashed ourselves together, devouring each other, our light and heat bleeding into the other, pulsing, flowing, mingling, fusing into one? What, I wonder, will we become, now? The post PseudoPod 668: Flash on the Borderlands XLIX: Dirty Deeds appeared first on PseudoPod.
PseudoPod 667: Allochthon
Author : Livia Llewellyn  Narrator : Christiana Ellis Hosts : Matt Saye, Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson Audio Producer : Chelsea Davis Discuss on Forums “Allochton” was first published in Letters to Lovecraft: Eighteen Whispers to the Darkness Hey PseudoPod family, is your TO READ pile getting shorter? We have a solution for you. Coming out this week is Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction. This is written by our friends Lisa Kroger and Melanie R. Anderson who host the Know Fear Cast along with Matt Saye. I really enjoyed how each chapter begins with an introduction that explains the era and its representative styles. It then follows with a number of exemplars of that era and style in both short and long fiction formats. And Quirk Books delivers again with the physical copy of this book. The layout is exceptional and O! The illustrations! Each chapter has illustrations in repeating patterns like could inhabit some creepy wallpaper, with subjects related to a number of the particular stories covered there. I loved the pulp panel in particular with Shambleau by C.L. Moore and The Canal by Everil Worrell – which just so happened to run as episode 648 earlier this year. I loved seeing a shout-out to PodCastle and narrator extraordinaire Dave Robison, and we’re looking forward to bringing some of the stories highlighted here to your ears in the not too distant future. Allochthon by Livia Llewellyn North Bonneville, 1934 Ruth sits in the kitchen of her company-built house, slowly turning the pages of her scrapbook. The clock on the bookcase chimes ten. In the next room, the only other room, she hears her husband getting dressed. He’s deliberately slow on Sundays, but he’s earned the right. Something about work, he’s saying from behind the door. Something about the men. Ruth can’t be bothered to listen. She stares at the torn magazine clipping taped to a page. It’s a photo of an East Coast socialite vacationing somewhere in the southern tropics: a pretty young woman in immaculate white linens, lounging on a bench that encircles the impossibly thick trunk of a palm tree. All around the woman and the tree, a soft manicured lawn flows like a velvet sea, and the skies above are clear and dry. Ruth runs her free hand across the back of her neck, imagining the heat in the photo, the lovely bite and sear of an unfiltered sun. Her gaze wanders up to the ceiling. Not even a year old, and already rain and mold have seeped through the shingled roof, staining the cream surface with hideous blossoms. It’s supposed to be summer, yet always the overcast skies in this part of the country, always the clouds and the rain. She turns the page. More photos and ephemera, all the things that over the years have caught her eye. But all she sees is the massive palm, lush and hard and tall, the woman’s back curved into it like a drowsy lover, the empty space around them, above and below, as if they are the only objects that have ever existed in the history of time. Henry walks into the room and grabs his coat, motioning for her to do the same. Ruth clenches her jaw and closes the scrapbook. Once again, she’s made a promise she doesn’t want to keep. But she doesn’t care enough to speak her mind, and, anyway, it’s time to go. Their next-door neighbor steers his rusting car down the dirt road, past the edges of the town and onto the makeshift highway. His car is one of many, a caravan of beat-up trucks and buggies and jalopies. Ruth sits in the back seat with a basket of rolls on her lap, next to the other wife. It started earlier in the week as an informal suggestion over a session of grocery shopping and gossip by some of the women, and now almost forty people are going. A weekend escape from the routine of their dreary lives to a small park further down the Columbia River, far from the massive construction site for the largest dam in the world, which within the decade will throttle the river’s power into useful submission. The wives will set up the picnic, a potluck of whatever they can afford to offer, while they gossip and look after the children. The men will eat and drink, complain about their women and their jobs and the general rotten state of affairs across the land, and then they’ll climb a trail over eight hundred feet high, to the top of an ancient volcanic core known as Beacon Rock. The company wife speaks in an endless paragraph, animate and excited. Billie or Betty or Becky, some childish, interchangeable name. She’s four months pregnant and endlessly, vocally grateful that her husband found work on a WPA project when so many in the country are doing without. Something about the Depression. Something about the town. Something about schools. Ruth can’t be bothered. She bares her teeth, nods her head, makes those ridiculous clucking sounds like the other wives would, all those bitches with airs. Two hours of this pass, the unnatural rattle and groan of the engines, the monotonous roll of pine-covered hills. The image of the palm tree has fled her mind. It’s only her on the lawn, alone, under the unhinged jaw of the sky. Something about dresses. Something about the picnic. Something about a cave— Ruth snaps to attention. There is a map in her hands, a crude drawing of what looks like a jagged-topped egg covered in zigzagging lines. This is the trail the men are going to take, the wife is explaining. Over fifty switchbacks. A labyrinth, a maze. The caravan has stopped. Ruth rubs her eyes. She’s used to this, these hitches of lost time. Monotonous life, gloriously washed away in the backwater tides of her waking dreams. She stumbles out of the car, swaying as she clutches the door. The world has been reduced to an iron-gray bowl of silence and vertigo, contained yet infinite. Mountains and space and sky, all around, with the river diminished to a soft mosquito’s whine. Nausea swells at the back of her throat, and a faint, pain-tinged ringing floods her ears. She feels drunk, unmoored. Somewhere, Henry is telling her to turn, to look. There it is, he’s saying, as he tugs her sleeve like a child. Ruth spirals around, her tearing eyes searching, searching the horizon, until finally she— Something about— —the rock. Ruth lifts her head. She’s sitting at her kitchen table, a cup of lukewarm coffee at her hand. The scrapbook is before her, open, expectant, and her other hand has a page raised, halfway through the turn. On the right side of the book, the woman in the southern tropics reclines at her palm in the endless grass sea, waiting. Henry stands before her, hat on head, speaking. —Ruthie, quit yer dreamin’ and get your coat on. Time to go. —Go where. —Like we planned. To Beacon Rock. The clock on the bookcase chimes ten. Outside, a plane flies overhead, the sonorous engine drone rising and falling as it passes. Ruth rubs her eyes, concentrating. Every day in this colorless town at the edge of this colorless land is like the one before, indistinguishable and unchanging. She doesn’t remember waking up, getting dressed, making coffee. And there’s something outside, a presence, an all-consuming black static wave of sound, building up just beyond the wall of morning’s silence, behind the plane’s mournful song. She furrows her brow, straining to hear. Henry speaks, and the words sound like the low rumble of avalanching rock as they fall away from his face. It’s language, but Ruth doesn’t know what it means. —Gimme a moment, I’m gonna be sick, Ruth says to no one in particular as she pushes away from the table. She doesn’t bother to close the front door as she walks down the rickety step into warm air and a hard gray sun. Ruth stumbles around the house to the back, where she stops, placing both hands against the wooden walls as she bends down, breathing hard, willing the vomit to stay down. Gradually, the thick sticky feeling recedes, and the tiny spots of black that dance around the corners of her vision fade and disappear. She stands, and starts down the dusty alley between the rows of houses and shacks. Mountains, slung low against the far horizon of the earth, shimmering green and gray in the clear quiet light. Ruth stops at the edge of the alley, licking her lips as she stands and stares. Her back aches. Beyond the wave and curve of land, there is… Ruth bends over again, then squats, cupping her head in her hands, elbows on knees. This day, this day already happened. She’s certain of it. They drove, they drove along the dirt highway, the woman beside her, mouth running like a hurricane. They hung to the edges of the wide river, and then they rounded the last curve and stopped, and Ruth pooled out of the car like saliva around the heavy shaft of a cock, and she looked up, and, and, and. And now some company brat is asking her if she’s okay, hey lady are you sick or just taking a crap, giggling as he speaks. Ruth stands up, and slaps him, crisp and hard. The boy gasps, then disappears between the houses. Ruth clenches her jaw, trying not to cry as she heads back around the house. Henry stands beside the open car door, ruin and rage dancing over his face. Her coat and purse and the basket of rolls have been tossed in the back seat, next to the wife. She’s already talking up a storm, rubbing her belly while she stares at Ruth’s, her eyes and mouth all smug and smarmy in that oily sisterly way, as if she knows. As if she could know anything at all. The sky above is molten lead, bank after bank of roiling dark clouds vomiting out of celestial foundries. Ruth cranks the window lever, presses her nose against the crack. The air smells vast and earthen. The low mountains flow past in frozen antediluvian waves. Something about casseroles, the company bitch says. Something about gelatin and babies. Something about low tides. Ruth touches her forehead, frowns. There’s a hole in her memory, borderless and black, and she feels fragile and small. Not that she hates the feeling. Not entirely. Her hand rises up to the window’s edge, fingers splayed wide, as if clawing the land aside to reveal its piston-shaped core. The distant horizon undulates against the dull light, against her flesh, but fails to yield. It’s not its place to. She knows she’s already been to Beacon Rock. Lost deep inside, a trace remains. She got out of the car and she turned, and the mountains and the evergreens and thrusting up from the middle, a geologic eruption, a disruption hard and wide and high and then: nothing. Something was there, some thing was there, she knows she saw it, but the sinkhole in her mind has swallowed all but the slippery edges. Her mouth twists, silent, trying to form words that would describe what lies beyond that absence of sound and silence and darkness and light, outside and in her head. As if words like that could exist. And now they are there, the car is rounding the highway’s final curves before the park. She rolls down the window all the way, and sticks her head and right arm out. A continent behind, her body is following her arm, like a larva wriggling and popping out of desiccated flesh, out of the car, away from the shouting, the ugly engine sounds, into the great shuddering static storm breaking all around. She saw Beacon Rock, then and now. The rest, they all saw the rock, but she saw beyond it, under the volcanic layers she saw it, and now she feels it, now she hears, and it hears her, too. Falling, she looks up as she reaches out, and— The clock on the bookcase chimes ten. Her fingers, cramping, slowly uncurl from a cold coffee cup. Henry is in the other room, getting dressed. Ruth hears him speaking to her, his voice tired water dribbling over worn gravel. Something about the company picnic. Something about malformed, moldering backwaters of trapped space and geologic time. Something about the rock. Tiny spattering sounds against paper make her stare up to the ceiling, then down at the table. Droplets of blood splash against the open page in her scrapbook. Ruth raises her hand to her nose, pinching the nostrils as she raises her face again. Blood slides against the back of her throat, and she swallows. On the clipping, the young socialite’s face disappears in a sudden crimson burst, like a miniature solar flare erupting around her head, enveloping her white-teethed smile. Red coronas everywhere, on her linen-draped limbs, on the thick bark of the palm, on the phosphorus-bright velvet lawn. Somewhere outside, a plane drones overhead, or so it sounds like a plane. No, a plain, a wide expanse of plain, a moorless prairie of static and sound, all the leftover birth and battle and death cries of the planet, jumbled into one relentless wave streaming forth from some lost and wayward protrusion at the earth’s end. Ruth pushes the scrapbook away and wipes her drying nose with the edges of her cardigan and the backs of her hands. Her lips open and close in silence as she tries to visualize, to speak the words that would describe what it is that’s out there, what waits for her, high as a mountain and cold and alone. What is it that breathes her name into the wind like a mindless burst of radio static, what pulses and booms against each rushing thrust of the wide river, drawing her body near and her mind away? She saw and she wants to see it again and she wants to remember, she wants to feel the ancient granite against her tongue, she wants to rub open-legged against it until it enters and hollows her out like a mindless pink shell. She wants to fall into it, and never return here again. —Not again, she says to the ceiling, to the walls, as Henry opens the door. —Not again, not again, not again. He stares at her briefly, noting the red flecks crusting her nostrils and upper lip. —Take care of that, he says; grabbing his coat, he motions at the kitchen sink. Always the same journey, and the destination never any closer. Ruth quickly washes her face, then slips out the door behind him into the hot, sunless morning. The company wife is in the back, patting the seat next to her. Something about the weather, she says, her mouth spitting out the words in little squirts of smirk while her eyes dart over Ruth’s wet red face. She thinks she knows what that’s all about. Lots of company wives walk into doors. Something about the end of Prohibition. Something about the ghosts of a long-ago war. Ruth sits with her head against the window, eyes closed, letting the one-sided conversation flow out of the woman like vomit. Her hand slips under the blue-checked dish towel covering the rolls, and she runs her fingers over the flour-dusted tops. Like cobblestones. River stones, soft water-licked pebbles, thick gravel crunching under her feet. She pushes a finger through the soft crust of a roll, digging down deep into its soft middle. That’s what it’s doing to her, out there, punching through her head and thrusting its basalt self all through her, pulverizing her organs and liquefying her heart. The car whines and rattles as it slams in and out of potholes, gears grinding as the company man navigates the curves. Eyes still shut, Ruth runs a fingertip over each lid, pressing in firm circles against the skin, feeling the hard jelly mounds roll back and forth at her touch until they ache. The landscape outside reforms itself as a negative against her lids, gnarled and blasted mountains rimmed in small explosions of sulfur-yellow light. She can see it, almost the tip of it, pulsating with a monstrous beauty in the distance, past the last high ridges of land. Someone else must have known, and that’s why they named it so. A wild perversion of nature, calling out through the everlasting sepulcher of night, seeking out and casting its blind gaze only upon her— The company wife is grabbing her arm. The car has stopped. Henry and the man are outside, fumbling with the smoking engine hood. Ruth wrests her arm away from the woman’s touch, and opens the door. The rest of the caravan has passed them by, rounded the corner into the park. Ruth starts down the side of the road, slow, nonchalant, as if taking in a bit of air. As if she could. The air has bled out, and only the pounding static silence remains, filling her throat and lungs with its hadal-deep song. —I’m coming, she says to it. —I’m almost here. She hears the wife behind her, and picks up her pace. —You gals don’t wander too far, she hears the company man call out. —We should have this fixed in a jiffy. Ruth kicks her shoes off and runs. Behind her, the woman is calling out to the men. Ruth drops her purse. She runs like she used to when she was a kid, a freckled tomboy racing through the wheat fields of her father’s farm in North Dakota. She runs like an animal, and now the land and the trees and the banks of the river are moving fast, slipping past her piston legs along with the long bend of the road. Her lungs are on fire and her heart is all crazy and jumpy against her breasts and tears streak into her mouth and nose and it doesn’t matter because she is so close and it’s calling her with the hook of its song and pulling her reeling her in and Henry’s hand is at the back of her neck and there’s gravel and the road smashing against her mouth and blood and she’s grinding away and kicking and clawing forward and all she has to do is lift up her head just a little bit and keep her eyes shut and she will finally see— Ruth’s hands are clasped tight in her lap. Scum floats across the surface of an almost empty cup of coffee. A sob escapes her mouth, and she claps her hand over it, hitching as she pushes it back down. This small house. This small life. This cage. She can’t do it anymore. The clock on the bookcase chimes ten. —I swear, this is the last time, Ruth says, wiping the tears from her cheeks. The room is empty, but she knows who she’s speaking to. It knows, too. —I know how to git to you. I know how to see you. This is the last goddamn day. On the kitchen table before her is the scrapbook, open to her favorite clipping. Ruth peels it carefully from the yellowing page and holds it up to the light. Somewhere in the southern tropics: a pretty young woman in stained white linens, lounging on a bench that encircles the impossibly thick trunk of a tree that has no beginning or end, whose roots plunge so far beyond the ends of earth and time that, somewhere in the vast cosmic oceans above, they loop and descend and transform into the thick fronds and leaves that crown the woman’s head with dappled shadow. All around the woman and the tree, drops of dried blood are spattered across the paper like the tears of a dying sun. The woman’s face lies behind one circle of deep brown, earth brown, wood brown, corpse brown. She is smiling, open-eyed, breathing it all in. Ruth balls the clipping up tight, then places it in her mouth, chewing just a bit before she swallows. There is no other place the woman and the palm have been, that they will ever be. Alone, apart, removed, untouched. All life here flows around them, utterly repelled. They cannot be bothered. It is of no concern to them. What cycle of life they are one with was not born in this universe. In the other room, Henry is getting dressed. If he’s talking, she can’t hear. Everywhere, black static rushes through the air, strange equations and latitudes and lost languages and wondrous geometries crammed into a silence so old and deep that all other sounds are made void. Ruth closes the scrapbook and stands, wiping the sweat from her palms on her Sunday dress. There is a large knife in the kitchen drawer, and a small axe by the fireplace. She chooses the knife. She knows it better, she knows the heft of it in her hand when slicing into meat and bone. When he finally opens the door and steps into the small room, she’s separating the rolls, the blade slipping back and forth through the powdery grooves. Ruth lifts one up to Henry, and he takes it. It barely touches his mouth before she stabs him in the stomach, just above the belt, where nothing hard can halt its descent. He collapses, and she falls with him, pulling the knife out and sitting on his chest as she plunges it into the center of his chest, twice because she isn’t quite sure where his heart is, then once at the base of his throat. Blood, like water gurgling over river stones, trickling away to a distant, invisible sea. That, she can hear. Ruth wipes the blade on her dress as she rises, then places it on the table, picks up the basket and walks to the front door. She opens it a crack. —Henry’s real sick, she says to the company man. —We’re gonna stay home today. She gives him the rolls, staring hard at the company wife in the back seat as he walks back to his car. The wife looks her over, confused. Ruth shuts the door. That bitch doesn’t know a single thing. Ruth slips out the back, through the window of their small bedroom. The caravan of cars is already headed toward the highway, following the Columbia downstream toward Beacon Rock. They’ll never make it to their picnic. They’ll never see it. They never do. She moves through the alley, past the last sad row of company houses and into the tall evergreens that mark the end of North Bonneville. With each step into the forest, she feels the weight of the town fall away a little, and something vast and leviathan burrows deeper within, filling up the unoccupied space. When she’s gone far and long enough that she no longer remembers her name, she stops, and presses her fingers deep into her sockets, scooping her eyes out and pinching off the long ropes of flesh that follow them out of her body like sticky yarn. What rushes from her mouth might be screaming or might be her soul, and it is smothered in the indifferent silence of the wild world. And now it sees, and it moves in the way it sees, floating and darting back and forth through the hidden phosphorescent folds of the lands within the land, darkness punctured and coruscant with unnamable colors and light, its dying flesh creeping and hitching through forests petrified by the absence of time, past impenetrable ridges of mountains whose needle-sharp peaks cut whorls in the passing rivers of stars. A veil of flies hovers about the caves of its eyes and mouth, rising and falling with every rotting step, and bits of flesh scatter and sink to the earth like barren seeds next to its pomegranate blood. If there is pain, it is beyond such narrow acknowledgement of its body. There is only the bright beacon of light and thunderous song, the sonorous ringing of towering monolithic basalt breathing in and out, pushing the darkness away. There is, finally, past the curvature of the overgrown wild, a lush grass plain of emerald green, ripe and plump under a fat hot sun, a wide bench of polished wood, and a palm tree pressing in a perfect arc against its small back, warm and worn and hard like ancient stone. When it looks up, it cannot see the tree’s end. Its vision rises blank and wondrous with branches as limitless as both their dreams, past all the edges of all time, and this is the way it should be. The post PseudoPod 667: Allochthon appeared first on PseudoPod.

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Started
Sep 9th, 2016
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Oct 11th, 2019
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No. of Episodes
176
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