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Author Topic: Pseudopod 119: Pran’s Confession  (Read 6267 times)

Bdoomed

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on: December 12, 2008, 09:55:09 PM
Pseudopod 119: Pran’s Confession

By Joel Arnold

Read by Ben Phillips

The young men in Bangkok sometimes called him Grandpa or Uncle as he clutched their lithe oiled bodies. His fingers grasped a bit too tight, his nails dug into their skin and drew beads of blood. Sometimes he’d choke them, but never enough to kill them. He had to be careful. He was gaining a reputation among them, and a reputation was something he had to stay away from. But it was hard not to let the old feelings overcome him, the memories flooding into his mind of how it once felt to watch a life quickly fade behind the suffocating film of a plastic bag.

Samnang startled. He clutched frantically at his shirt pocket. The piece of paper was still there.




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #1 on: December 12, 2008, 10:25:41 PM
I really enjoyed this piece. A truly disturbing ending, in my mind, and a reminder of a topic bleached from the pages of history. Good horror with a historical twist. The best Pseudopod have run in a while.

*prepares for torrent of badmouthing to follow original naive quote*



MacArthurBug

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Reply #2 on: December 13, 2008, 02:35:24 PM
Raving- I agree with you on this. I really liked this story. It had the feeling of something swiped out of time, crinkled around the edges and faded with time. Not a "pure" feeling historical, no, but it still smelt of mothballs and dust. I'm used to being the simple minded one on the forums, so maybe we're just like minded.

I enjoyed the way this story pulled together- it genuinely creeped me out, and that happens quite seldom.

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Bdoomed

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Reply #3 on: December 13, 2008, 07:10:21 PM
I enjoyed it up till the childrens' mantra.  Before that, it was chilling, both historically and psychologically. I did not like the mantra at all, the slight dream sequence was .... ehhh.  however after that, i liked it again :P

overall i can say i enjoyed it, pretty damn chilling

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Raving_Lunatic

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Reply #4 on: December 14, 2008, 11:16:10 AM
I enjoyed the way this story pulled together- it genuinely creeped me out, and that happens quite seldom.

Second the "creeped me out" quote.  Haven't been that scared while in the bath since I saw Psycho.



Listener

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Reply #5 on: December 15, 2008, 03:04:33 PM
This was an interesting story, definitely personal/psychological horror. I don't think I really liked it, though. I felt like it took too long to get where we were going, and then when we got there, Samnang gets into a kickball game with a head and then rips his own face off. I don't know... I guess it just didn't work for me.

The kids were creepy, but was their enjoyment of Samnang's death really a necessary point?

Also, the fact that Samnang likes to have sex with young men/boys, I feel, didn't really increase the story at all.

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gelee

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Reply #6 on: December 15, 2008, 04:42:12 PM
This was an interesting story, definitely personal/psychological horror. I don't think I really liked it, though. I felt like it took too long to get where we were going, and then when we got there, Samnang gets into a kickball game with a head and then rips his own face off. I don't know... I guess it just didn't work for me.

The kids were creepy, but was their enjoyment of Samnang's death really a necessary point?

Also, the fact that Samnang likes to have sex with young men/boys, I feel, didn't really increase the story at all.
I agree about the end, and the children's roll in it.  The male prostitute sex seemed a bit of a red herring.  Perhpas the writer had a change of plans, but I got the impression that this would play a bigger role later in the story.  Still, a very solid offering, and well read.



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Reply #7 on: December 16, 2008, 05:43:56 PM
This one was an "almost" for me.  I almost really liked it.  I almost really hated it.  I think I would have liked it a lot more if the children hadn't started kicking the body.  Yeah, I get it, they were playing on a blood-soaked playground.  They were temporarily influenced by the long dead victims.



Sgarre1

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Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 05:36:55 AM
Agree with most everything already said - the positive and the negative (although the positive outweighed the negative for me).  Good solid writing, serious topic - really, only the odd start and the kids joining in seemed off.  The flesh covered soccer ball was both very creepy and really silly - better to be left for another story.

Good stuff

Thanks for listening
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JoeFitz

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Reply #9 on: January 15, 2009, 12:04:53 AM
A mixed reaction for me, too. There was a really great build-up and the payoff almost worked. And then it kept going. I echo the comment above that the kids' "pleasure" was off-putting (and brought me out of the story). The whole denouement, really, abruptly changed the story and not in a good way.

And I felt that the hutring prostitutes angle is such a cliche that it detracted from the story.



Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: November 02, 2009, 05:52:29 PM
I thought this story was really good.  Horror fiction set against a backdrop of real life atrocities can have a much stronger effect than horror alone.  I do agree with others though that the kid's involvement seemed out of place.  Other than that, good story.



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Reply #11 on: March 19, 2010, 03:05:23 PM
I'll go along with the treatment of the prostitutes seemed very throwaway and did not add significantly to the character. Maybe the purpose was to establish a strong dislike of the character early, but the remainder of the story did that well.

When considering Asian horror cinema, which is what this looked like in my minds eye, the world going funny and the ghosts rejecting the act of repentance worked for me. The ghosts of the past seemed to not care that he reconciled a single sin. The other thousands of honorable ancestors still need their reconciliation. And they took a piece of that.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #12 on: June 28, 2010, 07:31:18 PM
This one gets a lukewarm reaction from me.  I did not feel engrossed in it, nor did I particularly care what happened.  He was a bad man who felt guilty then died from a pseudo-manifestation of his sins.  That plot sounds pretty familiar (there was a Twilight Zone episode with a Nazi concentration camp guard who underwent a similar death).  I didn't feel, beyond the unusual Asian setting (which I did appreciate), that this story contributed much to the already tired genre of ghostly revenge.

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Marlboro

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Reply #13 on: December 12, 2019, 04:58:30 PM
I think a lot of the previous posters missed some things in the story.

1) The narrator mentioning that he still visited - but didn't kill - young prostitutes was an essential part of the story. He clearly raped and suffocated several children while working in the prison camp. In the end he was killed by children temporarily possessed by his victims. That's why they experienced the unexplainable and unspoken joy while killing the man.

2) The children's mantra isn't really their mantra - it was Samnang's constant command to his prisoners thrown back at him.

3) Samnang "ripping his face off" isn't something that just happened out of the blue. The possessed kids were suffocating him with (spectral) plastic bags. His destroying his own face is just the result of his trying to extricate himself.


 This was a very good story, imo. You guys should give it another listen.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2019, 05:06:03 PM by Marlboro »



Languorous Lass

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Reply #14 on: December 13, 2019, 03:56:34 AM
Marlboro, I just have to say that I smile every time I log into the forum and see another round of posts from you.  😎  I went back and listened to all of the stories from the first three Escape Artists podcasts, and now I’m working my way through Cast of Wonders, but I haven’t posted comments about the stories.  Maybe I should follow your lead.



Marlboro

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Reply #15 on: December 13, 2019, 05:38:40 PM
Marlboro, I just have to say that I smile every time I log into the forum and see another round of posts from you.  😎  I went back and listened to all of the stories from the first three Escape Artists podcasts, and now I’m working my way through Cast of Wonders, but I haven’t posted comments about the stories.  Maybe I should follow your lead.

Thanks! I enjoy your posts as well. I'm surprised that there aren't very many active posters here. I've noticed a general trend in slower activity on message boards over the last several years so I suppose that I shouldn't be all that surprised. Still, you would think more people would like to post their reviews.