Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: Pseudopod 153: The Hay Devils  (Read 4454 times)

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5277
  • Mmm. Tiger.
on: July 31, 2009, 04:41:06 AM
Pseudopod 153: The Hay Devils

By Colin P. Davies
Read by Jaron Cohen

Every July Dad would put me on the Greyhound, wave a hearty goodbye, and shout, “House’ll be hollow without you!” Then I’d clamber up on the seat to hoist my bag onto the rack and listen as he pounded the horn in his rusty old pick-up. This year that parting call sounded more forlorn than ever. To my early-adolescent mind, Dad was becoming increasingly odd and worryingly isolated. Lately, I’d woken at night to hear him talking to Mom. The next day he would confess to me how much he still missed her.

But, for the next month, I could put all that behind me. I was off, a hundred miles to the west, to Granddad’s farm; an Illinois retreat for me and my cousins Ray, Suzie and little Sam. It would be a time of picnics and perfect sunshine, of bicycles in the dust and splashing in the cool river.

As the bus moved out of the city, exchanging the squalor of the slums for the lawns and colonnades of the suburban estates, my thoughts were already racing ahead along the road. This holiday would be so much more memorable.

“This year…” I told myself. “This year I aim to catch me a Hay Devil.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

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


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 03:44:19 PM
Oh, I really enjoyed this one. Fun little horror story by Mr. Davies.

Even though we knew that the hay devils were more than superstitons (being that this is Pseudopod), it was fun to see that angle played out between the boy and his grandfather about whether they were real or just a game. I thought the atmosphere in the climatic scene was well done, too.

Nice reading by Jaron Cohen, as well. All in all, this was a definite win for me!


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 06:50:03 PM
Great reading. Great story, though I've heard versions of it before, which made me think about a couple of rejections I've gotten for stories where the publishers said "Good writing, but you're not breaking any new ground with this topic." I don't feel that the story broke any new ground. That doesn't take away from my enjoyment; just a statement of fact.

Also, why do so many stories like this have a mentally-slow character? Other than being unable to lie which lends credence to the fact that the Hay Devils were real, why was Sam there? It would've been just as easy for Ray to "always turn bright red when he lies, and he sure wasn't turning red now" or something.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Raving_Lunatic

  • Radiohead Addict (please, do not encourage this)
  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 470
  • Red Blue Green
Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 09:41:25 PM
Fun. Like others have said, not massively groundbreaking in terms of originality, but also very well-written... why smash a winning formula?



csrster

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 06:30:21 AM
It was nice to have a proper _supernatural_ horror story on pseudopod for a change. I(Not that I've got
anything against psychopaths and zombies you understand.)

Btw, can anyone identify a fairly schlocky movie I remember seeing on TV many years ago which had a similar theme?
A mother tries to bring her son back from the dead after he accidentally drowns. Except it turns out that he actually drowned
himself to get away from his overprotective mother and he doesn't want to come back. So he sends _something else_
instead.



Sgarre1

  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1210
  • "Let There Be Fright!"
Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 01:14:09 PM
Easy-peasy!

That would be the story "Bobby", which you may have seen in one of two versions.  It was originally part of a Dan Curtis made for TV anthology movie named DEAD OF NIGHT from 1977, which is the much less famous twin to the famous TRILOGY OF TERROR (1975).  Both TRILOGY (famous for the segment "Amelia" - an adaptation of Matheson's story "Prey" - and its Zuni fetish doll) and DEAD OF NIGHT are compendiums of Richard Matheson stories and the ending of "Bobby" is certainly ultra-creepy and caused me many a chill back in the day (as the kids say).

Later, some opportunist (well, Dan Curtis himself, no doubt) made TRILOGY OF TERROR II (1996) which was straight to video and showed a lot on sci-fi channel.  It had "He Who Kills", which is purportedly a sequel to "Prey"/"Amelia" but is really pretty much just the same story rewritten in a new setting, "The Graveyard Rats", which is a famous Henry Kuttner story from the WEIRD TALES pulp days and, yes, a remake of "Bobby" (less effective, IIRC).  You're more likely to have seen this version if you saw it recently.

To make sure that the dumbing down/lowest common denominator-ization of all pop culture continues unabated, the producers of the DVD version of the original, 1977, DEAD OF NIGHT have plastered the "reveal" image of Bobby on the cover, so that the payoff is ruined (see also, recent trailer for QUARANTINE) and so that not a drop of potential money is wasted ("we gotta get the money shot on the packaging" said the fat man, hacking around his smelly cigar and wiping his greasy hands on his silk suit) - all while also assuring that any potential renters of said film will be disappointed that the movie wasn't what it semed and the ending was ruined for them and then they can blame the film and never rent anything from 1977 again.  And so the training of the populace that everything old is bad and that memory and history are to be avoided at all costs (the better to sell you the same thing over and over) continues apace....

But, yes, track it down by all means. "A Second Chance" is weak tea (an attempt to sell the anthology as a series, and prove they could do lighter, "weird" tales and not just horror, I presume) but "No Such Thing As A Vampire" is still good fun (especially if you'ver never read the story) and "Bobby" is pretty damn great.



kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 01:28:35 AM
Really loved the family feel this created, you could believe the people in the story were real. I expected something dark to happen, but not how the family was so completely shattered.

Nice effort, very well read.

I really did not like the outro music. By itself I probably would like it, but it was way too distracting from Alisdair's musings -- I kept losing the thread of what he was saying.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2009, 11:51:52 PM by kibitzer »



thomasowenm

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 364
  • Servant of The Orator Maleficent
Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 02:44:57 AM
A nice, fun horror story.  While this felt like a Goosebumps novel, it still worked.  The grandfather was a very well developed character as well as Johnny and the rest of the grandkids.  I especially like the way the kids youth was stripped away with the break down of the grandfather.  John had stated that he was going to show him they had matured and in they end they had. This wsa a complete story promising me growth and fullfilling that promise.  Well done.



csrster

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Reply #8 on: August 13, 2009, 06:55:05 AM
Easy-peasy!

That would be the story "Bobby", which you may have seen in one of two versions.  It was originally part of a Dan Curtis made for TV anthology movie named DEAD OF NIGHT from 1977, which is the much less famous twin to the famous TRILOGY OF TERROR (1975).  Both TRILOGY (famous for the segment "Amelia" - an adaptation of Matheson's story "Prey" - and its Zuni fetish doll) and DEAD OF NIGHT are compendiums of Richard Matheson stories and the ending of "Bobby" is certainly ultra-creepy and caused me many a chill back in the day (as the kids say).

Later, some opportunist (well, Dan Curtis himself, no doubt) made TRILOGY OF TERROR II (1996) which was straight to video and showed a lot on sci-fi channel.  It had "He Who Kills", which is purportedly a sequel to "Prey"/"Amelia" but is really pretty much just the same story rewritten in a new setting, "The Graveyard Rats", which is a famous Henry Kuttner story from the WEIRD TALES pulp days and, yes, a remake of "Bobby" (less effective, IIRC).  You're more likely to have seen this version if you saw it recently.

To make sure that the dumbing down/lowest common denominator-ization of all pop culture continues unabated, the producers of the DVD version of the original, 1977, DEAD OF NIGHT have plastered the "reveal" image of Bobby on the cover, so that the payoff is ruined (see also, recent trailer for QUARANTINE) and so that not a drop of potential money is wasted ("we gotta get the money shot on the packaging" said the fat man, hacking around his smelly cigar and wiping his greasy hands on his silk suit) - all while also assuring that any potential renters of said film will be disappointed that the movie wasn't what it semed and the ending was ruined for them and then they can blame the film and never rent anything from 1977 again.  And so the training of the populace that everything old is bad and that memory and history are to be avoided at all costs (the better to sell you the same thing over and over) continues apace....

But, yes, track it down by all means. "A Second Chance" is weak tea (an attempt to sell the anthology as a series, and prove they could do lighter, "weird" tales and not just horror, I presume) but "No Such Thing As A Vampire" is still good fun (especially if you'ver never read the story) and "Bobby" is pretty damn great.

Ok, that just might be an adequate answer :-) It was a long time ago, so I'm guessing it was actually "Dead of Night" I saw. Thanks.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #9 on: August 13, 2009, 07:25:50 AM
This was a great little horror story. I liked how it takes you down one path (supernatural horror - who didn't think that the kids are going to discover the devils are real?) only to sucker-punch you in the end, as it is revealed that the supernatural horror is secondary to the emotional one.



umamei

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 32
Reply #10 on: August 21, 2009, 09:49:18 AM
Mmmm.... I <3 this story.  Childhood emotional baggage/horrors + grown-up emotional baggage/horrors + supernatural horrors + monster-under-the-bed sort of childish monster "play" + "snark" hunts = this story.  I loved it.  You could tell where this was going from the very beginning, but that didn't seem to lessen the impact of the story for me, probably because I actually went on snark hunts as a kid and so could identify these "hay devils" as potentially being the same thing--only "real".  I'm not sure I was horrified as much as expected, but I still really enjoyed this story for the memories of the fear I felt at the prospect that snarks were real, and the equal amounts of fear I felt that perhaps snarks were just like Santa only less pretty as far as tales our parents and grandparents tell us as children.



DarkKnightJRK

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 07:09:16 AM
One of the things I love about horror is when a story takes a commonplace fear/horror and spins it into something worse. I'm almost 21 years old, about the time when I'm transfering in my family from "one of the kids" to an adult, where you start hearing about the stuff that your family pulled you away from because you were a kid and shouldn't be involved. When you're a kid you think of your parents, your family, as infallable and perfect, but the more you experience life, the more you see that they have their chinks in the armor alongside their goodness. That's what this reminded me of--this could have just as easily been a story about a child finding out that a family member is indeed not perfect, but the horror in the child's perspective is hightened for the reader/listener by actually making those secrets monsters.

I'm not quite sure if all of that made any sense, so let's just say I liked this story and leave it at that. :)



MacArthurBug

  • Giddy
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 648
  • I can resist anything except temptation
    • undercaffinated
Reply #12 on: August 23, 2009, 05:43:28 PM
I was waiting in line whilst listening to this. Lines have never been so much fun.  Great story, a little creepy well peopled. I'm sure I'd have found more faults if It hadn't been entertaining me through what would have optherwise been utter tedium.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #13 on: August 27, 2009, 01:30:58 PM
This was my first Pseudopod story, so it was a good introduction, well read, well written.
I didn't really think it broke any new ground though in terms of what happened, which is what I really like to see.



Jim Bihyeh

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 40
  • It is the Tale. And the Teller.
Reply #14 on: October 03, 2009, 08:14:29 PM
This story reminded me of the scenes between Judd and Louis in "Pet Sematary." You had a convincing horror springing out of an intimate, inter-family mythology.

I've forgotten half of the monsters I created when I was a teenager to keep my younger brother and sister in line. "Glub-glub" rose from the lake with a single spike that he rammed through your skull if you cried too much. "Kincha" was as large as the galaxy, but could shrink himself to a spider the size of a grain of sand to swing into your ear canal and chew away parts of your eardrum if you didn't listen carefully.

Though, I admire Grandpa's "Hay Devils" that seem to inspire bravado in the younger characters.

This was an old idea for a story, but it was so well-handled and well-narrated that it was actually a relief to know that living authors can still handle this kind of storytelling.

Hats off to you, Pseudopod.

The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own. But as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea...


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #15 on: June 08, 2010, 10:39:37 PM
Again, a very very solid, but unoriginal piece.  I was pleased that the devils were real, however, I found The Village to be such a cop-out.

That being said: the language was tight, the story kicked from the get-go and the narration was great.  I really enjoyed this one.  Maybe it's just because the stories I've recently listened to on PP have been "message" stories like "The Undoing" and "Wave Goodbye" - this one felt positively like a breath of fresh air.  I loved it.

Only reason this won't make the top 10 is the lack of originality, a shame, but it was so very, very well told.  I really don't have anything bad to say about it.  I could practitcally feel the dry, dusty heat of those fields.  Reminds me of the time I spent in Kansas.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Colin P

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #16 on: June 14, 2010, 11:52:57 PM
If there was one thing I wanted to do with this story it was to carry myself and the reader back to those emotions and fears that are so much a part of childhood and so hard to remember as an adult.  Sure, we think we remember, but it’s rare to truly feel that excitement again, that safe warmth, or that chilling terror.  Ray Bradbury is the master here, which is why I set the story in his backyard.  Being from Liverpool, England, I don’t experience dry, dusty heat too often, but I can still imagine and invent – a benevolent trickster, just like Granddad.

Colin P Davies
www.colinpdavies.com