Author Topic: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular  (Read 8786 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« on: September 25, 2009, 07:00:53 AM »
Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular


By Dale L. Sproule
Read by Jaron Cohen

Every night since I was seven years old he’s swooped down at me out of the darkness of sleep: a pale, skeletal boy with thin arms thrust out like wings, eyes like white domes in black craters, mouth open as he screams acceleration.

His name is Wren.



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Jason M

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2009, 04:05:53 AM »
Going to have to listen to this one again.  I don't know why, but I had a hard time sticking with it.

I do think the part where he "timidly" yelled into the furnace grate jarred me out of the story.  The voice that was used was anything but timid.

Scattercat

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2009, 04:39:52 AM »
I enjoyed this story a lot.  I like the ambiguity and the lack of explanation; there're obviously reasons why all of these things are happening, but it's never quite clear precisely what they are, nor how much of what happens is supernatural as opposed to the skewed perceptions of an abused child.

I did have a hard time placing the main character's age.  Obviously, he's retelling this from a much later perspective, so it's not "wrong" per se that he's using such skillful language to relate something with a six-year-old's perspective, but it was still difficult and I could have used a clue earlier than the birthday scene.  This is by way of a minor quibble, of course.  Overall, quite solid.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 02:09:39 AM by Scattercat »
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Kanasta

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2009, 11:48:52 AM »
I liked this- chilling and sad. Although the dad's basement didn't scare me as much as it shold have, because it made me think of this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwDka-OqwtI

Conspiracy Pitbull

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2009, 01:45:50 AM »
I liked the story a lot.   The narration and pace of the story were both pluses to me.  It didn't lose my interest and I never found my mind wandering while listening to it.  I usually listen to podcasts during extended walks with my dog and often the visual stimuli overrides the aural stimuli of the stories I'm listening to if it is a weak story.  The scariest and saddest part of this story is the fact that it could so easily be real.  It reminds me of the recent news story about the girl that was kidnapped when she was 11 and held captive for 15 plus years while being essentially forced into sex slavery... what humans are capable of putting each other through is really pretty horrific. 

kristin

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2009, 05:04:18 AM »
I liked this one a lot. I listen to these before I sleep, and I couldn't fall asleep while listening. It made me more awake.

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2009, 09:21:51 PM »
This was a really good story which, like Conspiracy Pitbull, made me think of that recent news story.  That's not a bad thing--hearing that story tells me that it really could happen, and that makes it scarier.  The part about the dog made me queasy, as I love dogs and they have so little control over their own fate.  Because of that I don't know that I would be eager to listen to it again.  But it was a really good story.


Bdoomed

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 05:48:30 AM »
I liked this one a lot. I listen to these before I sleep, and I couldn't fall asleep while listening. It made me more awake.
someone enjoys nightmares...

recently listened, this one was awesome.  The reading was interesting, I pictured some stereotypical hick dad, however the narration gave him a very white collar image, which I think served to make the dad that much more creepy.  He could totally be the next door neighbor you wave to casually as you both get in your respective cars.

*shudder*
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AliceNred

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2009, 01:14:41 PM »
I enjoyed this story a lot.  I like the ambiguity and the lack of explanation; there're obviously reasons why all of these things are happening, but it's never quite clear precisely what they are, nor how much of what happens is supernatural as opposed to the skewed perceptions of an abused child.

I did have a hard time placing the main character's age.  Obviously, he's retelling this from a much later perspective, so it's not "wrong" per se that he's using such skillful language to relate something with a six-year-old's perspective, but it was still difficult and I could have used a clue earlier than the birthday scene.  This is by way of a minor quibble, of course.  Overall, quite solid.

I did think there was anything supernatural happening in the story at all. The father clearly did away with the mother although the motives were made clear at the end. The dog Robin was never really dead. I think Wren said so because part of him died in the cellar the first time his father took him down to the basement. The dog was more than half starved and had more than likely been tortured but some had managed to pull through.

I thought this was thick horror. There are those who had/have torture chambers in their basements and who have murdered their wives, and kept their children "safe from the world" by keeping them locked away. All too true.

I agree that we should have been told how old the boys were much earlier. It would have helped with picture that was running in my head. I had to readjust it a bit.

I would have liked the story triggered by one of his brother's visits at night than, "I am going to write this down, in hopes the dark memory will leave me," thing. A bit too clique for my tastes.

I also agree the voice from the cellar was not timid.

Over all I enjoyed the story.



« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 05:13:47 PM by AliceNred »
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kristin

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 02:58:23 AM »
I liked this one a lot. I listen to these before I sleep, and I couldn't fall asleep while listening. It made me more awake.
someone enjoys nightmares...


*shudder*

They make for more interesting dreams.

iGregory

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 03:51:40 AM »
First, lemme say this... First time caller, long time lurker:)

This story disturbed me a great deal...  in fact, it seems like there have been a bunch of stories about little kids lately and all of them disturbed me.

But this one got to me...

I think it might have something to do with the fact that I have 3 sons of my own -- twin boys who just turned 4 and another who's only 20 months old -- and as I was listening to this story, I kept putting my own boys faces to the voices.  This was definately not intentional, I just couldn't stop it from happening.

Maybe that's the sign of a good horror story -- it appeals to some aspect of you life and makes you imagine it in a very uncomfortable way.

I don't know if I could say I enjoyed it, but, it certainly evoked an emotional reaction...  and that's a good thing...  (nothing like a Martha Stewart quote in a horror fiction message forum.. hehehe.)

Greg

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2009, 04:55:05 PM »
I thought this story was well-told, and effective. So effective, indeed, that I found I couldn't listen to it in one installment - I had to take a break midway.

I'm also a little unclear on how Ren died at the end - he had obviously figured out how to create an automatic dogfight mechanism, then used the same principle to create a trap for his father, with himself as a component of this trap. His body was cold when his brother touched it, so it's not like he had just died from the concussion. So what happened? How did he manage to get the whole thing set up, and end up dead? Did he somehow kill himself? Did he starve/dehydrate to death? I'm confused.

Gus3284

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2009, 06:30:25 AM »
I am about to listen to this for a third time.  The first time, it was sounding like a regular boo-scary tale.  When things started to get twisted, like Wren being shocked by what he saw in the basement, I realized that it was going to be darker than I expected.  The second time I listened, I picked up on more clues that took on a scarier meaning with the power of hindsight.  As a horror story, it is definitely one of the best I've heard/read.  I also appreciated the reading and production.  It was voiced with near perfection.

Thanks to Pseudopod for once again filling me with dread and fear.  Now if only you could take care of the mole problem in my neighbor's front yard.

kibitzer

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2009, 11:06:14 AM »
Your neighbour has a mole? I hope to god you've not heard "Got Milk?"

Oh wait... you mean a MOLE... like in Thunderbirds...

senafan

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2009, 06:02:10 PM »
I really enjoyed the story, as I have all of the ones I've listened to.  The father is, I think, a really good portrayal.  There were a few details I felt were missing here and there, but the kernel of the story and the vast majority of its realization are really successful and creepy as hell!  Unlike some here, I feel that the story would have actually benefited from a different reader;  I feel this narrator paces things too fast and gives his readings an undertone of good-natured energy that would be more appropriate to a fond reminiscence than a horror story.  (Compare the deadened tone of the woman who read "Wave Goodbye" or, in fact, all of the other Pseudopod readers I've heard so far, though I only started listening about a month ago.)  That said, I'm really enjoying Pseudopod and plan to support it!
     

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2009, 03:51:02 PM »
Excellent. I'm finding that I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories. "Bottle Babies" and "Camp" also spring to mind. (This could've been a cousin of "Camp," which was also excellent.) The inherent danger to the children from their parents terrifies me. It was pretty clear from early on that their father was a killer, but what really got me was when Ren gave Barry the puppy. That was sick. And oh so well played. I started thinking about how Barry had heard more than one scream in the basement, none of which he recognized, and started shuddering.

As for the boys ages...I could be wrong but I thought 6 and 9 was mentioned pretty early in the story.

I missed that Ren's body was cold when Barry touched him. I kind of thought he'd broken his neck in the fall or something. Might have to go back and give it another listen to investigate :)

All in all, horrorific story. Well done PP!

MacArthurBug

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2009, 06:03:41 PM »
First time caller, long time lurker.

Hello fresh mea.. err Gregory! Good intro bit.

As to the story. This one gave me such a case of the shivers it was hard for me to fix on "like/don't like" it unsettled me. That's generally good stuff- a case of the creeping heebie jeebies in cold weather not so great. (I'm a desert rat who just relocated to a place with weather) Over all this is a winner of a story. It may even get a re-listen as I try to set a proper all hallows eve mood.
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Jim Bihyeh

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2009, 09:02:49 AM »
This story spun itself out well, revealing only what it needed to, scene by scene, until we saw a dead, maggot-ridden puppy nailed to a board. Ah, the horror, the horror.

This was a strong story, overall. Any story with a basement is usually going to nab my attention, though, so I must confess a bias. I never grew up around basements (I saw one when I was seven years old and then not again until I was 22).

Although, I thought the ending and the death of Ren was a bit devisive. His death could have been more clearly explained (although, as I said, this story was great about revealing only what it needed to).

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2009, 12:31:34 AM »
I really liked this one until the basement sequence. I think the scariest part was the fact that you keep expecting the dad to physically harm one of the kids, and he never does. Kind of like the scene in Family Guy where Peter goes to the doctor and they keep doing schlock with him, pulling the rug out from under Peter and Lois the whole time, except with horror.

I don't think the reveal of the basement was scary enough, though when Ren model-airplane-tracked himself into his father to kill him, that was a good scene.

Pretty good reading.
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Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 161: Fourth Person Singular
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2009, 01:20:40 AM »
Shtick?