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Author Topic: Pseudopod 194: Crawl  (Read 6261 times)

Bdoomed

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on: May 15, 2010, 02:42:47 AM
Pseudopod 194: Crawl


By Lee Thompson
Read by Dave Thompson of PodCastle

Jim grinned. “If we cut his legs off, how far do you think he can crawl before he dies?”

Sometimes soldiers come back from war full of demons, like my older brother, Jim. He slapped my shoulder, grinning, his eyes shiny as the dark still water in Sullivan County’s gravel pit. I took a step back, sent stones rolling, and rubbed my arm. Sunlight soaked through the high trees at the edge of the property. Jim looked at Robert on the ground. I didn’t want to. Didn’t want to look at Jim either, but sometimes we do what we least want anyway, God knows why.

Jim grinned. “What do you think, Gabe?”

“I don’t know.”




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?


LeeThompson

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Reply #1 on: May 15, 2010, 03:43:05 AM
Thanks for the great intro and outro Alasdair! And Dave did a great job reading my story! Thanks for picking it up.  ;D

Life's all about sub-text.


Bete

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Reply #2 on: May 15, 2010, 02:39:46 PM
I stumbled upon Escape Pod a few months ago and just recently discovered Pseudopod.  I wanted to pop on and give kudos for Crawl.  I'm no spring chicken and have been reading horror for as long as I can remember, so, I was delighted to find myself surprised at the turn of events - that doesn't happen often.

Hurrah!


LeeThompson

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Reply #3 on: May 15, 2010, 10:39:57 PM
Hi, Bete! Thanks for the listen and comment! I'm glad you liked it!  8)

Life's all about sub-text.


kibitzer

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Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 02:40:16 AM
Nice to hear DKT's mellow tones on a Pseudopod story. Kudos, Dave.

Caution: spoilers ahead. (I'll try to be non-specific.)

I found this one a little confusing. Gabe's age was difficult to pick -- at times I had him at about 12 or younger, but clearly he wasn't by some of the things that happened later; I found that distracting. Was he a wimp, totally in thrall to his brother? A really young kid with no worldly experience trying to come to terms with his brother's ferocity? I didn't get it. And I'm sorely puzzled by Jim's actions in the cave -- why'd he do that?? It only made sense if he thought he was somehow influenced or affected like his Mum. He couldn't have thought he'd get that close and come away unscathed.

That said, framing it as a "returned vet exhibits strange behaviour" story was quite good. When we get the reveal, turns out that perhaps he's no different than he's ever been -- at least that's what I took out of it. Nicely done.


Unblinking

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Reply #5 on: May 17, 2010, 01:40:32 PM
Good story, but like kibitzer I had trouble pinpointing his age.  I pictured him as 10-12 at the beginning and got gradually older as the story went on.  I hadn't expected the turn of events, so good to see that pulled off!



LeeThompson

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Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010, 12:17:14 AM
Thanks for listening and comment, Kibtizer and Unblinking! Yeah, I pictured Gabe at roughly 13 (but left it open to the reader) and he has aged, inside, a lot by the end. I wouldn't call Gabe a wimp. He was passive, a peace keeper, like his dad, but he had strength inside, and only needed something extraordinary to bring it out. Did Jim sacrifice himself because he knew it was the only way that Gabe would kill the thing wearing Robert's flesh, the strange creature still bound out by the gravel pit? I think that's why he got close, why he died-- to force his little brother to commit to destroying these things. Or it might be in their heads. He could be an unreliable narrator, though I don't believe that. It's all open to interpretation.
Again! I appreciate you taking the time and glad you still enjoyed it!

Life's all about sub-text.


DKT

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Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 05:39:24 AM
I said it on my LJ, but I just wanted to echo here how much fun I had reading this one, and thanks to Lee for writing such a dark, fun story.

(And I dig hearing that I have "mellow tones," kibitzer :) You're making me feel like The Dude.)


kibitzer

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Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 08:45:16 AM
Lee, great to see you on the board. I really like when an author turns up to discuss their story with all comers. Nice one.


Unblinking

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Reply #9 on: May 18, 2010, 01:43:54 PM
Lee, great to see you on the board. I really like when an author turns up to discuss their story with all comers. Nice one.

Me too!  Always good to hear from the author.   ;D



Monsata

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Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 11:03:45 PM
Perhaps one of the most ear-catching opening lines of dialogue I've ever heard.  Very well done.

And, as a vet, I can tell you that it takes a certain level of insanity to make it in the military, so there's less of a "coming home crazy" and more "coming home with the all crazy-shackles ripped off".



LeeThompson

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Reply #11 on: May 18, 2010, 11:58:59 PM
No trouble. Though it is weird to hear people discuss something I've written. LOL. I appreciate the comments, questions, everything.
Yeah, the opening line was what prompted the whole story. It popped in my head, and I said, "Okay. What the hell is this?" Just had to search the story out to see what these characters were up to. Thanks guys!

 =)

Life's all about sub-text.


Unblinking

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Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 01:32:02 PM
Lee, do you have a website or a blog or anything?



Scattercat

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Reply #13 on: May 19, 2010, 06:32:23 PM
I'm still a little confused about the timing and mechanics.  Were the worms always down there, or were they a new development when Jim got back from the war?  And how did they get people to eat them in the first place?  It doesn't seem like something that would occur under normal circumstances...

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Unblinking

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Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 01:37:26 PM
I'm still a little confused about the timing and mechanics.  Were the worms always down there, or were they a new development when Jim got back from the war?  And how did they get people to eat them in the first place?  It doesn't seem like something that would occur under normal circumstances...

I don't think it's explained, nor does it need to be, whether the worms were always down there.  He found them after the war and that's all we know.

People needed to eat them?  I didn't get that at all.



Scattercat

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Reply #15 on: May 20, 2010, 03:45:15 PM
Mom eats one while she's tied up; it seemed somehow related to everything else that was going on.  I dunno.  It felt disjointed.

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Unblinking

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Reply #16 on: May 21, 2010, 03:36:35 AM
Mom eats one while she's tied up; it seemed somehow related to everything else that was going on.  I dunno.  It felt disjointed.

I thought the little things she was eating were a separate underground creepy-crawly from the people imitators.  The thing she ate was just a food source, I thought.



LeeThompson

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Reply #17 on: May 21, 2010, 04:52:38 AM
Yeah, Unblinking is right, at least the way I'd intended it. LOL. It's what these things that steal people's identities were feeding on, just some poor creature that's lived down in the mine shafts forever. Thanks for listening and the comments! Been super busy at work so I haven't been on here much. And yep, I have a blog. Haven't made a post in a little bit (last one was an interview with Steve Clark of Tasmaniac Publications. Need to make another one as soon as I have the free time. Here you go: http://alongthispathsodarkly.blogspot.com


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Scattercat

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Reply #18 on: May 21, 2010, 05:52:38 AM
See, I was convinced that working out the life cycle of the mine-shaft worms was my only hope of understanding what was going on...

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