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Author Topic: Pseudopod 389: The House, The Garden And The Occupants  (Read 3074 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: June 08, 2014, 05:23:29 PM »

Pseudopod 389: The House, The Garden And The Occupants

by Amanda C. Davis.

“The House, The Garden And The Occupants” first appeared in the anthology TRIANGULATION:MORNING AFTER, from Parsec Ink, in July 2012. “I like the concept of ghosts as personalities locked in a never-ending ‘now’. Also, when it comes to haunted houses, one ghost is never enough.”

Amanda C. Davis is a combustion engineer who loves baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her work has appeared or is upcoming in Goblin Fruit, Shock Totem, and Cemetery Dance, among others. She tweets enthusiastically as @davisac1. You can find out more about her and read more of her work at her blog. WOLVES AND WITCHES is a book of dark fairytale retellings by Amanda and her sister, Megan Engelhardt, released from World Weaver Press in 2013.

Your reader – Pamila Payne – is a narrator and writer of noir horror. She’s the creator of The Bella Vista Motel series. Originally from Los Angeles, she’s currently writing in Yucatan, Mexico. She can be found on twitter, @mspamila and on her website, Vintage Vice. Her short story, “Agent Ramiel Gets The Call” will be included in EXILES, an international anthology exploring the theme of the outsider, edited by Paul Brazil and benefitting The Marfan Trust.

Links for Jason Arnopp and Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymer can be found… well, at the links right under their names!



“This is Anne, with shreds of her gown wisping away like the edges of clouds, at the elbow of the grand staircase where the iron-framed window overlooks a patch of garden entombed in briars. She casts a glow onto the wall that reflects faintly but bestows her no shadow. She is riveted to the window; her face is watery, difficult to make out, but her posture reveals her inner workings. A clock chimes midnight. Slowly, she lowers her head. Slowly, she turns from the window. She takes a single step upstairs before she dissipates like fog under the sun.

The first time she took this path she followed it to her bedroom, to a letter-opener strewn on her writing desk, to her bath, to her grave. Now she exists only in a narrow series of moments. She only completed this path once.

Anne comes with the first stroke of midnight and leaves with the last; she knows nothing but midnight, and the word that falls from her ghostly lips, unheard, and those things have composed the full of her existence for over one hundred years.

#

This is the column of light that flares in the garden, as tall as a tree and bright as an angel, just after the last chime of midnight. It burns bright for a single blink of an eye before it collapses to the earth, leaving the night empty and dead. A pool of light lingers at its base. The garden shifts. Its shadows follow no rules.

The column of light, in its youngest years, answered to Boy, and then to Groom, and a host of careless and vicious names in between, but the only name it will answer to now is the last one it knew, the one that Anne called it. If the light speaks, it has never been heard; if it knows anything at all, it is the single moment of flaring and falling, too quick to grasp. Its existence is an eternal cycle of light and dark. It moves so fast that life from its perspective might be a single blur of light. But it will never tell.

#

This is the roil of malice that dwells in the crack above the lintel of the front door, a seething coil tight as a Gordian knot, black as blindness, in a place no light can reach.

#

This is Jacob Winterbeam, twenty-five, who has sunk the savings of his brief life into an estate that has by disrepair or disrepute been spared the indignity of subdivisions and commercial zoning.”





Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 07:32:36 AM »

Cute.  Nice happy ending.  Not remotely horrific.  But generally good.
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fractaloon
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 10:16:00 AM »

I really enjoyed this a lot. I kept having to rewind because a turn of phrase or image from the story was so evocative.   It would send my brain off on a tangent for a minute. Then I would realize I had missed something that I really wanted to hear.

I did don't the Royal of Malice a bit confusing, I think mainly because it had a name.  It gave that entity a personality I didn't feel. I would have preferred unnamed malice.

Really though... loved the story.
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albionmoonlight
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 03:01:45 PM »

This was fun.  I loved the happy ending.  It was, as Aldistar noted, a sort of a twist to have a happy ending in a story like this.

I also liked the parallel between the ghosts and the humans.  And how the elimination of the evil also seemed to allow the humans to get together.

And, hey, it turns out that love does conquer all.  I knew it!
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bounceswoosh
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 09:32:44 PM »

Isn't it a Roil, not a Royal? I didn't really get that part. I would have liked the story better without the Roil. It introduced an antagonist that then just kind of .. poofed.
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 08:49:30 AM »

Isn't it a Roil, not a Royal? I didn't really get that part. I would have liked the story better without the Roil. It introduced an antagonist that then just kind of .. poofed.

I couldn't tell if it was Roil or Royal all throughout.  Either one made some sense.  In most of the sections involving the Malice, that's what was occupying my mind was trying to discern one from t'other.
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kibitzer
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 05:17:30 PM »

It's "roil of malice"
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Thundercrack!
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 04:34:23 AM »

Roil, as in inward-turning, twistedly churning. That sick, bitter, stomach-wrenching feeling personified. Really nice.

I liked this, although my mind wandered away from the story somewhere in the middle (I was driving at the time), so I will give this another listen, as I'm sure I missed some things.

My only (slight) disappointment relates to the lip-reading. I really liked how Cameron was introduced, and thought the deafness in one ear and associated quirkiness in listening poise, was brilliant, evocative characterisation. So I was a bit disappointed when it emerged that this was simply a plot point. It sort of cheapened it, for me.

But that's a very minor criticism of an otherwise beautifully written (and narrated) piece.



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fractaloon
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014, 11:59:54 AM »

I have never heard of roil before. I have to listen to the end again.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 03:51:14 PM »

I rather liked this quiet mood piece and its narration. This is full of great fully realized characters. I did not find the hearing loss contrived, and never expected it to be Chekhov's Gun. It was a nice way to turn a handicap into a strength, and she never came across as a MAGIC HANDICAPABLE CHARACTER. Stephen King would have given her prophetic powers, psychokinesis, and she would have blown up The Roil with her MAGIC HANDICAPABLE BRAIN BEAMS.

So, was she driven to suicide by her father or a spurned lover because she had fallen in love with a servant during an inappropriate time period?
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