Author Topic: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk  (Read 3498 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« on: October 04, 2014, 07:47:05 PM »
Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk

by Eileen Wiedbrauk.

“Breath Stirs In The Husk” first appeared in the URBAN GREEN MAN anthology edited by Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine (Edge Publishing, August 2013). “This story is set in a part of the world where my parents grew up; I’d often visited family in the area but never lived there myself — never even thought of living there. But in a strange turn of events, I moved to the town of Alpena the same month this story was first published. I sincerely hope the two aren’t linked in some inextricable, cosmic fashion as the next project I’m working on is set in outer space.”

EILEEN WIEDBRAUK is Editor-in-Chief of World Weaver Press as well as a writer, blogger, book reviewer, coffee addict, cat herder, MFA graduate, fantasist-turned-fabulist-turned-urban-fantasy-junkie, Odyssey Workshop alumna, designer, tech geek, entrepreneur, avid reader, and a somewhat decent cook. She wears many hats, as the saying goes. Which is an odd saying in this case, as she rarely looks good in hats. Her creative work has appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, North American Review, Swink, Enchanted Conversation, and others. Find her at EileenWiedbrauk.com or @EileenWiedbrauk on Twitter. She’s working on a collection of Doctor Who inspired essays, more dark short fiction and a light space opera while her alter-ego tackles sci-fi romance. She’s editing two forthcoming anthologies: SPECTER SPECTACULAR II: 13 DEATHLY TALES and WEIRD & WONDROUS WORK: SPECULATIVE FICTION PRESENTS THE ODDEST OF ODD JOBS (we spend most of our waking hours at work, why shouldn’t our characters?) featuring stories by Alex Bledsoe, Ellen Kushner, Deliah Sherman, Douglas Cohen, Ryan Britt, and others. Both anthologies are forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.

Your reader this week is Abra Staffin-Wiebe can be found at Abra Staffin-Wiebe.com and is currently bringing forth Circus of Brass and Bone, a post-apocalyptic steampunk story about a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization. People come together . . . or die. Join the Circus of Brass and Bone on its travels and witness the grand finale, coming to you this Halloween.



“The corn stood shoulder high on Carla as she cut through her father’s fields. At the edge of the field she stopped, took a deep breath, and forced her fists to unclench. She stared at the wooded land in front of her but didn’t set foot in it. Instead she dug the toe of her slip-on into the dry dirt, catching crumbled earth-bits in the crease between plastic and canvas, then fidgeted with the band of her bra, trying to get air to the sweat pooling beneath it. She blew out a breath. “Stop being stupid, Carla,” she muttered. It was enough of a prod for her to manage five steps out of the field and into the bordering woodland before panic seized her and she sprinted back to the sheltering rows of corn. Carla swallowed a sob. She hadn’t been able to make herself go inside the wood for three months. But she had to now. She had to. She needed to get back to the clearing–the place where she’d seen the Green Man the one and only time she’d ever seen him. If she got there, she would find him again. She was certain of it.

She scrubbed at her face and tried again. She got as far as the first pine; its thick branches reached out toward her with the rustle of the wind. Carla whimpered. She took another step. Something brushed against her forearm. She squeaked and jumped. Every muscle in her body strained. She felt her lip tremble. She couldn’t do it. Couldn’t go farther into the wood.

‘Green Man,’ she whispered to the trees. Tears and frustration choked her voice. ‘Green Man, help me.’

He’d helped her out once before, maybe he would again.”




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ElectricPaladin

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 09:07:54 PM »
"Maybe the Green Man will help me again!"

Oh, poor little darling. You do know you're in a Pseudopod story, not a Podcastle story, right?
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bounceswoosh

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Re:
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 11:04:59 PM »
The horror, for me, was not in the Green man himself, but in the protagonist's all too real situation.

ElectroSquid

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 02:57:28 AM »
Creepy... I was actually starting to think "oh this is kind of heartwarming" as the Green Man wrapped the baby in bits of vegetation... and then the line about "if it died, he would bury it in its mother, as he had before" and yeah, I remembered we were in Pseudopod land, not the kingdom of Podcastle! Brrr

Listener

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 07:25:19 AM »
The only issue I had with this story is that I didn't feel like there was closure for Carla's storyline. She just... died. Now, it may be that I missed it because I was in turning traffic and the words missed my brain, but I don't think there was any realization that she was dying.

Otherwise, this was quite good, and realistic (except for the Green man, of course). I don't know where this occurred, and nailing down the time was difficult until we found out that the father started sixth grade in 1971. That was distracting, trying to figure it out.
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kibitzer

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 05:50:48 PM »
"Maybe the Green Man will help me again!"

Oh, poor little darling. You do know you're in a Pseudopod story, not a Podcastle story, right?

This! Brilliant -- made me literally laugh out loud :)

zoanon

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2014, 02:04:41 PM »
very nice, I love stories that remind us that the fae are really not just happy sparkly butterflies but dark, dangerous, and not to be trifled with.

Moritz

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2014, 12:45:39 PM »
I am still listening to this one:

"dumme Ziege", the German curse, means "stupid goat". It would only be used for women, because it's a feminine noun. Also, the adjective made of Ziege (zickig) stands for "bitchy".

(a day later):
OK, now listened to it twice. I generally liked the story, but I couldn't take it seriously, because we have a toy at home that is a pirated ugly doll which we call "the green man", so I was constantly thinking of such a thing when listening to the story:

« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 03:39:32 AM by Moritz »

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 09:02:20 AM »
I first came across an incarnation of The Green Man in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, was excited to learn that was based on real mythologies.  I find the Green Man a very interesting entity.  This incarnation fit well into my image of the myth--kind of the darker side of myth.  And, awwww, baby green man!

I thought it was well done, and was a good use of mixed points of view--the green man's view of the world is so different from hers.  From her place I can see how she would think the green man is helping her.  And, hey, he does do exactly what she asks for, but with the unfortunate side effect of death. 

albionmoonlight

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 10:35:35 AM »
The writing and the reading of the sisters was spot-on.  They came across as so toxic and annoying, but in a realistic way.  That was my favorite part of a very good story.

adrianh

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 03:25:44 AM »
I don't know where this occurred, and nailing down the time was difficult until we found out that the father started sixth grade in 1971. That was distracting, trying to figure it out.

Yeah. This niggled with me too.

I don't mind stories that aren't set in any particular time. I do mind when I'm not given enough cues early, have the story playing out in one era in my head, only to get everything rearranged by a period-specific cue late in the story. Kills my suspension of disbelief stone cold dead.

Fenrix

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Re: Pseudopod 406: Breath Stirs In The Husk
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2014, 10:27:22 AM »

And, hey, he does do exactly what she asks for, but with the unfortunate side effect of death. 


He's helping her improve herself and the world by being awesome compost.
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velocity

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Re:
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2014, 12:20:23 PM »
I didn't know about the green man legend.  the story is scary, though.  you don't know what waits beyond the corn...

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Re:
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 10:03:41 AM »
I didn't know about the green man legend.  the story is scary, though.  you don't know what waits beyond the corn...

My first exposure to the Green Man legend was with the first book of the Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World in which there was a representative of the legend.  In that case the Green Man is much more benevolent (albeit powerful) than many of his incarnations.