Author Topic: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol  (Read 5835 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« on: September 27, 2015, 08:50:01 AM »
Pseudopod 453: The Toyol

by Joel Arnold

The Toyol” originally appeared in Black Static magazine in March, 2014. It has also been reprinted in Joel’s collection of horror, BEDTIME STORIES FOR THE APOCALYPSE III, which can be found in most ebook stores.

JOEL ARNOLD lives in Minnesota. His writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Weird Tales and the Cemetery Dance anthology, SHIVERS VII.

Your narrator – Misty Dawn – describes herself as part warrior and part pacifist, owing to her Comanche and Cherokee heritage. She credits her mother with encouraging her two greatest loves: music and horror, and H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King with teaching her to embrace the darkest corners of her imagination, and to coax those things living within to come out and play. She hopes to create a YouTube channel and is working on redesigning her blog, Deadtime Musings, from Dusk to Misty Dawn, to include short stories of horror, both real and imagined as well as poetry and lyrics, also of a dark nature. A Navy brat who grew up abroad, she settled in San Francisco, attending UC Berkeley, where she received a BA in Drama/Communications.

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime. However, trafficking is also something occurring much closer to home. Estimates indicate between 100,000 and 300,000 children are trafficked for sex in the US each year, with the average victim being just 14 years of age. Also, 27% of trafficked victims are held for purposes of domestic servitude and 10% for work in agriculture. There is no single profile for trafficking victims; trafficking occurs to adults and minors in rural, suburban, or urban communities across the country. Victims of human trafficking have diverse socio-economic backgrounds, varied levels of education, and may be documented or undocumented. Traffickers target victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control they find to be effective in compelling that individual into forced labor or commercial sex.

Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:
Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
Has a child stopped attending school?
Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Warning Signs for Child Sex Trafficking
Chronic runaway/homeless youth.
Excess amount of cash in their possession (may be reluctant to explain its source).
Hotel keys and key cards.
Lying about age/false ID.
Inconsistencies when describing and recounting events.
Unable or unwilling to give local address or information about parent(s)/guardian.
Presence or fear of another person (often an older male or boyfriend who seems controlling).
High number of reported sexual partners at a young age.
Sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites.
Injuries/signs of physical abuse (that they may be reluctant to explain).
Inability or fear of social interaction.
Demeanor exhibiting fear, anxiety, depression, submissiveness, tenseness, nervousness.
Is not enrolled in school or repeated absence from school.
Does not consider self a victim.
Loyalty to positive feelings toward pimp/trafficker.
May try to protect pimp/trafficker from authorities.
Prepaid cell phone.

How can you help?
Organizations combating human trafficking in your area: NGO’s in your area

20 ways you can help fight human trafficking: Help

Avoid products that facilitate human trafficking:
According to research by the Polaris Project, human trafficking often operates alongside legitimate businesses. From chocolate companies to electronics producers, a number of corporations use human trafficking and forced labor as a means to making the most profit on their product. You can find out which companies still use slave labor in the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Do your research to make sure your investments are socially responsible and benefit companies that don’t take advantage of modern day slaves.

Sources/Resources:
What is human trafficking?
Victims of HT
7 Ways To Join The Fight



“The man from the limousine stops, takes off his sunglasses and squints. He removes the handkerchief from his face and smiles. “How old are you?” he asks Zeya.

“Sixteen,” says Zeya.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes. And my grandfather.” She nods toward U-Po. “We’re all hungry here.”

The man studies her for a moment. “I have work for you if you want it,” he says. “In Kuala Lampur. The hotels are looking for help. The pay is good.” He nods at U-Po. “You can send money to your family and still have enough left for yourself.”

Zeya looks at U-Po, who continues to mumble to his dead wife. He is the only family she has left. “What kind of work?” she asks.

“Housekeeping, restaurant work, laundry. Very good honest work and the pay is excellent.”

“But my grandfather – ”

The man looks at his watch. “I’ll give you fifteen minutes to decide. Then I must go.” He raises the handkerchief to his face and walks away to talk to one of the other girls nearby.”





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?

Fantana084

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 03:53:14 AM »
I'm trying to download these episodes from the beginning. I know they are different short stories but I'd really like to hear all of them. When I try to download them off the website it just pops in a new window and plays instead of downloads. ITunes only has 427+. How can I get the others episodes if they wont download from the website?

Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 06:45:37 AM »

Talia

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 10:23:28 AM »
FYI, I have moved the crime statistics discussion to a separate thread that can be found here. Any future comments on that topic can be made there. Let's keep this thread for story discussion. Thanks everyone!

South of No North

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 06:42:53 PM »

I had to take a few days to figure out how I felt about this one.

I liked the presentation of the monsters that exist in the real world. It seemed the true world horrors tipped the balance into allowing the supernatural to slip through and take the revenge.

I also noted how the MC wasn't a passive victim. She made attempts to escape and made smart plans for when she got another opportunity.
I don't think I heard it, but I hope she got her treasures and cash from her hidey-hole in the tv before she made her final run.

When the narration started I thought PP had made Siri read a story. But it got less clip as the story progressed and got much better. The pleas for a final release were heartbreaking.

Good and a great example of PP being willing to tackle a wide scope.   
"Yes, of course I can blame you. Without them, where would all of us outlaws be? What would we have? Only a lawless paradise...and paradise is a bore. Violence without violation is only noise heard by no one, the most horrendous sound in the universe." --The Chymist by Thomas Ligotti

starktheground

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2015, 07:20:08 AM »
This was a heavy story, obviously. It took me a little to get into it, but once I did, I didn't want to stop listening. My only complaint would be that I wished there was more about the MC before she became a victim. What was she like? It made it hard for me to picture her at first without that information.

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2015, 10:07:58 AM »
Wow.

You know a story's dark when the most hopeful element of it is represented by a bloodthirsty fetal revenant.

This story was powerful, and I thought it was good to include the information after the show about how to try to stop human trafficking.  Just this morning I saw a news story about a local sex trafficking ring getting busted and the policeman interviewed said this was just the tip of the iceberg.  I can't imagine how horrible it must be to forced into that position and have no way of escaping.  I was glad that the woman in this story apparently found her escape, dark as that escape might be, and as wish-fulfillment as it might be for someone who was actually trapped in that situation. 


My only complaint would be that I wished there was more about the MC before she became a victim. What was she like? It made it hard for me to picture her at first without that information.

I see where you're coming from, but I thought the story did an appropriate amount of backstory.  Once she's trapped in that situation, she defines herself not as how she was before, because to her that person may be essentially dead for better or worse, but defining herself by her new situation and her drive to escape from it.

starktheground

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2015, 07:55:40 PM »

My only complaint would be that I wished there was more about the MC before she became a victim. What was she like? It made it hard for me to picture her at first without that information.

I see where you're coming from, but I thought the story did an appropriate amount of backstory.  Once she's trapped in that situation, she defines herself not as how she was before, because to her that person may be essentially dead for better or worse, but defining herself by her new situation and her drive to escape from it.


That makes sense, and is reasonable. Though I still think the punch would have been even harder (if possible) if I'd known more about her before her innocence was torn away.

Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 09:41:44 AM »

My only complaint would be that I wished there was more about the MC before she became a victim. What was she like? It made it hard for me to picture her at first without that information.

I see where you're coming from, but I thought the story did an appropriate amount of backstory.  Once she's trapped in that situation, she defines herself not as how she was before, because to her that person may be essentially dead for better or worse, but defining herself by her new situation and her drive to escape from it.


That makes sense, and is reasonable. Though I still think the punch would have been even harder (if possible) if I'd known more about her before her innocence was torn away.

I hear you.  You might be right. :)

TimWB

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2015, 10:20:51 PM »
This was friggin' great!

ElectricPaladin

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2015, 08:11:01 AM »
Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.

zoanon

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2015, 02:23:22 AM »
this episode has yet to appear on my podcatcher (podcast addict) this is not the first time an episode of pseudopod has gone AWOL :/

Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2015, 06:22:55 PM »
It was released late, and out of sequential order -  might that have something to do with it?

Dwango

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 03:53:24 PM »
This story left me saddened and angry.  It's really scary in that way I don't like, because it is happening right now somewhere, and it may even be here in my city.  I really prefer the creeping type of horror that is fantastic, like the hall of mirrors.  I know I can walk out and it's not real.  But, the story did work the way it was intended.  I want to do something about it and I'm angry there are people who could do this.  How could anyone enjoy themselves at the sacrifice of another's freedom and sanity.  It's just the true horror that should be wiped from the earth.

Chicken Ghost

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2015, 10:43:17 PM »
You know what?  This story isn't horrifying enough.  Better add a supernatural being to it.  

FeloniusMonk

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2015, 07:59:10 PM »
I found this story very hard to listen too, wonderfully written but emotionally challenging. I can't quite say I enjoyed it but I certainly appreciated it.
Strangely the undead baby monster made me more comfortable, that was at least a form of horror I know and have a handle on.

danooli

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2015, 06:55:47 AM »
Well now. That was...I hesitate to say great, because of the all too real horror of human trafficking, but...it was a fantastically powerful story. And incredibly important. It shined a bright light on a topic that is kept dark by so many.

I thought the reading was amazing too.

Thanks for running this, Pseudopod.

Sgarre1

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2015, 08:08:17 AM »
You are very welcome!

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Re: Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2015, 08:45:09 PM »
Well now. That was...I hesitate to say great, because of the all too real horror of human trafficking, but...it was a fantastically powerful story. And incredibly important. It shined a bright light on a topic that is kept dark by so many.

I thought the reading was amazing too.

Thanks for running this, Pseudopod.
Thank you for appreciating my reading...it means a lot to hear that, as I tend to think I could have done better, after it's complete and sent.

Moritz

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Re: Pseudopod 453: The Toyol
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2015, 01:22:57 PM »
This was very well written and had a great narration. It wasn't fun, of course, it was just too real. I agree that a supernatural element wasn't necessary, actually the end almost felt too much like "revenge story", though there weren't any winners.