Tales to Terrify

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Tales to Terrify 463 David Stevens Stephanie Kubin

by Drew Sebesteny
December 11th 2020
01:11:15
Description

Welcome to Episode 463. This week we travel to The Pas, Manitoba to learn a thing or two about fur trappers. For fiction, we have two tales for you. The tale of a girl who needs a hand coming out o... More

love this podcast. Support this show through the eight cast supporter feature. It's up to you how much you give, and there's no regular commitment. Just click the link in the show description to support. Now we can get anything delivered from toilet paper to adult beverages like Johnny Walker and Ketel. One with drizzly Drizzly lets you compare prices on beer, wine and spirits from local liquor stores. Then get them delivered right to your door in under 60 minutes. And right now, Drizzly is giving all new customers $5 off their first order. Just enter promo code Easy five. A check out, download the drizzly app or go to drizzly dot com. That's D R i z l y dot com From

the blackest corners of your mind, they call pulling you deep into shadow, twisting your senses, keeping you from sleep. It's time to face your darkest fears. This is tales to terrify. Okay, good evening, Children of the night and welcome. Like many of you, I'm sure I'm counting down the days until the end of 2020. But aside from the obvious end oven insanely

tough year, there's something else to look forward to. a swell. The promise of best of the year anthologies 2020 has been a hell of a year for horror. There seemed to be an abundance of fantastic stories that have come toe life in the last 12 months. Some you've heard right here on tales to terrify, but there's so much more than even we could capture. Ellen Dat Lows annual collection is one of the most legendary and no doubt deep in the works as we speak. But there are some other great anthologies out there, too. And although many of these won't release until well into 2021 there are some you can get your hands on much sooner. Most recently, I had the pleasure of diving into the year's best dark fantasy and horror, edited by Paula Urine, which features some fantastically chilling tales by some names

you might recognize, like Joyce Carol Oates or Angeles Ladder, it makes a perfect read for a quiet holiday season at home or a stocking stuffer for the fantasy leaning horror fan in your life. I also wanted to bring your attention to a new publication that's been in the works for the better part of 2020 with its first issue releasing at the start of this coming year, Dark Matter magazine searches the furthest reaches of space to bring you the shadowed side of science fiction. And let's face it, there are few combinations mawr spine ripping than the melding of horror and sci fi. If you want to get in on their first issue, which features a couple of names you'll no doubt be familiar with from our show, visit Dark Matter magazine dot com to check it out. I highly recommend it before we get into our episode

this week. I'd also like to give you a quick reminder that if you'd like to get in on some tales to terrify merch, we've got some great sales over at our store until December. 18th shirts are just $14 and everything else in the store is up to 30% off. Visit our website, click merch at the top of our home page and explore all of the Mirchi goodness. Our thanks. This week goes out to our newest patron, Gerald. If our shriveled dead hearts could beat, they'd be hammering right now and thanks Your support is the dark sorcery that keeps this corpse, animated and shambling. Thank you, Gerald. I'd also like to thank Woo Hoo 33 26 for heating the call and sharing a five star review on iTunes. We're honored to bring sustenance to your dark soul for our travels

this week, more headed north, up into the rough, majestic wilderness of the Canadian Shield. It's a journey I've made myself a handful of times in the last few years. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. The first time I traveled that way, my partner grew up in the area and she was excited, and I suspect, a little nervous to show me around. I'll admit it. I'm a city boy, As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I spent most of my formative years in the relatively large city of Calgary, and for the past dozen or so years now, I've lived in the comparatively smaller city of Saskatoon. But arriving in the paw, Manitoba, was an eye opening experience. Sure, I'd visited plenty of small towns and little communities before, but it wasn't so much the size of the paw that surprised me. It was the ruggedness

of the place. Their official slogan is adventure territory. But the towns often also referred to as Manitoba's gateway to the north both, I suppose, are plenty relevant. There is a very frontier vibe to the town that's apparent as soon as you arrive. Yeah, it could be a little rough around the edges, but there's an authentic raw quality that's more of a feel than just an aesthetic, the kind of place where the past and the present don't feel as distant from one another as they tend to in bigger centers. Back in its early days, the paw was a sort of way station for those traveling into the unpredictable wilderness of the North. It provided a place for trappers and traders to meet and resupply the land that far north can be pretty unforgiving. Add some hungry

, sharp toothed animals into the mix, and things become even mawr treacherous. My partner's Grandma Hazel, an absolute legend of a woman, used to walk her kids down the dirt road to the school bus with a shotgun cradled in the crook of one arm. There were rumors of aggressive bears in the area, and she wasn't about to leave any part of her kids. Safety to chance But when the bus dropped the kids back again after a full day at school and they were escorted back into their home yard, they were surprised to find the bear wasn't much of a threat any longer. Apparently, it had come out of the bushes at Heysel on her way home that morning, and she'd calmly and coolly taken the huge creature down badass. But not all that lurks in the wilds of northern Manitoba is what you would call natural in

a place where time seems to flow with a will of its own. Sometimes things get caught up in the swirls and Eddies, and what's been lost just might find its way back home. The young trapper was hard working and eager to learn, but without a trap line of his own. A livelihood had been tough to scrape out. Trap line locations and ownership were managed by the government. And to get a good one, you couldn't just wander into the forest and stake a claim or go down to the local mercantile and buy one. No, you had to earn it, work the line, get familiar with it and have it passed down to you. through proven knowledge and hard work. So, like any good apprentice, he decided to seek out a mentor. He'd seen the older man at the bar in town but had been hesitant to approach

. The man had a surly reputation. The air seemed to prickles around him, which made most people give him a wide berth. As a trapper, though, there were few that commanded the same level of respect and for good reason. The old man was talented, for sure, but the trap line he'd been working for most of his life was one he'd carved out long before the government swooped in with a heavy hand to manage things, and it was one of the most productive for hundreds of miles. No surprise, then, that the old trapper guarded the line like he would his own child. The young trapper was genuinely interested in the old man, not just for his trap line but for his knowledge and wisdom to despite the reputation, the young man was sure he could see kindness in the wrinkles and folds

of the man's weather. Beaten face, old smile lines creased deep but the corners of his eyes and mouth. No way did the old man deserve the crusty reputation he'd cultivated? It was an act. He was sure of it. And so the young man set out to befriend him. He started by joining him for a beer, sitting silently beside him at the bar, eventually working up to small talk. And then, gradually, the older man's icy demeanor started to thaw. The young man was eager and stubborn and kind of reminded the old timer of himself a that age. And so before long he'd agreed to take the young men on as apprentice. Together they worked the trap line, the young trapper soaking up knowledge and wisdom and the old trapper opening up for the first time in decades

. It was nice to be able to share his work with someone, especially someone who shared that passion. Over the years that followed, the two built a reputation for bringing in not only lots of furs but some of the best quality, too, and decide from sharing with each other. The knowledge of their line was something they kept very much to themselves. But then the old trapper became sick. He'd been slowing down for a while. The young man knew. But the old codger had always been so tough. It seemed hard to believe anything even age could take him down. I don't have long left in me, the old man told him late one evening as they sat by the fire. When I'm gone, I want you to take over the line that trap lines always been good to me, and so have you. Let's keep

it in the family, the old man winked in chuckled. It was what the young trapper had wanted, what he had hoped for. But now he found himself tempted to refuse. How could he take over? Wasn't half the trapper, the old man Waas, and besides, the line just wouldn't be the same without his mentor, his best friend. But of course, he couldn't deny the old man's wishes, either, and it was exactly what he'd worked so hard for. So when the old trapper passed away not long after, the younger men took over the trap line and began toe work it on his own, the line was as productive as it had ever bean, bringing in pelts that outperformed virtually every other trapper in both number and quality. Sometimes he'd catch

the others in mid conversation at the bar, complaining about his luck and inheriting the line or giving him sidelong glances in the street. So when he was out checking his line one wintering afternoon, he wasn't entirely surprised to spy another trapper in the distance. Through the trees. The man was heavily clothed against the cold, bundled in a heavy parka trimmed in thick, long for Hey, the young trapper called out, What are you doing here? But the figure didn't reply, didn't even acknowledge him. It darted behind a stand of trees and out of view. He called out again as he headed toward the spot. He'd last seen the figure, but when he got there, whoever had Bean there was gone. You must be poaching from my line, the trapper thought. That's probably why he was

ignoring me. But when he checked the traps, everything was intact. The traps were either unstrung or his catch was still in them. Maybe he'd just caught the man before he could take anything. Over the following weeks, he kept a diligent I on the trap line, but he didn't see the figure again, and his line remained intact. Soon he'd for gotten about the incident entirely. It wasn't until a year or two later that he encountered the figure again. It was a bright winter's day, the sun sparkling off the freshly fallen snow from the night before the heavy blanket of snow made everything feel close, dampening the sound as he trudged through the forest. He'd come out earlier that morning to check the line and was only now stopping

to eat a the oven open field. No sooner had he removed his lunch from his pack and settled down on a fallen log to eat. Then he felt the temperature of the air suddenly drop. A fine mist of ice fog crystallized in the air around him, rising up from the ground like twinkling diamond dust. There was no wind, but a wave of cold settled over him, biting deep into his bones. His gaze was drawn by a distant sound, and he stared into the mist of the far side of the field. A dark shape was forming something moving fast toward him, making its way across the snowy ground, and suddenly it was on him, moving faster than it had any right to a dog. sled. Driven by a dark figure in a thick, fur trimmed parka

. It waved its whip wildly about driving the animals at unearthly speed without time to dive for cover. He shielded his head with his arms, eyes squeezed shut. But the thunderous sound of the sled was behind him now, fading quickly down the wide avenue of trees from where he'd come shaken, he picked himself up, packed what remained of his lunch and set off to check his line again. Someone was messing with him, but again, the line was intact, nothing missing or tampered with. And again, he was extra diligent for a while between the first incident years earlier, in this most recent one was actually a little surprised. That is, a line hadn't been poached or messed with, especially given the jealous way

some of the other trappers talked about him behind his back. But somehow, even with the most productive line in those parts, no one ever seemed to go near it except for this one stranger. But as the days turned into weeks, then months, then years, the incidents again slipped into the shadows of distant memory. It was a particularly cold day years later when again he was out checking the lines. He'd made another great hall, and his sled was heavy with furs. It was getting late in the day, though, and the sun had begun to dip toward the horizon, stretching the shadows of the trees in tow, long reaching limbs. As he raced back toward home, he could see a cloud of powder rising up in the distance before he could even make

out the shape at its center. He knew exactly what it waas another sled, the sled, the one he didn't countered. Years ago, he was absolutely certain. Rather than change course or slow his pace, he kept his dog steady. If they stayed on the path they were traveling, the two sleds would pass within feet of each other. Maybe he'd finally be able to see beneath the heavy for lining of the man's hood and find himself an answer to the other man's identity. The strangers sled approach fast, but as they neared, time seemed to slow just for a moment. As he passed, the stranger turned toe look directly into the face of the trapper with the warmest kind ist smile

. The younger man now an older, seasoned trapper himself felt his heart brim with joy. And then the moment passed. And so to at this lead, all this time the old trapper had been watching out for him, he realized, had looked out for his friend and protege, had been checking on him and protecting the trap line from would be poachers. And as he watched the perfect, undisturbed snow of the path in front of him, he finally understood what had unsettled him about his previous encounters, both when he had seen the man in the forest and when he had encountered the dog sled near the field. There had Bean no trace of the man afterward. No broken branches, No tracks in the Snow. Our

first story this evening comes from David Stevens. David Stevens usually lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and those of his Children, who have not yet figured out the locks. His fiction has appeared amongst other places in cross genres or E Alice, three lobed Burning I Pseudo Pod Cafe aerial, not one of us and drama to Space Ways in Flight magazine and several anthologies visit his Blawg at David stevens dot info Children of the night. Join me for David Stevens. Born free. First published in the Oklahoma Pagan Quarterly Autumn 2019 Way

, Susan stopped having lunch in the scrappy park next to the gully after finding a dead rat in the grass by her feet from the stage of decomposition. It had been her silent dining neighbor for several days, at least drove her back to eating at school. Sitting on the sloping, grassy bank overlooking the football fields, she sat on the far side, away from most of the other students. But their noise carried to her, and she felt a little included. She figured the dog walking guy was retired. The dog was old, too. She smiled at it, and the man stopped next to her. Susan immediately looked down, as though her tuna and steamed rice was the whole universe. The man remained standing silently. Her awkwardness formed a feedback loop. Should she speak what was expected of her? The dog sat and she looked up. Man turned from watching the game. He helped the dog league in one hand

, plastic poop scoop bag in the other. Then she saw that his crotch was at her eye level and that his old man Penis was sticking out of his open fly. Susan screamed, then brought her hand to her mouth and embarrassment at her noise. Flustered, she stumbled backwards, man watching her. Nobody reacted to her scream. No one called out. No one moved towards her. Even the old man just stood there, staring, not because she was a girl nor because she was Chinese. It was because she was nobody. And so, despite the rat now gone, But where to? She was back near the edge of the gully, far from anyone but ready to leap up at a moments. Notice that the appearance of elderly dog walkers sitting on a rock, Susan lingered over a biology textbook and today's creation leftover chicken soy sauce and her own sprouts. While she pushed the food around

, Ravens descended into the long grass, big beaks, noisy and mean looking. They were tormenting something out there. She thought of lambs with her eyes pecked out, but it wouldn't be a lamb, probably another rat poisoned and half dead. She might not like decomposing rats, but she was braver with nature than she was with people she'd read Silent Spring. She waited out into the knee high grass, stepping loudly in case of snakes clapping and shoeing as she went. The birds, calling as they departed, had flattened a circle of grass with their flapping and jumping roughly in its center, lay a severed hand, white and gray scratched and packed. Any bleeding had long ago stopped. Susan shivered with a wave of fear, followed by a quiver of delight. A murder? How exciting motions

competed. She shouldn't have come here. This is what you find here. This is where they chop up corpses. She looked about knowing she would see no one, but someone had been here. They're going to be body parts all over. There will be more crows and rats, too. She will have to call the police. She will have to practice the phone call. They may judge her for sitting here alone. Will she have to tell them about the dog walker in his Penis? The hand moved. It wasn't severed. It was attached to the arm of a person lying there, injured in the grass. A person pecked by crows but too weak to call out. And here she was having her stupid thoughts about being afraid to call the police. Now she will have to run and get help and trust that she'll get the words out right and won't say anything stupid. Or be too afraid to interrupt someone to get help. Because she had a right to exist and speak up to the hand, Rose on stretched fingers

, lifted itself off the grass and toppled over itself down a slight incline. There was nobody. There was just the hand she felt, an absolute, urged to crush it, surprising her with its strength. Smash your foot down on it, break the bones, split the skin and the wrongness. Stop it and leave it for the birds. She would tell no one, Never speak of it. Walk away and eat her lunch somewhere else. From now on, the world blurred. She resisted the impulse, displayed nothing and held in her anger. As always, fingers wriggled, waving blindly. It was a small turtle flipped on, its back, helpless. Reaching around her shoulders. She pulled off her shawl and dropped it on the hand. The fingers reacted and struggled, and that way it caught itself up in the threat of

the wall, tangled and wrapped So that she was able to carry it to her backpack without touching it. There was an old aquarium someone had left on the side of the road for a rubbish collection that she had taken and used as a Terreri, um, our own little hothouse for growing herbs and sprouts. She cleared them all out, drop the shawl, slash severed hand combination in there, and went to her afternoon classes. On her return, she found the hand had unraveled itself from the shawl and lay still on the bottom of the aquarium. She tiptoed over so the hand would not know she was there and fished out her shawl with some kitchen tongs without it noticing. At first, she thought maybe she would leave the shawl in there in case the hand grew cold. But it was her shawl, and she wanted it. If she was going to start standing up for herself with people, she couldn't let a hand walk all over her. Outside, King parrots squawked in a flower and gum tree, sounding like mad

babies with a squeeze toy. She rested for a minute with her eyes closed, saw in her mind's eye. The gorgeous full red head and chest of the mail in the fluorescent yellow green flash on the wings. Sexual dime Or if is, um, she was writing a paper on it. She would love to cover the walls with pictures of parents photographs she'll take herself. It was something she could do without involving other people. But there might be a rule against sticking things on the walls. So there, bare, there's definitely a rule against pets. That is not how she thinks of the severed hand. The hens flesh was torn where the crows had pecked at it split along the index finger. The nails were dirty and craft around the stump of the wrist. It was scarred and raggedy and burned as the roughly cauterized. Susan wondered if she should feed it, but it was a hand. There was no mouth or teeth. What would

it eat? Finger food. She only ever told jokes to herself. At least it wouldn't poop. It just lay there a dead thing at the bottom of the aquarium. Had she been mistaken, had it really moved. Maybe it was just ants. Ants move things bigger than themselves. Maybe they had been carrying the hand back to their nest. Maybe it was the last part of the body, and they had already dragged the rest of it underground. A serial killer wanted everyone to be afraid to see his handiwork, and the ants had frustrated him. Next there will be a war between the murderer and the ants. He'll attack the colony with burning aerosols. The next night, he'll wake up to find a zillion ants covering his eider down or whatever serial killers have on their bed. She began to itch and went back to her studies. She

called it a night at 11 PM and closed up her physics text. The tiny room was all hers she'd enough to share. She had a certificate from the doctor about her anxieties, which was fine with the size of the room meant she would sleep with her head about 2 ft from a severed hand. Trouble started about an hour later. Of course, she thought, seeing the time the noise when there's a rat in the wall. So, of course, you wake up. But while you rise up through the layers of sleep, you tell yourself you imagined it, then you hear it again. Then you tell yourself, you imagine that until you can tell yourself anymore, because the only thing you're listening for is the rat in the wall. She flicked on her bedside lamp, and even before her eyes adjusted, she detected motion. The hand was restless. It dragged itself by the fingers until it reached the smooth glass, which it would try to climb and

then flop over. Then it would start again. She tried to tell herself the sound was actually soothing, like the ocean or a tropical downpour within the nail started clicking against the glass over and over. There was nothing soothing about that. Maybe if she turned the light off, it would quiet down, she thought, and remember that it had started making the noises in the dark. Plus it didn't have eyes. She could leave the light on. She had slept plenty of times with all of the lights in the house on, and she was alone at home with the noises of all the murderers breaking in. Perhaps she should sing a lullaby to it, but it didn't have ears. She was definitely not going to rock it to sleep thump. Just ignore it. Screech screech, top tip tip tip. So scratch Susan

thought something precious. She pulled out the bottom drawer of the bedside table. The scarf was long dead, but she had a remnant from it brought by her grandmother from China. Soft silk. The colors faded, but that would not matter. She slid the glass top of the aquarium across and let the material dangled down, avoiding the questing fingers. The frayed end brushed against the back of the hand, and it froze. She lifted the fabric and then let it down again. Fingers spread, firming their grip on the aquarium floor, a spider ready for action. Again, she gently teased the silk across the skin of the hand, ready to pull it away. Quickly. After a minute, she realized she was singing, not a Chinese lullaby. Nothing. Her grandmother sang to her while her parents were at

work, but a song from play school on TV and sea When Sea Spider climbed up the water spout. It could not hear her, but she moved the silk in time with the rhythm of the song, the hand relaxed, reassured by the gentle motion, soothing softness. It stopped its clamoring, and Susan fell asleep to the smell of distant smoke and dreamt of fire. Next evening she was better prepared, a mix of essential oils, a drop each of lavender and camomile before she went to bed on the skin above the knuckles. When the hand caused no difficulty, Susan rose up and tumbled down the depths of sleep but did not break the surface despite the sounds that came to her in the night. No tapping or flopping about something with more agency than alone wandering

hand something that desired that was frustrated. Susan turned in her sleep is something sucked the air from the room in great dragging, gasps pressed up against the gaps. The base of her window, the ventilation screen lusting after stray odor molecules. She dropped the process, reciting from her textbook like a script. Molecules dissolving in mucus to make a soup. Smells from outside converted to a fluid inside, triggering neurons that transmit to the brain. The brain, like the information it was receiving. It wanted more, something drooled in response. The preliminary digestive juices, overflowing from the cavity of its mouth around and around it, paste along the wall back and forth across the window until it moved to try elsewhere in

the morning. The banging at her door woke her before her alarm, dragging her to the surface, throwing her rudely into wakefulness. She checked. The aquarium was covered with her shawl before going to the door. It was the dorm mistress. Susan. Do you know anything about this? What? This down there. There was a turd at her doorway. I didn't do it. I have anxieties. I suppose it could have been boys. Boys did that? No, it's not a human more, etc. Boys block doors open animals could get in. But did you hear anything unusual in the night? Anyone running around? No, I slept well. Oh, it really stinks like a zoo or something. Is it? Is it the poop? Two girls in shorts and single

. It's walked by with towels over their shoulders, staring at what was going on. One giggled. Susan narrowed the crack in the door in response and hid further behind it. Musk something spraying its territory. I'll get the cleaner up. Make sure you don't step in it. Problem solved. The hand was gone and she didn't have to worry about it anymore. The glass at the top of the aquarium was pushed across. She didn't know how it had done it. Man was a tool using animal, especially with his opposable thumb. But she had left no tools for the hand to use. Didn't matter. It was gone. A squawk at the window. A parent sitting on the sill showing its profile is appeared in sideways. A branch lay from the sill to the end of her bed. Then the branch moved, and she saw it was an arm

, and the hand at the end of it opened and sees the bird. A vision from another universe filled her brain, whether because her third I had opened, or because she had the vivid imagination of a person who lived a lot of their life in their own mind, worrying about what might happen next. There she entered her room. A few minutes later, maybe she had waited at the bottom of the steps to avoid climbing too close to some boys who had started up them before her. She walks in, and the bird gives a final tweet. Dead in the hands clutches. The index finger gently rubs up and down the soft feathers of the bird's chest, then moves to stroke the down beneath its wings. She takes a step forward now that it is too late, and the hand strikes at her, the silent equivalent of a hiss of warning Onley. Later that night, while the hand sleeps, she able to remove its victim and

bundle the hand into the aquarium. Not going to happen, that there's flu and Susan moved without further conscious thought. The parrot flapped and bitten, but it's tiny. Beak is built for flowers and seeds. The arm now stretched out beyond the elbow, growing hazy around the start of the bicep, and the hand was able to use it as a lever to maneuver itself. Leave it alone, she called, disregarding the lack of years walking dead hands, partly invisible arms reticence was overcome by the screeching of the bird. Has fingers tightened around it. Stop it. She grabbed the hand on the stump of arm, began to beat against her chest, her stomach. Wherever it reached. She caught it in the crook of her own arm, forcing it up to her armpit, where it wriggled and tried to free itself one finger at a time. She thought she grabbed the pinky finger and forced it back, ready to snap it off

to crack all the bones. She was sweating and angry, and there was a smell like old smoke in the room. This was her first ever fistfight, and she was not going to lose. She kept up the pressure on the finger, tugging back just before the snapping point. The hand loosened, all fingers flayed outwards. The bird fell to the ground. It was dead. She prepared to start thrashing the arm against the wall in revenge, again and again and again. When the birds sat up with a shiver, distracting her, the hand returned to life, grabbing onto her forearm, digging its fingers in tight and hard, sticking its filthy nails into the gaps between her bones. No, uh, bad. Without hesitation, she snapped the finger in one quick motion, pushing it back 180 degrees. The bone cracked, the hand screamed silently in a movement that reminded her of jazz hands, then fainted. She

dropped it back into the aquarium and piled fat science books on top. The parrot quivered, omitted a single note and flapped off straight into the window glass. Susan winced on the floor. It shifted its feathers again, and this time took off through the open window. It had to go. It didn't matter how miraculous or strange it was. She wanted rid of it. It was weird and scary, and now it could get out of the aquarium. Most of the arm had vanished again, leaving just a few blurry extra inches above the wrist. But that was not reassuring. What if it grew back a whole body, some gross Harry naked man bursting out of the aquarium or, worse, just bits of a man with internal organs exposed and pulsing. She could wake up to a head in there, staring at her. She could get into big trouble. Plus, she needed the books that were holding the lid down. But

not now, not in the night. That was something proud at her window, deliberately revealing the shadow of its head three stories up, with no balcony or fire escape outside, thud at the aquarium wall thump at the window glass, the deep sucking breath dragging out the smells of the room. The shadow of the head moved across the window, fingers tapped, hand fell back. She shoved bathroom towels along the bottom of her door that will stop it. Everything would be better in the morning. Susan skipped class, caught the train into the city. Sometimes the backpack at her feet began to squirm across the floor. Each time she kicked it hard before someone noticed. She does not stand out as much in Haymarket, amongst the dim sum restaurants

and stores selling bootlegs of Korean soap operas, she finds the shot she remembers from a long ago visit with her grandmother. The man's serving speaks told men in a dialect she does not know. His polyester shirt is open, the cheap white cotton single it exposed to the blowing electric fan. The gold around his neck is heavy and riel. There is a trick. She stands staring, knowing she is small for her age, she puts on a sad face. Eventually, the man relents and turns to her. My grandfather, she lies. He nods and beckons. She hopes she has everything. Once the flames start, she throws the bundle of hell money into the bucket. From her pocket, she pulls a single woolen glove right hand. She only thought to check at the last moment and drops it in letting joss sticks from the flames

, she bows and not knowing anything else to say, repeats the our father, the nuns had taught her. Finally, she shook out her backpack. She caught a strong whiff of barbecue, and the hand fell to the ground. It twitches, and she kicks it towards the long grass. It lands at the edge of the bitumen. She walks over. For some reason, she feels she should not leave the path. A pointed stick is lying. There. She puts one end beneath the hand and flips it into the field. The fox springs from nowhere. Seizing the hand in its mouth. Susan jumps, startled. It regards her staring thes air, not cartoon eyes. There is no ironic wink. No understanding passes between them. None. It's possible. She understands that size does not mean much. Here she

looks at the teeth, holding the squirming hand, huge and out of proportion to the mouth. Size is simply a dimension to be overcome. The fox can cross the space between them. In an instant, it could be her height. Meeting her eye to eye. It can tower above, filling the sky or be just tall enough to sniff a third story window. It can peel back the curtain to reveal things. No human mind could cope with the thoughts. She tries not to think the suggestion she does not want to give. No one will know. No one will miss me. Fox is simply a shape, a geometry to fill in this moment but topography that allows it into the here and now. There are many other shapes, all of them awful. The teeth chew

, and she hears the snapping with the last wiggle of pierced fingers. The hand passes down a huge tunnel into darkness. She backs away and at some stage comes to the awareness that the fox is gone. That evening, she eats in the cafeteria. She recognizes some girls from her class and sits with them. It is hard, but nowhere near us. Hard. It's the eyes of the fox. Yeah, that was David Stevens born free as read by Amy Pau NESA Amy Pound Nesa has been the producer and host of the Bloodlust. Ah, horror

movie Review Podcast since 2014, she has narrated stories for various other podcasts, including knifepoint, horror and the Alexandria archives. She's thrilled to read for tales to terrify, especially because she credits the podcast with reigniting her love of horror fiction. You can contact Amy through her website, the bloodlust dot net. Thank you, Amy with a M C plus. The plus doesn't just mean mawr. It means better available through the platforms you're already on. AMC Plus is a premium streaming bundle with the best of AMC, plus the complete collections of Shutter Sundance Now and I've See Films Unlimited get the latest from the walking dead with early access and exclusives. Bench to claim Siri's like Mad Men add three. And with new content dropping each week like Gangs of London, Ah, powerful drama about London's criminal underworld, there's always something fresh to check out. Sign up a. M c plus dot com a m c

p l U s dot com a. M c plus on Lee The good stuff. Hey, Michael Phelps Here I want to tell you a bit about online therapy. Online therapy is not about time and place. It's any time and any place. Did you know that over 50% of Americans struggle with their mental health? I'm one of them, and that's why I'm here. to tell you about online therapy and how it can change your life. Okay, online therapy is just. Azizi is joining a video call or texting with a friend on Lee. You'll be talking to a licensed therapist from your device on your schedule. Talk spaces more committed than ever to making therapy accessible and affordable for all, Go to talk space dot com and start working with a licensed therapist today. Brought to you by talk space therapy for all. Get $100 off your first month of talk space therapy with Coupon

100 for you. Our second story comes from Stephanie Kuban. Stephanie is a new author from the mountains of western Maryland. Her lifelong fascination of the dark and disturbing inspires the majority of her work from writing to painting and beyond. When she's not writing, she enjoys walk through town and learning a variety of musical instruments. Listen with me. Children of the night to Stephanie Cubans. I didn't mean to a tales to terrify original. Okay, Yeah

, I didn't mean to kill her. She was my best friend. I still don't know what happened, but she's dead now. I killed her. The officer sat quietly, waiting for me to continue. He didn't look critical, but the authority was clear in his body language. He was trying to be casual, but his slight lean forward in the pen, held lightly in his hand, did not reassure me. I was going to jail. I knew it. They were just getting my side of what happened to compare to the evidence. I'm sure I didn't expect them to believe me. All that mattered was that I killed her. Where do you want me to start? I asked quietly. I could not bring

myself to look him in the eye. I sat hands in my lap looking at the table. I stared at the smooth silver surface, grateful that my reflection could not be seen in it. Where do you think it's best to start? He asked in a soft tone. Do you want to start with what happened tonight? Is there more I should know? He suggested gently. I don't know if there is more. I said honestly this morning seemed like any other. She was normal. Then, out of nowhere, she wasn't What do you mean she wasn't? He asked. I mean, she was normal happy. Happy to see me. I guess nothing seemed off. We had lunch

. She went to an interview she was excited about when we met for drinks tonight. She seemed weird. She was quiet. I thought the interview went bad. I don't know. Did she talk about the interview at all? No, not really. When I asked her about it, she just shrugged and said it went well, but she couldn't talk about it. Okay. What happened when you left the bar? We were both pretty drunk, so we called an uber. I live a few blocks over from her, so we usually get one together to her place, and I walk home from there. By the time we got in, uber she got quiet, zoned out almost. I mean, she would respond to questions, but she didn't really engage in the conversation. I asked her if everything was all right and she just nodded. I thought

maybe she was really drunk. So when we got to her place instead of going home, I got her to her apartment. Did she object to you taking her? Was she getting upset? Did she say anything? He asked the questions slowly. I know he did, but I didn't answer right away. And he moved into the next, pushing me to continue nothing. That's all I got from her. Nothing. She was kind of like a zombie moving corpse. She was empty. I was concerned. I actually started to wonder if someone spiked one of her drinks. That's why she was half naked when everyone got there. I'm sure you're wondering about that. I was going to get her in the shower. Well, I

wanted her sitting in the tub so I could kind of hose her off and see if the cold water would snap her out of it. Was anything else abnormal? No, not really. I kept talking to her. She would still talk back, but nothing, really. She'd say yes or no. She told me she was cold when I took her to the bathroom. So I turned on the heat in there and drew a warm bath instead of trying to shower her off. That's when I texted her parents to let them know she wasn't acting right. Her mom's a nurse, and I figured she could let me know if I should really be that worried or if it was something she'd sleep off. But before I got an answer to the text, she kind of snapped. She went crazy. I didn't know what to Dio. I can't believe I

didn't mean Thio. My sobs cut off all possibility of speaking. The officer sat there, still quiet in calm. He pushed a box of tissues, my direction slightly. I think he was trying not to startle me, but I did take them. It felt like forever. Before I could speak again, a dozen gross tissues sat on the table in front of me. I could feel exactly how puffy my face was. And as ridiculous as it was, it upset me that I looked so horrible. I'm an ugly Crider. Always have been. Now these people get to see it, too. After I was silent for a few moments, he asked, What do you mean? She snapped. I took a breath to

be sure I could remain steady. She was sitting on the toilet while like it was getting the bath ready. Her eyes were half closed. I thought she was falling asleep, so I stood her up to take the rest of her clothes off. And when I touched her arms to guide her up, like to stand her eyes, shot open and went from blank to like black. And she started screaming, No, not screaming like a howl, growl, gurgle, weird kind of noise. It's seriously sounded like something out of a horror film, I thought. I heard her, startled her, and she definitely scared the shit out of me. I kind of was startled backwards and slammed into the sink. I

caught myself on the counter and she lunged at me like arms outstretched. I demonstrated as I spoke, looking like she wanted to tear my face off. It all feels so fast and so slow at the same time. I can't. It's like it all happened once. I just don't. I trailed off again, shaking my head. The images of what happened flashed in rapid succession through my mind. I had no idea how to get this out in words. The officers sat there watching my internal confusion. I dropped my head into my propped hands, trying to slow my thoughts. Take your time, he said. You can take a break if you need it. Can

I get you anything? I think I do need a minute. I responded without lifting my head. Trying to think about all of this is making my head hurt. It seems so impossible. She was my best friend. Let me get you a drink. I'll grab another box of tissues. A swell. Could I get some Tylenol or Motrin or something? I asked without looking at him. I have some in my bag. I can't get you anything from your bag. But I'll see what I confined. He stood and left the room, closing the door slowly behind him. It launched with a quiet click. The emptiness of the room was not comforting. I didn't look up

from the table. My hand back in my lap did not fitchitt. I felt numb when I wasn't numb. I was distraught. I couldn't believe this happened. What was going on? Why did she attack me? Why didn't I just run? Was there anything else I could have done? The thoughts brought a new wave of tears. I grabbed a couple tissues, folded my arms on the table and hid my face in the small space. They provided hot tears, slid down my nose and hit the metal table. My entire body tremors with the force of my grief. By the time this round of hysteria ended, my whole body baked, not just my head. The tears still came

but slower. I was able to raise my head and clean my face. I also took a tissue to clean the table while I was mopping up the moisture from its shiny surface. Another fell from my cheek, landing on the scrape she had left on my arm. The salt stung the wound, and I focused on that pain for a moment to force the tears to stop. The numbness had settled over me, and I was grateful. I'd rather feel nothing. I sat waiting, feeling myself losing focus on what was happening around me. It seemed like an eternity. Later, when the officer returned to the room, in one hand was a clear plastic cup with water. Another held a small white paper cup, like the ones you find it fast food joints for condiments, and

under his arm was an unopened box of tissues. Here you are, he said, placing the items in front of me. His words pulled me back to the present. Just water and Tylenol. I can get you something else if you'd like. He offered No. Water is fine, I said, taking a small sip. It was cool but not cold. I was glad for that. I thought anything too cold would make my unease e stomach give out on me. It was bad enough he had to watch me cry. I didn't want to vomit all over him till I took the small white Cup and tilted the pills back, followed quickly by a modest mouthful of water and swallowed quickly. When I was sure I was going to keep them down, I took another sip and looked at him. Thank you, I whispered

. I think that was the first time I could look at his face. He only nodded in response. We sat in silence for a few minutes. I didn't know where to continue. He was waiting for me to be ready. I looked up to him and gave a shrug. I hope to communicate that I didn't know where to pick up. With that gesture, he must have understood and said she screamed when you touched her and lunged at you. What happened next? She looked like she wanted to tear my face off. She bolted upright and started clawing at me. I threw my arms up to cover my face. I guess that's an instinctual reaction. I raised my arms to show him. The syriza scratches down both arms. She dug into them with her nails and started trying to bite thumb

. She was doing anything she could to hurt me. I kind of pushed forward and knocked her back like move my body weight first and pushed with my arms. I lean forward and motioned with my arms. She moved enough so I could move past her, but she grabbed my hair. A zai tried to get out of the bathroom door, like, really snagged my hair. Hard as I passed her. I'm pretty sure it looked like she closed lined me or something. The way I went down, she went down with me and slammed her face into the edge of the tub, didn't knock her out or anything, but she let go enough that I could kind of scooch out of reach and start heading for the door again. I paused and sipped the water. I wanted to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. Everything still felt so fast. He still sat silent. I

saw him take the occasional note without looking away. I momentarily contemplated if he was that sure of his handwriting, or if you just scrawled all over the page and didn't care if it looked pretty. Then I took a breath and continued. I got up and ran to her kitchen. I should have just run out the door. That would have been the smart thing, but I guess it didn't really register. It's something I should panic over. I wanted to get my bag and go home. She was behind me in a second. It feels like it should have taken her longer, but I guess she is pretty close to me physically. So maybe if she got up just a zai did, she would have kept up. When I got into the kitchen, she tackled me and started clawing my back. Was she saying anything? I shook my head as I answered. No, just that weird

scream growl thing. Her hands felt like razors. I didn't realize fingernails could hurt so much or tear clothes, either. I guess maybe she had a knife and I didn't realize it. I stopped briefly to ponder this to myself, and he scribbled quietly. Then I slightly shook my head to get rid of the thought and continued, I kind of rolled over to get her off my back like, rolled on top of her. You know, I was able to pull myself up on the counter and grabbed my bag and bolted for the door Before I could get there. She had grabbed me again. No, not really. Grabbed more like pounced on me like a lion jumping on an antelope. She hopped on my back and shoved me up against the door. She was on my back, like, full on my back in Just bit me. Just

a bit. A huge chunk out of my shoulder. It hurt, Damn it. Hurt Didn't know what to do She was on me. I pushed off the wall but she wouldn't let go. I didn't know she was that strong. She shouldn't have been that strong. It was unrealized. You saw how tiny she is. It shouldn't have been possible. I was panicking. I noticed my heels were in my bank, so I grabbed one and just swung over my shoulder. I didn't want to hurt her really. I just wanted her to get off of me. She screamed in my ear so loud it was like a could have been standing in front of club speakers. It was so loud, but you let go. Mostly she fell off me. But because she was still digging her hand into the shoulder, she wasn't biting

. I fell back. When she did, I noticed her grip loosened and I got up. I looked back as I opened the door. A stupid thing to do, really. But I did. I saw my shoes sticking out of her temple. I kind of lost it. I forgot that She has just been crazy trying to kill me and went to see if she was OK. I think every stupid thing you see in films and go I'd never do that. I did. She wasn't screaming. She wasn't breathing. Her eyes were black and bloodshot. She was covered in blood, half naked and covered in blood. Hey, panicked! I cried. I ran out and pounded on the neighbor's door for them to call an ambulance. I stopped there. It felt like the end of it all to me. I noticed

my eyes losing focus. The silver on the table is becoming hazy. I figured I was getting tired. This was incredibly draining after all. Why didn't you call the police? He asked. I couldn't find my phone. It wasn't in my bra. I didn't have pockets. I didn't think to look for it. It's probably still in the bathroom. The first thing to come to mind was to get help. So I pounded on the neighbor's door. He and his girlfriend tried to help. She called 911 and sat with me in the hall. He went in and saw her and backed out. He met the officers and the medics at the door to the building. I got patched up and taken here. I stopped and took another drink. I didn't mean to kill her. I didn't. At

the end of that statement, my voice sounded as dead as the rest of me felt. I wasn't getting hysterical anymore. The longer we sat there, the less I could feel I was empty. It was a relief. The thoughts and events had finally slowed down. I could focus now, but it was easy to lose that focus and drift off all right, he said, finishing up some notes. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I've got to get something. I'll be back in a few minutes. Would you like some more water? He asked as he stood. I nodded in response. He reached forward for my cup as he grabbed it. I noticed the time on his watch and it really Onley been four hours since this started. It felt like forever. But I guess that was just me. Everything

seemed to be slowing down since I got here, but that's okay. I must have been in shock. It was a traumatic experience. I guess normal people go into shock when this kind of thing happens. I sat in the room and waited, not knowing how long it would take him to return. I rested my head on my arm, letting the weariness wind. For the moment I was getting tired. I was called. I sat there, open eyed, but seeing nothing. The walls around me were getting blurry, even through the numbness. I knew I was sad. I had killed my best friend. I closed my eyes, letting one last year escape and whispered, allowed to no one. I didn't mean to kill her? Yeah

, development. That was Stephanie Cubans. I didn't mean to. As read by Josie Babin living in that formerly abandoned house on the corner, the one across the street from the cemetery, the one with all those cats lounging about it. You will find Josie happily narrating horror stories. No one has seen her human companion lately, but the cats do look well fed. Not that those things have anything to do with one another. In between stories, she works on a long list of house projects and car projects. But best of all, she gets toe work on lab projects, growing cells into medicine, hopefully making the world a little healthier in the not so far

off future. If you're ever in San Diego, stop by to say hi. She'll introduce you to her cats. Thank you, Josie. Well, Children of the night through our is late and we've run out of tales to tell. For now, tales to terrify is made possible by the tremendous generosity of our supporters through patryan and PayPal. If you're not already a supporter, head over to patryan dot com slash tales to terrify for a look at all the awesome perks from ad free episodes and bonus content to shout outs and swag. Every dollar helps, and we appreciate it so much. If you're looking for another way to help, why not drop a rating or a review on apple

podcasts, Spotify, stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts, Ratings and reviews are an easy way to show your appreciation and help us spread the darkness. Tales to Terrify is produced by Seth Williams, Pete Marcelino, MEREDITH Morgenstern, Julia Zelman and myself. Drew Sabbatini with original theme by nebulous entertainment tales to Terrifies, distributed under a creative Commons attribution. Noncommercial, No derivatives license. Join us again next week, as we in fact your psyche with MAWR tales to terrify one

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Tales to Terrify 463 David Stevens Stephanie Kubin
Tales to Terrify 463 David Stevens Stephanie Kubin
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