The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - New Story! “Devour,” Now Live At Escape Pod!
February 10th, 2012
10:34 am

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New Story! “Devour,” Now Live At Escape Pod!

Some stories are just too damn personal.  When my stepfather Bruce died of Lou Gehrig’s disease and my grandmother went blind, then senile, then died in a sad nursing home, I had a lot of emotions churning about.

So I decided to write a story about love, and what happens when the person you adore is taken from you.

Being me, I made it science fiction, and I may have switched the protagonists to be an elderly gay couple, and I may have raised the subtext to, er, text, by infecting one of them with an identity-eating virus that consumes his personality.  But the emotions in this story are roiling and true, and it’s one of my stories that cuts so close to the bone that it’s hard for me to reread.

Thankfully, Escape Pod – the premiere science-fiction podcast - picked it up as an original story, and Dave Thompson gave it a gorgeously emotive reading (saying, quite kindly, that it was “brimming over with humanity and love“), and now it’s live!  Obligatory sample:

“I want some water,” Sergio says.  The bicycle chains clank as he strains to put his feet on the floor.

Sergio designed his own restraints.  He had at least fifteen plumbers on his payroll who could have installed the chains – but Sergio’s never trusted anything he didn’t build with his own hands.  So he deep-drilled gear mounts into our guest room’s floral wallpaper, leaving me to string greased roller chains through the cast-iron curlicues of the canopy bed.

“You’re doing well, Bruce,” he lied, trying to smile – but his lips were already desiccated, pulled too tight at the edges.  Not his lips at all.

I slowed him down; I had soft lawyer’s hands, more used to keyboards than Allen wrenches.  Yet we both knew it would be the last time we could touch each other.  So I asked for help I didn’t need, and he took my hands in his to guide the chains through what he referred to as “the marionette mounts.”

Then he sat on the bed and held out his wrists while I snapped the manacles on – the chamois lining was my idea – and we kissed.  It was a long, slow kiss that needed to summarize thirty-two years of marriage. And it should have been comforting, but his mouth was a betrayal.  His lips had resorbed from their lush plumpness.  His tongue had withdrawn to a stub.

His kiss still sent flutters down my spine.

I pressed my hands against his back, moving towards making love, but Sergio pushed me away.  ”We don’t know how transmissible this is,” he said.  Then he tugged on the chains to verify he could lie down and sit up, but not leave the bed.

I pressed the keys into his palm, trying to burn the feeling of his skin into mine forever.  He snipped the keys in half with a bolt-cutter, then flung it all into the corner.

“That’s that,” he said, and rolled away from me to cry.  My arms ached – still ache – from not being able to hold him.

Six days later, I’m still here.  And Sergio is still leaving.

Now, Dave’s reading is top-notch, but the #1 complaint I get with audio readings is that people want to read, not listen.  Which is why it’s nice to say that the entirety of the story is in written form at Escape Pod, if you are low on time.  Go over, check it out – and if you like it, please link to it, Tweet it, Facebook it.  As you should do for every story you love.  Each scrap of PR helps fledgling authors, remember.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/190662.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

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(56 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
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From:pingback_bot
Date:February 10th, 2012 03:59 pm (UTC)

"Devour" at Escape Pod

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User csecooney referenced to your post from "Devour" at Escape Pod saying: [...] words: Originally posted by at New Story! “Devour,” Now Live At Escape Pod! [...]
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From:lysystratae
Date:February 10th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Wow
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From:theferrett
Date:February 10th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
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Hopefully that's a good "Wow." :)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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From:terriaminute
Date:February 10th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
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I read it. I tweeted the link. I need a box of tissues!
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From:laplor
Date:February 10th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
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Ditto! Plus Facebooked.
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From:troutwaxer
Date:February 10th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Wow. Amazing. Just completely fucking wow. That's a beautiful story.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 12th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I tried hard on that one.
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From:hooloovooo
Date:February 10th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
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I read it twice, back-to-back. It's an incredible story that is going to haunt me. I can see this being an equally incredible movie that I'll never be able to see because of how it would affect me.

~ shakes self unsuccessfully ~
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From:theferrett
Date:February 12th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, sweetie. When do we get to see you guys again? We'll come over to your side of town, we miss you!
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From:asakiyume
Date:February 10th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
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Looking forward to reading (rather than listening--the time thing, as you say) it, Ferrett!
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From:theferrett
Date:February 12th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Lemme know what you think!
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From:kilbia
Date:February 10th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
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I shared it on both my FB account, and on my imaginary friend's FB account. On the latter, I said "I hope I never need to be this brave, but if it comes to that, I hope I can be."
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From:theferrett
Date:February 12th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. But "...imaginary friend's FB account?"
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From:nikkif
Date:February 10th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
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I loved it. I read it this morning, and it had me bawling. Then I've found myself thinking about it all day. Bravo. I will link to it on Facebook.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 12th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Aw, shucks. *shuffles feet* Thanks.
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From:celticcowboy68
Date:February 11th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
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A very difficult read, in a very good way.
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From:katranna
Date:February 11th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
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Wow. That really is a very good story. It starts off a bit slow, but really gets going from middle to end.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 12th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the beginning is something I have issues with, and I feel like there was a way I could have cut like 20% out, but I couldn't figure out how to restructure. But thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 11th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)

Great audio story and reading

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Congratulations on a very well done story. Great weapon and weapon's flaw and characterization dialog. Love Dad
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From:ravenblack
Date:February 12th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
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Good stuff. You know how I always like to focus one the one least-good aspect when I comment on something, the thing that could have been better, and how? I don't have one here. Flawless execution.

(The written version, that is - there could be a flaw in the spoken one, I didn't try that!)
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From:ravenblack
Date:February 12th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
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Adding a little more specific positive, I especially liked the segue into "it is a homosexual relationship" with careful avoidance of any "look how special!" or "ha ha tricked you!" vibe, it just is. (Even despite one of the characters making a big deal of it.)
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From:lysanderlove
Date:February 12th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
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Ferrett, we don't really talk much. Or, well, ever, barring the times when I come in here and drive-by berate your other readers for some of their comments. But listen, I've been reading you for over seven years now and have seen you change a lot over the course.

When I read this story, I have to stop at some of the lines and think "Fuck dude. You are getting seriously good at this.". It's the satisfaction of seeing a metric assload of work coming together into something amazing.

Devour is a story that I wish everyone I talk to would read. So I'm going to make that as close to reality as I can. Thanks.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 13th, 2012 03:16 am (UTC)
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Thank you. I'm deeply honored. For the story compliments and the me compliments.
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From:ephant
Date:February 13th, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
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I've read a few of your stories (not all) and always enjoyed them. I generally think "yeah, that was a pretty good story."

I don't know that I can say I enjoyed this story. more than a whole day later I still have chills. I cried when I read it. Huge, gulping sobs and globs of snot and tears kind of crying. And again, hours later, when I accidentally thought about it. Thank you. This story is incredible.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 13th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. Sorry I made you cry, though, even if it's what I intended.
From:serakit
Date:February 13th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
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For some reason, the narrator registered to me as female, even though I know you stated upfront on here "gay couple" and mentioned it in the story too.

That said, it's an amazing, wonderful story that I raced through to figure out how it would turn out and now will need to read more slowly to catch teh nuances.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 13th, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
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I have problems with that, actually. A lot of the time, I can't get across the right voice. And this story in particular, since you hear "husband" and that's got a lot of social weight behind it.

And thank you.
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From:vvvexation
Date:February 15th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
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The best sad stories are the ones that are somehow sad in an uplifting way. This is one of those.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 15th, 2012 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. I always strive for hope.

....Sometimes I even succeed. :)
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From:hermitgeecko
Date:February 15th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing!
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From:theferrett
Date:February 15th, 2012 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for, uh, thanking me! Glad you enjoyed.
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From:niri
Date:February 15th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
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Put me in the camp of preferring audio for short stories. I listen to podcasts while biking to work (bad cyclist, I know). This one, I had to stop at a park to sit and listen to, since biking and crying is generally a bad idea. Wow. This story was amazing, thank you.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 17th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
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I hesitate to say "thanks" because I feel awful for making you cry like that, but I've told Dave (the narrator) and it made him happy. Thank you.
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From:richlayers
Date:February 16th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
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Oh, wow, that was good. I just finished listening. Gave me shivers... and maybe misty eyes too... >.>
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From:theferrett
Date:February 17th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
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Thanks so much!
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From:pretentiousfool
Date:February 17th, 2012 01:05 pm (UTC)
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Just listened to it today. Wonderfully moving story, with an ending I absolutely loved.
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From:theferrett
Date:February 17th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. I'm very glad you liked it.
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From:voiceofanangel
Date:February 18th, 2012 08:36 am (UTC)
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I'd love to read this on my phone in my e-reader. Unfortunately, copying that to Word leave truncated lines, which looks funny on my phone. Would you possibly have a Word doc or ebook I could snag a copy of? :)
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From:theferrett
Date:February 19th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
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What's your email address?
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