“Psychopomps” by Judith Field
(Originally published in The Colored Lens, Summer 2014.)
Mark’s next door neighbour and business partner Pat kept telling him that power flowed through his veins. He took a breath and closed his eyes, trying to will the power back out again and into the ash wand in his outstretched hand. He pointed it at Pat’s door. A narrow beam of blue light squeezed out of the end and hit the lock. Nothing happened. Sighing, he folded the wand and put it in his pocket. He took out his key and let himself into her house.
He heard her moving around in the kitchen, back from sorting out the invasion of reptilian arsonists in a garden in Llandudno the day before, while he had expelled a banshee from a pub in Macclesfield. This morning’s job was to sort out an elderly-care home with a spirit infestation. Mark opened the kitchen door.
Pat coughed, wafting her hand at a cloud of green fumes. ‘Damn, they’re still moving,’ she said.
Judith Field lives in London. She’s a pharmacist and medical indexer and editor. The daughter of writers, she learned how to agonize over fiction submissions at her mother’s (and father’s) knee. In 2009, she made a New Year resolution to start writing and get published within the year. Pretty soon she realized how unrealistic that was but, in fact, it worked because she got a slot to write a weekly column in a local paper shortly before the end of the year. It ran for a several years and she still writes occasional feature articles for the paper. Her non-fiction articles have appeared in genealogy and general interest magazines. Her fiction, mainly speculative, has appeared in a variety of publications in the USA, UK, and Australia. She speaks five languages and can say, “Please publish this story” in all of them. When not writing she works at the day job, studies for a Masters in English, sings, and swims. She is Science Fiction Editor at Red Sun Magazine. You can find her work here.
About the Narrator:
Matt Dovey is very tall and very English and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. He has a scar on his arm that he can’t remember getting, but a terrible darkness floods his mind when he considers it. He now lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and despite being a writer, he still hasn’t found the right words to properly express the delight and joy he finds in this wonderful arrangement.
His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He is the Golden Pen winner for Writers of the Future Volume 32 (2016), was shortlisted for the James White Award in 2016, and has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place; you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.