PodCastle Miniature 79: The Dolphin

by Dave Bishop

Read by Joe Scalora

A PodCastle Original!

I couldn’t see anything amiss and I’d already signed my name, so I pulled myself from my mother’s embrace and sailed away with her tears staining my coat.

“Man the pumps,” called the mate on my first watch.  “Davey Jones is watching us and he thinks the God damn Dolphin‘s his very own pet.  He wants her back, you dogs, so pump or we’ll all go swimming.”

“God damn the Dolphin,” we said as we pumped all ninety-five days to Montego Bay though the sky was untouched, the glass stayed high, and a soft breeze blew us gently from the East.
Rated R. Goddamn the Dolphin! Happy Halloween!

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PodCastle 335: The Gorgon

by Clark Ashton Smith

Read by Norm Sherman (Maybe you’ve Heard of him from Escape Pod or the Drabblecast?)

Originally published in Weird Tales, 1932 (and check out The Dark Eiodolon and Other Fantasies, edited by S.T. Joshi, out now from Penguin Books!)

I have no reason to expect that anyone will believe my story. If it were another’s tale, probably I should not feel inclined to give it credence myself. I tell it herewith. hoping that the mere act of narration, the mere shaping of this macabre day-mare adventure into words will in some slight measure serve to relieve my mind of its execrable burden. There have been times when only a hair’s-breadth has intervened betwixt myself and the seething devil-ridden world of madness; for the hideous knowledge, the horror- blackened memories which I have carried so long, were never meant to be borne by the human intellect.

A singular confession, no doubt, for one who has always been a connoisseur of horrors. The deadly, the malign, and baleful things that lurk in the labyrinth of existence have held for me a fascination no less potent than unholy. I have sought them out and looked upon them as one who sees the fatal eyes of the basilisk in a mirror; or as a savant who handles corrosive poisons in his laboratory with mask. and gloves. Never did they have for me the least hint of personal menace, since I viewed them with the most impersonal detachment. I have investigated many clues of the spectral, the ghastly, the bizarre, and many mazes of terror from which others would have recoiled with caution or trepidation… But now I could wish that there were one lure which I had not followed, one labyrinth which my curiosity had not explored…

More incredible than all else, perhaps, is the very fact that the thing occurred in Twentieth Century London. The sheer anachronism and fabulosity of the happening has made me doubt the verities of time and space; and ever since then I have been as one adrift on starless seas of confusion, or roaming through unmapped dimensions. Never have I been quite able to re-orient myself, to be altogether sure that I have not gone astray in other centuries, in other lands than those declared by the chronology and geography of the present. I have continual need of modern crowds, of glaring lights, of laughter and clangor and tumult to reassure me; and always I am afraid that such things are only an insubstantial barrier; that behind them lies the realm of ancient horror and immemorial malignity of which I have had this one abominable glimpse. And always it seems to me that the veil will dissolve at any moment, and leave me face to face with an ultimate Fear.

 Rated PG. Contains monsters.

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PodCastle 334, Giant Episode: Quartermaster Returns

by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Read by Roberto Suarez

Originally published in Eclipse 1, Edited by Jonathan Strahan. Check out Prophecies, Libels, & Dreams – Ysabeau S. Wilce’s new collection coming soon from Small Beer Press!

When Pow walks into the hog ranch, everyone turns to stare at shim. At the whist table, the muleskinner gurgles and lets fall his cards. The cardsharp’s teeth clatter against the rim of his glass. The cowboy squeaks. At the bar, the barkeep, who had been fishing flies out of the pickle jar, drops her pickle fork. On the bar, the cat, a fantastic mouser named Queenie, narrows her moon-silver eyes into little slits. At the pianny, Lotta, who’d been banging out Drink Puppy Drink on the peeling ivory keys, crashes one last chord and no more.

Even the ice elemental, in the cage suspended over the whist table, ceases his languid fanning. He’s seen a lot of boring human behavior since the barkeep brought him from a junk store in Wal-nuts to keep the hog ranch cool; finally a human has done some- thing interesting. Only Fort Gehenna’s scout doesn’t react. He wipes his nose on a greasy buckskin sleeve, slams another shot of mescal, and takes the opportunity to peek at his opponents’ cards.

The bar-room is dead silent but for a distant slap and a squeal—Buck and the peg-boy in the back room exercising—and the creak of the canvas walls shifting in the ever-present Arivaipa wind.

Rated R. Contains lots of alcohol, some death, and some undeath.

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PodCastle 333: Argent Blood

by Joe L. Hensley

Read by Joe Scalora

Originally published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1967.

April 13: Today I made a discovery. I was allowed to look in the mirror in Doctor Mesh’s office. I’m about forty years old, judging from my face and hair. I failed to recognize me, and by this I mean there is apparently no correlation between what I saw of me in the mirror and this trick memory of mine. But it’s good to see one’s face, although my own appears ordinary enough.

I must admit to more interest in the pretty bottles on Doctor Mesh’s shelves than my face. Somewhere in dreams I remember bottles like those. I wanted the bottles so badly that a whirling came in my head.

But I didn’t try to take them, as I suspected that Doctor Mesh was watching closely.

Doctor Mesh said, “You’re improving. Soon we’ll give you the run of our little hospital and grounds, except, of course, the disturbed room.” He pinched me on the arm playfully. “Have to keep you healthy.”

Rated R. Contains…well, blood.

Check out the Journey Into…Kicktstarter to support Ken Scholes writing an Edgar Allan Poe-esque story here.

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