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PodCastle 384: Flash Fiction Extravaganza! Vintage PodCastle

“The Island Wakes” by  D.K. Thompson

Read by Julie Hoverson

A PodCastle Original!

Here’s the thing about the island’s hotel: there’s no bill when you check out.

Mel Summers has been working behind the front desk for the past five months, and she’s still not exactly sure how it all works.

Some of upper management is human. And some of upper management has fish scales, or shark teeth, or a membrane that slicks over their eyes. Nice people, but when Mel asks them questions about how the hotel gets by, all she ever receives is some hand waving about pirate treasure, kraken fossils, and enchantment copyrights. (Separately, never all together.)

“Sheep Among Easter Werewolves” by Ann Leckie

Read by Alasdair Stuart

Originally published in the Kickstarter campaign for the And Welcome Back! anthology.

“I fear to inform your majesty,” said Brother Maximus, “that your people’s dating of Easter is heretical. The Council of Nicea ruled centuries ago that it should be celebrated on the Sunday.”

“Did they?” asked King Osric with a mild voice and an expression of perplexity.  “I suppose I can see why it would be convenient for all of the Church to celebrate Easter at the same time. Why, when my mother married my father, they nearly always celebrated Easter on different days. My mother would still be fasting, sometimes for weeks after my royal father had feasted.  It could be inconvenient, especially for the cooks. And the priests, of course. But you know, I don’t think she ever complained. I was always under the impression she preferred it that way, actually. Our Easter feasts can be a bit…uncouth.”

“Surprises, Not Secrets” by  Anna Schwind

Read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

A PodCastle Original!

Three bubbles hung in the space between them, two small ones and one larger one.  Bubbles were not the most remarkable thing Josie had ever seen, and she tried to school her expression to pleasant amusement, but Vellamine’s eyes met  hers and Josie knew she’d failed.  Vellamine growled again, and pinched the skin at the back of Josie’s knee.

“The Summation of EvilCorp Subsidies HR Meeting Agenda Minutes, Compiled by Olivia Washington” by LaShawn M. Wanak

Read by M.K. Hobson

A PodCastle Original!

Memo #1: The Meeting

Meeting opened with Olivia Washington (me) going over our Supreme Overleader’s plan to change the name of our organization from “EvilCorp Subsidies” to “Supervillain Hero-Inversion Technologies”, effective this Thursday. Ten minutes was spent bemoaning on how this is a bad idea. Not only will it mean ordering new letterhead with a new name for the third time this year, but also because, in the words of Colton Smoker (Risk Management), “People are going to take one look at the new name and laugh their heads off.”

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky

Read by Tina Connolly

Originally appeared in Apex Magazine. Read it here!

If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge.

Rated PG-13!

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PodCastle 383: Abandoned Responsibility

by G. Scott Huggins
read by Wilson Fowlie

First published in Fantastical Visions IV, edited by William H. Horner. (Still available on Amazon.)

“Ah, Captain.” The pirate bowed. His accent was crisp and strange, and the crowd hushed as they strained to listen. “I thank you for your hospitality—”

Haraad cut him off with his usual tact. “The captain . . . has better things to do. I’m his son. And we aren’t rescuing you, pirate.”

The stranger’s odds would have been better a year ago, with the captain, but he had taken sick. And Haraad was just enough of a sailor to see Ekkaia safely back to the Grove. But there was no way for this man to know that.

The stranger’s face fell. “I was afraid of that,” he said calmly. “I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I told you that our, ah . . . situation . . . has changed?”

The crowd laughed, Haraad loudest of all. It was an oily, ugly sound. But even Responsibility felt the laughter well up in her for an instant. Pirates change? One might as well ask the sunspike to move! Ever since the First Fleet split, the Near Islands had been rife with pirates. It did not look good for the pirate, alone on a Century Ship.

Rated PG-13

G. Scott Huggins lives with his wife, three kids, and cat in Wichita, KS (no Oz jokes, please) where he makes the history of the world awesome enough that high-schoolers pay attention. He has six stories coming out this year in various venues (maybe more by the time you hear this)! Of note is his very-nearly-award winning story, “Phoenix For The Amateur Chef” coming out in November in Sword and Sorceress 30 from MZB Works. It was runner-up for the Baen Adventure Fantasy Award in 2014. You can find him on Facebook.

Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud. He has been narrating stories for more people than his own family since late 2008 and has narrated for PodCastle, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShipSofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. In real life he’s a web developer and also the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.

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PodCastle Miniature 84: The Fox Bride

by Mari Ness
Read by Rish Outfield

First appeared in Daily Science Fiction in March of 2015.

He carried the squirming animal to his – no, their, he had to remember that now, their – bedroom, struggling to avoid her sharp teeth. The oversized ring he had given her glimmered on her left front leg; she had spent most of the evening biting and licking at it, when she had not been growling. He had ordered the musicians to play louder, to cover up the noise, but the growls still lingered in his ears.

When he reached the room, he secured her chain to one end of the bed, and sat gingerly at the other end. The waxing moonlight flooded the bed, giving a silver sheen to her red and snowy fur.

“When you are a woman, I can remove the chain,” he told the fox.

The fox barked.

“I swear it,” he said.

A snarl.

Rated PG-13.

Mari Ness has published close to 100 short and flash fiction stories in various publications including Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, and Apex. Her experimental novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, is forthcoming from Papaveria Press. She blogs at Tor.com, where she has, amongst other things, compared Disney animated films to their text sources. She lives in central Florida.

Rish Outfield. Not much can be said about Mr. Outfield that hasn’t been said by the average parent to scare their children into behaving, into going to sleep, or keeping their mouths shut about what they saw take place in the woodshed. You will find him regularly at The Dunesteef podcast, which he produces with Big Anklevich, and you can hear him pretty much everywhere in the genre story pod-o-sphere. And for good reason!

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PodCastle 382: Of Blood And Brine

by Megan E. O’Keefe
read by Jacquie Duckworth

First published in Shimmer magazine in Jan 2015.

Child walked the edge of the cold shore, bare feet sinking in rough sand. The red glare of the sun cast the pale beige granules in eerie, pink light, as if blood had been spilled across them and then diluted by the waves. Beak-pecked carcasses of sea creatures lay along her path, their poisonous flesh bulbous with tumors even after those few birds who could stomach them had picked them over. Why anyone would desire to smell like those wretched waters, Child could not guess.

The beach was empty, as it always was, save for a small group of mourning. They bundled their dead—two or three, she could not tell—onto a floating bier, set light the wooden slats, and shoved it out to sea. Child caught her breath, anger tightening her fists as flames licked up around the bier, revealing the wraps the dead had been sent to their rest within. Such a waste. But then, they had earned them. It was their right.

Rated PG

Megan E. O’Keefe writes speculative fiction and makes soap for a living — it’s only a little like Fight Club. Her debut novel, STEAL THE SKY, which centers around an airship heist, is due out from Angry Robot Books in Jan. 2016. Visit her website at meganokeefe.com or communicate with her via cat pictures on twitter @MeganofBlushie.

Jacquie Duckworth is a Bay Area actress, Teaching Artist, and Director of just about anything from Shakespeare to sketch comedy. She has one child in college and another starting next year and looks forward to embracing poverty with a plucky resourcefulness.


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