PodCastle 326: Haunts

by Claire Humphrey
Read by Julia Rios (of Strange Horizons and the Outer Alliance Podcast)
Originally published in Interzone #249, November 2013.

The chirurgeon’s knife severs my little finger from my palm, just above the mount of Mercury.

“You are permitted to look away,” the chirurgeon comments.

I shrug the shoulder that isn’t locked down, and keep watching.  The knife, obsidian, joints me like I’m a bird.

Somewhere inside my forearm I feel the pull of my tendon loosed.  Little blood, and no pain; the chirurgeon knows her work, and the numbness of the lockdown extends all the way to my breast.  In five minutes the chirurgeon has stowed the finger in its cooler, joined flaps of skin over the hollow socket, and healed it over with a couple of passes of a graft-stick.

“You’ll have minor pain for a few weeks,” she says.  “You don’t need to keep it covered.  The scar will change colour; that’s normal.  If you feel a loss of sensation or have any discharge, come back to me.”

She takes off the lockdown and feeling surges back through my breast, up over my trapezius, down my arm.  I flex my hand.  Sure enough, it hurts.  Nothing I can’t bear.

She walks me to the front desk.  The buyer waits there.  An attendant comes out and hands him the tiny cooler tagged with my name.

Rated R. Contains violence, disturbing imagery, and sex. (The sex isn’t disturbing.)

You can support PG Holyfield’s GoFundMe account here. Please help his family.

You can support Bobby Lombardi’s GoFundMe project here, and read from Matt Wallace how Bobby saved his life.

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle Spotlight: California Bones!

Anna and Dave take one last summer read and discuss California Bones, by Greg van Eekhout. If you’ve heard Greg’s The Osteomancer’s Son, you might recognize it. Then again, you might not!

Also, an excerpt! Yes, Dave reads an excerpt! You guys should totally campaign for him to read the audiobook!

Discuss on the forums.

PodCastle 325: Down

by Christopher Fowler
Read by
Paul S. Jenkins
Originally published in The End of the Line: An Anthology of Underground Horror, Edited by Jonathan Oliver

Honor Oak reservoir is underneath a golf course in Peckham, Thornhill reminds himself as he walks. That’s the biggest subterranean vault he’s ever visited, an inverted cathedral that’s the largest reservoir in Europe, with four great chambers that hold 256 million litres of water, a great heart made of orange brick that ceaselessly pumps life into the metropolis. He would have liked to work on the new Brixton extension at Honor Oak but there wasn’t a position, so he’s back here in the tube tunnels beneath King’s Cross, moving through the dead dusty air, looking for circuit faults. He comes down every night at midnight and goes up at 4:00am; that doesn’t sound hard but there are meetings before and sometimes after, and while you’re down you’re on the move the whole time.

Looking back, he can see the unmistakable silhouette of Sandwich hopping nimbly across the rails. Sandwich’s real name is Lando – he was named after a character in a Star Wars film, and hates it – his mates call him Sandwich because no-one has ever seen him eat, even though he’s the size of a bear.

Thornhill has been down for three years now, and likes the job. The perks are good, his fellow workers are a nice bunch and he gets regular health check-ups chucked in for free. They’re all outsiders, of course, men and women who work down here because they’ve joined a veritable foreign legion of employees who go below to forget.

But he doesn’t forget. He goes down in order to remember.

Rated R: Contains Violence, Disturbing Imagery, and Gore.

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SPECIAL EDITION: PG Holyfield

Announcement: http://specficmedia.com/2014/08/17/pg-holyfield-announcement/

Music in this episode:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/All_These_Simple_Things/09_-_The_Idea_of_Space

Discuss on the forums.

 

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