PodCastle Miniature 001: Stone Born

By Loreen Heneghan
Read by Sam Ferree
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky
First appearance here, in PodCastle
Today marks the debut of our first PodCastle Miniature*, “Stone Born” by Loreen Heneghan.
They weren’t friends — she being a girl. Plus she had a crooked smile, a  snorting laugh, and a face like some stone-age ax. Even so, he and Brenda were the last kids on the bus route out past those cliffs. Mark let her sit with him when all the other boys were gone. He’d heard her parents were fighting over her, too. Fighting mean. 

They never talked about that. As they rumbled along, Brenda taught him to look forward, never turning, even when the faces were like a crowd at the edge of the road. It was cool, like seeing into a strange, goblin world.

Rated G. Contains children, school buses, and elves.

An Escape Pod flash fiction contest submission.

*According to wikipedia, the word miniature is derived from the Latin minium, red lead, and is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript. We thought it was a good way to describe very short stories with a fantasy theme: a word that indicates brievity, manuscripts, and a medieval atmosphere.

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13 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Daniel G said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 8:07 am

    Wonderful, I’ve been waiting as long as the rest for podcastle and it exceeded my expectations so far! I do have some comments on the sound of your intro’s. On “Come Lady…” it was pretty ‘roomy’ like you were off mic or quite far from it. It’s a tough balance to not be too close and pop the mic and be too far and get room sound. The metacast was very good. The newest ‘stone born’ is a little harsh and it sounds like there is a reflection from something near the mic like a desk or other flat surface. I’m a radio engineer, done quite a bit of music and spoken word recording so I’ve heard quite a bit. Without knowing the mic, gear, room or software it’s hard to make recommendations but I would be more than willing to help. You also sound a little tight and nervous but that will change with time I’m sure. Keep up the good work.

  2. 2

    treed said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

    i listened to this droping my kids off at school. they enjoyed it as much as i did………..and calling these very short stories “miniatures” is perfect. such a wonderfull tradition ya’ll have started with the first story and the first ministure, can only be a fortell of greater things to come. . Thomas

  3. 3

    Steve said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

    Congratulations on the launch of PodCastle. Well worth the wait I can assure you. Like Treed, I thoroughly enjoyed the first story and felt that many kids would also enjoy same. The story was well written and beautifully read, making ones enjoyment even better still. Certainly a good way start. Here’s wishing PodCastle, its presenters, readers and writers every success for the future.

    All Best Wishes
    …SteveP
    Executive Producer KidsCastNETWORK

    KidsCastUK {Music, Jokes, sketches and stories}
    KidsCastSCiFi {Stories, Occassional Jokes, Sketches and Music}

    If it bears the KidsCastNETWORK branding, you know its safe for kids.

  4. 4

    Craybe said,

    April 4, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

    *Cheers for the launch of PodCastle*

    A great story for kicking it off. From one Hennegan to another Heneghan keep up the good writing 🙂

    Andrew Hennegan Aka Craybe

  5. 5

    AmberBug said,

    April 5, 2008 @ 12:46 am

    This was amazingly well done. Not “traditional” fantasy at all, but certainly fantastic in nature. I like this take of a slight skew (to the left?) to the story. It was slightly sad and bitter sweet but nice.

    So far I’m VERY pleased with podcastle! This is such a nice addition to my pod feed, and I look forward to more!

  6. 6

    Martin R said,

    April 5, 2008 @ 4:56 am

    Good story, bad music. Please, please, get some acoustic music instead of this cheesy mock-operatic quasi-Gothic synth-drenched stuff! Fantasy is about magic, not tech.

  7. 7

    Mari Mitchell said,

    April 6, 2008 @ 10:42 am

    I can see (or should I say hear?) why many have enjoyed so few words so very much. It was well-written and like all good flashes not a word was wasted. Hard to do.

    I could see high school or college kids someday reading this from their text books and having to write essays about it. I would love the assingment of conisdering careful chosen words that painted a much larger picture with deeper implacations.

    I am not sure why you would have to listen to this one twice, but then I used to get A’s for understanding medifors in lit. class.

    I look forward to consuming for of her stories.

  8. 8

    Melissa said,

    April 6, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

    I loved the first story and I really love the art work for the podcast. That castle is awesome and it would make a great tattoo. I’m looking forward to all the great stories to come !
    Melissa

  9. 9

    Mitch said,

    April 17, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

    Kudos on the podcast! Good stuff so far!

    I love the intro music – it sets a wonderfully different theme from EscapePod. I will say that as the intro progresses, the background music has vocals – which is very distracting when listening to someone talk on top of it. It seems like you’ve lowered the volume on that part in the later ‘casts – which helped a lot.

    I really don’t mind the long series of female readers & characters – I’m in it for the fun stories. If they happen to be mostly female over on this podcast, so be it. Keep the stories coming!

  10. 10

    Spork said,

    April 19, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

    The story was fine, as was its reading. The intro and outro, however, were nearly ear-shattering in parts.

    You either need to back away from the mic a little, or, more logically, stress words where they make more sense and do so less like a cheerleader on the side of a basketball court.

  11. 11

    Kevin Anderson said,

    May 7, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

    Stone Born was extremely well written. I look forward to more from Ms. Heneghan.

  12. 12

    The Fix | From the Podosphere: April 2008 said,

    May 15, 2008 @ 10:33 am

    […] “Stone Borne” by Loreen Heneghan (read by Sam Ferree) is a concise evocation of a child’s perspective. Ten-year-old Mark is the child of a broken marriage, but he knows that Brenda, his only remaining traveling companion on the school bus, also comes from a broken home. Brenda shows him a way of looking at things that makes them appear not so bad. This story seems more like horror than fantasy—depending on whether you take Mark’s perception at face value or construe it as symptomatic of something else. […]

  13. 13

    scatterbrain said,

    July 27, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

    Ahh, now it get it, its all a big paratime thing…ain’t it?

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