PodCastle Miniature 015: The Voices of Snakes


By Karina Sumner-Smith
Read by Rachel Swirsky

At last the viper stirred, woken by his brethrens’ twisting and whispering. Rising, he said slowly, softly, “Yes, beautiful. Let us see the sun.”

He was the oldest, the largest and the cruelest, and from the very first day the mere sound of his voice had made her feel cold. Once he had tormented her, taunted her with words far crueler than the grass snake could ever utter; her ears and the line of her jaw, the curves of her shrunken breasts, still bore the scarred marks of his teeth and the memory of his venom.

She had endured decades of his abuse — decades thinking that she deserved such treatment — and then fought back in the bloody decades that followed. He was immune from her great weapon, but she’d found he had no escape from her temper, her teeth or her claws. They had a truce now, their enmity tempered by centuries together. Beautiful, he still called her, and she allowed him the entertainment of this tired mockery.

Rated PG. Contains serpents and Greek mythology.

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