PodCastle Miniature 017: All Flee the Vocab. Quiz

By Kristine Dikeman
Read by Alasdair Stuart
First appearance here, in PodCastle

An Escape Pod flash fiction contest submission.

She was about 12, maybe a little younger. It’s not so easy to tell with kids, especially girls. This one looked normal enough, pink puffy coat, blond hair up in a scrunchy thing, vinyl backpack with a cartoon character — an anthropomorphic block of ice — plastered across the side. She moved down the aisle of the lurching bus with the ease of a career sailor and plopped herself down next to me.

Pulling out a pack of well-thumbed index cards, she stripped off the rubber band and held them tight in both hands, staring hard, lips moving with grim concentration. Vocab quiz. I could almost hear the electric impulses zapping through her gray matter as she tried to soak in the knowledge before she reached school. Her lips moved softly as she repeated the words to herself.

I peeked over her shoulder.


Rated PG. Contains Lovecraftian references, and three dollar words.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Frank said,

    October 19, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    Sorry to be picayune — but I was wondering if the numbering schema (espeically the minatures) is bothering anyone else.

    Is this an automatic process or manual? Would we be better off using dates versus non-sequential numbers?

  2. 2

    SpaceCrazed » SF Tidbits for 10/20/08 said,

    October 20, 2008 @ 2:08 am

    […] Fiction:@Beam Me Up: Part Four of “Uxo Bomb Dog” by Eliot Fintushel, read by Paul Cole.@PodCastle: “All Flee the Vocab. Quiz” by Kristine Dikeman, read by Alasdair […]

  3. 3

    WriterDan said,

    October 20, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

    Anyone else having a real difficult time understanding this one? It’s all poppy and squeaky for me. Might just be my computer. Haven’t had problems before though. Is something wrong with the recording?

  4. 4

    George said,

    October 20, 2008 @ 2:46 pm


  5. 5

    WriterDan said,

    October 20, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

    For Frank:

    Looks like there’s just a goof on the number of this story. Miniature 16 is missing for some reason. Otherwise, the regulars and minis are numbered sequentially, although each on their own system.

  6. 6

    Old Man Parker said,

    October 21, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

    It’s very cute for a Lovecraftian story. Lovecraft lite.

  7. 7

    scatterbrain said,

    October 22, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

    Oh, how I love short flickering images of Eldritch terror. Bravo Dikeman. Bravo.

  8. 8

    Libertas in Silico: free fiction online, to 20 Oct. « That, Which said,

    October 24, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    […] I really enjoyed the start but it eventually lost me. Also, a “PodCastle Miniature”: All Flee the Vocab. Quiz, by Kristine Dikeman, read by Alasdair Stuart. Fun and clever, and for 300 words/3 minutes, surprisingly […]

  9. 9

    Arthur said,

    October 30, 2008 @ 8:15 pm

    this was very FUN!

  10. 10

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

    Heh. Clever and just long/short enough.

  11. 11

    Re: All Flee The Vocab Quiz « Writing Every Day said,

    January 16, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    […] for real squamous horror, you need to go back to a Podcastle miniature form last fall called “All Flee the Vocab Quiz,” by Kristine Dikeman. All that’s missing is the gibbous moon shining over a […]

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