PodCastle 84: Restless In My Hand

By Tim Pratt
Read by Steve Anderson
Originally published in Realms of Fantasy.

“It is an axe, Mr. Selfry,” the man said. He produced a prybar — from where, Richard wasn’t sure — and, with a great squealing and popping of nails, pried the lid off the crate. Richard left the safety of the doorway and went out onto the porch just as the man set the lid aside. Peering into the crate, Richard saw only darkness, as if the box were full of ink, but then something glinted silver, and — as if his eyes were adjusting to a moonlit night, instead of midafternoon sun — he saw the great silver crescent of an axehead, nestled among styrofoam packing peanuts that were, inexplicably, black instead of white. It was a double-bladed axe, with a long three-sided pyramidal spike emerging from the top.

“Workmanship,” the man said approvingly. “Look at the blood-gutters on that spike. It’s not as if the spike was ever likely to be used for stabbing, but the smith allowed for the possibility. Truly, they were giants on the earth in those days.”

“I don’t understand,” Richard said. “This thing is a family heirloom? From Great Grandma Melody? It doesn’t even look old.”

Rated R: contains a weapon smarter than average, and more purposeful.