Rated R for carnivorous mermaids, sexual shenanigans in the presence of a minor, and near death experiences. This one’s not for the kiddies.
This episode was brought to you by The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, out now from Orbit. You can read the first three chapters of the book at www.Nkjemisin.com.
The Mermaid’s Tea Party
by Samantha Henderson
The mermaid barely slowed her breakneck pace as she approached and ran herself halfway up a yellow beach, belly-down and arching her back so her torso was almost upright. At the same time, she flung Cassandra casually upon the sand, half-knocking the breath out of her. Cassandra gulped for air, then scrambled as best she could up the beach, out of reach of the mermaid’s grasp — or so she profoundly hoped.
The mermaid watched her and made no move towards her, a nasty grin on her face.
“I’ll find the tea, and you’ll make us a party,” she said. “Then, maybe, I’ll bring you some food.”
Cassandra stared. Then the import of the creature’s words struck her and she looked around, beginning to panic. The island was perhaps a mile around and very flat, save where white ridges were raised above the surface. A large wave would have swamped it. A few trees she recognized from picture books as palms clustered off-center, a green haze underneath them. There was not much else.
Nothing to eat, certainly.
The sand clung in a fine film to her dress and bare legs, and itched. Miss Murchinson would have been scandalized.
About the Author
Samantha Henderson lives in Southern California by way of England, South Africa, Illinois and Oregon. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit and Weird Tales, and reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction, Steampunk Revolutions and the Mammoth Book of Steampunk, as well as being podcast in Podcastle, Escape Pod, and The Drabblecast. She’s the author of the Forgotten Realms novels Heaven’s Bones and Dawnbringer, and is currently working on a novel based on her short story “Cinderella Suicide.“
About the Narrator
Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor Books, and the Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen. Her novels have been finalists for the Nebula and the Norton. Her very first Escape Pod appearance was in #209, when “On the Eyeball Floor” was narrated by Norm Sherman, and she’s been providing narration for PodCastle since our miniature episode 23, about 8 months prior to her first publication with Escape Pod. Her stories are collected in On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories, from Fairwood Press. She is one of the current co-hosts of Escape Pod, and her narrations have appeared all over.
She is extremely delighted to have had both her stories and her narrations featured on all four Escape Artists podcasts. Find her intermittent, Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast at Toasted Cake, or find her at tinaconnolly.com.