Archive for April, 2010

PodCastle 101: Kristin, with Caprice

by Alan Smale

Read by Norm Sherman

Originally published in Realms of Fantasy

“I came for my things,” he said.

“If you’d called, I could have been out.” She stood aside to let him in. Reluctantly.

“That’s not necessary,” said Paul. “You don’t have to do that. You look great.”

“Yes, it is,” she replied. “Yes, I do. No, I really don’t. Your stuff’s in the spare.” She walked into the kitchen and he heard the strange squeal again. Perhaps the sound of a sponge against the inside of the oven?

Rated PG For Goats That Will Eat Pretty Much Anything You Can Think Up.

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PodCastle 100: Remembrance Is Something Like a House

by Will Ludwigsen

Read by Wilson Fowlie

Originally Published in Interfictions 2

Every day for three decades, the abandoned house strains against its
galling anchors, hoping to pull free. It has waited thirty years for
its pipes and pilings to finally decay so it can leave for Florida to
find whatever is left of the Macek family.

Nobody in its Milford neighborhood will likely miss the house or even
notice its absence; it has hidden for decades behind overgrown bushes,
weeds, and legends. When they talk about the house at all, the
neighbors whisper about the child killer who lived there long ago with
his family: a wife and five children who never knew their father kept
his rotting playmate in the crawlspace until the police came.

The house, however, knows the truth and wants to confess it, even if
it has to crawl eight hundred miles.

Rated PG because you can never go home again, but sometimes home can come to you.

Happy 100! Thanks for to all our listeners for being part of the journey!

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PodCastle Miniature 49: Dead Letter

by Samantha Henderson

Read by Sarah Tolbert

The dream jerks me awake and I stare at the rough plaster ceiling.  My body is filmed with sweat, and the pattern of cracks above me looks just like Nevada.

The dream leaves me hollow.  An empty place like the inside of a drum stretched tight, a hollow place echoing with short sharp cries of dread or despair.

The dream forces tears from me eyes, crawling slowly, thick like worms, drying into sticky crusts of salt.

I blink once, twice, and emerge from the shadow of the dream.  The pit of of my stomach aches, as if punched, once, twice.

I blink three times and I’m out of it.  Out.

Rated PG for Waking Dreams (Not the Idealistic Kind)

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PodCastle 99: The Hag Queen’s Curse

by M.K. Hobson.
read by Christiana Ellis.
Originally appeared in Realms of Fantasy.

1986. Salty’s. Newport, Oregon.

Colored shadows from the square-tiled disco floor flash against finger-grimed black walls. There is a mirror ball and a pair of cute bartenders who are always squabbling. Two tall Marshall stacks in each corner thump out a beat you can feel all along Bay Boulevard. Jeff and Kat come down to Salty’s every Saturday night because in Newport Oregon in 1986 there’s nothing else to do on a Saturday night if you haven’t the taste for pickup trucks, country music, and mullets.

Always the same people. Skinny transient boys with names like Etienne and Colby; they spasm on the dance floor, get up intrigues in dark corners, pass little plastic packages of white powder from hand to hand. Always the same music: Adam Ant, Depeche Mode, Dead or Alive, Culture Club, The Cure. Always the same table, the wobbly dark one in the back with the red glass candleholder. Kat likes to dip her black fingernails in the melted wax and then peel it off like dead skin. It creeps Jeff out.

Jeff dresses preppy in pastel Izods and pressed chinos. He drinks pina coladas and saves the paper umbrellas. Kat wears black, sips Manhattans through crimson-painted lips, and smokes clove cigarettes in a long jeweled holder.

Every Saturday, it’s the same.

Until the pirate.

Rated R for the fashion woes inflicted by Adam Ant and complicated relationships.

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PodCastle 98: Sun’s East, Moon’s West

by Merrie Haskell.
Read by M.K. Hobson.
Originally appeared in Electric Velocipede.

I shot the sparrow because I was starving. Though truthfully, I was aiming at a pheasant; the silver snow and the silver birches played tricks with the light, and as if by magic, pheasant turned into sparrow.

When I saw what my arrow had done, I cried with empty eyes, too dry to make tears. The sparrow wouldn’t amount to a mouthful of grotty bones–and even a starving woman knows songbirds are sacred to at least one goddess.

My knees plowed into the snow beside the small creature. “How, how, how?” I fretted. “How did you become a sparrow, pheasant?” The bird did not answer, but when I reached to remove the arrow piercing its body, the accusatory glare of a beadish eye stopped me. A trickle of blood slid from its nares, and the bright eye closed.

“Do not be dead!” I cried. “I would give anything for you not to be dead.”

And while the breath-mist of this rash statement still hung in the air, a bear-god waddled out of the forest, lumbering and large.

The bear-god said: “The sparrow will not die, if you live as my wife for a year and a day.”

I licked my lips, tasting the clear, salty snot that comes of crying, and said, “I already have a husband.”

The bear-god regarded me with placid eyes. “And I already have a wife.”

I stared at him, the dying sparrow lying in a bloody lump between us, struggling to breathe.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, anything.”

Rated R for cross-species connubial arrangements.

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