PodCastle 112: The Somnambulist

Show Notes

Rated R: Violence, Language, Adult Themes


The Somnambulist

by David J. Schwartz

The somnambulist brakes at the intersection of two suburban streets–Ivy Something Lane, Something Creek Road.  Her headlights illuminate the 2 A.M. silence.  She leans over to open the passenger side door and her husband, in the body of a grey squirrel, jumps in.  He’s been gone twelve days, in a double-door trap, in a coma, trekking across astral space and chemically treated lawns.  Earlier today his human body died.  The somnambulist cried herself to sleep; salt tracks have dried upon her face.

She pulls the door shut and sits up.  The squirrel-husband hops over to her, his tail arcing after him like an echo.  He climbs the arm of her teddy bear pajamas and perches upon her shoulder.

The somnambulist–her name is Judy when she’s awake–has been married for ten years.  Her husband calls himself a trader, and this is perhaps the best description of what he does, but he has been called other things; magician, sorcerer, devil.  Within the profession these terms have little meaning.  He traffics in power, which is more or less what Judy has always believed.

“The hospital,” says the squirrel-husband.  At least, she hears a voice, and the squirrel is the source.  The somnambulist turns towards the highway.

About the Author

David J. Schwartz

David J. Schwartz’s first novel, Superpowers, was nominated for a Nebula Award; his short fiction has appeared in numerous venues. He lives in St. Paul, where he is working on a time travel trilogy about the city. For more about the author, see his website.

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About the Narrator

Elizabeth Green

Elizabeth Green as been reading stories for Podcastle through each of her different life changes: including teaching history of science at a liberal arts college, designing knitting patterns, doing freelance graphic design, and now working as the graphic designer for Girl Scouts of Central Texas. On weekends you can find her and her son playing samurai in the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Elizabeth read Beth Cato‘s story Beat Softly, My Wings of Steel for PodCastle episode 405 during the 2016 Artemis Rising event.

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