PodCastle 129: Songdogs

by Ian McHugh

Read by Amanda Fitzwater

Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. (Read the text here!)

She led Carrick along the eroded bank, examining the creek bed in the moonlight. It was furrowed with flood channels and littered with rocks and small debris, but no patches of smooth sand that might indicate a jack-o-box lurking underneath.

He slipped going down the bank, despite Agnieska’s efforts to keep him upright. He knocked her off balance, too, and caught her a painful blow on the breast with his elbow as they slithered to the bottom. Carrick landed on top. He pressed the mittens onto her chest as he scrambled up, squashing the breath from her lungs. Agnieska got her arm in the way of his clumsy swing at her head, yelped as she caught the blow on the point of her elbow. Carrick staggered away, trying to run. His escape lasted only a handful of paces before the compulsion spell stopped him and he sprawled once again in the dust.

Agnieska surged to her feet, her patience shot. With a snarl, she kicked him over onto his back. From her coat pocket she took a pair of steel-bladed calf hooks.

Rated R: Contains violence, disturbing imagery