Archive for July, 2011

PodCastle 167: Portage

by An Owomoyela

Read by Elizabeth Green Musselman

Originally published in Apex Magazine.

When it came time to carry her father’s soul down from the mountain, she had nothing to carry it in.  The bowl her mother had carved from heirloom ivory, fit together like a puzzle mosaic and watertight without needing glue, had been shattered just that morning in an argument with the father’s retainer.  No other bowl had been carved with the requisite love for him.  But her father’s soul couldn’t be left up at the temple on Mount Ossus, so she went with the pilgrims to claim him before the sun did.

She stood in rank with them as the soul-preparers poured distillations from the cleaned skulls of the dead. When they came to her, a girl whose name was soonafter forgotten, she set her jaw and cupped her hands out like a beggar.  “Give me my father,” she said.

They did.  She took him down the mountainside cupped in her hands, tightening her fingers until they ached against every drop, until the piercing blue sky gave her terrors because it, too, was the color of soul water and it had spilled across the horizon, out of her hands.

Rated R. Contains Adult Themes.

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PodCastle Miniature 65: Blood Willows

by Caroline M. Yoachim

Read by Vashtriel Bloodfrost (Follow him on Twitter: @Vbloodfrost)

Originally published in Flash Fiction Online. Read it here!

“Bug bite?”

“It’s been like this for three days.  I’ve been nauseous, but I thought it was the twins.”  She picked at the bump with her fingernail and winced.

“Well that’s why it hasn’t gone away.  You’re picking at it,” he scolded, laughing and grabbing her hand.

There was a dot of blood on her fingernail.  He wiped it away and opened the medicine cabinet to look for a bandage.  When he turned around, Mara was crying.

A blood willow sapling was growing from her hip.

Rated PG

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An Alphabet Quartet Update (This Time, in Audio)

So there’s good news, bad news, and more good news. Briefly:

Good news: The stories are all done and ready to go.

Bad news: The new software our technomancers have been developing isn’t quite finished yet, so we haven’t been able to send it out yet.

More good news: We should be sending it out to you very soon.

I do apologize for the delay, and thank you for your patience.

-Dave

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PodCastle 166: Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory

by Paul M. Berger

Read by Graeme Dunlop and Ann Leckie

Originally Published in Fantasy Magazine. Read the story here!

The path, which had once been a broad road, was pitted with holes. Back in the heyday of the fort, the paving stones had been interspersed with scraps of iron the humans had salvaged from their own defunct machines. It had hurt to march that road—our feet had burned, and my regiment stayed to the verge and fields whenever possible. In the years after the Elven triumph we had sent out details of Men to pick the poison from the earth here and the other places they had defended against us, and throw it into the sea.

Jessica was wearing loose silk for me. A cool breeze came down out of the hills and played the fabric over the smoothness of her shoulders. I delighted in the sensation, and she knew it. I smiled at her, and my beloved hesitantly returned my gaze for a moment. Our pair-bond was still new enough that she found it disorienting at times; looking into each other’s eyes could throw her into an infinitely recursive image of ourselves, with a vertigo that twisted both our guts. She would require gentle handling, for a while. It had been so with my first wife as well: an awkward initial adjustment period that settled into centuries of intimacy and trust, ever strengthened by the continual sharing of our five senses. I knew every facet of her life, and I would not have traded a moment of it, even during those last long years of pain when her illness gripped her more closely than I could. When she died I was amazed to find that I had not gone with her, and for decades afterwards I had no use for this drab and colorless world, or even for our own. Although it is not often done, I think it was wise to choose a human for my bride this time; they are frail and short-lived, and I will not be faced with another such lingering illness or the same depth of love.

Rated R: Contains some violence.

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