Archive for May, 2012

PodCastle 210: Sittin’ Round the Stewpot

by Patricia Russo (Check out her new short story collection Shiny Thing!)

Read by Cian MacMahon

Originally published in Electric Velocipede.

This is a true real story, granda said, stirring the mush that we weregonna have to eat that night, and the next night, and the next too, probably.  He coughed for a full minute, then finally spit out a plug of gunk.  He scuffed his mess into the dirt.  This is a true real story, not like the shit you hear from them liars down by Blue Street.  He looked at me when he said shit.  I just looked back at him.  Stupid old man still thought I was a boy.  This is a story about the old days, he went on.  The ancestor time.  Do you know what ancestor means?  I sighed and took the spoon away from him and started stirring the mush myself, because the old man was like to let it burn.  Granda, I said, I’m the one that reads you them old storybooks, when you say you can’t find your good glasses.  He said, this is about the old days, when we had dogs.

Not dogs again, I said, but granda had no mind to heed me.  He was staring out the window at the last red edge of the sun easing under the earth.  Ever since they burned down the warehouses ‘long river side, we got a real nice view of the sunsets.  You don’t remember, he murmured, and I wanted to spit myself.  Sure I remembered.  I used to play in the warehouses when I was little, me and a bunch of other kids.  We’d look for stuff.  Nails and screws, bits of plastic not yet so brittle they couldn’t be shaped.  It was dangerous, cause of the big buckled gaps in the floors, the fallen stairs, the crumbling walls, and the rats.  And sometimes men worse than rats.  Only granda was still jawing about dogs, not the warehouses.  Time was, he said, long ago, people and dogs had a real sweet deal going.  We was like partners.  Lived together in the same house.  Ate together.  Worked together, played together.  Slept together.  Didn’t hardly need no blankets in winter, with a couple dogs up on the bed with you.  Not that it was all sweet, I ain’t gonna lie.  Dogs, they had a mind to sprawl, and fart in their sleep.  Fleas.  That was a pain in the ass.  Oh, and their breath. The stink?  Boy, you have no idea.  You think this mush here smells bad?

No, granda, I said, but he wasn’t heeding me at all. Just wait till you been licked all over your face by a woof-woof with tartar teeth and gums red as fire.  Whew, you like to die.  He took the spoon from me and dipped up a ittle mush, looked at it, then let it fall back into the pot.  You never will, though, will you.  Get licked in the face by a dog.  Play ball with a dog.  Hunt with a dog.  Some folks still got pictures.  You know, the flat kind.  Photos.  Snaps.  You seen them?

Sure, granda, I said.  I seen them.

Rated R: Contains strong language and adult themes

PodCastle 209: Lila the Werewolf

by Peter S. Beagle

Read by Steve Anderson

Originally published as a stand alone chapbook.

Farrell went to a movie with a friend, and to the West End afterward for beer. Then he walked home alone under the full moon, which was red and yellow. He reheated the morning coffee, played a record, read through a week-old “News of the Week in Review” section of the Sunday Times, and finally took Grunewald up to the roof for the night, as he always did. The dog had been accustomed to sleep in the same bed with his mistress, and the point was not negotiable. Grunewald mooed and scrabbled and butted all the way, but Farrell pushed him out among the looming chimneys and ventilators and slammed the door. Then he came back downstairs and went to bed.

He slept very badly. Grunewald’s baying woke him twice; and there was something else that brought him half out of bed, thirsty and lonely, with his sinuses full and the night swaying like a curtain as the figures of his dream scurried offstage. Grunewald seemed to have gone off the air — perhaps it was the silence that had awakened him. Whatever the reason, he never really got back to sleep.

He was lying on his back, watching a chair with his clothes on it becoming a chair again, when the wolf came in through the open window. It landed lightly in the middle of the room and stood there for a moment, breathing quickly, with its ears back. There was blood on the wolf’s teeth and tongue, and blood on its chest.

Farrell, whose true gift was for acceptance, especially in the morning, accepted the idea that there was a wolf in his bedroom and lay quite still, closing his eyes as the grim, black-lipped head swung towards him. Having once worked at a zoo, he was able to recognize the beast as a Central European subspecies: smaller and lighter-boned than the northern timber wolf variety, lacking the thick, ruffy mane at the shoulders and having a more pointed nose and ears. His own pedantry always delighted him, even at the worst moments.

Rated R: Contains some violence, some sex, and some adult language. Basically, everything synonymous with werewolves.

PodCastle Miniature 69: Wolves

By José Luis Zárate

Translated by Bernardo Fernandez

Read by Roberto Suarez (of Trailerclash)

Originally published (in English) in Three Messages and a Warning, edited by Eduardo Jimenez Mayo and Chris N. Brown

The wolves came at twilight, melted into the shadows. At first we thought they were mist coming down from the mountains—it was impossible to think that there were millions of white bodies, thousands of creatures sliding down the snow. Their voices convinced us it was them, their long, sad howls, the occasional growling and fights among them. We’ve never seen such a herd. It’s impossible to gather one on these lands. The wolves we know around here are solitary ferocious animals, always stealthy. We’ve never seen them trot into a village. They don’t run away from men out of fear, their temperament demands that they always hide—all carnivores are furtive. Once in a while they steal a sheep, a deer, some child left in the woods that surrounds us.

Rated R: Contains some Violence and Adult Themes

PodCastle 208, Fable From a Cage

by Tim Pratt

Read by Dave Thompson

Originally published in Realms of Fantasy

Let me tell you a little fable, a story I crafted while sitting inside this dangling cage, where the rooks shit on me and steal my bread all day, and the smoke from your town fires stings my eyes all night.

Did you know the owls feed me? They bring me rats, mice, squirrels, and I eat them. That’s why I haven’t died yet. I’ll never die, not here, wait all you like.

My fable? Yes. Oh, yes. It will, most assuredly, have a moral. Hunker down and listen for it, boys.

Rated R: Contains Violence, some of it gristly.