PodCastle 331: Drowning in Sky

by Julia August

Narrated by Abra Staffin-Wiebe (of The Circus of Brass and Bone)

Originally published in Fantasy Magazine‘s Women Destroy Fantasy! Special Edition, Edited by Cat Rambo

Ann tracked the seabed rising for days, or hours, or minutes that felt like months, before the jolt of the ship knocking against the harbour wall jarred her eyes open. Water sloshed in the hollows of the hold. The salted ribs of the ship were singing, as were the tin ingots stacked twenty deep at her back. Under the nasal whine of wood and metal Ann heard the slow, deep hum of earth and stone.

She didn’t need the sailors to tell her they had arrived. She flattened her shoulders against the ingots and took a breath. Then another. Her lap was full of dust. The limestone slab that had weighed down Ann’s knees at the start of the voyage was only a pebble. Ann rolled it between her palms. She could hear Tethys scratching at the wooden walls.

If she got up, she could get out. She could bury herself in the earth, her hands and her head and her humming ears, and she could damp down her hair with dirt and never, ever go to sea again. Tethys had promised, she told herself. Ann had walked up and down the distant shore, and Tethys had crept over the sand on a skim of foam, and Tethys had promised.

The trapdoor opened. Ann crushed the pebble between the heels of her hands and experienced a flush of clearheaded energy. Tethys broke all Her promises. But not this one.


Rated R. Contains sex. With Gods.