PodCastle 397: In the Woods Behind My House

by Nicolette Barischoff

read by Steve Anderson

A PodCastle Original!

He had never talked about the griffin out loud before. He didn’t even think he’d had words to talk about her. She had always been something he’d go into the woods to watch, this silent, padding thing that sometimes stopped to cock her head at him, if he stood still enough, or took something he fed her into her curved black beak.

He had only touched her a handful of times, on the smooth, downy part at the top of her head, and she had watched him every time with hunting gold eyes, her lion’s tail lashing patiently. He’d never even tried to bring home any of her old scattered feathers or broken-off claws. He hadn’t even known, until he talked about her, if he thought she was real.

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Rated PG-13 for some language.

Nicolette Barischoff got her start in speculative fiction last year with a story in Crossed Genres’ anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History. Her work has since appeared in Accessing the Future (The Future Fire), The Journal of Unlikely Academia (Unlikely Story), and Angels of the Meanwhile (forthcoming). She spends a lot of time advocating for body positivity and gender equality. CBS New York has called her activism “public pornography.” She has spastic cerebral palsy, and sometimes writes about disability. She blogs at nbarischoff.com, and can be reached on Twitter as @NBarischoff.

Steve Anderson has narrated stories for all three Escape Artists podcasts (including a Parsec Award-winning story for PseudoPod). He narrates audiobooks and produces online videos out of a home studio at SGAcreative.com, and he writes and performs live history programs on tour at GreatTalesLive.com.