Archive for Podcasts

PC048: “I’ll Gnaw Your Bones,” the Manticore Said

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains some violence, and a number of circus creatures.


“I’ll Gnaw Your Bones,” the Manticore Said

by Cat Rambo

There is a tacit understanding between a beast trainer and her charges, whether it be great cats, cunning dragons, or apes and other man-like creatures. They know, and the trainer knows, that as long as certain lines aren’t crossed, that if certain expectations are met, everything will be fine and no one will get hurt.

That’s not to say I didn’t keep an eye on Bupus, watching for a twitch to his tail, the way one bulbous eye would go askew when anger was brewing. A beast’s a beast, after all, and not responsible for what they do when circumstances push them too far. Beasts still, no matter how they speak or smile or woo.

At any rate, Bupus felt obliged to maintain his reputation whenever another wagon or traveler was in earshot.

“Gnaw your bones,” he rumbled, rolling a vast oversized eyeball back at me. The woman he was trying to impress shrieked and dropped her chickens, which vanished in a white flutter among the blackberry vines and ferns that began where the road’s ground stone gave way to forest. A blue-headed jay screamed in alarm from a pine.

PC047 Giant Episode: Bright Waters

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains some violence, some “adult situations,” and some fun battle scenes.


Bright Waters

by John Brown

He looked at their leg tattoos. Mohawk. One of the Iroquois tribes. Well, he couldn’t kill them then.

Not that he’d want to. They were, after all, just boys. Still, Indian boys weren’t like the lads back in Rotterdam. It had been small Abenaki lads, just like these, that tried to take his scalp the first year as a trapper. He’d killed them all with the blood flowing down the side of his face and a chunk of his scalp flapping about like a wig.

And so he’d need to be ready. Hunting knives hung from the belts at their waists. But none carried a war club. Only one held a bow.

Jan sneaked back the way he had come and then up and around in front of them so that the boys would walk right up the trail into him. The path bent around a hill where the river willow grew thick. He waited for them there.

He withdrew rope and a knife from his pack. He couldn’t kill them, but he could tie them up and scare them into good Christian men.

PodCastle Miniature 29: Birthday Wish

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains ten-year-old boys, and thusly some gross-out humor.

Read by Grammar Girl.

This piece won an honorable mention in the Escape Pod flash fiction contest for stories under 300 words. (Contest thread here)


Birthday Wish

by Tina Connolly

Mrs. Lemons stroked her son’s hair. “Joshua is very mature,” she said. “He’s not like those other ten-year-old boys.”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Dumpling. “My Benji is an angel, too. Benji, stop kicking their cat. Isn’t Joshua’s cake lovely?”

“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Lemons. “We’re so excited for his wish. We’ve talked of nothing else for months. Joshua, stop eating those candles. It will be perfect.”

PC046: Secret Life

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains an office which in turn contains despair which in turn contains hope.


Secret Life

by Jeff VanderMeer

A vision of the building from on high: five glittering floors surrounded by a dull concrete parking lot. To the west lay a forest. To the east, the glint of a shopping mall, substantial as a mirage. To the north, highways and fast food restaurants. To the south, a perpetual gloom through which could be seen only more shadow.

The building housed hundreds of people. They worked day and night, as relentless and constant as the seasons. The first four stories lay open to all, but no one could visit the fifth floor without a special key. Few had ever seen the roof.

The stairs were used for emergencies only. Some of the elevators clanked and groaned. Some of the elevators, quiet and smooth as ghosts, rose and fell with limitless grace.

Most inhabitants of the building, even the janitors in the basement, it was rumored, preferred the noisy elevators. When the quiet elevators reached the first floor, a scream could sometimes be heard, as of an animal trapped and then crushed beneath their feet. The screams might continue for several minutes. No one knew what kind of animal it was, or how it came to be trapped there.