Archive for Rated PG-13

PodCastle 551: The Blue Widow

Show Notes

Rated PG-13, for betrayal and vengeance.

A word from host Setsu Uzume: In the host outro for “The Blue Widow,” I talked about how being a professional means you can get away with stuff. I meant that in terms of modeling more liberating and inclusive behaviors; not using your power to oppress other people. It’s an important distinction.

The Blue Widow

By J. P. Sullivan

It was good tea, all things considered, and I really did admire his efforts at being a good host — but the fact was, I was there to kill him. This was, unfortunately, something of a trend in the profession.

He spoke with the confidence of his kind. “You’ve made a terrible mistake.”

“You’ve poisoned me,” I agreed.

That gave him pause. “You knew?”

“It was a necessary professional consideration,” I told him.

He didn’t have much to say to that. A clock ticked somewhere in the back of the parlor. A very fashionable parlor, full of the most fashionable things. Flock wallpaper, teakwood furniture, a sideboard from somewhere in the unpronounceable east. Beyond the damask curtains I heard carts and voices echo over widening streets. Master Zaleski was a well-heeled fellow.

He was also a monster. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 549: Fixer, Worker, Singer

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Fixer, Worker, Singer

by Natalia Theodoridou

Fixer Turns on the Stars

The sky creaks as Fixer makes his way across the steel ramp that is suspended under the firmament. It’s time to turn on the stars. He pauses a few steps from where the switches and pulleys are located and looks down. He allows himself only one look down each day, just before sunset: at the rows of machines, untiring, ever-moving; at the Singer’s house with its loudspeakers, sitting in the middle of the world; at the steep, long ladder that connects the Fixer’s realm to everything below. He’s only gone down that ladder once, and it was enough. Fixer caresses the head of the hammer hanging from his belt. Then he walks to the mainboard and turns off the sun. The stars come on. He pulls on the ropes to wheel out the moon. There. Job well done. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 547: Every House, a Home

Show Notes

Rated PG-13, for the weird ways of houses.

Every House, a Home

By Evan Dicken

“I guess nobody wants haunted houses, anymore.” Derek checked his reflection in one of the Cape Cod’s filmy windows, teasing his hair back to mussy perfection. He glanced back at me. “That was a joke, Natalie.”

I gave him my best approximation of a smile.

He blew out a long puff of air. “Never mind.”

The house wasn’t haunted, which was a shame. A ghost or two would be just the thing to calm it down. The Cape Cod was faceless, without history or meaning. Sandwiched awkwardly on a scrubby half-parcel between two mid-century colonials, it felt out of place and forgotten. A decade ago, the lot had probably been wild, but some developer had come along and crammed a factory home where it had no place being. I even recognized the model: Sea Breeze. There were maybe a hundred in Columbus — same light-blue vinyl siding, same asphalt shingles, same fake shutters, same concrete porch with the same three white-painted pillars. It shouldn’t have had a feel, let alone a personality.

“I just don’t get it.” Derek brushed by me to tug the “Open House, Sunday, 1–4 p.m., PRICE REDUCED” sign from the freshly replanted lawn. “Two bed, two bath, decent schools — a good starter house. It’s these millennials, they’re all about apartments and lofts nowadays.” (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 541: Andromache and the Dragon

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Andromache and the Dragon

By Brittany Pladek

The dragon stood on the shore.

“For every day, I will consume one of your desires,” she told them. “You will not know which. You will not know whose. This is my tribute. Do you agree to its terms?”

Andromache nodded.

“Then it is done.” Hissing, the dragon arched her spines toward the sky, their nimbus peaks dissolving into vapor. Her foggy belly followed. Last she drew up her claws, their tips thinning to a sting of spray that whipped the villagers as it passed.

They shivered in the wind raised by her departure, numb hands longing for the fireplaces that lay behind them in the low houses of their fishing town. Andromache signaled that they should return home. The little group turned, heads hidden like sheep being driven up a mountain. It was suppertime, and they were all very hungry, except one. (Continue Reading…)