Archive for Rated PG-13

PodCastle 456: Mateus Goes Higher

by Natalia Theodoridou

read by Thomas Busby

First published in Neon #42, February 2016

Rated PG-13.

Mateus can no longer see the ground from the top of his tower. He calls it a tower somewhat pompously, as in reality it is but a crooked structure made of scavenged materials stacked higher and higher towards the sky. But what is he supposed to call it? A stack? Tower is good. It conveys its importance. Mateus balances on the platform of the latest level he has added and begins his descent to collect the materials he needs for the next. The brown cloud swirls around him and a sudden gust of wind blows dust into his face. Bits of sand make tiny scrapes on his goggles. He’ll soon need to find a new pair. He puts one hand on his bandana and holds it tightly over his mouth. In the little while it takes for the wind to die down, the sound almost drowns out the whisper in his ears: Higher. Go higher.

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Natalia Theodoridou is a media & cultural studies scholar currently based in Exeter, UK. She is also the dramaturge of Adrift Performance Makers (@AdriftPM). Her fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Shimmer, Apex, and elsewhere. Her story “Every Black Tree” is forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Find her online at www.natalia-theodoridou.com and on Twitter at @natalia_theodor.

Picture of Narrator Thomas BusbyThomas Busby is an up and coming Actor from South Wales, United Kingdom. He’s just starting his acting career and hopes to do voice work as well. You’ll find him on The Larp Book Podcast where he and three friends discuss LARPing and generally just have a good time.

You’ll also find him streaming games at www.twitch.tv/redundantuk, and on Twitter @redundant_uk.

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PodCastle 455: A Score of Roses

by Troy L. Wiggins

read by Kimberly Taylor

First published in the Long Hidden Anthology in 2014

Rated PG-13.

Sunshine flowed through the crowd, sliding between hooters and hungry-eyed applauders. A whiskey runner with a long, toothy scar down his neck poured up servings of burning moonshine at a row of nearby tables. The harsh, fruity scent of the liquor filled Sunshine’s nose, luring her with its sweet poison.

She swayed up to the tables, lowered herself into a seat, and stretched out like a yawning cat. The runner regarded her with flat eyes. She nodded. Her hand landed softly on the thigh of the stony-faced man sitting next to her, and her lips quivered. The scent of the rosewater wisped from her skin, cutting softly through the dense reek of smoke from hand-rolled cigarettes, black bodies, and day-old sweat.

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Picture of Author Troy WigginsTroy Wiggins is a writer and editor from Memphis, Tennessee. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Griots: Sisters of the Spear, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History, Expanded Horizons, Fireside Magazine and Memphis Noir. He blogs about the intersection of speculative fiction, race, and nerd culture at afrofantasy.net. Troy lives in Memphis with his wife and their two dogs.

Find him online at his website, troylwiggins.com or on Twitter @TroyLWiggins.

Kimberly Taylor is from Memphis, TN. She enjoys reading, coloring, and cackling over tea with friends. She is obsessed with Black Southern Womanhood (her own and that of others), nail art, and Bioware games.

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PodCastle 454: Godfather

by Megan Arkenberg

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

First published in Niteblade Magazine #27 in March of 2014

Rated PG-13.

Today is your fourteenth birthday, and your godfather is coming to visit. You know because your mother is wearing a dress, a frilly lime-colored affair that certain magazine editors would refer to as a “confection,” and attempting to bake a pie. The tiny counter overflows with paper sacks of flower and plastic sacks of sugar and plates stacked high with slices of golden delicious, all interspersed with photocopies of a neighbor’s cookbook. Your mother is not much of a baker, but then again, your godfather is not much of a diner—in fact, you have never seen him eat.

His pale gray car pulls into your driveway an hour after you wake up. In your ignorance of motor vehicles, you want to call it sleek, and it is, compared to the rusting scarlet pickup your mother relies on for her infrequent trips to town for groceries and postage. But in fact, your godfather’s car is almost absurdly ornamented, glimmering with silver around the wheels and the bluish windows. When your godfather parks in front of your low porch, he waits a moment for the clouds of pink dust to settle before he steps out, lean and trim as a cat in his long black coat, wielding, rather than leaning on, a long ivory cane.

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Picture of Author Megan ArkenbergMegan Arkenberg’s work has appeared in over fifty magazines and anthologies, including Lightspeed, Asimov’s, Shimmer, and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. She has edited the fantasy e-zine Mirror Dance since 2008 and was recently the nonfiction editor for Queers Destroy Horror!, a special issue of Nightmare Magazine. She currently lives in Northern California, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in English literature.

You can find Megan online at her website http://www.meganarkenberg.com/ and on Twitter @meganarkenberg.

 

 

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PodCastle 451: Or Be Forever Fallen

by A. Merc Rustad

read by Curtis C. Chen

First published in Issue 49 of InterGalactic Medicine Show in February 2016.

Rated PG-13.

The raven’s ghost follows first. It’s not a surprise, if I’m honest. I killed a raven once–intentional, cruel–some time ago. (I don’t remember why.) At first I saw it in the distance while I prowled the ruins of the once-majestic forest, hunting the men who robbed me. Yet the ghost never approached until now.
It perches on a petrified tree stump. The light from the campfire shimmers against its glossy feathers, blood etching razor-edged plumage. It should be indistinguishable in the night, banked in shadow. I only know it’s a ghost from the hollows of its missing eyes, how its shape bends in unnatural directions at the corners of my sight.

“I’ve naught for you.” I say it to the knives laid out on oiled canvas before me.
The raven’s ghost makes no sound. Its unnatural muteness tightens the muscles in my neck. Ghosts are never silent. Death is neither gentle nor kind.

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Picture of Author A. Merc RustadA. Merc Rustad is a non-binary writer who lives in the Midwest United States. Favorite things include: robots, dinosaurs, monsters, and tea. Their stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside Fiction, Apex, Escape Pod, Shimmer, Cicada, with reprints included in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, Wilde Stories 2016, and Transcendent 2016. Merc likes to play video games, watch movies, read comics, and wear awesome hats. You can find Merc on Twitter @Merc_Rustad or their website: amercrustad.com.

Picture of Narrator Curtis C. Chen

Once a Silicon Valley software engineer, CURTIS C. CHEN now writes speculative fiction and runs puzzle games near Portland, Oregon. His debut novel WAYPOINT KANGAROO is a science fiction spy thriller about a super-powered secret agent facing his toughest mission yet: vacation. The sequel, KANGAROO TOO, will be out in June of 2017.

Curtis’ short stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, MISSION: TOMORROW, and the 2016 YOUNG EXPLORER’S ADVENTURE GUIDE. He is a graduate of the Clarion West and Viable Paradise writers’ workshops. You can find Curtis at Puzzled Pint Portland on the second Tuesday of most every month.

You can find Curtis online at curtiscchen.com and on Twitter @curtiscchen.

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