Archive for Rated PG-13

PodCastle 554: Hosting the Solstice

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Sound effects used in the host spot are in the public domain and can be found here.

Hosting the Solstice

By Tim Pratt

for Heather

The first note came a week before Halloween. I glanced at an empty parking lot while I was out walking Bradbury and the leaves blew around to form the words “IT’S YOUR TURN TO HOST.”

I put my head down and tugged Bradbury’s leash to hurry him up and pretended I hadn’t seen anything at all.

The second note came a week later, when my son Rye was working the haunted house fundraiser at the high school — he was only a freshman, but his obsession with monster makeup tutorials from the internet meant his “bloody-face-wound zombie” was good enough to join the seniors-only “scare crew” for the big terror finale just before the exit. My husband, Corey, was handing out candy to trick-or-treaters in the living room. I went into the bathroom and saw the words “IT’S YOUR TURN TO HOST” dripping in blood down the shower wall. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 553: Grounded Women Never Fly

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

Sound effects used in the host spot are in the public domain and can be found here.

Grounded Women Never Fly

by Stefani Cox

It is the women of the community who can run, but don’t.

The women are the ones who can place a foot just so, another precisely calculated in front of it and leap across yards of empty space. If the women did move in this way, there would be a rhythm. The settling of muscles. A steeling of the mind for the goal of the further rooftop. And the moment when the visualizations and intention explode into movement.

For a short time, such a woman would experience flight. There would be a spreading of arms accompanied by weightlessness; the thrill of a body propelled over nothingness. She could bridge impossible distances this way. She could crisscross from building to building among the packed houses. She could scale walls.

This magic is not a substitute for wings, for this woman would still be humbled by gravity. It’s just that that such a force would seem a mere afterthought. An inconvenience to be shrugged off.

In the end, however, none of what they could do really matters, does it? Because the women do not run. (Continue Reading…)

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…)