Archive for Rated PG-13

PodCastle 540: Flash Fiction Extravaganza! The Three Phases of Equinox

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.

The Mooncakes of My Childhood

by Y. M. Pang

The mooncakes of my childhood were hard as rocks. I killed a man with them, in the fall of ‘68. He didn’t deserve it. He was just the grain seller. But Mother had been killed by Red Guards and Father had hung himself after delivering his self-criticism. I changed from bossy Big Sister to all my brother had left. I had to feed him.

I’d meant to steal the corn meal. But the seller spotted me, and I panicked, and when I saw the glint of his knife. . . (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 538: Itself at the Heart of Things

Itself at the Heart of Things

by Andrea Corbin

“The acts of life have no beginning or end. Everything happens in a completely idiotic way. That is why everything is alike.” Tristan Tzara, 1922

On the floor, I hiked my skirts up and began to disassemble myself, starting with my left knee.

“How is that going to stop the Szemurians? How is that going to protect us? Can’t you help me, for God’s sake?” Benoît said this, sounding increasingly frantic, on each pass through the sitting room as he tried to gather up whatever he could — to board the windows, bar the door, barricade the entire house, as though that were important. He broke apart the dining table we had found on a trip to Lyon in 1921, so he could use the boards to block the picture window. It had been a good table, or at least we had good meals at it over the past three years. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 537: To the Moon

Show Notes

Rated: PG-13, for inhumanity and painful truths.

To the Moon

by Ken Liu

Long ago, when you were just a baby, we went to the Moon.

Summer nights in Beijing were brutal: hot, muggy, the air thick as the puddles left on the road after a shower, covered in iridescent patches of gasoline. We felt like dumplings being steamed, slowly, inside the room we were renting.

There was nowhere to go. Outside, the sidewalk was filled with the droning of air conditioners from neighbors who had them and the cackling of TVs at full volume from neighbors who hadn’t. Add your crying to the mix, and it was enough to drive anyone crazy. I would carry you out on my shoulders, back in, and then out again, begging you to sleep.

One night, I returned home after another day of fruitless petitioning at the Palace of Mandarins, having gotten no closer to avenging your mother. You sensed my anger and despair and cried heartily in sympathy. The world seemed so oppressive and dark that I wanted to join you, join the sound and the fury that filled the mad world. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 533: The Choking Kind

Show Notes

Rated PG-13, for the donning of gory suits.

An old man sat behind the dilapidated counter of the country store humming Negro spirituals as Grace walked in, sweaty from standing in the sun. Her new black dress clung to her like a frightened child and she plucked at its neckline with irritation.

“Sun hot for all that there, enny?” He put down his newspaper, folded to the obituary page and nodded at her ensemble. She smiled at his words, the singsong of her native Gullah reaching her ears for the first time in almost a decade. English peppered with African dialects made a steamy fusion of language rich with chewy rhythms. (Continue Reading…)