Archive for Rated PG

PodCastle 322: Saving Bacon

by Ann Leckie

Read by Alasdair Stuart (of Pseudopod, Escape Pod, and Many Other – Possibly All – Good Things)

A PodCastle Original!

The continuation of the race is of course the first and highest priority of those privileged to be born into the ancient family of Vachash-Troer, and I, Slale Vachash-Troer, am so privileged. As a male, I am unable to perpetuate the family name, but one still likes to promote connections to other families of similarly distinguished ancestry, connections that, so I’m told, increase the wealth and influence of our noble line.

Still, I had a distinct lack of enthusiasm for it when Aunt Eone tried to marry me off.

Rated PG. Contains pigs and marriages (or at least, attempts at marriages)

Editor’s Note: Due to some technical errors, we’ve removed the original file. We’ll correct it, and repost it tonight.

Editor’s Note 2: An updated file has been posted. Enjoy Bacon!

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PodCastle 317: Bee Yard

By Cole Bucciaglia
Read by Sue Brophy
Originally published in Timber Journal, Volume 3, February 2014

I grew up next to a fire-haired girl whose sister was made of paper. You can only imagine what sort of trouble this caused. My own sister and I built castles in our living room, castles of blankets and upright pillows, with the electric flame of a flashlight illuminating them from within. We bent our heads together, her golden curls against my straight, black hair, and we giggled into the night. Of course the fire-haired girl couldn’t do this with her paper sister. If they had bumped foreheads, the girl made of paper would have gone up in flames. It was difficult enough for them to be in the same room together. I don’t think they spoke much.

The girl made of paper was mild-mannered and well-liked. Her eyebrows, her nose, the braided strands that made up her lips: they were all made of paper. Her features were expressive: they folded and crinkled into all of the positions that people made of flesh would have come to expect. She ran and played with all of the other children in the neighborhood. She must have read a lot because she seemed to know a lot about the world for someone so young. On rainy days, everyone on our street would gather into one person’s living room, build a castle from blankets and upright pillows, and listen to her tell us stories about monsters as big as bridges who lived under the sea or birds that could turn into men once they had flown into their lovers’ bedrooms.

The fire-haired girl never joined us. Everyone was too afraid of her to invite her to play, and she never asked. Her sister rarely mentioned her. The girl made of paper did once tell us that the fire-haired girl had never learned to read. Every time she tried to hold a book, the orange flames that whipped around her shoulders sent the pages curling backward and away from her.

What the girl made of paper didn’t tell us—what we observed—was that her sister could play in the rain. Of course, this was something which was too dangerous for the girl made of paper: her paper eyebrows, nose, and lips would have turned to mush and fallen right off her face, I’m sure. The fire-haired girl, however, seemed to love the rain. We sometimes heard her singing while within our living room castles, and we lifted our eyes discreetly over the window sill to spy, like cats watching for a bird.

Rated PG. Contains Fire, Bees, and Sisters.

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PodCastle 312: Enginesong (A Rondeau)

By Nathaniel Lee
Read by Bob Eccles (Check out his book Tiny Terrors!)
Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read it here!

I missed all the excitement the day the trains walked away. Just up and stomped away on great metal feet, to hear Eddie Hartford tell it.

“Trains ain’t got legs,” I told him. I had a pair of jackrabbits dripping on my belt, my hunting rifle on my shoulder, and a powerful thirst tickling my throat, so might be it came out harsher than it ought. Young Edward was always a sensitive soul, though, least when it came to slights against his manhood.

“What do you know, Bose? You wasn’t here. I’m telling you they walked away, and I dare you to find a man who’ll say different.” He tossed his head, hair flashing like copper, looking more like his mother than ever.

The town seemed in an awful tizzy, that was certain. I could see little knots of folks here and there, whispering rushed and dark like the ghost of a river. I could also see the marks in the dust, enormous circles pressed in the ground, as if God had dropped His pocket change. They were six, maybe eight inches deep, even in the hard-packed dirt along the thoroughfare. If I was to speculate on what a train’s footsteps might look like, I’d probably have speculated something near enough to that for spitting.

Rated PG. Ride those rails!

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PodCastle 310: When the Lady Speaks

by Damien Angelica Walters
Read by LaShawn Wanak
Originally published in What Fates Impose, edited by Nayad Monroe

Marina locks the door, twists the blinds shut, and heads back through the beaded curtain, parting it with both hands so the strands don’t get tangled in her wig. Leaving the lights dimmed, she sinks down into her chair, as if her entire body holds the weight of what is yet unknown and unspoken.

The walls of what she calls the parlor are a dusky red, cluttered with
mirrors and tiny shelves with dragons and gargoyles and crystals. The table is a simple thing, but covered with several heavy tablecloths, all with tassels hanging from the corners. She found the chairs at a thrift store—the dark wood and velvet cushions from another time. A Turkish rug, another thrift store find, covers the floor completely. Every bit of fabric holds a trace of the incense she burns every morning before her clients arrive, a potent blend of frankincense and musk. But not too much; she isn’t a church and absolution doesn’t come in a deck of cards or a mouthful of evocative words.

She peels the fingerless gloves from her hands. Drops them on the
table with a weary sigh. In the center of her left palm, the tip of a
red thread pokes from the skin like a tiny drop of dried blood. When
she touches the thread, she smells the tang of oranges, tastes honey
on her tongue; both small gifts from the magic. She takes a quick
breath before she pulls the thread free. There’s a sharp bite of pain,
like the last little sting of a scab tugged from a wound. Not a gift, but a price to be paid.

Rated PG.

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