Archive for Rated PG

PodCastle 557: The Griffin and the Minor Canon

Show Notes

The sound effects used in the host spot can be found here.

The Griffin and the Minor Canon

By Frank Stockton

Over the great door of an old, old church which stood in a quiet town of a faraway land there was carved in stone the figure of a large griffin. The old-time sculptor had done his work with great care, but the image he had made was not a pleasant one to look at. It had a large head, with enormous open mouth and savage teeth; from its back arose great wings, armed with sharp hooks and prongs; it had stout legs in front, with projecting claws, but there were no legs behind — the body running out into a long and powerful tail, finished off at the end with a barbed point. This tail was coiled up under him, the end sticking up just back of his wings.

The sculptor, or the people who had ordered this stone figure, had evidently been very much pleased with it, for little copies of it, also of stone, had been placed here and there along the sides of the church, not very far from the ground so that people could easily look at them, and ponder on their curious forms. There were a great many other sculptures on the outside of this church — saints, martyrs, grotesque heads of men, beasts, and birds, as well as those of other creatures which cannot be named, because nobody knows exactly what they were; but none were so curious and interesting as the great griffin over the door, and the little griffins on the sides of the church. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 552: The Watchers

Show Notes

Rated PG.

The Watchers

by Shelly Jones

He did not know why he had agreed to marry her. For a long time he thought it was because she would hum at everything she did. She hummed while cooking. She hummed while cleaning and sewing. She hummed when she raked leaves and shoveled dirt and chopped firewood. She even hummed, or so he thought he heard over his own grunting, on the few occasions when they had consummated their union. Her humming was an intoxicating low rumble, a contralto line that lingered in the room even after she had left it. He remembered the first time he had heard her. They had been to a funeral service for the local baker, he with his mother and she alone, for all of her relatives had died when she was young. He had known this, of course, but it never really struck him until he saw her alone at the wake. How many other services had she attended as a girl for her family? She wore a grey smock and a thick wool coat, the color of new potatoes. While the other mourners stood silent with their heads bowed, clutching handkerchiefs or wordlessly mouthing prayers, she rocked gently, pushing her weight from one foot to the other and hummed a low, idle tune. But no one minded. No one thought her rude or obscene, though, for some reason, he feared they might. He could imagine an old, dour woman spitting on her, the thick mucus sticking to the wool, and calling her names for dancing and singing at the funerary rites. But no one seemed to even notice her. She was as much a part of the scene as a catbird in the tree or a period at the end of a sentence. Why, then, had he noticed her? (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 546: For the Removal of Unwanted Guests

For the Removal of Unwanted Guests

By A.C. Wise

The witch arrived at precisely 11:59 p.m., just as September ticked over to October, on the day after Michael Remmington moved into the house on Washington Street. She knocked at exactly midnight.

The house was all boxes, and Michael all ache from moving them. He’d been sitting on an air mattress — the bed wouldn’t be delivered for another week — staring at a crossword puzzle at least five years old. He’d found it in the back of the closet, yellow as bone, and peeled it from the floor — an unwitting gift from the previous tenant.

Michael opened the door, only questioning the wisdom of it after it was done. It was midnight in a strange neighborhood; he wore a bathrobe and slippers, and he’d left his phone upstairs, so if it turned out to be an axe murderer at the door, he wouldn’t even be able to call 911.

“Hello,” the witch said. “I’m moving in.” (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 518: Iron Aria

Show Notes

Rated PG for vengeful mountains and the accursed dead.

Iron Aria

Merc Rustad

The mountain dreams pain. Cold iron vibrates purple-blue deep in the stone, while tongues made from rot and rust bite and gnaw and hunger ever deeper.

The dam, buried like a tooth in the mountain’s narrow gums, holds back the great burgundy ocean. Otherwise it would pour into the Agate Pass Valley and swallow up the mining town at the mountain’s toes.

From an owl’s eye, the dam is almost as big as the mountain, built five hundred human-years ago. The infesting tongues burrow in from the sea, sent by angry water-memories. The sea cannot see its children in the lakes far beyond the dam. So it sends corrosion into the mountain, into the infinitesimal pores of the dam.

The mountain is being devoured from the inside and it screams. (Continue Reading…)