Archive for Rated PG

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…)

PodCastle 516e: 10th Anniversary Special, The Best of PodCastle #1 – The Paper Menagerie

Show Notes

Rated PG.

Editors’ note: This episode originally aired as PodCastle 165. We are reissuing it to celebrate PodCastle’s 10th anniversary. This story was in first position in a listener vote that was held to determine PodCastle’s most-loved episodes over the past decade.


The Paper Menagerie

by Ken Liu

A little paper tiger stood on the table, the size of two fists placed together. The skin of the tiger was the pattern on the wrapping paper, white background with red candy canes and green Christmas trees.

I reached out to Mom’s creation. Its tail twitched, and it pounced playfully at my finger. “Rawrr-sa,” it growled, the sound somewhere between a cat and rustling newspapers.

I laughed, startled, and stroked its back with an index finger. The paper tiger vibrated under my finger, purring.

Zhe jiao zhezhi,” Mom said. This is called origami.

I didn’t know this at the time, but Mom’s kind was special. She breathed into them so that they shared her breath, and thus moved with her life. This was her magic.