Archive for Rated PG

PC004: Goosegirl

By Margaret Ronald
Read by Mary Robinette Kowal.
Introduction by Rachel Swirsky.
First appeared in Fantasy (Prime Books).

“You came with the Princess Alia, didn’t you?” says a tall man with an understeward’s chain. “They must have low standards up north if you’re the sort of thing she brings along.”

I shake my head; the world slides in and out of focus. “I didn’t come here for that. I’m not — help.”

He raises his eyebrows. “Oh, so you’re not with the help? You must be one of the nobility, then?” He tweaks my skirts, and a ragged hem tears. “So what did you come here for, if you’re not with the princess?”

The words sound wrong even as I think them, but I say them nonetheless. “To be married.”

He bursts out laughing. “Poor girl,” a woman at the back of the servants’ hall says. “She’s simple. Can’t tell between herself and the princess.”

Rated PG. Contains sorcery, blood, and theft of memory.

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PC003: Run of the Fiery Horse

By Hilary Moon Murphy
Read by Rachel Swirsky.
Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford.
First appeared in Realms of Fantasy, 2002.

His tongue flickered out, sniffing the river of dreams that swirled around him. He had studied humans long enough to be a connoisseur of their flavors: those born in the year of the Wooden Ox tasted faintly of wheat and nuts, Metal Pigs had the aroma of tart berries, and Water Dragons reminded him of the salty wines of Nippon. But the taste he sought remained elusive.

Then he found it: hot, almost peppery, with an underlying sweetness. Tsi Sha closed his eyes and hissed with pleasure. A female of the Fiery Horse, the rarest of flavors. Few of the girl children born in that year had lived past their first night. Tsi Sha had found them abandoned on country hillsides and city rubbish heaps as families rid themselves of their inauspicious newborn daughters.

They had tasted delicious.

Rated PG. Contains sensuality, serpentine twists, and a darting tongue that can taste your dreams.


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PC002: For Fear of Dragons

By Carrie Vaughn
Read by Cunning Minx (of Polyamory Weekly).
Introduction by Summer Brooks.
First appeared in Weird Tales, 2006.

The year came when soldiers rode to Jeanette’s family’s holding. Their
captain announced that from the sea to the mountains, Jeanette was the only
woman over the age of ten known to be a virgin. Only one possible name
could be drawn in the lottery.

Jeanette’s mother sobbed, and the soldiers had to tie her father to keep
him from doing violence. They held her three brothers off with crossbows.
Her family had urged her time and again to marry someone, anyone, a young
whelp, an old widower on his deathbed. They had even begged her to find a
likely boy to love her for a night and give her a child. But Jeanette had
refused, because she knew that this day would come, that one day she would
be chosen, and she knew her destiny.
 Before the soldiers led her away, Jeanette held her mother’s face in her
hands. “It’s all right. I have a plan, I know what to do.”
Rated G. Contains enormous webbed wings, sharp fangs, and a hide of glistening scales.


PC001: Come Lady Death

By Peter S. Beagle.
Read by Paul S. Jenkins (of The Rev Up Review).
Introduction by Ann Leckie.
First appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, 1963.

But in time her own parties began to bore her, and though she invited the most famous people in the land and hired the greatest jugglers and acrobats and dancers and magicians to entertain them, still she found her parties duller and duller. Listening to court gossip, which she had always loved, made her yawn. The most marvelous music, the most exciting feats of magic put her to sleep. Watching a beautiful young couple dance by her made her feel sad, and she hated to feel sad.

And so, one summer afternoon she called her closest friends around her and said to them, “More and more I find that my parties entertain everyone but me. The secret of my long life is that nothing has ever been dull for me. For all my life, I have been interested in everything I saw and been anxious to see more. But I cannot stand to be bored, and I will not go to parties at which I expect to be bored, especially if they are my own. Therefore, to my next ball I shall invite the one guest I am sure no one, not even myself, could possibly find boring. My friends, the guest of honor at my next party shall be Death himself!”

Rated PG. Contains…well, Death.