Archive for Rated R

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PodCastle 605: Blood, Bone, Seed, Spark

Show Notes

Rated R for secrets, science, and sexuality.


Blood, Bone, Seed, Spark

By Aimee Ogden

Upstairs, in the little rowhouse on the thirty-sixth meridian of the city of Leth Marno, the scuffling grows louder. Heels ring out against the floorboards, and shouts are muffled; by the rugs, perhaps, or a hand that grasps to cover a mouth.

Anell Nath sits downstairs by the flower-arrangement pedestal. Her hands shake as she trims leaves from a bundle of pale peonies. She is more certain with the tools of her trade than with the instruments of the gentleperson’s art, but dissection scissors would make slow work of the thick waxy stems. As she works she counts the blows from the level above; categorizes and classifies each cry that makes its way down to her. Cool observation distances her from what is happening up there. That is her job, and always has been: to study, to take notes. To seek understanding, or at least knowledge.

Hasn’t she had enough understanding for a lifetime by now? How deep must understanding be, before she drowns in it? The blades of the shears snap methodically, and leaves fall to the ground between her bare feet.

Years of hard, grinding work in the library and the laboratory have honed the great desire of Anell’s heart into a scalpel, a sharp point ever driving toward that goal. The blade is so keen, though, that by its very nature it has flensed away everything else.

The shears are heavy in her hand. A scalpel would have been defter. She sits, and cuts, and waits. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 595: The Feast

Show Notes

Rated R.


The Feast

By K.C. Mead-Brewer

We took Emmaline on what promised to be a particularly stormy night. It wasn’t hard to do, especially since all the police and alarm company people were right there in the mob with us. Her mother, Rebecca, had to be restrained by five different people; the sheriff had to lock her in a holding cell to keep her secured.

We brought Emmaline to the closest beach and tied her to a giant lightning rod that we’d planted in the sand not far from the water. The choice of sacrifice via lightning strike surprised a lot of people, but we didn’t have a volcano to toss her into or any grand golden steps like the Mayans to push her down from. And if we were going to make the sacrifice count, if we really wanted our crops to flourish and satisfy, it made sense to us that the more drama we could build up, the better. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 584: TALES FROM THE VAULTS — In Metal, In Bone

Show Notes

Rated R, for reference to war and wartime atrocities.


In Metal, In Bone

by An Owomoyela

Colonel Gabriel met him in a circle of canvas-topped trucks, in an army jacket despite the heat of the sun.  he stood a head taller than Benine, with skin as dark as peat coal, with terrible scarring on one side of his jaw.  When his gloved hand shook Benine’s bare one, he closed his grip and said, “What do you see?”

Benine was startled, but the call to listen in on the memories of things was ever-present in the back of his mind.  It took very little to let his senses fuzz, obscured by the vision curling up from the gloves like smoke.

He saw a room in a cottage with a thatched roof, the breeze coming in with the smell of a cooking fire outside, roasted cassava, a woman singing, off-tune.  He had to smile.  There was too much joy in the song to mind the sharp notes.  This must have been before the war; it was hard to imagine that much joy in Mortova these days.

The singing had that rich, resonant pitch of a voice heard in the owner’s head, and his vision swung down, to delicate hands with a needle and thread, stitching together the fabric of the gloves.  Neat, even rows, and as the glove passed between the seamstress’s fingers, he could see the patterns of embroidery on the back.

Benine banished the vision and pulled his hand back.  “But these are women’s gloves!”

Colonel Gabriel gave him an appraising look.  “So you can do something,” he said.  “Not just superstition and witchcraft.”


Read the rest here!

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PodCastle 580: I Am Not I — Part 2

Show Notes

Rated: R, for human parts sundered and sold.


I Am Not I

by G. V. Anderson

[Note: This is part 2 of a two-part novelette. Please visit last week’s post to read part 1.]

“You don’t look well, Miss Strohm-Waxxog.”

I shook the bees from my jacket; they’d got cosy in my pockets and inside the lining. “I’m quite well, I assure you,” I said. I didn’t feel well. The walls and furniture around me seemed to move although I stood still, and small noises crashed in my ears.

The honey man had come to fetch Madame hunting, as promised. The days were turning colder, the sun hardly breaking through the early-morning mist. “The perfect conditions. They’ll be sluggish,” said the honey man.

But faced with the sobering light of day and the reality of chasing down real, living Saps, Madame refused. The honey man insisted on a partner, so I found myself stepping out into Tanners Row in her place, keeping pace with the only Varian who’d ever made me feel truly uneasy. At least he wore his veil so I didn’t have to look at his awful face. (Continue Reading…)