Archive for Rated R

PodCastle Miniature 83: Double Feature! Two by Nathaniel Lee

The Machine That Made Clothes
By Nathaniel Lee
Read by Wilson Fowlie (of the Maple Leaf Singers)
A PodCastle Original!

He stood in front of the machine that made clothes and fretted.  He already had a fur suit, a carpet suit, and a brick suit.  Everyone had a water suit; it was practically cliche.

Last week he’d had a Pop-Tart suit for a lark.  That had been popular, but he couldn’t go back to that well so soon.  Anyway, it smacked too much of the bacon suit fad from last year.  He’d had to shower for an hour to get un-sticky afterward.

He’d even done a suit suit, which had helped keep his reputation for the sartorial avant-garde.

Harriet, their aging basset hound, shuffled into the bedroom and plopped down beside him.  He looked at Harriet and pursed his lips.

Tired Eyes and Clever Hands
by Nathaniel Lee
Read by LaShawn Wanak
A PodCastle Original!

The Brindletom woke after Erdi had already finished her eggs and was on her second cup of coffee.  He swung down from his nest in the rafters and slid along the ropes to the table.  Erdi pushed the plate of bacon toward him.

“I had a dream last night,” he piped, plucking a bacon strip up with his clever forepaws and gnawing on it.

“Do tell,” Erdi said, somewhat blearily.  She was considering a third cup of coffee.

“I dreamed that I was a man accursed, trapped in a hideous mannikin body, and bound to a cruel sorceress who had promised to help me, to return me to my place and my true form, but upon whose pleasure I must wait and serve in the interim.  I dreamed that my servitude would have no end, for I was sworn to her unto death and she would live forever.”

Rated R. Contains Unethical Clothing Options.

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PodCastle 355: Flock

by Caspian Gray
Read by Tanja Milojevic
Hosted by M.K. Hobson
Originally published in Kaleidotrope, Summer 2013. Read it here!

They met in a birdcage, in those last precious days before they became birds themselves.  They were too panicked to ask each other’s names.  The boy beat his palms against the wire bars as impotently as he had beat them against the giant’s fist; the woman brushed her fingers first against her sternum, then along the cage floor, even through the boy’s kinky hair, to prove that she was not mad or dreaming.

“Don’t touch me,” he said, making the order into a question.

The woman drew away.  “Are you hurt?” Her hands still moved restlessly, diffident as butterflies.  They were in a ramshackle attic full of cages whose inhabitants were sparrows as big as she was.  

“I didn’t know,” said the boy.  He slumped against the bars of the cage.  The woman watched the wire press indentations into his shirt.  “I didn’t know there were giants in Ohio.”

“Oh.” The woman squatted next to him, careful to keep their shoulders from brushing.  “I didn’t know there were either, until today.” She paused.  “What’s your name?  Where did the giant take you from?”

“Avery.” The boy’s eyes were as brown as tree bark.  “I was in the backyard, working.  Who are you?”

“Jack.”

Avery blinked.  “Jack is a boy’s name.”

Her expression did not change.  “But if we’ve been kidnapped by giants,” she murmured, “the only way we’ll ever escape is if one of us is named Jack.”

Rated R. Contains Adult Themes

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PodCastle 354: The Sea of Wives

by Nathaniel Lee
Read by Graeme Dunlop
Hosted by Kitty Niclaian
A PodCastle Original!

The seas are full of wives, and our nets strain to hold them.  The Greyling is the largest of the fleet, and our catch the greatest.  The wives are the source of our great wealth.

When the wives are pulled up in the steely silver nets, they are poured in a shimmering stream onto the deck.  Vikos and Broun work the crane, and they sit up high in the control booths, rocking and swaying with the motion of the ship.  I couldn’t do that job.  I’m a knife man; I cut the skins away and put them in the holding tanks, wives in one and skins in the other.  It’s very important that the skins be kept separate.  It’s a simple rhythm, once the catch is coming in.  The wives are disoriented, confused, sometimes dead.  It’s a long haul up from the deeps, and some of them drown or smother on the way in.  I throw the dead ones overboard, skin and all.  The skins are no good once they’re dead.

The ones that stay alive, I slit open.  One stroke along the belly.  Two strokes at the forelimbs, two strokes at the rear.  There’s a trick to shucking the skin then, and more than once I’ve seen a new knife-man get it wrong in the unfamiliar wet and the noise of a ship at sea.  There’s squalling and crying, then, and the whole mess has to go to feed the sharks.  I try to slit their throats first, to be merciful.  You can tell right away who’s not fit to be a knife-man by the way they handle a ruined skin.

Rated R. Contains graphic violence.

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PodCastle Miniature 81: Crow Gifts

by Angela Lee
Read by Danielle Daly
A PodCastle Original! One last little treat for Artemis Rising!

It is a simple matter to track a deer, to bring it down with a single shot to the neck. I follow it by the red droplets in the snow, then drag the carcass back to the clearing of the crow gifts. Each bit of offal in its turn: black heart, worm-like entrails, pink spongy lungs. I save the liver for myself, and a haunch. The rest I cut apart, leave in a starburst – and by now I am surrounded by crows, a circle of beady-eyed children in cloaks of iridescent black feathers. As I back away, the crows descend, cawing loud enough to wake the dead.

The crows give me gifts in turn. At first they pelted me with rocks that shone ruby and emerald when broken open. I am richer than any king I could name, here in my empty forest, far from any human city. I began it by sharing my kills, inadvertently at first; I give blood and flesh, and they give me what humans want.

Rated R. What do you call a group of crows, again?

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