Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 387: The Half Dark Promise

by Malon Edwards

read by Mandaly Louis-Charles

First appeared in Shimmer Magazine. Read it here!

The first thing Bobby Brightsmith told me when I moved to the South Side of Chicago from La Petite Haïti with Manmi was to run like a scalded dog if I ever saw zonbi la in the half dark on the way home from school.

See, when Bobby was eight years old, a little girl and a little boy were snatched from the half dark not far from home. They were never seen again. Bobby said because of that little girl and that little boy, timoun yo in Chicago now walk home from school in groups, in the half dark just before nightfall. The half dark comes fast this time of year.

Rated R.

Malon Edwards was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, but now lives in the Greater Toronto Area, where he was lured by his beautiful Canadian wife. Many of his short stories are set in an alternate Chicago and feature people of color and Haitian Creole (Malon does not speak Haitian Creole). Currently, he serves as Managing Director and Grants Administrator for the Speculative Literature Foundation, which provides a number of grants for writers of speculative literature.

Mandaly Louis-Charles has been running the Haitian Creole Blog for five years now and is an advocate for the Creole language. The blog promotes the Haitian Creole language to foreigners and natives. The blog address is with a Twitter page @creolelingo that publishes daily Haitian Creole words and terms for native and foreigners.

Mandaly just completed a project creating the first ever Creole alphabet song and animated video for the Creole language as the alphabet is unknown to most Haitians at this time. This successful project was done in collaboration with MIT linguistic professor Michel Degraff. Info on the alphabet Creole song may be found on the Haitian Creole blog at this address:

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PodCastle 386: Flash Fiction Extravaganza! Ghostly Interludes

“The Spirit of Pinetop Inn” by Renee Carter Hall.

Read by Folly Blaine.

First appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (#58).

The first ghost showed up right on time, striding into the Pinetop Inn’s front parlor so regally that the proprietors, Emma and Tom, expected a flourish of trumpets to accompany his entrance.

The ghost bowed to Tom and kissed Emma’s hand. “Sir Edward Blackthorn the Fourth, at your service, my lord, my lady.” He straightened and handed Tom a thick leather-bound book. “My references, dating all the way back to 1784. I trust you will find everything in order.”

Tom squinted at the faded calligraphy. “Impressive.”

“Wet” by John Wiswell.

Read by Nathaniel Lee.

First published in the first issue of Urban Fantasy Magazine.

It was on Day Six that I sat in a puddle from a leaking drainage pipe, and something about it got the kid to finally roll over, peeking out from under her shiny yellow hood and recognizing that there was another person there who wasn’t afraid of a raincoat. I was the picture of chill. After all, my raincoat protected me from the puddle.

She didn’t resume breathing correctly, because she didn’t actually have lungs anymore, but she did stop thinking she was hyperventilating. Then I offered her the candybars, which she didn’t take, but she did appreciate. She took my tablet instead, haunting my browser and looking up the latest One Direction videos. I deleted my cache later.

“The Faces Between Us” by Julie C. Day.

Read by Dave Thompson.

First published in Interzone #254.

Drive long enough and you can find anything. Copper-eyed goddesses. Gilded August afternoons. That arid stretch of Oregonian high desert in the southeastern corner of the state. Keep driving and you might catch something even more precious—a path through. Perhaps even a fairy-tale ending. That’s what Amber promised me during that long ago summer.

Didn’t matter. Back then the girl could have said almost anything and I wouldn’t have listened.

Rated R

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PodCastle 381: The Vandalists

by Natalia Theodoridou
read by Ian Stuart

First published in Spark: A Creative Anthology Vol. IV.

It always starts the same way.

First, a tiny feeling of unease.

You breathe.

Then, the sweating. Your forehead, your palms, your back. It’s from the heat, you say, I should open a window, but the windows here are not designed to open. You turn on the air-conditioning until it’s blasting polar temperatures in your office. You breathe. You try to imagine you are inhaling fresh air. You’re choking. Your hands are trembling slightly. Then your cheekbones go numb. Your lips too. Your palms. Your field of vision is narrow, it turns into a long, dark tunnel. Through the tunnel you try to find the pills you’ve never admitted you keep in the top right drawer of your desk. You find them. You swallow two. Now the walls are shaking. A flame flares up right in the center of your chest and spreads to your entire body. You enter the tunnel and search for the door. You find it. You are looking for the escape exit. You find that one too–thank you, you say, to no-one in particular. You climb the stairs to the roof. Your breathing is quick, your head light. Like a feather, you think, because that’s the first cliché that comes to your mind and you love your clichés, treasure them. The buzz in your ears is blocking out all other sound. You open the roof door and emerge under the blinding sky. Your jacket feels tight. You take it off. Your tie is flapping around your neck like a noose. You loosen it. You walk to the edge of the roof. You bend your knee, plant it squarely on the cement. The thought crosses your mind–to jump, just so you can escape this panic. But with that thought the buzz recedes. Through the tunnel you look at the city sprawled under your feet, a forest made of concrete. The wind freezes the sweat against your skin. You think you hear the distant roar of a lion..

Rated R for adult themes, disturbing imagery.

Natalia Theodoridou is originally from Greece, but is currently based in Portsmouth, UK. She is recovering from a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). Her writing has appeared in Clarkesworld, Crossed Genres, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. If you’d like to find out more, you can visit, or just come say hi @natalia_theodor on Twitter.

Ian Stuart is the golden-voiced father of the equally golden-voiced Alasdair Stuart.


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PodCastle 380: Spirit Forms of the Sea

by Bogi Takács

read by Setsu Uzume

First published in Sword and Mythos.

Réka steps forward from between two tents. She looks dazed and one of her braids is partly undone; the guard must’ve found her asleep.

She frowns at the stranger and her eyes narrow even further in the morning sunlight.

He smiles at her the way he would smile at one of his younger sisters, or even one of his own children. My stomach turns. Then he lets loose his spirit form and it ascends to the sky, a majestic white horse not matching his pedestrian self.

Rated R.

Bogi Takács is a neutrally gendered Hungarian Jewish person who’s recently moved to the US. Eir fiction and poetry have been published in venues like Clarkesworld, Apex and Strange Horizons, where e also won last year’s Readers’ Poll in Poetry category with an animated poem, You Are Here / Was: Blue Line to Memorial Park. Eir website is at and you can follow em on Twitter as @bogiperson, where e also tweets SFF short story and poem recommendations by diverse authors on a semi-regular basis.

Setsu Uzume spent her formative years in and out of dojos. She also trained in a monastery in rural China, studying Daoism and swordplay. She is a member of Codex and SFWA. While she has dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck. You can find her on the web at, and on Twitter @KatanaPen.

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