Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 410: The Saint of the Sidewalks

by Kat Howard

read by Eve Upton

First appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine. Read it here!

Joan wrote her prayer with a half-used tube of Chanel Vamp that she had found discarded at the 34th St. subway stop. It glided across the cardboard—the flip side of a Stoli box, torn and bent—and left her words in a glossy slick the color of dried blood: “I need a miracle.”

You were supposed to be specific when asking the Saint of the Sidewalks for an intervention, but everything in her life was such a fucking disaster, Joan didn’t know where to start. So, she asked for a miracle, non-specific variety.

She set her cardboard on the sidewalk, prayer-side up. Then lit the required cigarette—stolen out of the pack of some guy who had been hitting on her at a bar—with the almost empty lighter she had fished out of the trash. You couldn’t use anything new, anything you had previously owned, in your prayer. That was the way the devotion worked: found objects. Discards. Detritus made holy by the power of the saint.

Rated R.

Kat Howard lives in New Hampshire. Her short fiction has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, anthologized in year’s best and best of collections, and performed on NPR. Her debut novel, Roses and Rot, will be out from Saga Press in May. You can find her on twitter at @KatWithSword.

Eve Upton is your narrator today. You may have heard her previously on Pseudopod where she’s narrated several stories to chilling effect.

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PodCastle Miniature 87: All Things to All People

by D. K. Thompson

read by Jason K. Jones

First appeared in Apex Magazine. Read it here!

I wake up in someone else’s house every morning, and lay my head somewhere else every night. The tattoos are my only constant company, covering almost all my skin. I’d stretch the free space of my flesh out if I could, but I don’t make or choose the pictures—and I can’t control the size. I’m running out of skin, and I know what that means. When it’s all inked, I’ll be out of time.

The angel here, on the inside of my wrist, that was the first one. A cartoon character—the tips of his wings sharp as knives. That’s as far back as I can remember: waking up on the side of the road with the taste of dirt in my mouth and the smell of gasoline on my hands. The asphalt and the sun had burned my face from opposing sides, like I’d been twice-grilled. Gravel bounced around me as semi-trucks roared by. I flexed my hands—my knuckles were bloody and cracked. I’d been in a fight, but despite the pain, I grinned because I was pretty sure I’d won.

Then I saw the dead man in the ditch.

D.K. Thompson (also known as the Easter Werewolf) has written stories featured or forthcoming at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, Bull Spec, Drabblecast, Pseudopod, and Escape Pod, and has lost NaNoWriMo twice. Once upon a time, he edited and hosted PodCastle with Anna Schwind. His collection of stories And Welcome Back will be out in 2016. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three children. Learn more about him on his website, or follow him on Twitter @krylyr.

Jason K. Jones is a disembodied voice that occasionally cohabitates with a body of the same name.  They live together in Athens, Georgia, with one Jason’s wife and the other’s Weighted Companion Cube.  Most days they believe they are the same Jason.

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PodCastle 409: The Husband Stitch

by Carmen Maria Machado

read by Gabrielle de Cuir

First appeared in Granta. A Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award nominee. Read it here!

I have always been a teller of stories. When I was a young girl, my mother carried me out of a grocery store as I screamed about toes in the produce aisle. Concerned women turned and watched as I kicked the air and pounded my mother’s slender back.

– Potatoes! she corrected when we got back to the house. Not toes!

She told me to sit in my chair – a child-sized thing, only built for me – until my father returned. But no, I had seen the toes, pale and bloody stumps, mixed in among those russet tubers. One of them, the one that I had poked with the tip of my index finger, was cold as ice, and yielded beneath my touch the way a blister did. When I repeated this detail to my mother, the liquid of her eyes shifted quick as a startled cat.

Rated R.

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in Fall 2017. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New YorkerGrantaBest American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Calvino Prize, and nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Philadelphia with her partner.

Gabrielle de Cuir has narrated over 400 hundred titles specializing in fantasy, humor, and titles requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills.  Her “velvet touch” as an actors’ director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost choice for best-selling authors and celebrities. Short list of those directed: Anne Hathaway, Emilio Estevez, Wil Wheaton, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Elijah Wood, Deepak Chopra, Eric Idle, Nancy Cartwright, Michael York, Ed Herrmann, and Joe Mantegna.  She is the writer and director of the Award winning short film THE DELIVERY, which deals with an Alice-in-Wonderland version of audio books.  She spent her childhood in Rome growing up with her wildly artistic and cinematic father, John de Cuir, four-time Academy Award winning Production Designer, an upbringing that her to be fluent in Romance languages and to have an unusual appetite for visual delights.

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PodCastle 404, ARTEMIS RISING: Territory

by Julie Steinbacher

read by Maura McHugh and Kim Rogers

Hosted by Amal El-Mohtar

A PodCastle Original!

Where are you and I in those moments before the flawed magic works? Hovering somewhere, inside ourselves or above our bodies? Placidly dreaming, like we did so many times last summer as we listened to cassettes of The Clash and Eurythmics in the woods by your house? Or screaming silently, saying, “We didn’t know it would be like this when we gathered the raven’s feather and the fox’s clote. We were afraid to cut the words in our palms, didn’t know that pricking our fingers wasn’t enough blood to preserve our bodies.

“This is not what we wanted, not what we meant to do. Take us back to our letters and our mums and dads. Take us back, even if they beat us and tear us apart and send us away.

“Take us back, even though life will not cure us of this love for one another.”

But the flawed magic is working, and as the rain slows, the questing worms place their soft mouths against us. The beetles tick across our hands and legs, beneath our clothes. We feel little parts of ourselves lost in them, and remember the spell words we uttered.

Rated R for some disturbing imagery.

Julie Steinbacher lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she (or they) is an MFA candidate at North Carolina State University. She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, and her fiction appears in Terraform and Escape Pod. Learn more about her on her website julie-steinbacher.com.

Maura McHugh is a prose and comic book writer living in Ireland. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the USA and Europe, and she’s had two collections published in the USA:Twisted Fairy Tales and Twisted Myths. Her web site is http://splinister.com and her Twitter handle is @splinister

Kim Rogers is an EMC actress living in Brooklyn, NY. She has recently appeared in such productions as Cthethal Weapon and the musical Slaw Slingers. She has also done voice work for The Kaleidocast and currently works for Music Theatre International.

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