Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 326: Haunts

by Claire Humphrey
Read by Julia Rios (of Strange Horizons and the Outer Alliance Podcast)
Originally published in Interzone #249, November 2013.

The chirurgeon’s knife severs my little finger from my palm, just above the mount of Mercury.

“You are permitted to look away,” the chirurgeon comments.

I shrug the shoulder that isn’t locked down, and keep watching.  The knife, obsidian, joints me like I’m a bird.

Somewhere inside my forearm I feel the pull of my tendon loosed.  Little blood, and no pain; the chirurgeon knows her work, and the numbness of the lockdown extends all the way to my breast.  In five minutes the chirurgeon has stowed the finger in its cooler, joined flaps of skin over the hollow socket, and healed it over with a couple of passes of a graft-stick.

“You’ll have minor pain for a few weeks,” she says.  “You don’t need to keep it covered.  The scar will change colour; that’s normal.  If you feel a loss of sensation or have any discharge, come back to me.”

She takes off the lockdown and feeling surges back through my breast, up over my trapezius, down my arm.  I flex my hand.  Sure enough, it hurts.  Nothing I can’t bear.

She walks me to the front desk.  The buyer waits there.  An attendant comes out and hands him the tiny cooler tagged with my name.

Rated R. Contains violence, disturbing imagery, and sex. (The sex isn’t disturbing.)

You can support PG Holyfield’s GoFundMe account here. Please help his family.

You can support Bobby Lombardi’s GoFundMe project here, and read from Matt Wallace how Bobby saved his life.

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PodCastle 325: Down

by Christopher Fowler
Read by
Paul S. Jenkins
Originally published in The End of the Line: An Anthology of Underground Horror, Edited by Jonathan Oliver

Honor Oak reservoir is underneath a golf course in Peckham, Thornhill reminds himself as he walks. That’s the biggest subterranean vault he’s ever visited, an inverted cathedral that’s the largest reservoir in Europe, with four great chambers that hold 256 million litres of water, a great heart made of orange brick that ceaselessly pumps life into the metropolis. He would have liked to work on the new Brixton extension at Honor Oak but there wasn’t a position, so he’s back here in the tube tunnels beneath King’s Cross, moving through the dead dusty air, looking for circuit faults. He comes down every night at midnight and goes up at 4:00am; that doesn’t sound hard but there are meetings before and sometimes after, and while you’re down you’re on the move the whole time.

Looking back, he can see the unmistakable silhouette of Sandwich hopping nimbly across the rails. Sandwich’s real name is Lando – he was named after a character in a Star Wars film, and hates it – his mates call him Sandwich because no-one has ever seen him eat, even though he’s the size of a bear.

Thornhill has been down for three years now, and likes the job. The perks are good, his fellow workers are a nice bunch and he gets regular health check-ups chucked in for free. They’re all outsiders, of course, men and women who work down here because they’ve joined a veritable foreign legion of employees who go below to forget.

But he doesn’t forget. He goes down in order to remember.

Rated R: Contains Violence, Disturbing Imagery, and Gore.

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PodCastle 324: Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy

by Saladin Ahmed
Read by Steve Anderson
Originally published in Rags & Bones, edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt.

I do not know how he brought us to this land of blood and iron masks. I know only that I am a real
man trapped in a mad landscape of living lessons.

My brothers and I were spirited here from my home in…Damascus? Yes, praise be to God that I can remember that. The sound of the street-preachers, and the smells of the spice vendors’ stalls.
Damascus.

We were sipping tea in a room with green carpets, and I was laughing at a jest that…that someone was making. Who? The face, the voice, the name have been stolen from me. All I know is that my brothers and I suddenly found ourselves in this twisted place, each aware of the others’ fates, but unable to find one another. Unable to find any escape.

Now my eldest brother has been slain. And my next eldest brother has disappeared.

Who am I? I do not know how he changed our names. But in this world of lions and giants and the blinding shine of armor, I am called Joyless, as if it were a name.

It was not my name. It is not my name. But this is his place, and it follows his commands.

Rated R. Contains violence, including gore.

Editors’ Note: Saladin Ahmed’s house has flooded, and they’ve accrued thousands of dollars in damage. Click here to find out how you can help him and his family out.

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PodCastle 321: Paya Nak

by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Read by Nina Shaharuddin (of the Bright Club)
Originally published in Scigentasy. Read it here!

I am dead, and she knows.

My tangled hair does not impede desire. My excavated belly, loose sagging skin, does not make her avert her eyes. Her fingers touch the scars of birth and do not shy away. Her mouth closes over the coldness of my skin and does not spit it out.

I am a ghost, and she does not mind.

There is a thing in the cradle I rock, a lump of flesh, stained in my fluids. This is what killed me. A parasite that took all my food, stole all my breaths, until one day I woke up to find my heart stopped.

Rated R: Contains Death, Ghosts, and Children

 

 

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