Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 421: Hatyasin

by Rati Mehrotra

read by Mahvesh Murad

First published in Abyss & Apex, Issue 52: 4th Quarter 2014

Friday was the last good day. On Saturday the hunters came and by Tuesday Mira was gone, swallowed in the maw of the crowd fleeing Chandipur.

Mira my older sister, the normal one. I look up at the stars glittering in the sky and pray that she is safe.

Why did they come? Chandipur is as far as it gets from the heart of the New World. Perhaps the capital wants to stamp out the border communities, make sure that the taint of the old blood never spreads. The taint I’ve lived with all my life.

I used to think I had it bad before. But I swear if I could turn back time, I’d keep it Friday forever. We’d go to school, someone would trip me up in the hallway, and the others would laugh. I’d sit alone during class, as usual. Nobody would die.

Rated R for violence and hearts suddenly appearing where they shouldn’t be.

Picture of Rati Mehrotra, author of "Hatyasin"

Rati Mehrotra, author of “Hatyasin”

Rati Mehrotra is a Toronto-based speculative fiction writer whose short stories have appeared in AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Apex Magazine, Urban Fantasy Magazine, and many more. Her debut novel “Markswoman” is about an order of magical-knife-wielding lady assassins in a post-apocalyptic, alternative version of Asia. It will be published in early 2018 by Harper Voyager. You can follow Rati on Twitter @Rati_Mehrotra, and at her website http://ratiwrites.com/.

Mahvesh Murad is a reviewer, editor, rogue voice for hire and recovering radio show host from Karachi, Pakistan. She has written for Dawn’s Books & Authors, Tor.com, Strange Horizons and Pornokitsch.com, and is the editor of the Apex Book of World SF 4 (2015), co-editor of upcoming Jinnthology (2017). She hosts the weekly interview podcast Midnight in Karachi, published weekly on Tor.com.

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PodCastle Miniature 88: Communion

by Jei D. Marcade 

read by Jen R. Albert and Graeme Dunlop

A PodCastle original!

Leaving broken trails of damp across her skin, the mice climb the dark matted ropes of her hair, their fur the same magnolia white as the spell-struck thread that stitches shut her lips. They gnaw at the creepers binding her wrists and ankles and throat, nuzzle into the hollow of her collarbone, and chirp to her in the gloaming:

they will come again
when the brightsky breaks
to hew your limbs
to mine your bones for silver

Rated R.

Jei D. Marcade is a Korean-American speculative fiction writer, SFWA member, and graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. Ey is currently installed in the American Rust Belt with a hydrobot and a hedgehog, making monsters and poking ghosts.

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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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