Archive for Rated R

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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PodCastle 352: The Creation and Destruction of the World

By Ann Leckie
Read by Diane Severson
Hosted by M.K. Hobson
A PodCastle Original! Artemis Rising: The Final Week!

At one time the waters were divided and contained, and dry land was raised up out of the sea, mountains and valleys, hills and plains, and the people lived there.  They lived this way for a long time, standing on the bones of the world, until it chanced that they angered the lord of wind and storm.  The lord of storms caused it to rain, and it rained for days, for weeks, for months, until there was no dry spot on the face of the world.  The low places were deep lakes, the high places awash.  In the highest place every step was ankle-deep in water.  The clothes the people wore, the beds they slept in, were soaked and dripping.  The very food they ate was soaked and dissolved by the rain.  And day by day it rained, and the water grew still deeper.

“We will drown!” the people cried.  “Alas for us, and for our children! It would be better if we had been fish!”  And many of these people, who cried so, were turned into fish, and swam away into the sea.  And after this no one gave birth to anything but fish.

There was a woman who gave birth, and the child was a fish.  The woman would not put the child into the sea, because it was hers and sickly, but instead kept it beside her.  “I will go to the lord of storms,” the woman said, “and beg for the god’s forgiveness, and the life of my child.”  And so she did, swaddling the child and keeping it wet with her tears.  She traveled far, where even the waters could not reach, until she was too weary and grieved to go further, and some way past that she came to the palace of the lord of the winds.

Rated R. Contains, well, Destruction (and Creation)

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PodCastle 350: Who Binds and Looses the World With Her Hands

by Rachael K. Jones
Read by Marguerite Croft
Hosted by Kameron Hurley!
A PodCastle Original! Welcome back to Artemis Rising!

Who Binds and Looses The World With Her Hands
By Rachael K. Jones

1. Stranger

On days when Selene locked me in the lighthouse, an old familiar darkness would well up within me, itching my skin like it had shrunk too tight to contain my anger any longer. I had grown accustomed to the rage’s ebb and flow, sometimes bubbling near the surface, sometimes dormant as a seed awaiting the right time to break open. But it always rose to high tide on my days of confinement.

I knew better than to complain to Selene. I often watched from the windows of the lanthorn, the little room which housed the lighthouse’s beacon, when the merchants made landfall. From my distant perch, I could just make out Selene, resplendent in dyed blue wool, hands spinning impossibly fast in the bewildered men’s faces. Out beyond the dock, two green arms of land reached toward our island home in an incomplete embrace. That was the Mainland, where sorcerers lived. Long ago, it was sorcerers who built our lighthouse in the stone branches of the ancient petrified tree.

Do not talk to the Mainlanders,  Selene always warned, hurrying me up the stone steps which spiraled inside the tree’s heart. She would repeat the warning later at night, when we watched the beacon flash round and round through the window over our bed. I would nestle against her chest, and her hands would dance out tales about sailors, how their days at sea would drive them so mad with lust they would seize any woman when they made landfall. I am sorry to hide you, she would say. I do not want to lose you. The apology mollified the darkness inside me, but never quelled it completely. Read the rest of this entry »

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