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.