Archive for Rated R

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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PodCastle 320: Baba Makosh

by M.K. Hobson
Read by Eric Luke (of the Interference podiobook)
Originally published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

It was cold and growing colder, and the moon was rising, and Hell was nowhere to be found. Comrade Blotsky and Comrade Lvov were quarreling bitterly.

“Dunce! You’ve read the compass wrong, as always!”

“I didn’t read the compass wrong! Commander Tchernov said we mustn’t trust the map! Blockhead!”

This had been going on for quite some time. While they quarreled, the sky had faded from ice-blue to bruise-purple, and the moon had risen cold as a ball of clenched snow. Dark pooled in low hollows beneath the ink-stroke birches and shadows moved within the frosty mist. Stag-like shapes that moved like men.

Rated R: Contains Soldiers, War, Devils, and Hell.

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