Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 502: Zilal and the Many-Folded Puzzle Ship — Live at Can-Con!


Zilal and the Many-Folded Puzzle Ship

By Charlotte Ashley

When Zilal Saleebaan Kamal was six years old, she built her first ship in a bottle. It was a fully-articulated craft of sandalwood and brass with eighteen oars that rowed in unison when the bottle was tipped to and fro. Her father presented it to the Suldaan on her behalf, and it sits in the winter palace still.

When she was nine, Zilal received her first commission from the Emir. The musical dhow she built as a gift for his young son played lullabies with the flow of the tides and could be heard singing low, fine raagas while at anchor, the drifting waters playing the ship’s reeds and pipes.

When she was eleven, Zilal redesigned the Suldaan’s xebec to carry a third mast and wider sails, making the Tidebreaker the strongest ship in the Ajuran fleet. She took formal apprenticeship with her father, the artificer Saleebaan, and moved into the Suldaan’s palace.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle Miniature 100: Seven Things That Oughtn’t Cut Me


Seven Things That Oughtn’t Cut Me

By Jessi Cole Jackson

They say troll girls appear only in brilliant shades of armored green. Their skin is faceted, unpierceable, and gleams in the sunlight like emeralds. They say we cannot be drab or fragile. They say we cannot bleed.

If only.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 495: Shadow Man, Sack Man, Half Dark, Half Light


Shadow Man, Sack Man, Half Dark, Half Light

By Malon Edwards

You keep running, even though you know you can’t escape the fifty-foot-tall Pogo. But you were built for this.

You are taller than all of the girls and most of the boys in your Covey Four class. Your legs are longer. Your steam-clock heart is stronger. Your determination is unmatched. Even against the rocks they throw. Even against the insults they hurl. Even when they entimide you and chase you home after school every day, all because your mother could not save their friends.

They have not caught you yet. And they never will. Because you will not let them.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 494: Folk

Show Notes

Upcoming anthology, “Sword and Sonnet” an anthology of stories devoted to the union of battle and poetry — lyrical, shimmery sonnet-slingers, grizzled, gritty poetpunks, and word nerds battling eldritch evil! Edited by E. Catherine Tobler of Shimmer, and PodCastle’s own Aidan Doyle and Rachael K. Jones.


Folk

By Eden Royce

In a place beyond far, my braids are woven into the sweetgrass basket encasing me and I am surrounded by the scent of the ocean and its dead. A crack of light breaches my intricate prison and I shift, twist only a fraction, to take advantage of its brightness — there is no warmth from it.

I look at the pads of my fingertips. The flesh, bloodless, has been stripped away, and instead of muscle and meat, there is a network of twisting reeds, coiled, wound tightly into green-brown curlicues. Three of them in a staggered pattern like stepping stones in a garden. I touch my fingertips to my face and feel the prickly scrape of dried palmetto leaves.

(Continue Reading…)