PodCastle Miniature 29: Birthday Wish

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains ten-year-old boys, and thusly some gross-out humor.

Read by Grammar Girl.

This piece won an honorable mention in the Escape Pod flash fiction contest for stories under 300 words. (Contest thread here)


Birthday Wish

by Tina Connolly

Mrs. Lemons stroked her son’s hair. “Joshua is very mature,” she said. “He’s not like those other ten-year-old boys.”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Dumpling. “My Benji is an angel, too. Benji, stop kicking their cat. Isn’t Joshua’s cake lovely?”

“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Lemons. “We’re so excited for his wish. We’ve talked of nothing else for months. Joshua, stop eating those candles. It will be perfect.”

PC046: Secret Life

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains an office which in turn contains despair which in turn contains hope.


Secret Life

by Jeff VanderMeer

A vision of the building from on high: five glittering floors surrounded by a dull concrete parking lot. To the west lay a forest. To the east, the glint of a shopping mall, substantial as a mirage. To the north, highways and fast food restaurants. To the south, a perpetual gloom through which could be seen only more shadow.

The building housed hundreds of people. They worked day and night, as relentless and constant as the seasons. The first four stories lay open to all, but no one could visit the fifth floor without a special key. Few had ever seen the roof.

The stairs were used for emergencies only. Some of the elevators clanked and groaned. Some of the elevators, quiet and smooth as ghosts, rose and fell with limitless grace.

Most inhabitants of the building, even the janitors in the basement, it was rumored, preferred the noisy elevators. When the quiet elevators reached the first floor, a scream could sometimes be heard, as of an animal trapped and then crushed beneath their feet. The screams might continue for several minutes. No one knew what kind of animal it was, or how it came to be trapped there.

PodCastle Miniature 28: Elf Aware

Show Notes

Rated G. The last story of elf month.


Elf Aware

by K. Tempest Bradford

“I am an elf,” you say to yourself. “I am an elf, I am an elf, I am an elf…”

You keep saying it, first in your mind, then aloud. Over and over. A mantra. “I am an elf.”

You are not an elf. You know this. You do not have pointed ears, you cannot do any sort of magic, you aren’t even the right hue. You’ve never heard of a black elf. Everything is against you. But you think that if you keep saying this to yourself, maybe it will come true. Maybe.

PodCastle 045: The Annals of Eelin-Ok

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains fae and sandcastles.


The Annals of Eelin-Ok

by Jeffrey Ford

…there is only one way to truly understand the nature of the Twilmish, and that is to meet one of them. So here, I will relate for you the biography of an individual of their kind. All of what follows will have taken place on the evening of a perfect summer day after you had left the beach, and will occupy the time between tides–from when you had sat down to dinner and five hours later when you laid your head upon the pillow to sleep. There seemed to you to be barely enough time to eat your chicken and potatoes, sneak your carrots to the dog beneath the table, clean up, watch your favorite tv show, draw a picture of a pirate with an eye patch and a parrot upon her shoulder, brush your teeth and kiss your parents goodnight. To understand the Twilmish, though, is to understand that in a mere moment, all can be saved or lost, an ingenious idea can be born, a kingdom can fall, love can grow, and life can discover its meaning.