PC029: Dead Languages

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains vampires, ass-kicking, and hijinx.

UPDATE: Several listeners were kind enough to point out that there were errors in today’s audio file. A revised file has been uploaded, as of 11:10 pm ET, Oct 17, 2008.


Dead Languages

by Merrie Haskell

“I have a confession,” Annabel said, steering the car into the snow-dusted mall parking lot. “I have involved us in a crazy scheme.

“Oh?” I asked, suddenly alert to my get-away options. Crazy schemes and Annabel had been getting me into trouble since I was six, when she convinced me to steal all the crayons from the art room to melt into a giant ball of wax.

“I’ve gotten you the lead in an independent short film.”

“What?” I shrieked. I admit: not my witty best, but I was trying to be discreet in wrapping my fingers around the door handle and calculating the car’s speed.

Annabel locked the car and smiled with a vague and friendly sort of evil. “There’s no need to thank me.”

PodCastle Miniature 015: The Voices of Snakes

Show Notes

Rated PG. Contains serpents and Greek mythology.


The Voices of Snakes

by Karina Sumner-Smith

At last the viper stirred, woken by his brethrens’ twisting and whispering. Rising, he said slowly, softly, “Yes, beautiful. Let us see the sun.”

He was the oldest, the largest and the cruelest, and from the very first day the mere sound of his voice had made her feel cold. Once he had tormented her, taunted her with words far crueler than the grass snake could ever utter; her ears and the line of her jaw, the curves of her shrunken breasts, still bore the scarred marks of his teeth and the memory of his venom.

She had endured decades of his abuse — decades thinking that she deserved such treatment — and then fought back in the bloody decades that followed. He was immune from her great weapon, but she’d found he had no escape from her temper, her teeth or her claws. They had a truce now, their enmity tempered by centuries together. Beautiful, he still called her, and she allowed him the entertainment of this tired mockery.

PC028: The Tanuki-Kettle

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains objects and animals that refuse to remain in their platonic categories.


The Tanuki-Kettle

by Eugie Foster

As she opened the door, Hisa was surprised to see an iron kettle sitting on her step. It had a large, round belly and four stumpy legs. The spout was wide and curved like a fox’s mouth with two round, black eyes above it. And most curious, a pair of pointed triangles jutted from the top, exactly like a pair of ears.

“What an unusual teakettle.” Hisa looked, but there was no one about.

She set aside her broken pot and brought the new, iron one inside. She poured sweet, cool water into it. Where her old kettle took eight dippers of water, this new one required a full twelve to fill.

Hisa stoked the fire high and lifted the kettle to the hook.

“Mistress, I thank you for the drink, but please don’t put me on the fire.”

Hisa spun around, sloshing water on the floor. “Who said that?”

“It was I, mistress. The teakettle.”

Hisa stared at the iron pot in her hands. “Teakettles do not talk.”

“I’m only pretending to be a teakettle.”

PodCastle Miniature 014: The Fable of the Octopus

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains philosophical meanderings.


The Fable of the Octopus

by Peter S. Beagle

Once, deep down under the sea, down with the starfish and the sting rays and the conger eels, there lived an octopus who wanted to see God.

Octopi are among the most intelligent creatures in the sea, and shyly thoughtful as well, and this particular octopus spent a great deal of time in profound pondering and wondering. Often, curled on the deck of the sunken ship where he laired, he would allow perfectly edible prey to swim or scuttle by, while he silently questioned the here and the now, the if and the then, and — most especially — the may and the mightwhy.  Even among his family and friends, such rumination was considered somewhat excessive, but it was his way, and it suited him. He planned eventually to write a book of some sort, employing his own ink for the purpose.  It was to be called Concerns of a Cephalopod, or possibly Mollusc Meditations.