PodCastle 436: Flash Fiction Extravaganza! Elements

“Gaps of Joy, and a Knot for Love” by S. B. Divya.

Read by Nadia Niaz.

Prakash’s wife lay on a mattress as old as their marriage and as sunken as her cheeks. Devi’s hair was gray like the threadbare curtains, her body swollen and sweaty with betrayal, consuming itself in an immunological civil war. The doctor had shrugged in apology and prescribed pain medicine. “Nothing else we can do,” he’d said and left.

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“Green Girl” by Erica Ruppert.

Read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali.

Sharp spring came, and with it mud. Cold early rains turned the still-frosty soil to a rich black paste, something that clung to your boots and spoiled the rugs. Clea didn’t care that it did. After the deprivations of winter, a little mud was good for the soul. But she was surprised to find it all over the sheets.

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“Dragon Fancy” by Leigh Wallace.

Read by Kim Rogers.

There are dragons everywhere!

I’ve never been to a dragon fanciers show before. I get my badge and table assignment and push my contestant, in her covered baby carriage, down the center aisle. I try to see everything at once. Did you know pygmy squiggles, with their curly fringe, come in hot pink? Me neither! And I’ve never seen a wyrmicorn before. There’s one with a glowing horn! I love dragons. I love every kind of dragon.

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“The Seventh Year” by Alexandra Balasa.

Read by Graeme Dunlop.

I long to be free, I long to live large,

I make my coin raiding boat and barge,

Take what I want, do as I please,

I fear no Keeper of the Seas!

 So say the men who foolishly rove

Into the depths of Casiphea’s Cove

 – From ‘Seafarer’s Blight,’ a pirate’s song of unknown origin

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Rated PG-13, for some language.

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PodCastle 435: Bilingual, or Mouth to Mouth

by Lisa M. Bradley

read by Roberto Suarez

“Sweet Sue,” Maz hissed, and I barely resisted an urge to jump into the bonfire. ‘Cause I knew that hiss from his habit of scrolling through smut in my presence, never mind my pleas, and I knew exactly what (or who) had prompted this particular sexhalation.

She was a thimbleful of darkness lurking under a mesquite tree at the party. All’a five-feet tall and maybe 90 pounds if you threw her in a pool—which would’ve, incidentally, accounted for the lemon-suck look on her face. A minute earlier, I’d glanced up from the bonfire, its flames weirded by the plastic bottles that Marcos, our host, had tossed in to melt, and I’d seen the green-tinsel in her black hair, those Hello Kitty combat boots, and I’d known, absolutely known, Maz would zero in on the girl. She was a stranger, and she had a style most of the girls on Five Mile Line didn’t bother with: sort of “pop-punk princess caught in heroin-related downward spiral,” if I had to put a name to it.

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It was first published in Lisa’s first short fiction and poetry collection, The Haunted Girl, available on Amazon or direct from the publisher, Aqueduct Press.

Rated R.

Picture of Author Lisa M. BradleyForged in the scalding heat of South Texas, Lisa M. Bradley now lives in Iowa with her spouse, child, and two cats. More of her imaginings, always inflected by her Latina heritage, are forthcoming in Solarpunk Press, Strange Horizons, and the Sunvault anthology. Her collection of short fiction and poetry is The Haunted Girl (Aqueduct Press). For more, follow her on Twitter (@cafenowhere) or visit her website: www.lisambradley.com.

Picture of Narrator Roberto SuarezRoberto Suarez is a monthly supporter of all Escape Artist Productions and has had the privilege of narrating stories for PodCastle, PseudoPod, and Escape Pod. He is the co-host and producer of “A Pod of Casts: The Game of Thrones Podcast” and the upcoming “Radio Westworld,” a podcast dedicated to HBO’s latest sci-fi series. You can find Roberto on the web at robertosuarez.me, or on Twitter @PuertoGeekan.


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PodCastle 434: The Ghost Years

by Nghi Vo

read by Tatiana Gomberg

The year I turned ten, the war almost ended. The Chinese army fell back beyond the northern border of Cao Bng, leaving behind thousands of widows, wide swathes of burned ground, and their great war bells in their haste.

These bells were of the ancient kind, tongueless but elegant and struck with enormous logs swung from their own frames. They filled the battlefield with sonorous thunder, and the crews that manned them were said to be fanatical, as devoted to their bells as they never were to their commanders. They were left sinking in the black mud along the border, and the Resplendent PhoenixArmy brought back news of their silence. We don’t know what happened to their crews.

There was talk of melting them down, perhaps into a war memorial, but the bells, two hundred or more scattered along Vietnam’s long northern border, were still in disputed territory. Besides, the war was not over yet. We all knew that. The bells stayed, silent and dreaming in the mire.

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A PodCastle original!

Rated PG-13.

Nghi Vo lives on the shores of Lake Michigan, and her fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Expanded Horizons, Crossed Genres and Icarus Magazine. She likes stories about things that fall through the cracks and live on the edges, and she has a deep love for tales of revolution (personal and political), transfiguration and transmutation. She’s a writer by trade, a storyteller by nature, a volunteer by inclination, and a dreamer by design.

Your narrator is Tatiana Gomberg. Tatiana Gomberg is a New York City-based actress of stage, screen, and of course, the audio booth. Follow her on Twitter @tatianamae.

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PodCastle 433: Telling Stories

by Sandra M. Odell

read by Julie C. Day

Sam knew there would be trouble the night the saguaro came to call.  “Evening,” she said, and stepped aside for her unexpected guest.

The cactus scrunched down as far as it could and skittered through the door on its roots, bringing with it the breath of rocks, sage brush, and the cold Sonoran desert night.  It stopped in the middle of the cabin’s sparsely furnished main room and straightened until its spines brushed the roof.  “I hope I didn’t come at a bad time.”

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A PodCastle original!

Rated PG-13.

Picture of Sandra M. OdellSandra M. Odell lives in Washington state with her husband, two sons, and a grumpy orange cat. She is an avid reader, compulsive writer, and rabid chocoholic. She is currently working on her second novel or world domination. Whichever comes first. You can find her online at http://writerodell.com/ and on Twitter @WriterOdell.

Picture of Julie C. DayJulie C. Day’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in over two dozen venues, including Interzone, Podcastle, and Kaleidotrope. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program and a Masters of Science in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts. In addition to Podcastle, she narrates other people’s fiction at StarshipSofa and FarFetched Fables and also acts as host and narrator of the Small Beer Press podcast. You can find Julie on Twitter @thisjulieday or through her website: www.stillwingingit.com.


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