Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest V


The Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest is back for a fifth time, and it’s PodCastle’s turn! The contest will be taking submissions beginning April 15, 2019, and ending on April 30, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Each author may submit one original fantasy story of 500 words or less. Stories will then be sorted into categories, anonymized, and posted by an administrator on our forums for all to read and vote on in a tournament-style contest!

The three winning stories will be purchased for USD $30 each and run together as an episode of PodCastle. Note that stories will be published on a members-only section of the forums, so first publication rights will not be expended by participating in the contest. And it’s easy to become a member! In fact, you can head on over to the forums and do that right now. All the pertinent details and rules will be posted under “The Arcade” section of the forums; voting will commence May 15, 2019!

Check back here on April 15 or follow us on social media for links to the Submittable portal where you can upload your contest entries. Best of luck to everyone participating!

PodCastle 563: El Cantar de la Reina Bruja

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


El Cantar de la Reina Bruja

By Victoria Sandbrook

Mothers, hear me! I am alone but for your graces. My mistakes have bound me. My weaknesses have hobbled me. My pride has torn me from you.


Alejandra pricked her finger on her rough iron chains and whispered lilting iambs until all appearance of fatigue fell from her. When they came for her, she would look herself again.

Well. Not her true self. Not even the self she’d donned a decade ago to snare herself her king. What chaos there would be if her husband’s guards — nay, the entire kingdom! — discovered that the bruja chained in the metal palanquin had been their queen these ten years. “I must hide you from the priests,” Ciro had said, pallid with self-pity over his own deceit. “They would burn you for heresy.” Thus, Alejandra discovered what husband-kings did with unwilling, powerful wives. Now he risked much by dragging her on this yet unblooded campaign. But he had a rival to conquer: a widowed queen he thought to wed. With his wife’s help, of course. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 562: Cooking Creole

Show Notes

Rated R.


Cooking Creole

by A. M. Dellamonica

At seventeen, it was music. Guitar.

Then, at twenty-four: speechmaking. Rabble-rousing, his mother had called it. Binding a group of listeners — big, small, middling — with his voice. Inspiring the local grocery clerk to dump her useless husband. Selling roses in boxes on lonely street-corners. Swaying a strike vote at a fish packing plant on the East Coast.

Stupid, dangerous skill. What had he been thinking? (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 561: Baby Teeth

Show Notes

Rated R.


Baby Teeth

By Lina Rather

Laura watched from the window while Mama took the salt packets they’d pocketed from a Speedway and sprinkled a circle around the house to hide them from the monster. She tore the top of each one off with her teeth and spread it as far as she could, then dropped the white paper scraps on the ground. Laura had stuffed her pockets with packets, so she knew Mama had enough to walk around the whole perimeter of the property. Not that it was much—the next mobile home sat just ten yards away.

When she came back inside, she swept her hands together to brush off the salt and sat next to Laura at the table. “Okay, honey, show me again.”

Laura opened her mouth. She’d been probing the sore spots (one in front, on the bottom, and one on the top right) and now her mouth tasted tinny. Mama touched her swollen gums.

“These just fell out today?” (Continue Reading…)