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PodCastle 366: Sticks and Stones

by Nathaniel Lee

read by Tatiana Gomberg

Originally appeared in Crossed Genres.

The dead body was ugly, as dead bodies tended to be. The man’s face was swollen and purple-black with the blood that had pooled in his cheeks before congealing. Blood on the sidewalks had smeared with the rain before the sun rose. Lillian stared at the stains with her hands in her pockets, toying with her ring.

“Detective Staunton?”

“Blunt force,” she said, not turning around. “Probably some pretty heavy words, by the look of them; he’s almost crushed. Loser, maybe. Failure. Took him by surprise, I think; the first blow from the back spun him around. You can see the blood spatter where he turned.”

Rated PG-13.

Nathaniel Lee lives with his family in South Carolina.  His work has appeared in dozens of venues online and off, including several times previously here on PodCastle.  He serves as the editor of the Drabblecast and assistant editor at Escape Pod.

Tatiana Gomberg is a New York City based actress of stage, screen, and of course, the audio booth. Learn more about her at tatianagomberg.com.

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PodCastle 365: The Newsboy’s Last Stand

by Krystal Claxton
read by Graeme Dunlop
originally published in Unidentified Funny Objects 3.

She stood up on her tip-toes, extending a slightly wilted white daisy up to Romulus, her whole body pointed and straight in the effort of reaching something that was entirely beyond her reach.

For his part Romulus knelt down and took the flower and gave her a sad smile and watched her run back across the street. And even though he had another line of news, it was sad, so he called it quits for the day and went home. He put the daisy in a jar of water and ate his cake from the bakery (yes, the bakery, not the cakery) and went to sleep.

Rated PG.

Tragically born with a miscalibrated sense of humor, Krystal Claxton lived in nine US states before the age of thirteen. The combination of the two has left her with an oscillating accent and a habit of laughing at things that aren’t funny. She currently lives in Georgia with her long-suffering spouse, a dog who thinks she’s a cat, and a number of children that is subject to change.

She enjoys breaking Heinlein’s Rules, getting distracted by Dragon Con, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. Keep up with her at krystalclaxton.com and on twitter @krystalclaxton. Her short story “Planar Ghosts” was recently released in Writers of the Future vol 31.

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PodCastle 364: Her Windowed Eyes, Her Chambered Heart

by Cat Rambo
read by Dave Robison
Originally featured as part of Cat’s Patreon Campaign.

Phlogiston, the most precious material in the world, capable of fueling marvelous machines like himself. Artemus carried a scraping of it, small as a fingernail clipping, deep in his midsection. Once a year, it was replaced, but it was valuable enough that he’d had people try to kill him for it before.

So far none had succeeded. And if it seemed that someone was about to, he held, secret in another internal pocket a sliver of terra fluida, a substance that, when combined with phlogiston, would explode. He would do that rather than be taken.

Rated PG-13.

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com, four collections (one forthcoming) and her debut novel, Beasts of Tabat, to be followed by Hearts of Tabat this fall.  A World Fantasy, Endeavour, and Nebula nominee, she is the current Vice President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). For more about her, as well as links to her fiction and her online classes, see http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog.

Dave Robison’s voice work has appeared on audio fiction podcasts across the internet, including the Drabblecast, Starshipsofa, Tales to Terrify, and all the Escape Artist Podcasts. He’s been contracted – through his production company, Wonderthing Studios – to do the audiobook narration for Tim Ward’s novel “Scavenger: Evolution” and Terry Irving’s “The Day of the Dragon King”. In addition to hosting the fabulous “Roundtable Podcast”, Dave just launched a new venture… Vex Mosaic, an e-zine featuring essays on culture and society through the lens of pop-culture media. You can check that out at www.vexmoasic.com.

 

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PodCastle 363: L’Etoile Flamboyante

by Samantha Henderson
read by C. S. E. Cooney
Originally featured in the Word Webber Press anthology of 2013, Allegories of the Tarot.

Last night I dreamed about the Painted Children: the Dragon Leviathan, the Boy made of Horses, and the girl, L’Etoile Flamboyante. In the dream, I was sitting at the edge of the cliff beside the ruins, not far from where I lie now, but I was straight and whole again, the tiger reclining beside me like an outsized housecat. The water at the foot of the cliff glistened in the starlight, and the Children were in a boat, little wider than a rowboat, looking up at me. The girl stretched out her arms, and I shifted as if to rise. The tiger gave me a lazy nudge. Not yet, it said, silently. We are still at the business of dying.

Rated R.

Samantha Henderson lives in Southern California by way of England, South Africa, Illinois and Oregon.  Her short fiction and  poetry have been published in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit and Weird Tales, and reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction, Steampunk Revolutions and the Mammoth Book of Steampunk, as well as being podcast in Podcastle, Escape Pod, and The Drabblecast.   She’s the author of the Forgotten Realms novels Heaven’s Bones and Dawnbringer, and is currently working on a novel based on her short story “Cinderella Suicide.

C.S.E. Cooney is a Rhode Island writer, actor, poet, and singer-songwriter. She is the author of the Dark Breakers series: The Breaker Queen and The Two Paupers. “Witch, Beast, Saint” the first erotic fairy tale in her Witch’s Garden Series, can be found at Strange Horizons, while the second, The Witch in the Almond Tree is available for purchase on Amazon.

Cooney’s first short fiction collection Bone Swans is forthcoming with Mythic Delirium in July of 2015.

She recently started working as an audiobook narrator for Tantor Media, with Carol J Perry’s “Caught Dead Handed,” a Witch City mystery— Cooney’s first book-length narration—now available for purchase.

Thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign, Cooney’s alternate personality, the imaginary rockstar Brimstone Rhine, is just about to hit the studio to record her first EP, “Alecto! Alecto!” Eight songs of Myth and Legend—Witches, Queens, Nymphs, Fiends—as you’ve never heard them sung before.

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