Mordecai plucked a beetle from the magnolia, crushed it, and sucked the juices from its head. This rejuvenating trick was one of many secrets known to the imperial gardener, but even he did not know everything the gardens hid — that the ivy conspired, the worms gossiped, or that, far beneath the ground, the magnolia’s roots knotted around a skull.
Kurt Hunt is, in no particular order, a father, a lawyer, a husband, a human, and a daydreamer. Sometimes he writes things, but usually he doesn’t. His fiction has been published by Strange Horizons and others, and is forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Leeman Kessleris a Nigerian-born American actor who, since 2010, has been performing as HP Lovecraft on stage, film, and in his popular web-series advice show, Ask Lovecraft. He can be heard regularly on his horror podcast Miskatonic Musings. To find out more and to help support Leeman, go to www.patreon.com/asklovecraft
So, reason number 572 why living with a wicked witch sucks? Sometimes it’s a gorgeous summer Saturday, and instead of getting a well-deserved break from Sarmine’s weird witchy chores like dusting the dried newts, you end up as an unpaid babysitter for a party full of little witches.
I set out the plates and forks for the birthday cake while surveying the swimming pool full of witch-kids. From up here they looked like any small children having fun—laughing and splashing and squealing and biting. Except, if you got close enough, you could hear them threatening to turn each other into frogs.
Around me, Witch Sarmine and all her nasty witch friends hovered around the pool like we were the first course at this birthday party. In a way, I suppose we were.
Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor, and the Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen. The newest Seriously novel, Seriously Shifted, releases November first. Her novels have been finalists for the Nebula and the Norton. Her stories have appeared on all Escape Artists podcasts, and are now collected in “On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories” from Fairwood Press. She co-hosts at Escape Pod, narrates stories at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pseudopod, and right here on Podcastle, and you can find her at tinaconnolly.com.
Gina Freeman is a writer, comedian and bioethicist based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Earth, solar system, Milky Way, local group, Virgo supercluster, observable universe, unobservable universe. She loves science and art, and especially when the two collide. She also loves her work, which allows her to think scientifically while dreaming science fictionally. She writes plays for myriad festivals, contributes to a monthly feminist podcast and radio program, runs a weekly writers room, and writes jokes for a local late-night comedy variety talk show. Find her online at ginafreeman.com.
There are many ways to kill an elephant. When that mountain bears down on you, shaking the earth and screaming for your blood, show no fear.
Only without fear will you see the truth. They are quick, even draped in chain and iron, but you are quicker by a whisker. They fight like devils, but it only takes three people who know what they are doing to bring an elephant down.
Jason Fischer is a writer who lives near Adelaide, South Australia. He has a passion for godawful puns and is known to sing karaoke until the small hours.
He has won an Aurealis Award (for this very story!) and the Writers of the Future Contest, and he has been shortlisted got other awards such as the Ditmars and the Australian Shadows. He is the author of dozens of short stories. His first collection “Everything is a Graveyard” is available from various vendors.
Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud. He has been narrating stories for more people than his own family since late 2008 and has narrated for PodCastle, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, as well as StarShipSofa, Protecting Project Pulp, Crime City Central, Tales To Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. In real life he’s a web developer and also the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.
I thought the tendriled horrors were angels when we woke at sea that disastrous night and saw them falling on the waters. Now, Suneeti, on this abandoned island, they are radiant in the setting sun, their translucence licked gold by dusk.
Rachael K. Jones grew up in various cities across Europe and North America, picked up (and mostly forgot) six languages, an addiction to running, and a couple degrees. Now she writes speculative fiction in Athens, Georgia, where she lives with her husband. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many venues, including Shimmer, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Flash Fiction Online, Fireside Magazine Accessing the Future, Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, Crossed Genres, Diabolical Plots, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, The Drabblecast, andDaily Science Fiction. She is an editor, a SFWA member, and a secret android. Follow her on Twitter @RachaelKJones.
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali is our Assistant Editor here at PodCastle. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod, and has a story in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to long youth. You can catch her posts at her website, www.khaalidah.com, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.