PodCastle 378: Flash Fiction Extravaganza! Strange Destinies

“Yaga Dreams of Growing Up,” by Eileen Wiedbrauk
Read by Elizabeth Tennant
Originally published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. No. 29

When Yaga grows up, she wants to have a house on chicken legs so it can walk away from solicitors, would-be-thieves, nosy strangers, village raiders, tax collectors, Anya the cartwright’s daughter, and all of Anya’s friends.

“Mrs. Stiltskin,” by Bonnie Joe Stufflebeam
Read by Alasdair Stuart and Marguerite Kenner!
Originally published in Lakeside Circus, March 2014.

Q: You say you knew nothing of the stolen babies?
A: I knew nothing.
Q: And you didn’t suspect anything?
A: Not one little thing. Officer, my husband’s always been an eccentric little man. He’s always been peculiar. I knew nothing, you see.

“Marking Time,” by Stephanie Burgis
Read by Kim Mintz
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction in February 2015.

The next bead marks graduation. Your parents were there, in the background, at least, smiling tightly and watching you with big, worried eyes, while you held yourself rigid: waiting, just waiting to leap to Tom’s defense the moment that they made a single wrong move. They never understood how special he was, and he was right, he really was–they always tried to ruin everything.

Rated PG!


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PodCastle 377: Ray

by Mario Milosevic

read by Joe Scalora

First published in Space and Time Magazine, Spring 2013

You know that episode of M*A*S*H, the one where they have to pick up stakes, pack everything up and move to another location? Me neither. I never watched that show, but Liz, who works the booth where people throw darts at balloons on a cork wall, and who is thirty years older than me, has seen every episode of that show at least three times. She said every time we break down the rides and get ready to move on, she thinks about that episode.

“It’s like Colonel Potter said they had to bug out because they were about to be in a shooting zone, and we bug out for the exact same reason.“

“The same reason?“ I said to Liz. No one was going to be shooting at us, I was pretty sure.

“Yeah” she said, “because now that the carney’s over, they don’t want us in town, you know? They make it a hostile environment so we’ll leave them alone. They’re scared is what it is. They’re scared of us and they’d just as soon kill us as look at us.”

I wasn’t quite seeing it, but I thought it best not to challenge her on the issue. When she told me this, I had been on the job only a couple of weeks, and we’d been to two fairs. We were packing up to move on to the next one, somewhere in the Columbia River Gorge. “You got Ray all packed away yet?” I asked.

She patted the side of the trailer, folded up like a wrapped birthday present. “Ray’s always right here with me,” she said.

Rated PG-13.

Mario Milosevic is a prolific author of novels, short stories, and poetry. Find out more about him and his storytelling at mariowrites.com.

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PodCastle 376: Ink

by Sandra M. Odell

read by Sean D. Sorrentino

A PodCastle Original!

A woman stood at the tattoo parlor’s door. Small, damp from the storm, hair disheveled and slightly askew. Comfortable in her clothes, not her skin. The sight of her made Tiger’s chest itch, and his tattoos tingle. He turned down the stereo. “Can I help you with something?”

The woman looked at the shelves stuffed with pattern books, the posters of half­-naked men and women displaying their tattoos and piercings. “Is this Stars And Stripes Ink?”

Her voice had a touch of falsetto.

“That’s what the sign says in the window.”

She brushed aside her bangs, tugging her hair back into place in a way Tiger supposed he wasn’t meant to notice. “I would like a tattoo.”

Rated R.

Sandra M. Odell lives with her husband, sons, and cats in Washington state.  Her work has appeared in such venues as Jim Baen’s UNIVERSE, Crossed Genres, Daily Science Fiction, and Galaxy’s Edge.  A Clarion West 2010 graduate, she is currently hard at work on plotting her second novel.  Or world domination.  Whichever comes first.

THE TWELVE WAYS OF CHRISTMAS, her collection of speculative fiction holiday stories, is available from Hydra House Books.

Sean D. Sorrentino lives in the Raleigh North Carolina area with his wife and his dog.

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PodCastle 375: The Child Support of Cromdor the Condemned

by Spencer Ellsworth
read by Graeme Dunlop
A PodCastle Original!

Cromdor the Calderian, thrice-cursed, thrice-condemned, (I’ve forgotten the rest, but believe you me, there is thrice-more) had nearly finished his tale when the traveler slipped in. As he had for the last ten days and ten before that, Cromdor had a packed house. Course, “packed house” is relative—last winter a mudslide tore away half the common room, and Yargin had been rebuilding when he fell through the thatch and died on that floor. Damned if Greta, his daughter, didn’t ever try to stop his goats from getting in, or doing their business in the corners.

So’s only the old folks came. A fine summer night, and we’d have sunlight until midnight, and stories to go with it, but the young ones were mostly down at the church, praying for the holy warriors on their mission in Ursalim, worshipping the new Bleeding God. Don’t the weather matter? The crop? How’s one god gonna keep track of all that?

Point being, the traveler stuck out.

Want to read the full story? Just click here!

Rated R.

Spencer Ellsworth lives in Bellingham, WA, with his with and three children. He works as a teacher and administrator at Northwest Indian College, and his work has appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other places. He has been trying to get a story past Podcastle ever since Rachel Swirsky’s tenure as editor, and victory is sweet. You can read his blog, listen to his band and find links to his stories at spencerellsworth.com.

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