PodCastle 526: When Shadow Confronts Sun

Show Notes

Rated: PG-13.


When Shadow Confronts Sun

By Farah Naz Rishi

[Allah] will say, “Enter among nations which had passed on before you of jinn and mankind into the Fire.” Every time a nation enters, it will curse its sister until, when they have all overtaken one another therein, the last of them will say about the first of them, “Our Lord, these had misled us, so give them a double punishment of the Fire.” He will say, “For each is double, but you do not know.” (7:38)


The paan seller’s cart has a very particular smell: burnt roses, sugar syrup, cumin. Spicy and sweet, like Nani’s sticks of sage, the ones she burns every Sunday after fajr to ward off jealous eyes and jealous spirits. But I am hungry and I breathe it in, letting the newfound familiarity of the fragrance settle into my bones. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 525: Rabbit Grass

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


Rabbit Grass

by Kelly Stewart

Mama says, “Never let Rabbits into the garden, Aril, or they’ll eat up everything.”

This makes working in the garden troublesome because there is almost always a Rabbit sitting just on the other side of the fence. The fence isn’t nothing fancy, just old dry timber trussed up with wire.

But Rabbits won’t come in unless they’re invited. No one would invite them, except they have their ways of smoothing things over with the folks around here. For one thing, you’d hardly know them from any old Person, except for the long ears perched atop their heads, all covered with velvety fur and turning this way and that to listen for things. They dress nice, too. They can be real charming. That’s how folks around here get their gardens et up. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 524: Shine like the Sea’s Deepest Secrets

Show Notes

Rated R for blood, guts, and monstrous appetites.


A shadow passes overhead and mermaids rise from where they were playing hide-and-seek among the jellyfish. It has been weeks since they’ve fed. If the shadow is a whale, the mermaids will only wish it safe passage. But the shadow is a galleon. Is it the one I’m looking for? I rush upwards.

The sky is noon-bright; the air, still. The ship’s main mast, cracked and scorched by lightning, lays toppled. Torn sails flutter on the fore- and mizzen-masts. The ship has been left to drift at the whim of the current. Mermaids crawl up the hull and cling to barnacles. Their voices, which usually hiss like the breaking waves, bend to wordless song. Lured by their music, sailors peer over the rail, their faces gaunt, their gums rotted. No matter. The mermaids’ sharp teeth will slice bone and reach the marrow. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 523: Never Yawn Under a Banyan Tree

Show Notes

Rated PG-13 for greedy ghosts squishing internal organs.


Never Yawn Under a Banyan Tree

By Nibedita Sen

The moment I swallowed the pret, I knew I should have taken my grandmother’s advice. Never yawn under a banyan tree, she used to warn me. A ghost might jump down your throat. Well touché, grandma. I’m sure you’re shaking your head at me in heaven, but consider this: Was it really fair to expect me to believe not just that ghosts were real — and lived in banyan trees — but that they liked to cannonball down people’s throats? (Continue Reading…)