PodCastle 548: Daniel

Show Notes

Rated R.


by Ashley Blooms

Ellie watches her husband from the front porch. He makes a lean shadow against the twilight, his arms outstretched, his heels lifting from the ground and dropping again. The wind rustles the branches of the trees overhead, their limbs picked clean of leaves, their roots bitten with cold. The windows rattleshake inside their panes, a thin vibration that the house carries through the walls and into the boards of the porch. The feeling trembles beneath Ellie’s bare toes as she wraps her arms around her chest, cups her elbows in her palms.

Her husband looks at her from across the yard. He holds up his hands so she can see a bright pearl of light reflected in the center of the spiderweb. The thin strands shudder, curving away from the twigs that bind it together, but the web holds on. Ellie turns and walks back into the house alone. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 547: Every House, a Home

Show Notes

Rated PG-13, for the weird ways of houses.

Every House, a Home

By Evan Dicken

“I guess nobody wants haunted houses, anymore.” Derek checked his reflection in one of the Cape Cod’s filmy windows, teasing his hair back to mussy perfection. He glanced back at me. “That was a joke, Natalie.”

I gave him my best approximation of a smile.

He blew out a long puff of air. “Never mind.”

The house wasn’t haunted, which was a shame. A ghost or two would be just the thing to calm it down. The Cape Cod was faceless, without history or meaning. Sandwiched awkwardly on a scrubby half-parcel between two mid-century colonials, it felt out of place and forgotten. A decade ago, the lot had probably been wild, but some developer had come along and crammed a factory home where it had no place being. I even recognized the model: Sea Breeze. There were maybe a hundred in Columbus — same light-blue vinyl siding, same asphalt shingles, same fake shutters, same concrete porch with the same three white-painted pillars. It shouldn’t have had a feel, let alone a personality.

“I just don’t get it.” Derek brushed by me to tug the “Open House, Sunday, 1–4 p.m., PRICE REDUCED” sign from the freshly replanted lawn. “Two bed, two bath, decent schools — a good starter house. It’s these millennials, they’re all about apartments and lofts nowadays.” (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 546: For the Removal of Unwanted Guests

For the Removal of Unwanted Guests

By A.C. Wise

The witch arrived at precisely 11:59 p.m., just as September ticked over to October, on the day after Michael Remmington moved into the house on Washington Street. She knocked at exactly midnight.

The house was all boxes, and Michael all ache from moving them. He’d been sitting on an air mattress — the bed wouldn’t be delivered for another week — staring at a crossword puzzle at least five years old. He’d found it in the back of the closet, yellow as bone, and peeled it from the floor — an unwitting gift from the previous tenant.

Michael opened the door, only questioning the wisdom of it after it was done. It was midnight in a strange neighborhood; he wore a bathrobe and slippers, and he’d left his phone upstairs, so if it turned out to be an axe murderer at the door, he wouldn’t even be able to call 911.

“Hello,” the witch said. “I’m moving in.” (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 545: The Aunties Return the Ocean

Show Notes

Rated R.

The Aunties Return the Ocean

By Chris Kuriata

Auntie Roberta landed badly on the roof of her escarpment house, scraping her knees across the flagstone shingles and splitting her pantyhose. Her arms were too full of black water to keep her balance so she nearly slid off the edge.

She carried so much ocean she barely knew where to hide it all. Inside her stony home, she filled the kitchen drawers and cupboards with cold dark brine. Every pot and tankard as well.

She quickly ran out of places, yet her weary arms were still loaded with the stuff. Where would it all fit? Auntie Roberta got on her knees and stuffed the final bits of ocean into the mouse holes. She heard the panicked mice squeak before drowning.

What an exhausting evening she’d endured. At the appointed hour, all the Aunties of the world had banded together like a swarm of locusts, and set upon the heart of the ocean. Their grubby hands tore the water apart, breaking up the reflection of the moon as they scrambled to load every last drop into their arms.  All along the empty ocean floor, fish flopped and ships jammed into rock beds. The neighbours had called the Aunties’ bluff, refusing to give in to their demands. So, just as the Aunties threatened, they stole the ocean.
During the theft, Auntie Roberta kept close watch on the other Aunties, noticing none of her sisters carried away as much ocean as she did. Auntie Roberta always did more than her fair share and never received thanks. The other Aunties thought they were smarter than her, but really they were just lazier.

“Hey!” Auntie Robert shouted. “Get away from there!”

A burr covered cat with collapsed ears sat on the kitchen table, lapping away at a mug filled with ocean. Auntie Roberta flung a wooden spoon and sent the cat retreating through a gnawed hole in the parlour wall.

“Sneaky thief,” she huffed. (Continue Reading…)