by Heather Shaw and Tim Pratt
Alex was seven when he ran away to join Santa’s elves.
If anyone had asked why he wanted to leave home, he would have said “I hate it here!” (Actually, he would have said, “I’m not telling you!”, then raced into his room and slammed the door, which is one way to say “I hate it here!” in the language of seven-year-olds.)
Alex had his reasons. Even after he started second grade, his parents made him go to bed at 7:30, even though all his friends stayed up until eight, and Fletcher didn’t go to bed until 9:00 p.m., an unmatched hour in his little boy crew. For Halloween, Alex wasn’t allowed to be Darth Vader, because his parents didn’t like him “idolizing villains,” and they made him be a Jedi knight instead. Alex made the best of it by telling everyone he was young Anakin Skywalker (a detail he kept from his parents so they wouldn’t change his costume into something stupid, like old Obi-Wan). He wasn’t allowed play dates with the two kids he liked the most, just because they got in trouble for chasing some kindergarteners and putting dirt in their hair. What was the big deal? Alex had gotten dirt rubbed in his hair when he was new, too!
About the Authors
Heather Shaw is a writer, editor, bookkeeper, sewist, and lindy hopper living in Berkeley, CA with her husband and 12-year-old son, River. She’s had short fiction published in Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy, Escape Pod, PodCastle, and other nice places. She has been the fiction editor at the erotica zine Fishnet, the speculative fiction zine Flytrap, and the pro-SF zine, Persistent Visions. She is currently working on a one-act modern feminist adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which will have a staged reading in San Francisco in November of 2020. She can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/hlshaw.
Tim Pratt is the author of more than 20 novels, most recently the Axiom space opera trilogy, including Philip K. Dick Award finalist The Wrong Stars, The Dreaming Stars, and The Forbidden Stars. He’s a Hugo Award winner for short fiction, and has been a finalist for Nebula, World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Mythopoeic, Stoker, and other awards. His latest collection is Miracles & Marvels. He tweets incessantly (@timpratt) and publishes a new story every month for patrons at www.patreon.com/timpratt.
About the Narrator
Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of four, and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud.
He started narrating stories for more than just his own family in late 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum. Since then, he has gone on to become PodCastle’s most prolific narrator, reading or appearing in over 30 episodes.
He’s also narrated for many other podcasts, including all of the other Escape Artists ’casts, StarShipSofa and other District of Wonder podcasts, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine and the Journey Into… podcast. He fits in all this narrating between his day job as a web developer in Vancouver, Canada, acting in local theatre productions and looking for voice acting jobs.