Archive for February, 2015

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PodCastle 350: Who Binds and Looses the World With Her Hands

Who Binds and Looses the World With Her Hands

by Rachael K. Jones

1. Stranger

On days when Selene locked me in the lighthouse, an old familiar darkness would well up within me, itching my skin like it had shrunk too tight to contain my anger any longer. I had grown accustomed to the rage’s ebb and flow, sometimes bubbling near the surface, sometimes dormant as a seed awaiting the right time to break open. But it always rose to high tide on my days of confinement.

I knew better than to complain to Selene. I often watched from the windows of the lanthorn, the little room which housed the lighthouse’s beacon, when the merchants made landfall. From my distant perch, I could just make out Selene, resplendent in dyed blue wool, hands spinning impossibly fast in the bewildered men’s faces. Out beyond the dock, two green arms of land reached toward our island home in an incomplete embrace. That was the Mainland, where sorcerers lived. Long ago, it was sorcerers who built our lighthouse in the stone branches of the ancient petrified tree.

Do not talk to the Mainlanders,  Selene always warned, hurrying me up the stone steps which spiraled inside the tree’s heart. She would repeat the warning later at night, when we watched the beacon flash round and round through the window over our bed. I would nestle against her chest, and her hands would dance out tales about sailors, how their days at sea would drive them so mad with lust they would seize any woman when they made landfall. I am sorry to hide you, she would say. I do not want to lose you. The apology mollified the darkness inside me, but never quelled it completely. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 349: This Sullied Earth, Our Home

This Sullied Earth, Our Home

by Mimi Mondal

A few hours after the Majestic Oriental Circus rolls into Deoband, Johuree steps into our tent and whispers, “This is the place where I took you in. It was here.”Outside, it looks just like one of the many small towns we wind our way through, halting for a week or two to put up a show. It has been raining for days. The university dome in the distance glistens with dark moss against the ponderous sky. The fairground is all mud, sludge and clumps of grass, sucking in our tent posts like a fumbling, ungainly monster. A group of local men, hired to dry up enough ground to put up the main circus tent, have been working since the morning. So why does this miserable earth feel like a familiar taste, again?We wonder if Johuree would like a cup of tea. He agrees. There is no milk, but he sips the dark brown brew in silence.We watch.“There is a cottage at the far end of the town. Little more than ruins now, I presume. Would you like to visit?”Johuree never goes anywhere. We don”t recall him ever stepping out into the daylight. We don”t recall much anything. Though we travel far and wide with the circus, we have never left the camp site and gone “sightseeing”, as some others in the troupe are in the habit of doing.

Nor has he.
(Continue Reading…)