Archive for Miniatures

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 92: Chatter the Teeth

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


Chatter the Teeth

by Kurt Hunt

Mordecai plucked a beetle from the magnolia, crushed it, and sucked the juices from its head. This rejuvenating trick was one of many secrets known to the imperial gardener, but even he did not know everything the gardens hid—that the ivy conspired, the worms gossiped, or that, far beneath the ground, the magnolia’s roots knotted around a skull.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 91: Love Letters on the Nightmare Sea

Show Notes

Rated PG-13


Love Letters on the Nightmare Sea

By Rachael K. Jones

I thought the tendriled horrors were angels when we woke at sea that disastrous night and saw them falling on the waters. Now, Suneeti, on this abandoned island, they are radiant in the setting sun, their translucence licked gold by dusk.

The first one crashed onto the deck of our little boat. Its body was round, jellyfish-translucent, with six wing-like fins, and fine waving tendrils like underwater kelp. An alien, ethereal beauty–of course you reached out and brushed a tendril with your fingers. You were always the curious one. I caught you before you collapsed on the deck, fast asleep. The horrors swarmed the hull, their soft feet sticking like little kisses climbing up a neck, but I took you below and locked the hatch. Tendrils groped through the cracks, but they couldn’t reach us through the door. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 90: How to Survive in Room 105

Show Notes

Rated G


by T. Jane Berry

read by Jen R. Albert

This is a PodCastle Original!

Principal Freezarro announced that you’re substitute teaching in my kindergarten class for the next few weeks. I’m so excited! I’ve seen your work with the Vindicators, and just to let you know, I think it’s ridiculous that you were sentenced to six months of community service over the bridge incident. Who expects you to save the city from an army of wood chipper-earthworm hybrids and not take out a few historic landmarks? As we say in room 105, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” And please, please don’t let them get upset.

Click here to continue reading.

 

 

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 89: Lapis Lazuli

Show Notes

PG-13


by Tania Fordwalker

read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

 

In Sesara, only the rich wear bright colours. My knight shines in the armour I buff for him nightly, glossy as a jewel. My clothes and skin are the colours of the earth. We stand together with two days of desert at our backs and a forest of black thorns before us. My heart is a bird in my chest.

I was twelve when the slave traders came from the ocean and stole me away. To the Sesarans we Arn all look the same. I was always tall and strong. An unscrupulous trader shaved my head and sold me as a boy to fetch a higher price, and I live as a boy still, because it is better than what waits for me as an Arn girl in this country.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 88: Communion

Show Notes

Rated R


by Jei D. Marcade 

read by Jen R. Albert and Graeme Dunlop

A PodCastle original!

The mice come when Vyozhka calls them, her breath whistling through shattered teeth, brittle fingers tap-tapping on the temple floor. A storm-blown teak juts over the rubble of an outer wall: the mice scamper in along its ridged bark to patter across rain-slicked flagstone. Oily vines dangle through cracks splintering across the vaulted ceiling, and from them dip globular pods that pulse amber, making the mice’s shadows flicker and dart.

When the first brush of whiskers tickles her palm, Vyozhka peels loose lids from the twin ruins of her eyes. The ichor pooled at the bottoms of her sockets spills over the bronze curves of her cheeks, thick as honey; the mice lap at it with tiny pink tongues. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 87: All Things to All People

Show Notes

First appeared in Apex Magazine. Read it here!


All Things to All People

by D. K. Thompson

I wake up in someone else’s house every morning, and lay my head somewhere else every night. The tattoos are my only constant company, covering almost all my skin. I’d stretch the free space of my flesh out if I could, but I don’t make or choose the pictures – and I can’t control the size. I’m running out of skin, and I know what that means. When it’s all inked I’ll be out of time.

The angel here, on the inside of my wrist, that was the first one. A cartoon character – the tips of his wings sharp as knives. That’s as far back as I can remember: waking up on the side of the road with the taste of dirt in my mouth and the smell of gasoline on my hands. The asphalt and the sun had burned my face from opposing sides, like I’d been twice-grilled. Gravel bounced around me as semi-trucks roared by. I flexed my hands – my knuckles were bloody and cracked. I’d been in a fight, but despite the pain I grinned because I was pretty sure I’d won.

Then I saw the dead man in the ditch.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 85: So Inflamed, I Have Left

Show Notes

Rated PG


by Anaea Lay

read by Rachael K. Jones

First appeared in Penumbra Magazine in August 2014.

It’s still days and miles away, but I can feel the heat radiating off its coils all the same.  I think, maybe, it’ll be okay when I get there.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 84: The Fox Bride

Show Notes

Rated PG-13


The Fox Bride

by Mari Ness

He carried the squirming animal to his – no, their, he had to remember that now, their – bedroom, struggling to avoid her sharp teeth. The oversized ring he had given her glimmered on her left front leg; she had spent most of the evening biting and licking at it, when she had not been growling. He had ordered the musicians to play louder, to cover up the noise, but the growls still lingered in his ears.

When he reached the room, he secured her chain to one end of the bed, and sat gingerly at the other end. The waxing moonlight flooded the bed, giving a silver sheen to her red and snowy fur.

“When you are a woman, I can remove the chain,” he told the fox.

The fox barked.

“I swear it,” he said.

A snarl.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 83: Double Feature! Two by Nathaniel Lee

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains Unethical Clothing Options.


The Machine That Made Clothes

Read by Wilson Fowlie

He stood in front of the machine that made clothes and fretted.  He already had a fur suit, a carpet suit, and a brick suit.  Everyone had a water suit; it was practically cliche.

Last week he’d had a Pop-Tart suit for a lark.  That had been popular, but he couldn’t go back to that well so soon.  Anyway, it smacked too much of the bacon suit fad from last year.  He’d had to shower for an hour to get un-sticky afterward.

He’d even done a suit suit, which had helped keep his reputation for the sartorial avant-garde.

Harriet, their aging basset hound, shuffled into the bedroom and plopped down beside him.  He looked at Harriet and pursed his lips.

Tired Eyes and Clever Hands

Read by LaShawn Wanak

The Brindletom woke after Erdi had already finished her eggs and was on her second cup of coffee.  He swung down from his nest in the rafters and slid along the ropes to the table.  Erdi pushed the plate of bacon toward him.

“I had a dream last night,” he piped, plucking a bacon strip up with his clever forepaws and gnawing on it.

“Do tell,” Erdi said, somewhat blearily.  She was considering a third cup of coffee.

“I dreamed that I was a man accursed, trapped in a hideous mannikin body, and bound to a cruel sorceress who had promised to help me, to return me to my place and my true form, but upon whose pleasure I must wait and serve in the interim.  I dreamed that my servitude would have no end, for I was sworn to her unto death and she would live forever.”

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 82: Lord Darq, Regis and the Orb of Power

Show Notes

Rated PG


Lord Darq, Regis and the Orb of Power

by John Nickerson

“What’s wrong?”

“I just … wasn’t expecting that. Usually it goes ‘Join me and together we can rule the world’, then you heroes say ‘Never!’, and we fight. Nobody’s ever just said ‘Okay’ like that.”

“So what now?”

“Don’t know. I had a great battle planned for us, through the ice caves, over the lava lake, into the mud plains, it would have been spectacular. Now, I guess … do you want to see the inner lair?”

“Yeah, sounds good.”