Archive for Rated G

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 62: The Transfiguration of Maria Luisa Ortega

Show Notes

Rated G


The Transfiguration of Maria Luisa Ortega

by E. Lily Yu

The first time María Luisa Ortega cursed, after stabbing herself with a pair of steel tweezers, she turned into a sea urchin. Two weeks passed before a peripatetic priest found her lying in the sand and uncursed her. It was a frequent occurrence, he explained, and for this reason he always carried a squirt bottle of holy water in his bag, to bless the poor souls he found in the shapes of dolphins, fish, lobsters, or, in less fortunate cases, mollusks.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 59: Rainmaker

Show Notes

Rated G


Rainmaker

by Benjamin Thomas

I was eight then, which made her eleven. We lay on a grassy knoll. The earth dampened my flesh: buttocks, shoulders, elbows, and heels. It was late spring, and a light breeze chilled me in pleasant contrast to the tingling warmth of May sun on skin.

“I see a peacock,” I said. It didn’t look like a peacock, a bird, or even a fan. Clouds never really looked like anything, unless you squint just right.

“That one looks like,” Arida furrowed her brow, crinkling up her glass smooth face, “a circus.” The wind gusted.

“It does not,” I protested. “It doesn’t even look like a …” my voice caught. The panorama shifted subtly yet suddenly. I saw the circus; her circus.

The center formed an enormous tent. Crowds milled around it. They moved in less than real time, but at a steady pace. One person spit fire, another juggled. A bear balanced speckled ball in front of the main entrance. In those days, I had seen a few paintings, and none compared to this monochrome play in the clouds.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 144: To Ride Beyond the Wide World’s End

Show Notes

Rated G


To Ride Beyond the Wide World’s End

by Caitlin Brennan

“Those verses of yours,” old Coel said as the fire died and the hall subsided into a sort of rollicking quiet, “they’re clever. Especially your description of that son of a swine down the valley–how did you know he’s wall-eyed and has a distinct left hook to his private member?”

“Well,” said Madog, “the eye’s easy to see when you’re singing in front of him. As to the other — let’s say it’s a trade secret.”

Old Coel’s bushy white brow arched; he laughed. “Caught him in the jakes, did you?”

Madog shrugged and smiled. Sometimes it was safer to let the patron decide how the story went.

Coel thumped him on the shoulder, and grinned when he barely swayed. Madog was light and wiry as horsemen often are, but he was strong as they often are, too. “Gofannwy won’t thank you for the things you sang of him, but I’ll be warming my evil old heart for days with the thought of them. I owe you a debt for that; I’d like to pay it, for my honor and your pleasure. You’re a horseman, you say? And yet you walked through my gate.”

Madog nodded. His throat still tightened when he thought of his beautiful mare down and gasping in the snow, so far gone with pain that she could not even will to move. He had cut her throat for mercy, and wept for hours after.

Old Coel saw the tears that brimmed in his eyes, and nodded. He was a horseman, too. “In the morning,” he said, “we’ll go out to the fields and see what’s minded to follow you on your travels.”

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 58: Before the Uprising

Show Notes

Rated G: Contains Bicycles


Before the Uprising

by Katherine Sparrow

We fly out into the unseen world, biking as hard as our muscles allow, and then pushing on, faster, onward, go. It’s dark and all the sisters wear black, which is the color of night, which is the color of freedom.

Everything looks better now, the little sisters whisper from the backseat of our bikes, even though they mean they see only darkness as they cling and breathe into the sweat of our necks.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 136: The Christmas Mummy

Show Notes

Rated G

Happy holidays to all of you from all of us at PodCastle!


The Christmas Mummy

by Heather Shaw & Tim Pratt

Trish led Nate from the room, into the hall — their parents’ door was closed — and onto the stairs. She could hear someone moving down there. Trish crept down the carpeted steps. The only light in the living room came from the bright Christmas tree. Even the yule log in the fireplace had burned down.

Two men, dressed in black pajamas with their faces covered, were tying a big red ribbon around a crate that was bigger than the couch.

“Ninjas?” Trish whispered to her brother.

Christmas ninjas,” Nate said.

One of the ninjas pulled up his mask a little and ate one of the cookies they’d left for Santa. He drank the milk, too, leaving a white mustache on his ninja mask when he pulled it back down over his mouth.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle Miniature 57: Apex

Show Notes

Rated PG: Contains riddles


Apex

by Lauren M. Roy

Bronze-plated dragons with snapping shrapnel teeth guarded the landings. Those who weren’t eaten faced a wind-up Sphinx that spat out ticker-tape riddles. She hated it when they answered incorrectly; the Sphinx’ broken voice-recorder played back their dying screams for hours, until she went out and gave it a kick.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 132: Flash Fiction Contest Extravaganza

Show Notes

Rated G: Happy Thanksgiving!


For this week’s episode, we have something a little bit different for you: PodCastle is proud to present the winners of our Flash Fiction Contest, as voted by members of our forum.

Third Prize:
“The Water Sprite” by Alicia Caporaso
Read by Jack Mangan (of Jack Mangan’s Deadpan)

Second Prize:
“Bibliophages” by Ramona Gardea
Read by Wilson Fowlie (of the Maple Leaf Singers)

First Prize:
“Fetch” by Nathaniel Lee
Read by Peter Wood

Rated G: Happy Thanksgiving!

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 124: Squonk and the Horde of Apprentices

Show Notes

Rated G: Contains Dragons, Wizards, School, and Fire (which is Awesome)


Squonk and the Horde of Apprentices

by P.M. Butler

Most dragons learn to love fire as soon as they come out of their eggs, when their parents celebrate their birth by spitting great gouts of flame into the sky; dragons often use fire to express joy.  Or anger. Or surprise.  Or boredom.  Or the fact that they’re still breathing. Dragons really like fire.

But Squonk didn’t even know he could breathe fire.  That’s because his adoptive mother, a little blue bird named Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp, didn’t know he could breathe fire, either–and even if she did, she certainly would have forbid him from ever doing it.  Like most forest creatures, Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp didn’t like fire one little bit.

But her not-so-little boy was, indeed, a dragon.  And while there are some things you can teach out of a dragon…

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 118: Sugar

Show Notes

Rated PG: Contains a Rush of Sugary Sweetness (No Corn Syrup or Artificial Flavoring!)


Sugar

by Cat Rambo

They line up before Laurana, forty baked-clay heads atop forty bodies built of metal cylinders.  Every year she casts and fires new heads to replace those lost to weather, the wild, or simple erosion.  She rarely replaces the metal bodies.  They are scuffed and battered, over a century old.

Every morning, the island sun beating down on her pale scalp, she stands on the maison’s porch with the golems before her.  Motionless.  Expressionless.

She chants.  The music and the words fly into the clay heads and keep them thinking.  The golems are faster just after they have been charged.  They move more lightly, with more precision.  With more joy.  Without the daily chant they could go perhaps three days at most, depending on the heaviness of their labors.

This month is cane-planting season.  She delegates the squads of laborers and sets some to carrying buckets from the spring to water the new cane shoots while others dig furrows.  The roof needs reshingling, but it can wait until planting season is past.  As the golems shuffle off, she pauses to water the flowering bushes along the front of the house.  Placing her fingertips together, she conjures a tiny rain cloud, wringing moisture from the air.  Warm drops collect on the leaves, rolling down to darken pink and gray bark to red and black.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 114: Wolves Till the World Goes Down


Wolves Till the World Goes Down

by Greg van Eekhout

“Hey,” said my brother. “Down there.” Without waiting, he dove toward the sand where a dead Rotweiller rolled in the white foam. It had been a long flight and we were both ravenous. I angled in to follow, and soon we were absorbed in our feast.

A big gray gull challenged our salvage rights, screaming and beating us with his wings, but we tore him to shreds, ate him, then returned to the dog.

Later, my brother would be able to report every minute detail of the incident. He’d describe the precise markings on the gull’s bill, the way he favored his left foot over his right, the iron and salt taste of his blood.

But he wouldn’t be able to say why we’d killed him. He’s expert at the whats and whens and wheres, but he leaves the whys to me.

His name is Munin, Memory. I’m Hugin, Thought.