Archive for Rated R

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 666: Reading Dead Lips — Part 2

Show Notes

Rated R.


[Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part novelette. Visit our previous post to read Part 1.]

Reading Dead Lips — Part 2

By Dustin Steinacker

They must have razed the entire village, Alex said carefully, rather than admit that ordinary people had killed the officers living here. Better for the city to appear a battle casualty.

“Why does it matter?” she managed. “Whether it was military or rebels?”

“Czir military all captured or killed. Nobody there left, but still guerrillas fighting. No need to inspire them.”

“But you know it was rebels.”

“Everybody knows. Propaganda.”

“Then why?” she pled. For understanding, for any way to put order to this. Questions of politics seemed so distant and sanitary to this charnel town before her. “Why the coverup?”

“We pretend not to. Same thing. Propaganda still works.”

These streets of death brought names back to her memory. Her friend, little Tibor, he of the harelip scar. The Valentins, who both shouted and struck their children and made Noe glad for her gentle mother. Petr Mátyás, an oddly well-to-do peddler who’d had the misfortune of settling in Óste just before the end. A nice man with a hard-to-place accent who loved a foolish pun.

All dead or enslaved or worse. This was a graveyard, as much as any she’d visited coming here.

Snap. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 665: Reading Dead Lips — Part 1

Show Notes

Rated R.


Reading Dead Lips

By Dustin Steinacker

Nouelle had always thought that she’d feel a sense of homecoming when she returned to the country that had birthed her. But after eight years, it was already a foreign land. Her first day back she risked a hostel, near the border, and the shower water was wrong; it stung her flesh with its force but never seemed to rinse off the lather. The loudest voices in the common room all spoke the occupiers’ dialects and she stayed silent rather than mark herself as a Czir. The cooking smells too were unfamiliar.

After that she slept out of doors.

She was wiser than she’d been when last she breathed Czir air (this she told herself, and sometimes she believed it too). She now knew occult sciences, after all, and had acquainted herself with the many stages of corpse-stink. So yes, she was standing on ground that she’d had to sell herself to escape, occupied ground. But she was also prepared. She’d lost everything she ever had in this country and now, dammit, she had the chance to take just one thing back.

Somewhere within these borders was her sister. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 663: Our Mortal Undressing

Show Notes

Rated R.


Our Mortal Undressing

by Hamilton Perez

I. Discovery

I suppose I’m chasing the wildflowers.

I first found them while digging for worms. It’s not very often an earthworm dies of old age, but this one called to me, bloated and weary, with its body caked in pollen and a belly full of decay. The soil was soft and moist to my mouth, rich with nutrients I had no need for, yet there was something familiar about it also. Like I’d loved and tasted this earth. Like it was a part of me, and I was a part of it. Slinking through the soil, something called to me, and not just the worm.

Over mineral and plant debris, rib bones and stones, I chewed my path downward. The others wriggled desperately away from me, until I found my heart’s desire curled up in the soft, fleshy remains of a lifeform already passed.

That’s when I remembered: No . . . she’d said upon meeting me, and nothing more ever again. As far as recognition goes, it’s not the worst I’ve encountered. She was a stubborn one though, suffering constantly yet refusing to leave. A deep gash sank through her belly, coated with red. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 662: La Camaraderie du Cirque

Show Notes

Rated R.


La Camaraderie du Cirque

By dave ring

Gather round, and let me tell you the story of Veronica’s Oiseau de Feu.

They were dark times, for me.  Every bloody day, Chuckles, Magda and Felix tried to trip me when I walked by, ugly faces snickering underneath their greasepaint.  My everything, Michel, ignored them, even when they pull that shit right in front of him.  It infuriated me.  He said it was to preserve “the camaraderie du cirque.”  I loved Michel.  But when Michel stood by doing nothing while those painted-mouth idiots tormented me, my love was lost in a rage that could turn a forest into cinders.

On those days, I screamed into my pillow: “Fuck the camaraderie du cirque!”  Though my pillow did just as little as Michel to salve my wounds.

Before my banishment from the tent, I used to lurk behind the cheap velvet curtains and watch Michel and Lars from backstage after all the tickets had been sold and the punters put in their seats.  Dear Michel and sweet, foolish Lars.  Our main act.  Under the lights, they gleamed.  They wore tiny silver posing pouches and white cords criss-crossed around their muscled limbs, like they’d been the pawns of bondage-minded sailors.  As if you could pull at a loose string and the two of them would fall apart into a sloppy pile of oiled pectorals, triceps and thighs. (Continue Reading…)