Archive for Rated R

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PodCastle 621: A Salt and Sterling Tongue

Show Notes

Rated R.

A Salt and Sterling Tongue

By Emma Osborne

I found my dying boy curled up in a pile of straw wet with his blood. Seamus rolled over as I entered the barn, and I saw then that he’d chewed his fingers down to the first knuckle.

I gasped.

“I can taste my King in my wet,” he said, rocking forward, naming his lost Merling lord. Seamus could barely keep himself up on what was left of his hands and his knees. I crouched and moved closer and he fell forward onto forearms thin as sticks.

Seamus’ teeth shone through the gore that coated him from nose to navel, and he’d bitten off a few of the scales that dotted the skin of his upper arms. One was stuck to his chin with blood.

“He’s stopped singing, but I can hear him in the waves and in my blood, my lord, my king.”

My youngest boy was the one of the unlucky few who’d heard the music of the Merling King while out collecting cockles, who came home the next morning shivering and soaked and vomiting up seawater, the salt crystalising in his scant beard, newborn silver scales peeping out of his skin. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 620: When Hope Is Lost, Touch Remains

Show Notes

Rated R for steamy friction, physical and ethical.

When Hope Is Lost, Touch Remains

By Nin Harris

Chowrasta Market was where Maria had learned to love books — upstairs in the claustrophobic crush of second-hand book stalls, where the musty smell of old paperbacks was drowned in a panoply of aromas from the market downstairs: fish, the blood of poultry, and the musk-laden spore of murdered mammals. Her bookishness was all she was able to offer the men who occasionally fell in love with her. They drowned in her literary wit and her fragile insecurities until the time when, as with all relationships, one must drift away and make an end.

Sometimes the endings were congenial.

More often than not the congeniality masked a secret pain, a gnawing loss at the realisation that another hope had been proven false. Because what are endings but a betrayal of some hope? But then again, what are endings if they are not a culmination of choices made? (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 615: Field Reports from the Department of Monster Resettlement

Show Notes

Rated R, for a rowdy band of righteous monsters.

Field Reports from the Department of Monster Resettlement

by L. Chan

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: two ghosts, a pontianak and a manananggal are sitting around the third floor of a community centre after dark. The trick isn’t getting them to come to the support group, the trick is getting them to agree to be resettled.

I arrange swiss rolls, cream puffs and savory pastries in company lines that would have impressed a drill sergeant, but would the Assistant Director down at the department or my guests care? I don’t know. What do monsters eat anyway? Puppies. The blood of virile young men. Hapless neophyte civil servants.

The carpet used to be a garish orange and brown, pattern reminiscent of bolognese regurgitated by a dog. Greying fabric wallpaper went threadbare over dented dry wall. The hole by the door was the right size and shape for a fist. Goodness knows what they used this room for. At least the department got it cheap.

First job, first resettlement, first time I’m on my own, no more training, no safety net, no screwups. I’ve got the profiles of all the monsters printed out. Twelve point font, double-spaced, one inch margins, colour-coded plastic tabs for each profile by ethnicity. That’s the whole point of the policy. Have to mix them up, nobody wants all the jiang shi and kuei to be in one place, all the toyols and hantus to be in another. Not to mention those that we’ve imported into this melting pot. I accept the sugar coated logic pill, down the hatch with a cool draught of my own university education, not pausing to think about what’s at the heart of the medicine. It’s all good.

For a moment, there’s a stiff stage fright breeze, a whiff of the air beyond the curtains, that the monsters won’t turn up, that I’m going to slink back to the office tomorrow in some reverse walk of shame.

Then there’s a scratching at the dust speckled window. The manananggal is here. They’re coming, all good little monsters, every one. That’s Singapore for you. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 611: Yo, Rapunzel!

Show Notes

Rated R, for ridiculous, with sprinklings of boardgames, box wine, and profanity.

Yo, Rapunzel!

By Kyle Kirrin

And lo, the Princess said: “Motherfucker, I am content.”

“But Princess!” said the Knight, from the base of the Princess’ tower. His armor-clad ass was parked atop a huge black stallion, which the Princess found not only pompous, but entirely predictable. “You misunderstand; I’m here to save you from — ”

“Hold up,” said the Princess. “Exactly what part of girl-lives-in-her-own-goddamned-tower implies a need for rescue?”

“Well, I — ”

“Do you have any idea how many women would kill for a tower off in the wilderness? I am fucking blessed.”

“Princess,” said the Knight, “that’s all well and good, but this isn’t your place. You belong — ”

“Perpetually pregnant in a castle that smells like chlamydia? Pass.”

“M’lady, please. I only want what’s best for you.” (Continue Reading…)