Archive for Rated R

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PodCastle 693: Everybody’s Got a Hungry Heart

Show Notes

Rated R


Everybody’s Got a Hungry Heart

by Louis Evans

Agent Heartbreak and the Misery Muse meet cute on a lonely-hearts cruise.

Their gazes lock above the brunch buffet.

She—let’s go with “she” for Agent Heartbreak, inaccurate though it is—she is a vision in a silk robe, bathing costume high to her neck and cut open just below her sternum, cheekbones like a jewel-thief’s kit. She is spooning a single deviled egg onto an undersized plate, objectively the most awkward food to serve at a buffet, but her muscular arms move it the way the hired dance virtuoso whirls an ingenue across the ballroom floor. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 692: When the White Bird Sings

Show Notes

Rated R


When the White Bird Sings

by KT Bryski

Bones show best in cold weather.

Sharp lines cut under skin; bare branches crack against the sky; snow drives on snow. In a land wiped clean, only the essential remains.

The village freezes, and hungers. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 683: Three for Hers

Show Notes

Rated R.


Three For Hers

by Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko

 

The second time one of Vida’s brothers came home with strips of flesh cut out of his back, she decided it was time for the Margrave’s rule to end.

‘Don’t go,’ her middle brother sobbed. His bandages had soaked through, blood clumping where it met the grimy floor. ‘I was brave and fierce, and it was not enough.’

‘Don’t go,’ her oldest brother pleaded. His back had scarred a long time ago. So had his spirit. ‘I was strong and stubborn, and it was not enough.’

‘Please don’t go.’ Her father’s face was the hardest to ignore. Vida bundled the last of her belongings. It did not take long: the Plemitschi allowed them only food and clothing.

‘We have served the rulers of this land since it was young.’ Vida looked down as she spoke. Her father remembered a time when their service had been freely given, one Yagichari to another. She did not wish to see that nostalgia on his face. ‘I will not stop now.’

‘I’ll go instead,’ her father said. ‘You cannot do this to your brothers. They rely on your good cheer. I cannot bear to see your heart harden in the Margrave’s service.’

Vida did not want to upset him. She did not say, My heart hardened the day the Plemitschi came. Or, My heart broke the day the plague broke out, and I have pretended ever since, for you and for my brothers, because I knew I was stronger. Or, There is no heart where the Plemitschi tread.

‘I will serve,’ Vida said, and left.

(Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 681: TALES FROM THE VAULTS —Wolfy Things

Show Notes

Rated R.

This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to highlight and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by departing co-editor, Jen R. Albert. “Wolfy Things” originally aired as PodCastle 429.


Wolfy Things

by Erin Roberts

 

Tonight, me and Lee gonna kill the wolf. Been digging a pit out in the woods all summer, filling it up with wolfsbane and sharp rocks big as our heads, covering it up with leaves so wolfy eyes can’t tell it’s there. Lee even snatched a whole chicken outta his Pa’s coop, snapped its neck and threw it on the pile like some kinda wolf Christmas come early. Wolf just has to go sniffing over by the edge and we give a good push and we’ll be Nicky and Lee, honest-to-God wolf-killers.

Lee says they still gonna be talking ‘bout us when our grandkids is old and crook-backed, just like they do Old Cooper Lyons. Coop’s mean as a snake in a wood pile, but ever since he tricked that whole pack into calling truce and then burned ‘em to the ground, cubs and all, they ‘bout throw him a parade whenever he comes through town. So by sunup, ain’t nobody gonna care why I ain’t got no Daddy or where Lee’s Ma went off to or how I got my devil eyes. And once that damn wolf’s good and dead, he won’t be coming ‘round my house no more.


First time I seen the wolf was two years past, day I turned ten. Old enough to handle a knife and stand watch like Lee done for his Pa three years already. Wasn’t really nothing to see out there but the same old trees and stars and Lee’s Pa’s cabin down the way, but better’n watching Ma sniffle and drip tears all over the floor like a leaky roof. She been like that since forever, river in her eyes and stone in her throat, always gulping out things ‘bout vows and sins and being sorry, and ain’t a man alive what wants to watch his own Ma cry.

I woke mid-watch, leaned up against the side of the cabin, knife on the ground and wolf in my face, its goldy eyes flashing like fireflies. Froze me up faster than a tongue on ice—barely got my legs squeezed together tight enough not to piss the ground. Lee always says a wolf’ll kill you right off soon as it sees you, add you to its coat of little boy skins. But this one just stood there tall on hind legs, hairy and naked as a hound-dog, smelling like new-killed hogs and dirt and bare feet after running. Then it honest-to-God started talking, real words and everything, voice deep as far-off thunder.

“Your Ma know you’re out here?”

Hearing it talk about Ma unfroze me right quick. Man can’t let no beast come for his kin. I reached for the knife, but the wolf grabbed hold of my wrist and laughed. I tried turning this way and that, but it didn’t make no difference. Its palms was spongy-soft, but they clamped down tight as a bear trap all the same.

“Let go!”  I said, voice coming out high and squeaky.

“So you can grab your knife and gut me?”

“Do what I have to,” I said, growling in my throat to get my voice deep. “Protect my kin.”

(Continue Reading…)