Archive for Rated R

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PodCastle 758: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – The Half Dark Promise

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 associate editor Sara S. Messenger.

“The Half Dark Promise” originally aired as PodCastle 387


The Half Dark Promise

by Malon Edwards

The first thing Bobby Brightsmith told me when I moved to the South Side of Chicago from La Petite Haïti with Manmi was to run like a scalded dog if I ever saw zonbi la in the half dark on the way home from school.

See, when Bobby was eight years old, a little girl and a little boy were snatched from the half dark not far from home. They were never seen again. Bobby said because of that little girl and that little boy, timoun yo in Chicago now walk home from school in groups, in the half dark just before nightfall. The half dark comes fast this time of year.

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PodCastle 755: Aurum & Indigo

Show Notes

Rated R


Aurum & Indigo

By LP Kindred

 

Aurum sits on a wooden stool, hunched over the oakwood bar, stained darker by shellac and low lights. In spite of them, he stares into his book while a second lies closed atop the bar. His feet dangle, kicking softly. Eyes rake over words but their meaning never reaches his mind. The barman doesn’t offer a mug of ale as often as the skulking leches whose eyes scrub his body in hopes of finding interest in his eyes.

Aurum manages to avert his eyes — the book — when they come calling, but his heart triple beats each time the door opens and Shikaakwa cold invades the warm dark. After scouring the door, he draws his book closer.

There is a gentleman caller for whom Aurum journeyed from the Deep South to City Center. The nightmare of crosstown travel hastened Aurum to leave with abundant time to arrive punctually. Consequently, Aurum arrived one hour and one quarter before their arranged time to meet. Should anyone be this nervous about a man he’s already inundated?

(Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 748: Colors of the Immortal Palette – Part 3

Show Notes

Rated R

“The Traveler’s Guide to the Goblin Fells is an expansion book for the 5th edition of the world’s most litigious roleplaying game, about halflings riding giant pugs fighting against goblins piloting arcanotech mechs for control of valuable farmland at the onset of a brutal winter. The harvest is lean and there’s not enough to go around, someone’s going to go hungry this winter, but it doesn’t have to be you. The Goblin Fells can be easily located in any campaign setting and use the Creative Commons Weskven setting by default, so look for it on Kickstarter now or DriveThruRPG in the future to support the open source setting and indie development.”

[Note: This is Part 3 of a three-part novelette. Visit our previous posts to read Part 1 and Part 2.]

 

ALIZARIN CRIMSON

 

I’m still fighting the ultramarine depths of despair some fifteen years later, when I meet Joshua at the Club DeLisa. We get to talking, a fragmented conversation to fill the space between sets. He’s a singer and he used to play trumpet in a swing band, up until he got caught in Chicago by wartime travel restrictions. Little Brother Montgomery and The Red Saunders Band are playing tonight, along with a comedian and some dancers.

“I love the music, but what really brings me here is the energy. It reminds me of the Café Guerbois —  in Paris. I used to go there with some artist friends of mine, painters who wanted to push boundaries and create something new.” There’s something about him or the music or the energy of the club tonight that compels me to keep talking. “The way the musicians build on each other, changing the nature of music, it fills me with nostalgia. They have a passion that I’ve been missing for a long time.”

He gives me a strange look. “You’re one of those immortals, like Pops.” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 747: Colors of the Immortal Palette – Part 2

Show Notes

Rated R


“The Traveler’s Guide to the Goblin Fells is an expansion book for the 5th edition of the world’s most litigious roleplaying game, about halflings riding giant pugs fighting against goblins piloting arcanotech mechs for control of valuable farmland at the onset of a brutal winter. The harvest is lean and there’s not enough to go around, someone’s going to go hungry this winter, but it doesn’t have to be you. The Goblin Fells can be easily located in any campaign setting and use the Creative Commons Weskven setting by default, so look for it on Kickstarter now or DriveThruRPG in the future to support the open source setting and indie development.”

 


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

Colors of the Immortal Palette

by Caroline M. Yoachim

 

COBALT BLUE

 

I paint the English Channel at Étretat, shortly after sunrise. The sun is a fiery vermillion and the water shimmers cobalt blue. It is roughly my hundredth impression of a sunrise, spread across the year on whatever days I can gather up the energy to greet the dawn with my easel at the shore.

I have painted skies both cloudy and clear, water in a variety of hues. When the tide permits I paint from the beach and include the white cliffs, and when the tide is high —  as it is today —  I paint the vast expanse of the channel from atop them. Sometimes the dark silhouettes of ships break the line of the horizon, and sometimes there is fog, a thin white mist that gives me shivers not entirely accounted for by the crisp morning air. Monet set off a movement with his Impression, Sunrise, painted not far south of here. Monet, and before that Manet, changing the world of art forever. Or so the historians like to spin the tale, imposing order onto the chaotic jumble of the past, pulling a single narrative thread from the fabric of time. Providing a focal point, like the bright orange sun that hovers above the water. And their focal point, of course, must always be a man.

(Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 746: Colors of the Immortal Palette – Part 1

Show Notes

Rated R


The music for the promotion intro is “Sneaky Snitch” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Hey everyone, Alasdair here – hope you’re doing okay. The summer months are upon us, which means two things – hat weather for yours truly, and the part of our year when costs are high and support tends to dip. We know things are tight everywhere at the moment, and that includes us. For those of you who support us already, thank you so much. We hope you’re enjoying the great new CatsCast episodes. If you’d like to join them, we’ve got tons of options for you at Patreon and PayPal. Even a one-off at Ko-fi makes a big difference, or check out our great new swag store – maybe like me you need a hat! It all adds up, and helps us bring you the best in free audio fiction every week. Thanks, and enjoy this week’s episode.


Colors of the Immortal Palette

by Caroline M. Yoachim

 

LEAD WHITE

 

I will always remember the view of Paris from his window. Snow, pure and untouched, softens the outline of the buildings and covers the grime of the streets. White, the color of beginnings. His canvas is primed and ready to be painted, and stark winter sunlight glows bright on his undead skin.

The studio is cramped, drafty despite the heat radiating from the stove. One corner is clean and lavishly decorated, the rest a cluttered chaos of painting supplies and personal effects. He studies me intently as I take in the room, evaluating me much as he did at the Café Guerbois when I’d first caught his eye.

I wait for him to ask how I came to be in Paris. Artists are so very predictable that way — no trouble at all accepting this pale immortal creature as one of their own, but a woman of my mixed ancestry? Utterly implausible.

“You should hear the stories they tell of you at the café,” he says. “If Émile is to be believed, you arrived here as a ukiyo-e courtesan, nothing more than paper wrapped around a porcelain bowl. A painter — he will not say which of us it was, of course — bought the bowl and the print along with it.”

“And the painter pulled me from the print with the sheer force of his imagination, I’m sure,” I reply, laughing. “Émile is a novelist and can hardly be trusted to give an accurate account. The reality of my conception is vastly more mundane, I assure you . . . though it does involve a courtesan.” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 732: Fire in His Eyes, Blood on His Teeth

Show Notes

Rated R


Fire In His Eyes, Blood On His Teeth

By R.S.A. Garcia

 

He comes to me with fire in his eyes and blood on his teeth. Sometimes the blood is his enemies’. Sometimes it’s mine. Eventually, it’s mine. Always.

He is different today, striding across the sandy soil toward my home with scuffed, much-mended boots. Often, he’s charming and beautiful, like the first time I met him. Smooth brown skin and white smiles, smelling of freshly scraped coconuts. Sometimes he is fierce and tall and smells of the salty sea, with a glorious shining beard braided around the fuses he hides beneath his battered hat. His teeth are longer, yellow, and his skin burned from the sun. They call him a pirate then, and men on land and sea tremble to speak his name. He has harsh words, but there are no teeth for me yet. They come later.

They come with the fire and a shadow on the sun. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 728: The Fireman

Show Notes

Rated R


The Fireman

by Christoph Weber

 

I face the forested mountains, raise my hands like a conductor readying an orchestra, and point to my first section. A glow flickers to life in the inky darkness beneath a grove of trees. Arms of flame climb the bark and the canopy explodes, turning trees into torches, illuminating my canvas.

I sweep my hand from left to right and a mile-long slash appears like a knife wound in the mountains, bleeding fire. The flames crawl upslope. Not fast enough. A few twists of my wrists and I sculpt a stampede — orange bulls of fire, a few charging tigers, and one galloping zebra striped red and blue. I pause to appreciate the canvas come to life. It’s my best work.

And I’m just getting started. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 725: Miss Bulletproof Comes Out of Retirement

Show Notes

Rated R


Miss Bulletproof Comes Out of Retirement
by Louis Evans

Miss Bulletproof comes home and there’s a god sitting at her kitchen table talking to her kids. “Did you like my presents, children?” says the god. “It was I who got you those gifts, those funny little things, including that long and slithery one, which you both found so amusing.” The children had not found the Malayan pit viper to be amusing; they had found it to be terrifying, and shrieked so loudly in the middle of the night that they had almost awakened Miss Bulletproof’s wife, which, well, that would be bad. And the kids — quite reasonably — had kept on screaming until Miss Bulletproof came sleepily into the room, allowed the pit viper to shatter its fangs on her palm, and then crushed its skull with her trademark efficiency, which she has come these days to regard as maternal rather than professional.

Miss Bulletproof sees the god at her kitchen table talking to her kids and she sees red, in that order. In those days when Miss Bulletproof worked for gods and did their bidding, she would have gotten up in that smug motherfucker’s face and given him a piece of her fucking mind, not sparing the obscenities. But now Miss Bulletproof is a mama, and her two beautiful kids are in the room, looking at her with trust and terror in that classic high-proof childhood cocktail of feeling, and she knows she has to set a good example. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 720: Where the Old Neighbors Go

Show Notes

Rated R


Where the Old Neighbors Go

by Thomas Ha

 

The man standing on the porch that night seemed like an ordinary gentrifier at first glance: young and tall and artfully unshaven. His jeans were tattered but strangely crisp, and his shirt was loose and tight in all the wrong places. He had the appearance of someone vaguely famous, like his face could have been in a magazine ad or on the side of a bus. And to anyone other than Mary Walker, he would have successfully passed for a human.

Mary widened the opening of her front door, knowing she could no longer avoid him. She clutched the edges of her stained bathrobe and stared up at the man through the tangle of her gray and white hair.

He smiled, and there was something off, as if his features were meant to be stationary, not stretched in that way. “I thought I should finally introduce myself,” he said. “I’m the new neighbor.”

(Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 719: Smilers

Show Notes

Rated R


Smilers

by Chip Houser

 

Aiden rests his chin on the back of the living room couch, watching his older brother mow down zombies in ZomPlex. The zombies grab at Zach’s avatar, mouths moving like they’re chewing. Aiden’s not sure if they’re supposed to be hungry or angry or both. Their facial expressions don’t match any of the cards from the game he plays on Tuesdays with Ms. Hampton. Zombies don’t make a lot of sense to Aiden, but that’s okay, lots of things don’t make sense to him, he’s barely seven.

Aiden taps Zach on the shoulder. “You said you’d take me to the pool.”

“Busy here.” Zach jerks the controller.

They’ve gone to the pool almost every day this summer. Aiden even jumped off the high dive with Zach a few times. Aiden loves that feeling in his stomach more than anything. But the past couple of days, Zach hasn’t wanted to do anything except kill zombies.

(Continue Reading…)