Archive for Rated R

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PodCastle 595: The Feast

Show Notes

Rated R.


The Feast

By K.C. Mead-Brewer

We took Emmaline on what promised to be a particularly stormy night. It wasn’t hard to do, especially since all the police and alarm company people were right there in the mob with us. Her mother, Rebecca, had to be restrained by five different people; the sheriff had to lock her in a holding cell to keep her secured.

We brought Emmaline to the closest beach and tied her to a giant lightning rod that we’d planted in the sand not far from the water. The choice of sacrifice via lightning strike surprised a lot of people, but we didn’t have a volcano to toss her into or any grand golden steps like the Mayans to push her down from. And if we were going to make the sacrifice count, if we really wanted our crops to flourish and satisfy, it made sense to us that the more drama we could build up, the better. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 584: TALES FROM THE VAULTS — In Metal, In Bone

Show Notes

Rated R, for reference to war and wartime atrocities.


In Metal, In Bone

by An Owomoyela

Colonel Gabriel met him in a circle of canvas-topped trucks, in an army jacket despite the heat of the sun.  he stood a head taller than Benine, with skin as dark as peat coal, with terrible scarring on one side of his jaw.  When his gloved hand shook Benine’s bare one, he closed his grip and said, “What do you see?”

Benine was startled, but the call to listen in on the memories of things was ever-present in the back of his mind.  It took very little to let his senses fuzz, obscured by the vision curling up from the gloves like smoke.

He saw a room in a cottage with a thatched roof, the breeze coming in with the smell of a cooking fire outside, roasted cassava, a woman singing, off-tune.  He had to smile.  There was too much joy in the song to mind the sharp notes.  This must have been before the war; it was hard to imagine that much joy in Mortova these days.

The singing had that rich, resonant pitch of a voice heard in the owner’s head, and his vision swung down, to delicate hands with a needle and thread, stitching together the fabric of the gloves.  Neat, even rows, and as the glove passed between the seamstress’s fingers, he could see the patterns of embroidery on the back.

Benine banished the vision and pulled his hand back.  “But these are women’s gloves!”

Colonel Gabriel gave him an appraising look.  “So you can do something,” he said.  “Not just superstition and witchcraft.”


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PodCastle 580: I Am Not I — Part 2

Show Notes

Rated: R, for human parts sundered and sold.


I Am Not I

by G. V. Anderson

[Note: This is part 2 of a two-part novelette. Please visit last week’s post to read part 1.]

“You don’t look well, Miss Strohm-Waxxog.”

I shook the bees from my jacket; they’d got cosy in my pockets and inside the lining. “I’m quite well, I assure you,” I said. I didn’t feel well. The walls and furniture around me seemed to move although I stood still, and small noises crashed in my ears.

The honey man had come to fetch Madame hunting, as promised. The days were turning colder, the sun hardly breaking through the early-morning mist. “The perfect conditions. They’ll be sluggish,” said the honey man.

But faced with the sobering light of day and the reality of chasing down real, living Saps, Madame refused. The honey man insisted on a partner, so I found myself stepping out into Tanners Row in her place, keeping pace with the only Varian who’d ever made me feel truly uneasy. At least he wore his veil so I didn’t have to look at his awful face. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 579: I Am Not I — Part 1

Show Notes

Rated R, for human parts sundered and sold.


I Am Not I

by G. V. Anderson

I found the emporium on old Tanners Row. A prime location, to be sure — within pissing distance from a Saps’ slum. Its proprietor, Madame Qlym, boasted better pickings in her own back garden than any other acristologist in the city. But despite this and every revered thing I’d heard about it, the emporium looked in poor shape: the gilt lettering on the lintel was in mid-peel. Even as I watched, a tiny flake of autumnal gold broke off and fluttered past me. I frowned, but quickly shook away my doubts. Acristologists like their theatrics, after all. With its steep grime banks and lingering stink, Tanners Row provided more than ample ambience for the prospective customer.

I glanced round; the Row was empty. I eased open the door to the emporium and slipped inside. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 574: Mister Dog

Show Notes

Rated R, for sex, drugs, and haunted souls.


Mister Dog

By Alex Jennings

Trenice felt the car more than she saw it. Or she saw it without seeing it. She couldn’t be sure. Had the car’s driver meant her harm? Probably not. Here in New Orleans, sloppy driving was usually accidental.

Trenice had worked late again at Chez Lazare, and while the weather was still hot, the days faded earlier and earlier. By the time she made it to Armstrong Park, sunset had come and gone. She had seen the Jackson-Esplanade bus ready to turn onto North Rampart when the streetcar sailed across Esplanade. Streetcars were slower than buses, so if she wanted to catch the 91, she couldn’t wait until she reached Canal. Instead, she’d have to take the Armstrong Park stop and dash across North Rampart, waving her tattooed arms above her head to make sure the driver saw her. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 564, ARTEMIS RISING: One More Song

Show Notes

Rated: R, for the vengeful justice of seafolk.


One More Song

By Eliza Chan

After Mira closed the door the selkie shed her skin, leaving the mottled grey fur in a heap like stepped-out-of work clothes. Mira handed her one of the many robes hanging on the hat stand and kept her eyes on her blue and green rug, only catching glimpses of the woman’s bruises. There were purple marks the size of fingers on her legs and red, raised lines across her back. Mira blinked rapidly, her hands already clenched into tight fists as she tried to keep her rising anger from bursting its banks.

“How can I help you, Ms. . . . ?” Mira asked.

“Iona, just call me Iona,” the selkie said, knotting the robe tightly at her midriff. She winced visibly and her eyes darted up. Mira moved to her drinks cabinet, deliberately turning her back so the other woman didn’t have to look her in the eye. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 562: Cooking Creole

Show Notes

Rated R.


Cooking Creole

by A. M. Dellamonica

At seventeen, it was music. Guitar.

Then, at twenty-four: speechmaking. Rabble-rousing, his mother had called it. Binding a group of listeners — big, small, middling — with his voice. Inspiring the local grocery clerk to dump her useless husband. Selling roses in boxes on lonely street-corners. Swaying a strike vote at a fish packing plant on the East Coast.

Stupid, dangerous skill. What had he been thinking? (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 561: Baby Teeth

Show Notes

Rated R.


Baby Teeth

By Lina Rather

Laura watched from the window while Mama took the salt packets they’d pocketed from a Speedway and sprinkled a circle around the house to hide them from the monster. She tore the top of each one off with her teeth and spread it as far as she could, then dropped the white paper scraps on the ground. Laura had stuffed her pockets with packets, so she knew Mama had enough to walk around the whole perimeter of the property. Not that it was much—the next mobile home sat just ten yards away.

When she came back inside, she swept her hands together to brush off the salt and sat next to Laura at the table. “Okay, honey, show me again.”

Laura opened her mouth. She’d been probing the sore spots (one in front, on the bottom, and one on the top right) and now her mouth tasted tinny. Mama touched her swollen gums.

“These just fell out today?” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 559: Dying Lessons


Dying Lessons

By Troy L. Wiggins

I learned how to bend light from my mother. Nights after I came home from math and Spanish tutoring were spent in our backyard, deep in the trees where no one would catch me learning the basics of refraction, drilling the slight movements that would keep me from moving too much air, or creating too large a shadow and revealing myself.

“This is a last line of defense,” she would say, telling me over and over again like I wasn’t listening, which I usually wasn’t because I’d rather be in the house playing Final Fantasy or something. Mama didn’t care and would talk right through my distraction. “The number one thing to do in any situation is figure out a way to calm things down before you have to blink out.” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 556: Shadow Boy

Show Notes

Rated R. 


Shadow Boy

By Lora Gray

I am sixteen and sitting on the edge of an empty subway platform when Peter, forever small, reappears. His black eyes are bright, and he smells like licorice and cinnamon. He is wearing purple mittens and a pigeon-feather skirt.

“Who the hell dressed you today?” I ask.

“I did.” Peter tips his head as if considering. “My taste is terrible. Tragic, really, but I didn’t have much choice.”

“Everybody has a choice.”

“Do they, dear Prudence?” (Continue Reading…)