Archive for Tales from the Vaults

PodCastle logo

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.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 757: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Harlequin Moon

Show Notes

Rated PG

 

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 Hamilton Perez.

“Harlequin Moon” originally aired as PodCastle 393.


Harlequin Moon

by Jennifer Hykes

The man called Dirt was a master of riddles. It was his only gift.

He was not a riddler himself. From the time he could speak, he always called things exactly what they were and nothing else. He had tried, once or twice in his childhood, to craft a joke or to weave a pair of clever words together. But every time he tried to twist something sideways, he found that his tongue would not cooperate. So he stopped trying to be clever and went on his way, moving through his life in a straight line from day before to day after. He worked the fields on his family’s farm, he carted vegetables to market, he paid his respects to the temple gods at all the appropriate times. He grew tall and broad of shoulder, but even in the prime of his youth he moved with the deliberate calm of old age. He was not a riddler.

But he was a master at solving riddles.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 754: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – The One They Took Before

Show Notes

Rated PG

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 Tarver Nova. “The One They Took Before” originally aired as PodCastle 388.


The One They Took Before

by Kelly Sandoval

 

Rift opened in my backyard. About six feet tall and one foot wide. Appears to open onto a world of endless twilight and impossible beauty. Makes a ringing noise like a thousand tiny bells. Call (206) 555-9780 to identify.

Kayla reads the listing twice, knowing the eager beating of her heart is ridiculous. One page back, someone claims they found a time machine. Someone else has apparently lost their kidneys.

The Internet isn’t real. That’s what she likes about it. And if the post is real, the best thing she can do is pretend she never saw it.

After all, she’s doing better. She sees a therapist, now. She’s had a couple of job interviews.

She calls the number.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 753: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

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 Andrew K. Hoe. “Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse” originally aired as PodCastle 449.


Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse

by Rati Mehrotra

Soru Khara had been hunting her death for many years before she arrived at the crumbling old port of Tyron. She camouflaged her skimmer and stalked up to the rusty gates as the sun set over the citadel, the fishy tang of the sea sharp in her nostrils. The smell of childhood—the smell of things best left buried. It was why she usually avoided ports. This time, though, she had no choice. She was to deliver a letter, like a common messenger. She had not questioned the inanity of her assignment. One did not question the Voice of the Star Emperor; one merely obeyed it.

“Halt!” Crossed spears barred her way into the passage under the city walls. A man with the insignia of the Umnia falcon stepped up to her. “No one enters the city between sunset and sunrise.”

Soru Khara swept her gaze over the company. A captain and ten guards, and they expected to take on a death-hunter. Possibly they did not know who she was. She withdrew the letter with the seal of Yimri and waved it front of the captain’s stony face. “A message for Queen Lariel from her master. It cannot wait till morning.”

The captain held out a gloved hand. “Give it to me and I will deliver it.”

“No,” said Soru Khara, feeling her patience crumble. “I must deliver it myself. Do not delay me, Captain. I have skimmed six days across the continent to reach your little village. Is this how you treat messengers from the Star Emperor?”

“Village?” said the captain, affronted. “Tyron is the capital of Umnia. Watch your tongue, messenger.”

“Umnia is but one of the eight realms on Earth, and Earth is but one planet under the Star Emperor’s authority,” said Soru Khara. She slipped the letter back into her pocket and allowed her voice to gain an edge. “Get out of my way. I have no wish to shed blood tonight.”

“You threaten the Umnian Guard?” The man whipped out a scimitar from the scabbard at his waist. The curved blade glinted in the flickering light of the oil lamps that hung on both sides of the gate. “Leave, before I separate your swollen head from its pitiful body.”

He meant to frighten her, not to kill her. Also, she was a guest in Tyron, however unwelcome. Soru Khara took these things into consideration and summoned Piety, her least lethal weapon. A sudden drain of energy, heat above her palm, and Piety appeared: a blue ball crackling with electricity.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 715: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School

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, our final episode of the year, was chosen by our departing assistant editor and host, Summer Fletcher. “Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School” originally aired as PodCastle 336.


Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School

by Nathaniel Lee

When I came out of the coffee shop with my latte and my fresh walnut
brownie, the Archangel Michael was beating the ever-loving shit out of
Satan down on the corner.  I could see the impact crater, right in the
middle of the intersection, and one of the poles holding up the
traffic lights was cut right in two so the wires had all fallen in the
street and also it was on fire on account of the flaming sword, so it
was a real mess.  All higgledy-piggledy.  Michael was holding Satan up
by the neck with one hand and just slapping him across the face with
the other.  Which also by the way was still holding the sword, so it
wasn’t so much like slapping as it was punching with brass knuckles.
Also it was still on fire.

People were honking, but only the ones far enough back that they
couldn’t see what was going on.  Everyone else was kind of looking the
other way.  Fiddling with their cell phones.  Avoiding eye contact.
You know, like you do around angels.

I figured it was time.

“Hey,” I said.  Michael turned.  I lifted the hand with the coffee in
it and pointed at Satan, who was pretty beat up by then.  Missing some
teeth and all bruises and stuff.  “Not cool,” I told Michael.

The angel looked down at me with his bronze wings all clanging in the
wind.  Then he snorted and tossed Satan to the ground and just took
off.  I stumbled a little and nearly spilled my coffee.  Angels got
wicked backwash.

By then Satan was staggering upright.  “You okay, dude?” I asked him.

“Could’ve taken him,” Satan said.  He spat out a tooth and flared his
nostrils.  “Didn’t need your help.”

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 714: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Nightfall in the Scent Garden

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 Srikripa Krishna Prasad. “Nightfall in the Scent Garden” originally aired as PodCastle 271.


Nightfall in the Scent Garden

by Claire Humphrey

If you read this, you’ll tell me what grew over the arbor was ivy, not wisteria. If you are in a forgiving mood, you’ll open the envelope, and you’ll remind me how your father’s van broke down and we were late back. How we sat drinking iced tea while the radiator steamed.

You might dig out that picture, the one with the two of us sitting on the willow stump, and point out how small we were, how pudgy, how like any other pair of schoolgirls. How our ill-cut hair straggled over the shoulders of our flannel shirts.

You’ll remind me of the stories we used to tell each other. We spent hours embroidering them, improving on each other’s inventions. We built palaces and peopled them with dynasties, you’ll say, and we made ourselves emperors in every one, and every one was false.

If you read this, you’ll call your mother, or mine. They’ll confirm what you recall.

By then, though, you will begin to disbelieve it yourself.

If you think on it long enough, you’ll recall the kiss. I left it there untouched, the single thread you could pull to unravel this whole tapestry.

You’ll start to understand none of these things happened the way you remember. If you read this, you’ll learn how I betrayed you.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 712: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – Thorns

Show Notes

Rated PG

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. Today’s bonus episode was chosen by associate editor Kaitlyn Zivanovich. “Thorns” originally aired as PodCastle 279.


Thorns

by Martha Wells

We reached the landing above the Hall.  Below, Electra’s husband, Mr. John Dearing, was personally receiving a guest, a young man in the act of handing his greatcoat to the butler.

There were no guests expected, and just before the dinner hour is not considered an appropriate time for casual calls, yet Dearing was greeting this presumptuous fellow as a prodigal son.

He was a striking figure. (The guest, I mean.  Dearing is a stout bewhiskered muskrat of a man, a fit mate for Electra.)  Blond curls, broad shoulders, a chiseled profile.  I felt a feather of unease travel down my spine; old instincts rousing, perhaps.  His garments, though somewhat the worse for travel at this rainy time of year, were of fashionable cut and fine cloth.

Frowning, Electra caught the attention of one of the footmen stationed at the bottom of the stairs, and called him up to her to ask, “Why, William, whoever is that?”

“Madame, they say it’s a foreign Duke, the son of the King of Armantia.”

“I see,” Electra dismissed the man and looked to me, her mild dove eyes vaguely troubled.  “Oh, dear.  A prince.”

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 711: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – The Red Priest’s Vigil

Show Notes

This episode was previously unrated by PodCastle staff.

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 our tech barbarian, Graeme Dunlop. “The Red Priest’s Vigil” originally aired as PodCastle 256.


The Red Priest’s Vigil

by Dirk Flinthart

Your Grace:
I believe you are correct. Tomaso Dellaforte is the most dangerous man I have ever met.
I followed your instructions to the letter. Your information as to the whereabouts of the condottiere de Mortibus was accurate. It was with very little difficulty that I purchased the inn, and as a matter of goodwill, I was careful to retain all of the long-term tenants. De Mortibus lived in a room on the upper floor, and made a poor living as a teacher of weapons. I had expected more from the man who led the sack of Mallorze.
I allowed the passage of a month, in order to allay suspicion, before I began to administer the draft. Once again, I congratulate you on the accuracy of your information. Administered in wine, in precisely the proportions ordered, the poison produced in the man every symptom of a most terrible, wasting illness.

Though he had little money, to my alarm de Mortibus was afforded a chirurge by a patron: an old friend, I believe. I did not manage to ascertain who it may have been. In any case the chirurge professed himself puzzled, and bled the man profusely, to no avail. Indeed, I suspect his ministrations were responsible for a sharp decline in de Mortibus’ condition, and I was forced to reduce the proportion of the draft in the wine for a time. De Mortibus continued to fail.

Perhaps two months after I began this work upon him, de Mortibus confronted me in the kitchens. By this time he was much weakened, and could get about only with great effort. He had not been able to pursue his livelihood for some time, and had come to depend upon my charity, as I had planned. Therefore, something of trust and familiarity had grown between us, and I was not surprised when he sought me out alone.

“Take this, good Marotti,” he said to me, and pressed a sealed packet into my hand. “I beg you see it delivered to the hand of Konrad Heisenck, whose Free Company you will find in the city square this month. There is no other I may entrust with it, and I swear to you that it means more than my very life.” He forced the packet upon me, and even produced a gold coin which I made much play of refusing. I promised his letter would be delivered, and sent him to his bed with a stoup of hot wine.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 710: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – A Hollow Play

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 Devin Martin. “A Hollow Play” originally aired as PodCastle 277.


A Hollow Play

by Amal El-Mohtar

Dear Paige,

So, I’m here, but Anna’s not, and I awesomely left Memoirs of a Space Woman at home in spite of knowing I’d have two hours to kill, so I figure I’ll just keep writing to you.

Cabaret! I have no idea what to expect. Have you ever been to a cabaret show? I wasn’t sure how to dress for it either — when I asked Anna she just laughed and told me to use my imagination — so I’m wearing the red top you gave me, the button-down one with the sleeves that flare out and curl from the elbows. I can’t believe I still have it — it’s been, what, ten years, three moves? It’s not fitting so great now — since I started taking derby more seriously (I’m EMILY THE SLAYER now! Strong like Buffy!) my arms have gotten huge, and you should see the butt on me — but it’s still pretty and I love it, and it still matches my favourite earrings best.

I should probably tell you more about Anna, since obviously there’s more to her than being trans and my co-worker. She’s really great, and really cute — she just cut her hair short last week and dyed it bright orange-red, so she looks kind of like Leeloo from The Fifth Element. She’s vegan (sometimes I swear she likes the fact that I’m not, because it gives her an excuse to play “Meat is Murder” on loop in the cafe for the duration of my lunch break, which no one notices, because it sounds like every other Smiths song except the good ones, which she refuses to accept no matter how many times I explain it), an amazing cosplayer, and getting into burlesque. She hasn’t performed in public yet, just for friends in her living room, but she’s been developing this number that involves a chef’s hat, mixed greens, and oversized serving implements.

We’re not dating or anything. I’ve only known her for about a month, though it feels like way longer — and I refuse to entertain a crush, because she’s been in a closed poly triad for a while and they’re kind of going through a rough patch that she hasn’t told me much about. So I’ll tell you more about this cabaret thing instead.

PodCastle logo

PodCastle 709: TALES FROM THE VAULTS – America Thief

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 Hamilton Perez. “America Thief” originally aired as PodCastle 319.


America Thief

by Alter S. Reiss

I looked around the table. Most of the people there weren’t paying much attention. Lansky looked a little embarrassed, and Siegel shook his head. “You want me to find out if Chaim Goldberg can turn lead into gold, or if he’s running some sort of scam,” I said.

“Of course he’s running a scam,” said Lansky. “I want to know how he’s doing it.”

“My friend Meyer is unfortunately narrow-minded,” said Rothstein. “I am willing to entertain the possibility that he’s getting his gold through means that are not generally considered possible. Which is why I have entrusted this task to your care.”

“So you want me to find out where Goldbug is getting his gold from,” I said. “And?”

“No and,” said Rothstein. “Just that. It’s a simple job, and I’ll give you a thousand dollars for doing it.”

“A thousand dollars is a lot of money, Benny,” said Legs, putting his oar in. “Live things up a little, show your girl a good time.”