PodCastle logo

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…)

Cats Cast

CatsCast 289: The Thing in the Basement


The Thing in the Basement

by Gerri Leen

You can hear it, in the basement, behind the metal boxes that your human puts her outer-coverings in just when they start to smell good—when the boxes are done, she brings out her things stinking of flowers or fruit. She’s lucky you know the sound of her voice, because her scent is all over the place.

You chirp to get her attention. A cat would understand the sound. “Alert! Something to hunt!”

But no. Your human is frightfully stupid. She goes on loading the boxes and turns them on. You hear the sound of water, but you can’t see it. You’d splash in it if you could. Your kind has played in water since cats first walked the earth. You’re the original longhaired breed. Your lineage was explained to you by your mother, who heard it from her mother, who heard it from hers.

“She’s a Turkish Angora,” you’ve heard your human say when she’s complimented on your silky white fur or your bright green eyes. As if she had anything to do with them? She thanks your admirers, nonetheless.

But the water perplexes you. You’ve whiled away more than a few moments down here trying to find it, so tantalizing, but right now it’s annoying you because it’s masking the sound of whatever’s down here.

You’re a mighty hunter. That’s what your human tells you, as if you need confirmation that you’re skilled at catching vermin. Doesn’t she realize this is why you stay with her? Why any of your kind do? The first cat to move in with humans was a visionary who could recognize an all-you-can-eat buffet in the granaries. A bunch of cats followed. And the rest is history.

(Continue Reading…)

PodCastle logo

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…)

March 2020 Metacast


Transcript

(Alasdair) Hi everyone, Alasdair here.

We’re not going to ask how you are right now, because we have a pretty good idea. You’re fine. You’re FINE. You’re the same version of fine as everyone right now, the one Aerosmith sang about. The one where you’re alternately anxious, terrified, furious and calm.

We empathise. We’re the same. (Continue Reading…)