At least Mr. Quacky hadn’t maimed anyone. If Olivia went by her predecessor’s logs, it was only a matter of time.
She pulled her rabbit-ear hat over her head–It helps you blend with the scenery, Vivian, the ship’s entertainment director, had told her–and waited for the guests to evacuate Mr. Quacky’s Splash Zone, the collection of three kiddie pools located on the Space Farm Deck. A few hobby-horse-sized mini-steamducks–the Quacklings–bobbed in the farthest pool. The wall screens played loops of a marsh featuring cartoonish, wide-eyed birds, rabbits, and deer that gamboled and giggled and, worst of all, joined wing to paw to hoof to sing songs about the power of friendship.
Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.
We hope you enjoy our audio producer Jeremy Carter’s favorite story from 2016, Questing for Princesses by Amanda C. Davis, narrated by Katherine Inskip. The story originally aired May 1, 2016 as Episode 208.
Amanda C. Davis writes dark fantasy, light horror, and the very softest science fiction. She has an engineering degree and an obsession with baking the perfect macaron. Her short fiction and poetry was collected in 2013 along with her sister Megan Engelhardt‘s work in Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Collection, where this story first appeared. Check our her website and follow her on Twitter.
The story is narrated for you by assistant editor Katherine Inskip. Katherine teaches astrophysics for a living and spends her spare time populating the universe with worlds of her own, which you can read at her blog, Trisigmatic. She’s on Twitter as well.
Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.
by Darcy E. (14 friends, 27 reviews) 1 star out of 5
I’ve been coming to uptown for the past year since getting a new job and moving to Whittier, and somehow had never seen The Four Stewpots before. I’m actually not a stew fan. I like my food fresh. Soup is okay, some days. Stew? Bleh. It’s been sitting for ages – this place actually suggests one pot they have is a thousand years old. Bon Apetit? But my daughter’s first report card had come home from junior high – she’d done exceptionally well – she wants to be an astronaut, a monster make-up artist, a superhero, a cryptozoologist, or a cartographer of parallel universes – whatever she decides to do she’ll be brilliant, and so as a reward, I let her pick. She saw The Four Stewpots as we were driving down the street, right next to Undercity Comics, and demanded we go there. Again, I do not like stew, but I am a supportive and proud mother who wants to encourage my daughter’s academic achievements, and realize that it isn’t always about me. At least, until it’s time to write the Yelp review.
Prince Harold swore off marriage at the age of six, when his older brother Yancey came riding home with a new bride and a waterfall of half-healed scars along his right side that he called “the unexpected bonus for winning a princess from a fire-breathing dragon.”
Harold eyed the puckered skin on Yancey’s neck and cheek. “Does it hurt?”
“Sure,” said Yancey, tugging Harold’s earlobe until he flinched. “But finding the right princess is hard stuff. You have to take the risk if you want the reward. Anyway, just wait ’til you meet Celiura. She’s amazing. Totally worth it. She’s going to be your new sister, you know.”
We were just going to bed when the townfolk came, led by Mrs. Hutch with her know-all voice.
I climbed up the cabin ladder to the loft, careful to curl my toes over the rough beams of wood. Ma had fallen off the stairs just a week ago, and now she slept downstairs on the sofa. The cabin was just one big room, so she could still yell up at me and Minn to make us quiet down.
Minnie had the covers pulled up over her head. I could see her eyes shining out from a little hole, like a cat in her cave.
“Move over, Minn.” I swung my legs under the covers. She scooted back, and I pressed my feet against her thighs.
Minnie wrapped her hands around my feet. Their warmth prickled. “So cold!”
The underside of the covers twinkled with little points of light. Minnie touched her finger to the sheet. When she pulled it back there was a warm, red star there. She made two rectangles, a star in each corner of the boxes. An arc of stars lead from the bottom of one rectangle to the center of the other. My feet in Minnie’s hands.