Archive for Cast of Wonders Originals

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Cast of Wonders 451: Unnamed


Unnamed

by Monte Lin

Huìhuì Gāo’s homeroom teacher squinted at his roll call. He wore a slight smile that conveyed no joy. After a few seconds, he said, “Ms…?”

Her hand hovered over her desk, hesitant, ready to catch her name. Her teacher squinted and furrowed his brow and looked about the classroom, finally settling his gaze on her. “Here,” she said, her voice cracking a little. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 130: The Phobos Monolith


The Phobos Monolith

by Preston Dennett

True to her nature, Vasia ran without fear or caution across the Martian landscape.  She leaped in huge graceful arcs that any dancer would envy. Naira did her best to keep up, but because of legs, and she quickly fell behind.  How she wished she could rid herself of the cursed robo-walker that encased her legs so she could run like Vasia. Her sister’s body was strong and healthy.  Naira, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky. It was a miracle that their parents had even let them outside, considering how protective they were.

“Hurry up, Naira!” Vasia yelled.  “Wait ‘til you see. It’s just a little farther.”

Naira huffed along at a steady pace.  Vasia wanted to show her a patch of crystals she had found.  They would, Vasia said, make a nice addition to their collection.

Seeing that Naira was catching up, Vasia turned and began running again.

Naira watched as her sister soared upwards.  Then she landed and disappeared into the ground.  A small puff of dust geysered upwards and settled instantly.

“Vasia!”

Naira increased her pace and knelt down where her sister had disappeared.  There it was: a small black hole in the ground, just large enough to swallow Vasia.
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Cast of Wonders 128: Robots Don’t Cry


Robots Don’t Cry

by George Edwards

I walked alone down a road with farms on all sides, cowboy hat on my head.

“Where am I Marco Polo?” I knew where I was, of course, but Marco Polo could see better.

He fed me all the data he could. He was one of the few satellites still orbiting earth after years of neglect.

“Thank you sir,” I said after his transmission ended. He gave me my exact location. I walked for hours.

A pick-up truck rambled up the road behind me, an odd noise for times like these. I stuck my thumb out.

The truck slowed and cracked its window. A grizzled old man was behind the wheel said, “Where ya headed?”

Using the friendliest voice in my bank I replied, “East, sir, to Auburn.”

He leaned over and opened his door for me. “Hop in,” he said.

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Cast of Wonders 126: The Perfect Prom


The Perfect Prom

by Kat Otis

Everything was going perfectly.  My prom dress was a shimmery hunter-green ballgown that matched my eyes and I’d spent over an hour at the salon, getting my usually frizzy red hair tamed into elegant ringlets.  Theo’s jaw actually dropped at his first glimpse of my transformation from scruffy tomboy to fairy-tale princess. We were officially going together as friends, but he was as flatteringly attentive as a real date all throughout dinner and the dancing that followed.  A few people even proclaimed us a “cute couple.”

In short, it was as magical a senior prom as any girl could want, right up until the moment the prom queen spontaneously combusted.

Chaos ensued.
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Cast of Wonders 124: Old People Rules


Old People Rules

by Holly Schofield

So I’ve figured it out. There are eight rules for old people.

Rule #1: Old people try too hard

I didn’t think anything was wrong until Milanda hit ‘upload’. The app’s progress bar had crept almost all the way across the hologram before I noticed the target website was Dad’s.

The icon I’d designed, a grinning 3-D dragon, began blinking its large eyes, showing my app had activated my spyware.

“Hey, it really worked. Uber-crystal, Fran.” Milanda said. She shoved back her chair and turned to face me.

I was sprawled on her bed, painting my nails. “Swing Me Hard, Girl” by BlueLulz surrounded us—Milanda’s new bedroom wall paint, with  nano-speakers embedded right in, was super-crystal. I’d love to design something like that. Some day.

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Cast of Wonders 121: Little Wonders 5 – Trope Twists

Show Notes

This is Little Wonders, our collection episodes featuring flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme. This episode we bring you the conclusion of our flash fiction month: Trope Twists!

 


The Hero
By Jessica Holscher

Down a desolate and lonely dirt road, a young man walked toward the horizon.  With a sword at his back, he traveled for destiny. The famed fortune teller of the town he’d just left, Madam Mystic, told him he would defeat the three headed dragon and save the princess.  Without a moment’s hesitation, he headed for the beast to save the missing damsel.

Suddenly, a rustling caught his attention.  Surely, he couldn’t have already reached the monster.  He readied his sword and stood firm. The rustling grew louder and a female child emerged from the bush.

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Cast of Wonders 118: Perihelion

Show Notes

Today we present Vajra Chandrasekera’s story, Perihelion.

You may know that we usually pay our authors using PayPal. We were amazed to discover that it is not possible to receive PayPal payments in Sri Lanka! There are many individuals and small businesses that provide online services like web development, graphic designing and more in Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka not supporting PayPal has become a barrier for them to continue and progress in their careers. If you’d like more information about this and to help support creative people like this week’s author, please go to https://sites.google.com/site/ppforsrilanka/enable-receiving-money-to-sri-lanka-through-paypal.


Perihelion

by Vajra Chandrasekera

Hold on tight, we’re coming around again.

This thing crumbles a little every time we hit perihelion. Almost lost my footing again. You okay? Good. We’ve got a moment to catch our breath, except we don’t breathe any more. Words stick in language like vestigial tails in the womb. Not that we have either of those any more, either.

We still have eggs, though. And if you’re ready to leave yours behind, now would be a good time. We’re about as far from the sun as we’re going to get.

No? It’s okay, it’s okay. Take your time. You’re all right, I got you. Don’t worry, all right? If you can’t bring yourself to make the jump, I’ll carry you. I just think you’ll like to look back later and remember your first time flying.

We’re all afraid the first time.
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Cast of Wonders 117: Pignus


Pignus

by Jez Patterson

Like most things in life, Ekram had discovered, the ways of getting it wrong dwarfed the ways of getting it right. It therefore paid to go with what you knew. Paid quite well, he hoped, as he travelled across town to check out the pawnshop Shami had told him about.

Times were hard. Shami’s mother had gone to the shop with a silver picture frame her mother had left her. Shami didn’t know how much his mother had got for it, only that the weird owner had forbidden her to take the photo out, insisting that leaving it in increased the value. The picture was of Shami’s dad, taken before the cancer stretched him about every which way and then discarded him: skinny and boneless.

Shami just had his mother now and government benefits definitely didn’t stretch every which way. Ekram had known him since primary school and they still crashed at each other’s places: Ekram grateful for a decent meal, Shami for a space on the bedsit floor to get away from his mother’s tears and complaints.
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Cast of Wonders 116: The Feathered Cloak


The Feathered Cloak

by Edward Ahern

The trouble began when Rhys found the oak wardrobe. He stood barely four feet tall, but the free standing closet was twice that high. Its hinges were beaten brass turned brown with age. The carved wood was riddled with little worm holes. Rhys had never seen a piece of furniture so big and heavy, and he knew that if it fell on him he’d be squashed.

The wardrobe rested in a corner of a large, open attic. The attic was a jumble clutter of his grandfather’s collection of magic equipment. His grandfather had been a professional magician who had starred in New York and Paris and even Moscow.

The key to the armoire doors stuck out of the lock. It turned with a dry rasp. When Rhys opened the doors piles of theater costumes, tablecloths and curtains spilled out onto the floor. Their colors, once shocking bright purples and pinks, had faded over time into pastels.

I’m in trouble, Rhys thought. He pulled out the rest of the clothes so he could restack them and try and shut the doors. Under the cloth worms had eaten through one of the base boards. Beneath the rotted board he could see the shape of a box.

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Cast of Wonders 115: Bad Poets Society


Bad Poets Society

by James Aquilone

Kilgore Birch never thought a bowl of thin pea soup would be his undoing, especially since he stole it from a blind vicar, but here he was in the poet-king’s dungeon.

He still wasn’t sure how the vicar had identified him. Kilgore wondered if he smelled guilty.

His wife, Martha, was always harping on him to stop breaking the law and get an “honest job.” But honest jobs were still jobs, and Kilgore treasured his sleep more than his integrity.

Of course dungeons weren’t great places to catch up on one’s sleep. And as dungeons went, this one was particularly dungeon-y: full of oily shadows, moist stone walls, and anguished cries. The worst part, though, was the food; namely, the fact that there wasn’t any.

But when the guards came for Kilgore, his thoughts weren’t on food but poetry. They were the kind of thoughts one has just before one starts talking gibberish and foaming at the mouth.
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Cast of Wonders 114: Now Cydonia (Staff Pick 2013)

Show Notes

Now Cydonia ran as Episode 71 back in March of last year. One reason I’m personally so proud of our win is the story’s author, Rick Kennett. Although I’ve never met him, he’s from my home town of Melbourne, Australia and I love that a fellow countryman writes such kick-arse stuff. I narrated one of his ghost stories for Pseudopod, the immensely creepy The Dark and What It Said which is flat-out the best evocation of how spooky and lonely the Australian bush can be. Rick is a talented writer and I’m always happy to hear his stories when they appear in the pod-o-sphere.


Now Cydonia

by Rick Kennett

Cadet Cy De Gerch bounced forward into the desert darkness, raised her arms in a defensive posture and, as best as a fourteen year could, barked, “Halt! Who goes there!”

There was no one there. There never was.

Cy jumped back, a slow leap in the low gravity, to her original position on the perimeter, her vacsuit moving easy like a second skin, to watch and wait and break the boredom as best she could until relieved. Out there was the desert she had trekked the past two years with her section of Martian Star Corps cadets. Out there was the countryside of Mars – cold and red and a billion years dead, littered with rocks, pocked with craters, filled with myths and ghost stories, most of which Cy didn’t really believe. Sergeant Kreeng – Old Get-It-Right – had known what he was doing when he’d set them perimeter guard duty consisting mostly of doing nothing. It was, she knew, a discipline of the mind.

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Cast of Wonders 113: The Malthus Alternative (Staff Pick 2013)


The Malthus Alternative

by Jamie Mason

13.

“The gantry or the gallows.” Father chuckles. “When I think of all the money wasted on this –” (he gestures through the tinted windows of the limousine at the ruined space-port beyond) “– garbage it makes me sick – sick, I tell you! Colonize space? Mankind would have done better creating space on our own world, not blasting off in search of others!”

I hold my tongue – a necessary job skill when working for Father. My childhood dreams of a career in theater or publishing have given way to the reality of a senior management position with Global Confinement Solutions, Father’s flagship concern. GCS is a place where arguing with Father is accounted (like live theater or literature or space travel) a complete waste of time. And the team at GCS should know. Because time is our business.
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