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Cast of Wonders 496: Excuse Me, this is the Quiet Car


Excuse me, this is the Quiet Car

by Cara Mast

The magic of the quiet car is best when everyone follows the rules.

I’m halfway through the math problem I’ve been mulling over when a sudden bleep-bleep-bring-a-ling in the quiet makes me jump, slamming my knees into the fold-down tray table. Ouch.

And then, as if the phone ringing wasn’t enough, the man across the aisle from me picks up. “This is Paul Whitford. Yeah, hey Jerry, what do you need?”

White- and grey-haired heads pop up from the seats ahead of our row, the usual crowd of over-65’s turning to look for the disturbance. I really just want to go back to my problem set. The train shakes audibly around us, more like a throat clearing than regular train rumbles, and I’m pretty sure that’s a warning at this point. I’d rather not find out. Much as I’d like to ignore this guy, he’s now made his business everyone’s business. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 459: Ten Years of Wonder


With so many episodes to choose from, how can we possibly decide on what to pick as our birthday encore story?

Marguerite’s favourite episode of all time is Kulturkampf by Anatoly Belilovsky, narrated by Hans Fenstermacher – we released this as an encore story, in episode 360.

Mine — at least this week — is episode 381, The Lie Misses You by John Wiswell, narrated by Athena Haq.

Jeremy, our long-suffering audio producer, would choose the marvellous Why I Spared the One Brave Soul Between Me and my Undead Army, by Summer Fletcher, narrated by Katherine Inskip – this was episode 355, and a staff pick for 2019.

However, the story we’ve chosen to highlight today is our founding editor Graeme Dunlop’s selection:

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 407: Little Wonders 24: Dogs and Monsters

Show Notes

Good Girl was first performed as part of Escape Artists Live at PodUK 2020, and released on the EA patreon feed.


Good Girl

by Maria Haskins

Wawa waits in the woods, tongue lolling, ears drooping. She waits in the fern-covered gully beside the dried-up creek. Every now and then she tries to lie down, but then there’ll be a rustle in the trees, the sound of snapping twigs, of scuttling claws, and she’s up again.

But no one comes.

Wawa waits. She would howl, would bark, but Wawa is a good girl. A good dog.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 386: Cosmetic Procedures (Encore!)


Cosmetic Procedures

by Desmond Warzel

When I became a private investigator, it wasn’t for excitement, or for money. The work is humdrum, and whatever noir romanticism the profession ever actually had is long gone (though I’ve got a raincoat, a fedora, and a dusty bottle of scotch in the closet, just in case they’re called for). As for money, there isn’t much–and I don’t need it anyway. I’m a dilettante, and utterly unashamed of it.

It was an ego boost, pure and simple. I suppose I just enjoyed the idea that, when some poor desperate soul was in dire straits, stretched to the breaking point, with nowhere to turn, I would be the one he’d call.

Well, now I’m sitting at my desk, unable to take my mind off the lower right-hand drawer, and the unique item therein, and I have no idea who I should call.

I am, however, extremely open to suggestions.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 382: No Matter Where; Of Comfort No One Speak


No Matter Where; Of Comfort No One Speak

by Kate Baker

Tucked behind the cracks in the plaster and the peeling, wallpaper print, we watch you draw a blade. You stand in the kitchen, holding the steel in your right hand. A finger slides down the sharp edge, testing its strength as you do calculations in your head. The slow creep of a smile indicates you are happy with your choice. Drawn away in visions to the future, everything is interrupted by a quick slip and slice as you drop the knife. We notice the dribble of blood, a bead welling at the tip, inviting a hungry mouth. You bring the cut to your lips and suck on it a moment and then examine the depth.

No stitches required.

Despite its already proven efficacy, you reach for the knife again, and then for the sharpening block, and run the blade against stone. The familiar grating sound that would normally set your nerves afire. We cover our ears in this dark place despite the muffled transfer through your space to ours. We know what these determined machinations mean.

(Continue Reading…)

silhouette of virtual human on circuit pattern 3d illustration , represent artificial technology.

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Cast of Wonders 381: The Lie Misses You


The Lie Misses You

by John Wiswell

The Lie can’t wait to see her sister again. Every night she draws another picture of the two of them together, sometimes in space, sometimes playing baseball, always in crayon, always looking shoddy like the work of her father’s left hand. But The Lie is recovering from the Contact Plague, and it affects motor functions in survivors. Her parents bring this up every time her sister calls.

She’s calling tonight, not that it’s night where her sister is stationed. The Mothership Nebraska is fighting in a place with three suns, so it’s probably always morning there. The Lie doodles a yellow crayon triple-morning while Mom and Dad squeeze together around the laptop. They try not to stare at it, pretending that cleaning their reading glasses and mending socks are just what they meant to be doing an hour after the time Vi was supposed to call.

To The Lie, that is what they meant to do. Her parents are so practical.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 379: Philemaphobia


Philemaphobia

by Josh Pearce

“Amanda,” Mother said, as soon as she came in from school: “Amanda,” in that tone of voice that said she was so tired of being angry about this.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Amanda said automatically. She hadn’t even had a chance to drop her bookbag and search the pantry for a snack. Mother still had the kitchen phone in her hand, arms crossed tightly.

“Want to tell me why your homeroom teacher is calling me about your behavior, again? What was it this time? What did you say?”

“Nothing! I don’t talk in class anymore.” Maybe that was the problem? Mrs. Kennedy scowling at her whenever Amanda clamped her lips tight and shook her head in response to a question.

“What, then? You tell me, Amanda Bull, why you’re in trouble today.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 340: Widow Bones Makes Her Rounds (Staff Picks 2018)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by associate editor Karissa Sluss.


Widow Bones Makes Her Rounds

by Gretchen Tessmer

“Brom Bones too, who shortly after his rival’s disappearance conducted the blooming Katrina to the altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin, which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.”

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
by Washington Irving

 

With everything that happened, I don’t know that I would describe myself as blooming. Willing, I suppose, and certainly compliant. But a flower doesn’t need to bloom to be plucked. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 329: Widow Bones Makes Her Rounds


Widow Bones Makes Her Rounds

by Gretchen Tessmer

“Brom Bones too, who shortly after his rival’s disappearance conducted the blooming Katrina to the altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin, which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.”

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
by Washington Irving

 

With everything that happened, I don’t know that I would describe myself as blooming. Willing, I suppose, and certainly compliant. But a flower doesn’t need to bloom to be plucked.

After all, pretty is as pretty does, my father used to say. He didn’t say much else and I’m not sure if he meant it as a compliment or an insult. I’ve never really understood the phrase anyway. Are we predisposed to act in certain ways? If so, it would be a relief. My actions turned midnight-moon-macabre some time ago and I’d hate to think it’s all my own failing of character.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 308: Every Drop of Light


Every Drop of Light

by Rachel Delaney Craft

No one ever said no to Grace, because she almost died when she was a baby. That’s why we always did what she wanted to do, even though I was the older sister. That’s why, when we were kids, I followed her into the woods behind the old factory.

We had no business being there. But Grace just giggled as she skipped down the path alongside the eroded creek bank. “Anna, come on!”

I trailed behind her, imagining the knots in the tree trunks melding into stern eyes and puckered mouths. I felt I was in a giant, slow-moving lung: each rustling breeze was a deep breath in, each creaking branch a collective sigh. I felt the place might inhale me and never let me out.
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 292: Little Wonders 17: True Selves

Show Notes

February is Women in Horror Month, an international initiative which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Check out the hashtag WiHM9 for plenty of suggestions. Or if you have the stomach for stronger fair, our sister show PseudoPod.

You can find all our own Women in Horror episodes here!


Silver Things

by Dagny Paul

The first time Leah turned into a fish, she had been small, maybe four, and she’d been sitting with her daddy on the rock that overlooked the lake. He had turned to her with his stubbled smile and his bright blue eyes and asked her if she’d wanted to dive. She didn’t know how to swim, she’d said, and he had said that’s okay, sweetheart, because we’ll be fish.

He’d stripped off his shirt and pulled her to her little feet, and before she’d even had time to think about it they had jumped. She’d never hesitated, never worried. He had never let her down.

Until now. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 282: Dreidel Of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Chanukah


Dreidel Of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Chanukah

by Alex Shvartsman

Twas the night before Chanukah, and all through the planet, not a creature was stirring except for the Elder God Cthulhu who was waking up from his eons-long slumber. And as the terrible creature awakened in the city of R’lyeh, deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and wiped drool from his face-tentacles, all the usual signs heralded the upcoming apocalypse in the outside world: mass hysteria, cats and dogs living together, and cable repairmen arriving to their appointments within the designated three-hour window.

“This will not do,” said Chanukah Henry. “I will not have the world ending on my watch, not during the Festival of Lights.”

(Continue Reading…)