Posts Tagged ‘CoW Originals’

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Cast of Wonders 397: Wordslinger, Wordwreaker (Staff Picks 2019)


Wordslinger, Wordwreaker

by Amanda Helms

The wordslinger first came into Lasthope on the back of a scarab the size of a large pony, during the worst flaying-wind storm in a generation.

Mind, we didn’t know then that she was a wordslinger, or even that she was a she. I didn’t witness it direct, but later one of our regulars told me of her, all bundled up in hat and gloves and too-big cloak, on account of them winds, you see. She climbed off her scarab with the stiffness of someone too long in the saddle. But like any rider worth her salt, she saw to her mount afore she came into the saloon, which is where I first saw her myself.

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Cast of Wonders 395: Barter Queen (Staff Picks 2019)


Barter Queen

by Sarah Pauling

Soledad lets Gabe do the introductions because most strangers see him as the more respectable sibling. His attentive green eyes stare from under thick lashes, and his hair lies flat even when it’s desperately in need of a cut.

“We want Queen Mary’s protection,” he says, brazen as anything. Soledad tries not to stare at the ground. Gabe squeezes her hand.

“What can you give her?” the man at the door asks. Huge firearms dangle from his sides.

“We got guns, for one thing. And we’re mechanics. We can fix things. Bikes.”

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Cast of Wonders 393: Soul Cleaver Clarence (Staff Picks 2019)

Show Notes

Matthew told us, “This story began life as a PodCastle flash fiction contest entry. While it only made it to the semi-finals, Katherine Inskip commented that she’d love to see a longer version submitted to Cast of Wonders. Armed with this encouragement, I worked to fill out the characters, their struggles, and a plot. It took a fair amount of feedback and editing, but I was delighted that the finished story was one that Cast of Wonders was interested in publishing!”


SOUL CLEAVER Clarence

by Matthew J. Jarvis

“My dear dragon,” the princess announced as she held aloft Clarence’s topaz windflower, its gemstone petals glinting beautifully in the sun. “These are, without doubt, the finest sculptures in all the land!” Around him the humans attending the faire clapped enthusiastically. “State your name, dragon, and ask any favor in my power to grant, for you have truly won first prize.”

Clarence glowed with pride. “My name is–“

“SOUL CLEAVER!”

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Cast of Wonders 392: The Angel (Staff Picks 2019)


The Angel

by Kate Cobey

I: Sterile

“Just don’t treat her like anything less than a person,” Mama fretted from the front row of the cab. Never mind that this was the fourth time we’d come to see her, and we’d heard the same plea every single time. Cautiously, Mama asked the white hospital archway next to her, “May we enter?”

“Card?” responded the building.

“You don’t need to be so formal. It’s just a robot,” Nina complained from the back. “It’s aaaall robots, here.”

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Cast of Wonders 391: Why I Spared the One Brave Soul Between Me and My Undead Army (Staff Picks 2019)


Why I Spared the One Brave Soul Between Me and My Undead Army

by Setsu Uzume

I am loathe to admit that the ambush was masterful. Not only had the bounty hunters slain my contacts, but they had done so in the right order — dispatching the Ritualist before she had any corpses to animate. Had I come on horseback, they would have had me, too.

In addition to my dead allies and their hobbled wagon, I counted four hunters lumbering through the dark. Big lads, experienced and well-equipped, but given the style of their breastplates they had come from the west — tracking the cultists and not me. It made them slow and ill-prepared to face me in my glory. I whirled, my shadow splitting off to pierce kidneys and slice the backs of their knees while I led them a merry dance through dead leaves and bracken. One of them even turned, his blade slashing a wide arc, but shadows have no heads to remove. Him, I killed the quickest.

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Text message from story

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Cast of Wonders 390: The Tale of Descruptikn and the Product Launch Requirements Documentation


The Tale of Descruptikn and the Product Launch Requirements Documentation

by Effie Seiberg

Once upon a time there was an associate project manager named Jaime. She knew she was lucky to have this job – so many others in her graduating class were still juggling nanny gigs and catering gigs and tutoring gigs and so many side hustles they could’ve been a dodecahedron.

It was at a small company that ostensibly helped foreign students find scholarships for American colleges, but actually if you looked closely you could see that the company didn’t do much and was just a vanity project so the founder could say he was innovating and disrupting and other such nonsense buzzwords. Considering how little the company actually accomplished, Jamie was astonished that she was the one hundredth person to join the team. (Continue Reading…)

episode art - desert snow, for Luchadora

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Cast of Wonders 389: Luchadora


Luchadora

by Melissa Mead

When Alejandra was nine, her mother died of dehydration. When she was ten, Alejandra made her father bring her to the Luchadores’ barracks. The three ancient wizards who would choose the boy who would become the next Luchador weren’t pleased. They almost sent Alejandra’s father to the hellstone mines, where men died with their limbs charred black. Then Alejandra marched up to the eldest of the Magos, the one in flame-red silk, and demanded that he make the bull-man stop waking her up at night. The other two Magos, in silk as gold as the sun and as blue as the sky, gasped. The first wizard scowled.

“What do you mean, child?”

“The bull with the man-face. He came when Mama died. He comes in the dark, and whispers to me.”

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Cast of Wonders 388: The First, the Second, the Third


The First, the Second, the Third

by Katherine Kendig

In the winter, the mornings are colder inside than out. Lily sings at the window, her voice wending its way toward the barn, the willow grove, the creek, as pure as the snow it floats over. Her breath frosts as she sings, her gaze fixed on the horizon where the church is the only part of town we can see. Margot huddles in bed, her hair tousled over her face, shivering. Margot has never been able to stand the cold.

“Celia,” she says to me, lifting the blanket a little so I can crawl in beside her. We lie side by side and listen to Lily sing until our stomachs rumble and we go downstairs to make breakfast. Lily refuses to sing while she is working, but she hums under her breath as she makes porridge, and in my mind I am humming too. Margot insists on having jam with breakfast every day, even though she knows the jam will run out long before spring. Lily insists on reserving a jar of rhubarb for herself, so that she can savor it on special occasions, long after Margot has devoured the rest of it.

I don’t care much about the jam. I begrudge my tongue its sweetness.

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Cast of Wonders 387: The Rose Sisterhood


The Rose Sisterhood

by Susan Taitel

My Sisters and I await the next girl. She will be beautiful. We always are. We hope she’ll be the one to break the curse, that she will have the wherewithal to see our master as he truly is. To succeed where we all failed.

We do not know when she will arrive. We hope it will be soon. It is not good for our master to go too long without a companion. We Sisters are not company.

As we wait, I try to console our newest Sister. It was only a flinch. I assure her she still has a role to play. There are clothes to mend, meals to prepare, and roses to prune. She won’t be comforted yet — her bones are too fresh. I know she will adjust to her new station in time. We all do.

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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.

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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.

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Cast of Wonders 380: Little Wonders 23: Comfort is Universal


Taking the Nine to the Last Shop

by Craig Robert Saunders

I.

The last shop before the fog is my favourite shop of all. It has candy, which is best. It sells shrimp which never, ever goes off, krill, newspapers, mops and buckets, and air packets you can open that tickle your tentacles just like the popping candy, which Grandma lets me have even though she hates the sound of the air packs and the poppers. She likes the hardboiled sweets. They have what seems like endless rows of jars of those behind the counter. You can buy things for the house there, and things for dull days when the seas are hard and rough and you can’t go out, or when the fog’s so heavy it squashes you up so you can’t see above your parapet, and all you can do is draw yourself inside and listen to your mother muttering and feel the sway of Grandma moving underneath you both. (Continue Reading…)