Posts Tagged ‘Christiana Ellis’

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Cast of Wonders 273: The Wayfinder & His Sister (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

Don’t miss our other Banned Books Week episodes.

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.

The Wayfinder & His Sister

by Maria Haskins


Mama always said that the best stories are true and needful, even if they’re not real. I know that’s heresy, punishable by lashes or prison if you’re caught, but I don’t think mama has ever been much for following rules and orders, anyway.

She also used to say, that if you tell yourself the right story about who you are, and what you want to do, you can achieve pretty much anything. Last time she told me that was the night before she left. She was in her workshop; crystal goggles strapped to her face, curly hair tightly braided, bent over her workbench in her oil-stained overalls, wielding her tools as she assembled and tested the latest iteration of her metallic creatures, fitting together gleaming gears and polished alloys, tempered glass and minute atom-spirit engines.

I believed her. I believed her, even after she left for Old Vancouver with papa, even as Titus and I toiled on the farm every day without them, even as they did not come back after two or even three weeks. I believed her even as Titus and I set off on this desperate journey to find her and papa, but today, as an almighty storm breaks on top of me and Rex and Titus, turning the bruised-black sky into a writhing snake pit of lightning, I feel as though I’m losing my faith in mama’s words for the first time in my life.

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Cast of Wonders 140: Of Pumpkin Soup and Other Demons / The Ghost of Grammy Goneril

Show Notes

It’s October, everyone. That means it’s time for our annual Halloween special. This year we’ve gone for a theme, presenting a collection of horror stories about endings, both figurative and literal. The dead and the undying. Spirits sea monsters. Apocalypses writ both large and small. Welcome to The End of the World.

Of Pumpkin Soup and Other Demons

by Natalia Theodoridou

The shutters rattled in their hinges as rainy fists banged against the wood. Katina rubbed her knuckles. They made a creaky noise. “Old bones, what did you expect?” she chuckled. “Old bodies are as good as coffins.”

She stirred the pumpkin soup boiling on the stove and tasted her wooden spoon. “Almost ready.”

The wind pounded on the door with all his might and fury. It almost sounded like knocking.

“Are you set on tearing my house down?” she asked him.

Then, another knock. And another.

Katina looked at the door, her left eyebrow raised.

“Is someone there?” she asked.

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Cast of Wonders 96: Gift Cards of an Ex-Goddess

Gift Cards of an Ex-Goddess

by Melissa Embry

When the child in Mrs. Chaudray’s womb turned a somersault, Mala knew her time as an avatar running out.

“So, do you think this will be the one?” Mrs. Chaudray asked, turning from side to side to catch a glimpse of her reflection in the silver votive images, “do you think this will be the one?”

She had come to the temple to consult the avatar, as had dozens of other pregnant women and mothers of young daughters. Everybody could see Mala becoming more nubile daily, and by the custom older than the memory of anyone on the holy mountain, the goddess must soon seek a younger maiden to inhabit.  So the women lined up at the temple doors, each asking if her baby would be the new avatar, the girl who, instead of being a burden to her family, would be supported by the temple until ready to marry in her turn.

Some avatars might take this rush to name their successor the wrong way, Mala thought, contemplating Mrs. Chaudray’s glowing face. It wasn’t like people were rushing her into her grave. Just out of the only life she could remember.

Despite all the hopeful women she’d seen lately, no other of their flaunting bellies sent a chill run down her back like this one did.  No others had given her a queasy feeling in her own belly.

That night Mala stripped the temple of its treasures.

By the light of the temple’s butter-filled lamps, painted eyes of gods and demons watched her survey the offerings accumulated in the thirteen years of her tenure.  Or was it fourteen? Maybe she’d ask the guardian how long she’d been her. The guardian was good with numbers.

They’ll miss me when I’m gone, she thought. I dare the next avatar to do this good.
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