Posts Tagged ‘death’

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Cast of Wonders 365: Blame it on the Bees


Blame it on the Bees

by Rachel Menard

I can’t find it. Digging through my drawer, shoving aside patchy band shirts and pilled hoodies, I feel for the soft fabric of one, very important Sex Pistols tank top. My fingers hit the base of the drawer. No shirt.

Maybe it’s in my bed.

For the first few weeks, I slept with it wrapped around my pillow, cheek pressed to the chipping paint on the logo. That was when it still smelled like Haley, like strawberries and her baby powder deodorant. When I closed my eyes, I could see her in it, the way the soft cotton hugged her body. She’d left it here because we’d gotten caught in the rain on the way home from the skate park. I’d slid it off her wet skin, around her draping curls of strawberry blonde hair, and kissed the lingering rain drops on her shoulders. She tasted like salt and cool rain.

A pain hits me in the gut. I need that shirt. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 361: Heartless

Show Notes

This episode is part of our 2019 Summer Spotlight, showcasing the work of the year’s major award finalists.

Peadar’s YA novel The Invasion is a finalist for the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.


Heartless

by Peadar Ó Guilín

“No one asks for death.” This was the proud boast of the city of Kalegwyn. “No one ever asks for it.” Until Malern did. A bad move for her, as it turned out. She awoke on Castellan Garvinger’s operating table with his favourite surgeon elbow-deep in her chest.

“This is going to hurt,” said Garvinger from somewhere in the background. “Scream all you want.”

And she did. She couldn’t help herself, although she knew her cries were being conveyed magically to the people in the plaza beyond. She screamed until something seemed to snap in her throat, and after that the best she could manage was a wheezing, bubbling sound that carried no hint of her former insolence.

The surgeon kept working, ripping and tearing. He made sure she could see everything. They had pointed a mirror at her chest and had pinned her eyes open.

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Cast of Wonders 353: With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips (Artemis Rising 5)


With Cardamom I’ll Bind Their Lips

by Beth Cato

In the spring after the war’s end, the soldiers’ spirits began to wander home, and Lady Magdalena bound their lips with cardamom so that they could not speak.

“These souls walked for months, their only thought to return home. You must remember, little of their personality remains at this point. They are solid enough to nudge furniture and not sink through the floor, but they’re not fully here.”

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Cast of Wonders 345: Pocosin (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 assistant editor Alexis Goble.


Pocosin

by Ursula Vernon

This is the place of the carnivores, the pool ringed with sundews and the fat funnels of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the ground never dries out and the loblolly pines grow stunted, where the soil is poor and the plants turn to other means of feeding themselves.

This is the place where the hairstreak butterflies flow sleekly through the air and you can hear insect feet drumming inside the bowl of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the old god came to die. (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.
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Cast of Wonders 298: Pocosin

Show Notes

From the author: Pocosins are a type of raised peat wetland found almost exclusively in the Carolinas. The name derives from an Eastern Algonquian word meaning “swamp on a hill.” They are a rare and unique ecosystem, today widely threatened by development.


Pocosin

by Ursula Vernon

This is the place of the carnivores, the pool ringed with sundews and the fat funnels of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the ground never dries out and the loblolly pines grow stunted, where the soil is poor and the plants turn to other means of feeding themselves.

This is the place where the hairstreak butterflies flow sleekly through the air and you can hear insect feet drumming inside the bowl of the pitcher plants.

This is the place where the old god came to die. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 281: Little Wonders 16: Siblings in Space

Show Notes

The Little Wonders theme “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Houston, Houston, Do You Read James Tiptree?

by Rachael K. Jones

After two hours of work, Daria got the space station’s recycler back online without Hugh there to help her. If he had just waited ten minutes while she tried resetting power. If he had let her double-check his gear before his spacewalk, like he was supposed to by all protocols.

If. If. If.

Now her only brother drifted away from Station Mars One, a fragile floating bubble on the void. He brought to mind the time Daria packed her goldfish in the front seat for the drive to college. Glass bowl swathed in bubble wrap swathed in a blanket, set in a flimsy taped-up cardboard box. The thinnest sliver of shelter against a sudden end.

She pressed both palms into her eyeballs until stars blossomed, and with great effort, focused on her last obligation: to keep him company until he died.

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Cast of Wonders 257: Little Wonders 13: Death

Show Notes

The Little Wonders theme “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


Chrysalis

by Jennifer Lee Rossman

The love of my life died on July third, 1983, at the respectable age of one hundred and nineteen. Oldest man on Earth, according to the good Doctor Hippen.

I can’t say his death came as a shock; when a man reaches that advanced an age, only the absolutely delusional would suggest he buy denture paste in bulk. Still, I hadn’t expected it to happen so suddenly.

We had just begun a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle (always the optimist, my Edgar). One moment, he was looking for a piece of the sky, and the next, he found a piece of his very own. How convenient that his death would coincide with Lasagna Sunday, the bane of his existence.

With a heavy but unsurprised heart, I kissed him on the head and told him I would see him soon. Though a lady must never reveal her age, it’s safe to say the lease on my Earthly body was also on the verge of expiration.

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Cast of Wonders 247: The Golem of Deneb Seven

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Golem of Deneb Seven

By Alex Shvartsman

I was eleven years old when the war came to the Deneb system.

At first, we didn’t know that anything was wrong. Mom and Dad were clearing the table after dinner, Avi was building some sort of a castle out of plastic construction blocks, Sarah was asleep in her crib, and Grandpa was reading one of his thick Hebrew books, leaning into the volume and squinting a little by candlelight. I sulked because I was going be the only girl in my class to miss Karen’s birthday party tomorrow.

There would be no chatting or video games for me that evening, or until after dinner the following night, because we weren’t supposed to use electricity on Shabbos. This weekly routine was difficult to accept while living in the place where few others shared our beliefs. It was far more frustrating this time around, because Dad wouldn’t drive on Shabbos, either, and that meant I had no way to get to Karen’s party. All the other girls were going to be there. Her parents were bringing in a magician all the way from the city, and it had been the talk of the school for weeks. So I sulked, wondering why God didn’t want me to have any fun.

For lack of anything better to do, I was staring out the window when I saw a streak of white light shoot across the night sky. I watched it fall toward the ground in a great wide arc, but before it completed its downward journey there was another, and another.

“Look, Dad, quick! A meteor shower!” I waved him over and pressed my face against the glass. Father set down the salad bowl and came over. He stood behind me and peered out the window. The sky was raining with shooting stars.

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Cast of Wonders 244: Terminals

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Terminals

By Joel and Angela Enos

The Titan-Metropolis line was one of the most heavily traveled train routes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It ran from the East to West coast and was valued for its speed, making relatively few stops. It offered the height of modern amenities and luxury to the captains of industry that had willed it into being. In 1902, during a routine crossing of the Rockies, a switchman absented himself from his post for reasons lost to history and the Titan-Metropolis collided with a circus train carrying performers and animals speeding to their next engagement. There were no survivors.

There would never be any survivors. That was the appeal of the very reasonably priced Titan-Metropolis package offered by Peaceful Destinations. Complete with scenic views and dinner service, the Titan-Metropolis provided a luxurious and richly historical exit from the mortal coil. Group rates available, vegetarian meal options by request. Please consult your insurance carrier for first, second, or third class options.

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Cast of Wonders 237: Little Wonders 10 – Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Show Notes

The Little Wonders theme, “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.


More Than Machines Will Fall to Rust

by Rachael K. Jones

I’ll tell it like it never happened, Patrick. Like we were childhood besties swapping knock-knock jokes from the tip-top branches of our favorite climbing tree. That we donned towel capes and played at superheroes, that we took turns being sidekicks so nobody had to play the villain. That it went on like that forever. That we never entered the science fair, and my experiment with exothermic reaction never beat out your atomic clock. That you didn’t resent losing to a girl, because I was your best friend, and it shouldn’t have mattered.

And when The Agency recruited me young on the strength of my scientific promise, and I really got the cape and powers and sidekick, you withdrew into a mechanical exile of your own choosing, all wires and servos and circuit boards.

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Cast of Wonders 200: Running on Two Legs


Running on Two Legs

by Eugie Foster

My mother used to tell stories of how I talked to animals when I was a little girl. And then she’d laugh when she described how indignant I got because no one believed they talked back.

I don’t remember much of that period of my life. There were a lot of hospitals—white rooms, other pale children next to me, all of us with clear IV tubes taped to our parchment paper skin—and doctors, smiling men with haunted eyes that they tried so hard to keep us from seeing. That’s mostly what I remember.

And then came the miraculous words “in remission.”  I remember those, and the tears on my mother’s face when the doctor said them, for once without the not-quite-hidden anguish in his eyes. Everything was better after that. After those words I remember summer days spent grubby and exhausted in the old abandoned shack behind our house. No longer did I keep company with hospital wraiths, but rather with neighborhood kids who had experienced no greater hurt than a scraped knee or a bruised shin; kids who’d never had to listen to their parents sob just outside their door, thinking you couldn’t hear them; and kids who had no memory of being so sick that even the feel of a blanket was unbearable agony.

I think I stopped talking to animals then. Or maybe I just had better things to do than listen to the birds chattering at my window or the squirrels quarrelling in the tree outside.

But I heard them again today.

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