Posts Tagged ‘family’

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Cast of Wonders 494: The Day I Didn’t Get a Pet Nebula


The Day I Didn’t Get a Pet Nebula

by Effie Seiberg

On the day I turned nine, I didn’t get a pet nebula.

I’d really really wanted one, just like the one Shelly had. And I’d been talking about it FOR-EVER, so Dad could have the time to save up for the one in the pawn shop, and I’m not usually patient enough to talk about anything that long. I told him how responsible I was and how I could take it for walks and trim its dust wisps and everything. I made him breakfast when he got home from his shift a bunch of times, and even did the dishes after to prove how responsible I was.

“C’mon kiddo, you know that’s not possible,” he’d said, ten rotation cycles before my birthday. We were at the wobbly kitchen table and he was helping me with my physics homework after dinner, so everything still smelled like tacos with neutron star shavings and spray cheese. The chapter was all about distortions of spacetime, cosmic strings and black holes and whatnot. He leaned his head on one tentacle, like he was too tired to hold it up on its own. Even his work shirt looked tired, like the frayed thin patches were struggling to hold his tentacles in. “A pet nebula isn’t happening.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 430: Where a Heart Would Fit Perfectly


Where a Heart Would Fit Perfectly

by S. Qiouyi Lu

Penny looked in the mirror and frowned. No matter which way she turned, her dress seemed too sequined, too flashy, too… ridiculous. And her makeup felt garish even in the dim light backstage. But that was how all the dancers were made up—the stage lights would wash their faces out otherwise.

Just grin and bear it, Penny told herself. At least you’re getting paid this time. (Continue Reading…)

episode art: 424

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Cast of Wonders 424: Like Faded Joy


Like Faded Joy

by Ashley Bao

We were born during a lightning storm, thunder cracking a whip through the hospital walls. Lei came first, not even crying when her head popped out. She pulled me by the ankle, and I tumbled and bawled as I left the comfort of the womb.

Our mother cursed in Mandarin when the nurse brought in the paperwork for the birth certificates. We were one month early, and she hadn’t picked out names yet. Our grandmother, our wai po, piped up from her stool next to the bed.

“Xiao Lei, Xiao Yu. Little Thunder, Little Rain. The thunderstorm brought them here tonight,” wai po said, leaving no room for argument.

Our mother wrote the names in crisp English letters. (Continue Reading…)

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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.

(Continue Reading…)

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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…)

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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 378: Common Grounds and Various Teas (Banned Books Week)


Common Grounds & Various Teas

by Sherin Nicole

Mama’s fingernails are mesmerizing. They’re black and shiny as volcanic glass but not polished. Her skin is a deeper shade than North Carolina red clay, and her hair is pulled up high in two top knots. Long dreadlocks cascade down over both her ears. If she’s older than thirty  no one can tell. Right now, I’m giving her serious side eye. She won’t stop blabbering and babbling and telling her grifter tales.

“I told that man, you cannot sell me this bucket on wheels. It’s beneath me,” she says in an accent as brown as her skin. “He didn’t like that. Now, rather than me convincing him, he’s convincing me to lower the price. ‘Til I have mercy, I take this car from him for $45 and I let him buy the beers.”

I huff and turn away from her. “Can you stop now?” I mumble.

“I could,” Mama says, like she’s sharing secrets, “but I could also be swallowed and spit back out as something flavorless.” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 376: The Ways of Walls and Words (Banned Books Week)


The Ways of Walls and Words

by Sabrina Vourvoulias

Solitreo

“If it were not for Thee, what would become of me?”

She’s not speaking to me when she says this. Her poetry nests behind a prison’s walls. I am an unknown noise on the other side of her door—the only spot where sound enters or exits her world—a sweep of bristle against wood, some transitory trace of life that has nothing to do with her.

She and her people are in cells lined along a corridor in the deepest reaches of the convent. On occasion the mentally disturbed have been kept here, tended to and made safe by walls so thick they are more than an arm’s length. These people, however, are all one family: a mother; an adult son; four older daughters; and this one, who has spent nearly half her life in here.

That was all the information the Dominican Brothers shared with me the day I started. Except that I must not attempt to speak to the girl or her family through their doors. The Brothers made me swear this before I swept even one stone.

In the language I share with jailer and jailed, my name is Bienvenida, though my Nahuatl name is different. By the Brothers’ reckoning, it has been 1,562 years since the death of God. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 368: If Only a Word for All Things


If Only a Word for All Things

by Jameyanne Fuller

I hunched my shoulders and leaned closer to the automatic ticket machine. I punched in the date and time with tense fingers, chose the train I wanted, and stuffed some crumpled Euros into the slot. At any moment a carabiniere would take one look at me, know I was somewhere I shouldn’t be, and march me right onto the train back to Assisi. But I wasn’t running away, not really. I was going to Paris to find Maman and bring her home. We needed her home. Her and her magic words.

The ticket machine thought, then spat out my ticket. I seized it.

“Do you know where to go, signorina?” a station guard asked at my shoulder. I jumped, but I reminded myself she was only trying to be helpful. As long as I didn’t give myself away, I would be fine.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 358: A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension


A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension

by Andrea M. Pawley

Olive touched the tiny carbon fiber legs. They folded under her fingertip. The drone was dead. Its accumulator nodes held enough copper to get Olive through the next three days. Papa had always provided Olive with the inorganics she needed, but Papa hadn’t been home much since Mama stopped going to work and the second grandma arrived five days ago.

With her hand curled around the drone, Olive wiggled backward through the sinewy filament holding each living quarters trailer like a barnacle to the side of the elevator. The filament slowed Olive. So did a shortage of metals in her system. None of today’s dead drones carried the gold she needed most.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 303: What You’re Missing


What You’re Missing

by Allison Mulder

“Something’s missing.”

The words slipped past Anya’s lips, not for the first time. Most days she could keep them buried under other, safer thoughts. But on quiet, peaceful days like this one, when she’d successfully coaxed Colton past the fences to the off-grid hills, the words had a nasty habit of wriggling out to warm themselves in the sun.

“Of course something’s missing,” Colton said, staring back toward the sprawling gray city. Sun sparkled off the high chain link fences between the hills and town. “No Wi-Fi, no cell signals. The power grid’s scrapped out here. If it bothers you, let’s head back.” He fiddled hopefully with his loose tie, obviously ready and waiting to tighten it.

Anya shook her head, enjoying the unfamiliar feeling of unbound hair swishing against her cheeks. “Not what I mean.”
(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 301: Ana’s Asteroid


Ana’s Asteroid

by M.K. Hutchins

I raced Cornelius home after school, through the corridors of the Platinum Phoenix. He took the right hand side, I took the left. The dents in stainless steel walls made our reflections wobble.

“I’ll beat you this time!” Cornelius called from behind. He was eleven — two years younger than me.

I laughed. “I doubt — ”

But my feet slipped out from under me. I skidded across the floor. Like all the other kids on this asteroid mining colony, my clothes were sewn from surplus mylar blankets — slick stuff. I crashed into a sealed-off door. There were plenty of unused corridors like that, leftover from better days when the Platinum Phoenix actually had passengers.
(Continue Reading…)