Posts Tagged ‘family’

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Cast of Wonders 229: Questing for Princesses (Staff Pick 2016)

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge, plan the year ahead and highlight some of our favourite episodes. A different member of the Cast of Wonders crew will present their favorite story of 2016 each week in January.

We hope you enjoy our audio producer Jeremy Carter’s favorite story from 2016, Questing for Princesses by Amanda C. Davis, narrated by Katherine Inskip. The story originally aired May 1, 2016 as Cast of Wonders 208.


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


Questing for Princesses

by Amanda C. Davis

Prince Harold swore off marriage at the age of six, when his older brother Yancey came riding home with a new bride and a waterfall of half-healed scars along his right side that he called “the unexpected bonus for winning a princess from a fire-breathing dragon.”

Harold eyed the puckered skin on Yancey’s neck and cheek. “Does it hurt?”

“Sure,” said Yancey, tugging Harold’s earlobe until he flinched. “But finding the right princess is hard stuff. You have to take the risk if you want the reward. Anyway, just wait ’til you meet Celiura. She’s amazing. Totally worth it. She’s going to be your new sister, you know.”

Harold carried the ring at the royal wedding. Immediately afterward he ran back to the chapel, where he threw himself on his knees and prayed that he wouldn’t mind not getting married if it meant he never ever ever had to fight a fire-breathing dragon.

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Cast of Wonders 223: The Oulough


The Oulough

by Francesca Forrest

“Are there any bandages in this house?” Tina asked. “I’ve found an oulough, but it’s hurt.” She likes to do this: come into my—sorry, make that our—bedroom when I’m trying to study and ask me for something.

Tina’s not my little sister. She’s my half-niece, I guess you’d say. Her mom is my half-sister Shari. If you were ever to hear any authority figure talking about Shari, you’d hear things like “poor impulse control” and “bad choices.” One of those last landed in her in jail, and that’s how Tina came to be living with my mom and me and telling me about a wounded oulough.

I had not actually ever heard of ouloughs before. It’s disconcerting, when you’re nineteen, to have an eight-year-old mentioning animals you’ve never heard of. It occurred to me—this might have been intellectual ego protection kicking in—that maybe it was just that Tina’s pronunciation was off, like maybe she was trying to say, I don’t know, orangutan or something. Not that it’s likely she would have run across an orangutan in Indian Orchard.

“Say that again? You found a what?” I asked.

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Cast of Wonders 208: Questing for Princesses


Questing for Princesses

by Amanda C. Davis

Prince Harold swore off marriage at the age of six, when his older brother Yancey came riding home with a new bride and a waterfall of half-healed scars along his right side that he called “the unexpected bonus for winning a princess from a fire-breathing dragon.”

Harold eyed the puckered skin on Yancey’s neck and cheek. “Does it hurt?”

“Sure,” said Yancey, tugging Harold’s earlobe until he flinched. “But finding the right princess is hard stuff. You have to take the risk if you want the reward. Anyway, just wait ’til you meet Celiura. She’s amazing. Totally worth it. She’s going to be your new sister, you know.”

Harold carried the ring at the royal wedding. Immediately afterward he ran back to the chapel, where he threw himself on his knees and prayed that he wouldn’t mind not getting married if it meant he never ever ever had to fight a fire-breathing dragon.

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Cast of Wonders 203: The Universe Dress


The Universe Dress

by Laura-Marie Steele

I’ve never been the biggest fan of weddings. Some women plan weddings from childhood. They draw pictures of the dress they’d like to wear and collect magazine cuttings of flowers or venues, but not me. I’d never even thought about it before. I’d always seen myself as the adventurous type, trekking off alone across the world. Maybe that was why I felt strange, staring at myself in the mirror, on the day of my own wedding.

“You look beautiful.” Mum wiped her eyes with the corner of her bathrobe.

“The lips,” Aunt Julia said, with a twist of her own, “can’t we make them a bit darker?”

My two cousins, Emily and Amelia, began to rummage in the suitcase of cosmetics they’d brought with them. They’d already attacked me with all sorts of colours and turned me into a doll with pink-spotted cheeks.

Aunt Julia took charge of the curling tongs, scooping and pulling up my hair. Lipsticks were passed around, tiaras were polished, hairbrushes were located, dress fit was discussed. Everyone struggled to get ready in the small space that had been my bedroom for the past nineteen years, and I sat in the middle, calm and silent, like the eye of the storm.

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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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Cast of Wonders 199: Leapling

Show Notes

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


Leapling

by Nicole Feldringer

My brother, Jack, parks his beater at the beach lot. Beyond the windshield, dune grass blocks my view of the Gulf, and I shift in my seat. My thighs and shoulders are slick with sweat against the cracked vinyl. Jack turns off the car and sets the e-brake.

“You going to go to this thing or not?” His voice is gentle. If I asked, he would turn the car around and take me home. No, not home. To our new house, still scattered with unopened boxes on account of Mom’s insane hours at the Department of Transportation.

“I’m going.” I feel like I am standing on the verge of a back dive, a clear blue pool beneath me. The board, rough against my toes as I test the weight in my heels. “Any tips?”

“Be yourself?”

“Ha.” 

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Cast of Wonders 198: The Authorized Biography (Part 2)

Show Notes

Show Notes

This week we present the conclusion of The Authorized Biography by Michael G. Ryan, narrated by Brian Rollins.

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

 


The Authorized Biography (Part 2)

By Michael G. Ryan

“My mom,” Betsy had written, “met Eugene Versace—no relation, it turns out—when she took our old dog Gator in to be put to sleep. Dad didn’t go that day. I was still in the hospital recovering from surgery, and at the age of four Jasper certainly could not have understood why our sixteen-year-old dog could not go on forever. So, Dad stayed with him at the house and kissed Gator goodbye in the driveway. So, Mom was alone with her grief when she met the veterinarian who would comfort her and then break up my parents’ marriage.”

“Fuck!” Toonby shouted, slamming the book closed. His eyes watered.

“Gator?” he called in a gentle voice. “Come here, boy.”

He could hear the golden retriever’s toenails on the hardwood floor in the hallway, and for the first time he imagined he could hear old age and world-weariness in that familiar sound. Gator poked his head around the corner, tongue wagging tiredly, and came to Toonby, pushing his head into Toonby’s open palm. Then he lay down at his feet as if the moment of affection were all he could endure. Toonby reached down, and the dog raised his head slowly into the touch. They stayed that way for some time.

“With a name like Eugene, he shouldn’t even be able to talk to a woman,” Toonby finally said, “let alone steal mine. For crying out loud, the man has his hands up cats’ asses all day long.”

Gator lowered his head again as if embarrassed at the thought.
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Cast of Wonders 197: The Authorized Biography (Part 1)

Show Notes

Galen Dara’s amazing print for Artemis Rising is available on Society6.


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


The Authorized Biography

by Michael G. Ryan

In the beginning, Tim Toonby was bewildered to find his biography. Bewildered and ultimately alarmed.

It appeared Saturday morning on his front porch in an unadorned metal box, the fireproof kind meant for legal documents. No key. Tim Toonby had just stepped outside to leave the full diaper pail liner for the service, and in the age of letter bombs, he hesitated when he saw the box on the steps. He looked around as if the deliverer would still be nearby, waiting for the detonation, but the neighborhood was typically quiet—prefabricated homes with lawns of sod, flower boxes along porch railings, stone lions at the end of driveways as affectations of the neighbors’ aspirations. Toonby had them, too. It was a street for dreamers, not killers.

When he picked up the box, the lid wasn’t latched—it fell open, and he was suddenly looking down at his own face on the cover of a book inside. His own face, thirty years older, hair gone to gray, the crow’s feet at his eyes deep and sad. The black-and-white photo looked posed in a cheap hotel room where the nightstand’s drawer was pulled open enough to reveal a book, a Gideon’s Bible. But when Tim Toonby squinted at the picture, he could see that wasn’t right. He could just make out the text on the cover: Barnabas’s Bible by Timothy Toonby.

This was the book he had started writing six months ago. His first book, his hope for the great American novel, his dream of fame and fortune. The one his agent said would make him a household name.

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Cast of Wonders 196: She Sleeps Beneath the Sea

Show Notes

Shveta’s inspirational image, La Dormeuse, by Alain Lacki.


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


She Sleeps Beneath the Sea

by Shveta Thakrar

She sleeps beneath the sea. Shh, shh, plish, splash. The susurration brushes past her unresponsive ears as the surf tucks itself below her chin, a sleek coverlet of warm salt water in shades of blue and green and bordered with seed pearls of foam. Reclining on her side, her dark tresses matted against the damp sand and one brown hand supporting her head, she hints at secrets in the mysterious tongue of slumber: a slight gasp here, a soft sigh there.

When she dreams, she finds herself in a world of glass. It is aquamarine, it is teal, it is turquoise and balmy and wet, and it is the sea, oh, the blessed, blessed sea. It is home, her home.

As she looks around, she begins to wonder. It is like this every time, this bubble world beneath the sea that has somehow become glass and mountains and castles. Everything cut from jewels, everything radiant in the sunlight spilling from above.

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Cast of Wonders 169: Lost Socks

Show Notes

Want to see those OTKs I mentioned? They’re at Sock Dreams – and tell them I said hello!


Lost Socks

by Lisa Montoya

Perdy saw Grandpa Zeke sitting in the swing on the front porch as she carried the empty laundry basket.  She pushed open the old wooden screen door and went to sit next to him. She leaned her head against his shoulder as the two of them just looked out into the yard.  Perdy sighed.

He asked, “How you be, Perdy Perdy?”

She squeezed his arm and cuddled closer to him.

Grandpa Zeke slipped his arm around her. “Did you find those missing socks?”

Perdy shook her head. “No.  They aren’t in my room. Do you think a squirrel got into the house again and took them?  Or maybe we have a sock eating washing machine.”

He laughed.

She sat up and looked at him.  “Really, I looked everywhere.”

Grandpa Zeke smiled at her.  “I am sure you did. Most likely was the sock gremlins.”

Perdy stared at him, waiting for him to continue.

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Cast of Wonders 167: Setting My Spider Free


Setting My Spider Free

by Caroline M. Yoachim

Cool air swirled in through the window and carried with it the faint tapping of claws scratching against stone.  A spiderling was climbing my tower.

Lilymiya stirred.  She’d spent the daylight hours in her corner with all her legs fanned out across the floor, trying to ward off the summer heat.  My poor spider. Her fur, so thick and comforting in the winter, was patchy and ragged. Clumps of it gathered along the base of the walls, and thick strands clung to the grimy sweat on my skin.

The spiderling appeared on my windowsill.  It was medium-sized — bigger than a loaf of bread, but a hundredth the size of Lilymiya.  I didn’t want it to disturb the webs that decorated my walls, so I reached up and grabbed it with both hands.  The spiderling twirled its legs in the empty air as it tried to cool itself.

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Cast of Wonders 157: The Seal King (Part 2)


The Seal King (Part 2)

by Jennifer Noelle Welch

Rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle…

Lou’s forehead hurts where it rests, mashed against the keel, and tracing the source of the sound, her brain awakens with a pinch. The coat is wrapped around her shoulders, and somewhere a steel cleat is vibrating. Raising her head, she remembers. The skiff, the size of a tiny teacup, spinning lazily towards the horizon. Are those really the first stars? had been her last thought, before her eyes swam and the darkness swallowed all.

In the stern, the seal king hugs his curled legs, shuddering uncontrollably, his eyes locked on her face.

“You did it,” she whispers. “How did you…”

Forming the words, he seizes, his voice fluttering into her head instead. S-swam. I had t-trouble pulling you back in. I’m s-sorry. He nods at her side, and Lou finds a bleeding scrape above her hip.

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