Posts Tagged ‘Flash Fiction’

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Cast of Wonders 446: The Half-Life of a Broken Heart (Staff Picks 2020)


The Half-Life of a Broken Heart
by N. R. Lambert

We hear the nursery long before we see it. Feel it too, despite the heavily insulated walls. Deep metronomic concussions roll down the corridor and crash through us. When we reach the entry, marked simply, “Hearts,” the door slides open and a technician ushers us through. The nursery is aggressively antiseptic–shrill LED lighting, a gleaming steel tile floor, and between them, bed after bed of hearts. A chamber of chambers, bumping and pulsing in sync.

“They do that on their own.” The tech says, smiling, glasses glaring back at us.

“We’ve even tried to offset them intentionally, quite drastically, but still…they always sync up somehow. It’s rather uncanny, don’t you think?” (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 431: Little Wonders 27 – Old Ladies


The Soup Witch’s Funeral Dinner

by Nicole LeBoeuf

One morning, late March, Sammy Tailor visited the soup witch. He hadn’t planned to. He was busy wrestling with his father’s crankiest sewing machine when the good smell from the soup witch’s cauldron yanked him out the door by his nose.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 413: Little Wonders 25 – Hearts in Boxes


The Half-Life of a Broken Heart
by N. R. Lambert

We hear the nursery long before we see it. Feel it too, despite the heavily insulated walls. Deep metronomic concussions roll down the corridor and crash through us. When we reach the entry, marked simply, “Hearts,” the door slides open and a technician ushers us through. The nursery is aggressively antiseptic–shrill LED lighting, a gleaming steel tile floor, and between them, bed after bed of hearts. A chamber of chambers, bumping and pulsing in sync.

“They do that on their own.” The tech says, smiling, glasses glaring back at us.

“We’ve even tried to offset them intentionally, quite drastically, but still…they always sync up somehow. It’s rather uncanny, don’t you think?” (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.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 277: Little Wonders 15: Monster Mayhem!

Show Notes

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


Brothers in Stitches

by Dantzel Cherry

I’m sorry to say Master lay charred and inert on the laboratory floor for a good quarter hour before I noticed he was dead. I regret pulling the wrong lever, resulting in an overflow of electricity from the storm, the brunt of which Master received, resulting in his death and a ruined experiment. I’m even sorrier to admit I then ate all his internal organs before I remembered to offer any to Harry the moaning subject chained to the metal chair in the middle of the room or to the rest of my brothers-in-stitches in the downstairs dungeon.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 264: Little Wonders 14: Lyrical Beauty

Show Notes

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


The Best Busker in the World

by R.K. Duncan

“The best busker in the world never plays in the same place twice.  He is too busy searching.  But maybe, just maybe, you will hear him once.  If you hear him, you will have to see him, even if the first notes of his music drift to you from streets away, completely opposite from wherever you intended to go.  Once you hear a single note, it will draw you along like an invisible string, tugging at the knot in the center of your chest where you keep your secret fears and disappointments.  Wherever you find him— a dusty back street in a sleepy town, a bustling avenue in the rush-hour of a big city, a lonely campground haunted by only a few brave souls and stubborn wanderers— the sight will burn itself into your memory almost as deeply as the music.”

The old man sighed, and leaned back in his chair.  The corners of his mouth turned up, but the young woman couldn’t call it a smile.  His eyes were too sad for smiling.  They had been the first thing she noticed about him, catching her eye as they passed on the train platform.  She paid attention after that, more and more once she started digging, and those eyes had never changed.  They drew her irresistibly toward him, and his rich, careful voice held her there and pushed all other thoughts to the far corners of her mind.

(Continue Reading…)

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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.

(Continue Reading…)

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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.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 231: The Four Stewpots (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 associate editor Sally Gill’s favorite story from 2016, “The Four Stewpots” by D. K. Thompson, narrated by Tina Connolly. The story originally aired December 25, 2016 as part of Cast of Wonders 225: Little Wonders 9: Comfort Food.


The Little Wonders theme “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Four Stewpots

by D. K. Thompson

Review: The Four Stewpots
by Darcy E. (14 friends, 27 reviews) 1 star out of 5

I’ve been coming to uptown for the past year since getting a new job and moving to Whittier, and somehow had never seen The Four Stewpots before. I’m actually not a stew fan. I like my food fresh. Soup is okay, some days. Stew? Bleh. It’s been sitting for ages – this place actually suggests one pot they have is a thousand years old. Bon Apetit? But my daughter’s first report card had come home from junior high – she’d done exceptionally well – she wants to be an astronaut, a monster make-up artist, a superhero, a cryptozoologist, or a cartographer of parallel universes – whatever she decides to do she’ll be brilliant, and so as a reward, I let her pick. She saw The Four Stewpots as we were driving down the street, right next to Undercity Comics, and demanded we go there. Again, I do not like stew, but I am a supportive and proud mother who wants to encourage my daughter’s academic achievements, and realize that it isn’t always about me. At least, until it’s time to write the Yelp review.

It is time to write the Yelp review.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 225: Little Wonders 9 – Comfort Food


The Four Stewpots

by D. K. Thompson

Review: The Four Stewpots
by Darcy E. (14 friends, 27 reviews) 1 star out of 5

I’ve been coming to uptown for the past year since getting a new job and moving to Whittier, and somehow had never seen The Four Stewpots before. I’m actually not a stew fan. I like my food fresh. Soup is okay, some days. Stew? Bleh. It’s been sitting for ages – this place actually suggests one pot they have is a thousand years old. Bon Apetit? But my daughter’s first report card had come home from junior high – she’d done exceptionally well – she wants to be an astronaut, a monster make-up artist, a superhero, a cryptozoologist, or a cartographer of parallel universes – whatever she decides to do she’ll be brilliant, and so as a reward, I let her pick. She saw The Four Stewpots as we were driving down the street, right next to Undercity Comics, and demanded we go there. Again, I do not like stew, but I am a supportive and proud mother who wants to encourage my daughter’s academic achievements, and realize that it isn’t always about me. At least, until it’s time to write the Yelp review.

It is time to write the Yelp review.

(Continue Reading…)

The TriWonders Flash Fiction Contest Is Here!


We are to have the honour of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held since the dawn of 2016. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the TriWonders Flash Fiction Contest will be taking place at Cast of Wonders this year!

It’s true! The time for the next Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest is here!

Cast of Wonders is happy to announce we are running the next installment of the much loved Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest. We’re opening a special submission window from August 15 to September 30, and invite each author to submit a single brand new 500 word story. Our normal submission guidelines apply but instead of our slush team, it will be judged by our forum members.

Sharpen your pencils and get your 500 word story ready! Visit our forums to register as a member. Then, between August 15 and September 30, visit our Submittable page for contest rules and to submit your story. Voting will open to registered forum members only, so first publication rights are not spent for the stories that do not ultimately win. The three stories that receive the most votes will be purchased by Cast of Wonders and run as a Little Wonders episode in early 2017.

Voting will open on Sunday October 9, 2016. Again, only registered members of the forums will be able to read and vote on the stories!

Please blog, share on Facebook, tweet, email, send postcards, telephone, text, light smoke signals, and otherwise get the word out!

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Cast of Wonders 210: Little Wonders 8 – Embracing Change


The There-It-Is Store

By Adam Gaylord

The bell over the door jingled and Claire hastily tucked her book under the counter. It was one of her favorites and she’d just gotten to the best part. She didn’t want a customer to come in and claim it.

An older man, probably twice Claire’s age, entered the store. Actually, he really more danced his way in. The man turned this way and that, his eyes trained on the ground, all the while patting his pants, alternating front pockets and then back. Claire suppressed a giggle at the sight of his search dance – as it was fittingly known in the trade. The man gave up the floor and scanned the shelves by the door, muttering to himself while patting his breast pockets. “I swear I just had ’em. I was walking out the door…” He passed over boxes of buttons, jars full of jewelry, several large sacks stuffed with socks, and a pail packed with pocket watches before stopping in front of a particularly large crate nearly overflowing with keys. He gave a low whistle, eyeing the huge box with trepidation.

“Good morning Mr. Crowhurst,” Clair interrupted his search.

“Hm? Oh, yes. Hello.” Mr. Crowhurst wandered up to the counter, still patting. “I really hope you can help me. Do you happen to know where…” He trailed off, his eyes drifting to the shelves behind her. Claire felt the tingle of the there-it-is magic and the man’s patting finally stopped, his face lighting up. “There they are!”

(Continue Reading…)